- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 18, 2014

The Republican Party of Virginia is a feisty lot, indeed. After the organization discovered a certain governor’s aggressive and well-organized fundraising plans, these GOPers are ready to rumble.

Thanks to an initial investigation by Bearing Drift, a prominent conservative website in Virginia, the party became aware that Gov. Terry McAuliffe had an instant fundraising apparatus in place a mere 24 hours after announcing the formation of a new political action committee. The contribution packages range as high as $100,000, which includes exclusive face time and socializing with Mr. McAuliffe.

“We knew Terry McAuliffe was all style and no substance, and we knew he had no compunctions about renting out the Lincoln Bedroom. But even I was shocked at how fast he started selling access to the executive branch. And only Terry McAuliffe would be brazen enough to print out a price list,” says Pat Mullins, chairman of the Virginia Republican Party, referring to the governor’s historic role as an inventive fundraiser for former President Bill Clinton back in the day.

“Federal prosecutors have indicted former Governor Bob McDonnell on the basis that he took gifts and set up meetings. If doing that is an indictable offense, then what does it mean when you quite literally sell access to a sitting governor, and then have the gall to print up a price list to send around via blast email?” Mr. Mullins asks.

PALINTOLOGY

Sarah Palin has lost neither her political prowess nor her showbiz touch. Fresh from her feisty speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference, the former Alaska governor debuts in “Amazing America” on the Sportsman Channel in a little more than two weeks. With a certain amount of pride, the network has already put some of the content on parade: man caves, duck calls, bull runs, bowhunting, dogsledding.

“Get red, wild and blue, America. This show is going to highlight the freedom we get to experience in America,” Mrs. Palin says in a new promotional spot.

“Meet people who blaze their own trail, who never back down, and aren’t afraid to get a little dirty,” the network advises viewers.

The brusque and vigorous production has already been framed as “basically ‘Jackass’ for conservatives” by Mediaite columnist Matt Wilstein, referring to the notorious MTV reality show that chronicled the risky and often dangerous stunts and pranks of the young and restless.

Well, we’ll see. The Sportsman Channel has more noble aspirations, calling the series “an anthology of stories that explore some of the most original, interesting — and sometimes inspiring — people, places and pastimes connected to America’s outdoors lifestyle.”

But there will be he-man action. Pilgrim Productions, which is producing the series, is also behind such assorted cable programming as SyFy’s “Ghost Hunters”; “Swamp Pawn” and “Orange County Choppers” for CMT; and “Fast N’ Loud” and “Street Outlaws” for Discovery.

LIBERTARIANS STRUT THEIR STUFF

While the two major parties strut and hiss at one another, the Libertarians have already scheduled their national convention for late June in Columbus, Ohio — coincidentally under heavy consideration as a site for the 2016 Republican National Convention. Their motto for the event: “Character Matters.” Yes, former Libertarian presidential hopeful Gary E. Johnson will be there, along with his 2012 running mate, Judge James Gray.

“Putting on a national convention in a nice professional hotel is a huge project with significant expenses, and we don’t receive taxpayer subsidies for our conventions, unlike the Democrats and Republicans. That’s right, Democrats and Republicans each got about $18 million of government money for their national conventions in 2012,” says Wes Benedict, executive director of the Libertarian National Committee.

“We Libertarians pay for our own conventions,” he adds.

See their big doings at Lpcon2014.org

JUST SAY NYET

“In what was described as a major ramping up of sanctions, Secretary of State John Kerry announced on Tuesday that the United States had frozen Russian President Vladimir Putin’s Netflix account, effective immediately.

“‘Unless and until Mr. Putin calls off the annexation of Crimea, no more “House of Cards” or “Orange Is the New Black” for him,’ Mr. Kerry said. ‘The United States will not stand by and reward the annexation of another sovereign nation with a policy of streaming as usual.’”

— from a parody news story by comedian and New Yorker contributor Andy Borowitz.

KENTUCKY’S BLUEGRASS BREW

Liberty-minded tea partyers in Kentucky are rallying their forces to offer a challenge to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, often framed as a symbol of the dreaded “establishment” Republicans. Coming in early April, it’s FreePac, a gathering of the lower taxes/less government/more freedom clan who are intent on introducing one Matt Bevin, billed as the “principled conservative challenger to Mitch McConnell.”

Mr. Bevin is a Louisville businessman, husband and father to nine children, four adopted in Ethiopia. He has launched his campaign and will be the big event. And he has already accepted invitations for two upcoming Republican candidate debates, to be held March 24 and April 21.

Mr. McConnell, however, has not responded to such invitations, organizers say.

“Kentuckians deserve to hear from Mitch on why he’s spent his 30-year career in Washington voting for bailouts, amnesty, debt-limit increases, and funding for Obamacare. Where’s Mitch?” asks Mr. Bevin’s spokeswoman, Rachel Semmel.

Well, the lawmaker won’t be at the FreePac event, that’s for sure. Organized by FreedomWorks, the rally will also feature independent media maven Glenn Beck, FreedomWorks President Matt Kibbe, Fox News contributor Deneen Borelli, conservative talk-radio host Andrew Wilkow and FreedomWorks fellow and former NAACP chapter president the Rev. C.L. Bryant.

CULTURAL MOMENT

“Camo is the new black”

— Motto on new ladies T-shirt from Redneck Riviera, a new “lifestyle brand” launched in Florida on Tuesday by entertainer and “Celebrity Apprentice” winner John Rich.

POLL DU JOUR

60 percent of workers have less than $25,000 in savings and investments beyond the value of their primary residence or pension.

58 percent say they have “a problem with debt.”

53 percent report cost of living and daily expenses as the reason they can’t save for retirement.

36 percent have less than $1,000 in savings and investments.

37 percent are somewhat confident, 24 percent are not confident they will have a comfortable retirement.

24 percent say their level of debt is higher now then five years ago.

18 percent are very confident they can retire comfortably.

Source: An Employment Benefit Research Institute “Retirement Confidence Survey” of 1,000 working U.S. adults and 501 retirees conducted throughout January and released Tuesday.

Annoyances and applause to jharper@washingtontimes.com

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