Republican Sens. Ted Cruz and Mike Lee plus Reps. Michele Bachmann, Don Young, Joseph Heck, Ralph Hall, Sam Johnson and Mike Coffman are among the lawmakers who will step forward to salute military veterans Wednesday evening. Many are vets themselves. The roster includes Rep. Charlie Rangel, a Democrat, who served in the U.S. Army and was wounded in Korea, and Tony Arterburn, a former Army paratrooper and combat vet who founded Veterans for Congress, a political action committee.
All will gather at the Capitol Hill Club for a tribute organized by The Washington Times which will include good cheer and good words, along with such delectables as steak quesadillas, grilled vegetables and all manner of a savory things. Old Glory is the real star of the night, however. There will be a formal color guard and a Pledge of Allegiance led by former U.S. Army Sergeant Mary Herrera, a Purple Heart recipient who wounded in Iraq. She is now a field representative for the Coalition to Salute America's Heroes, which supports severely disabled vets.
Irish tenor Anthony Kearns will sing heartfelt tunes. Among the speakers will be Washington Times' opinion editor David Keene and the aforementioned Mr. Cruz. A percentage of ticket sales will benefit Caring for Military Families, an outreach of the Elizabeth Dole Foundation.
And about those vets in Congress. They bring a dynamic to the legislative process that is both unique and productive.
"They get things done. They're used to working on a team to accomplish a mission," Mr. Coffman, a veteran of both Army and Marine Corps, tells Inside the Beltway.
HENSARLING'S MAIN STREET APPEAL
It is a delicate maneuver to appear available for a major job on Capitol Hill without compromising civility. Such is the case of Rep. Jeb Hensarling, who has declared on at least three occasions that he's not angling for the post of Speaker of the House, but if it, uh, just happens to come up this fall, the Texas Republican and chairman of the House Financial Services Committee has not quite shut the door.
It's too early to talk about tournaments for Republican leadership, he says, with so much work to be done on other matters. But if "possibilities and opportunities" come along come November, well, Mr. Hensarling says he'll acknowledge them then. Meanwhile, the Lone Star State lawmaker is emerging as a man with a plan, offering a substantial economic speech at the Heritage Foundation on Tuesday, packed with numbers and just the right amount of smart populism.
In his speech, he recommended "everyone with a Washington D.C. address" read the work of Nobel Prize-winning economist Milton Friedman, an adviser to Ronald Reagan. Mr. Hensarling clearly distinguished between the "Washington insider economy" and "the Main Street competitive economy." Surely the latter is a keeper phrase.
"There should not be one set of rules for the well-connected and another set of rules for everyone else," Mr. Hensarling said, noting that "business interests are not necessarily freedom's interests" and that, regrettably, "a great deal of economic activity that masquerades today as free enterprise is not." Mr. Hensarling also said he is a guardian of a "uniquely American can-do optimism," a phrase with a nice Reaganesque ring to it.
The lawmaker ended his speech with an old school rallying cry: "This is a call for action for Republicans and conservatives to reject the Washington insider economy. Let's embrace the Main Street competitive economy."
PUBLICITY YES, CANDOR MAYBE NOT
Hillary Rodham Clinton is poised for a publicity blitz when "Hard Choices," her much-ballyhooed, 656-page memoir is released June 10 by Simon & Schuster. ABC News is already trumpeting an exclusive one-on-one interview Mrs. Clinton has granted to Diane Sawyer, to air on the eve of the book release, followed by a live interview on publication day during "Good Morning America."
Interesting. Critics who follow Mrs. Clinton still wonder if the true state of her health will ever be revealed with similar enthusiasm. Maybe. Maybe not. Many Americans, however, would like that information, from Mrs. Clinton and anyone else who chooses to run. A new Rasmussen Report survey reveals that "38 percent of likely voters believe all declared presidential candidates should release at least their most recent medical records to the public. Forty-two percent disagree and say they should not have to do so. Twenty percent are undecided."
THAT MID-WEEK FUNDRAISER
Yes, indeed. Fire up Air Force One, a midweek Democratic Party fundraiser is once again on tap. This seems to be a pattern: Last week there were two in New York City around about this time, and five on the West Coast the week prior. This time around it's Chicago's turn. The Windy City is about to get a little windier, perhaps.
Indeed, President Obama will journey to his hometown on Thursday for two private fundraisers, one for Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin, the other for Senate Democrats. One is a reception, the other a dinner; both are in the splendid homes in Lincoln Park and the Gold Coast sections of town.
Mr. Durbin, incidentally, is in fundraising mode himself. Along with Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, he'll appear next month at an industrial-strength fundraiser for Ready for Hillary, the grass-roots group that insists Hillary Clinton should run for the White House in 2016.
How quickly things morph from exile to entertainment: In the mad dash of Hollywood, a book about NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden was published one day and became a major film project within 24 hours. Indeed, journalist Glenn Greenwald's "No Place to Hide" is now under development at Sony, with the same creative team that produced the last two James Bond blockbusters. But who will play Mr. Snowden?
Already, Mr. Greenwald himself has allowed that Jared Leto in under consideration. Also on the list: Robert Pattinson, Hayden Christensen, Daniel Radcliffe, Eddie Redmayne and Andrew Garfield — choices, incidentally, suggested by Entertainment Television.
But Mr. Snowden also has become a comic book commodity.
"Edward Snowden has been called a whistleblower, a hero, a traitor, a criminal. But who is he really?" asks Valerie D'Orazio, a Marvel Comics writer who has now penned "Beyond: Edward Snowden," an edgy, stylish comic book released Wednesday by Bluewater Productions. The publisher says the $4 comic examines "the man behind the headlines, searching for what might have motivated him to commit one of the biggest leaks of classified information in U.S. history."
POLL DU JOUR
• 89 percent of voters say the health care law will be an important factor in determining whom they will vote for in the 2014 midterms.
• 48 percent would repeal Obamacare; 35 percent would modify it and 16 percent would keep the law "as it is."
• 73 percent say immigration reform will be important in determining their vote; 71 support immigration reform, 28 percent oppose it.
• 70 percent say the issue of abortion will be important in determining their vote.
• 35 percent support abortion with restrictions, 34 percent support a "nearly total ban on abortion," 19 percent support unrestricted abortion, and 11 percent support a total ban.
• 62 percent say same-sex marriage is important in determining their vote; 52 percent oppose same-sex marriage, 48 percent support it.
• 43 percent say the legalizing marijuana is important in determining their vote; 56 percent oppose legalization, 43 percent support it.
Source: A Politico poll of 867 likely U.S. voters in midterm battleground states and districts, conducted May 2-13.
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