- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 2, 2014

Anxiety, distrust, paranoia - beware. Sensational news coverage of Ebola is now out of quarantine, and moving at a rapid pace around the nation. The prospect of travel restrictions to and from affected African nations plus the question of U.S. preparedness is under discussion. Talk of the disease has been shaped by political correctness or politicized, and the inevitable blame game is underway in a predictable pattern. The nation is suddenly Ebola-centric, serenaded by a chorus of pundits, activists and interest groups who want someone or something to fault. Global warming has been suggested as a cause. Whispers of clandestine plots have surfaced. Terrorism is now being brought into the mix.

“When all is said and done, all of this is going to end up being blamed on the Republicans,” Rush Limbaugh declared on his Thursday broadcast. “I know you’re going to laugh at that, but everything else is, and so will this. And it’ll be blamed on Republicans for not helping President Obama — for gridlock, for not taking their jobs seriously, for not working with Obama to grow the government to make sure we have the resources. They’ll blame it on the sequester.”

Mr. Limbaugh adds, “The Republicans are gonna take a hit on this. I don’t know how much it’ll stick, but they will be blamed.”

 

REPUBLICANS GET A CASE OF BACKBONE

Some wisdom, some inner mettle? Could be. Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus fired off 11 positive, unifying principles during a speech on Thursday that put the “grand” back in the Grand Old Party just a month short of the midterm elections. “The Principles for American Renewal” has good timing — not too early, not too late, with an emphasis on agreement over dissent. There’s buzz and fair news coverage of the chairman’s efforts, though the Democratic Party insists the GOP is still clueless about the nation.


SEE ALSO: Ebola anxiety: Ben Carson warned the nation two months ago


“Rebranding and repackaging won’t change that,” says press secretary Michael Czin.

Unity might, though. Republicans and conservatives themselves are praising Mr. Priebus’ efforts as “serious, fast reform” and “common sense”, among many positive things. Find it all here, including a video of the speech and a survey: GOP.com

ONE FOR ISRAEL

The insistent evangelical voice will ring out soon, and very close to the U.S. Capitol building. Scheduled for Sunday afternoon in Upper Senate Park, it’s the Rally for Israel, organized primarily by potential White House hopeful Mike Huckabee and Penny Nance, president of Concerned Women for America.

“It’s time for the United States to join together in prayer and support for Israel. I have been to Israel nearly 30 times over the past 41 years and have never seen the nation under such threat,” Mr. Huckabee observes.

“Israel is our closest ally and friend in the Middle East, and they are suffering due to the weak policies of the Obama administration. The president has done little to recognize the growing threat of Hamas. God has protected this tiny, but increasingly powerful nation, and it’s time for the United States to do the same,” he adds.

“As we focus as a nation on the many jihadist threats to Christians, we must also remember that these same people are plotting against Israel as well,” says Mrs. Nance.

Among the many speakers at the two-hour event: Zionist Organization of America president Morton Klein, Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol, Republican Reps. Trent Franks of Arizona and Vicky Hartzler of Missouri, plus American Values president Gary Bauer.

THE ZAGAT-IZATION OF EVERYTHING

Thanks to instant online access and the age of branding, restaurant-style ratings — complete with stars, rankings and snippy evaluations — now get applied to doctors, dentists, lawyers, retailers, colleges. The public has developed an appetite for such fare, which could soon extend into political parties. Imagine. The GOP gets 4 stars for rhetoric and 2 stars for voter outreach; but fails when it comes to the color of their ties. It could have the same impact as all those guides for “dummies” which proliferated years ago.

Some are not keen on this phenomenon.

“It’s one of the real black marks on the history of higher education that an entire industry that’s supposedly populated by the best minds in the country — theoretical physicists, writers, critics — is bamboozled by a third rate magazine,” says Leon Botstein, president of Bard College — who is complaining about U.S. News & World’s Reports annual ranking of colleges — which placed his own campus at No. 45.

“They do a parody of real research. I joke that the next thing they’ll do is rank churches. You know. Where does God appear more frequently? How big are the pews?” demands Mr. Botstein in a New Yorker interview this week.

RON PAUL’S ADVICE FOR HARRY REID

“I urge you to schedule a standalone, roll call vote on S. 209, the Federal Reserve Transparency Act, the Senate counterpart to H.R. 24, immediately upon your return to Washington in November. For the second Congress in a row, the people’s House of Representatives has spoken overwhelmingly in favor of complete accountability at the Federal Reserve by voting to pass the Federal Reserve Transparency Act, better known as Audit the Fed. On September 17, the House passed H.R. 24 under suspension of the rules by a vote of 333-92, a margin even larger than when it passed 327-98 in July 2012,” proclaims Ron Paul in an open letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

“This shows that, far from 2012’s passage being a one-time fluke, support for transparency at our nation’s central bank is stronger than ever. Additionally, polls consistently show nearly 75 percent of the American people support fully auditing the Fed. Unfortunately, despite telling voters in a debate during your heated re-election campaign in 2010 that you support auditing the Fed and even called for a Fed audit in 1987, you have prevented this legislation from having the simple up-or-down vote it deserves in the Senate as a standalone bill since the 111th Congress. Again, I would urge you to act quickly to do what is right politically, philosophically, and economically for our country by scheduling a vote on S. 209, or its House counterpart, at the beginning of the lame duck session. Time is running short,” Mr. Paul concludes.

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POLL DU JOUR

• 77 percent of self-described “tea party Republicans” say they are conservatives; 19 percent are moderates, 4 percent are liberals.

• 66 percent are married, 33 percent single; 59 percent are men, 41 percent are women.

&bull 36 percent live in the South, 23 percent in the Midwest, 23 percent in the West and 18 percent in the East.

• 42 percent of Americans overall say they are neither a supporter or an opponent of the tea party.

• 31 percent say they are an opponent of the tea party; 24 percent say they support the tea party.

Source: A Gallup poll of 6,098 U.S. adults conducted between Sept. 5, 2013 and Sept. 4, 2014 and released Thursday.

Big proclamations, assorted mutterings to jharper@washingtontimes.com.

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