- The Washington Times - Monday, September 8, 2014

In bookstores Tuesday: “The REAL Benghazi Story: What the White House and Hillary Don’t Want You to Know,” by Aaron Klein. He tells Inside the Beltway that his investigative book shows the Obama administration “has lost all credibility and will not hesitate to outright lie to the American public, even at the expense of our safety” — and that the administration “cannot be trusted with U.S. national security.” Mr. Klein has much on his mind.

“The real Benghazi story extends beyond the tragic events that transpired on the night of September 11, 2012. Central are secretive activities transpiring inside the doomed facility; specifically a scheme to arm the jihadist Mideast rebels in what essentially amounts to the Fast and Furious gunrunning scandal of the Middle East, the Iran-Contra of the Obama administration. I show these and other activities, including a separate weapons-collection effort, may have been the motivating factor behind the assaults in the first place,” says Mr. Klein.

“We are today feeling the ramifications of the U.S.-coordinated arms shipments and vast supplies of aid and other support to the jihadist-led Mideast rebels, with conflicts being fueled from Syria to Egypt to Gaza to Mali to Algeria. In backing the rebels in Libya and later in Syria, with the pipeline running through Benghazi, as I demonstrate, the Obama administration may have unwittingly helped to create an al-Qaeda-allied army of thousands of highly motivated, well-trained gunmen,” Mr. Klein concludes.

STANDING UP FOR THE GOOD BOOK

A bristling coalition of religious and values leaders has sent a substantial letter to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and U.S. Navy Secretary Ray Mabus, citing the Navy’s consideration of a policy that would ban Gideon Bibles from base lodging sites in 16 states and five foreign countries.

The group suggests that the Defense Department implement a policy clarifying that “donated Bibles are an acceptable piece of literature” in all military guest facilities.

“There is no constitutional reason to worry about a policy along these lines. The mere presence of a Gideon Bible in a hotel room does not constitute a form of messaging from the proprietor to the guest. In the same way that no one is coerced into watching a religious television channel simply because it is available as a choice in most cable television packages, no visitor to a Navy lodge is coerced into reading a Bible simply because it is present in a night stand. Many commercial establishments allow Gideon Bibles to be made available to guests. Is a Motel 6 that provides Gideon Bibles in its guest rooms endorsing Christianity?” the group reasons in its lengthy missive.

Among the 21 signers: American Values President Gary Bauer; Media Research Center President Brent Bozell; Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton; Traditional Values Coalition Chairman the Rev. Lou Sheldon; Concerned Women for America President Penny Nance; and American Family Association President Tim Wildmon.

BUMPER PATROL

“This is the government the Founders warned us about.”

— Bumper sticker spotted near Luray, Virginia.

A BACHMANN MESSAGE

The message is this: Join the Islamic State, lose you passport — which comes from Rep. Michele Bachmann. On Monday, the Minnesota Republican introduced the Terrorist Denaturalization and Passport Revocation Act, which amends existing law to include membership or association with a foreign terrorist organization as a renunciation of U.S. citizenship and grounds for denaturalization. It also gives the State Department and the Department of Homeland Security additional tools to revoke the passports of terrorists.

“Those who have joined a foreign terrorist organization have taken up arms against the United States and our very way of life. By turning against their country, their passports should be revoked and if they’re naturalized citizens, they should lose their citizenship.” Mrs. Bachmann observes.

IT’S ALL IN THE TIMING

The fickle public’s relationships with elected officials are complicated — and fraught with peril if the timing is off. Such is the case with President Obama, who may be doing well on the golf course — but could be off his political game just eight weeks short of the midterm elections.

“If the Democrats have any slim hope of holding on to their majority in the Senate, they will need a president who is seen in a more positive light. Mr. Obama can still turn out crowds and raise a lot of money. As we saw with the registration deadline for the Affordable Care Act, he can also rally younger voters when he needs to,” says pollster John Zogby. “But from the vantage point of Labor Day as the traditional kickoff for the fall campaign, the public perception of Mr. Obama is not where it needs to be.”

Mr. Zogby is looking for signs of “tangible progress” in job creation and tricky overseas matters such as Ukraine and Iraq to remedy numbers that are worrisome to Democrats. Mr. Obama’s approval rating among likely voters stands at 43 percent, a drop of 3 percentage points in recent days, Mr. Zogby says.

The drop spans demographics, and in varying degrees: the president’s approval fell 9 points (from 83 percent to 74 percent) among Democrats and 7 points among liberals (82 percent to 75 percent), with a surprising drop of 14 points among blacks — from 91 percent to 77 percent.

THE POTENTIAL WEBB WEB

Democratic drama: Another name has surfaced as a presidential hopeful. That would be Jim Webb, described as “Hillary Clinton’s worst nightmare” by Bloomberg political analyst Al Hunt. Mr. Webb, 68, is a former U.S. senator from Virginia, was secretary of the Navy during the Reagan administration and a Vietnam War vet, and he has recently been to Iowa, plans to visit New Hampshire and will deliver a major policy speech at the National Press Club this month. He lacks fundraising apparatus and insider relationships, however.

“What he does possess is a long-held and forceful opposition to U.S. interventions in Iraq and Libya, and potentially Syria, as well as solid anti-Wall Street credentials. In Democratic primaries, these may be Clinton’s greatest impediments to rallying a hard-core activist base,” Mr. Hunt says.

“If Webb decides to run — fearlessness and unpredictability are his trademarks — there’s plenty of ammunition against him. He’s against gun control, and he has made comments that angered feminists,” the analyst continues. “Clintonites will dismiss the Webb threat by pointing to his political weaknesses. But here’s a safe bet: They will closely monitor his Sept. 23 press club speech.”

POLL DU JOUR

71 percent of Danish citizens approve of the U.S. airstrikes against the Islamic State in Iraq; 42 percent approve of the Danish military making those strikes.

65 percent of French citizens approve of the U.S. airstrikes in Iraq; 39 percent approve of the French military making those strikes.

59 percent of British citizens approve of the U.S. airstrikes in Iraq; 42 percent approve of the British military making those strikes.

61 percent of Norwegian citizens approve of the U.S. airstrikes; 40 percent approve of the Norwegian military making those strikes.

48 percent of German citizens approve of the U.S. airstrikes; 26 percent approve of the German military making those strikes.

Source: A YouGov “EuroTrack” survey of at least 1,000 adults in each nation, all NATO allies, conducted Aug. 21-29 and released Monday.

Nervous laughter, reasonable conclusions to jharper@washingtontimes.com.

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