- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Let us ponder history: To date, a mere 16 senators have gone on to serve as president of the United States, beginning with James Monroe, who served four years in the Senate starting in 1790 and was elected president 23 years later. Only three — Warren G. Harding, John F. Kennedy and Barack Obama — moved directly from the Senate to the White House, according to Senate records. It’s been crowded — and rare. Consider that, just since 1972, a total of 50 sitting or former senators from 31 states have run for president a collective 62 times, with Mr. Obama the sole victor, according to a University of Minnesota analysis.

Which brings us to the current field of White House hopefuls, who must be candidates, ringmasters, TV talent and multitaskers — and still function as lawmakers. How’d they do this year? Only C-SPAN could have come up with this year-end tally. The public affairs channel has tracked the official floor time of the five presidential hopefuls who also are in the Senate. Behold, the standings of those lawmakers, ranked by how much speaking and voting on the Senate floor they did this year:

Out of the 136 days that the Senate was in session, Sen. Bernard Sanders made the most appearances; he spoke on 37 days, followed by Sen. Ted Cruz, who spoke 19 days, Sen. Lindsey Graham (16), Sen. Rand Paul (13) and Sen. Marco Rubio (8).

And about those yeas and nays: There were 339 recorded Senate roll call votes in 2015. By this measure, Mr. Paul is in the lead, having voted 319 times, followed by Mr. Sanders with 311 votes, Mr. Cruz with 259, Mr. Graham with 243 and Mr. Rubio last again with 219 votes.

AND IN SUMMATION

“2015: The year politics became a series of competing mass hallucinations.”

— Observation from National Review columnist Jim Geraghty

TERRORISM NOW TOPS VOTER WORRY LIST 

“It may come as little surprise to hear that terrorism currently leads the list of issues Americans want to see government action on: 24 percent of U.S. adults name it — without prompting — among the top issues for the government to address. This represents fourfold growth since November of last year (when 6 percent named it as a top issue) and is on par with December 2001, when 22 percent of Americans named this issue in the wake of the September 11, 2001, attacks,” says Larry Shannon-Missal, managing editor of the Harris Poll, in an analysis of a new survey released Wednesday.

“Conservatives and registered Republicans both put terrorism, followed by the economy, at the top of their respective lists; the economy is tops among moderates, liberals and registered Democrats and independents, followed by terrorism,” he says. More numbers in the Poll du Jour at column’s end.

BROADCASTERS: UH, THERE WAS A CARTOON?

“The morning after Washington Post cartoonist Ann Telnaes published (then unpublished) a disgusting piece depicting Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz’s daughters as toy monkeys and ‘fair game’ since they appeared in a campaign ad, ABC’s ‘Good Morning America’ ignored the story completely while CBS ‘This Morning’ and NBC’s ‘Today’ excused it as merely a ‘feud’ and part of ‘increased scrutiny’ for Cruz as he ascends in the polls,” noted Curtis Houck, an analyst for the Media Research Center, the ever-vigilant conservative watchdog.

HOLA, SENORA CLINTON

#NotMyAbuela

— New hashtag in circulation on Twitter among the Latino Rebels and other grass-roots activists who are not happy that Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton used her granny status in a campaign outreach aimed at Latino voters titled “7 things Hillary Clinton has in common with your abuela.”

For the uninitiated, “abuela” is Spanish for grandmother.

GLENN BECK’S SEASONAL COMPLAINT

“I really despise these days just before Christmas. We have really turned it into something that makes me want to skip it,” declares independent media maven Glenn Beck in a message to the subscribers to his online TV network and news service.

“It is all about lists. Who do we have to get something for, who have we forgotten, did we send this card out? Did you see we just got a gift from someone we didn’t get a gift for? What do the kids want? Is it too much, not enough?” Mr. Beck continues.

“But I get to this point every year over the last few years and wonder: What are we doing? I do not feel the joy. All I have wanted to do is spend quality time with my wife. Most of our time has been spent stressing lists. She is better at this than I am, but I don’t like it. Sorry to be a Grinch. But I think I am missing the point. How do you unplug and stop this out-of-control train? I fear it is going to stop itself soon.”

POLL DU JOUR

88 percent of Americans give the U.S. Congress a negative overall job review for the year; 88 percent of Republicans, 91 percent of independents and 84 percent of Democrats agree.

71 percent overall say the nation is on the “wrong track”; 86 percent of Republicans, 75 percent of independents and 54 percent of Democrats agree.

63 percent overall give President Obama a negative overall job review; 89 percent of Republicans, 72 percent of independents and 32 percent of Democrats agree.

24 percent overall rank terrorism as the most important issue for the government to address; 23 percent cite the economy; 19 percent cite immigration, including refugee issues; 14 percent cite the state of health care, including Obamacare; 10 percent cite employment and jobs; 9 percent national security; 6 percent the environment; 5 percent gun laws and gun control; 5 percent cite the national debt.

Source: A Harris Poll of 2,252 U.S. adults conducted Dec. 9-14 and released Wednesday.

Happy talk, cranky critiques to jharper@washingtontimes.com

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