- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 1, 2015

As White House hopefuls strike their presidential poses, the meticulous National Taxpayers Union Foundation continues to pore over their voting records, which brings us to Sen. Rand Paul, the latest subject of the organization’s research. No spender is he. During his first two terms in Congress, the Kentucky lawmaker actually proposed savings agendas that would cut $483.8 billion per year, on average, from the federal budget.

“His record clearly demonstrates an approach to budget discipline that can be matched by few,” says analyst Demian Brady, who notes that during the 112th Congress, Mr. Paul proposed an agenda that would cut $650 billion a year, suggesting he has a consistently sterling track record in fiscal matters. He holds the record for the most frugal lawmaker of all, as a matter of fact.

The Democratic contenders aren’t even close.

“In contrast, other analyses found Senator Bernie Sanders proposed an average of over $1 trillion in annual spending during his Senate tenure, while Hillary Clinton proposed $226 billion in new spending,” Mr. Brady says.

EMAIL-GATE: HOW’S IT PLAYING?

Always grateful for something to do, the press offers a cross section of reactions to the grandmother lode of Hillary Rodham Clinton emails from her State Department days. Just a brief sampling of headlines: “Emails show the weird world of Hillary” (Fox News), “Hillary Clinton’s epic battle with a fax machine” (CNN), “Hillary Clinton’s Email Address Was a Hot Commodity” (National Journal), “Does The Drip, Drip, Drip Of Clinton’s Email Controversy Matter?” (NPR), “Down In The Email Dumps With Hillary Clinton” (Huffington Post), “Hillary Clinton is everyone’s emailing grandmother, basically” (American Spectator), “But Sarah Palin’s the dumb one — ” (BizPac Review).


SEE ALSO: ‘Sister Wives’ polygamist Nathan Collier cites gay marriage ruling in legal fight


JUST ONE OF 3,000

“I’m on endless calls about the UN. Could I call you early tomorrow? Would btw 6:30 and 8:00 be too early? Please wear socks to bed to keep your feet warm.” And so wrote Hillary Rodham Clinton, in a message to White House adviser John Podesta on Sept. 20, 2009 — one of the 3,000 released by the State Department.

None of the media frenzy over the emails is crimping Mr. Clinton’s fundraising style, however. On Thursday, she appears at three Hillary for America events in Massachusetts and Rhode Island, followed by one more on Friday in New Hampshire.

SLOWLY THEY TURN, STEP BY STEP

Republican voters are still waiting for Gov. Scott Walker and John Kasich to formally launch the presidential campaigns later this month. Barring any surprises, the pair will be last up with their big announcements — which is not especially prudent.

“The early bird doesn’t always get the worm, but it rarely pays to be the last to arrive to the presidential party. Only one such candidate has claimed the nomination since 1972,” says Eric Ostermeier, a University of Minnesota political professor who fearlessly explores the historic trends of complex electoral data.

“Some could argue that being last will give these candidates a more meaningfully timed boost in support and help them stand out from the crowded field as the debate season arrives,” he continues. “So, is there an advantage to being last out of the gate in the race to secure a presidential nomination? If modern political history is a guide, then the answer is no.”

Mr. Ostermeier pored over the last 11 election cycles dating to 1972 and found that only one eventual Democratic or Republican nominee was the last of his party to formally launch a presidential candidacy: Ronald Reagan in 1980. He was the last of 11 Republicans to jump in the race; that group included hopefuls George H.W. Bush, Bob Dole, Larry Pressler and Howard Baker (November 1, 1979).

“Slightly more than two months after his announcement, Reagan narrowly lost the Iowa caucuses to Bush, but then cruised to a big victory in New Hampshire and went on to carry more than 40 other states en route to the GOP nomination,” the professor says.

EARLY EARLY EARLY CPAC

Save the date, they say. The 2016 presidential election is so important to the American Conservative Union that the organization has already released information the Conservative Political Action Conference — CPAC, the beloved annual spring rite for Reagan-friendly conservatives staged just outside the nation’s capital.

“CPAC 2016 will be March 2nd - 5th, 2016 at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center. This gives conservatives and our like-minded friends the best opportunity to influence the selection of one of our own to be our nominee for president. With so much at stake, at home and abroad, CPAC 2016 could not come at a more critical time,” the organizers advise in a new public outreach. “The Supreme Court rulings of last week highlight how important it is for conservatives to make our voices heard on the many issues at stake as we determine who should steer America toward a future that preserves the values our Founders envisioned.”

‘OUT-NEGOTIATED’

White House fanfare and virtuous talk followed news that the U.S. and Cuba would formally restore diplomatic relations and reopen embassies in Washington, D.C. and Havana. But it is a telling and dicey bit of diplomacy indeed, some say.

“Establishing full diplomatic relations with Cuba is consistent with President Obama’s record of being out-negotiated by authoritarian and anti-American regimes. We’ve seen no real progress on human rights for the Cuban people, or the settling of property claims. If this is how the White House negotiated with the desperate Cuban leadership, the American people should be deeply concerned with its ongoing nuclear negotiations with Iran’s aggressive Ayatollah,” says Rep. Ed Royce, California Republican chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

“The president is foolishly rewarding the brutal Castro dictatorship and selling out the Cuban people. Given his track record of retreat, should we expect an embassy in Iran next?” asks Gov. Scott Walker.

HUCKABEE’S RESOLVE

Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee is now on a “Religious Liberty Townhall Tour” across Iowa, to continue through Thursday. He has already crafted a distinct agenda to go into use should he win the White House. It would include executive orders in support of traditional marriage that protect businesses, churches, non-profits, schools and universities, hospitals, and other organizations from discrimination, intimidation, or civil or criminal penalties for exercising their religious beliefs. Military chaplains would also be protected.

“While some cowardly politicians wave the white flag and surrender to this unconstitutional, out-of-control act of judicial tyranny, I reject this decision and will fight from ‘Day One’ of my administration to defend our Constitution and protect religious liberty,” Mr. Huckabee says.

POLL DU JOUR

79 percent of conservatives trust the military ” great deal” or “quite a lot”; 64 percent of liberals agree.

72 percent of conservatives trust small business ” great deal” or “quite a lot”; 63 percent of liberals agree.

65 percent of conservatives trust the police; 39 percent of liberals agree.

57 percent of conservatives trust the church or organized religion; 30 percent of liberals agree.

18 percent of conservatives trust the presidency; 54 percent of liberals agree.

11 percent of conservatives trust Congress; 9 percent of liberals agree.

Source: A Gallup poll of 1,527 U.S. adults conducted June 2-7 and released Wednesday.

Little victories, assorted annoyances to jharper@washingtontimes.com.

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