- The Washington Times - Sunday, July 3, 2016

The campaign squabbles between likely presidential nominees Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton do not much faze historian Paul Aron, author of the just-released “Founding Feuds: The Rivalries, Clashes, and Conflicts That Forged a Nation.” Indeed, the Founding Fathers rumbled with each other plenty in their day, their quarrels sometimes punctuated with pistol fire. Mr. Aron, also director of publications at Colonial Williamsburg in Virginia, suggests the two contemporary candidates might learn a thing or two from the past.

“For starters, Clinton and Trump should understand they are not the first combatants to believe the fate of the nation depended on their winning. The founders were just as apt to disagree, and their disagreements were just as heated as any today, if not more so. Their feuds were sometimes driven by ideology, but like today’s, they were also sometimes personal and petty. But the most important lesson I would hope today’s combatants could learn from their predecessors is that, despite the founders’ equally passionate differences, they often found ways to move beyond those differences. Despite their equally wide divisions, they somehow managed to create and build this nation,” Mr. Aron tells Inside the Beltway.

“When Thomas Jefferson and John Adams faced off for the election of 1800, for example, the rhetoric was at least as nasty as today’s. Republicans called Adams a warmonger and a tyrant. Federalists called Jefferson an anarchist and an atheist. Jefferson called his victory the ‘revolution of 1800’ and argued it was as important a revolution as that of 1776. But Jefferson also reached out to his opponents. In his inaugural address he said: ‘Every difference of opinion is not a difference of principle.’ He also said: ‘We are all Republicans. We are all Federalists.’ It would be nice to hear a politician today say: ‘We are all Republicans. We are all Democrats,’” advises Mr. Aron.

ONE FOR THE CREATOR

“Most Americans still believe in God,” writes Frank Newport,director of the Gallup Poll, which has been tracking this religious phenomenon since 1944, when 94 percent of the nation affirmed they believed in the Creator. Here are the numbers these days, according to a poll released Wednesday:

89 percent of Americans believe in God; 10 percent do not. Another 72 percent believe in angels; 16 percent do not, 12 percent are not sure. Seven out of 10 believe in heaven; 14 percent do not, 14 percent are not sure. Two-thirds believe in hell; 22 percent do not, 13 percent are not sure. Another 6 out of 10 believe in the devil; 27 percent do not, 12 percent are not sure.

FOR THE LEXICON

“Bill-Gate”

— Term coined by syndicated columnist Kathleen Parker, summarizing the potential fallout of former President Bill Clinton’s recent meeting with Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch in the midst of the FBI’s investigation of Hillary Clinton’s use of a personal server for State Department business, including for classified information.

“The American people need to have confidence that the Obama Justice Department is conducting a fair and impartial investigation, but when the attorney general meets secretly with Bill Clinton just days before Hillary’s interrogation is conducted discreetly over a holiday weekend, it raises serious concerns about special treatment,” says Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus. “Others have lost their security clearances, their jobs or even gone to jail for doing far less, and Clinton needs to be held to the same standard as everyone else.”

LIBERTARIANS UP THE ANTE

“Today, we are arguably less free than our nation’s founders were under the thumb of the King of England. We have different bullies to deal with, but many of the same problems, plus some worse ones. What would George Washington say about the NSA spying on Americans or civil asset forfeiture? Or decades of foreign wars, or limiting the rights of Americans without due process? Or imprisoning millions of nonviolent Americans?” demands Wes Benedict, executive director of the Libertarian Party.

He says the Libertarians are busy throwing off “the shackles of power” and promoting Libertarian nominees Gary Johnson and Bill Weld and their quest to be included in the presidential debates, and on the general election ballot in all 50 states come November. How are they doing? Mr. Benedict reports the effort is making “steady progress.” Mr. Johnson and Mr. Weld, meanwhile, have produced a jaunty new campaign video now deemed “the greatest presidential ad ever” by Nick Gillespie, editor in chief of Reason.com.

“This is hands down powerful, powerful stuff and highlights Johnson’s interest in capturing what he calls the broad middle of Americans who are socially liberal, fiscally conservative and desperate for small, efficient government that gets core tasks done without blowing up the budget,” observes Mr. Gillespie.

LAWYERS FOR TRUMP

GOP Lawyers Super PAC, a new political action committee dedicated to Donald Trump’s campaign, will launch on July Fourth, organized by a lawyer and touting a clear-cut mission.

“America should remember that 24 of the 56 patriots who signed the Declaration of Independence were lawyers,” says organizer Victor Williams, a law professor at Catholic University in the nation’s capital. “The patriot-lawyers who signed the document on July 4, 1776, fully accepted the risk of their rebellious actions. The colonial attorneys knew that they would be harshly punished by the established legal and political order.”

Mr. Williams hopes to promote and support Mr. Trump’s “America First” national security policy, along with the presumptive GOP nominee’s plans for tax cuts, job growth and smart trade, as well as the candidate’s future appointments to the Supreme Court. Find the new group at GOPLawyers.com.

POLL DU JOUR

79 percent of U.S. voters say Hillary Clinton will “definitely” be the Democratic nominee for president; 78 percent of Republicans, 76 percent of independents and 84 percent of Democrats agree.

72 percent overall say Donald Trump will “definitely” be the GOP nominee for president; 80 percent of Republicans, 78 percent of independents and 64 percent of Democrats agree.

63 percent overall think Mr. Trump is “patriotic”; 84 percent of Republicans, 69 percent of independents and 42 percent of Democrats agree.

60 percent overall think Mrs. Clinton is patriotic; 36 percent of Republicans, 49 percent of independents and 88 percent of Democrats agree.

Source: A Fox News poll of 1,017 registered U.S. votes conducted June 26-28.

Have a reassuring Fourth of July; thank you for reading Inside the Beltway.

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