- The Washington Times - Monday, October 9, 2017

There is still media hubbub over the moment some 48 hours ago when Vice President Mike Pence and second lady Karen Pence walked out of an Indiana Colts game when team players took a knee and refused to stand for the national anthem. Critics called the brisk departure “a political stunt” and speculation was rampant. But some say the couple’s exit was a defining moment that launched a jolt of cultural change, which now is gaining momentum.

“Ladies and gentlemen, this is what pushing back looks like. Get used to this. This is what pushing back looks like. This is what the left not getting away with setting the narrative and determining who can and who can’t say anything — this is what it looks like. This is what it looks like when you push back against it,” talk radio host Rush Limbaugh told his 10 million listeners Monday.

Americans have been conditioned for decades “to accept anti-American displays” Mr. Limbaugh said — but that era may be waning with President Trump in office.

“We’re not sitting around, and we’re not accepting it anymore. We’re supposed to be tolerant, they tell us. So I give Trump and Pence credit for at least pushing back and trying to deprogram us a little, that we don’t have to take it,” the host continued. “And I don’t care if the media gets all upset.”

Some of the media, however, have suggested that Mr. Trump is emerging as the victor.

“Donald Trump is now winning the national anthem debate without question, according to ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith,” writes Ford Springer, who covers entertainment for the Daily Caller and tracked the analyst’s comments.

“In the end what it really, really comes down to is the president has successfully hijacked this issue. He’s turned it into an issue about patriotism and beyond, he’s catering to his base in the process and the biggest thing he’s doing is he’s pulling it all off hiding behind these issues when, in my opinion, his real agenda is going after an NFL community that didn’t let him in that good old boys club,” Mr. Smith said during an appearance on the network, referring to Mr. Trump’s attempts in another era to become a sports team owner.

“He is the one that’s winning because he’s turned this into something that the players didn’t intend to. So they’re going to have to find a different mechanism to make their voices heard, because Trump has won this round,” Mr. Smith noted.

A MATTIS MOMENT

The bodacious Association of the United States Army’s Annual Meeting is underway in the nation’s capital, with 26,000 attendees and a whole battalion of serious brass intent on upping the future-minded readiness and nimble “lethality” of American troops. The big doings continue through Wednesday and include such things as the introduction of a new Army field manual, displays of mobile camouflage systems and tactical vehicles, discreet cocktail parties hosted by supportive sponsors, an appearance by country music artist Mark Wills and a black-tie dinner.

Defense Secretary James Mattis himself had a message for the group, calling them “disciplined, ethical, capable, high-spirited soldiers” who would draw admiration from George Washington.

“We need you at the top of your game in body, mind and spirit,” Mr. Mattis told the opening day audience Monday, advising them to revisit such books as “The Future of Strategy” by Colin Gray and “This Kind of War” by T.R. Fehrenbach.

He also recommended that Congress “be back in the driver’s seat of budget decision, not in the spectator’s seat of automatic cuts” — a comment which drew considerable applause.

Mission, modernization, skill, camaraderie and myriad intangibles were also on the to-do list. Might appears very right at this time. So does deterrence. The defense secretary recommended that fighting forces become so formidable that America’s uneasy foes would prefer to skip the battlefield in favor of a productive diplomatic exchange with Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson.

“Mentally, I want you to enhance right now. We must be so ready that everybody in the world will want to deal with Tillerson’s Department of State — not the Department of Defense and your war-fighting skills,” Mr. Mattis observed.

FOR THE LEXICON

There now exists a “nanny deep state” writes Charlie Spiering, White House correspondent for Breitbart News, identifying a handy new term that adds a whole new dimension to the concept of the “deep state” or “shadow presidency” — both terms indicating that a variety of forces are working against President Trump and his administration from within the federal government, Congress or the hostile news media.

“Nanny deep state” has a certain appropriate hand-wringing quality about it, and it represents “establishment efforts to tame Donald Trump’s agenda,” Mr. Spiering says.

And oh, the drama. In an interview with The New York Times on Sunday, Sen. Bob Corker claimed the president treats his office like a reality TV show, among other things.

The Tennessee Republican followed up with a tweet labeling the White House as an “adult day care center,” with staffers and Cabinet officers on duty to “calm” Mr. Trump.

THE ALASKAN WAY

“In villages around Alaska, tribal leaders frustrated by drug dealing and bootlegging have banished suspects using tribal laws and methods — a controversial practice that the state isn’t interfering with,” writes Lisa Demer, who covers rural areas in the last frontier for the Alaska Dispatch News.

“The state intends to remain hands-off when it comes to banishment,” Alaska Attorney General Jahna Lindemuth told the news organization.

“We recognize that it presents constitutional challenges. But I don’t think it’s the state’s place to approve or disapprove of anything,” the attorney general noted. “Tribes are sovereigns. This arises between a private person and that particular sovereign.”

There is no state or federal law providing for banishment.

POLL DU JOUR

54 percent of Americans say “political leaders in Washington” should compromise to get things done; 44 percent of Republicans, 29 percent of those who are “very conservative,” 60 percent of moderates, 62 percent of Democrats and 55 percent of those who are “very liberal” agree.

28 percent say they feel “neutral” on the issue; 33 percent of Republicans, 29 percent of the “very conservative,” 25 percent of moderates, 24 percent of Democrats and 28 percent of the “very liberal” agree.

18 percent say leaders should “stick to their beliefs”; 23 percent of Republicans, 41 percent of the “very conservative,” 16 percent of moderates, 12 percent of Democrats and 17 percent of those who are “very liberal” agree.

Source: A Gallup poll of 1,022 U.S. adults conducted Sept. 6-10 and released Monday.

• Kindly follow Jennifer Harper on Twitter @HarperBulletin

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