- The Washington Times - Sunday, August 14, 2011


As it rolls forth down the asphalt Monday, President Obama’s three-day bus tour of the Midwestern heartland already has earned a nickname. It’s “Greyhound One” according to observant wags at Lucianne.com and elsewhere in the conservative blogosphere. Most are irked that Mr. Obama and his strategists have borrowed a page from the tea party playbook. What’s better than a campaign-style bus tour to impart a message of frugality and kitchen-table economics?

But wait. Though the excursion is packaged with humble appeal, it looks like nobody’s sleeping on the bus. The White House has reserved the entire historic Hotel Winneshiek in Decorah, Iowa, and 60 rooms at nearby Luther College, and that’s just one stop on the tour.

But the Grand Old Party is at the ready, keen on news that Gallup’s newest daily job approval rating for Mr. Obama, tallied Thursday through Saturday, stands at 39 percent. Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus and Minnesota Republican Party Chairman Tony Sutton will speak out Monday morning against “President Obama’s taxpayer-funded bus tour,” they say, from the very center of things.

The pair of chairmen know how to pre-empt things. They will hold forth with a public press conference at 9 a.m. from Cannon Falls, population 4,000, east of the Twin Cities. And the president? Mr. Obama will kick off his entire tour from Lower Hannah’s Bend Park, also in Cannon Falls, at 11:45 a.m.


It is Beckapalooza, Part 2. Glenn Beck has arrived in Israel in preparation for Restoring Courage, which the former Fox News host describes as a “nonpolitical, nondenominational gathering to stand up for Israel,” to be staged in Jerusalem on Aug. 24. Planned since May, the three mega-events will unfold a year after Mr. Beck, wearing a bulletproof vest, staged “Restoring Honor” at the Lincoln Memorial. The patriotic rally drew between 87,000 and a half-million people, depending on the hostility of the news source behind the report.

The version in the Holy Land is shaping up to be the proverbial big deal. Mr. Beck, who bases his rationale for the gathering on the biblical book of Ruth, has received the public blessing of Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger, who told him, “God bless you. … A lot of angels are smiling on you.”

Mr. Beck was greeted in his arrival in Israel on Sunday by Knesset member Danny Danon, Vice Premier Moshe Ya’alon and other Israeli officials. Among those reported to attend: ambassadors from 70 countries and 36 U.S. lawmakers, including Sens. Joe Lieberman, Connecticut independent, and Republicans Orrin G. Hatch of Utah, Jim DeMint of South Carolina and James M. Inhofe of Oklahoma.

Also on the expected guest list: celebrity conservatives Jon Voight, Ted Nugent and Chuck Norris — not to mention those who back Mr. Beck’s quest to support Israel. A dozen group tours to the events — including one hosted by presidential hopeful Herman Cain — are sold out. In addition, hundreds of group “viewing parties” — private gatherings to watch the rally live on GBTV, Mr. Beck’s new subscription broadcast network — have been organized in all 50 states and 34 foreign countries.


Uh-oh. There’s no happy candidate grace period for Texas Gov. Rick Perry, even in his home state. The Republican Liberty Caucus, the self-described “small government, liberty-defending wing of the Republican Party,” has the newly minted presidential hopeful on its radar. In a bad way. Those members who live in the Lone Star State are particularly vexed.

“Rick Perry may be the flavor of the day for a lot of Republicans, but Texas Republicans who are familiar with his record are a lot less enthusiastic about his presidential run. Perry has a unique talent for finding new ways to raise taxes and loves to use taxpayer money to subsidize his business cronies,” says Dave Nalle, secretary of the Republican Liberty Caucus of Texas.

“His supposed belief in limited government and states rights conveniently disappears whenever it conflicts with the demands of the special interests and corporate cronies who he serves,” Mr. Nalle says, adding that his group is “compiling a complete dossier on Perry to share with fellow Republicans outside their state so that they can be informed about what they are being sold in a Perry presidential candidacy.”


Yes, even after the rigors of Iowa, the Republican presidential hopefuls are on the march. Mitt Romney is in New Hampshire, Herman Cain is in Indiana and Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota is on her way to South Carolina. And Buddy Roemer? He’s in Washington on Monday to “discuss the corrupting influence in campaigns of his opponents,” he says.

Lest we forget, the former Louisiana governor has vowed not to accept any campaign donations more than $100 and is critical of politicians who do otherwise. Mr. Roemer will appear at the National Press Club to cite specific examples of “large, anonymous campaign donations and special-interest money” that went to President Obama, not to mention the campaigns of his Republican opponents.


• 93 percent of Americans say they are paying more for groceries now than they were a year ago.

• 4 percent say they are not paying more.

• 79 percent expect to pay even more for groceries a year from now.

• 15 percent expect to pay the same on groceries in a year; 3 percent expect to pay less.

• 79 percent are concerned about inflation in the U.S.

• 19 percent have some concerns about inflation; 4 percent have no concerns at all.

• 65 percent say they are not confident that the Federal Reserve can keep inflation and interest rates under control.

• 31 percent have some confidence in the Fed.

Source: A Rasmussen Reports survey of 1,000 adults conducted Aug. 8-9.

Road maps, squawks and grumbles to jharper@washingtontimes.com.

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