- The Washington Times - Sunday, August 21, 2011


Yes, Sen. Marco Rubio still gets billed as a potential vice presidential candidate in 2012, and there are those who pine for him to run for president one day. And while the Florida Republican may not be acting presidential at the moment, he appears to be at least acting vice-presidential. Mr. Rubio journeys to the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, Calif. on Tuesday, the keynote speaker for the Reagan Forum, a public-affairs event that has in recent months featured Sen. Scott P. Brown of Massachusetts and Steve Forbes, among others.

“His remarks will focus on the role of government in America. This will be the second in a series of three major speeches by Rubio this year,” says spokesman Alex Burgos. “The first was his maiden Senate floor speech in June, and the third will be delivered in the fall and focus on the role of America in the world.”

That’s some serious speechifying. The Reagan Library notes that the Rubio-centric forum, which includes a buffet dinner, is sold out. And for Gipper fans, this just in: the official Ronald Reagan statue at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport is due to be installed around Nov. 1, prominently located across from Terminal A.


The nation is in vacation limbo for the next week; our political leaders have deserted their posts, even as the U.S. economy languishes, the Middle East rattles, a hurricane looms and the citizenry frets. Few of our leaders appear to be on a working vacation.

“While campaigning in Iowa, President Obama said he had a budget plan that he would be offering in September. What is he waiting for? If he has a plan, let’s see it and get working on it,” says Mark Meckler, national coordinator for the Tea Party Patriots, the largest umbrella group for the grass-roots movement.

“And what about our lawmakers? Most working Americans don’t get a one-month vacation, why should Congress? When our country faces this continued debt crisis and an economy that is failing, why aren’t they working on the problems today?” Mr. Meckler demands.

“This president and this Congress are more concerned about campaigning for re-election in their districts than they are about solving the economic problems this country faces,” says fellow Patriots coordinator Jenny Beth Martin . “May history judge them as harshly as they deserve and may the electorate throw them out for not doing the job they were elected to do.”


When Inside the Beltway asked our brilliant readers to recommend some vacation beach reading for President Obama last year, a majority suggested he read the U.S. Constitution. Well, yeah. But the document did not turn up this year at Martha’s Vineyard, apparently.

The five books Mr. Obama does have with him to read at leisure:

“The Bayou Trilogy” (by Daniel Woodrell), “Rodin’s Debutante” (Ward Just), “Cutting for Stone” (Abraham Verghese), “To the End of the Land” (David Grossman) and “The Warmth of Other Suns” (Isabel Wilkerson).


Mitt Romney? Who’s Mitt Romney? Among tea partyers, he’s Mr. Three Percent. The presidential hopeful has irked tea partyers, at least according to a new online Republican straw poll from Tea Party Nation, another major national umbrella group for the movement.

It’s Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota who remains in the lead, garnering 36 percent of the vote, the poll found. Texas Gov. Rick Perry came in a strong second with nearly 29 percent. Herman Cain followed with 12 percent; Rep. Ron Paul of Texas drew 11 percent.

The other contenders ranked in the single digits.

“Perhaps the most interesting result of the poll is the total lack of support Mitt Romney has in the tea party movement. He drew 3 percent in this poll and 2 percent in the previous poll,” says Judson Phillips, founder of the group.

“In 2010, the tea party brought the GOP back. It would not be wise for the GOP to ignore the very group that saved it,” Mr. Phillips adds.


On the radar. Already: The Value Voters Summit does not begin until Oct. 7, but the pro-life, pro-family event organized by Family Research Council Action is already bristling with Republican heavyweights.

Republican presidential hopefuls Rick Santorum and Reps. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota and Ron Paul of Texas are confirmed speakers.

So are House Speaker John A. Boehner, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, Reps. Jim Jordan of Ohio, Steve King of Iowa, talk-radio gods Bill Bennett and Mark Levin , plus Virginia Attorney General Kenneth T. Cuccinelli II, RedState founder Erick Erickson, Hot Air stalwart Ed Morrissey, American Values President Gary Bauer and Heritage Foundation President Ed Feulner.

Incidentally, rumor has it that Heritage fellow Edwin Meese III will receive the 2011 Vision and Leadership Award. Stay tuned.


• 56 million children are enrolled in U.S. elementary through high schools this fall.

• 89 percent of that number has at least one parent or guardian who attends PTA meetings.

• 55 percent of that number report they are “highly engaged” and like school.

• 43 percent belong to a minority population.

• 23 percent have at least one foreign-born parent.

• 11 percent of that number are enrolled in private schools.

• 11 million speak “a language other than English at home.”

• $7.4 billion will be spent on new school clothes this fall.

• There are 98,700 public schools, 33,740 private schools and 4,694 public charter schools in the U.S.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau’s “Facts and Figures” for back-to-school statistics, released Aug. 19.

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