- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 8, 2011


“When our country was attacked, Americans didn’t say: ‘Oh, great politicians, please hold a press conference.’ No, they turned to God for help and solace. It was and is their natural response to a great tragedy. Banning religion from the memorial of this tragedy is, in fact, unnatural for America, and for Americans. It’s hollow and strange,” says Family Research Council legal fellow Cathy Ruse, who delivered 62,000 petitions to New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, urging him to allow clergy to participate in the solemn observance of 9/11 at ground zero Sunday.

She adds, “It feels like an attempt to scrub the history books of the importance that God and faith played on that day and afterwards, and even to rewrite our long-cherished tradition as a nation of elected officials including clergy and invoking God at every point of crisis. This nation needs prayer more than politics.”


Miss that Perry swagger already? Pine to hear Republican caterwaul over the economy one more time? Tune in Monday night: CNN, the Tea Party Express and 100 local tea party groups host the “first-ever Tea Party Presidential Debate” from the site of the 2012 Republican National Convention. And that would be Tampa, Fla. The debate will be broadcast live on CNN from 8 to 10 p.m.

“The debate is an incredible milestone that marks a turning point in the tea party movement. In just two short years, the tea party has emerged as an influential and powerful movement made up of hardworking Americans that will no longer be ignored by the political ruling class,” Express spokesman Levi RusselI tells Inside the Beltway.

“It is almost impossible today to have a conversation about American politics without mentioning the tea party, and the upcoming event shows that this movement wields significant influence over who becomes the next president of the United States.”

The mighty eight return. On hand once again: Reps. Michele Bachmann and Ron Paul, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich, Jon Huntsman Jr., Mitt Romney, and Rick Santorum — all under the tutelage of CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer and tea partyers from 31 states and the District, who will directly query the candidates.


They will remember Todd Beamer and 39 other heroic souls who perished aboard United Airlines Flight 93 a decade ago during the 9/11 attacks. On hand Saturday to dedicate the Flight 93 National Memorial in Shanksville, Pa.: former President George W. Bush and Laura Bush, former President Bill Clinton, Vice President Joseph R. Biden and Jill Biden, House Speaker John A. Boehner, Secretary of the Interior Kenneth L. Salazar, National Park Service director Jonathan B. Jarvis, and Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett.

The event will be broadcast live at 12:30 p.m. on www.Flight93Dedication.org and at history.com/flight93. President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama will visit the site Sunday and attend observances in New York and Washington as well.


Is plainspoken, proverbial he-man Rick Perry still the dominant Republican presidential candidate as he moves toward Debate No. 2 in a three-debate series this month? Uh-h-h, we’ll see.

Mitt Romney’s bland but polished presidential demeanor could prevail over time — that is, unless Sarah Palin or Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida suddenly loom on the horizon and declare intent to run for president. Or vice president. Mr. Romney’s strength? He’s in it for the long march; at least his blandness is studied and consistent, though many hope he’ll get in touch with his inner tea partyer and get gutsy when the gaggle of rivals meet for Monday night’s debate.

But back to Mr. Perry. Asked to rate his performance in the aftermath of the Reagan Centennial Debate on Thursday, and 58 percent of the nearly 9,000 respondents in a National Review online poll deemed Mr. Perry “adequate.” Another 29 percent said he was “excellent,” while 12 percent said he was a disappointment.


“Note to Mitt Romney, Rick Perry and especially Newt Gingrich — you can invoke my father’s name until your tongues fall out, but you will never be anywhere near his shadow.”

Ronald Reagan’s daughter Patti Davis, in a Time magazine op-ed titled “Looking for Ronald Reagan — and Not Finding Him.”


Immediately after the 9/11 attacks, the mainstream media were united with Americans, and the nation, providing meaningful coverage of the events. But within a month, the press “returned to its traditional pose of being above ‘nationalistic fervor.’ Instead, the media coverage grew dark and foreboding, presenting America as a malignant force many Americans didnt recognize.”

So says a substantial analysis of it all by the Media Research Center, helpful background, perhaps, to interpret coverage in these times. See the “Red, White, and Partisan” report at www.mrc.org.


• 86 percent of Americans favor “expanded under-cover activities to penetrate groups under suspicion for terrorist activities.”

• 84 percent say a foreign citizen or foreign organization will stage a terrorist attack on the U.S. in the next decade.

• 81 percent credit the FBI in reducing terrorism in the U.S., 79 percent credit the CIA, 71 percent the Department of Homeland Security.

• 67 percent credit state and local police, 58 percent credit the Transportation Security Administration.

• 55 percent credit former President George W. Bush in reducing terrorism, 48 percent credit President Obama.

• 71 percent think there’s “more hatred” toward the U.S. around the world than there was before 9/11.

Source: A Harris Poll of 2,073 U.S. adults conducted Aug. 23 to 25 and released Thursday.

Tip line always open at jharper@washingtontimes.com. Follow the column at twitter.com/harperbulletin.

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