- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The bodacious victory of Ted Cruz in the Texas Republican primary has somehow fired up Texas Gov. Rick Perry, whose own right-hand man lost to Mr. Cruz on Tuesday by 14 fat percentage points. But the ever-canny Mr. Perry — who was leading the presidential polls only a year ago — has ridden the Cruz victory like a bronco, tamed his own disappointment and framed the Lone Star State in heroic terms.

“Ted is a force to be reckoned with, an excellent candidate and a great conservative communicator. I call on all conservative Texans to rally behind Ted in November so we can remake the U.S. Senate in the image of Texas for the good of all Americans,” Mr. Perry exclaims. “Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst fought a valiant fight. I’m proud to call David my friend. He and I will stand shoulder to shoulder once again in the spring, fighting for Texas, the most conservative state in America. Texas is as rock-hard conservative as ever.”


“Flipping the bird to Rahm: Chicago Chick-Fil-A mobbed,” reads the headline from “Instapundit” Glenn Reynolds of PJ Media, who was among many who chronicled Mike Huckabee’s “Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day” on Wednesday. Yes, thousands turned out to tuck into crispy chicken and waffle fries from the embattled restaurant chain in dozens of locations; there were traffic jams in South Carolina and long lines in the Windy City, where Mayor Rahm Emanuel himself was among politicians vexed by the eatery’s support of traditional marriage.

Like their tea party brethren, the Chic-Fil-ites proved a cheerful, well-behaved bunch when it came to staging public demonstrations. And conscientious, too.

“One woman and her friend took up a collection at their office to buy bags of the chicken sandwiches to deliver to an area homeless shelter,” reports Anne Sorock, who manned one lengthy line in midtown Chicago, and is a contributor to the blog LegalInsurrection.com.


“Let God plan parenthood.”

(Bumper sticker spotted in the District.)


That would be the Twitter Political Index — or Twindex — a gauge of fickle public sentiment toward President Obama and Mitt Romney, at least according to the number of daily tweets sent on each candidate. Launched Wednesday, the Twindex is a project of Twitter, the search engine Topsy and a partnership between bipartisan pollsters Mark Mellman and Jon McHenry. See it here: election.twitter.com.


Religious freedom: It was a big deal for the Founding Fathers, and bolsters the very soul of the nation. And while the cause gets short shrift in the media, it warrants some steady attention on Capitol Hill, thanks to a series of ongoing gatherings of lawmakers, experts, eye witnesses and activists eager to register on the public radar. Such was the case at a briefing Wednesday titled “America’s Response to Religious Persecution in Allied Nations” at the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center, staged just a hallowed hallway away from hundreds of awestruck tourists seeking a patriotic fix.

In the hush of the briefing room, a spate of speakers that included Rep. Gus M. Bilirakis, Florida Republican; Rep. Danny K. Davis, Illinois Democrat; Kathryn Cameron Porter, founder of the Leadership Council for Human Rights and the Rev. In Jin Moon, a human rights activist and president of the Unification Church USA, weighed in on the big question: Is the U.S. paying attention to persecution abroad? Well, yes, and no. The issue is still a work in progress.

“There is no real definition of religious freedom around the world,” said Tina Ramirez, director of international relations of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, who recommends that the State Department effectively, fearlessly articulate some exacting parameters, and for a global audience.

“Many of America’s democratic allies profess to uphold human rights and religious freedom, but in reality they do not. The U.S. should confront their violations,” said Aaron Rhodes, co-founder of the Freedom Rights Project, a research group. He too hopes the U.S. government steps up to the plate and demands “international human rights standards.” But it is diplomacy that demands finesse.

“We have to start by listening, and work together for a change,” Mr. Rhodes said, recommending the U.S. concentrate on the aforementioned standards, rather than assuming the position of a “role model” in an oft contentious, emotionally driven dialogue.


Now emerging after Mitt Romney’s emphatic trip to Israel: That would be the Jewish Americans for Romney coalition, which counts among its honorary chairmen Rep. Eric Cantor of Virginia and former Sens. Norm Coleman and Rudy Boschwitz of Minnesota, plus a vast advisory board that includes Tevi Troy, a senior adviser to former President George W. Bush.

“I urge all American Jews — Democrat, Republican and independent alike — to give a serious look at Mitt Romney’s candidacy. Throughout his life, Gov. Romney has been an unwavering supporter of the state of Israel. As he stated during his most recent trip to Jerusalem, ‘By history and by conviction, our two countries are bound together,’” Mr. Cantor says.

Mitt Romney intends to send a signal to the world, and especially to Israel’s adversaries, that the United States is not a fair-weather friend of Israel, but a partner in an abiding relationship based upon a common commitment to our most fundamental values,” says Mr. Coleman.


• 48 percent of Americans favor gay marriage.

• 24 percent of Republicans, 17 percent of conservative Republicans, 21 percent of tea party supporters, 65 percent of Democrats and 80 percent of liberal Democrats agree.

• 33 percent of Protestants, 19 percent of evangelicals and 53 percent of Catholics also favor gay marriage.

• 44 percent of Americans overall oppose gay marriage.

• 70 percent of Republicans, 76 percent of conservative Republicans, 71 percent of tea party supporters, 29 percent of Democrats and 22 percent of liberal Democrats agree.

• 58 percent of Protestants, 76 percent of evangelicals and 37 percent of Catholics also oppose gay marriage.

Source: The Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life survey of 2,973 U.S. adults conducted June 28 to July 9 and released Tuesday.

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