- The Washington Times - Sunday, February 19, 2012

PLANET PAUL

High noon, Presidents Day, the Washington Monument: a highly charged venue for Veterans for Ron Paul, who will march in military formation from monument to White House on Monday to show their devotion to the Republican presidential hopeful. On arrival, the group will salute an American flag, and hold that salute for as many seconds as troops who have fallen since President Obama took office, organizers say.

“We are marching as active duty troops and veterans to demand a commander in chief who will be decisive, put America’s security first and only send troops into harm’s way with a clear mission. Ron Paul is the only candidate who comes close to measuring up to this standard and it doesn’t hurt that he’s the only veteran in the race,” the group’s point man Adam Kokesh tells Inside the Beltway.

“We are overwhelmed by the outpouring of support for this event from the veterans community and from active duty troops, many of whom have written or made videos supporting the event from their duty stations overseas. We’re anticipating a large formation that will send a powerful message. But more importantly, its impact will be measured by whether or not Republican primary voters will listen to the troops,” Mr. Kokesh continues.

Meanwhile, the Defense Department has issued a reminder to active duty personnel or vets and reservists in uniform that they’re prohibited from participating in a “partisan political parade,” Mr. Kokesh notes. Post-rally, the marchers will later repair to the Rock & Roll Hotel, a hipster music enclave not a mile from the White House. Mr. Paul, meanwhile, is vigorously campaigning in North Dakota on Monday, and now calls his fans “liberty activists.”

FLAG OF A FOUNDER

Just in time for George Washington’s 280th birthday on Wednesday: a noteworthy gift for the patriot who has everything. Mount Vernon sells U.S. flags “proudly flown” over Washington’s handsome estate for $30. The American-made, heavyweight nylon flag measures 3-by-5 feet; stars are embroidered and sewn to the fabric for durability. This Old Glory comes with a certificate of authenticity from Mount Vernon’s executive director; find information at www.mountvernon.org, in the online store.

COOTER’S CHAGRIN

Former congressman Ben Jones — a Georgia Democrat who once portrayed ace mechanic “Cooter” Davenport on “The Dukes of Hazzard” — is vexed at NASCAR, which has made the show’s signature 1969 Dodge Charger a genuine auto non grata. The auto racing association banned the “General Lee” as a pace car for the upcoming Phoenix Sprint Cup because the vehicle displays a Confederate flag on its roof — “not something that should play an official role in our sport” NASCAR said in a statement.

“At a time when tens of millions of Americans are honoring their Union and Confederate ancestors during this Sesquicentennial of the Civil War, NASCAR has chosen to dishonor those Southerners who fought and died in that terrible conflict by caving to ‘political correctness’ and the uninformed concerns of corporate sponsors,” Mr. Jones says, noting that he is a member of both the NAACP and the Sons of Confederate Veterans.

“I can attest that the car and our show reflect the very best of American values, and that Hazzard County was a place where racism was not tolerated,” he adds. “This action by NASCAR is a provocative and unnecessary over-reaction to a problem that doesn’t exist.”

THE CATHOLIC FILTER

A new survey of 180 Roman Catholic bishops around the U.S. from CatholicVote.org confirmed that all of them publicly denounced President Obama’s mandate that would require religious institutions to provide birth control with health care coverage. Surely their opinions would be included in broadcast accounts of the complex issue?

Well, no. In two weeks of recent coverage, ABC, NBC and CBS featured 60 politicians sounding off about the mandate — but only nine religious officials, according to an analysis of 36 news reports by the Media Research Center. Multiple talking points were launched.

“The networks downplayed the religious freedom component to the story, casting it instead as a political dogfight between liberals and conservatives,” observes analyst Matthew Balan.

McDONNELL’S CONSERVATISM

A few Monday morning words of wisdom from Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, who recently journeyed to Mount Vernon to attend a Ripon Society legislative symposium.

“Part of being a leader is always doing the right thing even when somebody’s not looking. Remember Ronald Reagan’s saying: ‘It’s amazing how many good things can happen if you don’t care who gets the credit.’ Well, that was his point — being ambitious for the good of the organization is a different type of leadership, and those are the people that really get the results,” Mr. McDonnell told his audience.

“I call it results-oriented conservatism. We have our strong vibrant conservative principles and we can talk about them, but you know what? Talk is cheap. If you can’t get a budget done on time, and if you can’t get an unemployment rate under 8 percent, and if you can’t get a $15 trillion national debt starting to go the other way, then it’s cheap. It’s cheap talk.”

POLL DU JOUR

c 69 percent of Americans believe history will judge Ronald Reagan as “the best among recent U.S. presidents.”

c 90 percent of Republicans and 47 percent of Democrats agree.

c 60 percent overall say Bill Clinton will be judged the best president; 36 percent of Republicans and 80 percent of Democrats agree.

c 38 percent overall say President Obama will be judged best; 11 percent of Republicans and 67 percent of Democrats agree.

c 35 percent overall say George H.W. Bush will be judged best; 55 percent of Republicans and 19 percent of Democrats agree.

c 25 percent overall say George W. Bush will be judged best; 46 percent of Republicans and 12 percent of Democrats agree.

Source: A Gallup Poll of 1,029 U.S. adults conducted Feb. 2-5 and released Friday.

c Hearty hip-hip-hurrahs to jharper@washingtontimes.com

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