- The Washington Times - Monday, April 1, 2013

“As Republican leaders openly scrutinize their party after a 2012 election that was disappointing for them, rank-and-file Republicans, independents and Democrats voice the same primary criticism of the GOP: it is ‘too inflexible’ or ‘unwilling to compromise,’” says Gallup analyst Lydia Saad, who reports in a survey that 26 percent of Republicans themselves plus 22 percent of Democrats agree with this.

Some voters might consider this steely trait to be a plus, but no matter. There’s stuff Americans like about the Grand Old Party as well. The most common Republican attributes Americans cite are “better fiscal management,” conservative views and smaller government, the survey found. Naturally, 6 out of 10 Democrats revealed there was nothing they liked about the GOP.

But on to the Democrats: The most-oft-cited criticism is that they “spend too much,” according to 14 percent of Americans, not to mention 23 percent of Republicans and 10 percent of Democrats themselves. The party also was flagged for being inflexible, “not accountable” and guilty of “poor leadership.” Democrats won the most praise for “caring about the middle class,” social programs and inclusiveness.

Republican disgust with Democrats was equal to Democratic disgust with Republicans, meanwhile. Six out of 10 GOPers also reported there was nothing they liked about the Democratic Party either.


The Sportsman Channel — a cable network devoted to hunting, shooting and fishing — has announced that “Wanted: Ted or Alive,” a prime-time reality-based miniseries hosted by Ted Nugent on Monday nights, is the No. 1 show in that time period among midsize cable networks.

“Nugent pushes the limits of each contestant as they are thrown into the wild and forced to live off the land to eat, win and survive with Ted’s tools and by Ted’s rules, from using buffalo skin to make their own clothes to learning the sharpshooter skills of an archer,” the channel reports, noting, “network executives are bullish on the series’ continued ratings success.”


President Obama visits Denver on Wednesday, the first stop on his “common-sense gun control” tour promoting new legislation — like the measures recently signed into law by Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper. But there’s discord afoot in the aftermath. At least one firearms manufacturer and one major shooting competition are leaving the state, while hunters threaten a boycott. And here comes another volley, courtesy of the International Defensive Pistol Association.

“With these new Colorado laws going into effect July 1, and based on the ambiguous way in which they were written, we have decided to cancel the Rocky Mountain Western States Regional Championship,” says organizer Walt Proulx. “Due to the growing number of hunters and shooters choosing to boycott Colorado, and the risk that these laws as written will turn law-abiding citizens into criminals, we were left with no other choice.”


“Saying that he could ‘no longer keep up the punishing pace of sabre rattling seven days a week,’ North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un said today that beginning this month he will take weekends off from vowing to incinerate the world.”

— Parody news report from New Yorker contributor and comedian Andy Borowitz.


Political spectacle brews as the race for the House seat once occupied by Sen. Tim Scott picks up speed in South Carolina. Amorous dalliances took a political toll on GOP candidate Mark Sanford when his marriage to Jenny Sanford ended in 2010 and he announced his engagement to onetime mistress Maria Belen Chapur eight months ago. But the former governor still has friends.

“He has not been abandoned by donors,” says Russ Choma, an analyst with Open Secrets, a watchdog group that tracks campaign finances.

“On Tuesday, Sanford faces a runoff against Curtis Bostic, an ally of Sen. Scott,” says Mr. Choma, noting that recent campaign finance filings from the candidates show Mr. Sanford with “a wide lead,” moneywise.

Mr. Bostic has some high profile conservative support from Rick Santorum. Mr. Sanford, meanwhile, is getting help from outside the Palmetto State. “Of the 81 individuals who opened their wallets for Sanford in the run-up to the last filing, 13 were from out of state and gave a combined $14,800. Sanford’s donors have also been generous, giving a median contribution of $1,000,” Mr. Choma says.


And about that aforementioned South Carolina race Tuesday: Democrat Elizabeth Colbert Busch says she’s ahead of both her Republican male rivals, and has a poll to prove it. A Lake Research Partners survey of 500 likely special election voters shows she’s ahead with 47 percent of the vote. Mr. Sanford garnered 44 percent, Mr. Bostic 39 percent.

“Elizabeth has shown she is a real world problem-solver who will stand up to the dysfunctional, partisan politics of Washington,” observes her spokesman James Smith.


• 45 percent of Americans are expecting a tax refund this year.

• 30 percent of that number will save or invest the money, 27 percent will use it for an emergency fund, 17 percent for home improvement and 9 percent on a vacation.

• 8 percent will use the refund for a large purchase like a car, 7 percent “don’t know” what they will do with it and 2 percent will “splurge” on clothes or jewelry.

• 31 percent of Americans fear there will be a delay in getting a refund “because of sequestration.”

• 20 percent feared there would be a shortage of tax forms because of sequestration.

• 18 percent fear an IRS tax audit.

Source: A MainStreet/GFK Roper survey of 1,006 U.S. adults conducted March 15 to 17 and released Monday.

• Small talk and big squawks to [email protected]



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