- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 9, 2013

America still loves the 1980s and Ronald Reagan, say producers of an upcoming National Geographic Channel miniseries on the decade. And Americans would still vote for Reagan.

“Despite its reputation for bad hair and loud clothing, just about everything about the era — from the politics, leaders and safety to the music, TV shows and blockbuster movies — are seen as being better than they are today. In fact, 3 in 4 Americans (74 percent) thought that our country was better off then and even safer (76 percent). The same amount (76 percent) believe that government ran better in the 1980s than it does today,” says a companion Kelton Research poll.

“And if a presidential election were held today, 58 percent would vote for Ronald Reagan over Barack Obama. Americans ages 18 to 34 were evenly split, with 51 percent favoring Reagan and 49 percent Obama.” 


The 2014 campaign appears to be getting ugly in a big hurry. Republicans, however, are holding the ethical line in the grim aftermath of a security breach that pits Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell against Mother Jones magazine. The publication managed to get access to a recording of the senator’s private campaign conversations and publish them with much ado, prompting an FBI investigation. 

The Grand Old Party is having none of it, however.

“Secret recordings, private conversations leaked, reports of bugs — these Watergate-era tactics have no place in our campaigns,” declares Sen. Jerry Moran of Kansas, and chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee.

“As the investigation continues, I am calling upon the Democratic National Committee, Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, Kentucky Democratic State Party and left-leaning 501(C)(3) and (4) organizations like Mother Jones, Think Progress, American Bridge, Organizing for Action, and any other relevant political organizations to state for the record that they had nothing to do with these illegal acts, denounce them, and make clear they have no place in our political debate,” Mr. Moran says.

“This weekend we saw Sen. Robert Menendez, who is currently under FBI investigation and Senate ethics investigation, solicit funds for Sen. Jeanne Shaheen. In Kentucky, a Democrat super PAC first sunk so low as to make racist attacks against Sen. McConnell’s wife, and now there is another FBI investigation into leaked tapes and bugging,” the lawmaker continues. “This ‘anything to win: laws and rules be damned’ mentality has to stop.”


No, it’s not George Stephanopoulos. It’s George Stroumboulopoulos. The first works for ABC News, the second is newly arrived at CNN.

“The man who has brought smart, savvy conversations to Canadian television audiences in his signature interview program for nearly a decade will bring his unique brand of intimate, insightful talk to CNN. George Stroumboulopoulos says he doesn’t just ask questions. He creates space for his guests to share their human experiences,” the network says, upon announcing that the young, denim-clad Mr. Stroumboulopoulos begins a weekly talk show in early summer.


Yes, it was expensive: President Obama’s dinner with Senate Republicans in an upscale hotel near the White House last month cost $85 a person. Whether it yielded more than heartburn remains to be seen. Mr. Obama hosts dinner No. 2 on Wednesday night, again with a dozen senators.

“Since the president has been complaining loudly about the cutbacks they’ve had to make at the White House — including tours for schoolchildren — due to the ‘sequester,’ it only seems appropriate that they avoid the considerable security expenses of dining at an upscale restaurant. Instead of eating out as the president and senators did last month, I suggest they eat in,” suggests Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus.

 “In fact, I’d like to offer to order pizza for them and have it delivered to the White House,” the chairman observes. “If we’re lucky, maybe the pizza will serve to illuminate an important economic point for President Obama. Instead of redistributing the slices, the best way to make everyone happy is to make the pie bigger. It’s as true for dinner as it is for economic growth and opportunity.”


Cheddar cheese, macaroni, mushroom soup, bread crumbs — why, life will be just one big casserole on Wednesday afternoon for nine Minnesota lawmakers who will vie against each other to win the third annual Minnesota Congressional Delegation Hot Dish Competition. 

Yes, it’s all meant to celebrate the state’s hearty culinary traditions; all will gather in a Capitol Hill office and submit their dish and a recipe, including Republican Reps. Michele Bachmann and Erik Paulsen, plus Democratic Sens. Al Franken and Amy Klobuchar and Democratic Reps. Collin C. Peterson, Betty McCollum, Keith Ellison, Timothy J. Walz and Richard M. Nolan.

This is serious PTA and church supper fare: Mr. Franken won the title last year with his “Mom’s Mahnomin Madness.” Ms. Klobuchar won in 2011 with something called “Taconite Tater-Tot Hotdish.”

Mr. Franken says the recipes will be posted at his website in the aftermath (franken.senate.gov).


56 percent of American say the U.S. government should take North Korea’s threats “very seriously”; 64 percent of Republicans, 52 percent of Democrats and 57 percent of independents agree.

47 percent overall say North Korea is willing to follow through on its threats; 58 percent of Republicans, 37 percent of Democrats and 50 percent of independents agree.

47 percent overall say a North Korean nuclear missile could reach the U.S.; 52 percent of Republicans, 47 percent of Democrats agree, and 45 percent of independents agree.

Source: A Pew Research Center poll of 1,003 U.S. adults conducted April 4 to 7.

Ballyhoo and caterwaul to jharper@washingtontimes.com.


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