- The Washington Times - Monday, December 8, 2014

A complex Gallup poll finds that a hefty majority of Republicans have “a great deal or quite a lot of confidence in police”: 69 percent of white Republicans and 67 percent of “nonwhite” Republicans back law enforcement — compared to 57 percent of Americans overall, 61 percent of all whites and 46 percent of all nonwhites.

“While race clearly influences how Americans view the police, the public’s political leanings also have an effect. Republicans have significantly more confidence in the police than do Democrats or independents, and these political differences are apparent among white and nonwhite Americans,” says Gallup analyst Jeffrey M. Jones. Intricate findings have emerged here: See other numbers in the Poll du Jour at column’s end.

GRUBER ON THE HOT SEAT

Will it be sedate and serious, an uncomfortable spell on the hot seat or news we can use? On Tuesday Obamacare architect Jonathan Gruber appears before Rep. Darrell E. Issa, California Republican and chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, to explain his comments about the “stupidity” of American voters, among many other things.

Some have called Mr. Gruber the “$6 Million Man” based on a National Review analysis of public documents revealing the health care economist received $5,886,150 in taxpayer-funded consulting fees from federal agencies and four states. The hearing itself is titled “Examining Obamacare Transparency Failures,” so we shall see.

The lawmakers have specific targets, meanwhile.

“Expect members to go after Gruber on whether premium subsidies apply to federal exchanges. Although Gruber claimed in an amicus brief that excluding subsidies from federal exchanges was irreconcilable with Obamacare’s purpose, in earlier videos he said that Obamacare was designed to do just that. It will be fascinating to see how he tries to wiggle out of that,” David Hogberg, health care analyst for the National Center for Public Policy Research, tells Inside the Beltway.

The Congressional Budget Office offers a few dynamics as well.

“Look for some confusion over Gruber’s comments on the individual mandate. A lot of people think Gruber was saying in the video that the CBO didn’t score the mandate as a tax. What Gruber was probably referring to is that the CBO didn’t score the insurance people would have to buy as a tax — thus making the numbers look better. The CBO did exactly that during the debate over HillaryCare, which was a big reason it failed,” the learned analyst adds.

THE LAND GRAB DEEMED A BACKROOM DEAL

Protecting all that wild America — it seems like such a nice idea. But there’s trouble lurking with a federal lands package that was recently attached as tight as a deer tick to the National Defense Authorization Act. Even the horse and burro people are perturbed. The provision essentially cordons off hundreds of thousands of acres of federal land for parks and restricts natural resource production. This does not sit well with those who know the land and know the politics.

A coalition of 50 interest groups and public officials is now asking Congress to remove the public lands provision from the act, advising in an open letter, “This kitchen-sink approach to legislation, lacking in deliberation and shaped solely by political calculus, belies the very serious consequences of the provisions. The price our public lands at large must pay in exchange for a few modest wildernesses designations is simply too high.”

The diverse coalition includes Greenpeace, the WildWest Institute, the Idaho Sporting Congress and the American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign, which says the land grab “would exact a steep price from our public lands and the wildlife — including wild horses and burros — that inhabit them.” Yeah. How about those horses and burros? But there are other concerns.

Beware the land grab, adds Myron Ebell, energy and environment director at the Competitive Enterprise Institute.

“This is a backroom deal locking up federal land so it cannot be used to produce natural resources, such as energy, minerals, livestock and timber — a devastating economic effect on people in the rural West,” he says. “This move also comes at a time when the National Park Service cannot adequately take care of many of the national parks, including Yellowstone, Yosemite and Grand Canyon. The system has multibillion-dollar maintenance backlogs.”

Mr. Ebell notes that the provision creates eight new parks in 10 states, expands seven existing parks, designates 245,000 acres as wilderness areas and withdraws another 289,000 acres from natural resource production. “This is what happens when secret deals are made in backrooms during lame-duck sessions,” the analyst concludes.

EXCRUCIATING DETAILS

Could it be an indicator that she’s not (meaningful pause) going to run in 2016? The press is already buzzing softly over news from the American Camp Association that the one, the only Hillary Rodham Clinton will give a paid speech before 3,000 members of the group in Atlantic City, New Jersey, on March 19. But wait, this falls right into the big reveal season for presidential hopefuls — the prime time when they could make their intentions known in the White House derby.

“The timing of Clinton’s potential 2016 presidential run remains very much up in the air. The first time Clinton ran for president, she announced her candidacy on January 20, 2007. Many Clinton allies and observers had expected a similar announcement date, but the addition of paid speeches deeper into 2015 complicates the matter. Clinton could run and continue to collect money for speeches, but her speaking fees — which range up to $300,000 — have been controversial and would likely be a political headache,” reports Alex Seitz-Wald, a political analyst at MSNBC.

MEMO TO THE FED: ACKNOWLEDGE CONSERVATIVES

Step aside, now. A trio of free market he-men will show up outside at the Federal Reserve Board in the nation’s capital Tuesday with much on their minds, vexed that Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen has cordially met with liberals and union groups — but not with them.

“The left does not have a monopoly on concern for average working Americans,” Steve Lonegan, director of monetary policy for American Principles in Action, advised Ms. Yellen in a recent letter. “I hope that you are equally willing to meet with a center-right group to discuss our concerns about how current monetary policy is reducing their standard of living.”

And, of course, there has been no response.

The gentlemen want some acknowledgment. Mr. Lonegan will be joined outside the Reserve building on mighty Constitution Avenue by Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform; Ralph Benko, Forbes columnist; plus a phalanx of other free market economists. A terse and tell-all press conference is planned.

POLL DU JOUR

57 percent of Americans “have confidence in the police”; 61 percent of whites and 46 percent of “nonwhites” agree.

69 percent of all Republicans, 52 percent of all independents and 52 percent of all Democrats also agree.

70 percent of white Republicans, 55 percent of white independents and 59 percent of white Democrats have confidence in the police.

67 percent of nonwhite Republicans, 44 percent of nonwhite independents and 41 percent of nonwhite Democrats agree.

62 percent of urban whites and 26 percent of urban nonwhites have confidence in the police.

58 percent of whites who don’t live in an urban area agree, as do 38 percent of nonwhites who do not live near a city.

Source: A Gallup aggregate poll of 9,442 U.S. adults conducted from 2006-2014, and released Monday.

• Caterwaul, whines, woofs to [email protected]


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