- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 30, 2014

There are 29 Republican governors out there. But only three of them had a mighty big say in the last 48 hours by appearing at the Republican Jewish Coalition’s spring leadership meeting, a very swell affair staged in Las Vegas this weekend with all the trimmings. Each governor has varying degrees of presidential aspirations, each appears on a similar mission to define their GOP brand appeal, and underscore the fact that they are actually electable in their own fashion.

An emphatic, but sleeker New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie — who could also make an able attack dog vice president — emphasized that he was in the business of winning election rather than making fancy talk.

“Apart from almost every other speaker, Christie showed a pragmatic understanding of the real nature of politics — winning comes first — without seeming as if he was ready to sell his soul to move from Trenton to Washington, D.C.” says Steve Sebelius, a political columnist for the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

Outsider status is also a popular selling point among potential White House hopefuls at this point.

“The other party’s nominee is going to be in and of Washington. We need to send people from outside of Washington in with a message that says were going to put the power back in the hands of hard-working people,” Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker told his audience, adding, “But we can’t do that without winning the Senate back this fall.”

His grass-roots prowess fully engaged, Ohio Gov. John Kasich declared, “At the end of the day, if people know you get them and you get their struggles. I think we might get hired both in Congress and maybe even as the race unfolds for president of the United States.”

Who won the audience between the three of them? It appears to be the gentleman from Jersey. “It was Christie who was the most pragmatic, the most pugnacious, but also the most presidential,” Mr. Sebelius observes.


Former U.N. ambassador John Bolton also attended the aforementioned Vegas gathering, and offered some advice for the White House on the Ukraine matter, and the persistent foreign policy drama and chess match provided by Russia President Vladimir Putin. Get backbone, or else.

“Weakness is the condition that invites others to take advantage of us. It’s not strength that’s provocative. It’s weakness,” Mr. Bolton said.

What exactly is Mr. Putin looking for, in the meantime? His goals are subject to interpretation in the press, even as conflicting reports surface about the number of Russian troops who now stand at the Ukraine border. In brief, a few narratives in the last 24 hours: Mr. Putin wants control of Finland and/or Armenia, he seeks diplomatic leverage through an aggressive show, or hopes for a “New World Order” — a report which came from the Voice of America.


It’s been a quarter of a century since the presidency of George H.W. Bush, and those who served in his administration and recall his legacy are ready to celebrate, Lone Star style. Things get underway at week’s end at the Bush Presidential Library Center on the campus of Texas A&M University.

Among those assembling for four days of policy talk, geopolitics, history, entertainment, good eats and socializing: Jeb Bush, Ben Carson, former White House staffers C. Boyden Gray, Roger Porter, and John Sununu; former senators Tom Harkin and Alan Simpson, former Defense secretary Robert Gates, Fox News anchor Shannon Bream, country music kingpin Clay Walker and author Jon Meachum — to name just a very few.

Interestingly enough, topics of discussion among the learned guests will include the collapse of the Soviet Union, the reunification of Germany and the end of the Cold War — though the possibility of a new Cold War, or even a Cool War will likely surface in this crowd. The events marks its grand finale with a town-hall meeting showcasing Mr. Bush, the younger.

“President Bush’s administration was a historic period when our country and our world changed significantly, which helps inform policymakers facing the challenges and opportunities of the rapidly changing global environment,” says Frederick D. McClure, CEO of the George H.W. Bush Foundation. See their big doings here: Celebratebush25.com

Mr. Bush, who served as president from 1989 -1993, is a very active 89 years of age. With wife Barbara, he recently hosted an advance screening of “Turn,” a new AMC drama that premiers Sunday and recounts the exploits of a group of Colonial era spies. Mr. Bush wowed the Hollywood-ers. He is, after all, the real deal.

“It was utterly fascinating to share the story of America’s first spy ring with President Bush, who knows first-hand from his days at the CIA, the danger these men and women faced as spies, and the sacrifices they made which ultimately ensured America’s freedom,” says Charlie Collier, president of the cable network.


Even pundits reluctantly must agree that the presidential election is more than two years away, and that American voters are barely engaged with the 2014 midterms at this point. Some politicians realize this as well.

“The smart candidates aren’t acting like candidates. They’re the un-candidates, careful not to look too eager, too calculated, or too ambitious,” points out Thomas Basile, a contributor to Forbes. “They’re also not going to allow themselves to be clearly defined this far out from the election. Smart candidates know that high name ID is more a curse than a blessing in this era of ‘gotcha’ viral media. Being overexposed at this point in the game for any reason isn’t going to bode well two years down the road.”

He has a point there. Amd who are the prudent un-candidates? Among many, Mr. Basile counts Sen. John Thune of South Dakota pus Govs. Mike Pence, and Susana Martinez of New Mexico on the list of those who have not shown up say, in Iowa or New Hampshire. Yet.

“They are all taking a different and smarter path than the likes of Sens. Ted Cruz and Rand Paul, Gov. Chris Christie and to a lesser extent, Sen. Marco Rubio,” Mr. Basile says. “They’re all but staying out of sight. They’re at home, doing their jobs and building records to run on. Here’s the news flash — that’s what the American people want.

The citizenry, he says, are weary of demagogues.

“They’re getting their fill of that with President Obama. They are ready for adult leadership,” Mr. Basile notes.


Premiering Monday at 1 p.m. ET on the Fox Business Network: “Risk and Reward with Deirdre Bolton,” offering some uncommon insight in the early afternoon.

“The program will feature the latest news and options for alternative investments and will provide an in-depth look at nontraditional ways to make money,” the network says., adding that Ms. Bolton will explore “alternative asset strategy, capitalizing on the most up-to-date movements in real estate, hedge funds and venture capital.”


69 percent of Americans give President Obama a negative job review of how he is handling the U.S. economy.

30 percent give him a positive review.

55 percent expect the current job market in their region to “remain the same”; 23 percent say it will get better, 22 percent say it will get worse

50 percent say their household financial condition will remain the same over the next six months.

27 percent expect it will get worse, 21 percent say it will get better.

47 percent say the job market in their region is “bad.”

32 percent say it is neither good nor bad,” 20 percent say it is “good.”

45 percent expect the U.S. economy to stay the same in the next year; 30 percent expect it to get worse; 22 percent expect it to get better.

Source: A Harris Poll of 2,234 U.S. adults conducted March 12-17 and released Wednesday.

Indignant squawks and curious asides to jharper@washingtontimes.com

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