- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Behind closed doors and inundated with demographic data, campaign strategists are trying to figure out what voters want in a president this time around. Insider political prowess does not lead the list regardless of party, however.

“As the 2016 presidential campaign begins to take shape, Washington experience has become less of a potential asset for those seeking the White House,” reports a new Pew Research Center poll, which asked respondents to rate presidential “traits.” A mere 19 percent said they would be more likely to vote for a candidate with such insider status; 30 percent said they would be less likely to vote for that choice while about half said the experience didn’t matter to them on way or another.

Having military experience has the most voter cachet of all, the survey found, but there is a big partisan divide here. Among all voters, 43 percent said they would be more likely to vote for someone who had served; the number was 63 percent among Republicans and 29 percent among Democrats.

Experience as a governor came in second among the most desired traits, followed by experience as a business executive and being an evangelical Christian. The religious persuasion, incidentally, outranks “attended a prestigious university” or being female. The biggest turn off among voters: candidates who are atheists, followed by those who have never held office.


Much of the mainstream news media can’t wait for tea party-backed candidates to lose their races, pack their suitcases and disappear. Heavily prompted by Sen. Mitch McConnell’s big primary victory over challenger Matt Bevin in Kentucky, press and pundits have rushed the narrative along, declaring the grass-roots movement to be frail, irrelevant or worse. Of course, declarations that the tea party is dead proved premature once before. It could happen again. Meanwhile, here’s a sample of headlines from the last 24 hours.

“The tea party isn’t just losing, it’s losing badly” (The Washington Post); “The tea party takes another hit” (The Hill); “Time for conservatives to ditch the tea party?” (National Journal),;”GOP sees primaries taming tea party” (Wall Street Journal); “Weak tea” (The Week); “Tea ‘party’ over as business wins Republican primaries” (Business Week); “The tea party is dead. Long live the tea party” (Mother Jones); and “The tea party dead? Nah, that’s just a flesh wound” (The Daily Beast).

“On one side we hear the tea party is done, dead, stick a fork in it, because its candidates aren’t successful. Not too long ago many were singing the praises of Nebraska Senate candidate Ben Sasse, who won his primary in the Cornhusker State. Now, after Tuesday, the sentiment is that the tea party isn’t an influencer and irrelevant,” says author and former Florida congressman Allen West, a Republican.

He also thinks the tea party remains “the boogeyman — the Alinsky target of the liberal left” who don’t want a repeat of the 2010 midterms.

“The thing is, it’s not about individual candidates, but about influencing a policy agenda — and that’s what makes this conservative grass-roots movement so very viable. How is it that anyone can disagree with the fundamental principles of America; limited government, fiscal responsibility, individual sovereignty, free market system, strong national security, and traditional values?” Mr. West reasons.


“Obama Republicans”

— Term coined by Reagan biographer and Breitbart.com contributor Craig Shirley, who also adds “Big Government Republicans” to the mix.

“They have bought into Obama’s oligarchy of big business and big government doing business together, at the expense of the little guy,” Mr. Shirley says.


Memorial Day weekend begins in 24 hours with a flurry of mattress sales and many calls for the start of summer. That’s fine. But the true mission of Memorial Day is foremost in the minds of some lawmakers.

“We owe our veterans a tremendous debt for their service to this great country. Through their courage and sacrifices, they have taught us about love of country, brotherhood, and the willingness to bear tremendous burden in the defense of freedom. We can never thank them enough,” Rep. Michele Bachmann, Minnesota Republican, tells Inside the Beltway.


They’re in the money. Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus reveals that the organization raised $9.3 million last month. That brings the total to $115.2 million for the 2014 election cycle so far, with a healthy $13.2 million cash on hand. The committee has “0” debt; 98 percent of the donations are under $200, incidentally.

“April was another great month for the RNC, thanks to the continued generosity of grass-roots supporters and major contributors alike,” Mr. Priebus says. “The momentum is on our side, and in contrast to the DNC, we’re on a stable financial footing. While Democrats fret about being ‘ready for Hillary,’ they should be even more worried about being ready for November.”


“Every morning in basic SEAL training, my instructors, who at the time were all Vietnam veterans, would show up in my barracks room and the first thing they would inspect was your bed. If you did it right, the corners would be square, the covers pulled tight, the pillow centered just under the headboard and the extra blanket folded neatly at the foot of the rack. That’s Navy talk for bed.”

And so said Naval Adm. William H. McRaven, ninth commander of U.S. Special Operations Command at the University of Texas at Austin commencement this week.

“It was a simple task — mundane at best. But every morning we were required to make our bed to perfection. It seemed a little ridiculous at the time, particularly in light of the fact that were aspiring to be real warriors, tough battle hardened SEALs. But the wisdom of this simple act has been proven to me many times over,” he continued.

“If you make your bed every morning you will have accomplished the first task of the day. It will give you a small sense of pride and it will encourage you to do another task and another and another. By the end of the day, that one task completed will have turned into many tasks completed,” the admiral said.

“Making your bed will also reinforce the fact that little things in life matter. If you can’t do the little things right, you will never do the big things right. And, if by chance you have a miserable day, you will come home to a bed that is made — that you made — and a made bed gives you encouragement that tomorrow will be better. If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed.”


56 percent of Americans oppose the idea of allowing states to collect tolls on federal interstate highways. 60 percent of Republicans, 58 percent of independents and 50 percent of Democrats agree.

29 percent overall approve of the state tolls. 31 percent of Republicans, 26 percent of independents and 32 percent of Democrats agree.

53 percent overall say state toll revenues on federal roads should be spent only on that specific toll road. 56 percent of Republicans, 58 percent of independents and 44 percent of Democrats agree.

47 percent overall say the state toll revenues on federal roads can be spent anywhere in that state. 44 percent of Republicans, 42 percent of independents and 56 percent of Democrats agree.

Source: A YouGov poll of 1,000 U.S. adults conducted May 1-5 and released Wednesday.

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