- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 8, 2014

Researchers are tracking a new demographic entity for 2014 — a noticeable group of vexed voters who will arrive in the poll booth motivated by irritation and possibly payback. “Three in 10 registered voters say when they vote for a candidate in the fall midterm elections, it will be to send a message that they oppose President Obama,” reports Andrew Dugan, an analyst with Gallup, one of several pollsters that is following the phenomenon.

“Obama prominently figures in to the message self-identified Republican voters are trying to send. More than six in 10 Republicans (64 percent) say their vote will be a message of opposition to the president. This is on par with the situation in November 2010, illustrating that Republican resistance to the president is as strong today as it was before that pivotal election,” Mr. Dugan observes.

About a quarter of voters overall, say their vote is a message of support for Mr. Obama; 2 percent of Republicans and 54 percent of Democrats agree.

“This also indicates one of Obama’s problems: Only slightly more than half of Democrats are motivated to vote in support of him, while almost two-thirds of Republicans are willing to vote against him. More independents say they will vote to oppose the president (31 percent) than to support him (11 percent),” Mr. Dugan adds.


Maybe a nice summer ale could soothe the savage Congress. The nation’s craft brewers think so. “Brewnited we stand” is the motto among the many independent makers of beer described as hoppy, earthy, malty, bready and nutty, among other things. These brewers are bustling, and their presence will soon be known in the nation’s capital.

Savor, an “American craft beer and food experience,” opens in the massive National Building Museum on Friday, showcasing 76 craft brewers, plus the foods that are paired with their artisanal beverages. We’re talking duck confit, thyme-roasted quail legs, espresso-coated bison on black bread, pork belly brioche and pecan hush puppies here. Fancy, fancy. Then it’s on to American Craft Beer Week, which begins Monday and includes at least a dozen festivals around the nation.

The craft beer phenomenon could even quell partisan politics, organizers say.

“We can all get along. For centuries beer has been the common denominator beverage bringing adult appreciators and foodies together in a way that far surpasses even wine. Exciting today is the momentum small and independent craft brewers have in bringing together the red and the blue — and yes — the donkey and the elephant, the Democrats and the Republicans,” Julia Herz tells Inside the Beltway.

She is publisher of CraftBeer.com and craft beer program director of the Brewers Association, a not-for-profit trade association.

“Small business brewers are helping us find common ground, all the while contributing $34 billion to the U.S. economy, more than 360,000 jobs, with 108,440 jobs directly at breweries and brewpubs. Surely that is something both sides of the isle can applaud,” she adds.


Arriving in less than a month: That would be the Daily Signal, an aggressive and straightforward news site created by the Heritage Foundation and aimed at the computers, tablets and mobile devices of an increasingly alarmed public.

“The goal here is to fill a void we see in the media landscape,” Geoffrey Lysaught, group vice president of strategic communications, tells The Beltway, noting that coverage will be driven by original investigative reporting that he says is vital in explaining policy and politics to the public.

“There’s a massive audience who are underserved. They deeply care about the future of the country, but they have no resources to turn to,” Mr. Lysaught says. “We want straight news that is accurate, fair and trustworthy. We’ll feature conservative analysis. The news team, however, will be walled off from the analysis side.”

Incoming editor-in-chief Rob Bluey adds that the news site itself will be “responsibly designed” — a refreshing concept in an age when chaotic web pages can obfuscate the news itself. Mr. Bluey also predicts that the core news team, aided by a team of 100 astute researchers, will pursue stories that are overlooked or unrealized in the mainstream media. The Daily Signal goes live June 3; a welcome site is here: Dailysignal.com


Some people have a promising gleam about them. This does not escape the Republican National Committee, which has named five “rising stars” in the party who have distinctive but viable voices — a precious commodity in a crowded political marketplace.

The five: Amber Barno, an Army veteran, and adviser for Concerned Veterans for America and the Independent Women’s Forum; Veronica Muzquiz Edwards, a business leader and founder and CEO of the healthcare staffing company InGenesis; Lee Jackson, Republican youth activist and an elected member of a local Maine school board; Clarice Navarro, conservative activist and Colorado state representative for House District 47; and Mike Pantelides, mayor of Annapolis, Maryland

“This group represents the diversity in our party,” says chairman Reince Priebus.


Rep. Tom Cotton had a reminder for Democrats who criticize the GOP for Benghazi-related fundraising. The Arkansas Republican recalled that Democrats did the same, and much more.

“What do our colleagues on the other side of the aisle say? They express great outrage at politicizing this matter,” Mr. Cotton said in a two-minute speech to the House on Thursday. He was not done with the Democratic “outrage,” though.

“When I was leading troops in Iraq in 2006 — men and women shot at and blown up by al Qaeda — where was the outage as they fundraised endlessly off of the Iraq War? Where was the outrage when they viciously attacked our commanders? Where was the outrage when they said that soldiers were war criminals? Where was the outrage when they said the war was lost? Where was the outrage when they said that only high school dropouts join the army? Forgive me if I don’t join my Democratic colleagues in their fake outrage,” the lawmaker noted.

Mr. Cotton, incidentally, was in his final year at Harvard Law School during the 9/11 attacks, prompting him to join the U.S. Army as an infantry officer. He served two combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan.


Just so you know: Americans will spend $19.9 billion celebrating their mothers Sunday, this according the National Retail Federation. That includes $3.8 billion on brunch or dinner out, $3.6 billion on jewelry, $2.3 billion on flowers, $2.1 billion on greeting cards and $1.7 billion on apparel. Eighty-five percent of the nation will celebrate.

And one more thing: The Ronald Reagan Presidential Library will stage its eighth annual Mother’s Day brunch on Sunday, at tables done up with pink linens. And a few menu items: Mimosas, fresh made waffles with toasted pecans, scrambled eggs with three cheeses, enchiladas, carved roast beef and glazed ham, avocado Caesar salad, fresh berries and petite cheesecakes.


42 percent of Americans say the Benghazi attacks is a “more serious scandal” than Watergate, Clinton/Lewinsky and Iran/Contra; 65 percent of Republicans, 46 percent of independents and 19 percent of Democrats agree.

40 percent overall say the Obama administration “deliberately misled Americans” about Benghazi; 69 percent of Republicans, 45 percent of independents and 11 percent of Democrats agree.

32 percent overall say Congressional activities on Benghazi are driven by politics; 25 percent of Republicans, 28 percent of independents and 44 percent of Democrats agree.

27 percent overall say the Obama administration shared facts on Benghazi “as they became available”; 8 percent of Republicans, 20 percent of independents and 50 percent of Democrats agree.

25 percent overall say the hearings are meant to investigate wrongdoing; 46 percent of Republicans, 24 percent of independents and 12 percent of Democrats agree.

Source: YouGov poll of 1,000 U.S. adults conducted May 3-5.

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