NEWS AND OPINION:
“The percentage of Americans who believe having a gun in the house makes it a safer place to be — 63 percent — has nearly doubled since 2000, when about one in three agreed with this,” reports Justin McCarthy, a Gallup analyst. This includes 81 percent of Republicans, 41 percent of Democrats, 67 percent of men and 58 percent of women. “About two-thirds of whites and Southerners endorse having a gun to improve home safety, as do majorities of nonwhites — 56 percent,” Mr. McCarthy says, noting that three in 10 Americans alternatively say having a gun in the house makes it a “more dangerous place”; 53 percent of Democrats and 15 percent of Republicans concur. Overall, 42 percent of Americans report having a gun in their household.
“While Gallup figures on U.S. gun ownership have not shifted much since 2006, the percentage of Americans who say that having a gun in the home makes that household safer has drastically climbed over the past eight years,” the analyst adds. “Americans own guns for a wide array of reasons, but the increase in the perceived safety value of owning them suggests that guns are taking on more of a protective role than they have in the past. Florida passed the nation’s first ‘Stand Your Ground’ law in 2005, followed by dozens of states that passed different versions of the law. In the decade since, Americans have become more likely to view guns as a means of self-protection.”
MITT ROMNEY’s ADVICE TO DEMOCRATS
Duh. Dissing the boss cost Democrats the midterms. That is Mitt Romney‘s message to the Democratic Party. Yes, he criticized President Obama plenty during a private event in the nation’s capital, chastising him for sending a letter to Iran’s Ayatollah Ali Khamenei requesting he sign a nuclear agreement and join a U.S.-led effort against the Islamic State. Mr. Romney said he was “stunned” at the idea. But in the same session, the former presidential hopeful and relentless Republican campaigner also had some advice for the Democratic Party: sully your leadership at you own peril. According to Mr. Romney, Democrats lost the midterm election because of voter fatigue and anger — but also because they distanced themselves from Mr. Obama.
“Something that did not help the tide for my Democratic friends: They took the wrong strategy and messaging. Their message was ‘I’m not President Obama. I’m as far from him as I can be.’ It simply was not credible. It was not authentic,” Mr. Romney told an audience at the Israeli American Council Conference that ended Sunday. “It was extraordinarily short-sighted and ill-conceived to try and run as far as they did from the president. I think it would have been wiser to have said they liked what the president did here, they were proud of what he did here, there are some things he did wrong — but these things I’m proud of. That would have been a better strategy.”
Needless to say, the Democrats gave Republicans every cue they needed to win.
SEE ALSO: George Bush says brother Jeb ‘wrestling’ with decision to run for president
“Republicans, seeing what the Democrats were doing — simply got right on the bandwagon,” he continued, adding, “The stakes are high for my party, and for conservatives. Charles Krauthammer said it all on election night: Republicans should pass a bill every week, starting off with easy thing that Republicans and Democrats can agree on, then get to the tougher stuff. Because if we don’t deliver on that, we will suffer in 2016.”
Philanthropist and Republican donor Sheldon Adelson also appeared at the aforementioned conference, and offered terse advice on Iran’s nuclear development. “I wouldn’t just talk, I would take action. Not taking action is too costly,” he observed.
PONDERING ‘WHAT WENT WRONG’
The Democratic National Committee just may listen to Mr. Romney’s advice, meanwhile.
“We’re going to kick off an effort at the DNC to do a top-to-bottom assessment of how we can do better in future midterm elections,” DNC Chairwoman Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz says in an earnest new video to all Democrats. “Within the next couple of weeks, I’m going to name a committee of key party stakeholders and experts, who will spearhead an examination of what went wrong, and how the Democratic Party can do a better job of connecting in midterm elections.”
In a tea party-like call to arms, Mrs. Wasserman Schultz is now asking the grass-roots Dems for their “best ideas” and to be a part of the strategy.
SEE ALSO: Obama didn’t get the message from voters, says new GOP senator
“We are going to look at where we fell short. We’re going to identify our mistakes. And we’re going to talk to the smartest people in our party and the most dedicated Democrats in the country to build on what we’ve done that works and find solutions for things that are broken,” she says. “And we’re going to report out our findings by our DNC winter meeting early next year — with measures by which you can hold us accountable.”
ONE FOR THE PUPS
No parade rest here. When the nation’s largest Veterans Day parade gets rolling up Fifth Avenue in New York City on Tuesday, the warrior dogs will be a part of it. Six former military dogs who saw combat in Iraq and Afghanistan will be aboard a special new float in the big parade — these are canines who sniffed out explosives as “improvised detection dogs” and are each credited with saving the lives of 200 soldiers.
Their former handlers and “Law and Order” star and Army vet Ice-T will accompany the pups, along with American Humane Association president Robin Ganzert, who has already testified before Congress about taken the welfare of dog veterans, who sometimes never make it home from their deployments. A lucky few are reunited with handlers via Mission K9 Rescue and the U.S. War Dog Association; the charities have already returned 14 dogs to their former partners this year.
“These dogs are genuine heroes and deserve to be recognized on Veterans Day, alongside the human heroes who have so faithfully served our country,” Mr. Ganzert says.
This sounds like the elusive Jeb Bush is leaning toward a White House run. He knows the playing field, he knows the “ramifications” and knows his own boundaries — according to someone with insight. That would be his brother, former President George W. Bush.
“I occasionally fuel the speculation by saying that I hope he runs. I think it’s 50-50. He and I are very close. On the other hand, he’s not here knocking on my door, you know, agonizing about the decision,” the former president told CBS’ “Face the Nation” moderator Bob Schieffer. “He knows exactly the ramifications on family, for example. He’s seen his dad and his brother go through the presidency.”
Such things weigh heavily on would-be candidates.
“I put our family through it. And one of the lessons you learn from George H.W. Bush is that you can go into politics and still be a good father. In other words, the priorities of your life don’t have to be compromised. I know Jeb’s priority is his family. I also know it’s his country. And his deep faith. And he has seen that you don’t have to sell those out in order to be a politician,” Mr. Bush concluded.
POLL DU JOUR
• 60 percent of Americans favor raising taxes to support military veterans: 55 percent of Republicans, 65 percent of independents and 63 percent of Democrats agree.
• 57 percent overall favor raising taxes to support Social Security: 45 percent of Republicans, 56 percent of independents and 66 percent of Democrats agree.
• 56 percent overall favor raising taxes to pay for Medicare: 42 percent of Republicans, 57 percent of independents and 66 percent of Democrats agree.
• 42 percent overall favor raising taxes for Ebola research: 29 percent of Republicans, 43 percent of independents and 49 percent of Democrats agree.
• 15 percent of Americans favor raising taxes to support war in Iraq: 18 percent of Republicans, 14 percent of independents and 14 percent of Democrats agree.
• 12 percent overall favor raising taxes to support war in Afghanistan: 16 percent of Republicans, 12 percent of independents and 10 percent of Democrats agree.
Source An Economist/YouGov poll of 997 U.S. adults conducted Nov. 1-3.
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