NEWS AND OPINION:
Pollsters predict that the Grand Old Party will take back the U.S. Senate on Nov. 4. Strategists, meanwhile, are also predicting it could be by a microscopic margin, with many warning the GOP to proceed with care and prudence. “The Republicans will take the Senate, but it’s going to be much closer than it should be. Look for at least one seat currently held by Republicans to go to the Democrats. And look for all of these other races — there are upwards of nine Senate seats currently held by Democrats in red states and Democrats who voted for Obamacare — that are up for grabs. They could be won by Republicans,” says Matt Kibbe, president of FreedomWorks, though he cautions that election results from states such as Louisiana could come in late, create a cliffhanger and delay the GOP’s expected victory celebration.
“Republicans are going to gain seats in the House, and that’s important because we are going to see a more fiscally conservative House the day after the election,” Mr. Kibbe continues, adding an “encouraging” prediction about certain GOP lawmakers. “The liberty caucus, the real fiscal conservatives, the people who are fighting for individual liberty and fiscal responsibility, the Mike Lees, and the Justin Amashes, and the Ted Cruzes, and the Rand Pauls who caucus in both the House and Senate will grow on Election Day.”
FOR THE LEXICON
The Q-word — “quarantine” — is slipping out of the public lexicon at the moment. “Enhanced monitoring” is the preferred term among state and federal agencies and the Pentagon, amid heavy news coverage of, and increasing public alarm over, Ebola. The phrase has gotten good use among Defense Department spokesmen now that some truly heroic U.S. Army troops — including Maj. Gen. Darryl Williams, commanding general of U.S. Army Africa — have been isolated in a secured building in the U.S. Army Garrison in Vicenza, Italy, for three weeks after their recent departure from Monrovia, Liberia. The group was part of an initial Ebola advance team to establish a U.S. presence in the nation.
A DETERMINED MR. CHENEY
Bloomberg News, Slate and the Heritage Foundation’s Daily Signal are among news organizations recalling that former President George W. Bush signed “Project BioShield” into law on July 21, 2004. The ambitious $5.6 billion effort provided “new tools to improve medical countermeasures protecting Americans against a chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear attack,” according to White House historic records. Ebola was named among those threats. Mr. Bush had originally proposed the initiative in his 2003 State of the Union address.
And now, we find that the oft-vilified Dick Cheney was the point man who championed the law.
“Cheney, then the vice president, said he feared assaults by bioterrorists could be far more devastating than what happened that day, and became an advocate in the George W. Bush White House for the appropriation of billions of dollars to stop deadly pathogens. Congress agreed,” says Bloomberg reporter Shannon Pettypiece. “At least seven drugs now being tested — including some used to treat Ebola victims in the U.S. — grew from biodefense measures first approved after Sept. 11.” Notes Slate correspondent Filipa Ioannou, “Yes, we have Dick Cheney to thank for Ebola drugs.”
THE GREAT CHRISTIE QUEST
Welcome to “Christie Tuesday,” at least in the state of Maryland. It’s a motto with a short shelf life perhaps, but useful nonetheless to Larry Hogan‘s campaign for governor. Indeed, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie returns to the state Tuesday to campaign for the Republican hopeful, and it’s Mr. Christie’s third trip in recent weeks.
But it might as well be Christie Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, too. Mr. Christie, president of the Republican Governors Association, has been almost as busy as President Obama in the campaigning department, visiting 35 states in less than a year to raise money for Republicans. And like Mr. Obama — who appears at seven campaign events in six states in the next few days — Mr. Christie is a busy man this week. He takes his Jersey-style star power and fundraising prowess to Florida, Connecticut and, yes, Iowa, marking his fourth trip to the Hawkeye State this year. Why, Mr. Christie was in Des Moines only 72 hours ago helping Gov. Terry Branstad celebrate his 68th birthday. Iowa insiders are convinced this is a true sign that a White House run is part of the equation.
“All systems go for a Chris Christie presidential run.” says Craig Robinson, founder of the news site IowaRepublican.com. He compares the governor’s oratory to “a well-organized presidential stump speech.”
“After seeing Christie speak in Iowa in 2010, 2012, and 2014, I can honestly say he is the best orator Republicans have. Others may be good at delivering clever one-liners that play to an audience, but Christie knows how to deliver a message,” Mr. Robinson observes.
VOTER ALARM OVER TERRORISM RISES
What with alarming, graphic news media coverage of recent events, the prospect of “lone wolves” and terrorist acts by Islamic militants has the public pretty worried. “Following two deadly incidents in Canada that appear terrorist-related, U.S. voters feel more strongly that radical Islamic terrorism is a threat to this country,” reports a new Rasmussen Reports poll released Monday.
The survey found that 86 percent of likely U.S. voters now consider radical Islamic terrorism a threat to the United States; half of that number, in fact, say it a “very serious threat.” This is an increase of 11 percentage points from a similar poll taken in January. Only 3 percent say the terrorism is not a threat. The poll of 1,000 voters was conducted Oct. 23-24.
A CIVIL THING INDEED
A quartet of significant Civil War battlefields are getting some protective help — $2.2 million worth, and none of that is coming from taxpayers. National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis has announced the new grants from the Land and Water Conservation Fund to help preserve land at Gettysburg Battlefield in Pennsylvania, and the Manassas, North Anna, and Rappahannock Station battlefields in Virginia. The 50-year-old fund uses revenue from federal oil and gas leases on the Outer Continental Shelf, the federal agency says.
“The land saved by these grants is otherwise at risk of disappearing under buildings, parking lots and highways. If the land is lost, along with it goes the educational opportunity of standing in the place where so many lives were sacrificed,” Mr. Jarvis says. “Acquisition of these battlefields through the fund will enable all Americans to better understand how military conflicts have impacted important social and political changes throughout our nation’s history.”
POLL DU JOUR
• 76 percent of Americans say celebrity gossip and scandals are “over-covered” by the U.S. news media; 77 percent of Republicans, 72 percent of Democrats and 80 percent of independents agree.
• 49 percent say entertainment news is over-covered; 50 percent of Republicans, 45 percent of Democrats and 54 percent of independents agree.
• 44 percent say sports is over-covered; 44 percent of Republicans, 42 percent of Democrats and 45 percent of independents agree.
• 33 percent say U.S. elections are over-covered; 33 percent of Republicans, 30 percent of Democrats and 37 percent of independents agree.
• 26 percent say U.S. politics is over-covered; 25 percent of Republicans, 24 percent of Democrats and 31 percent of independents agree.
Source: A Harris Poll of 2,537 U.S. adults conducted Aug. 13-18 and released Friday.
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