- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The heartland still loves Dr. Ben Carson, even as the public continues to puzzle about his possible plans to run for the White House in 2016. This time around, the author and physician won a small but telling presidential straw poll in the Granite State.

“Add the New Hampshire Young Republicans straw poll to a growing list of evidence that grass-roots Americans in key primary states believe Dr. Carson is the best choice for the Republican presidential nomination,” says Vernon Robinson, campaign director for the National Draft Ben Carson for President Committee, an independent group with $8 million in donations and 17,000 volunteers waiting in the wings poised with “clamor kits” for the potential candidate’s fans.

“We know conservatives support Dr. Carson and want him to run. We know he can win the nomination and the general election. The only question that remains is whether he will answer the people’s call and enter the race,” Mr. Robinson says.

The poll was conducted during the youthful GOPers’ annual lobster bake on Saturday in Laconia, gauging the opinions of some 100 attendees. Dr. Carson took the top spot, with the next-closest contender New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, followed by Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul. Dr. Carson has won two straw polls in Iowa and two more in Texas in recent weeks.

“We’re implementing new efforts to encourage grass-roots Americans to be active in the midterms as another way of showing their support for Dr. Carson,” observes John Philip Sousa IV, chairman of the draft committee.

HAVE A BRIEF CONSTITUTIONAL

Today marks the 227th anniversary of the signing of the U.S. Constitution. With that in mind, a selection of historic quotes on same:

“Our Constitution professedly rests upon the good sense and attachment of the people. This basis, weak as it may appear, has not yet been found to fail.”

John Quincy Adams in a letter to William Vans Murray, a Maryland lawmaker and statesman, Jan. 27, 1801

“Our Constitution is to be celebrated not for being old, but for being young.”

Ronald Reagan, in his annual address before Congress, Jan. 27, 1987

“I wish the Constitution, which is offered, had been more perfect. But I sincerely believe it is the best that could be obtained at the time.”

George Washington, in a letter to Patrick Henry, Sept. 24, 1787

THE OFFICIAL CONSTITUTIONAL

“Our Constitution reflects the values we cherish as a people and the ideals we strive for as a society. It secures the privileges we enjoy as citizens but also demands participation, responsibility and service to our country and to one another.”

— From President Obama’s official proclamation recognizing Constitution Day.

HEADLINE DU JOUR

“Booties on the ground.”

— Cited by both PJ Media “Instapundit” Glenn Reynolds and Washington Post reporter Dan Zak, suggesting that the 3,000 intrepid U.S. troops who will deploy to fight Ebola in West Africa will have a prudent addition to their gear.

CNN has already gauged public unease about the deadly disease: “How worried are you that you or someone in your family will become a victim of the Ebola virus?” the network asked in a poll released Tuesday afternoon. Twenty seven percent of the respondents reported they were somewhat or very worried, while 73 percent said they were not particularly worried — or were not worried at all.

A BENGHAZI AUTHOR ON THE BENGHAZI HEARING

After a four-month wait, the House Select Committee on Benghazi at last is launching its first public hearing Wednesday on Capitol Hill, chaired by South Carolina Republican Rep. Trey Gowdy and under the close scrutiny of a skeptical press and Democrats, who already have launched a preemptive “on the record” collection of questions and answers about the attacks. Someone who is keenly interested in it all is Aaron Klein, author of “The REAL Benghazi Story: What the White House and Hillary Don’t Want You to Know,” among other books.

“I hope Gowdy’s committee intends to divine the purpose of the U.S. Special Mission and what kinds of activities transpired at the compound,” Mr. Klein tells Inside the Beltway. “Were the U.S. special mission and/or the nearby CIA annex in Benghazi involved in any way in procuring weapons to the jihadist rebels fighting the regime of Bashar al-Assad of Syria or to any other rebels fighting in the Middle East or Africa?”

Mr. Klein also wants to know why “internal security for the mission — the quick-reaction force — was provided by armed members of the local Libyan 17th of February Martyrs Brigade. He says the brigade itself is an offshoot of the al Qaeda-linked Ansar al-Shariah, which was implicated in the Benghazi attacks.

“How could the State Department trust an al Qaeda-tied Islamic extremist militia to serve as the armed quick-reaction force within the U.S. special mission?” the author asks.

“I do not expect much fair coverage from a media that is mysteriously uninterested in telling the real Benghazi story, in probing even the most basic facts about the Sept. 11, 2012, attacks,” Mr. Klein adds. “To this day, many in the news media continue to wrongly call the facility a consulate when it was a U.S. special mission, a mission that was so special it was set up without the knowledge of the Libyan government; failed to meet even the minimum security standards of the State Department; and was protected by armed members of a terrorist group offshoot.”

DUELING HEARINGS

Gentlemen, start your engines. Both the aforementioned Benghazi hearing and another significant event get underway on Capitol Hill at the exact same moment — 10 a.m. — on Wednesday. House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael T. McCaul, Texas Republican, convenes “Worldwide Threats to the Homeland.” His witnesses include Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, FBI Director James B. Comey and National Counterterrorism Center Director Matthew G. Olsen. All will speak about the homegrown threat, cyberterrorism and the ever-mutating challenge posed by the Islamic State, whose brutality “shocks the international conscience,” Mr. McCaul says.

Mr. Gowdy, meanwhile, is known for getting to the heart of complex matters via facts and methodical determination. The committee’s communications director, Jamal D. Ware, notes that Mr. Gowdy, the South Carolina Republican, “is willing to risk answering the same question twice rather than risk it not be answered at all.”

Both hearings will be carried live by C-SPAN and are being streamed online as well. Find them at Homeland.house.gov and Benghazi.house.gov.

SOME UNITY FOR A CHANGE

Well, that’s one thing the White House can take off its to-do list. Two-thirds of likely voters agree with President Obama’s plans to dismantle the Islamic State, and they favor airstrikes in both Iraq and Syria. Just over half also agree with the president that despite its name, the extremist group does not represent “the true beliefs of Islam.”

The survey of 1,000 likely U.S. voters was conducted on Sept. 11-12.

POLL DU JOUR

• 61 percent of Americans currently trust the judicial branch of the government; 59 percent of Republicans, 67 percent of Democrats and 59 percent of independents agree.

• 68 percent overall trusted the judicial branch in 1972.

• 43 percent of all Americans trust the executive branch; 13 percent of Republicans, 83 percent of Democrats and 37 percent of independents agree.

• 72 percent overall trusted the executive branch in 1972.

• 28 percent of all Americans trust the legislative branch; 35 percent of Republicans, 31 percent of Democrats and 23 percent of independents agree.

• 70 percent trusted the legislative branch in 1972.

Source: A Gallup poll of 1,017 U.S. adults conducted Sept. 4-7 and released Monday, plus Gallup historical data.

Snappy salutes, weighty thoughts to [email protected]


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