- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 15, 2015

The mainstream press typically overlooks polls that suggest the nation is pro-life; a recent YouGov poll, for example, found that two-thirds of Americans believe that “fetuses in the womb are people,” including 80 percent of Republicans and 56 percent of Democrats. One group that does not overlook this is the Susan B. Anthony List, a nonprofit that supports pro-life candidates — set to host a daylong summit and evening gala in the nation’s capital on Thursday. Republicans will help them: Sen. Rand Paul appears at the summit, Carly Fiorina serves as mistress of ceremonies at the gala, where Sen. Lindsay Graham — lead sponsor of the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act — is the keynote speaker. On hand to receive awards for pro-life leadership: Sen. Joni Ernst and Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus.

“With the Republican presidential field unified behind the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, momentum is building to advance this legislation in Congress and elect a pro-life president who will sign it into law,” says Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the organization. “It is heartbreaking to see the Democratic Party, which once championed the weakest and most vulnerable, hold fast to their party platform of abortion on demand, at taxpayers’ expense. Their extremism turns off many Americans — including women, Hispanics and young people. We look forward to seeing this year’s speakers address this clear difference, and the fact that the pro-life position is not only morally just, it is politically smart.”

POPULIST-PALOOZA

The press has bandied the word “populist” around for months, almost as much as, say, “right wing” and “extremist.” All that aside, the populists themselves intend to take ownership of the term, which has come to mean many things in both the Republican and Democratic camps. On the radar, it’s Populism 2015, a sizable gathering at a historic hotel in the nation’s capital this weekend, with speakers including Rep. Keith Ellison and NPR commentator Jim Hightower. But no Sen. Elizabeth Warren.

“This movement extends far beyond the rallying for a particular presidential candidate,” say organizers, who hail from Campaign for America, National People’s Action, USAction and the Alliance for a Just Society. And on their agenda: “Building a bottom-up people’s movement to fight for bold, future-facing policies to reverse the current crises and lay a foundation for future generations to thrive.”

CANDIDATE WORSHIP

A pack of giddy journalists became a story themselves this week when they were caught on video scrambling willy-nilly after Hillary Clinton’s custom campaign van. The incident prompted Ed Henry, the White House correspondent for Fox News, to offer a commentary in the aftermath.

“On the White House beat, I have sometimes seen correspondents from around the world cover President Obama like an international celebrity — or fascination — instead of a commander in chief. Plenty of domestic reporters have been guilty too,” Mr. Henry says.

“Correspondents chasing Clinton like silly schoolchildren is enough to make anyone wince. So with all of the Democratic and Republican hopefuls telling voters the stakes are so high in the 2016 election, it’s about time all of us started pressing every candidate in both parties on the tough questions instead of just scribbling down what they ordered at Chipotle to keep our Twitter feed sated,” he observes.

ARE THEY VOTEWORTHY?

And speaking of substantive questions, Heritage Action for America — the feisty political arm of the more august Heritage Foundation — has a few for all presidential hopefuls on both sides of the aisle:

“How do you plan to move beyond petty interest group politics to advance an opportunity agenda that works for all Americans? Will you avoid the rhetorical and policy mistakes of past campaigns by touting an agenda that promotes civil society? Does your limited government agenda amount to more than partisan rhetoric and minor tweaks that fail to reverse our current course?”

Those are among the inquiries the organization will pose to candidates, all part of the Presidential Platform Index, an ambitious new evaluation tool, with results to be released in September.

“Americans are looking for a president who can speak to the real anxieties they’re facing. Candidates must move beyond partisan talking points and the failed status quo of secretive transactional politics and put forward a bold comprehensive conservative agenda,” says Michael A. Needham, CEO of the group. “How will these candidates fare in an opportunity for all, favoritism to none primary? That is a question we are going to answer over the course of the next five months.”

EVENT O’ THE DAY

“The House Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on Government Operations will hold a hearing titled ‘The Worst Places to Work in the Federal Government.’ The hearing will examine survey results from data collected by The Office of Personnel Management administers the Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey.”

— From an announcement by the aforementioned committee. About 390,000 federal employees completed the survey, incidentally. The event will be live-streamed here: Oversight.house.gov — and carried on C-SPAN beginning at 9 a.m.

POLL DU JOUR

66 percent of Americans support random drug tests for people on welfare; 87 percent of Republicans, 65 percent of independents and 55 percent of Democrats agree.

64 percent overall say the government should restrict what people buy with welfare money; 86 percent of Republicans, 64 percent of independents and 50 percent of Democrats agree.

62 percent overall say people should not feel ashamed to apply for welfare; 44 percent of Republicans, 58 percent of independents and 77 percent of Democrats agree.

62 percent overall say people should lose welfare benefits if they test positive for an illegal drug; 86 percent of Republicans, 63 percent of independents and 48 percent of Democrats agree.

51 percent overall say if a person on welfare tests positive for drug use, they should be enrolled in a government treatment plan; 47 percent of Republicans, 48 percent of independents and 58 percent of Democrats agree.

Source: A YouGov poll of 995 U.S. adults conducted April 9-10.

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