- The Washington Times - Sunday, April 5, 2015

Not long ago it was Gov. Scott Walker who was the presidential man of distinction as he bounded on the Republican stage, grass-roots appeal and leadership prowess on full display. Then it was Sen. Ted Cruz’s turn, upstaging his rivals by being the first to declare formally that he is running for president, followed by relentless campaigning that included 10 stops in two states on Easter weekend alone. And now comes another man — a Kentucky lawmaker ready to rumble.

Sen. Rand Paul is due to announce his intent to run for president on Tuesday, doing things up in the grand ballroom of the splashy Galt House Hotel in Louisville, a sprawling spot on the banks of the Ohio River with big chandeliers, walls of windows and many twinkling lights. Fox News host Sean Hannity will be among the many ready to cheer him on. A rally is planned, to be followed by multiple meet-and-greets: Mr. Paul is scheduled to call upon voters in four states — and yes, it’s called the “Stand with Rand” tour.

Mr. Paul is due Wednesday in the wee town of Milford, New Hampshire. Then, 24 hours later, he’s bound for the USS Yorktown moored near Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, then Friday it’s on to the University of Iowa in Iowa City, with a victorious jaunt into Las Vegas at week’s end. And that’s the easy part.

“For the Kentucky senator to have a chance to win the nomination, he’ll have to expand beyond the libertarian army he inherited from his father, and fast. So far, reviews are mixed as he moves closer to the more hawkish Republican mainstream on defense and foreign policy, while still stressing his libertarian-leaning views against domestic security surveillance and drug sentencing laws,” write David Lightman and Sean Cockerham, political analysts for McClatchy News.

Paul is regarded as a top contender, but usually is third, fourth or fifth in Republican voter polls. He should have some star power, but he has been overshadowed by upstart Scott Walker. Paul needs to show he can raise big money, or he risks being outspent by Jeb Bush, among others,” the two analysts predict.

FOR THE LEXICON

“Jebio 2016”

— “Jeb Bush. Marco Rubio. One of these Florida Republicans could be the next president,” advises the Tampa Bay Times, which has now created a whole news section to cover the pair, both bodacious Florida politicians.

THE POLLSTER’S PERSPECTIVE

So where are the GOP he-men in the wrangling? The week starts with Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker in the lead among Republican presidential hopefuls, according to a new Fox News poll of registered GOP voters.

Walker tops the field for the Republican nomination with 15 percent among self-identified GOP primary/caucus voters. He’s followed by former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who receives 12 percent, retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson at 11 percent and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, each at 10 percent,” says Dana Blanton, polling analyst for the news network.

“Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul earns 9 percent support and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio gets 8 percent. All others receive 4 percent or less,” she says.

For the first time, Mr. Bush ties Hillary Rodham Clinton in a theoretical match-up, the poll found, with each garnering 45 percent of the vote.

“Clinton has the advantage over the other Republicans tested, topping Walker and Cruz each by 48-to-42 percent, Rubio by 47-to-43 percent and Paul by 47-to-45 percent,” Ms. Blanton notes. “Independents prefer the GOP candidate over Clinton in each case — by as much as 15 points (Paul) to as little as one point (Cruz).”

CONSERVATIVES FACE THE DREADED MODERATE

There’s some big doings among some conservative stalwarts in New Hampshire. They’re calling themselves the 603 Alliance.

“A group of conservative activists joined together to create an organization — a movement, an alliance — of like-minded constitutionalists and conservatives with the goal of impacting who wins the New Hampshire First in the Nation Primary. These activists realized that history will repeat itself — conservatives splitting their votes among 8-10 good conservative candidates enabling the moderate establishment candidate to cruise to victory,” the new organization says in their mission statement.

The group is going for the spotlight. They will stage a daylong “Summit of Grassroots Activists” in mid-April at the Crowne Plaza in Nashua, the site of choice in the state among major campaigns on both sides of the aisle. Nationally known speakers have been invited, the group advises. “We welcome all — Republicans, undeclared voters, Libertarians, Constitutionalists, and Free Staters.”

And on the agenda: The Constitution, personal liberties, natural rights, immigration, and core conservative issues.

‘THE PEOPLE HAVE SPOKEN’

Soaring rhetoric can irritate voters after a while. Yes, there’s a poll on this phenomenon which asked respondents to identify which fancy phrases irk them the most when they hear it in a speech.

“What’s interesting is how much of it is patronizing, negative, wriggling or self-aggrandizing goes on. Most contemporary political speeches are a fusion of the Hallmark card school of poetry and bitter sniping at opponents,” says Hamish Thompson, a London-based PR guru who devised Polifiller.com, an online tool for political speechwriters that helps them curb use of annoying political jargon. He also conducted the poll of 2,000 U.S. respondents who were asked to rate the phrases.

“It’s no surprise that politics is becoming increasingly fragmented, Politicians are increasingly performing cover versions of the same song,” Mr. Thompson says.

The phrase currently most likely to turn voters off is “Hard-working families,” followed by “Let me be clear” in a close second place. And rounding out the top-five are money phrases: “Economic mess, long term economic plan and failed economic plan occupy third, fourth and fifth places among most loathed political clichs,” Mr. Thompson observes.

POLL DU JOUR

76 percent of U.S. voters say President Obama should be required to get Congressional approval for the deal with Iran; 89 percent of Republicans, 79 percent of independents and 64 percent of Democrats agree.

55 percent of Americans say the U.S. “can’t trust anything” Iran says on the issue of nuclear weapons; 72 percent of Republicans, 54 percent of independents and 39 percent of Democrats agree.

47 percent overall favor an agreement where the U.S. eases up on sanctions on Iran if it backs off nuclear activities; 38 percent of Republicans, 43 percent of independents and 58 percent of Democrats agree.

44 percent overall oppose this agreement; 55 percent of Republicans, 47 percent of independents and 32 percent of Democrats agree.

19 percent overall say Mr. Obama does not need Congressional approval of his Iran deal; 7 percent of Republicans, 16 percent of independents and 32 percent of Democrats agree.

Source: A Fox News poll of 1.025 registered U.S. voters conducted March 29-31.

• Doggerel and caterwaul to [email protected]


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