- The Washington Times - Monday, August 17, 2015

He does consistently well in favorability polls. Voters have not forgotten Mike Huckabee, the former Arkansas governor and plainspoken pastor who is building up some formidable campaign apparatuses in Iowa and South Carolina, among other states. The Huckabee motto: “From hope to higher ground.” The candidate will be off the U.S. political grid for a spell starting on Tuesday, however; he is bound for Israel. While he is in Tel Aviv, wife Janet Huckabee will take his place on several campaign stops in both the aforementioned states.

There will be some fundraising in the Holy Land, but, more importantly, Mr. Huckabee will be talking about the ongoing turmoil over the U.S.-Iran nuclear accord. Unnamed “officials” are in the mix. The candidate has not held back on the issue.

“I think it’s the most dangerous situation that we face, not just for the Middle East, but for the rest of the world, in a long time. This is essentially arming and equipping a terrorist state,” Mr. Huckabee told CNN on Sunday. “The Iranian government is not to be trusted. And for 36 years, they kidnapped Americans. They have killed Americans. They hold Americans hostage right now. And we’re being pushed to get into a deal that gives us nothing, but gives the Iranians the capacity to ultimately end up with a nuclear weapon, and that’s just insane.”

THE TRUMP FRINGE BENEFITS

Advertisers and broadcasters are keeping their fingers crossed that GOP presidential front-runner Donald Trump and his bodacious political campaign just keep on keeping on.



“Whatever your feelings are on Donald Trump as a presidential candidate, there’s no denying he makes for good TV. Despite his polarizing viewpoints, blunt assessment on the state of America and crass comments regarding women — or maybe because of it — TV networks and advertisers are eager for Mr. Trump to remain in the race for as long as possible,” says Jeanine Poggi, an analyst for Ad Age.

“If Fox News’ massive ratings from the first Republican primary debate are any indication, Mr. Trump could do what few attractions outside of sports and zombies have been able to accomplish: revitalize TV. And it’s not just cable news and evening newscasts that are poised to benefit; Mr. Trump is perfect fodder for the late-night TV circuit and will surely be the butt of jokes on comedy shows like ‘Saturday Night Live,’” Ms. Poggi adds.

“I think TV nets are eating it up while it lasts, for sure,” said David Campanelli, director of national broadcast for Horizon Media, tells Ad Age.

DONALDISMS

The aforementioned Donald Trump has his own news media favorites in the meantime.

“Listening to @rushlimbaugh on way back to Jury Duty. Fantastic show, terrific guy!” he tweeted on Monday afternoon, following immediately with this:

“Why does @FoxNews keep George Will as a talking head? Wrong on so many subjects!”

BERNIE-TOPIA

“Hillary’s hair gets more scrutiny than my hair? Is that what you’re asking? OK, Ana, I don’t mean to be rude here. I am running for president of the United States on serious issues, OK? Do you have serious questions? When the media worries about what Hillary’s hair looks like or what my hair looks like, that’s a real problem.”

— Democratic hopeful Sen. Bernard Sanders, to New York Magazine interviewer Ana Marie Cox, who explained that she had a “gendered reason” for asking if the voting public paid more attention to Hillary Clinton’s much-tended coiffure versus the lawmaker’s less-tended look.

JEBAPALOOZA

August does not signal the doldrums to Jeb Bush. Beginning Tuesday, the Republican presidential hopeful appears to be entering a major fundraising push before summer’s end, with a total of four events in Georgia, Massachusetts and New York. But we ain’t seen nothin’ yet. The increasingly slimmer and more outspoken Mr. Bush embarks on an almost-unequaled effort next week, with 10 fundraising events scheduled in eight states, including Texas, Florida and Virginia.

POLITICS AS ENTERTAINMENT

It was inevitable. The first annual Politicon is on its way — a combined political and entertainment event set for October, so large that it’s being staged in the Los Angeles Convention Center — featuring panels, debates, TV and movie screenings, live radio, podcasts, comedy shows, book readings, interviews, meet-and-greets, art exhibitions and music performances. Among the oddly compelling bipartisan cavalcade of stars: Newt Gingrich, David Axelrod, James Carville, Meghan McCain, Michele Bachmann, Hugh Hewitt and Doris Kearns Goodwin. Visiting journalists hail from news organizations as diametrically opposed as Slate and the Salem Media Group — a powerful company that includes Christian broadcasters and such sites as Hot Air and Townhall.com.

“Politics touches every aspect of our lives, with shows like ‘Scandal,’ ‘Veep’ and ‘House of Cards,’ late-night shows, blogs and podcasts,” says Simon Sidi, a veteran British producer behind multiple major rock events — and the founder of this one. “We wanted to use comedy, music, art and entertainment to bring people into the political process and create a place where political junkies and entertainment fans can gather for years to come.”

THE NEXT BIG GOP THING: EDUCATION

Step aside, as a half-dozen Republican presidential hopefuls bustle into Manchester, New Hampshire, Wednesday for the 2015 Education Summit, and organizers hope they leave their standard talking points in the campaign bus and have an “urgent conversation” about the failing state of American schools. Stepping up for the K-12 bloc: Jeb Bush, Carly Fiorina and Govs. Chris Christie, Scott Walker, Bobby Jindal and John Kasich. The event is sponsored by the American Federation for Children and The Seventy Four — a nonprofit, nonpartisan news site focused on education that takes its name from the 74 million school-age children in the U.S.

“Last year, 1.3 million children dropped out of school, and U.S. students have flatlined on national and international tests. It’s time to set aside the rhetoric and have a national conversation,” says Betsy DeVos, federation chairman.

There’s a media undercurrent at work too.

“There is no question that, for far too long, the failing education system in America has not been given the attention a crisis of this nature demands,” notes former CNN anchor Campbell Brown, a co-founder of The Seventy Four and moderator for the forum, staged in a local high school. “This summit is a unique opportunity to ensure education is a national priority as we head into 2016.”

The event will be livestreamed online at 8:50 a.m. here: The74million.org. A second summit for Democratic hopefuls will be staged in Iowa in October.

POLL DU JOUR

59 percent of male Republicans give a positive favorability rating to Donald Trump; 50 percent of female Republicans agree.

56 percent of male Republicans give a positive review to Mike Huckabee; 53 percent of GOP women agree.

56 percent of GOP men give a positive review to Sen. Marco Rubio; 46 percent of GOP women agree.

56 percent of GOP men give a positive review to Sen. Ted Cruz; 40 percent of GOP women agree.

55 percent of GOP men give a positive review to Jeb Bush; 53 percent of GOP women agree.

51 percent of GOP men give a positive review to Sen. Rand Paul; 38 percent of GOP women agree.

Source: A Gallup poll of 7,446 Republican adults conducted July 8-Aug. 13 and released Monday.

Optimistic proclamations, petty annoyances to [email protected]

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