- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 20, 2015

TRUMP/CARSON 2016: IT COULD HAPPEN

“While the punditocracy bloviates endlessly about the rise of Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump, branding this the year of the outsider, the ultimate outsider is quietly sneaking up along the outside, Ben Carson. He’s already running second to The Donald in Iowa, and a not very distant second at that, in the latest poll of the early caucus state,” observes PJ Media founder Roger L. Simon. “His performance at the first big debate won plaudits, especially his witty final speech making fun of his background as the only neurosurgeon running for president. He came in second in Google searches during the debate.”

Mr. Simon is mulling the potential of a Trump/Carson presidential ticket, and is convinced that Mr. Trump could very well leave the physician off his attack list.

“There’s one thing I can predict. Ben Carson is one person Donald Trump will not come after, even if Carson continues to rise in the polls. You don’t attack soulful pediatric neurosurgeons raised by single mothers without risking substantial blowback. Now, a Trump-Carson ticket. That’s another matter. There’s something to contemplate. Whoever would have dreamed that one up even a year ago?” Mr. Simon asks.

Something could be percolating. Breitbart News now says that GOP “outsiders” are surging; NBC, The Hill agree and other news organizations agree. Indeed, a new CNN/ORC poll finds Mr. Trump in the lead among those always discerning Iowa Republican voters, with Mr. Carson in second place. When asked which of the 17 Republican candidates represented their values, the good doctor was in first place, followed by the billionaire.

HOLLYWOOd VERSION OF DONALD TRUMP

“He tells me that many in Hollywood are privately voicing their support for him (he won’t say who except to claim one significant name to me, off the record); that the Hillary email drama is ‘Watergate on steroids’; that his wife, Melania, 45, will start campaigning for him in late August (her issue if she were first lady would be ‘women’s health’); and that, above all, he is a serious candidate. He admires Ronald Reagan, and a bust of the late commander in chief in his office is a business award with Trump’s name on it. If the 40th president was ‘The Great Communicator,’ Trump, who rose to prominence not as an actor but by playing himself on TV, is the 21st century version: The Great Entertainer. And right now, it is working.”

— Hollywood Reporter correspondent Janice Min, summarizing the two hours and 30 minutes she recently spent with GOP frontrunner Donald Trump in his Manhattan office.

HALF OF AMERICA LIKES TRUMP‘S WALL

Donald Trump issued a vigorous, point-by-point immigration policy that included plans for a permanent border wall to control illegal immigration that left Democrats dithering and Republicans cheering.

“A nation without borders is not a nation. There must be a wall across the southern border,” Mr. Trump said. Americans have taken notice of his proposals, and the majority are agreeing.

“Among all likely voters, 51 percent favor building a wall on the border; 37 percent disagree, and 12 percent are not sure,” says a Rasmussen Reports survey released Wednesday. And the rest: 70 percent of Republicans, 57 percent of independents and 30 percent of Democrats agree.

THE A-WORD

Some change to the Golden State: California Gov. Jerry Brown approved legislation this week that bans the word “alien” from California’s entire labor code, a move that “recognizes and respects the diversity and contributions of all Californians,” according to Mr. Brown’s office. “Alien” is derogatory, according to state Sen. Tony Mendoza, who introduced the bill.

But wait. “Alien” is still used in federal immigration law. Will it be purged also? There is growing national sentiment that it is “inappropriate,” said Kevin R. Johnson, dean of public interest law and professor of Chicana/Chicano Studies at the University of California at Davis. “The concern is that the use of the word ‘alien’ would dehumanize the people affected and lead to “lack of protections under the law,” he told the Los Angeles Times.

NEXT UP FOR 2016: MIKE BLOOMBERG

The parlor game goes on: What mystery candidate will save the Democratic Party as 2016 looms? Forget Al Gore, Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Elizabeth Warren advises Mediaite analyst Joe Concha, who calls frontrunner Hillary Clinton “the worst major candidate to come along in a very long time. Like Dukakis-bad.” He suggests former Manhattan mayor Michael Bloomberg could be the answer when Americans appear charmed by “outsider” candidates. Yes well. It’s interesting that Mr. Bloomberg — currently worth $39 billion, according to Forbes — maintains a very active, politically charged website.

“So why is Mike Bloomberg such an attractive choice? Because like Donald Trump, he has an outstanding record as a businessman, without the bankruptcies. And unlike Trump, he’s actually held public office, easily winning three elections in blue New York City as a Republican and eventually as an independent,” Mr. Concha observes.

“Bloomberg’s platform would be simple: I can run America like I run Bloomberg or like I ran New York City for three terms, and without the perpetual scandal cloud that will serve, as at the very least, a huge distraction for a Hillary presidency,” the analyst says, advising Mr. Bloomberg to tell voters: “I’m a problem-solver and job creator with a record to prove it, know how to work with people I disagree with, understand what delegation means in a complex environment — New York — and I keep my nose clean.”

IN THE MARKETPLACE

“Hillary’s Secret Server Wiper”

— Blue terry cloth hand towel imprinted with Hillary Clinton’s campaign logo, now on sale for $5 through the Republican National Committee. And just for the record, the organization is also selling the official Republican elephant tie for a limited time in red, of course — along with sage green, blue and pale purple. A mug emblazoned with the motto “My kids are RAISED RIGHT” is also part of the GOP swag, at GOP.com

BERNIETOPIA

“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. Bernie 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, and the lawmaker’s locks.

POLITICS AS ENTERTAINMENT

It was inevitable. The first annual PolitCon is on its way — a combined political and entertainment 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, music performances. Among the oddly compelling bipartisan cavalcade of stars: Newt Gingrich, David Axlerod, 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.”

POLL DU JOUR

54 percent of Americans say corporation are not doing enough to support U.S. military veterans. 51 percent have an unfavorable view of the job the federal government does to support veterans; 23 percent have a “neutral opinion,” 18 percent have a favorable opinion.

48 percent say vets are not “prepared to succeed” when they enter the civilian workforce.

41 percent say the government must improve health care services for vets, 16 percent cite better employment opportunity, 16 percent cite helping hopeless vets.

9 percent say the government should work to reduce the veteran suicide rate, 6 percent say it should provide education benefits and opportunities for vets.

34 percent say charities and non-profits are not doing enough to support vets; 23 percent say they are.

Source: A ScoutComms/Ipsos poll of 1,004 U.S. adults conducted Aug. 11-13 and released Tuesday.

Follow Jennifer Harper on Twitter @HarperBulletin

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