- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Straightforward and prudent advice for the Republican hopefuls from former United Nations Ambassador John R. Bolton as they troop in to officially debate one another on Thursday night, under the scrutiny of fault-finding Democrats and a curious nation. Intense, yes, but Mr. Bolton hopes to see the Republican candidates all “agreeable” on five points when things get rolling on Thursday evening.

“This is where the party needs to be on national security and foreign policy,” he says.

And here are those five points to hit upon, verbatim from the source: “Abrogate the Iran Nuclear Deal. Defeating ISIS. Checking Russian belligerence in Eastern Europe. Stopping Chinese annexation of the South China Sea. Reversing the administrations’s diplomatic recognition of Cuba.”


“The Undercard”

— As in the “undercard event,” to be attended by seven Republican hopefuls who did not make the main GOP debate on Fox News due to poor showings in national polls. The term is gleaned primarily from boxing or racing terminology, signifying the warmup event before the main match. “Undercard” was an instant hit among journalists who tired of calling the secondary forum the “kid’s table.”


The first Republican debate has expanded into eight hours of live coverage on Fox News, complete with 10 high-profile anchors in three cities. It is a prime-time phenomenon. But it has also unleashed the watch party instinct in Republicans, who are guardedly optimistic and ready to band together in front of a big TV screen and enjoy some artisanal bourbon or a craft beer, perhaps. Then there are the grim Democrats, who see the evening as either horror show or situation comedy. It’s hard to tell. The Democratic Party, in fact, has organized 38 official watch parties in 17 states, to be staged in local bars, private homes and regional Democratic headquarters. And take note, GOP spinmeisters, they have a prescribed agenda.

“Democrats will ensure that Americans understand the choice between a Democratic presidential candidate who will fight for middle-class and working families, and the 18 Republicans in the race who will all fight for the wealthiest Americans and most powerful Washington special interests,” the Democratic National Committee advises party hosts.

Things are more cheerful among Republicans, meanwhile. A perfect example is Buckeye Boot Camp & Debate Watch Camp in Cleveland, at a major nightclub two blocks from the very debate itself. The motto of the night: “Ready to fight for America?” The event has been organized by the American Conservative Union. Among those on hand for the festivities: the organization’s chairman, Matt Schlapp; polling maven Kellyanne Conway; the NRA Institute for Legislative Action’s executive director, Chris Cox; and yes, at least four of the Republican hopefuls before they hit the stage.


Pollster John Zogby reports increasing Democratic hubbub over a potential White House run by Vice President Joseph R. Biden.

“While Hillary Clinton continues to dominate the current field of Democratic candidates, Joe Biden provides some potential drama in her quest for the nomination,” Mr. Zogby says, citing a new Bliss Institute/Zogby Analytics poll of 459 likely Democratic primary/caucus voters nationwide. Almost half — 48 percent — said they want Mr. Biden to seek the nomination; 34 percent said he should not. The demographic breakdown is of note.

The most ardent among those who prefer Mr. Biden over Mrs. Clinton are self-described Democrats (50 percent to 33 percent), liberals (41 percent to 35 percent), moderates (53 percent to 36 percent), baby boomers (53 percent to 31 percent), Hispanics (60 percent to 23 percent) and African-Americans (55 percent to 32 percent). And, oh yes, without Mr. Biden, Mrs. Clinton leads her challengers by 64 percent. With Mr. Biden’s name added to the mix, Mrs. Clinton polls at 48 percent, a loss of 16 points, to Mr. Biden’s 21 percent.


The major broadcast networks are still giving short shrift to those disquieting Planned Parenthood sting videos.

“Even after three weeks, the broadcast news shows are choosing to cover the death of one animal before the story of countless babies torn apart by a taxpayer-funded organization. In the three weeks since the release of the first video exposing Planned Parenthood July 14, ABC, NBC and CBS spent 20 minutes, 21 seconds on the videos during their morning and evening news shows. In contrast, since July 28, the nets devoted 1 hour, 32 minutes, 56 seconds to Cecil, the famed African lion shot by an American dentist. In other words, the three broadcast networks covered Cecil four times more than the trafficking of baby parts by Planned Parenthood,” says Katie Yoder, the exacting Media Research Center analyst who has tallied it all up.

The same networks completely failed to cover the fifth video, which was released by the Center for Medical Progress on Tuesday. There are seven more to come, incidentally.


“He was very personable, very friendly, just ‘hey I’m here to serve.’ He asked questions and was very nice. I loved it.”

— Dallas, Texas, resident Sheri Coleman, reacting to the presence of former President George W. Bush, who showed up Wednesday at a downtown courthouse after being summoned for jury duty. Mr. Bush was not picked to serve. Ms. Coleman was quoted by The Dallas Morning News.


It is authentically green-minded. A grand moment Thursday: The historic 35-acre Congressional Cemetery in the nation’s capital will herald the arrival of 30 goats from a company called Browsing Green Goats, which regularly hires out its eager hoofed crew to eat their way through landscaping challenges. The goats will be tasked with removing clear invasive vines, poison ivy and other unwanted weeds in the cemetery without herbicides and giant mowers. The cemetery’s honey bees are most appreciative.

“This project combines natural and cultural resources, providing the perfect solution for us since we are located so close to the Anacostia River edge,” says cemetery President Paul K. Williams. “We don’t want to utilize chemicals due to our riverside location and because of our membership only, off-leash dog-walking program.”

The goats will have two weeks of chewing to do. The humans, meanwhile, plan a Return of the Goats Happy Hour “to grab a glass of wine and take a short walk to see the industrious goats hard at work.” Notable burials in the cemetery, incidentally, include band leader extraordinaire John Philip Sousa, Civil War photographer Mathew Brady and Elbridge Gerry, a signer of the Declaration of Independence and the fifth vice president of the U.S.


59 percent of Americans say the nation should continue to “make changes” to give blacks equal rights with whites; 42 percent of Republicans, 55 percent of independents and 78 percent of Democrats agree.

86 percent of blacks, 70 percent of Hispanics and 53 percent of whites also agree.

50 percent overall describe racism as a “big problem in society” today; 41 percent of Republicans, 48 percent of independents and 61 percent of Democrats agree.

73 percent of blacks, 58 percent of Hispanics and 44 percent of whites also agree.

33 percent overall describe racism as “somewhat of a problem”; 34 percent of Republicans, 35 percent of independents and 30 percent of Democrats agree.

38 percent of blacks, 23 percent of Hispanics and 20 percent of whites also agree.

11 percent overall describe racism as a “small problem” today; 17 percent of Republicans, 11 percent of independents and 6 percent of Democrats agree.

5 percent of blacks, 14 percent of Hispanics and 11 percent of whites also agree.

Source: A Pew Research Center poll of 2,002 U.S. adults conducted July 14-20 and released Wednesday.

• Undercards and overreactions to [email protected]

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