- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 9, 2015

A little something to watch as the 2016 presidential campaigns get shrill: “The Jeb Story,” a 14-minute video biography of Republican hopeful Jeb Bush, which has some stirring moments and maybe one too many predictable images of grass-roots America and Iowa cornfields. The production is classy and slick, however, an indicator that Mr. Bush and his strategists are determined to shake off Donald Trump‘s claim that Mr. Bush is “low-energy.” The candidate is not done yet, no matter what his rivals say. Find the video here: TheJebStory.com.

TRUMP GETS SCRUTINY

Yes, broadcast news is obsessed with Donald Trump, for better or worse. Mostly worse. Since the Republican front-runner suggested America’s border be closed to Muslim immigrants on Monday, the “Big Three” networks — ABC, CBS and NBC — drummed up 105 minutes of coverage of the controversy, with much talk about Republican discord and Trump criticism. Meanwhile, President Obama‘s not-so-well-received speech on the Islamic State got a mere three minutes and was politely swept under the rug by the broadcasters.



“The networks are never willing to let a good Trump controversy go to waste,” says Mike Ciandella, the Media Research Center analyst who tracked the coverage.

CRUZ GETS A CONSERVATIVE BLESSING

Sen. Ted Cruz has some fierce fans in his quest for the White house — including longtime conservative maven Richard Viguerie, who has endorsed Mr. Cruz for president.

“For Democrats this election is important, but for Republicans and conservatives 2016 is not just crucial to the survival of this country and constitutional liberty — it is the ballgame,” Mr. Viguerie says. “Republicans must nominate a candidate who we know will govern according to constitutional principles, who is capable of drawing a clear contrast with Hillary Clinton and the Democrats on the issues of importance in today’s political environment, and who has the brains, talent and discipline to fight Hillary Clinton and win. That candidate is Ted Cruz. To conservatives who continue to window-shop, I say, what are you waiting for? In Ted Cruz conservatives have a candidate that’s everything we want.”

THE REAGAN WARS CONTINUE

The legacy of Ronald Reagan continues to draw intense interest. Edwin Meese, former attorney general in the Reagan administration, plus historian Craig Shirley appear at the Hoover Institution on Thursday with research fellow Kiron Skinner for in-depth talk about the Gipper and his continued presence in politics and media since his passing 11 years ago.

But there’s discord. Mr. Shirley, author of “Last Act: The Final Years and Emerging Legacy of Ronald Reagan” and two other Reagan-centric books, continues to push back against “Killing Reagan: The Violent Assault That Changed a Presidency,” a recent book by Fox News host Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard that suggests the 40th president was never the same after the 1981 assassination attempt on his life. The Hoover discussion will be live-streamed from the host organization at Hoover.org at 5 p.m. EST. Find it here

Others have taken Mr. O’Reilly’s work to task, meanwhile. George Shultz, former secretary of state in the Reagan administration, took to The New York Times this week in a brisk op-ed:

“The Reagan depicted by Mr. O’Reilly and Mr. Dugard bears no resemblance to the man I knew and worked so closely with for years. I am dismayed, because the book was co-written by one of the country’s leading TV personalities. And I am alarmed, because such a popular book may significantly damage the public’s memory of one of our greatest presidents,” Mr. Shultz wrote, faulting the author for ignoring Reagan’s role in nuclear disarmament.

FOR THE LEXICON

“Regulatory dark matter”

— New phrase coined by Competitive Enterprise Institute policy wizard Wayne Crews. It’s a catchall term for all the ways the federal government skirts Congress and the public and still meddles with daily life via regulations, memos, guidance documents, proclamations and other unaccountable overreach. Mr. Crews’ outlines it all in “Mapping Washington’s Lawlessness,” a 50-page report found here: CEI.org.

THE DISTRACTED DEMOGRAPHIC

This can’t be helpful. A new Pew Research Center survey reveals that 21 percent of Americans now report they are online “almost constantly,” which explains all those herds of people drifting around staring at their smartphones. Another 42 percent go online several times a day, 10 percent have a once-a-day visit, and 13 percent go online a few times a week. Amazingly, 13 percent say they do not use the Internet at all.

THE CLIMATE CHANGE FOLLIES

The Paris climate summit will meander along until Friday, buoyed by news that the Obama administration vows to send U.S. taxpayer dollars to support climate initiatives abroad. The GOP is not pleased.

“President Obama’s promises at the Paris climate summit show just how out of touch he is with the priorities and concerns of hardworking Americans. Administration officials are pledging $3 billion for climate projects overseas, but they ignore the fact that Congress, and not the president, holds the power of the purse,” says Republican Study Committee chairman Rep. Bill Flores.

“There will be no funding without congressional approval, especially for special interest regulations that will cost jobs and hurt economic growth. At a time when the world faces a growing terrorist threat, we should be focused first and foremost on providing for our national security needs — not the president’s pet projects.”

POLL DU JOUR

74 percent of Americans say the Internet is an important part of political campaigns.

64 percent say it helps people understand politics.

42 percent say the Internet can help politicians better understand the public.

40 percent say it can give people more say in the government.

39 percent say it is “safe” to express their political views online.

Source: A University of Southern California “Digital Future Project” survey of 2,000 U.S. adults conducted November 2014 through January, and released Wednesday.

Big news and prattle to jharper@washingtontimes.com

• Jennifer Harper can be reached at jharper@washingtontimes.com.

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