- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 17, 2015

The catcalling press continues to trail after Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, hoping to make an issue over his lack of a college diploma, among other things. But no matter. Mr. Walker’s grass-roots appeal and business acumen have made him the victor in a new poll of Iowa voters who rank him top dog among 2016 GOP contenders. The governor garnered 24 percent of the vote; Jeb Bush and Sen. Rand Paul are tied for second place, each with 10 percent. Gov. Chris Christie is in third, followed by Sen. Marco Rubio, Mike Huckabee, Rick Santorum, Ben Carson, Sen. Ted Cruz and Carly Fiorina. A previous poll in January found Mitt Romney in the lead, this before he ducked out of the White House race — but someone has inherited the Mitt mantle.

“We see Scott Walker leading. He clearly took the Mitt Romney vote,” comments Doug Kaplan, managing partner of Gravis Insights, which conducted the survey. He also reveals how Mr. Walker fares in a match-up with Hillary Rodham Clinton.

“Going to head-to-head with Walker, Clinton leads 47 percent to 41 percent. But, inside the polls crosstabs, Walker beats Clinton 56 to 38 percent among males and 49 to 44 percent among voters with a four-year college degree,” Mr. Kaplan reveals.

So much for the complaints about the governor’s lack of a diploma. But Mrs. Clinton does best him among academic elites. “The former secretary of state leads Walker among voters with postgraduate degrees by a margin of 57 to 33 percent,” the pollster says.

MR. BUSH GETS BUSY

The new Right to Rise PAC — which supports Jeb Bush’s potential presidential campaign and those of “optimistic” conservatives — is up and running in a big way. This week alone, it’s four events in two days in the nation’s capital, Chicago and Virginia, with admission as high as $25,000. But consider the mission. Mr. Bush has launched a 60-event fundraising marathon around the nation, already labeled the “shock and awe campaign” by organizers. Journalists are already working on yet another negative narrative about the candidate meanwhile. Headlines from the last 24 hours tell all:

“Is the Bush family brand a liability for Jeb’s run?” (Bloomberg), “Jeb Bush cannot escape his brother’s undeniably disastrous presidency” (The Week), “Comparisons to brother ‘interesting challenge’ for Jeb Bush” (Associated Press), “What will Jeb Bush say about Iraq?” (Washington Post).

MEMO TO GOP: DECLARE WAR ON MEDIA

It is a rallying cry heard before. But it’s getting more important. Republicans should declare war on the mainstream media, advises Commentary columnist John Steele Gordon, who cites the moment when then-Vice President George H.W. Bush boosted his 1988 presidential campaign and bolstered his image by shrewdly confronting Dan Rather during a tricky live interview on CBS regarding the Iran-Contra affair.

“Make mainstream media bias the issue,” Mr. Gordon advises Republicans. “Throw loaded questions and those premised on liberal assumptions back in their faces. Accuse them of bias when they are biased. Don’t be Mr. Nice Guy.”

He asks, “Why have the Republicans been such wimps when dealing with the media? The reason, I think, is that the Republicans were the minority party in this country from 1932 to 1994. The Democrats held the House for all but four of those 62 years and the Senate for all but ten of those years. In far too many ways, the Republicans still act as the minority party, begging for crumbs from the media. But they now hold more political offices, at both the federal and state levels, than at any time since the glory days of Calvin Coolidge.”

IT’S COLD: WHERE’S AL GORE?

Whenever a major cold weather event grips the nation, political wags want to know: Hey, where’s Al Gore and all the climate change? The answer this week, anyway, is this: Mr. Gore is mulling over the recent launch of the Deep Space Climate Observatory — or DSCOVR, a satellite which he pined to launch back when he was still vice president and called it “Triana.” The election of George W. Bush, however, put it in mothballs.

But wait. Several federal agencies rescued the actual spacecraft from storage, refurbished it, and voila. It blasted off from Cape Canaveral last week and will travel another 100 days before settling in to monitor solar storms and such, some 993,000 miles in space. It is now a joint project of NOAA, NASA and the Air Force — which shared the $340 million cost, incidentally. Mr. Gore, meanwhile, will not let go of his climate concerns.

“DSCOVR has embarked on its mission to further our understanding of Earth and enable citizens and scientists alike to better understand the reality of the climate crisis and envision its solutions. DSCOVR will also give us a wonderful opportunity to see the beauty and fragility of our planet and, in doing so, remind us of the duty to protect our only home,” he says.

BRING BACK THE COOKIES

A feisty recipe: Rep. Ted Poe has introduced the “Bake Sale Act” before his peers; the legislation would prohibit any funds from being used to implement new federal regulations on school fundraisers and bake sales during school hours. It’s push back against “Smart Snacks in School,” a not particularly tasty aspect of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act enacted last year.

“The federal food police need to stay out of our schools,” says the Texas Republican. “First, the regulators came into our lunchrooms, then vending machines and now school fundraisers. For years, students and parents have used the bake sale as a way to raise funds for school trips, athletic competitions, new uniforms and other activities. Washington bureaucrats have no business telling any American — no matter what age — what they can and cannot eat.”

‘STRONGEST AND MOST RESILIENT’

“We confront a turbulent and dangerous world: continuing turmoil in the Middle East and North Africa, and the malignant and savage terrorism emanating from it; an ongoing conflict in Afghanistan; a reversion to archaic security thinking in parts of Europe; tensions in the Asia-Pacific; the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction; and intensifying threats in cyberspace. In addressing these challenges, I have pledged to provide the President my most candid strategic advice.”

“The United States remains the strongest and most resilient nation on earth. Because of you, we have the finest fighting force the world has ever known. We have friends and allies in every corner of the world, while our adversaries have few. We have long possessed the world’s most dynamic and innovative economy. And our values, principles, and leadership continue to inspire hope and progress around the world.”

— From Defense Secretary Ashton Carter’s initial message to all Defense Department personnel on Tuesday.

POLL DU JOUR

74 percent of Americans oppose allowing private citizens to fly drones in urban areas; 75 percent of Republicans, 71 percent of independents, 79 percent of Democrats, 67 percent of men and 82 percent of women agree.

74 percent overall oppose allowing people to fly drones in suburban areas; 73 percent of Republicans, 71 percent of independents, 80 percent of Democrats, 66 percent of men and 82 percent of women agree.

63 percent overall oppose allowing people to fly drones in national parks; 65 percent of Republicans, 59 percent of independents, 68 percent of Democrats, 46 percent of men and 69 percent of women agree.

48 percent overall oppose allowing people to fly drones in rural settings; 47 percent of Republicans, 47 percent of independents, 52 percent of Democrats, 41 percent of men and 56 percent of women agree.

Source: A CNN/ORC poll of 1,027 U.S. adults conducted Feb. 12-15.

Ballyhoo, hoopla to [email protected]; follow on Twitter @HarperBulletin.

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