- The Washington Times - Monday, January 5, 2015

It is the conservative antidote to President Obama’s upcoming State of the Union address and ongoing legacy building. That would be the inaugural Iowa Freedom Summit later this month, which now bristles with an expanding roster of conservatives, some with their eye on the White House, some not. On the podium in Des Moines on Jan. 24: Sens. Ted Cruz, Mike Lee and Chuck Grassley; Reps. Marsha Blackburn and Steve King, Govs. Chris Christie and Rick Perry; Ben Carson, Sarah Palin, Donald Trump, Jim DeMint, Mike Huckabee, Newt Gingrich, Carly Fiorina, John Bolton, Rick Santorum, Jim Gilmore, Donald Trump and Rod Blum. So far, there’s no Jeb Bush; he has opted out, a factor that did not escape the press.

“Is Bush willing to lose the primary to win the general election?” asked MSNBC host Steve Kornacki, who calls the aforementioned Mr. King — an organizer of the summit — a “right-wing immigration hardliner.” Notes Noah Rothman, a Hot Air analyst: “Clearly, the political press’ editorial culture sees participation in or avoidance of this minor event as a proxy for how individual GOP aspirants will approach the process of appealing to Hispanic voters.”

Meanwhile, the event is actually themed “Getting America Back on Track,” with considerable backing from David Bossie, president of Citizens United. “With the Iowa caucuses only a year away the summit will be a launch point for conservative ideas as we head toward 2016,” organizers say. The one-day grass-roots event is free, includes an old-fashioned box lunch and will be staged at a local historic landmark.


Memo to Republican lawmakers tempted to go along with President Obama’s executive amnesty proposal: It’ll cost you. A new poll of Republican voters released Monday finds that 83 percent would be less likely to vote for any member of Congress if they allowed taxpayer money to be used to implement Mr. Obama’s plan. Needless to say, 89 percent of the respondents also say the president has exceeded the authority as granted under the Constitution while 74 percent say Mr. Obama is “consistently acting in a lawless way on many issues.”

The “People’s Poll” of 602 active GOP voters was conducted by EMC Research/Caddell Associates Dec. 26-30, 2014.

SEE ALSO: The real racial bias: Cops more willing to shoot whites than blacks, research finds


The numbers make some squirm, but they are what they are, as the sages say: The U.S. Congress is 92 percent Christian, up two percentage points since last year, according to a Pew Research Religion & Public Life analysis released Monday. The findings prompted a certain incredulity in the press, particularly when journalists compared the findings to the national average. Pew reports 73 percent of Americans say they are Christian, Gallup places it as 74 percent — leaving the analysts with a nearly 20 percentage point gap to ponder. But in the end, there were a few obvious conclusions, then everyone moved on.

“America Is getting more non-religious, but Congress is not,” pointed out Maya Rhodan, an analyst for Time magazine.

“Congress is still really religious and really Christian,” declared Domenico Montanaro, who covers politics for the PBS News Hour.


Behold, a little cultural moment in Las Vegas as the massive and glitzy International Consumer Electronics Show gets underway no Tuesday: Alexander Graham Bell’s great grandson Edwin Grosvenor will test out the launch and dedication of HDN — a new “all-IP and HD voice” telephone network startup — with a 30-minute phone call. “The intent is to mark the moment in history in a manner similar to the transcontinental first call by Alexander Graham Bell in 1915,” notes Daniel Berninger, the pointman behind the new business.

Well, huzzah for Mr. Berninger, whose event sports some smart gravitas amid the Hollywood stars, broadcast personalities, athletes and performers also attending the big show. The aforementioned Mr. Grosvenor is a writer, incidentally, and the editor-in-chief of American Heritage magazine.


“I don’t want the American people to think that if they add a Republican president to a Republican Congress, that’s going to be a scary outcome. I want the American people to be comfortable with the fact that the Republican House and Senate is a responsible, right-of-center, governing majority.”

— Incoming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, to the Washington Post.


After all the fuss and drama, Sony’s much ballyhooed “The Interview” is still a rickety film product. “Sony may have mounted a valiant rescue operation, but the comedy is still likely to lose millions for the studio,” says Pamela McClintock, an analyst for the Hollywood Reporter.

“After President Obama said the hack-embattled Sony made a mistake in pulling the film, the studio released ‘The Interview’ in select theaters and on video on demand. To date, it’s earned $4.8 million at the box office and more than $15 million on demand. Those might be good numbers for a smaller-budgeted film, but The Interview cost $44 million to make and likely another $40 million to market,” she adds.


Forecasts in the GOP presidential horserace continue, though the race won’t begin for a year and the candidates are still moving at a shuffle. Nevertheless, the National Journal has released a painstaking list of current “Presidential Power Rankings” — as interpreted by half dozen political writers who contributed to the analysis. “For the first time in years, there is no one next in line. And without a former vice president or powerhouse former candidate looking likely to run, Republicans are shaping up to spend the next year and a half fighting in their most open nominating contest in the modern era. That said, some candidates have a better chance of securing the nomination than others,” the research notes.

And at the moment, Jeb Bush is in the No. 1 position, the Journal analysts say — followed by Sen. Marco Rubio, Sen. Rand Paul, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, New York Gov. Chris Christie, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, Sen. Ted Cruz, Mike Huckabee, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, John Kasich, Mitt Romney, Rep. Paul Ryan, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, Ben Carson and Carly Fiorina.


76 percent of Americans say if an employee has a bad cold they should stay home from work; 71 percent of Republicans, 74 percent of independents and 82 percent of Democrats agree.

13 percent overall say they should go to work anyway; 19 percent of Republicans, 11 percent of independents and 10 percent of Democrats agree.

48 percent overall say if they have a bad cold they normally go to work; 52 percent of Republicans, 45 percent of independents and 49 percent of Democrats agree.

41 percent overall will call in sick; 38 percent of Republicans, 41 percent of independents and 42 percent of Democrats agree.

43 percent overall have gone to work sick instead of staying home; 44 percent of Republicans, 43 percent of independents and 41 percent of Democrats agree.

14 percent overall have faked an illness to get out of work; 7 percent of Republicans, 7 percent of independents and 12 percent of Democrats agree.

Source: A YouGov poll of 1,000 U.S. adults conducted Dec. 30, 2014 — Jan. 2, 2015.

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