- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 1, 2015

In 24 hours, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will step before a joint session of Congress to have his say about Israel, its security and its place on the planet. But wait. Of political note: Hillary Rodham Clinton will also be in town on Tuesday for the 30th anniversary of Emily’s List, the pro-choice group which has thus far raised $400 million for Democratic women candidates. Mrs. Clinton will receive the “We Are Emily” award at a major hotel. The pair, essentially, will be about 20 blocks apart; the press will have much to speculate upon.

Meanwhile, Mr. Netanyahu has set a somber but dramatic tone to his visit, advising in a tweet, “I’m going to Washington on a fateful, even historic, mission. I feel that I am an emissary of all Israel’s citizens, even those who do not agree with me, and of the entire Jewish people.” He followed it with this: “I will do my utmost to ensure our future.”

Americans appear peeved at Republicans for their independent invitation to Mr. Netanyahu to address lawmakers; 48 percent say GOP leaders should not have extended the offer without consulting the White House, according to an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll released Sunday. Agreeing are 66 percent of Democratic and 28 percent of Republican respondents. Another 30 percent said the invitation was fine, while 22 percent didn’t know enough to say either way.

Press coverage is all over the place. A few headlines reveal all: “Will Netanyahu’s speech to Congress backfire?” (CNN); “Obama, Netanyahu on collision course in the making for six years” (Huffington Post); “Congress should hear out Netanyahu” (Los Angeles Times); and “Politicking in America nothing new to Netanyahu” (Politico).

Meanwhile, The American Israeli Political Action Committee (AIPAC) conference got underway in the nation’s capital Sunday; the bipartisan, pro-Israel event has drawn over 14,000 participants from 50 states, and yes, Mr. Netanyahu will address the vast audience Monday. So will a diverse group of 96 luminaries from both sides of the aisle that include Sens. Joe Manchin, Lindsey Graham, Ben Cardin and Ben Sasse; Reps. Ted Deutch, Mario Diaz-Balart and Kay Granger; Ralph Reed, Bill Kristol, Democratic National Committee chairman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, and Americans Crossroad CEO Steven Law.

“Thank goodness for Congress,” Howard Kohr, CEO of AIPAC, told the audience on opening day.


“A nuclear-armed Iran is one of the gravest security threats facing both the United States and our ally Israel,” says Rep. Ed Royce, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

“The tradition of foreign leaders addressing Congress on issues of mutual concern goes back more than half a century. I don’t recall there ever being the level of contention that we are unfortunately seeing over Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu‘s visit, no matter the views of the dozens of leaders who have addressed Congress. Members of Congress should support this tradition and attend the Prime Minister’s speech. The Speaker made the right decision by inviting the leader of a major ally to discuss a grave security threat facing both countries,” the California Republican concludes.


“Tens of millions of Americans proudly trace their heritage to the Emerald Isle. They are descendants of our Founding Fathers, heirs to a resilient spirit forged during the Great Hunger and painful periods of discrimination, and the latest in a long line of Irish Americans who have poured their energy and passion into perfecting our Union. With grit and determination, they have enhanced our communities, bolstered our economy, and strengthened our Nation. And their brogue continues to ring out from our halls of government and every place people strive to make our society more free, more fair, and more just.”

“The Irish story is one of hope and resolve — in it Americans see our own dreams and aspirations. Our pasts are bound by blood and belief, by culture and commerce, and our futures are equally, inextricably linked. During Irish-American Heritage Month, let us celebrate the people-to-people ties between our nations and continue together our work to forge brighter tomorrow for every American and Irish child.”

— From President Obama‘s official proclamation recognizing Irish-American Heritage Month — now under way.


“Is Ted Cruz constitutionally barred from the presidency?” asks Doyle McManus, a syndicated Los Angeles Times columnist, who points out that the senator was born in Canada to an American mother and a Cuban father.

“Thanks to his mother, Cruz was a U.S. citizen at birth. But that doesn’t clear up a legal muddle that’s as old as the Constitution: Is a U.S. citizen born abroad qualified to serve as president? Cruz hasn’t simply renounced Canadian moderation; last year, he formally renounced the Canadian half of his dual citizenship,” Mr. McManus writes.

He continues, “But even that doesn’t settle the constitutional issue — at least not to the satisfaction of some of the ‘birthers’ who asserted that President Obama was born outside the United States. ‘Clearly there is an issue of eligibility,’ chief birther Orly Taitz told U.S. News a while ago. ‘It’s basically the same issue as Obama.’ Except that in Cruz’s case, he really was born in a foreign country.”

Mr. McManus adds, “It won’t be easy to get a once-and-for-all decision. Somebody has to get the question into the courts through a lawsuit. But as the birthers discovered in 2008, most judges don’t think voters have legal standing to sue over a candidate’s qualifications. One of Cruz’s competitors in the race could sue, but that might not play well as a campaign issue. That leaves the matter in Cruz’s hands. As an ‘originalist’ who believes in the literal meaning of the Constitution, he ought to be the first to want that murky phrase in Article II cleared up.”


How close are the Sunday talk shows in the audience derby? Very close. For the first time in a year, NBC’s “Meet the Press” with moderator Chuck Todd is in first place in broadcast competition, garnering 3.27 million total viewers according to the latest Nielsen figures, for the Feb. 22 broadcasts. Right behind them: CBS’s “Face the Nation” with Bob Schieffer at 3.25 million. ABC’s “This Week” with George Stephanopoulos weighed in with 2.45 million.


A young journalist defeated nine of his peers during The Washington Times “Idol” competition at CPAC 2015 this year, which judges contestants by their  talents and skills, just like the broadcast version does. In this case, that meant a reporter’s skills. Nate Madden won a unanimous decision from the judges after he questioned Dennis Kucinich, the former Democratic lawmaker from Iowa, on a stage and with an audience.

“Our panel of esteemed judges, led by our own chief political correspondent Ralph Hallow, unanimously agreed that one contestant stood out for his probing, persistent and fast-moving interrogation of Congressman Kucinich,” noted Times CEO Larry Beasley, upon revealing the decision on Saturday.
Mr. Madden, who graduated from The Citadel only last year, will receive a paid internship at The Times. He made a brief appearance onstage, with a quick but sincere statement of thanks.

And who is Mr. Madden?  For anyone wondering what the next generation of conservative journalists will be like, here’s his biography:

“I was born on a small, family goats and cattle farm in the Appalachian foothills of upstate South Carolina. Because of my agrarian upbringing, I was able to learn the values family, community, faith and hard work at a very young age. I attended The Citadel, The Military College of South Carolina, where I earned a dual B.A. in Political Science (concentration in International and Military Affairs) and German Language in Culture. I graduated summa cum laude and was the top graduate in both departments,” he writes.

“Throughout my undergraduate education I was able to travel the world in the pursuit thereof. I was afforded the opportunities to study US Military Policy with the House Armed Services Committee on Capitol Hill, immerse myself in the German language in Munich, learn and trade ideas about small scale agriculture, while studying theology in rural Uganda, teach primary school English in Wernigerode, Germany, and discover for myself the roots of American government in the halls of the UK Parliament,” Mr. Madden continues.

“My fellowship at the John Jay Institute allowed me to completely enrich myself in the richness of the Christian and conservative intellectual traditions. It brought me face-to-face with the truth, showed me the importance of narrative, beauty, and faith in worldview in public discourse and thoroughly galvanized my faith. Because of this, my personal aspiration is to renew culture through public discussion and the written word and help restore truth, virtue and beauty to culture, society, polity and the arts.”

Mr. Madden tells The Beltway, “What drives me the most as a journalist has to be my Catholic faith. My parents named me after the prophet Nathan who rebuked David, and I hope I can live up to that namesake by simply finding and reporting the truth. One of my favorite quotes is by St. Augustine of Hippo: ‘The truth is like a lion. You don’t have to defend it; set it loose and it will defend itself.’ “


72 percent of Americans give a positive rating to the FBI; 79 percent of Republicans, 72 percent of Democrats and 67 percent of independents agree.

67 percent overall give a positive rating to the CIA; 75 percent of Republicans, 64 percent of Democrats and 64 percent of independents agree.

58 percent overall give a positive rating to the Department of Homeland Security; 55 percent of Republicans, 64 percent of Democrats and 52 percent of independents agree.

50 percent overall give a positive rating to the Environmental Protection Agency; 44 percent of Republicans, 59 percent of Democrats and 44 percent of independents agree.

43 percent overall give a positive rating to the Internal Revenue Service; 34 percent of Republicans, 51 percent of Democrats and 38 percent of independents agree.

Source: A Harris Poll of 2,232 U.S. adults conducted Jan. 14-22 and released Friday.

Cranky speculation, hilarity to jharper@washingtontimes.com.

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