- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Sen. Marco Rubio appears to be the lone presidential hopeful to be on the campaign trail as of Wednesday, just 24 hours before Thanksgiving Day dawns. Mr. Rubio will be in South Carolina to meet with voters at a picturesque restaurant on Shrimp Boat Lane in Mount Pleasant just after high noon, then it’s presumably home to family. But his presence lingers: Mr. Rubio’s campaign will unveil a new ad on Thursday to air in Iowa and later New Hampshire, recounting the days when the candidate’s hard-working father was a bartender in a spotless uniform.

“My father stood behind a small portable bar in the back of a room for all those years, so that I could stand behind this podium in front of this room and this nation. That journey from behind that bar to behind this podium, that’s the essence of the American Dream,” Mr. Rubio says in the one-minute spot.

KEEP AN EYE ON THE IDEOLOGY

In the wake of the Paris terrorist attacks, some don’t buy the notion that the Islamic State is operating without a plan. Erik Cleven, a professor of international relations at New Hampshire’s Saint Anselm College, believes there’s a “clear strategy” behind violence in France — and elsewhere. It’s not random.

“There are several reasons why terrorists attack civilians and travel to foreign countries to do so. First, they seek media attention and attacking in Paris is one way to get it. Second, ISIS needs to be seen as being successful in order to continue to recruit new fighters,” says Mr. Cleven, using an acronym for the Islamic State.

“They have recently lost territory on the ground in Iraq and Syria and the attacks in Paris divert attention away from that. Finally, the attacks can be seen as an attempt to coerce foreign governments to give policy concessions — in this case to get France to withdraw from its military engagement in Syria,” he notes, adding that the violence is, in reality, a form of social control.


SEE ALSO: Hillary Clinton’s anti-Wall Street pitch wearing thin with skeptical liberals


The best way to understand the Islamic State, the professor writes, is to see it as a revolutionary organization, with religious rather than Marxist ideology. “There is a growing body of research showing that groups which employ violence against civilians are less likely to achieve their goals. We can see that one effect of the Paris attacks is to strengthen France’s resolve in its fight against ISIS and the Assad regime in Syria. Terrorism can be seen as a strategy of the weak. So the recent attacks could be a result of growing weakness,” Mr. Cleven says.

ABC GETS A PAIR OF DEBATES

ABC News announced Tuesday it will host an official Democratic presidential debate in December, followed by one for Republican hopefuls in February. Will the network be fair to both parties?

“They better be. We’ve already seen unfair treatment backfire for other networks in previous debates,” notes one close observer.

ABC’s coverage for both events will be led by chief anchor and former Clinton White House staffer George Stephanopoulos; he has bowed out of the moderating role following Republican criticism over his previous personal donations to the Clinton Foundation. Instead, “World News Tonight” anchor David Muir and global affairs correspondent Martha Raddatz will serve in the role. They’ll get plenty of input: 18 correspondents — from Diane Sawyer to Pierre Thomas — will also chime in when the time comes.

AND IN THE LOVING SPIRIT OF THE SEASON

“It’s that time of year — full of food and fun and celebrating with family and friends. But we here at the DNC know that occasionally all that togetherness can lead to some, let’s call them ‘lively’ conversations about politics with that one Republican uncle (or aunt, or brother — you know who I’m talking about). And as Democrats, it’s up to each of us to go into those situations ready with the truth,” advises Luis Miranda, communications director for the Democratic National Committee, in a missive to his fellow Dems.

“We’ve designed a handy website with the perfect responses to all the most common right-wing talking points spouted by your family members who may spend a little too much time tuned into factually-challenged conservative talk radio,” Mr. Miranda notes, adding “You can do your part to debunk the latest myths coming from the right-wing bubble.”

Curious? See the Democratic interpretation of Thanksgiving Day behaviors here: YourRepublicanUncle.com.

STILL AFLOAT

The SS United States, the historic ocean liner once doomed to be sold for scrap, has received a reprieve after sending out one final SOS for donations. The SS United States Conservancy announced Tuesday that it had received $600,000 in the last seven weeks from sympathetic admirers around the world — and the one-of-a-kind, 1,000-foot, 63-year-old vessel remains safely afloat for the next year. Plans for its redevelopment as a museum or public site continue; architects are looking at the possibilities, the conservancy guardians say.

It costs $60,000 per month to care for the ship, currently docked on the Delaware River outside Philadelphia. It once played host to, among many others, Charlton Heston, Marilyn Monroe, John Wayne and four U.S. presidents — Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, and Clinton. Find the ship’s story here: Ssusc.org

POLL DU JOUR

67 percent of Americans say it’s a good idea to have police officers present in high schools; 80 percent of Republicans, 63 percent of independents and 62 percent of Democrats agree.

16 percent overall say this is a bad idea; 11 percent of Republicans, 13 percent of independents and 23 percent of Democrats agree.

61 percent overall say the officers “should only deal with crimes” in the school; 56 percent of Republicans, 59 percent of independents and 68 percent of Democrats agree.

26 percent overall say the officers should also help teachers with discipline; 38 percent of Republicans, 20 percent of independents and 22 percent of Democrats agree.

54 percent overall say it’s a good idea to have police officers present in elementary schools; 64 percent of Republicans, 47 percent of independents and 55 percent of Democrats agree.

A YouGov poll of 1,000 U.S. adults conducted Oct. 28-29 and released Tuesday.

Nervous rambling, sly chuckles to [email protected]

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