- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Who will replace House Speaker John A. Boehner when the time comes? The clock is ticking, and the suggestions are accumulating. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy? Maybe Reps. Jim Jordan, Jeb Hensarling or Daniel Webster?

“Here’s an idea. There is nothing in the Constitution that says the speaker must be an elected member of the House,” notes syndicated columnist Jonah Goldberg. “But there is one nonmember who might bring the skills the moment requires: Newt Gingrich. Gingrich was the architect of the ‘Contract with America.’ He led Republicans to the first congressional majority in 40 years. His speakership was not without faults, but Gingrich has matured. At 72, he is literally an elder statesman of the party and still one of its most gifted communicators.”

Mr. Goldberg continues: “He also happened to be, for a while, the first choice for president in 2012 among many of the same people who wanted Boehner’s head. He knows how backbench firebrands think, because he was one himself. More important, he’s got an encyclopedic grasp of the institution’s power and limitations.”

The columnist suggests that Mr. Gingrich could at least be a “placeholder” while the wrangling and tangling goes on in the House.

“He poses no long-term threat to anyone’s ambitions, and in the short term he could be a unifying figure. Gingrich always believed he had another rendezvous with destiny. Tanned, rested and ready, he may just be the guy to get that sandwich off the cafeteria menu,” Mr. Goldberg concludes.

‘WEAKNESS IS PROVOCATIVE’

“This is how wars begin. Nations are choosing sides,” says Rep. Trent Franks, following news that Russia had commenced conducting airstrikes in Syria. The Arizona Republican is also vice chairman of the House Emerging Threats and Capabilities Subcommittee.

“In the past, there was great reluctance to side against the United States, but under the leadership of President Obama, that dynamic is changing. As Iran, Iraq, Syria and Russia formalize their allegiances to one another, this administration continues to stare blankly across the negotiating table hoping radical, violent hatred for America will disappear into thin air,” Mr. Franks continues. “Weakness is provocative. Whether it’s a KGB thug like Vladimir Putin or Ayatollah Khamenei, our adversaries are preying on the weakness that the Obama administration projects around the world. President Obama traveled to the Middle East in 2009 to apologize for — what he thought was — the malign influence of the United States in the region over the past decade.”

Fox News analyst Ralph Peters says that the aforementioned Russian president, Mr. Putin, is making his move in the Middle East because he knows Mr. Obama will not respond militarily. He adds that Mr. Putin will not actually go after the Islamic State, noting, “It’s transparent. He wants to wipe out all the opposition to Assad except Islamic State, leaving the world with a stark choice: Support Assad or support Islamic State. This guy is good, and we have a pixie dust president who still thinks he can say something three times and make it come true.”

TRUMP’S 10 BEST STOCK MARKET BETS

Republican front-runner Donald Trump does not play the stock market at the moment. But he once did. “A July disclosure through the Federal Election Commission offered voters a close look at Donald Trump’s onetime stock portfolio, which he liquidated by January 2014 in preparation for his bid for the presidency,” notes Steve Schaefer, who covers the markets for Forbes and pored over the candidate’s disclosure himself.

Mr. Schaefer determined the candidate invested $67.3 million and made $27 million on the transactions at the time — a 40 percent return. And the columnist says the following 10 stocks were Mr. Trump’s “biggest winners.” They are: Facebook, Bank of America, Best Buy, Boeing, Morgan Stanley, Yahoo, Johnson & Johnson, Goldman Sachs, MetLife and Apple.

BUMPER PATROL

“When you elect clowns, expect a circus.”

— Bumper sticker spotted in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

JEB STANDS FOR THE ‘SKINS

The Washington Redskins have at least one high-profile politician on their side when it comes to the ongoing battle over the team’s name and whether it’s offensive to American Indians: Republican hopeful Jeb Bush stands by the name.

“I don’t think they should change it. But again, I don’t think politicians ought to have any say in that, to be honest with you. I don’t find it offensive. Native American tribes generally don’t find it offensive,” Mr. Bush tells The Arena, a new SiriusXM show that showcases both sports and political figures.

“We had a similar kind of flap with Florida State University, if you recall,” Mr. Bush continued, recalling the school’s own team name, the Seminoles. “And the Seminole tribe itself kind of came to the defense of the university, and it subsided. It’s a sport, for crying out loud. It’s a football team.”

The former Florida governor added, “Washington has a huge fan base. I’m missing something here, I guess.”

Some are not happy with his candor.

“Jeb Bush’s support of the Washington football team’s name and mascot is extremely insulting to Native American people and is one of many reasons he will not earn the Native American vote. The team’s name is a racial slur that perpetuates negative stereotypes of Native American people and reduces proud cultures to an insulting caricature,” declares Democratic National Committee chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

THEY STILL STAND FOR RAND

Easy come, easy go in presidential politics? Not necessarily. Purple PAC — a super PAC supporting Republican hopeful Sen. Rand Paul — has stopped raising money for his presidential candidacy. Concerned American Voters, another super PAC, has not stopped, however. Jeff Frazee, president of the organization, says he’s pleased with the amount of money coming in, and “committed and confident Rand will rise again this next quarter.”

Matt Kibbe, president of FreedomWorks and an adviser to the group, is convinced that voters as well as donors still seek “a principled, libertarian voice” on foreign policy, tax cuts and criminal justice reform.

“Our operations in Iowa continue to grow, and we anticipate wild swings in the polls, just like four years ago. We’ll be ready,” Mr. Kibbe says. “Rand is unique because of his track record and leadership on these issues. Once we get through these flavors of the week and the field narrows, Rand will emerge as the anti-establishment choice.”

POLL DU JOUR

• 95 percent of likely U.S. voters say they would vote for a “qualified” woman for president; 92 percent of Republicans, 95 percent of independents and 97 percent of Democrats agree.

• 93 percent of voters overall say they would vote for a qualified Catholic for president; 94 percent of Republicans, 92 percent of independents and 94 percent of Democrats agree.

• 53 percent overall say they would vote for a qualified atheist for president; 37 percent of Republicans, 61 percent of independents and 59 percent of Democrats agree.

• 49 percent overall say they would vote for a qualified Muslim for president; 26 percent of Republicans, 54 percent of independents and 63 percent of Democrats agree.

• 39 percent overall say a Muslim could be elected president; 36 percent of Republicans, 41 percent of independents and 40 percent of Democrats agree.

Source: A USA Today/Suffolk University poll of 1,000 likely U.S. voters conducted Sept. 24-28

• Polite applause, petty annoyances to [email protected]

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