- - Friday, February 12, 2016

Veteran columnist and author Cal Thomas has stern opinions about what Washington politicians and other leaders are doing to America, but his heart melted toward Lady Gaga after hearing her powerful rendition of the national anthem at the Super Bowl.

“I would love to meet Lady Gaga,” Mr. Thomas told a recent gathering of Washington Times Insights Club members at the historic F. Scott’s room at 1789 Restaurant in Georgetown.

“She did a great job” at the Super Bowl, he gushed. “Love the eye shadow.”

Other newsmakers didn’t fare so well with the popular Fox News pundit: Donald Trump makes “meaningless” statements about outsmarting China on trade and building Mexican walls. Bernie Sanders is “channeling Robin Hood.” No one can actually answer the question, “What has Hillary Clinton done” to deserve election as president.

Even the modern political system wasn’t spared.

There really is “a Potomac fever here,” said Mr. Thomas, who started his syndicated opinion column in 1984, and was promptly picked up by The Washington Times.

Good people get elected saying they will “clean up Washington” and go home in two terms, he said. But then they get “infected,” and end up announcing they can’t leave because “my work isn’t finished.”

“Yes, it is. Get out of here,” Mr. Thomas said to laughter. “I believe in recycling trash and Congress for the same reason — each left in one place too long begins to emit a foul smell.”

The Feb. 11 evening event — which celebrated Mr. Thomas and his latest book, “What Works: Common Sense Solutions for a Stronger America” — began with a warm welcome from David Keene, opinion and editorial editor of The Washington Times and president of The Times’ Insights Club.

After Mr. Thomas spoke and answered many questions — except any about “who is your favorite presidential candidate?” — he signed copies of his book for the Insights Club members and guests.

America’s problems can begin to resolve if the people will study and uphold the Constitution, Mr. Thomas told the crowd.

Sadly, many Americans — especially young people — seem not to have even a basic understanding of the nation’s foundational documents, he said.

Recently, for example, Mr. Sanders told a New Hampshire crowd that “America was founded on the principle of fairness.”

“No, it wasn’t. You don’t find the word ‘fairness’ in the Declaration of Independence or the Constitution,” Mr. Thomas said. “The word you find is ‘liberty.’ The Founders wanted Americans to be liberated from an oppressive, intrusive, dictatorial government. …

“Maybe we should raise the voting age to 30,” he added, reading from an upcoming column. That way young Americans should have landed successful jobs “and resent having their paychecks gutted by a dysfunctional government.”

Cheryl Wetzstein is manager of special sections for TWT Media Group.

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