- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 18, 2016

MARK LEVIN GETS A TV SHOW

Conservative talk-radio kingpin Mark Levin just signed a contract to continue his nationwide broadcast for another nine years. Now he’s upping the ante: Mr. Levin will launch his own daily TV show on March 7 — emphasizing liberty-minded “pro-American and patriotic values.”

Content will include history, economics, philosophy and the latest political and current events, according to advance production notes, with exclusive, long-form guest interviews. Find a preview of the new show at LevinTV.com

“I have the greatest audience in the world and I give them my best every night,” notes Mr. Levin. “I will speak directly to my audience — uncensored, without middlemen, and commercial free. I make no excuses for my patriotism, I am proud of it.”

RIVALS: THE HUGE, HISTORICAL AGE DIFFERENCE

There is a good chance GOP primary voters will face a choice between candidates who are among the oldest and youngest nominees in party history, says Eric Ostermeier, a University of Minnesota political professor and a meticulous historical researcher. He refers to front-runner Donald Trump and close rival Sen. Ted Cruz. The age gap between them is the largest between GOP candidates in over 150 years.

Mr. Trump — surely a plug for the coy adage “70 is the new 50” — turns 70 in November and would be just the fourth Republican standard bearer who was a 70-something. That exclusive club includes Ronald Reagan, aged 73 when he ran in 1984; Bob Dole, also 73 when he was a hopeful on 1996; and finally, Sen. John McCain, who was 72 when he was charging down the trail in 2008.

At 45, Mr. Cruz is 24 years younger than Mr. Trump. Only two previous GOP nominees were that young at the time of the general election: former Senator John Fremont, who was 43 way back in 1856; and New York Gov. Thomas Dewey, age 42 in his 1944 race.

Only one other pair of dueling Republicans had a greater age gap than Messrs. Trump and Cruz — that was at the party’s first convention in 1856 between the aforementioned Fremont and Supreme Court Justice John McLean.

“McLean was 71 years old, making a 28-year difference between the two contenders, four years greater than Trump and Cruz,” notes the ever-patient Mr. Ostermeier.

TODAY’S TED-ISM

“When I am president of the United States, we will invest in our military with a simple goal: more tooth, less tail.”

GOP hopeful Sen. Ted Cruz, during a rally Tuesday in Charleston, S.C. Find the candidate’s proposal to rebuild the U.S. military here: Tedcruz.org/american-resolve.

SOMETHING PLEASANT FOR A CHANGE

The nation’s capital appears to be in chaos at times. But that hasn’t stopped a pair of magnificent bald eagles from setting up housekeeping in a tulip poplar tree in the U.S. National Arboretum on the far northeast edge of town. Somehow, the non-profit American Eagle Foundation and the 444-acre federal garden site have set up a pair of high-definition cameras near the big, bristling nest of “Mr. President” and “The First Lady,” who are tending two eggs expected to hatch mid-March. Find the 24-hour cameras here: dceaglecam.org.

REAL SOCIALISTS PONDER BERNIE

As a presidential hopeful, Sen. Bernard Sanders unapologetically describes himself as a “democratic socialist,” prompting much discussion about the candidate’s political pedigree — and attracting the attention of the New York-based Socialist Party USA, where the motto is, “Let’s build a future worthy of our dreams.” They too have a presidential candidate in mind for 2016. That would be Emidio “Mimi” Soltysik, who has a thought about Mr. Sanders.

“What I see is a candidate who’s running on the Democratic Party ticket. To me, Sanders sounds more like a progressive Democrat/social Democrat. I don’t see him putting forth a socialist proposal. I’m not seeing him talk about workers owning the means of production. I don’t see imperialism as a part of any socialist platform, period. So I think that there are some very fundamental differences,” Mr. Soltysik recently told The Socialist, the party’s official publication.

Then there is the Party for Socialism and Liberation, founded 12 years ago in San Francisco. They also have been sizing up Mr. Sanders and they also have own presidential candidate.

“There have been no signs that the Sanders campaign’s momentum will let up. For a candidate to have gone from being considered non-serious to a real contender so explosively is testament to the depth and breadth of anger at Wall Street and the political establishment that exists in society. It also indicates serious weaknesses in the Clinton political machine, despite its vast network of contacts and lavish funding, including $21.4 million from the financial sector at the end of 2015,” says Walter Smolarek, managing editor for Liberation, the party’s newspaper.

And their candidate? Gloria La Riva, a San Francisco-based labor, community and anti­war activist, is pushing a 10-point campaign agenda that includes an end to capitalism, free health care, education and affordable housing, and “making a job a constitutional right.”

NOW THERE’S A THOUGHT

“I have spoken often about the need for faith and compassion in America,” says Republican hopeful Ben Carson. “However, enforcing our immigration laws is not in contradiction with love and kindness. As Christians, we are called to love our neighbors. But as a nation, we must also defend our sovereignty and security.”

WOMEN VOTING FOR WOMEN

Yeah, well so much for that. A new Rasmussen Reports poll asked 1,000 voters if women have an “obligation” to vote for a woman candidate, as suggested in a recent campaign event for Hillary Clinton. Only 4 percent of the respondents said it’s more important for women to vote for a woman candidate because she is a female. Ninety-one percent disagree and place more importance on where the woman candidate stands on the issues. The survey was conducted Feb. 9-10.

A DWINDLING U.S. MILITARY

The Census Bureau recently released statistics showing how much America has changed in the last five decades, revealing that the active-duty military population has dropped from 3.4 million then to 1.3 million now. The diminished military has not been lost on the public: A new Gallup poll finds 49 percent of Americans say the U.S. is the top military power on the planet — down from 59 percent only a year ago. Of note to presidential hopefuls: 67 percent of the respondents also believe “being No. 1” in military might is important.

There are partisan kinks: 37 percent say the U.S. is not spending enough on the military, but 66 percent of Republicans and only 20 percent of Democrats agree. Another 32 percent say we’re spending too much, but here just 9 percent of Republicans and 45 percent of Democrats in the poll agree. A hopeful 27 percent say the spending is “about right.” Among Republicans, it’s 23 percent, among the Democrats, 32 percent.

“Defense and military spending have been a significant talking point for Republican presidential candidates,” Gallup notes in an analysis. “Sen. Ted Cruz, for example, says, ‘In order to restore America’s safety and security, we must rebuild our military. If you think defending the country is expensive, try not defending it.’ Donald Trump says he would ‘build up the military so nobody messes with us,’ and Marco Rubio says he would ‘work to begin to undo the damage caused by $1 trillion in indiscriminate defense cuts.’ ”

PRESIDENTIAL RETAIL

Let us consider presidential ephemera — the letters, autographs and documents from the nation’s highest office. Up for sale from the Raab Collection, a premier auction house: Lofty presidential whatnot boasting amazing penmanship, some with equally lofty price tags.

Abraham Lincoln’s original order for a blockade of the Confederacy weighs in at $900,000, though a simple typewritten letter from Theodore Roosevelt is $2,800. The auction house has also assembled “The Mount Rushmore Collection” featuring documents from all four presidents found at the noble mountaintop. That’s a mere $148,500.

Peeking is free, however. Find it all at RaabCollection.com — along with an intriguing advisory for those who my have something to sell.

THE DAWN OF KASICH

Many Republicans say they want an emphatic, savvy outsider who can maintain a strong U.S. stance on the global stage. But sooner or later, those voters must ascertain who’s got authentic muscle, and who’s good for the long march to Nov. 8 over eight months away.

Though all the hopefuls qualify to a certain extent, Gov. John Kasich is getting kudos for his civil behavior during the past two GOP debates, warning his peers against the follies of infighting and even shrugging off suggestions that he’d made a viable vice presidential running mate for Donald Trump. And voila: Mr. Kasich garnered second place in the field after the New Hampshire primary; a survey by American Research Group following the Saturday debate also found him in second place.

“John Kasich knows what he believes, he has successfully brought people together to deliver conservative results, he is a tested executive and he is staying above the fray to lay out a strong, positive way forward for our nation,” says Beth Hansen, his campaign manager.

ABOUT THAT NOMINATION

The squabble is on following the untimely passing of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. And it’s going to get louder. Shannen Coffin, contributing editor to the National Review, points out that there’s no “Goldilocks” replacement candidate who’s not too hot, not too cold — and just right.

“The truth of the matter is that no such nominee exists. It’s like the Loch Ness monster of the Left, except that some people have actually claimed to see Nessie. President Obama simply isn’t going to nominate someone who does not meet the liberal ideological litmus tests he has defined for the job. If he were looking to build consensus, it would be a historical first in his administration,” Mr. Coffin observes.

POLL DU JOUR

80 percent of Americans do not follow the Academy Awards very closely; 84 percent of Republicans, 84 percent of independents and 71 percent of Democrats agree.

53 percent overall prefer to watch movies at home; 58 percent of Republicans, 52 percent of independents and 50 percent of Democrats agree.

40 percent overall say they never or “almost never” go to a movie in a theater; 38 percent of Republicans, 42 percent of independents and 38 percent of Democrats agree.

17 percent overall say they follow the Academy Awards “fairly closely”; 14 percent of Republicans, 14 percent of independents and 23 percent of Democrats agree.

4 percent overall say they follow the Academy Awards “very closely”; 2 percent of Republicans, 3 percent of independents and 6 percent of Democrats agree.

Source: An Economist/YouGov poll of 2,000 U.S. adults conducted Jan. 27-30 and released Friday.

Follow Jennifer Harper on Twitter @HarperBulletin

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