- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 3, 2016

GARY JOHNSON: ‘BE LIBERTARIAN WITH ME’

For those voters fatigued with Iowa and New Hampshire, there’s always Gary Johnson, the Libertarian presidential hopeful garnered 1.2 million votes when he ran in 2012 — about 1 percent of the total vote. This time around, Mr. Johnson may have a slim campaign budget. But he is presenting his case with considerable verve — and casting a wide net.

“I reach out to you, members of all political parties. I reach out to anyone with a vote and an ax to grind. From the tea party, the Constitution Party, the Green and Libertarian parties, I call out to all of you, including the disaffected and disillusioned among Republicans and Democrats,” Mr. Johnson says in an edgy new campaign video.

“Today there’s a handful of people in Washington, ruining America. This small group has presided over the elimination of the Bill of Rights and the systematic dismantling of our freedoms guaranteed to us under our Constitution. Our leaders have blown it. I ask you to join me in trying something that’s never been attempted before in America. Let’s put our political parties and our differences aside one time. Be Libertarian with me for one election.”

The former New Mexico governor has adopted “Be Libertarian with me” as a campaign slogan and advises that he vetoed 750 bills during his nine years in office, cut taxes 14 times, has scaled Mount Everest and built his own house in Taos. Campaign contributions, Mr Johnson notes, “are like fuel for liberty.”

THE HAIR-RAISING TOTAL

$19,012,827,698,417 and 93 cents.
— The current federal debt; the source is the U.S. Treasury Department.

ADVERTISERS PRAY IT’S BUSH Vs CLINTON

The 2016 race is projected to generate $6 billion in political advertising. And some candidates are more lucrative than others, apparently. “A Jeb Bush versus Hillary Clinton presidential race would be best for business for the nation’s leading political advertising firms,” notes a new survey of national political ad agencies.

When asked which candidate would generate the strongest ad spend, 44 percent of agencies say Mr. Bush would be the strongest GOP revenue generator. The respondents unanimously agreed that Mrs. Clinton was the moneymaker among the Democrats. Sen. Marco Rubio was the second choice, followed by Donald Trump.

“It’s not that surprising that, from a pure business perspective, political advertising agencies would like to see a Clinton-Bush matchup,” say Judd Rubin, vice president of STRATA, the Chicago-based media software adviser that conducted the survey.

“The story is Trump and his command of the earned media game. We’ve never seen anything like it and we may never see it again. After this campaign, there will be college courses examining Trump’s uncanny ability to demand media attention and his use of Twitter,” predicts Mr. Rubin.

GOP ENJOYS RECORD-BREAKING DONATIONS

They’re in the money. Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus announced Sunday that the party raised $105.6 million in 2015 — the most successful fundraising year without a sitting Republican president in RNC history, he says. The Democratic National Committee, in contrast, raised $76.5 million.

“Our record-breaking fundraising total is a testament to America’s enthusiasm to return a Republican to the White House,” Mr. Priebus said.

And to illustrate the GOP grass-roots groundswell: 98 percent of the donations were under $200, and the average donation was just $96.

GOP EQUATION: 2 HISPANICS AND A BLACK MAN

The insular political press consider themselves a “powerful weapon that benefits Democrats,” writes John Nolte, editor-at-large for Breitbart News. “But if this same media truly believed in science and objectivity, the results in Iowa would forever end their relentless smears against conservatives as racists. Tuesday night, one of the whitest and most conservative states in the country — Iowa — gave 60 percent of the Republican vote to two Hispanics and a black man.”

Mr. Nolte did all the math.

“For the first time in history a Hispanic won a presidential primary. But due to the fact that Sen. Ted Cruz is Republican, no one on the media dares say so. Hispanic Ted Cruz handily won the evening with 28 percent support. Hispanic Sen. Marco Rubio shocked the world with a third place showing of 23 percent. Dr. Ben Carson, a black man, came in 4th with 9 percent. Total: 60 percent,” Mr. Nolte continued.

“Meanwhile, over on the Democrat side, two people so old and so white they seem like something straight out of central casting, won 99 percent of the vote. Another white guy took the remaining 1 percent. Democrats gave their voters no other alternative.”

REASSURINGLY REAGAN

“I hear all these Republicans — and you know who they are; you’ve heard them yourself — run around talking about the era of Reagan is over. And we need to get past this Reagan fetish that we all have. You take a look at the Republican candidates here, and even some who haven’t made it this far. I could give you Ted Cruz. I could give you Marco Rubio, Bobby Jindal, and Scott Walker before they got out. Those are all people in their 40s to early 50s who are Reaganites,” talk radio host Rush Limbaugh told his vast audience on Monday.

“They all came of age and were influenced by Reagan. The future of the Republican Party is represented by candidates in the primary who are all Reaganites, to one degree or another. Meaning: There’s no way the era of Reagan is over. This election is an opportunity to continue it. It’s an opportunity to build on it. It’s an opportunity to actually elect a Republican president who is a Reaganite,” Mr. Limbaugh concluded.

ECONOMIC FREEDOM WANING

Introduced by The Heritage Foundation on Monday: The new 2016 Index of Economic Freedom, which shows that, for the second year in a row, the U.S. did not score among the 10 freest economies in the world. Repeat: The nation did not make the top 10. The U.S. has declined in status eight of the last 10 years, say the Heritage researchers, particularly noting, “President Obama’s second-term efforts to expand government spending and increase regulations on entrepreneurs have only worsened the problem.”

Find the report here: Heritage.org

THE DOG ATE MY TIMECARD

There’s a poll for everything. CareerBuilder — a workplace research group — recently surveyed 2,600 human resource managers around the nation who revealed that a third of their employees typically come in late for one reason or another. Over half blamed traffic, a third overslept, 28 percent blamed weather, 23 percent were simply tired and 15 percent cited child care problems. Then there were the other reasons, these volunteered by the respondents. The following are excuses HR folks had heard in the last year, verbatim:

“My hair caught on fire from my blow dryer. I was detained by Homeland Security. I had to chase my cows back into the field. A black bear entered my carport. My lizard had to have emergency surgery in the morning. All of my clothes were stolen. I was confused by the time change and unsure if it was spring forward or fall back. A Vaseline truck overturned on the highway.”

TOUGH TALK ON EXTREMISTS

When addressing Islamic extremists, should a U.S. president emphasize diplomacy or might, neutral words or a strong stance? A new Pew Research Center poll reveals a sharp partisan divide. Half of Americans say the next president should be careful not to criticize Islam as a whole when speaking about Islamic extremists; 29 percent of Republicans and 70 percent of Democrats agree.

Meanwhile, 40 percent overall want the next president to speak bluntly about Islamic extremists even if the statements are critical of Islam as a whole; 65 percent of Republicans and 22 percent of Democrats agree.

It is a very complicated social situation, with mixed feelings across the board. Here’s what else the poll found; 59 percent of Americans overall say Muslims in the U.S. today face a lot of discrimination; 42 percent of Republicans and 74 percent of Democrats agree.

Another 52 percent overall personally know a Muslim; 50 percent of Republicans and 57 percent of Democrats say the same.

And finally, a slim majority - 51 percent of Americans overall - say at least “some” Muslims in the U.S. are anti-American; 63 percent of Republicans and 41 percent of Democrats agree. Some disagree: 42 percent overall say “few or none” of the Muslims who live here are anti-American; 29 percent of Republicans and 54 percent of Democrats agree. The poll of 2,009 U.S. adults was conducted in mid-January.

POLL DU JOUR

85 percent of Americans give the U.S. Congress a negative job performance rating; 91 percent of Republicans, 89 percent of independents and 77 percent of Democrats agree.

70 percent overall give a negative rating to the “current state of the country”; 90 percent of Republicans, 76 percent of independents and 51 percent of Democrats agree.

94 percent of respondents who support Ben Carson agree, along with 91 percent of those who support Sen. Ted Cruz, 89 percent of those who support Donald Trump, 88 percent of Sen. Marco Rubio and 65 percent of those who support Jeb Bush.

43 percent of respondents who support Hillary Clinton also agree, along with 37 percent of those who support Sen. Bernard Sanders.

Source: A Harris Poll conducted Dec. 9-14 and Jan. 14-15 and released Friday.

Follow Jennifer Harper on Twitter @HarperBulletin

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