- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 4, 2016

Saturday marks what would have been Ronald Reagan’s 105th birthday, a significant and heartfelt occasion still celebrated with much ado. Consider the major event at the Reagan Library in Simi Valley, California, complete with the Camp Pendleton Marine Division Band, a color guard, the blessings of a chaplain, a brass quintet, a 21-gun salute, an aircraft flyover, the placing of a White House wreath at the grave site and remarks by Brigadier Gen. Edward D. Banta, commander of U.S. Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, and Marlin Fitzwater, Reagan’s press secretary.

Then there is the new statue. It’s a doozy. The 11-foot tall, 11-foot long bronze tatue by sculptor Donald Reed weighs in at 2,500 pounds and will be unveiled outside the library’s spectacular Air Force One Pavilion. It depicts the 40th president astride his favorite horse El Alamein and is titled “Along the Trail.”

The heroic but cheerful work — privately funded, incidentally — has a secret. One of Reagan’s personal belt buckles and a piece of the Berlin Wall were wrapped in muslin and placed inside a fireproof security box — to be tucked inside the sculpture itself. Also debuting: The Ronald Reagan Presidential $1 Coin and the Nancy Reagan First Spouse Coin — both from the U.S. Mint.

STILL THE LAND OF OPPORTUNITY

Just for a few brief moments, let’s ponder the numbers from “The American Opportunity Index,” a new poll of likely primary voters conducted by Eureka College — Ronald Reagan’s alma mater — released in time for his birthday. There’s a little Reagan optimism in everybody, it appears. Despite the ongoing national tumult of cultural change, security threats, a quivering economy and a rancorous press, a hefty majority of people agree with this statement: “America gives me the freedom and opportunity to use my talents and skills to pursue my dreams.”

The survey reveals that 91 percent agreed, in fact — including 92 percent of both Republicans and Democrats, 87 percent of independents, 96 percent of blacks, 91 percent of whites, 86 percent of Hispanics, 91 percent of men, 90 percent of women, 94 percent of those over 65, 90 percent of those aged 41 to 65, 92 percent of the 30-40 set and even 84 percent of the under 30s. More numbers in the Poll du Jour at column’s end.


SEE ALSO: Cruz, Rubio closing in on Trump after Iowa: Poll


FOR THE LEXICON

“Marcomentum”

— Catchall term for Sen. Marco Rubio’s increasing traction in the 2016 race. Replaces “Jebmentum,” which first appeared in the popular press in 2014, and possibly “Christiementum,” which peaked in popularity among journalists about two months ago. “Trumpmentum” and “Cruzmentum” however, are still very much in the mix.

TRUMPISM

What does Republican front-runner Donald Trump say to a female member of the audience who insists that illegal immigrants are the “backbone” of America? Here’s his reply during a town hall in Exeter, New Hampshire on Thursday:

“I don’t think so, darling. I don’t think so, I don’t think so. No — I don’t think so. They’re not the backbone. Let me just tell you something. You know what’s the backbone of our country? People that came here and they came here legally. And they worked their ass off and they made the country great. That’s the backbone.”

WEEKEND CANDIDATE TRACKER

Yes, it’s all about New Hampshire this weekend, what with the state primary on Tuesday. And yes, there’s yet another Republican debate Saturday night in Manchester hosted by ABC News; let’s hope important policy stuff does not get overwhelmed by querulous infighting. Most unattractive.

Govs. Chris Christie and John Kasich plus Carly Fiorina each have 10 events, followed by Sen. Ted Cruz with seven, Jeb Bush with six and Sen. Marco Rubio with four. Mr. Rubio — a former college quarterback — is the only candidate staging a Super Bowl watch party at a country club in Manchester. Ben Carson, meanwhile, has three events while Donald Trump will stage two of his signature jumbo rallies. Jim Gilmore, who is still in the race, has two town halls.

Following two televised debates this week, Democrats Hillary Clinton and Sen. Bernard Sanders are not so active. Mrs. Clinton will be at a major fundraiser in Boston on Friday followed by three meet-and-greets. Also campaigning for her in New Hampshire: Sens. Al Franken, Jeanne Shaheen, Kirsten Gillibrand, Barbara Mikulski, Amy Klobuchar and Debbie Stabenow plus Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards. Mr. Sanders is presumably taking a brief breather in his home state Vermont, right next door. By Wednesday, the candidate stampede is on once again, this time in South Carolina.

WEEKEND REAL ESTATE

Custom country colonial with railroad, built in 2003 in Greenfield, New Hampshire. Four bedrooms, four baths, 3,961 square feet on 12 acres; chef’s kitchen with granite counters and rock maple cabinetry, cathedral ceiling great room, dining and living rooms, library, hardwood flooring, large entertaining deck, extensive landscaping, workshop, plus “live steam” train with 1800 ft. of track, engine house, covered bridge, truss bridge, crossing lights. Priced at $549,000 through PetersonRealEstate.com; enter 4424701 in search function under “advanced search” heading.

POLL DU JOUR

90 percent of U.S. voters say they have greater freedom and opportunity to “pursue their dreams” than those in other nations; 91 percent of Republicans, 89 percent of Democrats and 89 percent of independents agree.

73 percent overall believe the “concept” of opportunity will exist in America’s future; 70 percent of Republicans, 81 percent of Democrats and 66 percent of independents agree.

63 percent overall say every American has the same opportunities; 69 percent of Republicans, 64 percent of Democrats and 63 percent of independents agree.

57 percent overall say America’s leaders work to preserve opportunity; 50 percent of Republicans, 72 percent of Democrats and 44 percent of independents agree.

54 percent overall say they have the same opportunities their parents and grandparents had; 57 percent of Republicans, 59 percent of Democrats and 45 percent of independents agree.

Source: A Eureka College/McLaughlin & Assoc. poll of 1,007 primary voters conducted Jan. 14-19 and released Thursday.

Cranky complaints, reasonable observations to [email protected]

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