- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 1, 2017

The Libertarian Party has offered some quiet applause for President Trump, citing his goal of reducing pesky federal government regulations by 75 percent, along with his canny proposal to eliminate two existing regulations whenever a new regulation is proposed. Interesting. The Libertarians have a point of contention, however. Regulations are not neat and uniform, they say, reasoning that some regulations “impose 100 times the burden that others do. So a two-for-one deal won’t necessarily result in a net reduction in red tape, bureaucratic obstruction or “needless government meddling” in people’s lives.

“Progress requires that any new regulation be less onerous than that which it replaces,” says Nicholas Sarwark, chairman of the Libertarian National Committee. “The American economy rose to unprecedented heights and became the envy of the world before today’s regulatory regime took hold. If we’re going to create jobs and make America great, it must include a massive reduction in government meddling in businesses and in the lives of Americans.”

And while the Libertarian Party is not so keen on Mr. Trump’s immigration policy, they are eyeing the future with intense interest. Their real focus now lies in rallying potential Libertarian candidates to run in 2018. The party made significant advances in attracting voters in 2016; presidential hopeful Gary Johnson won 3.3 percent of the national vote, over three times the number he won in his 2012 run. The party hopes to play off the gains.

“You have endless options for how you can change the world and make it a more Libertarian place,” the party advises in a new public outreach for potential candidates. “Decide what brings you the most satisfaction and go for it! Election Days come around on a regular basis and they sneak up on us quickly.”

WAYNE LAPIERRE AT THE WHITE HOUSE

National Rifle Association President Wayne LaPierre was at the White House on Wednesday, part of a conservative coalition assembled for a cordial “listening session” with President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence in the Roosevelt Room. Mr. LaPierre, in fact, was seated next to the president as the group weighed in on the nomination of Neil Gorsuch for the Supreme Court — and other matters.

The names of attendees — who are all in leadership roles at their respective organizations — tell the story:

Along with Mr. LaPierre, the group included Morton Blackwell, The Leadership Institute; Tom Collamore, U.S. Chamber of Commerce; Marjorie Dannenfelser, Susan B. Anthony List; Juanita D. Duggan, National Federation of Independent Business; Leonard Leo, Federalist Society; Penny Nance, Concerned Women for America; Grover Norquist, Americans for Tax Reform; David O’Steen, National Right to Life; Paula White, New Destiny Christian Center; and Charmaine Yoest, American Values.

FOR THE LEXICON

Ready for (Not My) President’s Day? It’s now on the calendar.

A certain segment of the population still unhappy with the outcome of the 2016 election has a pronounced taste for noisy marches and rallies. Now scheduled for Feb. 20 — which is President’s Day: multiple gatherings that include rallies, performances and other activities. Formal plans are taking shape in New York City, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Minneapolis, the District of Columbia and other cities, organized by those who did not vote for President Trump. Needless to say, they appear keenly interested in protesting outside Trump properties.

EVEN PHIL HAS POLL ISSUES

OK, Wednesday is the big day for Punxsutawney Phil, who now supports an entire cottage industry in Pennsylvania when he makes his annual appearance and weather prediction. There is, for example, associated wine and craft beer festivals, a Groundhog Ball and a footrace.

But alas, even Phil has trouble with tepid favorability numbers in this day and age. Yes, there’s a Groundhog Day Survey to consider from NationToday.com, a website that tracks the many holidays on the burgeoning U.S. calendar. And here is what they found:

While 89 percent of Americans have a fairly clear idea about the purpose of Groundhog Day, 51 percent don’t actually know on what day it falls. The rest of the findings aren’t exactly promising for Phil and company.

The poll also found that 42 percent don’t celebrate Groundhog Day, while another 30 percent say it is a “pointless holiday.” A quarter of Americans have never seen a real groundhog in the first place; another 13 percent celebrate Groundhog Day by watching the 1993 movie “Groundhog Day.” A true-blue 12 percent agree that “the real meaning of Groundhog Day is Punxsutawney Phil.”

And about the purpose of the whole thing: The survey found that 8 percent believe the groundhog is “always right about the weather,” while 7 percent celebrate the day each year. Three percent use it as an excuse not to go to work.

FORGING AHEAD

A round of applause, please, for the House Homeland Security Committee, which produced 17 bills to improve U.S. border and transportation security, cybersecurity defenses, first responder capabilities and the efficient management of all these efforts. Every one of the bills passed in the House on Tuesday. The legislation appears to be clear and doable.

“The committee is working to get common-sense legislation signed into law as soon as possible and make our country safer by doing so,” says committee chairman Rep. Michael T. McCaul, Texas Republican.

POLL DU JOUR

• 31 percent of Americans say President Trump will try to keep most of his campaign promises; 38 percent of Republicans, 20 percent of independents and 13 percent of Democrats agree.

• 27 percent say Mr. Trump will try to keep some of them; 10 percent of Republicans, 29 percent of independents and 38 percent of Democrats agree.

• 24 percent overall say Mr. Trump will try to keep all of his promises; 47 percent of Republicans, 20 percent of independents and 13 percent of Democrats agree.

• 10 percent say Mr. Trump will try to keep “hardly any” of his promises; 3 percent of Republicans, 9 percent of independents and 18 percent of Democrats agree.

• 8 percent are not sure; 2 percent of Republicans, 13 percent of independents and 5 percent of Democrats agree.

Source: An Economist/YouGov poll of 1,500 U.S. adults conducted Jan. 28-31.

• Squawks and quiet peeps to [email protected]

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