- The Washington Times - Monday, October 23, 2017

A new book with a red, white and blue cover arrives Tuesday, and the title tells all: “Republican Like Me: How I Left the Liberal Bubble and Learned to Love the Right” by Ken Stern has surprised many onlookers in these cranky days of political discord and media mayhem. The author happens to be the very Democratic former CEO of National Public Radio, who took it upon himself to visit heartland America, flyover country, NASCAR races and feral hog hunts, among many things. In his quest for self-discovery, Mr. Stern may have established a whole new genre of political books: disgruntled Democrats who wonder whether Republicans and conservatives really are onto something. Will the liberal media ignore his efforts?

The author “set out for conservative America to find out why these people are so wrong about everything. It turns out, they weren’t,” advises publisher HarperCollins in advance notes.

“We may dislike the other side, but we are not nearly as different from them as we like to think we are,” Mr. Stern writes. “Our political perspective is often shaped by what others are suggesting we should think rather than by any careful and independent consideration of the issues.”

As a longtime Democrat, Mr. Stern admitted he didn’t leave his political comfort zone much, and couldn’t even find a single Republican in his own neighborhood.

“When all the people you know, when all the people in your political sect agree with you, it becomes easy to relax in the certainty that you and your cohort are right, and the other side is not just wrong, but also taking a long, slow bubble-bath in the sea of craziness,” Mr. Stern says. “When we don’t know the other side, when we don’t hear from them, when we don’t talk to them, when we can demonize them to our heart’s content, there are just no brakes on our sense of self-righteousness. Polarization is increasing because polarization is increasingly easy.”

Mr. Stern spent a year “listening, talking, and praying with Republicans of all stripes” at evangelical churches and tea party meetings, probing the thoughts of conservatives. For the first time, he took heed of Fox News and talk radio host Mark Levin.

“What happens when a liberal sets out to look at issues from a conservative perspective? Some of his dearly cherished assumptions about the right slipped away,” the publisher summarizes; find the book here

Mr. Stern fired a preliminary salvo about his cause in a recent New York Post column warning about biased media and the political divisions of America itself. It will be interesting if other liberal stalwarts follow suit out of either curiosity — or a personal need to do so.

TRUMP STANDS UP FOR STANDING

“The President has asked for a list of supporters who stand for the National Anthem. Add your name to show your patriotism and support,” advises a new public petition from President Trump himself, and billed as the official petition for the cause, which has been on public radar for months following the decision by some National Football League players to kneel during the anthem to draw attention to racial issues.

The petition was paid for by the Trump Make America Great Again Committee, a joint fundraising committee between Mr. Trump’s former presidential campaign and the Republican National Committee.

The petition is listed at the Republican National Committee’s website, marking the seventh time Mr. Trump has posted a public petition at the site.

Find the new offering at GOP.com/stand-for-anthem-petition.

ANOTHER 40,000

Judicial Watch announced Monday that the State Department revealed in a federal court hearing that it has yet to process 40,000 of 72,000 pages of “Hillary Clinton records” that the FBI recovered last year.

“The revelation came during a federal court hearing in Judicial Watch Freedom of Information Act lawsuit seeking former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s emails that were sent or received during her tenure from February 2009 to January 31, 2013,” the watchdog group noted in a statement.

“The hearing focused on the State Department’s progress on processing the tens of thousands of emails Clinton failed to disclose when she served as Secretary of State, some of which were emails sent by Clinton aide Huma Abedin that were found on the laptop of her estranged husband Anthony Weiner. The State Department has processed 32,000 pages of emails so far, a small number of which have been released, but 40,000 pages remain to be processed,” the organization said.

HOLLYWOOD CONSERVATIVES EYE PUBLIC OFFICE

“Seems there’s suddenly a slew of entertainment-industry folks — mostly on the right — who are considering a run for political office,” writes Paul Bond, a correspondent for The Hollywood Reporter. “Call it the Trump Effect: if a former reality TV star can win the presidency, then surely others in Hollywood — with less baggage, even — can get elected to office, goes the thinking.”

On his list of industry conservatives eyeing a possible run for high-profile public office: Kid Rock, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, soap opera star Anthony Sabato Jr. and Sam Sorbo, wife of Kevin Sorbo, the former “Hercules” stalwart who now specializes in faith-friendly movies.

Mrs. Sorbo, incidentally, is co-writer of “Let There Be Light, a new Christian feature film that opens Friday and marks the debut of Fox News Channel anchor Sean Hannity as an executive film producer.

“Politics is downstream from Hollywood, and I’m engaged in the culture through film. We’ll see what happens after that. But I love the idea of running. It would be fun,” Mrs. Sorbo told The Reporter.

POLL DU JOUR

61 percent of U.S. voters say gun control is “one of many important factors” in choosing a candidate they vote for; 62 percent of Republicans, 62 percent of independents and 60 percent of Democrats agree.

56 percent of gun owners and 63 percent of gun “nonowners” agree.

24 percent overall say they will only vote for a candidate who shares their views on gun control; 23 percent of Republicans, 23 percent of independents and 25 percent of Democrats agree.

30 percent of gun owners and 20 percent of gun nonowners agree.

12 percent overall say gun control is not a major issue; 14 percent of Republicans, 14 percent of independents, 9 percent of Democrats agree.

12 percent of gun owners and 13 percent of gun nonowners agree.

Source: A Gallup poll of 890 registered U.S. voters conducted Oct. 5-11 and released Monday.

• Kindly follow Jennifer Harper on Twitter @HarperBulletin

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