- The Washington Times - Monday, October 30, 2017

President Trump is honing his prowess as a statesman, policy wrangler and defender of the nation. Despite months of partisan challenges, Mr. Trump has not lost his heartfelt and authentic respect for everyday Americans; he knows what resonates with them, and he has the showbiz sensibility to reach a wide audience. The president has not lost touch with his public, and it plays in his favor.

“By a narrow 216-212 margin, the House moved the tax-cut football to another first down on Thursday. To actually cross the goal line, Republicans had best keep President Trump’s priorities in mind. The president has an excellent feel for public opinion (in particular for his voters) and a nose for what just won’t fly,” advises a New York Post editorial.

Indeed, Mr. Trump warned lawmakers not to mess with popular 401(k) plans because it would give Democrats an ideal excuse to claim Republicans were clueless about everyday folks. Mr. Trump also backed the creation of a fourth tax bracket, and supported lowering corporate taxes to help create more jobs.

“The president again has his eye on how it’ll all look to regular Americans,” the Post editorial board noted. “With the minority party so desperate to kill the GOP plan, Republican leaders would be fools to ignore Trump’s guidance on what the public will buy.”

The furious Democratic Party, meanwhile, is in predator mode about all this — still pushing its standard narrative that the tax plan benefits the rich at the expense of the middle class. And one more thing. They’ve got the “Rally to Resist the Republican Tax Scam” ready to roll.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Ron Wyden, plus Reps. Pramila Jayapal and Ted Lieu are among the Democratic lawmakers who will attend the public gathering Wednesday just outside the U.S. Capitol. It has been organized by a dozen progressive groups — including MoveOn.org, Public Citizen and Center for American Progress and has all the bells and whistles.

“Speakers at the rally will demand that President Trump release his tax returns so the American people know just how much he stands to gain from a tax bill that benefits the wealthy and well-connected. With his campaign chairman under indictment for colluding with Russia, we need to know where his financial entanglements are and how the bill will benefit him, his cabinet, and his donors,” the organizers advise.

IN CASE YOU NEED A LITTLE SOMETHING

Yes, Inside the Beltway wishes you and yours a happy Halloween. Beyond that, HGTV offers something for the adults who miss trick-or-treating. Behold, it’s the Almond Joy Martini. And a fairly simple matter.

The ingredients are one ounce each of Three Olives chocolate vodka, Frangelico and coconut rum. Combine all ingredients with ice in a cocktail shaker. Shake until well-blended, then strain into a chilled martini glass. Elegant, says the cable network.

C-SPAN HAS THE HEARINGS

The Russian collusion matter will be around for a while. Amid the din, stay informed with some unembellished fare. C-SPAN3, C-SPAN.org and C-SPAN Radio will have live complete coverage of three “Russian Interference” hearings. Facebook, Twitter and Google executives are expected to testify before a trio of Republicans lawmakers.

Things get underway Tuesday at 2:30 p.m. with the Senate Crime and Terrorism Subcommittee chaired by Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina exploring “Extremist content and Russian disinformation.”

On Wednesday, the Senate Select Intelligence Committee chaired by Sen. Richard Burr of North Carolina explores social media influence on the 2016 election at 9:30 a.m. Later that day, at 2 p.m., House Select Intelligence Committee chairman Rep. Devin Nunes presides over the “Russia Investigative Task Force on Social Media Companies.”

ZOMBIE REGULATIONS

Are they thinking of President Trump on Halloween? Americans for Limited Government have just released a new PSA airing on Fox News and other outlets which encourages Mr. Trump to get rid of Obama-era “zombie” regulators who are still wreaking regulatory havoc on the lives of Americans and the economy.

The new spot cites two federal officials in particular and suggests the president repeal or freeze Obama-era regulations.

The script tells all.

“Obama’s zombie regulators. They just keep coming back. Richard Cordray, director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Mel Watt, director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency. The Obama zombie regulators are threatening the Trump agenda,” intones the narrator. “It’s time to end the Obama administration. It’s time to drain the swamp.”

$9.1 BILLION, AND SOME PET PROJECTS

The National Retail Federation reports that 71 percent of Americans will celebrate Halloween this year, and they will spend a record-breaking $9.1 billion on it this year. Over $3.4 billion of that amount will be on costumes.

The industry group also reports that 16 percent of the nation will buy a costume for their pet, mostly dogs, with a few bold cats in the mix.

Some costumes are more popular than others. The most popular costume among pets, or at least their owners, is a pumpkin, followed by a hot dog, lion, pirate, bumblebee, Batman, ghost, witch — or any character out of “Star Wars.”

POLL DU JOUR

70 percent of Americans would prefer to order food in a restaurant from a person rather than an automated kiosk; 54 percent prefer a person at a drug or convenience store.

51 percent a person at grocery checkout, 47 percent prefer a person at airport check-ins, 31 percent prefer a person for small banking transactions.

46 percent believe a significant number of retail workers will be replaced by automation.

45 percent say such technology will make people more isolated from one another.

41 percent say that automation of daily activities in the next decade will make quality of life better.

Source: AN AP/NORC poll of 1,038 U.S. adults conducted Aug. 17-21 and released Sunday.

Doggerel and caterwaul to [email protected]

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