- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Between the squawking over the State of the Union Address and chatter about Russian collusion, Americans now live in a noisy, often polarizing melodrama — which is a lot of work. Some thrive in the environment. Like President Trump, the Republican Party has remained admirably on task and focused during all the unruly upheavals, whether they are created or genuine. Case in point. Within hours of Mr. Trump’s speech, the Republican National Committee’s winter meeting begins, staged at a hotel a dozen blocks from the White House. The three-day gathering begins with an address by Newt Gingrich.

If “keep calm and carry on” could be considered a political strategy, then the GOP is on to it. Despite unprecedented hostility from political rivals and the news media, the Republican National Committee itself has displayed a proactive, concise and polished demeanor in recent days, firing off tactical messages to the base, and plenty of woo to independents and disgruntled undecided voters or Democrats. The Republican Party is not shy about touting its campaign prowess either.

The war chest is in fine fettle. The party has raised an unprecedented $121.4 million so far with no debts, even as the Democratic Party scampers to keep up and the 2018 midterms take shape on the horizon. Keep in mind that the GOPers “carry on” with purpose amid such public distractions as Stormy Daniels‘ appearances on ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live” and “The View” in the days surrounding the president’s State of the Union address. Ms. Daniels, an adult film star, previously claimed to have had a liaison with Mr. Trump 12 years ago, but backed off that claim on Tuesday.

Republicans have fine-tuned their ground game with precise, data-driven outreach. According to none other than MSNBC, Republican strategists have created 1 billion “predictions” — described as “stunningly detailed” voter profiles — to help them understand the authentic motivations of voters.

“It is a level of sophistication that they claim even the vaunted Obama machine didn’t have,” observed MSNBC’s senior national correspondent Chris Jansing, who recently followed the GOP teamwork in Nevada.


The skyline of the nation’s capital has taken on a new meaning for some.

“This is the coolest view in town because we’re at the top of Capitol Hill. You basically can see everything from here,” House Speaker Paul D. Ryan recently told Fox News anchor Ainsley Earhardt when the two were touring the Capitol, stopping to pay homage to the Rotunda, Statuary Hall, and ultimately a broad balcony which overlooks the National Mall. Mr. Ryan was enthusiastic.

“And see, the Washington Monument is the tallest thing. You see the second tallest? The structure here in Washington, the tower? You know what that is?” he asked his guest.

“What is that?” Ms. Earnhardt responded.

“That’s the Trump Hotel. When I brought the president and the first lady out here to show them the view, he said, ‘Hey, that’s my hotel’.”

Mr. Ryan had an appreciative laugh.

“That was pretty cool,” he concluded.

Indeed. The Trump International Hotel stands 315 feet high, the Washington Monument is 555 feet. They are the signature entities of the Washington profile, looming up, unmistakable and majestic. Mr. Trump has held the lease on the property — once the historic National Post Office — since 2013. Following a $200 million renovation, the hotel opened nine days before Mr. Trump was elected president. It is a monument for his fans.

“When I come over the bridge from Virginia and I see the Washington Monument, the Capitol and the Trump hotel, I feel pretty good. It’s symbolic to see them lined up together. Kind of reassuring, and kind of great,” one of those Trump fans recently told Inside the Beltway


Roger Stone, author and veteran political presence, has been on a “Truth Tour” tour in America lately, speaking in several cities, including Boca Raton, Florida, where the host organization called him a “legend.” Now he is in Britain having a say. On Tuesday, Mr. Stone appeared at the esteemed Oxford Union, a center for debate and discussion at Oxford University which deemed Mr. Stone “the best known political consultant in America, with world-reknown skills in the art of campaign tactics.”

On Wednesday, Mr. Stone is bound for The Bow Group, founded in London 66 years ago and described by the founders as Britain’s “oldest conservative think tank.” The event — billed as “Get Us Roger Stone” — includes a formal dinner at the private Royal Air Force Club in the swank Mayfair district of London. Tickets are around $150, and the event is sold out.


The American Gaming Association estimates that Americans will wager approximately $4.76 billion on Super Bowl 52 between the New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday. The trade group says that due to a “failed federal law,” a staggering 97 percent of total wagers, equaling more than $4.6 billion, will be bet illegally across the United States.

Only 3 percent, or $138.5 million, of Super Bowl bets are expected to be legally wagered through licensed sports books in Nevada, the only state exempted from the federal ban on full-scale sports betting, notes the association, which is based in the nation’s capital.

“Thanks to the failed federal ban on sports betting, Americans are sending billions of their hard-earned dollars to corner bookies, shady offshore operators and other criminal enterprises,” says Geoff Freeman, president and CEO of the group. “The big question we’re asking: Is 2018 finally the year when governments, sporting bodies and the gaming industry work together to put the illegal sports betting market out of business?”


65 percent of Americans say the federal government does not do enough to help older people; 58 percent of Republicans and 73 percent of Democrats agree.

62 percent overall say the government does not do enough to help poor people; 36 percent of Republicans and 82 percent of Democrats agree.

51 percent overall say the government does not help younger people enough; 29 percent of Republicans and 69 percent of Democrats agree.

51 percent overall say the government does not help the middle class enough; 51 percent of Republicans and 70 percent of Democrats agree.

5 percent overall say the government doesn’t help wealthy people enough; 6 percent of Republicans and 4 percent of Democrats agree.

Source: A Pew Research Center poll of 1,503 U.S. Adults conducted Jan. 10-15 and released Tuesday.

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