- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 12, 2018

Amused Republicans already know that the shrill call of left-leaning progressives ultimately could backfire on the Democratic Party as significant elections loom. But the GOP has a new wrinkle to worry about. Some Democrats also know this and are poised to mute all the left-leaning noise and “resistance,” and retool the party image into something that appeals to the huge, much coveted population of moderate voters and undecided folks in the heartland.

What’s more, the Dems could change their image without necessarily changing their policy in this age of political branding.

“A group of moderate Democratic lawmakers sounded the alarm over the party’s shift to the left, saying the embrace of ultra-liberal policies could endanger their efforts to capture Congress in the November midterm elections and the White House in 2020,” said USA Today, citing an event staged Thursday by New Democracy, a centrist interest group with says its mission is “to expand the Democratic Party’s appeal across red and purple America and make Democrats competitive everywhere.”

The resulting symposium — “Big Ideas for a Big Tent Party” — advised that “a purely negative campaign won’t get the job done in the long term,” and asking for ideas. The lawmakers responded.

“We’ve heard predictions of a blue wave, but it’s seems to me there’s far too many in our party who are just sitting on their hands waiting for it to wash over us and restore us to governing majorities,” Sen. Chris Coons of Delaware told the audience, noting that some in his party now are “engaging in a relentless race to the left to make more and more outrageous proposals.”

Mr. Coons went so far as to call progressive ideas like free college and guaranteed jobs “wild-eyed.”

Rep. Cheri Bustos of Illinois said that the Democratic Party has a serious branding issue and advised Democrats to home-in on “bread and butter issues” and economic matters.

“The center is sexier than you think,” Ms. Bustos said.

HEARINGS AS SPECTACLE

Multiple news organizations described FBI agent Peter Strzok’s hearing before Congress on Thursday as “chaos.” But there’s opportunity in such fare. Most news outlets included noisy video of the proceedings to push their own coverage: “See Strzok hit back at Gowdy,” said CNN in a public advisory. In the meantime, a brief review of headlines:

“FBI agent’s congressional hearing descends into chaos” (The Daily Beast); “Strzok hearing chaos: House chair threatens to hold FBI agent in contempt” (Yahoo News); “Peter Strzok hearing descends into chaos after first question” (RealClear Politics); “Chaos erupts during Congressional testimony” (CBN News); “Peter Strzok angrily rejects charges of bias at chaotic hearing” (The Associated Press); “Fireworks at Strzok hearing as GOP reps fume at anti-Trump FBI agent, threaten contempt” (Fox News).

There are more hearings to come of course. Meanwhile, it’s not a bad idea to peek at real-time activities of the FBI, which include busting a GI Bill fraud scheme this week. The work goes on. Find the agency at FBI.gov.

BERNIE GOES MAINSTREAM

“Not long ago, the idea that health care should be a right for every man, woman and child in this country was considered ‘radical’ or ‘fringe’ by members of the corporate media and political establishment,” Sen. Bernard Sanders notes in a new public outreach.

“When I introduced my Medicare for all legislation in 2013, I couldn’t find a single senator to co-sponsor the bill. We were even relentlessly attacked for the idea before the Iowa Caucuses in 2015. But today Medicare for all is a mainstream position in the Democratic Party. My bill has 16 co-sponsors in the Senate, and a version of the legislation has the support of a majority of Democrats in the House. Public polls conducted by nonpartisan organizations show a full 75 percent of Democratic voters support Medicare for all,” says the Vermont independent, who has established a public petition to pledge support for “Medicare-for-all.”

PAUL RYAN’S MOMENT OF TRUTH

House Speaker Paul D. Ryan had a pivotal message for The Economic Club of Washington when he paid a recent call to the organization.

“Emerging economies and old allies alike are making a choice. As we settle into the 21st century, will they follow what I would call the Chinese model, with centralized power, state-owned enterprises, cronyism, even outright theft? Or will they choose a system based on markets, the rule of law, transparency and the kind of potential only human capital can produce?” Mr. Ryan asked his audience.

“I believe most of these counties want the latter, but they need to know that the United States will be there to partner with them. The rule book for the global economy in the 21st century is being written now. The question is whether the United States will be holding the pen, or will we cede that authority to illiberal, undemocratic regimes. We must be there to set the tone and set the pace,” the speaker advised.

The GOP, meanwhile, has unleashed a new website that displays very positive gains in the U.S. economic realm, with plenty of numbers. Find it at BetterOffNow.gop.

WEEKEND REAL ESTATE

For sale: Historic antebellum mansion built in 1848 on two acres in Dresden, Tennessee. Five bedrooms, six baths, multiple formal rooms, chef’s kitchen, completely restored, “a jewel, a masterpiece”; 6,140 square feet. Includes original floors, built-ins, woodworking, antique bubble glass windows, grand foyer with suspended spiral staircase, 11-foot ceilings. Some original furnishings, piano convey. In-ground pool, landscaping, brick walkways, patios, 280-year-old white oak on property. Priced at $359,900 through UnitedCountry.com; find this home here.

POLL DU JOUR

82 percent of Americans say vacation travel by car is “appropriately priced,” 70 percent say the same about buses, 64 percent say the same about trains, 49 percent about airlines.

78 percent say travel by car is “efficient,” 72 percent say the same about airlines, 67 percent say the same about trains, 52 percent about buses.

74 percent say travel by car is “minimal hassle,” 48 percent say the same about buses, 44 percent say the same about airlines, 42 percent about trains.

74 percent say travel by car is “comfortable,” 68 percent say the same about trains, 49 percent say the same about airlines, 43 percent about buses.

67 percent say travel by car is “fun,” 61 percent say the same about trains, 41 percent say the same about airlines, 33 percent about buses.

Source: A Morning Consult poll of 2,202 U.S. adults conducted June 4-5 and released Wednesday.

• Kindly follow Jennifer Harper on Twitter @HarperBulletin


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