- The Washington Times
Sunday, March 19, 2017

It was a social experiment — and much more. New York Post reporter Dean Balsamini  donned a bright-red “Make America Great Again” ball cap — the signature garb of President Trump and his fans — and dared walk the streets of Manhattan and Brooklyn over the weekend. It was not a happy experience, providing ample evidence that partisan politics remains touchy indeed.

“In the left-leaning Big Apple, it’s a fashion faux pas more fatal than walking around in sandals with socks, or strapping a fanny pack around your waist,” Mr. Balsamini wrote in the aftermath. “I may as well have been wearing a Red Sox hat at Yankee Stadium.”


The cap almost caused a “riot” in one bar, elicited oaths and multiple f-bombs in several restaurants and retail stores, along with repeat “death stares” on the street.

“I’m surprised nobody’s knocked that hat off your head!” a mother of two told the intrepid reporter during an encounter in Central Park, adding, “Make America great again. Right.”

Some are upping the ante here, however. The Post also reports that Greg Piatek, an accountant from Philadelphia, is now suing a posh New York City bar for refusing to serve him and asking him to leave the premises because — of course — he too was wearing a red Trump hat and dared to order a $15 jalapeno margarita.

There will likely be plenty of these caps in evidence in Louisville, Kentucky, on Monday when Mr. Trump stages one of his signature jumbo public rallies at a major exposition center.

ON THE BRINK

“I am ready to come out of the woods.”

Hillary Clinton to an all-woman audience attending the Society of Irish Women’s St. Patrick’s Day dinner in Scranton, Pennsylvania, on Friday.

BALEFUL PRESS EYES NEIL GORSUCH

Judge Neil Gorsuch likely will face a hostile press when he steps up for the Supreme Court nomination process, which begins Monday with his appearance before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

The news media, ever friendly to Democrats and progressives, has provided a wall of negative noise against President Trump, now in office for a mere 56 days — as well as his staff, Cabinet nominations and other appointments. The din against Mr. Gorsuch has already begun, however. A few sample headlines of headlines from the last 24 hours:

“The case against Neil Gorsuch” (Slate); “If Democrats cave on Gorsuch they’ll be sorry” (Huffington Post); “An ideological food fight awaits Neil Gorsuch” (New York Times); “Senate battle over Neil Gorsuch has been relatively mild, but that’s about to change” (Los Angeles Times); “Neil Gorsuch is no originalist: the founders loathed corporate power, he favors it” (Daily Beast); “Michael Bloomberg on Neil Gorsuch confirmation: Don’t overplay your hand, Democrats” (New York Daily News); and “What is Neil Gorsuch’s religion? It’s complicated” (CNN).

Previous hearings for other Supreme Court nominees “were political theater and little more,” says Powerline.com analyst Paul Mirengoff, who points out that “Democrats are more nasty than Republicans to the nominee of an adverse president,” citing then-U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Samuel Anthony Alito Jr.’s confirmation hearings 11 years ago.

“Hostile questioning of Samuel Alito by Sen. Ted Kennedy and others led to Alito’s wife leaving the hearing in tears,” recalls Mr. Mirengoff.

THEY STILL LIKE IKE

When politics is complex and annoying, the past can be prologue. Witness Fox News chief political anchor Bret Baier, who harks back to the fabulous ‘50s to glean insight from Dwight D. Eisenhower — specifically, the leadership style of the 34th president, the challenges he faced in office and how lessons from his presidency can bolster President Trump’s efforts to make sense of his own political battlefield.

Mr. Baier will make his point Monday at the American Enterprise Institute with Mark Theissen, a scholar at the public policy think tank and a former speechwriter for former President George W. Bush and former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.

“Following a tumultuous election cycle, the new Trump administration faces a host of policy challenges that hearken to another historic presidential transition,” the event organizers note. “As he prepared to leave office in 1961, President Dwight Eisenhower emphasized the need for strong executive leadership in confronting challenges posed by bitter partisanship, nuclear proliferation, and a contentious relationship with Russia. Five decades later, the United States faces a renewed debate on how to best address these same issues.”

There’s a finer point as well.

“As I dug through the files, combed through oral histories, listened to tapes and read the books about Eisenhower’s presidency, one reality stood out for me: here was a man on a mission to save America, who largely succeeded in that endeavor,” Mr. Baier wrote. “His was not the dramatic leadership of an era with bombs bursting in midair, but the wise course of a military strategist who rescued the world from that inevitability. He was a leader in the truest sense of the word.”

LUNCH WITH MR. WOODWARD

On the calendar for Bob Woodward, the veteran journalist who can still talk up his part in Watergate: He soon will have a private lunch with five folks who won their place at the table by bidding at an upcoming charity auction. The location of said luncheon: the Watergate Hotel, of course, ground zero for all that presidential intrigue decades ago.

“Guests will be treated to lunch at the hotel’s new Kingbird Restaurant and have the exciting opportunity to hear from Bob firsthand about his incredible experience and his life after the Watergate scandal,” note the organizers, who will reveal the quintet of winners at the Everybody Wins DC Gala on Tuesday, staged at a gracious hotel a few blocks north of the White House. The event raises funds for children’s literacy.

It could be a pretty fancy lunch with Mr. Woodward when the time comes: On the midday menu at the aforementioned restaurant: pan-roasted Skuna Bay salmon with white beans and Virginia ham, New England lobster roll on brioche with yuzu mayonnaise and scallions, or grilled fillet steak with an assortment of harvest lettuces and fancy french fries.

POLL DU JOUR

• 96 percent of American homeowners improve their home either themselves or by hiring a professional.

• 86 percent of American-owned homes are single family, with a median size of 1,800 square feet.

• 62 percent prefer to do home projects themselves.

• 53 percent of Americans still live in the first home they purchased.

• 52 percent purchased a home that needed updates; 51 percent of the homes were built before 1980.

Source: A Zillow Group survey of 13,000 U.S. homeowners conducted April 27 to May 12 and released Friday.

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