- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Down the YouTube

Oh, woe is us. CNN announced yesterday that Republican candidates will be showcased during a YouTube-enhanced debate in November, no doubt bristling with amateur citizen journalists who pitch questions from some distant spot in cyberspace.

Some already have YouTube fatigue, though.

“Call me a misanthrope, but I was one of those who found the YouTube debate absolutely painful to watch — and not just because it was a Democratic one,” noted Philip Klein on AmericanSpectator.com yesterday. “It was a sad commentary on the decline of political discourse. Republicans may be politically wise to attend so they don’t seem like they’re rejecting new media or dodging questions from the public, but I’m not looking forward to it.”

“Yes, YouTube is about as far from the Lincoln-Douglas debates as you can get,” agreed fellow Spectator contributor Jennifer Rubin. “But the actual questions were not bad at all and in some sense more ‘fair’ than the average snarling question from a mainstream media moderator.”

Greenhorn Gore

“Going green” is only of moderate concern to consumers, according to a Yankelovich survey released yesterday. Only one-third feel much more concerned about environmental issues, while just 22 percent feel they can make a difference.

“Consumers are not drinking the Kool-Aid when it comes to green,” said J. Walker Smith, president of Yankelovich.

“Take Al Gore’s book, ‘An Inconvenient Truth.’ Even though it received widespread acclaim from media and scientists alike, 82 percent of consumers neither saw the film nor read it,” Mr. Smith said. “Only 7 percent believe Gore’s ‘myth’ that it’s already too late to do something about climate change.”

The survey of 2,763 adults was conducted April 25 through May 7.

Burst into tiers

Are Republican White House hopefuls neck-and-neck or ear-to-ear? With his second-place finish in the Iowa straw poll, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee has moved to “the front of the back of the pack,” according to WMAL’s Fred Grandy yesterday.

Mr. Huckabee, however, credited his guitar playing for his surprise placing in the poll, which gave him 18 percent of the votes, compared with 32 percent that went to Mitt Romney, the former Massachusetts governor who spent plenty to promote himself beforehand. Pundits, meanwhile, are squeaking that the affable Mr. Huckabee is moving towards life as a “first-tier” candidate.

But that ain’t it, apparently.

“ ’Free Bird’ is what did it,” Mr. Huckabee said, citing the Southern-fried anthem by Lynyrd Skynyrd, which he played on a bass guitar with Capitol Offense, his own rock band, which serenaded poll participants Saturday.

Rove-a-rama

The left’s “extraordinary hate and loathing” heaped on departing White house adviser Karl Rove is unprecedented, according to Rick Moran of Pajamas Media yesterday.

“Part of the vituperation directed Rove’s way has been the time-honored practice of the left to assign a Machiavelli character to Republican administrations going back to Eisenhower. The meme advanced for decades is that conservative Republican presidents are stupid and are manipulated by a power behind the throne. Rove has been vilified precisely because most on the left see him (or Dick Cheney) as a putative president, pulling George Bush’s strings in order to advance the interests of other, more powerful men outside of government.”

“There is no doubt that Rove was an influential — perhaps the most influential — voice in government over the past seven years. It is also clear that Bush has a mind of his own. The president’s stubbornness on many issues sometimes borders on the irrational. The idea that Rove could manipulate such a man is pretty far-fetched.”

Democrats had their thoughts.

“Karl Rove was an architect of a political strategy that has left the country more divided, the special interests more powerful and the American people more shut out from their government than any time in memory,” said Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois.

“Goodbye and good riddance,” said fellow presidential hopeful, former Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina.

Essential Gigot

The Wall Street Journal’s Paul Gigot landed the big scoop that Mr. Rove would resign his post by Aug. 31. In the heady aftermath, Mr. Gigot offered a straightforward reflection.

“He thinks it’s time to move on. I take him at his word.”

Out of the vault

Lady Bird Johnson’s home movies, video clips of Karl Rove at 21, private asides from Ronald Reagan, TV outtakes from Harry Truman — these and more than 1,000 other private recordings, rare footage and more will be soon revealed by C-SPAN.

The network will parse the never-before or rarely seen materials during “Presidential Libraries,” a new 12-week series. The curious are in luck: All the sounds and images also will be available online (www.c-span.org/presidential libraries.)

“We believe we can bring some new perspectives to these 12 men and some historical context to the highly competitive 2008 presidential election,” said C-SPAN President Susan Swain. The series begins Sept. 7 at 8 p.m.

Moving on Fox

The liberal group MoveOn.org is hammering on the Fox News Channel, urging a major home-improvement advertiser to pull ads from the network.

“Home Depot says they are pro-environment. But they advertise on Fox — which consistently denies global warming and deceives the public on this issue,” Adam Green, of MoveOn.org Civic Action wrote in a mass membership e-mail yesterday.

“We’ve teamed up with the Sierra Club and others, asking Home Depot to pull their ads from Fox,” Mr. Green wrote. “Our efforts are working. Several days ago, Home Depot executives personally responded to e-mails from activists — and announced they would not advertise on Bill O’Reilly. But that’s not enough.”

Mr. Green urged recipients to e-mail a Home Depot spokesman, referencing a petition that declares, “If Home Depot is serious about protecting the environment, they must stop advertising on Fox — a network that consistently spreads misinformation about and denies the existence of global warming.”

Contact Jennifer Harper at jharper@washingtontimes.com or 202/636-3085.

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