- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Remember Reagan

Former President Ronald Reagan would have been 96 today. Rest assured, folks are celebrating — and in splendid style.

Edwin I. Meese III, attorney general during the Reagan administration, will preside over activities at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, Calif., which include an Air Force flyover, a 21-gun salute, the 1st Marine Division Band, the U.S. Naval Academy Men’s Glee Club, a wreath-laying — and cake, of course.

Virginia-based Young America’s Foundation, which operates an educational retreat for budding conservatives at Mr. Reagan’s former ranch in the California foothills, will offer a daylong open house in the ranch conference center in Santa Barbara. The group also has begun a grass-roots effort to urge college professors across the nation to display the American flag in their classrooms.

“College conservatives can combat the lies their professors and administrators tell about Reagan. Students will distribute posters that highlight the success of the Reagan presidency, including a 5.1 percent increase each year in charitable giving, a 31 percent increase in the gross national product, an 18 percent increase in real disposable income per capita and 18.4 million new jobs created,” the group said.

No surprise

“The only surprise about the Republican debacle in the 2006 congressional elections was that many conservatives found it surprising,” Paul M. Weyrich and William S. Lind of the Free Congress Foundation write in the latest issue of the American Conservative.

“Conservatism has become so weak in ideas that during the presidency of George W. Bush, the word ‘conservative’ could be and was applied with scant objection to policies that were starkly anti-conservative,” the authors write, adding: “The next conservative movement will not be credible if it is led by people and institutions that sold out to today’s equivalent of Rockefeller Republicanism.”

Bush bashers

Evan Thomas of Newsweek says it is the job of reporters to “bash” President Bush.

Friday on WETA-TV’s “Inside Washington” program, the topic was “whether the media’s been unfair to President Bush, given his abysmal approval ratings,” Tim Graham reports at www.NewsBusters.org. “NPR reporter Nina Totenberg said Bush received a ‘free ride’ for years, so now the worm has turned and the coverage is fierce.”

Host Gordon Peterson then asked for Mr. Thomas’ opinion: “What do you think, Evan? Are the mainstream media bashing the president unfairly?”

Mr. Thomas: “Well, our job is to bash the president; that’s what we do almost.”

Mr. Peterson: “But unfairly?”

Mr. Thomas: “Mmmm — I think when he rebuffed, I think when he just kissed off the Iraq Study Group, the Baker-Hamilton commission, there was a sense then that he was decoupling himself from public opinion and Congress and the mainstream media, going his own way. At that moment, he lost whatever support he had.”

Uniform response

Inquiring on the matter of “allowing gays and lesbians to serve in the military,” a Harris poll released yesterday found that political parties disagree. “There is a large partisan split on this issue,” the findings stated.

When asked whether homosexuals should serve openly in the armed services, 37 percent of Republican respondents and 69 percent of Democratic respondents agreed. The nationwide average on the question was 55 percent.

If they served in the military but kept their homosexuality a secret, 30 percent of Republicans and 10 percent of Democrats would approve; nationwide, the number was 19 percent. Should homosexuals be barred altogether from military service? Among Republicans, 21 percent agreed with the idea, and among Democrats, 7 percent. Nationwide, 13 percent agreed.

Harris conducted the poll of 2,337 adults from Jan. 11 to 18, with a margin of error of two percentage points.

Z-z-z-z-z

MoveOn.org is seeking donations to air a TV ad featuring fake video footage depicting President Bush, Russian President Vladimir Putin and French President Jacques Chirac snoozing in their jammies. The spot is meant to “wake up” world leaders to global warming and one day may be broadcast in Washington and other major cities. The footage shows Mr. Bush cradling a teddy bear, Mr. Putin a gun and Mr. Chirac a satin pillow.

“The leaders of the world’s most polluting countries will be meeting in Germany this June. The priorities for this summit are being decided right now,” MoveOn spokeswoman Eli Pariser said yesterday.

The group also has started a global warming advocacy division, which features the spot at its Web site, www.avaaz.org. Avaaz means “voice” in Hindi, Urdu and Farsi.

The Arnold tapes

Oh dear. Once again, the Los Angeles Times got a hold of some recordings of closed-door staff meetings of California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and four of his closest aides. Of course, the paper published the details, deeming the tapes “a rare window onto the governor’s operation” and a “complex portrait.”

In the latest recordings, he describes Senate President Pro Tem Don Perata, Oakland Democrat, as a “very sick man” and Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez, Los Angeles Democrat, as “a political operator coming from the union background” who evinces no real “passion” about issues.

Mr. Schwarzenegger called Mexico our “trading partner,” but he also said that Hispanics — because they are so close to their homeland — have more trouble assimilating than, say, Poles, Germans and the French.

“I made an effort,” the Austrian-born governor said. “But the Mexicans don’t make that effort.”

Waiting for Hillary

The brewing rivalry between Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York and Barack Obama of Illinois presents a significant political moment as black Democrats gauge their loyalties.

“Barack Obama may be the emerging rock star of the 2008 presidential field, but Hillary Rodham Clinton still is the queen of the stage among Michigan Democrats — and even more so among black Democrats,” the Detroit Free Press said yesterday.

The newspaper polled 87 black Democratic voters to reveal that they prefer Mrs. Clinton over Mr. Obama, 59 percent to 23 percent. State Sen. Tupac Hunter called Mr. Obama “the best candidate we’ve ever been able to produce as a community.”

But Beverly Bellamy of Farmington Hills said of Mr. Obama: “I like him — don’t get me wrong,” but Mrs. Clinton gets her vote.

“I’ve been waiting for her. I just think she has a lot to bring to the table,” Mrs. Bellamy said, adding that Mr. Obama’s relative lack of experience on the national stage — he is two years into his first federal term of office — counts against him.

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

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