- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 1, 2007

E-n-t-e-r-t-a-i-n-e-r-s

Attention, mainstream media: Stephen Colbert is not one of your own. Enough already.

“The clever host of Comedy Central’s ‘The Colbert Report’ is holding the usually clear-eyed media in the palm of his hand and bringing out the worst in some star-struck journalists who should know better,” Jonathan Friedman of Marketwatch said yesterday.

“New York Times curmudgeon Maureen Dowd beseeched Colbert to write a not-too-funny column for her. (Stick to your night job, Steve.) Noted power broker Tim Russert invited Colbert to go on NBC’s ‘Meet the Press’ and suck up the rarefied air of Washington’s elite. It’s depressing to watch respected journalists lower themselves just to tickle Colbert’s funny bone,” Mr. Friedman observed.

Mr. Colbert has announced his candidacy for president and plans to enter his name on South Carolina’s Democratic primary ballot this morning, according to CNN.

“People seem to forget that Colbert and Jon Stewart, the host of Comedy Central’s ‘The Daily Show,’ are entertainers. Forget about the “fake-news” label that doggedly follows them around. They’re e-n-t-e-r-t-a-i-n-e-r-s. … Actually, Stewart and Colbert are both failed actors who became talk-show maestros,” Mr. Friedman concluded.

Mukasey who?

Few are paying attention to the nomination of Michael B. Mukasey as the nation’s next attorney general, according to a survey of 800 likely voters released yesterday by Rasmussen Reports.

“The confirmation has not yet moved to a visible position on the public’s radar screen. Just 29 percent of the nation’s voters say they have been following the story even somewhat closely. Most (59 percent) have no opinion on Mukasey.”

Among Republicans, 41 percent agree he should be confirmed; among Democrats, 23 percent.

Cross to bear

The “religious right” as a voting bloc is no longer in lock step with the Republican Party, according to a Dallas Morning News editorial yesterday, which compared the shifting dynamics to the emergence of “Reagan Democrats” — union rank and file who voted Republican.

“Younger evangelicals are not taking up the cause of Republican political activism like their forebears. Recent polling done by the nonpartisan Pew Research Center indicates that young white evangelicals are dramatically less attached to the GOP than older white evangelicals — but about as conservative. This is why the falling-away of white evangelicals from the Republican Party hasn’t resulted in a corresponding rise in Democratic support.

“Furthermore, the coming generation of white evangelicals doesn’t want to limit its political and social concerns to abortion and gay marriage. This generation is taking up environmentalism, AIDS and poverty in addition to the conventional religious-right causes. Hispanic evangelicals, whose enthusiasm for socially conservative policies gave entree to GOP candidates, have signaled that anti-immigration Republicans have destroyed the GOP’s prospects among their ranks.

“Though the eventual Democratic nominee may win enough white evangelical votes to make a difference in a close election, this vital political constituency will emerge from the 2008 vote increasingly up for grabs by either party. The old religious right is finished, but religious conservatives are not going away.”

The numbers

On a related matter: 55 percent of white evangelical Republicans said they would consider a conservative who ran as a third-party candidate should the 2008 presidential race pit Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, New York Democrat, against former New York Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, according to a Pew Research poll released yesterday.

The poll found that evangelicals make up 34 percent of Republican voters, divided about evenly among Mr. Giuliani, Fred Thompson and Sen.John McCain of Arizona. There are signs of “GOP frustration,” the survey said, noting that only 36 percent of Republicans overall said their party did a good job advocating “traditional positions.” The number was 57 percent in 2003.

Fifty percent rated their party’s presidential candidates favorably, compared to 69 percent of Democrats.

The survey of 2,007 persons was conducted Oct. 17-23.

Achtung

“Both John Edwards and Barack Obama want to move the Democrats to the left. But that’s a sure way to lose the election. Many voters may live their lives on the left, but their hopes and dreams are well to the right,” noted Gabor Steingart, Washington correspondent for Der Spiegel yesterday.

“In short, elections are not won at the center, as is so often claimed, but slightly to the right of center. In Germany, the conservatives have won 10 of the 16 parliamentary elections in the country’s postwar history. In the United States, the Republicans have won seven of the last 10 presidential elections. In the U.S., the Republicans are simply better at promising a brighter future, as former President Ronald Reagan showed with his simplest of pledges: ‘It’s morning in America.’ ”

“What the Democrats and their presidential candidates are saying about their country these days has little to do with optimism and visions of the future. Some of their favorite words are: poverty, inequality, health insurance and tax increases. The old battle within the left is back, and it’s being fought on three issues: Who does more for the military? John Edwards says: Edwards. Who has the better concept for expanding social welfare? Barack Obama says: Obama. Who has the guts to more heavily tax the rich and the super-rich? Both of them say: I do.”

Mr. Steingart later concluded, “Those who align themselves too closely with the left will win the hearts of their party members, but power is likely to remain elusive. Liberal politicians around the world may have the best of intentions, but they can’t seem to win elections.”

Get well soon

Sen. John W. Warner is back in the hospital for a third time in a month for what his office called a “low-grade infection” related to an earlier ailment. Doctors discovered the infection during a follow-up appointment yesterday at Inova Fairfax Hospital. The Virginia Republican is 80.

Mr. Warner was hospitalized a month ago for an irregular heartbeat and readmitted Oct. 16 to repair a small aperture in an artery in his leg left over from an earlier procedure. The infection is at the surgical site on the senator’s leg.

Mr. Warner will stay in the hospital for treatment and observation and should return to work next week, according to WTOP-103.5 FM radio news yesterday.

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

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