- The Washington Times - Friday, August 8, 2008

No Good Choice

Jesse Ventura is still capable of a deft stranglehold. In an online chat with Washington Times readers Thursday, the former Minnesota governor and professional wrestler had few niceties to share about fellow politicians.

He doesn’t want either Sen. John McCain or Sen. Barack Obama to set foot in the White House.

“If Obama wins, we’ll get our taxes raised. Wrong to do with a struggling economy — worst thing you can do is take money from the private sector and give it to the government. On McCain, McCain is just four more years of the failed policies of George Bush. Failed foreign policies and no investments in the country’s infrastructure. As Jerry Garcia used to say, ‘If you’re picking the lesser of two evils, you’re still picking evil’. I’m not saying they’re evil men, I’m just saying both men are wrong for the country right now,” Mr. Ventura observed.

Al Franken, who’s pining to become a Democratic senator from Minnesota, also got rough handling.

“He hasn’t been a Minnesotan for 30 years. He hasn’t paid taxes in Minnesota for 30 years, so from my perspective, he’s a carpetbagger who’s coming here to run for his own aspirations. Why didn’t he run in the state where he was living? If he loses, do you think he’ll remain living in Minnesota?” Mr. Ventura noted.

Babs’ competition

The Left Coast no more? Choire Sicha of Radar magazine reports that there will soon be more right-leaning takes on Hollywood.

“What is more absolutely interesting to America than actors who have opinions about politics? Gosh, not much! (Economic regulation theory, maybe?) So, good news! Andrew Breitbart, the longtime Drudge henchman, is launching BigHollywood, a Web site for the non-left out in L.A. (Politico hilariously calls the staff ‘a who’s who of regular writers such as the Weekly Standard’s Joel Engel, Commentary’s next editor John Podhoretz, and novelist-screenwriter Andrew Klavan.’ They mean, I think, a ‘who’s what?’ It is run by the guy who ran the ‘website for L.A.’s conservative Liberty Film Festival.’)”

“But it’s true — why should Barbra Streisand get all the attention? Let’s get more blogging out of Chuck Norris and the delicious Kurt Russell. The people need to know. There is just so much to be fascinated by — don’t forget that HBO fight-flick director Leigh Simons is supposedly now shooting a documentary called PoliWood.

“And this election is, after all, about the rise of the opinion machines. The more platform and the more bandwidth that everyone has to burn on their thoughts about peak oil and Afghanistan and about how bad other people are, the stronger America becomes (on the chatboards of the Internet). A nation of commenters cannot fail.”

That’s showbiz

Hollywood, meanwhile, is on the minds of both presidential hopefuls. When “Entertainment Weekly” asked Sen. John McCain Thursday what new movie he’d seen, the Arizona Republican had a snappy reply.

“A couple of weeks ago we went to see the new Indiana Jones movie. I enjoyed that so much. The old guy wins,” Mr. McCain said.

We remind him at this juncture that according to some cultural observers, “70 is the new 50,” so relax.

In a similar interview, Sen. Barack Obama was asked by the magazine who played the best president in a movie.

“You know who was a great movie president? Jeff Bridges in ‘The Contender.’ That was a great movie president. He was charming and essentially an honorable person, but there was a rogue about him. The way he would order sandwiches — he was good at that,” Mr. Obama said. “I want to see if I can get any sandwich I want.”

Ever vigilant, the Republican National Committee felt so highly about Mr. Obama’s descriptions that they sent it out in a paid press release on PR Newswire.

Safety first

“The conventional wisdom has it down pat: A bad economy works against the candidate from the party in power as voters take out their rage and fear on the president’s party and back the challenger, just like they did in 1992. But this is not a normal economic slowdown (or recession) and Obama is not a normal challenger. I think the conventional wisdom may be dead wrong,” write Townhall columnists Dick Morris and Eileen McGann.

“The question that hangs over the election is: Are we prepared to trust a new candidate with almost no experience and no claim to economic expertise in the middle of one of the most threatening economic situations we have ever faced?

“Add to this backdrop, Obama’s pledge to raise taxes and you have a combustible situation which could frighten American voters en masse.… McCain can put economist after economist on the air to prophesy depression if Obama’s plan for taxes is enacted. And the public will not be reassured by the Democrat’s claims that his tax hikes are only on the rich. It almost doesn’t matter that McCain is not an economist and avows ignorance of what Thomas Carlyle called the ‘dismal science.’ We know McCain. We know he will surround himself with some pretty capable people and, above all, we know that he won’t raise taxes.

“Were these calmer times, with less of a threat from abroad and less economic danger, we might indulge our penchant for change and elect an ingenue in the hope that he will offer something different. We might be more easily captivated by his charisma. But, in these times, we may want to stay with the safer candidate.”

Screen gems

You vote how you view, apparently — 87 percent of Fox News viewers say they are likely to vote for Mr. McCain, while only 9 percent will vote for Mr. Obama. Among CNN viewers, 65 percent will vote for the Democratic candidate, 26 percent will go Republican, while MSNBC watchers plan to vote Mr. Obama over Mr. McCain 63 percent to 30 percent.

Meanwhile, 70 percent of those who watch CBS’ Katie Couric plan to vote for Mr. Obama, as do 71 percent of those who watch ABC’s Charles Gibson and 67 percent of those who like NBC’s Brian Williams.

Talk radio is McCain turf. More than 60 percent of those who listen at least several times a week plan to vote for the Republican versus less than a third who say they will vote for Mr. Obama — all this according to a Rasmussen Reports survey of 1,000 voters conducted Aug. 3-4.

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

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