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Inside Politics

- The Washington Times - Monday, November 17, 2008

FEARING CHANGE

All right already. We get it. America, the federal government and possibly the whole known universe is going to change come Inauguration Day.

But not everyone is happy about that.

Three out of four Republicans — 75 percent — are worried that President-elect Barack Obama "will change things too much as president," according to a Rasmussen Reports survey released Sunday. Almost half — 46 percent — of all voters also fear this, along with 49 percent of unaffiliated voters.

Meanwhile, Democrats are in the complete opposite corner. More than half — 52 percent — fret the new president "won't change things enough." Just 19 percent fear he'll go too far.

Overall, 32 percent say Mr. Obama will change things too little; 22 percent are undecided.

The survey of 1,000 likely voters was conducted Nov. 11-12, and has a margin of error of three percentage points.

FEARING PALIN

The liberal caterwaul against Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin could be driven by a fear of her potential, some say.

"After witnessing the poise, energy and panache with which John McCain's 44-year-old running mate handled herself on the national stage, can the backbiters working overtime to trash her intellect really believe she is nothing but a vain and ignorant airhead? Well, maybe; partisans and ideologues are good at seeing only what they want to see. But they might want to recall that the last Republican to inspire such ardor and admiration among the party faithful — Ronald Reagan — was also derided as a dim bulb," writes Jeff Jacoby of the Boston Globe on Sunday.

"I suspect that the loathing of Palin by so much of the opinion elite is driven not by contempt for her brainpower but by fear of her political potential. She is cheerful and charismatic, an unabashed and likable conservative who generates extraordinary grass-roots enthusiasm. Tens of thousands of voters showed up at her campaign rallies, and even now, when she appears on TV, record-breaking numbers of viewers tune in," Mr. Jacoby continued.

"Whether Palin has the skill and stamina it would take to win a presidential nomination, let alone capture the White House, it is way too early to tell. But the smart money says she is a force to be reckoned with. That may be just what her critics are afraid of."

CONSERVATIVE LAMENT

"Thousands of conservatives and even some moderates" have complained that The Washington Post is too liberal, ombudsman Deborah Howell said on Sunday. More than 900 subscribers have taken their business elsewhere, she writes.

"Conservative complaints can be wrong: The mainstream media were not to blame for John McCain's loss; Barack Obama's more effective campaign and the financial crisis were. But some of the conservatives' complaints about a liberal tilt are valid. Journalism naturally draws liberals; we like to change the world. I'll bet that most Post journalists voted for Obama. I did. There are centrists at The Post as well. But the conservatives I know here feel so outnumbered that they don't even want to be quoted by name in a memo."

There are tenable solutions, Ms. Howell advised.

"More conservatives in newsrooms and rigorous editing would be two … One more factor will kick in soon. After Obama is inaugurated, he will be the authority the news media challenge. It happens in every administration."

NERVES OF STEELE

Michael S. Steele is acting chairmanlike indeed. Republican National Committee chairman, that is. The former Maryland lieutenant governor appears to know exactly the right panacea for the Republican Party.

We don't know how to talk to people. We've absolutely forgotten how to communicate a message," he told Fox News on Sunday. "I'm saying the party as a whole didn't communicate. I think that's one of the concerns especially among the grass roots of the party, why we lose independents and others, because there's no connection."

He is a self-avowed "techno-wonk" and is happy to monitor the world and the political blogs or news sites at 2 a.m. if need be.

"I want to make our party relevant. And I think the experience that I bring to the table will help us do that. You know, I'm tired of us sitting back with our head in the sand, complaining and finger-pointing and blaming. Let's get up, pick ourselves up, go out here and engage the fight. I want to be the loyal opposition in this — to this incoming administration," Mr. Steele said.

ONE MORE TIME?

Former presidential hopeful Rudolph W. Giuliani would consider running for governor of New York and could even take a second attempt at the U.S. presidency, according to the Associated Press on Sunday.

"No one knows whether you'll do something again until you come to the point of: Is it possible to do it again? Would you have a chance of winning?" Mr. Giuliani told an assembly of business leaders meeting in Dubai.

He was a little more coy on whether he would work in the Obama administration, if asked.

"You never answer questions like that hypothetically,'' Mr. Giuliani said. "Very few people ever turn the president down, but that's an unrealistic situation."

BIDEN TIME

An awkward moment came to light in the Wilmington News-Journal on Sunday.

"The program for this years Veterans Day Ceremony at the Delaware Memorial Bridge reads, 'In Honor of the Men and Women of Delaware and New Jersey for Military Service to their State and Nation.' It is a sad state of affairs when the people being honored are not even allowed into the ceremony. Once Vice President-elect Joe Biden arrived, the long line of veterans and guests were directed to the side of the tent and told no one else could enter," wrote Bob Onorato, commander of the Delaware Veterans Post 1 in Wilmington, in a letter to the editor.

"The biggest disgrace was seeing a group of elderly World War II vets excluded while select civilian guests and members of the media continued to be admitted into the ceremony."

"I know this isn't Bidens fault, but please tell the security detail to use a little common sense. Most of these veterans have been attending the ceremony for many years, and some of them do not have many years left. Please include all of the veterans next time they are being honored."

Contact Jennifer Harper at jharperwashingtontimes.com or 202/636-3085.