- The Washington Times - Sunday, November 23, 2008

Saving grace

Thanksgiving is just 96 hours away. And in keeping with the season, some observers are calling for civility in politics as the year lags and the great, glittering, inevitable Inauguration That Ate Chicago and Maybe Washington looms in the distance.

Civility makes sense. Weary Americans could use a little TLC at the moment.

A new Harris survey found that 83 percent of us agreed that “the people in Washington are out of touch with the rest of the country” while another 62 percent said “the people running the country don’t really care what happens to you.” Another 59 percent feel that “most people with power try to take advantage of people.”

There’s more: 83 percent feel that “what you think doesn’t count very much anymore” while 41 percent felt “left out of things.”

Aw-w-w. The survey of 1,010 was conducted Oct. 30 to Nov. 2.

“Given the rhetoric of Barack Obama’s campaign, and his emphasis on change, and finding new ways of doing things in Washington, it will be interesting to see if the level of alienation declines next year,” the poll said.

Meanwhile, columnist Michael Medved warned conservatives to avoid premature “Obama bashing” because the nation has yet to recover from the endless, negative presidential campaign. Snippy Republicans also neglect to right their own houses when they are in attack mode, he believes.

“It’s a much smarter strategy to give Barack Obama the benefit of the doubt in his early days as the nation’s leader. If we furiously reject any attempts at reconciliation or governing from the center before they’re even made, we only encourage the new president to turn sharply to the left — and give him public justification for doing so,” Mr. Medved says.

“It’s more important right now to focus on the spirit of the upcoming holidays — giving thanks, rejoicing in family, demonstrating our commitment to patriotism, peace and good will, and dropping discussions of Obama’s birth certificate and past radical associations. Surely, even the most embittered battler must welcome the idea of giving rock ‘em-sock ‘em partisan politics a brief rest. It’s also a sure thing that the American people will feel profoundly grateful if we do so.”

Vox populi

Democrats are brimming with newfound identity. Republicans are not. And they know it. The Grand Old Party is ready for some navel gazing and has established a new Web site to do just that.

“As we regroup after the presidential election, we must reflect on what we have done well and what we can improve upon,” said Republican National Committee Chairman Robert M. Duncan.

He’s calling for all “proud Republicans” to speak out about the future. Chime in at www.republicanforareason.com.

Burning issues

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