- The Washington Times - Monday, November 24, 2008

EDITOR’S NOTE: Jennifer Harper is writing this column while Greg Pierce is on vacation.

Sorry state

The National Black Republican Association has issued a petition to President-elect Barack Obama, requesting that he issue a formal apology for “the Democratic Party’s 150-year history of racism.”

Sen. Robert C. Byrd of West Virginia and former Vice President Al Gore are among many Democrats cited by the Florida-based group.

“We recognize that this is likely too much to ask of the oh, so ‘racially sensitive’ Democrats who want us to ignore their racist past and failed socialism that have caused so much harm to black Americans,” the group said.

The petition itself proclaims: “The Democratic Party’s use of deception and fear to intimidate black Americans into voting for Democrats is consistent with the Democratic Party’s heritage of racism that included sanctioning of slavery and kukluxery — a perversion of moral sentiment among leaders of the Democratic Party; and the Democratic Party’s racist legacy bode ill until this generation of black Americans.”

“Now, therefore, for the documented atrocities and accumulated wrongs inflicted upon black Americans, we submit this petition to the head of the Democratic Party, Barack Hussein Obama, for a formal proclamation of apology for the Democratic Party’s 150-year history of racism.”

Wanted: one leader

There’s another political race to think about now that the presidential bout is over. The Republican National Committee is seeking a fearless leader to retool traditional Republican Party roots into a competitive and resonating force. What he-men are vying?

Not Fred Thompson, who’s returning to acting. And not Newt Gingrich.

But current RNC Chairman Mike Duncan is mulling re-election, while former Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele is acting mighty chairman-like these days — and full of vigorous Internet savvy.

“Stay connected and help with our campaign to build the future through Facebook, YouTube, Flickr, Twitter, LinkedIn and Blip.tv,” Mr. Steele advises supporters.

Other GOPers in contention — this according to National Review:

James Greer (current Florida GOP chairman), Saul Anuzis (current Michigan GOP chairman), Katon Dawson (current South Carolina GOP chairman), Chip Saltsman (former Tennessee GOP chairman) and John E. Sununu (outgoing New Hampshire senator).

Numbers game

“Since the president took office, America’s trade with the world has increased almost 60 percent — from $2.5 to $4 trillion. Overall, America’s trade with [Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation] nations now accounts for almost two-thirds of its trade in the world,” the White House noted Sunday.

“Trade between Peru and the United States has more than doubled. Trade between Chile and the United States has more than doubled. Trade between China and the United States has more than tripled.”

Numbers game II

What pollsters got the 2008 presidential election right? Fordham University political scientist Costas Panagopoulos says they did pretty well this year.

“For all the derision directed toward pre-election polling, the final poll estimates were not far off from the actual nationwide vote shares for the two candidates. On average, pre-election polls from 23 public polling organizations projected a Democratic advantage of 7.52 percentage points on Election Day, which is only about 1.37 percentage points away from the current estimate of a 6.15-point Obama margin in the national popular vote,” Mr. Panagopoulos said.

Rasmussen Reports and the Pew Research Center had a perfect score — followed by YouGov/Polimetrix, Harris Interactive, George Washington University, Diageo/Hotline, ARG, CNN, Ipsos/McClatchy, the DailyKos.com, Associated Press/Yahoo, Democracy Corps and Fox News.

And in the bottom 10:

Economist/YouGov, IBD/TIPP, NBC/Wall Street Journal, ABC/Washington Post, Marist College, CBS, Gallup, Reuters/C-SPAN/Zogby, CBS/New York Times, and Newsweek.

In the lobby

Charles R. Black Jr., a top adviser to Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain, is returning to his former profession, lobbying, says Jeff Birnbaum, managing editor-digital at The Washington Times.

Mr. Black will go back to his former lobbying firm, BKSH and Associates, and will resume his old title of chairman. The firm, a subsidiary of WPP Group, announced the rehiring of Mr. Black to its employees on Friday.

“I’m happy to work with good friends and with clients whom I like and respect,” Mr. Black said.

Earlier this year during the Republican primary contests, Mr. Black both advised Mr. McCain and also continued to work for his firm’s clients. He acknowledged making lobbying telephone calls from Mr. McCain’s Straight Talk Express bus.

But when Mr. McCain later prohibited lobbyists from working on his staff, Mr. Black resigned from BKSH to work full time for the campaign. Mr. Black’s clients at the firm had included a long list of blue-chip corporations, including AT&T, Alcoa, JP Morgan and U.S. Airways.

Another George

“Hedge-fund billionaire and left-wing political activist George Soros has become one of the Democratic Party’s most important players. Now that Barack Obama is in the White House, his influence is due to expand even further as the web of activist groups he funds becomes the new brain-trust of the incoming administration,” writes Collin Levy of the Wall Street Journal.

Mr. Soros helped underwrite the Center for American Progress in 2003 (along with film producer Stephen Bing), a group currently headed by former Clinton Chief of Staff John Podesta, now Mr. Obama’s transition-team leader.

“The problem for Mr. Obama is that not all Mr. Soros’s ideas fly as well with voters as with the New York and D.C. cognoscenti,” Mr. Levy notes. “The Soros connection already created trouble for Mr. Obama last year over the billionaire’s comment that Democrats should ‘liberate’ themselves from the influence of the pro-Israeli lobby. Mr. Soros also is a prominent advocate of drug legalization. So while the hedge-fund legend may pour money and staffers into the Obama administration, Warren Buffett is likely to remain the billionaire Mr. Obama still prefers to share photo-ops with.”

— Contact Jennifer Harper or 202/636-3085.

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