- The Washington Times - Monday, April 27, 2009

CHORUS LINE

“What makes it hard at the moment to write sympathetically of Barack Obama is the loud chorus of approbation arising from his supporters in journalism as they mark the hundred days,” Peggy Noonan writes at www.opinionjournal.com.

“Drudge calls it the ‘Best President Ever’ campaign. It is marked by an abandonment of critical thinking among otherwise thoughtful men and women who comprise, roughly speaking, the grown-ups of journalism, the old hands of the MSM who have been through many presidents and should know better. They are insisting too much. If they were utterly confident, they wouldn’t be.”

JOY RIDE

” ‘Strong job approval, higher personal ratings’ - that’s pollster Andrew Kohut’s assessment of President Obama at roughly the 100-day point,” Fred Barnes writes in the Weekly Standard.

” ‘A bravura performance,’ wrote David Broder of The Washington Post. The president’s flacks take the Muhammad Ali approach: Obama is The Greatest. What comes to my mind, however, is the guy who falls off a skyscraper and halfway down declares, ‘So far, so good,’ ” Mr. Barnes said.

“Maybe there’s a soft landing ahead for Obama or even a takeoff as his policies succeed. But my expectations are low. One reason is the Obama contradiction. Two of his stated goals (economic recovery, energy independence) are undermined by his actual policies. Another reason is history. There’s no evidence to suggest Obama’s policies of courting enemies and airing the country’s supposed misdeeds will lessen threats to national security or strengthen America’s role in the world.

“Obama, for the moment, is riding a wave of announcements, claims, hopes and possibilities. This is what new presidents thrive on. It’s what makes them popular, especially because there’s no accountability. But a year from now, perhaps sooner, the joy ride will be over. Results will matter. Obama’s policies will either be working or not. And if not, even a friendly media won’t be able to sugarcoat the bad news or alleviate the political consequences.”

CHENEY-BASHING

The Democratic National Committee is going after Dick Cheney with a new fundraising pitch - asking supporters to donate money for a one-way bus ticket to send the former vice president back to Wyoming, reporter Christina Bellantoni writes at www.WashingtonTimes.com.

The e-mail from Jen O’Malley Dillon, who worked for the Obama campaign before taking the DNC executive director post, “pulls no punches,” Ms. Bellantoni said.

“Have you ever had a guest who overstayed his welcome and wondered, ‘why is he still here?’ After some of his recent interviews, former Vice President Cheney has shown that he clearly doesn’t know when to pack it in,” she wrote in the Saturday pitch.

Miss Dillon blasted Mr. Cheney for his recent television interviews, calling them “an effort to tear down President Obama’s agenda.”

“I don’t know about you, but I think it’s time for him to stop sniping from the sidelines and let President Obama usher in the changes Americans demanded after eight years of Cheney’s disastrous policies,” she wrote. “That’s why I want Cheney to go back home to Wyoming and why I want you to help me get him there.”

Miss Dillon says in the e-mail a one-way ticket from D.C. to Jackson, Wyo., costs $202, and she asks supporters to “chip in” to send Mr. Cheney “packing.”

The e-mail includes a graphic showing Mr. Cheney riding a bus with his head out the window.

PUNCH LINE

“Just how much trouble is Sen. Christopher J. Dodd in as he runs for re-election next year?” asks the Register Citizen, a Connecticut newspaper.

“You’ve seen the surprising opinion polls showing record unfavorability, and other polls finding that any Republican - even those virtually unknown across the state - would beat him easily if the election were held today. Well, at the well-attended annual meeting of the Northwest Connecticut Chamber of Commerce on Thursday, outgoing President Joe Greco’s comments about various dignitaries, including Gov. M. Jodi Rell, being unable to make it was followed by a crack about Dodd being available but the group asking him to stay away,” the newspaper reported.

“It was met by laughter and a very loud round of applause from the several hundred, typically reserved, local businesspeople, in the room.”

BRITAIN, TOO

The opinion polls have uttered. The country loves the new 50 percent top rate of income tax,” entertainment mogul Andrew Lloyd Webber writes in the London Daily Mail.

“Soak the rich. Smash the bankers. So government spin doctors are in second heaven. The Conservatives’ silence redefines a tomb,” Mr. Webber said.

“But before you book your tickets, hold hard. And before you lynch me as a rich [expletive] flying a kite for my own cause, let me beg you to believe that I am not.

“I believe that this new top rate of tax could be the final nail in the coffin of Britain plc.

“I am 61 years old. I have lived and worked in Britain all my life. Not even in the dark days of penal Labour taxation in the [1970s] did I have any intention of leaving the country of my birth.

“Despite a rumour put around some years back, I have never contemplated leaving Britain for tax reasons. But in the 40-plus years I have been lucky enough to work here, I’ve seen a bit. So I must draw your attention to what is really proposed in this budget.

“Here’s the truth. The proposed top rate of income tax is not 50 percent. It is 50 percent plus 1.5 percent national insurance paid by employees plus 13.3 percent paid by employers. That’s not 50 percent. Two years from now, Britain will have the highest tax rate on earned income of any developed country.”

BUSH’S BOOK

“As George W. Bush continues to pen the book on his presidency, friends say that his goal is to focus on 10 to 12 of his most controversial decisions and provide the background that will prove he was right at the time,” Paul Bedard writes in the Washington Whispers column at www.usnews.com.

” ‘As he researches and reviews meeting notes, he plans to provide the context of what was happening when he was deciding,’ says a friend. Take the deficit as an example. Yes, he expanded it. But the prez wants to explain that 9/11 and the wars that followed required it and that he wasn’t on some drunken spending binge. The book is due out in the fall of 2010.”

• Greg Pierce can be reached at 202/636-3285 or gpierce@washingtontimes.com.

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