- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 29, 2009

Antiwar protesters can’t complain now that President Obama is here. Or can they? Their dream man is in the White House. He does YouTube diplomacy to make nice with the Middle East. He’s larger than life. He’s approved a White House kitchen garden.

So shut up already, peaceniks. Go rearrange your sock drawer or ready your begonias for Earth Day.

Protesting is a hard habit to break, though. It’s gotten to be such fun these days, what with the G-20 summit just around the corner. Just ask all the old hippies who marched on Washington for decades, screaming, “Down with (fill-in-the-blank).” Ask the giddy peace girlies who go topless for peace. Ask the dogs — indecorous and wearing bandannas — who are dragged to peace marches to become dogs-for-peace. Indeed, protesting is sport, recreation. And it’s become quite mainstream, complete with parade permits. Imagine. Abbie Hoffman and Jerry Rubin with a parade permit. But hey, everybody’s welcome.

A recent gathering of “peace” lovers in San Francisco yielded protesters protesting Iraq, Afghanistan, Israel vs. Palestine, Proposition 8, Sept. 11, Wall Street, health care, gay rights, taxes and the ban on same-sex marriage, among other things.

“It’s really important for people around the world to see Americans standing up against this war,” protester Noel Juan told the San Francisco Chronicle recently. “Obama has rebranded this war and made it cool for people to wave the flag again. But all the things people hated about George Bush are being continued with a slightly different flavor.”

What? Say again?

There is another peace brand, though. Let us bring it out now and dust it off like an old medal. This one stayed on message for decades. Curious? It’s the old motto of the Air Force Strategic Air Command — those B-52 drivers and Nike silo sitters who ensured that no one dropped anything on anyone throughout the Cold War:

“Peace through strength.”

Now go write that one on a placard, and we’ll see you down on the Mall.

Sunday horse race

Missing Tim Russert on all these Sundays? The longtime host of NBC’s “Meet the Press” died of a heart attack last year, his formidable shoes filled by interim hosts and, since December, White House correspondent David Gregory.

But something is up. Mr. Gregory appears to be getting serious competition from ABC’s “This Week with George Stephanopoulos.” For the seventh straight week, “Week” has cut into the “Meet” audience and could emerge the ratings victor, according to Nielsen Media Research.

The most recent numbers: “Week” drew 3.1 million viewers to “Meet’s” 3.7 million viewers. Nielsen also said that “Week” was the only Sunday talk show to grow its audience — by 10 percent in the last year — while “Meet” declined 13 percent.

Let’s not forget “Fox News Sunday” with 1.3 million recent viewers and CBS’ “Face the Nation” with 2.6 million.

Perhaps Mr. Russert is more missed than we know.

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