- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 10, 2009

COLONIAL UNDERGROUND

MoveOn ain’t got nothin’ on a new breed of “conservative radicals” rising up in the age of town halls and “tea parties.”

“The original conservative radicals were George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, and we follow their traditions. Our main point is that conservatives should follow the tactics of Saul Alinsky - updated - but apply the moral principles of Martin Luther King as well,” Michael Patrick Leahy tells Inside the Beltway.

The author of “Rules for Conservative Radicals” will teach community organization tactics at numerous tea party gatherings in Quincy, Ill.; Bremerton, Wash.; and elsewhere, including pointers on how to be an “effective servant-leader,” lead a “buy-cott” and sway voters. Prospective students can consult www.conservativeradicaluniversity.com.

“I’ll be stressing lessons from Alinsky, the tea party movement and the Apostle Paul in the age of collaborative technology,” Mr. Leahy adds, noting that he is a third cousin to Sen. Patrick J. Leahy, but has yet to meet the Vermont Democrat.

“People ask me all the time, ‘What can I do?’ Here’s the answer: Get trained now on local grassroots leadership,” Mr. Leahy says.

SPEECH HANGOVER

Yes, you can come out now. The speech that ate Washington is finally over. Really. President Obama’s address to Congress, treated by the press like a State of the Union speech - or maybe New Year’s Eve - is now signed, sealed, delivered, replayed, spun, picked apart, fawned over and bloviated upon. It’s history.

Or not. The old hands know that the much ballyhooed speech is, well, a cog in the White House wheel of fortune, or words to that effect.

“I’m not sure the health care debate will ever be over,” CBS News veteran Mark Knoller tells Beltway.

“If a bill passes, opponents will continue to argue it’s ruining health care in America. If a bill isn’t enacted, it’ll be the top issue Democrats try to use against Republicans in next year’s midterm elections,” the White House correspondent explains.

Oh. Nuts. We forgot.

FROM THE HEARTLAND

It’s rolling through Pennsylvania now, big wheels humming. The Tea Party Express bus - and a cast of thousands - is due to arrive in Washington on Saturday for the “March on Washington,” the mother of all town meetings. The energy level is rising among those waiting en route.

“We’re not like Congress, stuck with a big bill. We know what we want; we’ve got a simple platform. We want to sue the drug companies for price fixing, fire the czars, reduce doctors’ malpractice insurance. We must pay China back, tax imports, get our jobs back. That’s right on the sign I’m waving,” Micki LaBate-Watterson tells Beltway.

She is a tea party coordinator in steel worker country around Beaver County, Pa., and adores that bus. She’s also a member of the Democratic Party.

“Let’s make [Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America] and the lawyers provide free health care to the uninsured instead of buying up TV ads. Let’s see a clear breakdown of costs,” Mrs. LaBate-Watterson continues. “We’ve got moms here, 40-year-olds, we’ve got 80-year-olds who are as smart as a whip and World War II vets. And we are all charged up.”

HAIL BOPP

No, he is not a comet. He’s a star. James BoppJr. was named “Republican Lawyer of the Year” on Wednesday by the Republican National Lawyers Association (RNLA), which applauded his prowess in campaign finance and election law, and his work as general counsel for the National Right to Life Committee.

“Jim Bopp has a well-recognized and respected record of fighting for what he believes and achieving success in areas that protect what should be fundamental rights, such as free speech and life,” says RNLA President Chuck Bell. “Jim has worked tirelessly to advance the core beliefs of the Republican Party and has done so with a level of commitment and dedication that is unmatched.”

FAT CHANCE

Some medical heavyweights are hovering over health care reform. And well they should, now that 72 million Americans can’t stay out of the Cheetos and are either overweight or obese. Former surgeons general Dr. David Satcher and Dr. Richard H. Carmona, along with Obesity Society president Dr. Robert Kushner called on policymakers Wednesday to include obesity as a “key element” in health care reform.

“Health reform will succeed only if we address obesity and the chronic diseases it causes,” says Dr. Kushner, who notes that medical costs of obesity are now estimated at more than $147 billion per year.

POLL DU JOUR

• 90 percent of Americans blame the health insurance industry for problems with the nation’s health care system.

• 84 percent blame the pharmaceutical industry.

• 74 percent blame Republicans in Congress.

• 72 percent blame “business,” 70 percent blame hospitals.

• 69 percent blame Democrats in Congress.

• 27 percent blame President Obama.

Source: A Harris poll of 2,984 adults conducted Aug. 10-18.

Hoots, hollers, scolds to jharper@washingtontimes.com or 202/636-3085.

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