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Inside the Beltway

Question of the Day

Is it still considered bad form to talk politics during a social gathering?

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THAT'S SHOW BIZ

Yes, the contentious, national discourse on race and religion continues. But the contentious national discourse on gay conservatism is also under way with a flourish, and much political theater. World Net Daily (WND) has dropped conservative icon Ann Coulter from their speaker's lineup for the "Taking America Back" conference in Miami next month. Seems Ms. Coulter also opted to appear at "Homocon 2010," an event sponsored this fall by GOProud, an activist group that supports traditional conservative values like limited government, individual liberty, and a strong national defense - along with same-sex marriage and gays in the military.

Shunning Ms. Coulter was a matter of principle for WND founder Joseph Farah, who says that his event will not include "the radical and very 'unconservative' agenda represented by GOProud," adding, "the drift of the conservative movement to a brand of materialistic libertarianism is one of the main reasons we planned this conference."

But Ms. Coulter represents something different to the GOProud crowd, who could represent an emerging voting bloc.

"The gay left has done their best to take all the fun out of politics, with their endless list of boycotts and protests. Homocon is going to be our annual effort to counter the 'no fun police' on the left. I can't think of any conservative more fun to headline our inaugural party then the self-professed 'right-wing Judy Garland' - Ann Coulter," says Christopher Barron, chairman of the board of District-based GOProud, which features a video of former President Ronald Reagan on its website.

On center stage is Ms. Coulter, who plays the ever-practical pundit, stripping away the emotional entanglements from her appearance at Mr. Barron's event, which takes place in Manhattan on Sept. 25.

"They hired me to give a speech, so I'm giving a speech. I do it all the time," she says.

THE MOSQUE MOMENT

"More Americans disapprove than approve of President Obama's recent comments concerning the planned construction of a mosque near where the Sept. 11 terror attacks occurred in New York City, but 4 in 10 do not have an opinion on the matter. The vast majority of those with an opinion hold it strongly," says Gallup Poll analyst Jeffrey Jones.

Twenty-percent approve of the president's supportive remarks, 37 percent disapprove and 41 percent are undecided, the pollster found in a survey of 1,009 adults conducted Tuesday. Among Republicans, 5 percent approved and 68 percent disapproved. Among Democrats, 35 percent approved, 14 percent disapproved.

MISS ME YET?

"Could George W. Bush end the mosque madness?" (Max Fisher, The Atlantic)

"I pine for George W. Bush. Whatever his flaws, the man respected religion, all religion." (PeterBeinart, The Daily Beast)

"It's time for W to weigh in." (Maureen Dowd, The New York Times)

MINIMALIST MEDIA

How do alarmed, weary Americans really feel about frantic, buzzy, marketing-driven news reporting? Surveys reveal they no longer trust the press, a possible indicator that the nation may be developing a taste for less argument and more straight-ahead news, embellished with nothing more than accuracy and context, in the minimalist manner of, say, Eric Sevareid or Edward R. Murrow.

The mind reels. Maybe the nation prefers daring news delivery. Maybe not.

"Yes, the leftist agenda of the activist old media is destroying the business. They can no longer be trusted to 'level' with the viewer, but perhaps just as important, TV news, both local and national are spending so much time trying to make sure they have a product that sells, that by the time they do that, nobody is buying. Yes, you can overthink, even in the news business. Or show business, as the case may be," says radio broadcaster and Bigjournalism .com writer Ron Futrell.

"My solution - in case anybody cares - is to get reporters you can trust to tell the truth and put it in proper context, and get out of the way," he adds.

THE MOSQUE MATTER

The caterwaul over the "ground zero mosque" has escalated into a shrill but convenient vehicle for partisan interests, political punishment and grandstanding. So be it. Bound to happen. But some are quietly taking care of business. The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), is amending its recent lawsuit charging the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission with procedural violations stemming from their recent decision to essentially greenlight the $100 million Islamic cultural and prayer center.

The ACLJ will request an injunction on development of the site based on revelations that organizers "do not own the entire proposed site and do not possess the legal right to proceed with demolition or construction." The legal group is also demanding an environmental review, citing the project's impact on neighborhood character and historical resources.

"With every new question that surfaces, it is increasingly clear this mosque must not be built at this site," says chief counsel Jay Sekulow. "We'll continue to gather the facts."

POLL DU JOUR

  • 74 percent of Americans disapprove of the way Congress is "handling its job."
  • 49 percent would vote for "the Republican candidate" if the election was held today.
  • 45 percent would vote for the Democrat.
  • 45 percent would like to see "someone else" besides the incumbent in office.
  • 41 percent consider themselves conservative.
  • 33 percent say they are moderates, 25 percent say they are liberal.

Source: An Associated Press/Gfk poll of 1,007 adults conducted Aug. 11 to 17.

  • Comments, noise, press releases to jharper@washingtontimes.com.

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