Inside the Beltway

Question of the Day

Should Congress make English the official language of the U.S.?

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A BOEHNER MOMENT

The “tea party” apparently doesn’t have a monopoly on tricorn hats and Colonial-style elocutionists. The Campaign for Fair Elections — a “national effort” to push for passage of the Fair Elections Now Act — has enlisted the help of the “Founding Fathers,” a troupe of actors attired as George Washington, Ben Franklin and other historic luminaries. The bipartisan legislation in question would allow candidates to run for office on smaller donations and public funds; the organization is affiliated with Common Cause, Democracy Matters, Public Citizen and other interest groups.

Intent on their mission, the faux Messrs. Washington and Franklin were in West Chester, Ohio, on Monday to harass, uh, visit Rep. John A. Boehner, a Republican in the Buckeye State.

“At the same time Rep. Boehner is asking lobbyists to bundle $100,000 for his ‘cash for speaker’ program, he’s criticizing Democrats for failing to ‘drain the swamp’ in Washington. He needs to back up his rhetoric with action and help pass the Fair Elections Now Act,” insists David Donnelly, spokesman for the group opposed to “pay to play” politics.

Was the mission successful? Alas, no. Mr. Boehner was elsewhere.

“We spent the last day looking for him. We looked in the cornfields, on the golf course, in the tanning salons,” the aforementioned Mr. Franklin tells Inside the Beltway, in resonant baritone. “Somebody did come out of the office and give us a nice little ‘comments’ form, though.”

DOING THE MATH

And the magic number is 36. That is how many seats in Congress that Democrats stand to lose in the midterm elections, exactly 12 measly weeks away.

“Presidents who retain majority job approval from Americans at the time of midterm elections are much less likely to see their party suffer heavy seat losses than are those with sub-50 percent approval ratings. Since 1946, when presidents are above 50 percent approval, their party loses an average of 14 seats in the U.S. House in the midterm elections, compared with an average loss of 36 seats when presidents are below that mark,” says Gallup Poll analyst Jeffrey Jones.

“The clear implication is that the Democrats are vulnerable to losing a significant number of House seats this fall with Barack Obama’s approval rating averaging 45 percent during the last two full weeks of Gallup Daily tracking. The Republicans would need to gain 40 House seats to retake majority control.”

BUMPER PATROL

“To err is human, to forgive divine. Neither is Marine Corps policy.”

— Bumper sticker spotted by Washington Times reporter Shaun Waterman, near Lexington Park, Md.

PARRY WITH PERRY

“The need for border security along the Rio Grande should no longer be underestimated by the federal government, Mr. President. … I respectfully but urgently request that the federal government quickly deploy 1,000 troops to the Texas-Mexico border, as well as additional law enforcement tools and technology.”

— An excerpt from Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s letter to President Obama, passed to White House adviser Valerie Jarrett when Mr. Obama arrived in Texas for, among other things, a Democratic National Committee fundraiser expected to generate $1 million.

GAINING STATURE

Uh-oh. Rand Paul’s prowess as a politician must be worrying people. Like clockwork, telltale media bashing has begun on the “tea party” favorite now running for a U.S. Senate seat in Kentucky. The local press has already labeled Dr. Paul - an ophthalmologist who received his medical degree from Duke University - as a “college dropout.” Now Gentleman’s Quarterly claims Dr. Paul was a rowdy prankster, and one-time member of the NoZe Brotherhood, a secret society of nonconformists and liberals at Baylor University.

“Paul himself is remembered for some of his shenanigans: he drunkenly attempted to dig up a school time capsule. All they ended up doing was knocking over the monument that sat atop the time capsule, or when he and a NoZe brother, blindfolded and tied up a female student, and tried to force her to take bong hits. When she refused, they stopped at a nearby creek and made her bow down and worship their god, ‘Aqua Buddha,’ ” explains Stefanie Adlerstein McNamara, a spokeswoman for the magazine.

CULTURAL MOMENT

Deep-fried butter, doughnut burgers. Been there, done that. The Minnesota State Fair is now offering “Deep-Fried Spam Curds” that involve, well, Spam and cheese curds.

Dallas resident James Scott, meanwhile, respectfully suggests that his own Texas State Fair offers “Deep Fried Fried,” explaining, “Take some batter, fry it, then batter the fried batter, then fry it.”

POLL DU JOUR

- 63 percent of U.S. voters say that if the federal government forgives mortgage debts of troubled homeowners, it is unfair to owners who regularly pay on time.

- 58 percent of voters overall oppose the government forgiving the mortgage debts.

- 75 percent of Republicans and 65 percent of unaffiliated voters oppose the proposal.

- 47 percent of Democrats favor it, 38 percent oppose the idea.

- 67 percent of Republicans say forgiving the debts would be “bad for the economy.”

- 49 percent of Democrats say the proposal would be “good for the economy.”

Source: A Rasmussen Reports survey of 1,000 likely voters conducted Aug. 5-6.

Shouts and murmurs to jharper@washingtontimes.com.

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