- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 2, 2010

WIKI-CZAR

The czar roster expands: The White House has created a new position to investigate shortcomings in national security that ultimately led to the WikiLeaks debacle - still destined to be special section, front-page news at the New York Times through Wednesday. The new alpha man? That would be Russell Travers, deputy director of the National Counterterrorism Center, who will lead “a comprehensive effort to identify and develop the structural reforms needed in light of the WikiLeaks breach.” President Obama’s Intelligence Advisory Board has also been tapped to “take an independent look at the means by which the Executive Branch as a whole shares and protects classified information.”

SHE’S NOT DONE

What does one do after losing a high-profile political campaign? Write a book, of course. That’s the plan of Christine O'Donnell, the intrepid conservative who ultimately lost her quest for U.S. senator in the state of Delaware to Democrat Chris Coons after months of serious combat. Ms. O'Donnell has signed on with St. Martin’s Press, pledging to produce a behind-the-scenes look at her campaign and an honest assessment of her “frustrations and concerns with the current political climate.” Look for the finished work next August.

“The 2010 midterm elections were just the beginning - the first rumblings of a revolution that has not fully erupted. I plan on making my book one of the revolution’s catalysts,” Ms. O'Donnell says.

She has not lost her grass-roots “tea party” touch. Ms. O'Donnell will be the keynote speaker at the Northern Virginia Tea Party’s annual banquet on Dec. 7, joined by Northern Virginia state Delegate Bob Marshall, author of Virginia’s Healthcare Freedom Act, the basis of Virginia Attorney General Kenneth T. Cuccinelli II’s recent lawsuit against Obamacare.

JUST SO YOU KNOW

Uh-oh. This may not go over so well with the food and fitness police: “You’re big and beautiful and know how to own it! You’re phat, fab and chic and have the big and bold personality to match. You’ve got the style, sex appeal and sass to get noticed without being a sample size. Time to show the world that big girls have more fun!” says the casting notice for a new VH-1 reality show, in association with Doron Ofir Casting and Left Right Productions. “Big girls don’t cry - they freakin’ party!”

HOLA HERITAGE

Newt Gingrich has already demonstrated that it’s never too early to woo the sizable Hispanic vote; he’s already cordial with Hispanic lawmakers and diplomats and founded “the Americano,” a bilingual news site for center-right Hispanics. The Heritage Foundation also has entered the arena, launching “Heritage Libertad,” meant to provide serious policy analysis in Spanish for the, uh, wonkistadores.

“Libertad.org, will give Spanish-speaking Americans access to top-flight research and informed, conservative commentary,” says Mike Gonzalez, vice president for communications. “Surveys show that vast majorities of Hispanic Americans already embrace conservative attitudes.”

HOPEY CHANGEY

“Well, Obama did promise change.”

Instapundit columnist Glenn Reynolds, on a new Rasmussen Reports survey of 15,000 Americans “for the first time ever” revealing that 36 percent identify as Republicans and 34.7 percent identify as Democrats.

BUMPER PATROL

“If your WikiLeaks, plug it.”

New bumper sticker from Zazzle.com

POLITI-FUTURE

Here it comes: Non-commitment culture, the urgency economy, outsourcing self-control, de-teching. Of interest to political strategists, these are among the Top Ten Trends for 2011 from marketing giant J. Walter Thompson, and they reveal an impatient, edgy population who will be a hard sell as the 2012 presidential election looms. According to director of trend-spotting Ann Mack - yes, that is her title - Americans are seeking life choices that require “a less-permanent commitment.” They favor time-sensitive “flash sales” and temporary “pop-up shops,” which implies they could favor flash campaigns and pop-up politicians as well.

But folks have limits. And they’re picky. While these voters may need an electronic device to prevent them from texting-while-drunk, they are also capable of de-teching - “offlining, getting off the 24-hour work cycle,” Ms. Mack says. “People will be looking more closely at what they put into their brains.”

And the ultimate political campaign, perhaps? “All the world’s a game,” she continues. Game mechanics - playful privileges, superpowers, status indicators - help drive certain actions or behaviors. “Hyper-personalization” is the other byword.

“A personalized digital realm that offers up what they are most likely to need or want based on location, interests, demographic cohort, social network,” Ms. Mack adds, suggesting that using Google Street View to incorporate the viewer’s childhood neighborhood into the experience is not a bad idea, either.

POLL DU JOUR

- 77 percent of likely voters say WikiLeaks is a threat to U.S. security.

- 76 percent say WikiLeaks may endanger lives of the U.S. military.

- 63 percent say U.S. news organizations should not publish WIkiLeaks materials.

- 80 percent of conservatives and 37 percent of liberals agree.

- 52 percent overall say the U.S. should consider WikiLeaks a “terrorist group” and deal with it accordingly.

- 65 percent of conservatives and 19 percent of liberals agree.

- 31 percent overall say the U.S. government is “exaggerating” the risk posed by WikiLeaks.

Source: A Zogby Interactive survey of 2,084 likely voters conducted Nov. 29-Dec. 1.

Tipline always open at jharper@washingtontimes.com