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Inside the Beltway

- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 9, 2010

PROGRESSIVE PANTHEON

Uh-oh. Could it be the clash of the titans?

The conservative mantra for months was "fire Pelosi." House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, however, is more fired up than fired in the final weeks before she surrenders the gavel to incoming Speaker John A. Boehner. Mrs. Pelosi remains in warrior goddess mode against Republicans and the tax-cut compromise President Obama offered them; she has made a solemn vow to "improve the proposal." For that, the California Democrat has earned the everlasting gratitude from her mortal constituency, and maybe an interpretative dance or two.

"Thank you, and stand strong," says a letter to Mrs. Pelosi from million-member Democracy for America. "Stand strong against right-wing pressure to cave and give Republicans everything they want." Uncowed, the White House has issued a running tally of lawmakers, governors, mayors and interest groups who support Mr. Obama's "middle class tax cut framework." Republicans, meanwhile, are wondering if Mr. Obama's overture will sully economic policies in their beloved "Pledge to America," made earlier this year.

"The difference between the Obama administration and the Democratic base is that the administration has to deal, in some fashion, with reality," observes Powerline's John Hinderaker. "To be sure, Obama's first choice is always to address reality through a left-wing lens. But at some level, he has to face the fact that terrorists pose a serious threat, as well as the fact that the only real solution to our economic malaise lies in economic growth. His ability to take purist positions is limited by his desire to be re-elected."

JUST SO YOU KNOW

"An overwhelming majority of Americans celebrate Christmas, and for most of those who celebrate, it's a religious holiday rather than a secular one despite the strong commercial overtones of the season," says Rasmussen Reports, which found that 92 percent of the nation celebrates Christmas. Two-thirds regard it as a religious holiday, 28 percent celebrate Christmas as a secular holiday.

ELITE'S TEA PARTY

"Neither a third party, nor a stalking horse for any presidential candidate or other candidates, No Labels is a new way of looking at politics, and a growing movement of Americans united in the belief that our political leaders dont have to give up their labels, but rather need to be able to put them aside at times to do what is best for America," says No Labels, the 1,000-member group that boasts seven Democratic and four Republican lawmakers, New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, Florida Gov. Charlie Crist and CNN's David Gergen among the hordes who will attend its big, cozy launch at Columbia University on Monday.

"No Labels will create a space where ideas can be judged on the merits, not their conformity to pre-fabricated stereotypes. The point is not whether America moves left or right; it's whether we move forward," founder Nancy Jacobson says.

Is it a fancy intellectual "tea party" bent on neutralizing the political discourse? There are reports the group raised $1 million in start-up funds from ex-Facebook executive Dave Morin and others; the group boasts "citizen leaders" and promises town halls around the country. There's an official song and a symbol — a red and blue bison — and this oath of intent: "With the goal of empowering a No Labels movement in all 435 congressional districts in 2011, No Labels will organize, energize and mobilize the masses of Americans who feel disenfranchised by today's hyper-partisan political gridlock."

FOOD POLICE

Health.com has just issued a 36-item list of "foods you should not eat" during the joyous season. Among them: Swedish meatballs, eggnog, stuffed potatoes, creamed spinach, pot roast, fruitcake, pecan pie, candied yams, cranberry sauce, Yorkshire pudding, spinach and artichoke dip, sausage stuffing, green bean casserole, croissants, latkes, hot buttered rum, gingerbread, sugar cookies, plum pudding, mashed potatoes, gravy, glazed ham, cinnamon rolls and chocolate martinis.

Yeah, well. There goes the menu.

POST WIKILEAKS

"Cyberwar is here. Now what?" asks Commentary writer Abe Greewald.

"In accordance with the new doctrine of Western war, weve taken the first step in response to attack: apology. After 9/11, we apologized to Muslims. Today Hillary Clinton is traveling the world apologizing to foreign governments for leaked State Dept. cables," he continues.

"Thats fine as far as it goes, but saying, 'Sorry, were weak' doesnt do much to stop the attacks still under way. As someone recently put it, 'The war is on. And everyone ought to spend some time thinking about it, discussing it with others, preparing yourselves so you know how to act if something compels you to make a decision. Be very careful not to err on the side of inaction.' Those are the words of a contributor to a cyber-anarchist site called whyweprotest.net. Once again, the enemy has a better handle on the war than we do."

POLL DU JOUR

• 66 percent of Americans say "things in the nation" are on the wrong track.

• 85 percent of Republicans and 48 percent of Democrats agree.

• 27 percent overall say the nation is "heading in the right direction."

• 12 percent of Republicans and 44 percent of Democrats agree.

• 51 percent overall say they are "worse off" than they were two years ago.

• 35 percent say they are "better off," 14 percent aren't sure.

• 46 percent anticipate spending less during the holiday season, 41 will spend "about the same."

Source: A Bloomberg News poll of 1,000 adults conducted Dec. 4 to 7.

• Tip line always open at jharper@washingtontimes.com.

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