- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 21, 2010

Brown lexicon

Stunning, rare, shocking, astonishing, impossible. (Assorted press descriptions of Sen.-elect Scott Brown’s victory.)

Overwhelming, proud, happy. (The Massachusetts Republican’s personal descriptions of his experiences.)

Silly. (Mr. Brown’s reaction to the notion that he run for president in 2012.)

Gas up the truck. (New motto already on Scott Brown for president bumper stickers.)

Instant prez

It only took a few nanoseconds before many giddy Republicans declared that Scott Brown should pursue the White House. Like, now. Maybe even yesterday. Or last week. He won the hottest political seat in the nation, maybe even the known universe. But now he must sort out where man ends and myth begins.

Mr. Brown has been cast in the role of instant, heroic symbol for all that is good and right in the world — a champion of the party in epic proportions. Such proportions do not always pan out.

“It’s an understandable reaction. He is a rock star for Republicans right now. But the call for him to run for president is premature. Now it is time to figure out exactly what kind of guy he is, and where he stands. For example, I found it interesting that he didn’t view the special election as a ‘referendum’ on President Obama. I thought he’d jump on that right away. But he didn’t,” Bruce Buchanan tells Inside the Beltway.

He is a presidential historian at the University of Texas at Austin.

“But then, I found it a little presumptuous of Mr. Brown, as a state representative, to tell the press that the U.S. Senate should not pass health care ‘until he gets there.’ So we’re seeing some uneven moments here. The point is, we need to get to know Mr. Brown. Soon he will have to live by his record as a lawmaker, and be judged on that,” Mr. Buchanan says.

How it works

So is the Grand Old Party dancing in the streets, lollygagging, resting on laurels. Don’t count on it.

“Republicans are rejoicing in this moment, of course. But they’re already at work, they’re already strategizing on how to repeat Scott Brown’s victory in districts and states all across the county.” Republican strategist Ron Bonjean tells The Beltway.

“At the same time, the party has to wait and see how the Democrats will react to it all, how they will recalibrate their thinking to this huge loss. And the GOP, trust me, will play off of those new calibrations very carefully,” Mr. Bonjean adds.

Hot reading

And now for some comedic relief: In response to press reports that needy old folks in Britain are burning even thrift store books in their fireplaces to keep warm this winter, some suggest that Al Gore rush to help with this “humanitarian crisis” by airlifting a bunch of his own books to the shivering pensioners.

“We are collecting copies of Al Gores ‘An Inconvenient Truth,’ ‘Our Choice’ and ‘Earth in the Balance’ and will send them to Oxfam in the UK to distribute for free to vulnerable people trying to survive the cold weather,” said Myron Ebell, director of Freedom Action, a grass-roots political group.

“It is appropriate that his books be used to help keep poor people warm since the principal reason the British government is totally unprepared to deal with the brutally cold weather is because they have fallen for the global-warming myths propagated by Gore himself,” Mr. Ebell adds. “Burning Gores otherwise worthless books to keep people from freezing is their highest and best use.”

Turbulence ahead

It’s another item for the White House to-do list. Hire somebody. Restlessness is rising now that Erroll Southers has withdrawn his nomination to lead the Transportation Security Administration after Sen. Jim DeMint, South Carolina Republican, American Conservative Union president David Keene and others persistently questioned his fitness for the job.

It could be a bumpy flight for the federal agency.

“Further delay is unacceptable. We are deeply disappointed that it took eight months to have a nominee and four more months for him to be considered at a time when America’s transportation system is obviously under threat,” says Roger Dow, president and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association, the national nonprofit group representing the $770 billion travel industry.

“Northwest Flight 253 serves as a wake-up call that we have critical security issues that must be addressed. We demand a fast-track nomination and immediate Senate consideration so we can put a leader for this critical agency in place as soon as possible,” Mr. Dow continues. “More than 100,000 employees at the TSA have now gone 365 days without leadership. If the U.S. cannot get a TSA administrator in place, we’re clearly not committed to security or the travel process itself. Secure and efficient travel needs to be a bipartisan and immediate priority.”

Poll du jour

84 percent of Americans overall have “heard” of the U.S. Census.

89 percent of Republicans and 83 percent of Democrats are aware of the Census.

60 percent of Americans say the Census is “very important” to the country.

56 percent of Republicans and 71 percent of Democrats agree.

58 percent of Americans “definitely” will participate in the Census.

54 percent of Republicans and 67 percent of Democrats definitely plan to participate.

59 percent of Americans say the Census is used to guide distribution of government funds.

64 percent say the Census is used to decide congressional representation.

Source: A Pew Research Center poll of 1,504 adults conducted Jan. 6 to 10.

Beeps, bleeps and leaps to jharper@washingtontimes.com

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