- The Washington Times - Friday, January 22, 2010

GREAT SCOTT

The pickup truck, he-man competence and honest talk: The Scott Brown “brand” has tickled the fancy of Americans, who are now attuned to every last Twitter from the new Republican senator-elect from Massachusetts.

“Scott Brown is Sarah Palin - but better,” says Michael Wolff, founder of Newser.com, who adds that Mr. Brown has “mastered the new political discipline, in which your bona fides are established by your lack of bona fides, your modesty and aw-shucksness by your hunger for media attention, your moral virtue by a wink.”

Well, OK. But such dynamics are not lost on nimble observers - like University of Michigan engineering student Kirit Patel, who laid claim to the Web domain www.Scott Brown2012.com on Tuesday, and Maine-based Internet marketer John McKinnon, who registered the name www.scottbrownforpresident on Jan. 15.

Mr. Patel already has had five offers for his catchy designation.

“It’s not about money. It’s about someone I believe in. I believe Senate-elect Brown is this country’s best hope. However, I also believe that those who support him need to build a movement around him, so that he can run as the Republican presidential candidate in 2012,” Mr. Patel tells Inside the Beltway.

“I always wondered how supporters felt about Barack Obama early on; I now know. It feels exciting to have someone fresh, someone you believe, someone that can lead this country to a better place,” he continues.

“We’ve been building commercial Web sites and community sites since 1995. I’d like to see this one function as a petition for Scott Brown to run for the White House, and as a forum for individual voters to air their concerns about what’s happening in America,” Mr. McKinnon says.

“The victory in Massachusetts was a referendum on a lot of things. And it always amazes me that here in Maine, we keep re-electing those Republicans-in-name-only Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe. And just to the south of us, we’ve got a real revolution,” he notes.

YOUR TABLE’S READY

Mr. Brown won his special election handily in the Bay State, which should offer enough impetus for him to pack his valise and assume his perch on Capitol Hill immediately. But the Republican National Lawyers Association is taking no chances.

“There is precedent to seat Brown immediately; most notably with the special election of Ted Kennedy to the same Senate seat in 1962,” says the group’s chairman, David A. Norcross. “The U.S. Senate should put aside the partisan politics that were rejected by the voters in Massachusetts and heed the will of the people by seating Brown without delay.”

SPEECH LEECH

Republicans are pleased, for the most part, with the choice of Virginia Gov. Robert F. McDonnell to respond to President Obama’s State of the Union address on Wednesday.

“Bob’s positive message and common-sense, conservative solutions inspired millions of Virginians to support him, and I know that Americans will feel that same enthusiasm after watching him,” says House Republican Whip Eric Cantor of Virginia.

Aw.

The White House is also considering the competition, perhaps with a jaundiced eye. Lo and behold, it appears Mr. McDonnell has stolen his material from Mr. Obama, according to some.

“Watching many of the ads that he ran in Virginia that I saw on my television in Alexandria, they looked a lot - a lot of the themes looked similar to what the president ran on. So we certainly look forward to what he has to say,” says White House press secretary Robert Gibbs.

BUMPER PATROL

“Politicians and diapers need to be changed for the same reason.”

Bumper sticker spotted in Accokeek, Md.

BIGGER AND BIGGER

Pining for smaller government? Good luck.

A study of 25 federal agencies released Thursday by the nonprofit Partnership for Public Service found that from October 2009 through September 2012, these employers plan to hire approximately 273,000 workers in “mission-critical roles” - an increase of 41 percent, compared with the three previous fiscal years.

Well, at least they’re hiring.

“This report confirms that the job opportunities are there. People need to seize them,” says Max Stier, president and CEO of group, who predicts that most of the new hires will be in medical/ public health, or security/ protection, compliance/ enforcement, legal occupations, and administration or program management.

The largest job increase in the next three years will be at the Department of Veterans Affairs, which plans to recruit 48,159 new hires, the study says. The Department of Homeland Security projects an estimated 65,730 new job openings, while the Defense Department estimates it will hire 43,514 new employees.

See the whole report here: www.aon.com/federal

DON’T PANIC

Should partisan critics be horrified by the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in the case of Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission? Not necessarily.

“The decision probably won’t open the floodgates to corporate spending on federal candidates, but it could lead to a wave of new political groups that focus on specific issues,” says Public Affairs Council President Doug Pinkham.

“Although the ruling loosens spending restrictions on corporations, associations and unions in federal elections, corporations are not likely to get involved in controversial campaigns that might damage their brand. In addition, a lot of companies don’t want to put more money into politics.”

POLL DU JOUR

• 30 percent of Muslim Americans say they are liberal; 38 percent are moderate; 25 percent are conservative.

• 8 percent say they are Republicans; 49 percent are Democrats; 37 percent are independents.

• 64 percent are registered to vote.

• 79 percent would vote for President Obama, 11 percent for Sen. John McCain in a theoretical presidential rematch.

• 43 percent of Americans overall say they have “prejudice” towards Muslims.

• 53 percent have an “unfavorable” view of Islam as a religion.

Source: A Gallup Panel survey of 1,002 adults conducted Oct. 31-Nov. 13 and released Thursday; “Muslim Americans: A National Portrait” (The 2009 Gallup Center for Muslim Studies survey of 319,751 adults)

• Appeals, squeals, Virginia reels to jharper@washington times.com.

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