- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Evolving president

Fighter, populist, conciliator, chameleon-in-chief? Inquiring minds want to know: Who will President Obama be when he delivers the State of the Union Speech Wednesday?

Mr. Obama did say “fight” 15 times in a single speech recently. The White House appears ready to rumble, assuming aggressive postures that have been likely orchestrated by former campaign guru David Plouffe, who has re-emerged as a reassuring foil to newfound Republican feistiness.

Will it play in Peoria — not to mention the Left Coast? CNN columnist David Frum thinks “fighter” is incompatible with the Obama brand.

“It would be a big mistake. It may win the president an immediate bounce in the polls by exciting downcast liberals and progressives. But that bounce will prove limited and short-lived, and it will come at the expense of more trouble not very far down the road,” Mr. Frum says.

“Ever since the Massachusetts embarrassment came into focus,President Obama has shot out with a new ‘populist’ persona. He’s sought to reinvent himself as the Everyman: assailing banks, offering new plans for more intervention into the markets, and recently announcing his intention to repossess ‘every single dime the American people are owed’ from the [Troubled Asset Relief Program] bailout with a new tax on banks,” says the Republican Study Committee.

“He’s a fighter for Joe the Plumber, you know. The President wants everyone to know he’s angry, too. Just not angry enough to stop sending tax dollars to the financial industry.”

The group, which is chaired by Rep. Tom Price of Georgia, points out that Mr. Obama continues to send tax dollars to unwieldy financial institutions — such as $3.8 billion in aid to auto lender GMAC, announced Dec. 30. The Obama administration recently lifted the cap on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac’s bailout “from $400 billion to infinity,” even as Chrysler plans to use a portion of its $7 billion bailout on a Super Bowl ad.

“Those little details must have slipped his speechwriter’s mind,” the Republican group concludes.

Shedding light

The mysterious letter writer “Ellie Light” continues to lurk in the news media. After placing the same pro-Obama letter in more than 60 newspapers, this canny, partisan wordsmith has riveted bloggers who hope to identify who — or what — is behind this successful campaign. One thing is for sure, though. This button-pushing scribe knows how to play the game.

So far, “Ellie” has denied she is President Obama, Michelle Obama or National Security Council member Samantha Power, according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

“I’m flattered, and I must give the Tea Partiers credit for even knowing who [Power] is,” Ellie said in an tantalizing e-mail to the newspaper.

“I am not surprised that an article that tends to discredit a pro-Obama letter-writer has lots of readers. I understand that there are 10 million dittoheads that daily scour the airwaves, print and online press for something nasty to say about the president, so I’m sure your article will get more hits,” she wrote in another e-mailed missive.

“I’m not sure why you would write me that people would probably be interested in what I have to say. My impression is that my letter could contain Chinese food recipes with a Pro-Obama subject line, and the event would be interpreted as fodder for that same highly-motivated, but narrow class of people.”

Inside the Beltway readers are welcome to offer their suggestions about the identity of Ellie Light. Who knows? Maybe it’s Conan O’Brien. Or Bo Obama. Or the Salahis. Stay tuned.

Duck and cover

Can Congress and the Obama administration protect the U.S. from suitcase nukes and terrorism? We’ll find out in no uncertain terms Tuesday when former Sens. Bob Graham and Jim Talent — chair and vice chair, respectively, of thecongressionally-chartered Commission on the Prevention of Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferation and Terrorism — deliver a “report card” on such things at the National Press Club.

The commission has already warned that “it is more likely than not” that WMDs will be used in a terrorist attack by the end of 2013. The report card will be issued just 24 hours after Der Spiegel reported that “Iran is able to produce a nuclear weapon this year,” basing their claims on an intelligence dossier. The bomb, the German publication says, is said to be “primitive,” the size of a truck and ready for downsizing.

“The new findings from the commission will definitely include important news, especially in the area of bioterrorism,” one source tells Inside the Beltway.

Oh joy. Well, OK. Thanks. The new report card will be released soon enough. Check here once it’s made public: www.preventwmd.gov.

Batter up

Politics + sports = audience? Could be. Such is the case with syndicated talk radio host Michael Savage, who is now successfully marketing his outspoken political and cultural programming in sports radio.

Come Feb. 1, “The Savage Nation” will be heard on KTRB-AM, a 50,000-watt all sports station in San Francisco.

“Sports fans are generally tuned out of politics, and I want to tune them in to what is happening in this great country,” Mr. Savage says. “I can’t wait to wake them up to what President Obama’s doing to our basic freedoms. The czars, the hostile takeovers of whole industries, the bribery of senators and Congress, the kow-towing to foreign dictators.”

Mr. Savage is currently heard on 400 stations.

“Sports fans love an underdog, and in the uber-socialist Bay Area, I am the biggest underdog the media has ever heard,” he observes.

Poll du jour

• 70 percent of Americans say the “change” in congressional voting proportions afforded by Senator-elect Scott Brown’s victory in Massachusetts is “good” for the country.

• 38 percent say Mr. Brown’s election was a “major defeat” for Democrats.

• 44 percent called it a “minor setback,” 17 percent said it had no effect.

• 48 percent of Americans say Democratic control of Congress is “bad” for the country.

• 45 percent say it is “good” for the country.

• 9 percent say they are “mad” only at Republicans, 11 percent are mad only at Democrats.

• 48 percent say they are mad at both parties, 32 percent are not mad at either party.

Source: A CNN/Opinion Research poll of 1,009 adults conducted Jan. 22 to 24.

Speeches, speculation and aggressive press releases to jharper@washingtontimes.com.

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