- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 28, 2010

POST-SPEECH MALAISE

Hallelujah. All that rescuing and rebuilding and restoring is over. The State of the Union speech is history, and now President Obama will get down to business and make everyone’s dreams come true.

Or not.

“I think the White House’s biggest problem is that they govern in campaign mode, and that just doesn’t work in day-to-day operations. They were in campaign mode before the speech, they’re in it after the speech. Mr. Obama is still running for office - but that’s a race that was over last time I checked,” Stephen Green tells Inside the Beltway.

He is a commentator for Pajamas Media who also blogs under the name Vodka Pundit.

“The big ‘fix’ Mr. Obama has in mind is to bring back David Plouffe as an adviser. But Plouffe is the ultimate campaign guy, and I seriously wonder if he’s the right guy for the job,” Mr. Green adds. “I hope they can get out of campaign mode. The government does have to function, after all. And we can’t keep having all these gaffes all the time, though I have to say, it keeps people like me employed.”

POST-SPEECH ADVICE

There are those who have words of wisdom for President Obama.

“We should rededicate ourselves to the proposition that America is a beacon of freedom for free peoples of the world, and that being true to that proposition means supporting free peoples, not coddling or giving comfort to dictators,” says Heritage Foundation president Edward Feulner.

“Be a war president 24-7-365. Commit yourself to helping, rather than hurting, our economy 24-7-365. Every moment of every day, you should be working to defend the nation, protect our liberties and promote American prosperity. Your resolve must not waver. Your commitment should not falter,” Mr. Feulner adds.

“If you devote all your attention to letting our private sector create jobs at home and achieving victory overseas, we will enthusiastically support your efforts, and the State of the Union in 2011 will be far better.”

CUTTING EDGE

Use a hatchet, use a scalpel. Just make those cuts, urges the Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW), which has released the “2010 Prime Cuts,” a compendium of 763 waste-cutting recommendations that would save taxpayers $350 billion in the first year, and $2.2 trillion by 2015.

“Taxpayers now recognize that President Obama and his congressional allies will say anything to sound fiscally rational, but their actions tell a different story,” says Tom Schatz, the nonprofit’s president.

The guidelines are excruciatingly specific. Among myriad things, the CAGW advises the Department of Health and Human Services to eliminate anthrax vaccine research, which could save $8 million a year. They also recommend that the Department of Defense nix the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, the “Future Combat System” and the entire Selective Service System.

See the whole extravaganza here: www.cagw.org/reports/ prime-cuts/2010/2010-prime-cuts.html.

VIEW FINDER

Uh-oh. ABC’s “The View” is retooling itself into a “one-stop shop for debating America’s issues,” says producer Bill Geddie.

In the immediate future, hostesses Barbara Walters, Whoopi Goldberg, Joy Behar, Elisabeth Hasselbeck and Sherri Shepherd will cross-examine Mitt Romney, New York Gov. David Paterson, Meghan McCain, Jenny Sanford, and Andrew Young - the former aide to John Edwards who initially claimed he fathered Mr. Edward’s out-of-wedlock daughter with campaign worker Rielle Hunter.

As a tacky aside: Mr. Young’s tell-all book “The Politician” will be released Feb. 2; an early review reveals that Mr. Edwards was troubled by “fat rednecks” and that he had planned a “fantasy wedding” with Ms. Hunter.

On a ratings note, Ms. Behar’s new CNN talk show draws close to a million viewers nightly, outranking Larry King’s nightly offering, according to Neilsen. Meanwhile, the “View” crew is ready to rumble.

“I want what all those guys and gals in Washington, who make the decisions and decide whether we should get something - I want to get what they’ve got. Then we don’t have to talk about it anymore,” says Ms. Goldberg.

TURN OFF THE LIGHT

Just call him Elmer? Elwood?

“Ellie Light,” the canny writer who managed to place a President Obama fan letter in more than 60 newspapers, has been identified as Winston Steward, 51, of Frazier Park, Calif. He used the feminine pen name “to protect himself from criticism and possible physical attacks,” says the Cleveland Plain Dealer, which tracked the letters for days.

It became an indictment of sorts for the press. Scores of papers - including this one - published Mr. Steward’s missives without checking his credibility or identity.

“My e-mail address is on numerous lists published on the Internet that tell ‘activists’ how to relay their ideas to reporters. I get dozens of unsolicited manifestos every day that come to me by way of these lists. I don’t usually open these e-mails,” Sabrina Eaton tells The Beltway.

She is a reporter for the Cleveland paper; and her initial investigations eventually led to Mr. Steward’s, uh, unveiling.

“The only reason I opened this one was because I thought the author may have been a former co-worker of mine at the Bergen Record in Hackensack, New Jersey. When I didn’t get an understandable answer after e-mailing the author, I did Google and Lexis-Nexis searches that revealed this author’s widespread publication using different addresses. I thought this showed a flaw in the system that newspapers use to verify the IDs of people who write letters to the editor. That’s why I wrote the story,” she adds.

POLL DU JOUR

• 93 percent of Americans say there is too much infighting between Republicans and Democrats.

• 84 percent say “special interests” have too much influence over legislation.

• 61 percent say Democrats try to “push through” legislation without bipartisan compromise.

• 61 percent say Republicans try to block Democratic legislation without compromise.

• 58 percent say the federal government has “gone too far” and tried to do too much.

• 48 percent say Sen.-elect Scott Brown’s victory was meant to “send a message” to Washington.

Source: An NBC/Wall Street Journal poll of 800 adults conducted Jan. 23 to 25.

Outreach and infighting to jharper@washingtontimes.com.

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