- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 17, 2010

THE EXTREMES

Amor, si si? Well, actually, no, no. The Arizona immigration law has taken a big bite out of Mexican affection for Americans, says the massive new Pew Global Attitudes poll - which plumbed the attitudes of more than 24,000 people in 22 countries.

“The only nation in which the image of the American people declined was in neighboring Mexico. Overall, 49 percent of Mexicans voice a positive opinion of Americans, down from 57 percent last year. Mexican public opinion was very different before and after the passage of the Arizona immigration law. Prior to the law’s enactment, 55 percent held a positive view of Americans, but this plummeted to 39 percent afterwards,” according to the Pew people

Three-fourths of the Mexican respondents had negative reviews of Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, while 54 percent did not approve of President Obama’s stance on immigration issues. We’ve got big fans in surprising places, though. The largest increase in favorability toward Americans took place in China, where positive views of Americans jumped from 42 percent in 2009 to 61 percent this year. Sizable increases were also recorded in Poland (up 8 percentage points), Russia (up 7 points) and Spain (up 7 points), the poll says.

HEE-HAW

OK. We apologize for use of the “A-word” here. But please note that the Democratic National Committee has now named their official online blog “Kicking Ass,” a trend that particularly appeals to young Democrats who are following the example of their elders and using the designation at their own campus websites. Some spot the unintended comedy here, though.

“The donkey, also known as the ass, is the Democratic Party’s logo. Since there are over 200 Democrats in Congress and another 57 in the Senate, let’s start the ass-kicking there,” points out Max Tollens Jr., a member of the New York State Patriots, a regional “tea party” group.

WEEKEND READING

The Oil Drum, a well-regarded energy blog popular with geologists and other scientific folk, has an extensive posting by an anonymous but technically well-versed writer who has crafted the ultimate BP oil spill nightmare, complete with research references. The lengthy scenario dwarfs political posturings that have riveted the press, noting that a “down hole” leak could tap into the vast oil field itself and that “the magnitude and impact of this disaster will eclipse anything we have known in our lifetimes if the worst or even near worst happens.”

The strong of stomach can find this much-talked-about missive here.

DENY DENY DENY

Politicians caught with their moral lives in disarray appear to be changing tactics.

“We’re entering an unlikely phase of sex-scandal politics: the deny-it stage. This follows the caught-in-the-headlights phase - the Eliot Spitzer-John Edwards-Mark Sanford phase,” says Newser.com founder Michael Wolff.

The newfound audacity could have begun, he says, after first lady Michelle Obama literally laughed off rumors that President Obama had an affair with a campaign worker in 2004. South Carolina Republican gubernatorial hopeful Nikki Haley flatly dismissed press reports of her romantic liaisons. And of course, celebrity environmentalist Laurie David strongly denied a tabloid report that she dallied with Al Gore.

“Not long ago, the scandal playbook would have counseled that any acknowledgment at all of such a rumor would invite the kind of scrutiny which invariably diminishes you,” Mr. Wolff reasons.

“Political life, which has been separate from real life - full of artifice, spin and flagrant fakery and inauthenticity - has been, rather miraculously, reduced to the real and transparent. That’s the joke: Politicians are ordinary fools,” he says. “Curiously, this leveling or reduction may deal a big blow to scandal. If we believe all politicians are having affairs, there’s no story.”

CAULKING BIAS

From our “Things-that-make-you-go-huh-h-h Desk:”

5,887 - Number of homes to be “weatherized” in California.

5,163 - Number of homes to be weatherized in Michigan.

2,360 - Number of homes to be weatherized in Massachusetts.

Source: Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s $620 billion “Summer of Recovery: Project Activity Increases in Summer 2010.”

CUCCINELLI’S RAIDERS

Some spirited Virginians are rallying behind state Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli and his lawsuit against the new federal health care law, with a large-scale “Defend the Constitution” rally planned for June 25 in Manassas.

“This is not another one of those events where a few people straggle in for a bitchfest and that’s it,” Dan Arnold, president of the Manassas Tea Party, tells Inside the Beltway. “We’ve reached out to Ken Cuccinelli in support of him and his lawsuit against the health care mandate. He’s really the tip of the spear on this nationally.”

Mr. Arnold’s group was organized just eight weeks ago, and the event has “already taken on a life of its own,” he says. The gathering will include Mr. Cuccinelli, of course, plus speakers such as Virginia House Delegate Robert G. Marshall; Richmond Tea Party president Jamie Radtke; black conservative activist Sonnie Johnson, who is also Virginia president of the Frederick Douglass Foundation; and pro-life physician Dr. John Bruchalski.

POLL DU JOUR

  • 71 percent of U.S. voters say the government response to the Gulf oil leak will sway their vote in the November midterm elections.
  • 27 percent say the response will not influence their vote.
  • 65 percent say that finding new sources of energy is more important than scaling back energy consumption.
  • 27 percent say energy conservation is more important.
  • 37 percent agree with President Obama that the oil leak will shape our attitude toward energy as much as 9/11 influenced our views on foreign policy.
  • 33 percent disagree, and 30 percent are undecided.

Source: A Rasmussen reports survey of 1,000 likely voters conducted June 15 and 16.

Observations, rants, scenarios to jharper@washingtontimes.com. Follow her at twitter.com/ harperbulletin.