- The Washington Times - Monday, June 21, 2010

THE KYL FILE

Imagine a recent meeting between President Obama and Senate Republican Whip Jon Kyl, talking border issues in the privacy of the Oval Office. Mr. Obama tells the Arizona lawmaker that he won’t secure the border with Mexico until he can exact legislation to overhaul U.S. immigration law. This is what Mr. Kyl publicly claims. In blog and press briefing, White House communications director Dan Pfeiffer and deputy press secretary Bill Burton vigorously denied such talk took place. Mr. Kyl, however, remains adamant.

“There were two people in that meeting, and neither Bill Burton or Dan Pfeiffer were one of them. Senator Kyl stands by his remarks, and the White House press office’s response that we must have comprehensive immigration reform to secure the border only confirms Senator Kyl’s account,” Ryan Patmintra, Mr. Kyl’s press secretary, tells Inside the Beltway.

HORNING IN

Honk if you love Republicans? OK, the squealing horns of doom have taken over the World Cup, and now, American baseball. But inquiring minds want to know. Will we hear vuvuzelas at the Republican National Convention in 2012? Hm. Well, maybe.

“The horns certainly seem to be a crowd energizer, although given the high intensity of the sound, the convention organizers will have to take into account the specific venues of various functions, especially if they are indoors, to determine whether or not use of the horns would be appropriate,” Debbie Cox-Roush, vice chairman of the Republican Party of Florida and convention official tells the Beltway.

THE POWER OF SB1070

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer now commands 61 percent support in Arizona’s Republican primary race for governor, up from 45 percent last month and 25 percent in April, says a Rasmussen Reports survey of 700 likely GOP primary voters in the state. Rival Buz Mills has 16 percent of the vote, followed by State Treasurer Dean Martin at 12 percent.

“Brewer has had a remarkable surge in support since signing the state’s new immigration law and becoming a forceful national advocate of the measure despite criticism from President Obama, Mexican President Felipe Calderon and others. Eighty-nine percent of GOP Primary voters support the immigration law, and 66 percent of those voters favor Brewer,” says the survey, conducted June 16.

OIL SPILLOVER

The BP oil spill is politically and economically charged, and its is a dramatic tableau for finger-pointing and posturing. But the spill also is building into a cultural identity crisis, says close observer James J. Corbett, an engineering professor in the College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment at the University of Delaware.

“Given that the U.S. cannot explore offshore resources risk free, one wonders if energy conservation is a bipartisan climate issue, a bipartisan energy security issue, or a bipartisan economic recovery issue,” Mr. Corbett tells the Beltway.

“A large U.S. city’s energy for a year, more than 100,000 cars, more than 9,000 freight trucks; is this still BP’s spill, or Mineral Management Service’s Katrina, or President Obama’s 9/11? Isn’t this our spill — a catastrophe involving each soccer dad or mom, every lone commuter, and promoted by the last — and next — SUV advertisement?” he asks.

EROSION

“BP has lost nearly a billion dollars in online brand value” says General Sentiment, a marketing research company that calculates such things using software to gauge the tone and intensity of up to 30 million daily press mentions. The company loses $32 million a day in “brand value” each day, or about $6.66 for each gallon of oil spilled into the Gulf.

“While news reports are focusing on BP’s financial losses, the company’s brand reputation — and the tangible value behind it — is in a free fall. As a brand, BP may never fully recover from this catastrophe,” says Greg Artzt, CEO of the North Carolina company.

THEY DON’T KNOW EITHER

“In part because there is so little else to rely on, we have not ignored these sources entirely in preparing this report but we have tried to cite them carefully and in context. … The simple truth is that there is much that we do not know about Kagan’s views on the Constitution and the Court,” notes a 32-page analysis of Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan prepared by the American Civil Liberties Union.

“Most fundamentally, she has said very little so far about her approach to constitutional interpretation. More specifically, the available record offers very few clues about her constitutional views on criminal justice, immigration, voting rights, prisoners’ rights, due process, the Establishment Clause, and a host of other recurring Supreme Court topics.”

Ms. Kagan’s confirmation hearing is looming. Maybe Judge Robert Bork will clarify a few things when he addresses her nomination Wednesday at an Americans United for Life conference. In any case, examine the aforementioned report here: www.aclu.org.

POLL DU JOUR

69 percent: Percentage of Americans who say the heath care debate was “hard to understand.”

44 percent: Percentage of the total airtime devoted to the debate on all liberal cable TV and radio talk shows from June 2009 to March 2010.

32 percent: Percentage of the total airtime devoted to heath care on MSNBC in the same 10-month period.

26 percent: Percentage of total airtime on all conservative cable TV and radio talk shows.

20 percent: Amount of total airtime on Fox News

14 percent: Amount of total airtime, print or online content devoted to health care in the entire mainstream news media.

13 percent: Amount of health care airtime on CNN.

Source: A Pew Research Center Project for Excellence in Journalism study of 5,500 health care news stories, June 2009 through March 2010.

Reasoned remarks and unreasonable reactions to jharper@washingtontimes.com.