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Inside the Beltway

Question of the Day

Should Congress make English the official language of the U.S.?

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SENTRY DUTY

The "tea party" has emerged from the midterm elections ready to man a permanent lookout tower, their eyes trained on Congress. "The tea party is not a Republican resurgence, it is a conservative movement united under a coherent philosophy," explains Matt Kibbe, president of FreedomWorks, a grass-roots group founded in 1984 by former House Speaker Dick Armey.

"This is the winning coalition of conservative and independent voters who elected legislative entrepreneurs on November 2nd and began to hold them accountable on November 3rd. There is a clear, implicit threat in these results to the incoming freshman class of Republicans: The American people are watching you. And if you cannot follow through on your promised agenda of fiscal responsibility and limited government, we will vote in someone else who can," Mr. Kibbe warns.

Oddly enough, the same sentiment is percolating deep in the Left. "We must let Democratic politicians know our vote comes with one big condition. If they do not straighten up, get a spine and do what we expect of them, we will find alternate candidates to run against them in 2012," says filmmaker Michael Moore. "We'll give them just two more years to start doing the things we elected them to do. If they move one more inch to the 'center' or to the right, they will never get our vote again. And we mean business."

FAIR WARNING

The era of blaming former President George W. Bush for the nation's woes drew to a close with the midterms, says J.T. Young, a contributor to the American Spectator. But wait. Who gets to sit in the naughty chair now?

"America has now made it clear that its patience with excuses without results is over. The 'blame Bush' ploy no longer works. Simply not being Bush is no longer sufficient qualification. Conservatives should take this lesson to heart as well. The public has started the clock on them today," Mr. Young observes.

DUDE REDUX

"Dude" apparently has become an acceptable designation for the office of president of the United States of America. Asked if he was offended by the odd, rude, sophomoric moment when Comedy Central's Jon Stewart called him "dude" on camera, President Obama replied, "Of course not. I promise you, as president youre called much worse than 'dude'. Thats guaranteed."

Ah yes. A cool reply, made to "American Idol" host Ryan Seacrest during a radio interview. But inquiring minds wonder if Mr. Obama should have quietly removed his microphone and excused himself from Mr. Stewart's company for his disrespect to the office and basic protocol. And what would have happened had Mr. Stewart called some other president, former president, premier, king or sheik a "dude"? The mind reels.

TRICKLE-DOWN EFFECT

The White House is getting solar panels. And under the influence of such Obamanian greenness, the military is following suit, but with armor plating.

"Energy security, sustainability and efficiency are national security imperatives," says Katherine Hammack, assistant secretary of the Army for installations, energy and the environment, who has updated Army policy to strengthen "more responsible consumption," with solar water heating, "cool" roofs and energy efficient light bulbs in the plan.

Things are going vigorously green in the Navy as well, where the brass wants a "greener footprint," though a more accurate description might be "greener wake." But no matter.

"Our goal as a navy is to be an early adopter of new technologies that enhance national security in an environmentally sustainable way," says Navy Rear Adm. Philip H. Cullom, director of energy and environmental readiness for the chief of naval operations. And yes, that includes "algae-based biofuel." The Air Force, incidentally, already is flirting with traditional JP8 petroleum-based jet fuel laced with biofuel derived from animal fat.

LITERARY MOMENT

"Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has opted to stay well clear of the midterms, sitting them out in a two-week tour of Asia and Australia. In fact shes been as elusive as the Scarlet Pimpernel."

(Nile Gardner, foreign affairs analyst for the Daily Telegraph.

SIGN OF THE TIMES

Mindful of a sagging economy, Santa Claus will arrive in many major shopping malls on Saturday, just to get a head start on things. This year, he'll be toting dream gifts for hypochondriacs, at least according to the gadget geniuses of Brookstone.

"People are showing keen interest in living this cold-and-flu season as germ-free as possible. We're seeing a lot of activity for Violight UV Cell Phone Sanitizers, the cordless UV-C Sanitizing Wand and our Candyman Motion-Activated Candy Dispenser, which helps people avoid sharing germs in office candy bowls," explains Ron Boire, CEO of the specialty store chain.

POLL DU JOUR

- 57 percent of likely voters say the midterm election was an "Obama referendum."

- 30 percent of Democrats and 28 percent of liberals agree.

- 51 percent of voters overall say their opinion of President Obama was a factor in their voting decisions.

- 72 percent of conservatives, 66 percent of Republicans and 60 percent of independent voters agree.

- 50 percent of voters overall do not plan to vote for Mr. Obama in 2012.

- 45 percent of those who voted for Mr. Obama have a more positive opinion of him, 40 percent a more negative.

Source: A Zogby Interactive poll of 2,056 likely voters conducted Oct. 29 to. Nov. 1

Victory cries, gnashing of teeth, recounts to jharper@washingtontimes.com.

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