- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 19, 2010

MULLING MEL

No, Mel Gibson has not retired in shame after public problems with a young girlfriend and a 2006 arrest for suspected drunken driving brought the conservative actor many woes. He has emerged intact. Mr. Gibson, 54, will be back in front of the cameras, says friend-of-Mel and fellow actor Jodie Foster. He’ll make a cameo appearance as a tattoo artist in “Hangover 2,” the upcoming sequel to the Golden Globe-winning blockbuster comedy. Critics already are buzzing that Mr. Gibson’s damaged reputation could be healed with a funny role. Filming begins in two weeks.

Miss Foster underscores her support of her “incredible and loyal friend” to Extra TV, insisting that “his talent will prevail.” Much of the public appears to be pulling for him, according to an online poll from the Canadian Broadcasting Co.; 46 percent of respondents said his career will recover, while a third disagreed and 20 percent were unsure.

“He is incredibly loved by everyone that’s ever come into contact with him or works with him. He is truly the most loved man in the film business, so, hopefully that stands for something,” Miss Foster adds.

WHOOPS

Reconsidering, perhaps. That would be PBS host Gwen Ifill and Daily Kos founder Markos Moulitsas, who on Tuesday publicly chided Sarah Palin for telling “tea party” supporters, “Don’t be thinking that we’ve got victory for America in the bag yet. We can’t party like it’s 1773.” Her critics thought the date should have been 1776. The ever astute Mrs. Palin, however, was referring to the anniversary of the Boston Tea Party; the iconic event took place on December 16, 1773.

MISDIAGNOSIS

“Forty may be the new 30 and 50 the new 40, but for President Obama, ‘scared’ is the new ‘angry.’ As if channeling Dr. Phil or some other shoot-from-the-hip television shrink, our president is barnstorming the country, telling us the voters are ‘scared’ and not thinking clearly,” observes Roger Simon, founder of Pajamas Media.

He recalls that Mr. Obama told a recent Democratic fundraiser, “People are still hurting very badly, and they are still scared. And so part of the reason our politics seems so tough right now, and facts and science and argument does not seem to be winning the day all the time, is because we’re hard-wired not to always think clearly when we’re scared.”

Aw.

“Talk about misdiagnosis. The voters aren’t scared. They are angry. Mad as hell, in fact,” Mr. Simon says. “They are angry at his policies and the way those policies have been rammed down their throats - and they have a right to be. That’s why citizens - who have never done anything like that before - have organized all over the country and are on the brink of destroying his party at the ballot box.”

There is support for that, numberwise. A Zogby Poll of almost 2,000 likely voters released Tuesday found that 33 percent say they are “angry” while 25 percent are “disappointed.” A quarter characterize themselves as “hopeful,” and 2 percent are “pleased.” Nobody’s scared, though.

STENY TAKES NOTICE

Out in Maryland’s 5th Congressional District, those who support Charles Lollar - a former Marine and a Republican conservative offering a vigorous challenge to 40-year incumbent House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer - have a new mantra.

“Is Steny Hoyer next on the endangered congressmen list?”

There are some rumblings.

Speculation in Maryland political circles is that Lollar is coming too close for Hoyer’s comfort in the polls, particularly with voter-turnout models dramatically favoring traditionally Republican constituencies,” says Rich Manning, a Hill contributor and a former town councilman in the region. “When I hear a Hoyer radio ad or see his new banner ads on the Internet, it tells me that Hoyer’s internal polling must be causing alarm bells to go off. Otherwise, he would be spending all of his money to try to help his fellow Democrats around the country.”

More telling, perhaps, is Mr. Hoyer’s behavior following a public debate with Mr. Lollar, who took his opponent to task on the federal deficit, among other things. When it was through, audience members overheard Mr. Hoyer say, “I’m coming after you” to Mr. Lollar, who simply grinned. Mr. Hoyer then repeated his aside.

“I am very pleased to know that Mr. Hoyer is throwing down the gauntlet and taking our campaign seriously. We have worked very hard to offer the voters in our district a choice between the failed bailout and stimulus policies of Mr. Hoyer and our ‘New Day’ agenda,” Mr. Lollar observes. “If he is serious about coming after us, then he had better bring his A-game because we will certainly bring ours.”

CARL TAKES NOTICE

“Andrew sat back and wallowed in platitudes.”

Carl Paladino, Republican candidate for New York governor, reviewing his Democratic opponent Andrew Cuomo’s performance during the gubernatorial debate on Monday.

POLL DU JOUR

- 58 percent of voters have tried to contact their senator or congressman, 38 percent have not.

- 56 percent of likely voters say it is “worth the effort” to try to contact a lawmaker.

- 30 percent say it is not worth it, 14 percent are not sure.

- 53 percent say it is “somewhat likely” lawmakers would change their minds on an issue after hearing from constituents, 38 percent say they would not.

- 51 percent say their lawmakers “don’t care” what voters at home think.

- 28 percent say lawmakers care, 22 percent are not sure.

Source: A Rasmussen reports survey of 1,000 likely voters conducted Oct. 16-17.

- Platitudes, gaffes and asides to jharper@washingtontimes.com