- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 27, 2010

SARTORIAL DEMEANOR

This is your brain on Armani? Whether Jon Stewart likes it or not, his “Restore Sanity” parody rally at the national Mall on Saturday has attracted political agendas. Indeed, the 30,000-member GovLoop social network plans to stage a “Government Doesn’t Suck” countermarch to “put a human face on bureaucracy,” says organizer Stephen Peteritas. But wait. Activists who support the legalization of marijuana also will step out, and in their swankiest duds. “Supporters will march in business suits - not Birkenstocks - to reinforce the message that there is no archetypal marijuana legalization supporter,” says Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance, an advocacy group promoting “policy alternatives to the drug war,” according to its mission statement.

“The desire to end marijuana prohibition crosses ideological and partisan boundaries; it’s not just liberals and libertarians who say it should be legal. Calls for reform come from across the entire political and social spectrum - yesterday it was George Soros in the Wall Street Journal, today it’s law enforcement, major unions and moms,” Mr. Nadelmann tells Inside the Beltway. “People who believe in fundamental civil rights decry marijuana [law] enforcement for unjustly targeting minority groups and introducing them to the criminal justice system in disproportionate numbers. Our presence at the rally brings these voices together.”

YOUR PC MOMENT

And speaking of clothes and stepping out, consider this: “Is your Halloween costume racist?”

So asks Maureen O’Connor of Gawker.com, calling into question the “Seductive Squaw” outfit, from Yandy, a costume and lingerie purveyor that also carries such disguises as “Harem Girl,” “Geisha” and other ethnic-pop stuff. They also have a “Sexy George Washington” outfit; perhaps we should demand, “Is your costume partisan?” instead.

Meanwhile, the, uh, aforementioned American Indian seasonal female decorative symbolic attire includes a headband, fringed fake buckskin bustier and miniskirt, braided wig and beads. Moccasins are extra.

“If you accidentally bought this costume, chuck it. Possible exception: You are going in a large group that includes Peter Pan, Wendy and Tinkerbell,” Ms. O’Connor advises. “Just make sure you do not lose sight of the group.”

SAFETY IN NUMBERS

Painful polls keep emerging to worry Democrats. From Zogby International: 50 percent of likely voters now say they will vote for Republican candidates on Tuesday; 42 percent will pick Democrats, while a mere 8 percent are unsure. Among those who have already voted, 52 percent opted for the Grand Old Party, while 42 percent were loyal to Democrats.

“Time is running out on the Democrats. Unless Democrats get very lucky by winning a lion’s share of the close races, Nancy Pelosi will be handing over the speaker’s gavel to John Boehner,” says pollster John Zogby, who conducted the poll of more than 2,000 likely voters Oct. 25 to 27.

THAT OLD BIAS

“The broadcast TV networks have systematically skewed their coverage against Republicans and the ‘tea party,’ ” says Rich Noyes, research director of the Media Research Center. “The Democrats’ strategy to salvage the 2010 campaign was to distract voters from their record over the past two years and paint their opponents as wacky extremists. Win or lose, the Democrats got a lot of help from their friends in the supposedly objective ‘news’ media.”

In a review of ABC, CBS and NBC evening newscasts from Sept. 1 to Oct. 25, Mr. Noyes found that by a ratio of 35 to zero, the networks deemed tea party candidates as “extreme” or “fringe.” Left-wing Democrats received no such characterizations. There were three times more “conservative” labels than “liberal” tags - out of 62 ideological labels assigned by reporters, 48 aimed at conservatives and 14 at liberals. Only Republicans faced extreme labels - both Joe Miller and Christine O’Donnell were tagged as “ultraconservatives” - with no Democrat ever branded an “ultraliberal,” Mr. Noyes says.

HAPPY LANDINGS

An Inside the Beltway salute to Rep. Cliff Stearns, Florida Republican and an Air Force veteran, who joins World War II veterans from his own Ocala County for an Honor Flight Network excursion to Washington on Thursday. Since 2005, this remarkable all-volunteer network has provided free transport for 36,000 veterans to the nation’s capital to visit “their memorials.” There is a waiting list of 8,000 veterans waiting for their chance; priority goes to World War II and terminally ill veterans from all wars. See the story at www.honorflight.org.

“I look forward to joining our World War II veterans on their trip to Washington where they will visit the World War II Memorial, the Korean and Vietnam War Memorials, and the Lincoln Memorial. The event ends at Arlington National Cemetery where the veterans will go to the Tomb of the Unknowns,” Mr. Stearns says. “These flights are possible because of the dedication of the veterans’ friends and families, and the volunteers and contributors.”

POLL DU JOUR

- 43 percent of voters say their concern over economic conditions will most sway their vote for Congress this year.

- 51 percent of Democrats and 36 percent of Republicans agree.

- 23 percent say their concern over health care will be the biggest influence on their vote.

- 31 percent of Democrats and 20 percent of Republicans agree.

- 18 percent cite the “size and power of federal government” as the major influence.

- 3 percent of Democrats and 28 percent of Republicans agree.

Source: A Gallup Poll of 1,364 registered voters conducted Oct. 21-24.

- Send quips, slips, tips, flip-flops to jharper@ washingtontimes.com.

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