- The Washington Times - Sunday, October 31, 2010

CAVUTO-MATIC

With jobs and the economy the No. 1 voter concern of the year, anchor Neil Cavuto leads midterm election coverage on the Fox Business Network this week — parsing the dollars, sense and nonsense of politics at a pivotal time.

“When things are bad, voters are mad. And when things are really bad, they’re vindictive. Republicans found that out the hard way two years ago. I suspect now it’s Democrats’ turn,” Mr. Cavuto tells Inside the Beltway. “Turnout matches temper. You’re ticked enough, there ain’t no rainstorm awful enough to keep you from throwing the bums out. It’s not mother nature; it’s human nature that will decide this.”

THE ‘EH’ FACTOR

When the loopy Rally to Restore Whatever was over on Saturday, boy host Jon Stewart had only this to say about his purported role as trusted political force: “Eh.” Marchers appear to agree with Comedy Central’s fake newsman. In an amazing little bit of technology, Lake Research Partners & Revolution Messaging managed to conduct a survey of 457 rally participants while they were wandering around on the Mall, via their cell phones and texting. Of course, the poll revealed that 86 percent planned to vote Democratic. And asked whether they were enthusiastic about voting on Tuesday?

Eh. Or maybe, uh, huh? Only 25 percent said they are more enthusiastic than they were in 2008, 39 percent said they were less enthusiastic and 36 percent said they were “about the same.” Hm. Yeah, well. Eh.

YOUNGBLOODS

Forget the archetypal image of tired old Republicans, so dear to the hearts of liberal pundits. Lou Zickar, editor of the “centrist Republican” Ripon Forum, has done the math to reveal that a victory for the Grand Old Party on Tuesday means new vitality.

“If they win control of the chamber, Republicans will not only have a leadership team that is, on average, almost 20 years younger than the Democratic leaders they will replace, but the first-ever House leadership team who were all born after World War II” Mr. Zickar says. “In all, 16 out of the 19 House committees will be headed by younger members should the GOP win the majority next week. To be more exact, the incoming Republican chairmen will be, on average, almost 10 years younger than the Democratic chairmen they will replace.”

Mr. Zickar continues, “Having a younger generation in charge of the House of Representatives means that the nation will have new leaders who, figuratively speaking, are looking at life through the windshield, not the rearview mirror. Most of these leaders have mortgages. Many have children. Some are putting kids through school. For them, policy debates over rising debt and higher taxes are not esoteric exercises shaped by times gone by, but rather real world decisions shaped by the lives they and their families are leading today.”

THE ‘B’ WORD

It had to happen. The dreaded “B” word has been uttered at last by a fancy numbers guy. Boston University economist Laurence Kotlikoff says U.S. government debt is not $13.5 trillion, which is 60 percent of current gross domestic product, as popular lore goes. It’s 14 times higher, at $200 trillion, or 840 percent of current gross domestic product, he insists. Mr. Kotlikoff reported his, uh, theory — which has other economists scurrying about in its wake — in Finance and Development, a journal of the International Monetary Fund.

“Let’s get real,” Mr. Kotlikoff says. “The U.S. is bankrupt.”

SOS

“There will be nothing worse than waking up on November 3rd and wishing you had done a little bit more. These elections all across the country will be won or lost in the next two days — so we’re putting our get-out-the-vote plan into overdrive. We need 253 people in Washington to each make 20 calls if we’re going to reach our voter contact goal by Tuesday.”

— Campaign message to Democrats in the nation’s capital from Mitch Stewart, director of the Democratic National Committee’s Organizing for America project

BUMPER PATROL

“Read my lipstick: Palin 2012”

— New bumper sticker from www.zazzle.com

SCIENCE CORNER

Eek. Run for the hills. Dryer sheets are deadly. All those vanilla-, citrus- and lavender-scented dryer sheets, hand sanitizers, cleaners and personal care products emit chemicals not listed on the label, some classified as toxic by the Environmental Protection Agency. So says a University of Washington study revealing that 25 commonly used scented products emit an average 17 chemicals each — a third classified as toxic or hazardous under at least one federal law. Only two were publicly disclosed on any of the products, the study found.

“We analyzed best-selling products, and about half of them made some claim about being green, organic or natural,” says lead author and civil engineering professor Anne Steinemann. “Surprisingly, the green products’ emissions of hazardous chemicals were not significantly different from the other products.”

“The products emitted more than 420 chemicals, collectively, but virtually none of them were disclosed to consumers, anywhere,” Ms. Steinemann adds.

POLL DU JOUR

— 79 percent of likely voters would rather live in the U.S. than anywhere else in the world.

— 70 percent say American society is still fair and decent.

— 67 percent say the country is not better off than it was five years ago.

— 61 percent say the U.S. plays a “positive role” in the world when it comes to human rights.

— 61 percent say the nation has fewer “friends” now than it did 25 years ago.

— 52 percent say the world would be a better place if more countries were like the U.S.

Source: A Rasmussen Reports survey of 1,000 likely voters conducted Oct. 25-26

Sense, nonsense but no commercial scents to jharper@washingtontimes.com.