- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 5, 2010

THE TURNOUT FACTOR

Twenty-seven days and counting: As the midterm elections loom, Republicans are basking in positive favorability polls and the sense that independents are warming to their ways. It ain’t over till it’s over, warns pollster John Zogby, who said Republicans and Democrats are in a dead heat as of Tuesday, each garnering 43 percent of the vote, with 11 percent undecided.

“Democrats have been shoring up their base and it may be working. But those gains cannot come at the expense of losing valuable independent votes,” Mr. Zogby said. “While Republicans have picked up some independents in our generic test, it is important to keep in mind their strong dissatisfaction with both parties. Our poll of independents last week for the Blue Dog Research Forum showed independents giving congressional Democrats a 13 percent positive rating and congressional Republicans only a 5 percent positive. This is still anybody’s guess. It all hinges on turnout.”

RANGEL WRANGLING

Pro-life Baptist minister, former New York Jets defensive lineman, fiscal conservative, one-time assistant dean of students and vice president of urban ministry at Liberty University, husband of 27 years, father to three. MichelFaulkner -Republican challenger to 40-year incumbent Rep. Charles B, Rangel in New York’s 15th District - is picking up significant endorsements in the final heave before Election Day.

The National Right to Life has endorsed Mr. Faulkner; the group has never lent support to any candidate in the jurisdiction that includes Harlem and Queens. He’s won support from Newt Gingrich, the Republican Party of New York, the Libertarian Party of New York, the Manhattan Libertarian Party, the New Era Democrats, a coalition of 40 black and Hispanic pastors and Rep. Tom Price, Georgia Republican and chairman of the House Republican Study Committee, who praises the pastor’s “compassionate leadership and dedication to his community,” and common-sense solutions.

“Rangel represents everything that is wrong in Washington,” Mr. Faulkner said.

DIBS ON GIBBS

Now that former White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel’s quest for mayor of Chicago is under way, the attention of political speculators has shifted to White House press secretary Robert Gibbs, who could leave his post and become chairman of the Democratic National Committee (DNC), said Hot Air columnist Ed Morrissey. Ah, but it’s complicated. Mr. Gibbs is more political mouthpiece than serious, fundraising, organizational executive. Plus the White House could end up holding the DNC “hostage” as a result, Mr. Morrissey notes.

“I for one would not mind Gibbs moving away from the podium, because as it stands now, when either he or his boss are on the air, I have an actual, involuntary hand movement forcing me to either change the station or shut the volume off. You can only hear the same blame game so many times before you just can’t take it anymore,” said Michael Haltman of the Political Commentator.

Should Mr. Gibbs become Mr. DNC, it might yield mixed results for President Obama, he reasons. The White House could have a man in a pivotal position who would “be on the same page with them, and who would work to unite a base that seems to be suffering with battle fatigue,” Mr. Haltman said.

“The negatives for the White House - aka positives for the Republicans and conservatives - is the deteriorating relationship that Gibbs has with the mainstream media, a group that the Obama re-election team badly needs to be on board,” he adds.

BUMPER PATROL

Mark Levin for President 2012”

- Bumper sticker spotted by Inside the Beltway reader Jay Carlson, in Alexandria, Va., referring to the nationally syndicated talk-radio host

NOW THEY SPEAK

Back in another century, critics wondered why the National Organization for Women (NOW) never took sides during the Monica Lewinsky matter. They still ponder the group’s silence on other issues - the plight of women in Third World countries or Shariah laws, for example. There are moments when NOW springs to action, however.

Terry O’Neill, president of the group, said the membership is “outraged by the ignorant, homophobic comments Sen. Jim DeMint, South Carolina Republican, made on Friday at a conservative church rally, saying gay people and unwed sexually active women should not be teaching in public schools.”

She continues, “Sexist bigots like Sen. DeMint don’t belong in Congress. He thinks gay women and men and sexually active single women should be banned from teaching, but he said nothing about sexually active, single straight men. NOW is redoubling its efforts to stop Sen. DeMint and his crowd from taking control of Congress. We don’t need people like him who lead from a place of ignorance and hate.”

POLL DU JOUR

- 77 percent of Americans say the Republicans and Democrats in Washington have been “bickering more.”

- 8 percent say they have been “working together more”; 15 percent say “the same” or “do not know.”

- 80 percent of Republicans and 80 percent of Democrats say the parties are bickering more.

- 6 percent of Republicans and 6 percent of Democrats say they are working together more.

- 30 percent overall approve of Democratic congressional leaders; 24 percent approve of Republican leaders.

- 20 percent say the current Congress has accomplished “more than most.”

Source: A Pew Research Center for the People & the Press survey of 1,002 adults conducted Sept. 30 to Oct. 3.

- Rants, raves, the pitter-patter of applause to jharper@washingtontimes.com.