Inside the Beltway

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HANDY DANDY

Joe the Plumber, meet Flagg the Fix-it, who has political prowess and much skill with hand tools. Flagg Youngblood - director of Vets for Freedom PAC and former director of military outreach at Young America’s Foundation - is competing for the title of “All American Handyman” on HGTV, one of 20 finalists on parade during the show’s debut on Sunday.

Mr. Flagg already has a public presence. A former Army officer, Yale University undergraduate and conservative columnist, Mr. Flagg has spent years defending military recruiters and the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps against “leftist attacks,” he says, adding that he was also “the first witness called to testify against Elena Kagan’s Supreme Court nomination” in midsummer.

“Dean Kagan’s unlawful brand of segregation clearly estranged the students at Harvard Law School from the military,” Mr. Youngblood said during his July 10 appearance before the Senate Judiciary Commitee. “Dean Kagans action deemed the military not worthy to do so much as to gather up the crumbs under Harvards table - and all during a time of war.”

But about that handyman. Though Mr. Flagg says he is partial to a certain cordless hammer drill, his heart lies in heritage and simplicity. And maybe duct tape.

“I inherited all my great-grandfather’s hand tools. I still use some drill bits and handsaws from the 1920s,” he tells Inside the Beltway. “And you know what? I can handle most things with a simple hammer, a putty knife and a flat-head and Phillips-head screwdriver.”

PALIN+IOWA=MYSTERY

“Pack the shotgun and red pantsuit. Sarah Palin is going to Iowa.” (New York Daily News)

“Palin visits Iowa. Clever marketing or 2012 prelude?” (Atlantic)

“No one visits Iowa by accident.” (Quad City Times)

“There is more smoke than fire regarding Palin’s political prospects in Iowa.” (Washington Post)

FROM THE UH-OH DESK

“Dirty Sexy Politics” is the title of Meghan McCain’s 208-page memoir, released Wednesday. No, really. That’s the title, though an early look reveals minimal naughty bits.

“As a new role model for young, creative, and vocal members of the GOP, she’s unafraid to mix it up and speak her mind. In ‘Dirty Sexy Politics’ she takes a hard look at the future of her party. She doesn’t shy away from serious issues and her raucous humor and down-to-earth style keep her positions accessible,” publisher Hyperion explains.

“Meghan steals campaign signs in New Hampshire, tastes the nightlife in Nashville and has a strange encounter with Laura and Jenna Bush at the White House. Along the way, she falls in love with America - while seeing how far the Republican Party has veered from its core values of freedom, honesty, and individuality.”

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