Inside the Beltway

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Is it still considered bad form to talk politics during a social gathering?

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TROUBLE AT HOME

President Obama’s glittering campaign for the White House two years ago is a hard act to follow. He had a swell logo and monumental sets; all was very presidential indeed. The rigorous reality of the office since has taken its toll, yielding falling favorability numbers, shifting policies, mutating messages, lots of distractions. The recent hubbub over Mr. Obama’s missing wedding ring and first lady Michelle Obama’s reported dissatisfaction with her situation is glum proof that the press honeymoon is long, long gone. The new reality is not rocket science, however: The methodical, serious work of the White House must be tended with no guarantees of immediate gratification and giddy news coverage. Stay at home for a while, Mr. President. Get out the to-do list.

“It’s clear that the well-oiled Obama campaign machine has not brought the same levels of efficiency and discipline we saw on the campaign trail to the White House. As I’ve observed before, the team that campaigned like Robocop has governed more like the Keystone Kops,” Tevi Troy, a Hudson Institute scholar and former deputy health and human services secretary in the George W. Bush administration, tells Inside the Beltway.

“Governing and campaigning are different skills, and if the White House personnel office makes having worked for the campaign the key hiring criteria, it can’t get the caliber of people the president needs into critical management positions,” he adds.

“With chaos politics in play, the November outcome may set the stage for an Obama revival of sorts, with the Tea Party wing of the Republican Party paving the way,” counters liberal blogger Taylor Marsh. “But it’s just as likely that the beneficiary might be Mitt Romney or another more mainstream conservative pol, because what goes around comes around, and in today’s chaos politics, nothing lasts very long.”

OH THE IRONY

“Our Constitution, with the Bill of Rights and amendments, has stood the test of time, steering our country through times of prosperity and peace, and guiding us through the depths of internal conflict and war. Because of the wisdom of those who have shaped our Nation’s founding documents, and the sacrifices of those who have defended America for over two centuries, we enjoy unprecedented freedoms and opportunities.”

No, Fox News’ Glen Beck did not utter these words, nor did Sarah Palin. This is President Obama’s official proclamation recognizing Constitution Day, Citizenship Day and Constitution Week.

BUSINESS AS USUAL

Republicans have applied an instant-warming device, apparently, to their collective feelings about U.S. Senate hopeful Christine O’Donnell, contributing to her campaign purse and adding her to a star-spangled lineup of speakers for the Family Research Center’s Values Voters Summit this weekend. Sensing actual party unity afoot, the liberal press has gone from mere attack mode to frenzy.

“Dubbed as ‘ultra right wing extremist’ and ‘crazy,’ Christine O’Donnell and her ‘tea party’ supporters have been smeared by every major broadcast and cable network since she won the Delaware primary against a GOP establishment candidate on Tuesday night,” notes an analyses of the week’s broadcast coverage by the Media Research Center.

“These networks have never treated a viable Democratic candidate with this level of contempt. How dare they lecture anyone on manners or decency?” asks Brent Bozell, president of the conservative watchdog group.

STAND BACK

Fox News host Bill O’Reilly debates Comedy Central’s Jon Stewart on the “Spin Factor” on Monday; Mr. Stewart journeys to the hostile airwaves to promote his new book, titled “Earth (The Book)”. Good luck with that, sir.

But Mr. O’Reilly has his own journey to complete. He’ll be appearing on ABC’s “The View” next month. Good luck with that, sir.

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