Inside the Beltway

Question of the Day

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

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STRONG BREW

Yeah. It’s political. The bodacious, unapologetic “tea party” is ready to rumble on Sept. 12 when the National Mall will be wall to wall with those who favor less taxes, smaller government and a return to traditional American values. Unlike Glenn Beck’s “Restoring Honor” folks, the tea partiers are encouraged to play hardball and bring their political signs, enthusiastic strategery and inner mettle, their sights set on swaying the midterm elections.

“Let me be clear about one thing. We are not seeking a junior partnership with the Republican Party, but rather a hostile takeover of it,” says Matt Kibbe, president of FreedomWorks, a grass-roots group founded by former House Majority Leader Dick Armey, and a major organizer of the event.

“Last year, we demanded leaders who will defend our freedoms and advocate sustainable economic policy. This year, we assemble to remind them that if they can’t follow through, we will vote in somebody else who will,” Mr. Kibbe declares.

Four days of events organized by several groups begin Thursday, highlighted by a “One Nation Back to God” worship service, a march down Pennsylvania Avenue and a rally at the U.S. Capitol on Sunday. There is a veritable army of speakers, including Mr. Armey, Rep. Mike Pence, Indiana Republican; Virginia Attorney General Kenneth T. Cuccinelli II, BigGovernment.com founder Andrew Breitbart, Conservative Hispanic Coalition director Tito Munoz, Redstate .com founder Erick Erickson, and 15 more.

BUMPER PATROL

“Mark your calendars, Nov. 2, 2010 is Take Out the Trash Day.”

(Bumper sticker from CafePress.com)

HEN HOUSE

First lady Michelle Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and “the hottest, sexiest, young male movie stars.”

The people Martha Stewart pines to interview, on announcing she hoped to one day turn in her whisk and become a political talker, a la Larry King and Barbara Walters.

SIGN OF THE TIMES

Not on the FEMA list of equipment, and something one-time homeland security guru Tom Ridge never considered when “shelter in place” and duct tape were part of the public mindset. How far Americans have come: For grandparents, moms, dads, parents-to-be, aunties, uncles - the, uh, Baby Emergency Kit, to “keep your baby comfortable in any circumstance with a collection of products for rescue, survival, first aid, hygiene and comfort,” says Ice-Qube, the manufacturer.

Along with a baby face mask, mylar emergency blanket, diapers, assorted supplies and sunscreen, the cubelike kit also includes a onesie-style romper, bib and infant socks in “safety orange.” Priced at $79; see it at www.ice-qube .com.

WHAT’S THAT SMELL?

“They both stink.”

So says pollster John Zogby on assessing the state of the Republican and Democratic parties as the stagger, tiptoe and skitter toward the midterm elections, now eight weeks away, give or take a few nervous moments. Mr. Zogby’s new research finds that old ideas persist, even in the fussy, bossy age of Twitter. Behold: Almost two thirds of voters say Democrats will raise their taxes, while six-out-of-10 agree that Republicans oppose President Obama’s proposals because “they want him to fail.” Oh, and 94 percent of Republicans think Democrats want to bring back socialism.

“A still slumping economy and conservative enthusiasm strongly favor Republicans in November. But as these results show, both parties will find a majority of voters ready to listen to why the other side can’t be trusted. How each handles these issues will decide which party wins a majority in Congress,” Mr. Zogby says.

PARSING THE HOLIDAY

“Labor Day was conceived by America’s labor unions as a testament to their cause,” points out historically minded Alfred Regnery, publisher of the American Spectator. “The legislation sanctioning the holiday was shepherded through Congress amid labor unrest in the wake of the violent Pullman railroad strike, and was signed by President Grover Cleveland as a reluctant election-year compromise.”

Wait. This didn’t start out as a feel-good Hallmark moment?

“Labor Day legislation was railroaded through Congress. … Is it just me or do the violent union strikes and fast-tracked legislation fountainhead of this holiday leave a bad taste in your mouth?” Mr. Regnery asks.

He suggests Monday’s holiday - President Obama will be attending “Laborfest” in Milwaukee, incidentally - should be about “basic principles” of hard work, optimism about a better tomorrow and confidence in the abilities of regular Americans.

“Let’s not celebrate Labor Day,” Mr. Regnery, says. “Labor Day is for the liberal elites, the biased media and the ruling class who want to spend more of your money.”

POLL DU JOUR

  • 97 percent of Republicans and 33 percent of Democrats say Democrats “will raise my taxes”.
  • 94 percent of Republicans and 18 percent of Democrats say Democrats want to “bring the U.S. closer to socialism.”
  • 88 percent of Republicans and 14 percent of Democrats say Democrats will make the nation less safe from terrorism.
  • 88 percent of Democrats and 15 percent of Republicans say Republicans want to “take us back to failed Bush policies.”
  • 86 percent of Democrats and 13 percent of Republicans say Republicans are too much under the influence of “extreme conservatives like the tea party.”

Source: A Zogby Interactive Poll of 1,980 likely voters conducted Aug. 24 to 26.

Tip line always open at jharper@washingtontimes.com. Follow her at twitter.com/harperbulletin.

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