Inside the Beltway

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What has been the biggest debacle on Obama's watch?

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Election season is teeth-grinding time across America. Blame the press for that. Two-thirds of the public say news coverage of the 2010 midterms is focused on “strategy and conflict” rather than red meat candidate positions; 58 percent say such coverage makes them angry. Another 48 percent say they feel “burned out” on politics while 36 percent say election news makes them depressed. A blase 31 percent say it’s too early to pay attention. This is all according to the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press; see the most partisan findings of its new survey at column’s end.


“The nastiest political climate the United States has seen in 40-plus years isn’t negative for everyone. For hosts of conservative talk shows in particular, as well as for the companies that syndicate their programs, things couldn’t be better,” says Marketwatch analyst David Wilkerson.

Premiere Radio Networks, which syndicates the top three talk-radio shows hosted by Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck, respectively, expects ad sales to increase for those programs up to 40 percent from last year, Mr. Wilkerson notes - more like profit bonanzas typically found in a presidential election year, rather during mere midterms. Loyal audiences are going nowhere: Mr. Limbaugh attracts 15 million listeners each week, Mr. Hannity 14 million, Mr. Beck 10 million, says Talker magazine, an industry source.

“No matter how many times people out there who do not understand our industry and have pronounced talk radio dead - and I don’t care if they are consultants or program directors or those in the media - they’ve always been proven wrong,” Mr. Hannity told the publication. “We are in the midst of what I think is going to be a defining moment - it really is good news all around for everybody in the industry.”


“America is more than a country. America is an idea - an idea that free people can govern themselves, that government’s powers are derived from the consent of the governed, that each of us is endowed by their Creator with the unalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. America is the belief that any man or woman can - given economic, political and religious liberty - advance themselves, their families and their common good.

“America is an inspiration to those who yearn to be free and have the ability and dignity to determine their own destiny. Whenever the agenda of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to institute new governing agenda and a different course. … The need for urgent action to repair our economy and reclaim our government for the people cannot be overstated.”

- Preamble to “A Pledge to America,” a legislative agenda to be released Thursday by House Minority Whip Eric Cantor of Virginia and other House leadership.


Pollsters predict politics, then there are the prognosticators who also weigh in from time to time. Well, why not? What with all this talk that White House adviser Rahm Emanuel could be leaving his post to run for the mayor of Chicago, Canadian psychic Blair Robertson says that President Obama will lose two more key aides in the next 40 days. He also predicts that a “record number” of women will be elected to office next year. OK. Anything else?

“Have you ever spun out on ice? If you have, you’ve got the feeling that President Obama has right now. He’s trying to control a crash for the Democrats, but it’s no use. Love him or hate him, he’s having sleepless nights and worrisome days and sense it’s affecting his health,” Mr. Robertson tells Inside the Beltway.

“I very strongly feel that press secretary Robert Gibbs is ready to crack under the pressure of his job. I also predict he’ll ‘retire’ by the end of December,” Mr. Robertson adds.


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