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Inside the Beltway

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THE CO-PRESIDENCY

Academia appears to be rejecting the "imperial" White House. University of Iowa law professor David Orentlicher says the presidency has become too powerful an office and now suggests the U.S. adopt a two-person, multiparty presidency.

"The Founding Fathers misjudged the consequences of a single president. They did not anticipate the extent to which executive power would expand and give us an 'imperial presidency.' They did not predict the role that political parties would come to play and how battles to capture the White House would greatly aggravate partisan conflict," Mr. Orentlicher said. "They did not recognize that single presidents would represent party ideology much more than the overall public good."

Political parties remain in permanent campaign mode as a consequence, a phenomenon that often alienates voters with negative ads and contentious press coverage.

"A dual executive, with the two presidents coming from different political parties, would promote the kind of political harmony that the framers thought desirable. Instead of one major party being out of power and working to brake -- and break -- the presidents administration, both major parties would have a stake in the success of the executive branch," the professor said.

Yes, but who? Who? What impossible bipartisan dream team could pull this off? Inside the Beltway readers with ideas about a productive co-presidential combo -- they can be living or dead, real or fictional, rogue or ridiculous -- send in your suggestions. If the thought of a "dual executive" makes you sputter with rage, tell us that, too.

ON TRACK

The big conservative locomotive has left the station and is now barreling through the Republican Party. A massive Gallup Daily tracking poll of 262,075 adults conducted between Jan. 2 and Sept. 23 finds that 71 percent of Republicans now identify themselves as conservative.

"Whereas 62 percent of core Republicans called themselves conservative in 2000, the figure has been 70 percent or higher each year since 2008," said Gallup analyst Lydia Saad. "That exceeds the 67 percent Gallup found in 2006 and the 62 percent in 2002, the last two midterm election years."

"In that voter turnout is generally much greater among middle-aged and older Americans than among younger adults, it is likely that conservative (and religious) Republicans have had an even greater voice in Republican Party primaries this year than their numbers suggest," Ms. Saad said.

ALIEN AFFAIRS

Talk of extraterrestrial affairs has invaded the mainstream media. Former military officers appeared at the National Press Club on Monday to warn of alien meddling in U.S. weaponry; the event was covered live by CNN. Meanwhile, the British press was abuzz with news that the United Nations plans to appoint a "space ambassador" as a formal point of contact, should anyone from another planet show up needing directions.

"This announcement was the U.N.'s way to try to remind the world it is still there and ought to have a role in the end of the truth embargo. It is a very limited gesture, but will attract news coverage," said Stephen Bassett, executive director of Paradigm Research Group and X-PPAC -- the Extraterrestrial Phenomena Political Action Committee -- who has been calling for world leaders to reveal the "truth" about those elusive ETs for some time.

"The United States must and will do much more than that. Nothing less than disclosure about extraterrestrial activities by the present administration makes any sense. Anything short of that will be met with derision. Too much is now known by too many people," Mr. Bassett tells the ever curious Inside the Beltway.

"This action by the U.N., the recent statements from the Vatican, from Stephen Hawking -- these are all efforts by people and institutions to get on the right side of the UFO/ET issue in the last days of the truth embargo," he warns.

WAA, WAA, WAA

"Stop whining."

-- Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.'s advice to the Democratic "base constituency" during a private fundraiser in Manchester, N.H. on Monday

JIMMY JAMMY

The George Washington University chapter of Young Americas Foundation will protest former President Jimmy Carters appearance at its campus Wednesday, specifically opposed, it says, to "his stances on Israel, his hypocrisy regarding human rights and his anti-American view of the fall of the Berlin Wall." Mr. Carter is coming to the university to read from his recently published memoir.

"It is important for students to look back upon the mistakes of the past so we dont repeat them again. I also find it very disappointing that GW, a school with a large Jewish population, has decided to host such an anti-Israel speaker," said Travis Korson, president of the student group.

POLL DU JOUR

- 81 percent of U.S. voters use cable news channels for their election news this fall.

- 42 percent of that group rely on Fox News, 30 percent on CNN, 12 percent on MSNBC.

- 79 percent overall get election news from "conversations with friends or family."

- 73 percent consult local TV news, 72 percent consult newspapers.

- 71 percent look to national broadcasters such as NBC, 58 percent get election news from the radio.

- 39 percent rely on "other websites or blogs."

- 35 percent rely on political ads.

Source: A Politico/George Washington University poll of 1,000 likely voters conducted Sept. 19-22.

*Blips, bleeps, Morse Code to jharper@washingtontimes.com.

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