This is a first. The "tea party" has bested both the Republican and Democratic parties in a Zogby favorability poll: 44 percent of likely voters surveyed gave a thumbs up to tea partiers, compared with 38 percent who favored Democrats and 30 percent who preferred Republicans. Among morose Republicans themselves, 86 percent favored the tea party while 57 percent approved of the Republican Party. The grass-roots movement won favor elsewhere too: While three-fourths of Democrats favored their own clan, they favored tea partiers over Republicans, 14 percent to 11 percent.
"Given the number of establishment Republicans who have lost their party's nomination to tea party insurgents, it is no surprise that Republican voters are more favorable to the tea party than they are to the Republican Party," observes pollster John Zogby.
"The tea party's pre-emption of the Republican Party is among the biggest political stories of the year. Whether you believe it is an organic movement or just the same conservative base that has been around for decades, the tea party has been enormously successful in drawing attention to itself and its beliefs," Mr. Zogby says.
President Obama called Fox News "destructive." But MSNBC? He perceives at least two of the network's hosts to be noble, indeed.
"What the president is doing is making sure that people know, whether youre on the left or the right, that weve done a lot, weve got a lot more to do," White House spokesman Bill Burton said Tuesday. "And if youre on the left, if youre somebody like Keith Olbermann or Rachel Maddow or one of the folks who helps to keep our government honest and pushes and prods to make sure that folks are true to progressive values, then he thinks that those folks provide an invaluable service."
"Kill Joe Arpaio": Title of a new tune by the Crocodiles, a "indie/fuzz rock" group based in San Diego.
"I don't think we should make those types of remarks against law enforcement. Forget me, as an individual. I got Ted Nugent. He's a great singer. He came here recently. I swore him in. He loves the sheriff. I'd rather have Ted Nugent music for me than this bunch," responds Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Arizona.
When they're not advising party members to "stop whining," Democratic heavyweights pine to re-energize voters as the midterms loom, borrowing a few pages out of the "tea party" playbook. Witness the monster "One Nation Working Together" progressive rally planned for the Lincoln Memorial on Saturday. But some things are peculiar to Democrats. President Obama's appearance at the University of Wisconsin-Madison on Tuesday marked the 47th time he's spoken on a college campus since he was sworn in as president, according to an analysis by Young America's Foundation.
"At this rate, he is speaking to college students once every 12 days. This should reveal that the Left is constantly attempting to indoctrinate students on college campuses across the country," says Evan Gassman, a spokesman for the conservative student group.
Meanwhile, Democrats have summoned up their council of elders. Former President Bill Clinton has made so many campaign appearances on behalf of hopeful candidates that the press bills him "the face of the party." But hear ye now, the circle is truly complete.
Al Gore will descend from his climate-centric aerie and make a "rare" one-hour appearance in Tampa on Wednesday to shore up Rep. Kendrick B. Meek's bid for the U.S. Senate seat of Florida. Mr. Meek has lagged third in many polls, behind conservative Marco Rubio and Florida Gov. Charlie Crist, an independent.
"We'll show Floridians that there is just one candidate who will stand up for Florida's environment and middle-class families in this state," Mr. Meeks says.
ABOUT THAT CO-PRESIDENCY
The concept of a two-person, bipartisan "co-presidency" broached in Inside the Beltway on Monday by Iowa University law professor David Orentlicher rankled 100 percent of our readers. Some pointed out that the idea surfaced during the Carter administration, others dismissed the ramblings of "nutty perfessers" while still more blamed the Obama administration for turning the office into the dreaded "imperial presidency" that Mr. Orentlicher warned of.
"The idea of a dual presidency is the stupidest concept I've heard in a long time. I can't imagine it working. Maybe Congress should grow a spine and use its constitutional powers against both the executive and judicial branches. Each branch should reread the Constitution and reassert its unique constitutional powers," says reader Pete Farris. "And there is at least one return to the original design that should be made: Do away with popular election of senators. The Senate was originally the house of the states and should be returned to that status. The result would be some much-needed rebalancing of government."
Says Barbara Hill, also a Beltway reader, "I'd say anything with two heads is a monster."
POLL DU JOUR
- 82 percent of Americans have never met or shaken hands with their congressional representative.
- 56 percent give their representative a fair or poor rating.
- 51 percent do not have a clear idea of what their representative "stands for."
- 43 percent say their representative "is in touch" with local people.
- 12 percent give the U.S. Congress overall a good job rating.
- 1 percent say Congress does an excellent job.
Source: A Pew Research Center/National Journal poll of 1,010 adults conducted Sept. 23-26.
*Rumbles, grumbles, humbling revelations to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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