- The Washington Times - Sunday, April 10, 2011

FUN WITH NUMBERS

And lots of them. Americans are not the only ones keenly interested in the words “money” and “dollars” this week. President Obama’s reported $1 billion re-election campaign is roaring to life, even as the White House carefully spins a delicate message of budget-minded prudence and bipartisanship for public consumption.

The “Obama Victory Fund 2012 Kick-Off with the President” blitz gets under way in about 72 hours, beginning Thursday at the Grand Ballroom of the Navy Pier in Chicago, followed by the Nob Hill Masonic Center in San Francisco on April 20 and the big finale at Sony Pictures Studios in Los Angeles the following night.

Mr. Obama’s campaign - based from new headquarters in Chicago - likely will make just as big a footprint as the fundraisers.

“Obama’s 2008 headquarters expanded to 33,000 square feet of office space, occupying the entire 11th floor of a Michigan Avenue high-rise,” observes Bloomberg Business Week analyst John McCormick. “This time, the headquarters eventually will cover about 50,000 square feet inside One Prudential Plaza, a 41-story building that is a few blocks from Grant Park, where Obama delivered his victory speech.”

CIVIL BEHAVIOR

Note to politicians wondering how to best approach the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War on Tuesday: There are no easy answers, and the situation has grown more sensitive.

“The public expresses a less-positive view of politicians praising Confederate leaders than it did a decade ago,” says the Pew Research Center, which found that the number of respondents favoring such praise dropped from 50 percent to 40 percent in the past 10 years.

“In the new survey, more think that politicians’ statements praising Confederate leaders are inappropriate rather than appropriate, by 49 percent to 36 percent,” the group says. “Whites who consider themselves Southerners are the only group in which substantially more view public officials’ praise for Confederate leaders as appropriate rather than inappropriate (52 percent to 32 percent). A plurality of all whites (49 percent) - and a clear majority of African Americans (60 percent) - say it is inappropriate for public officials to praise Confederate leaders.”

LESS IS MORE

Yeah, well. While Republicans and Democrats try to claim rights as heroic victors in the government shutdown standoff, the Libertarian Party has an entirely different take on things. The party is not buying what it calls the “dog-and-pony media show” staged by elected officials. And it insists a “permanent” shutdown is the best panacea.

“Just think how a permanent government shutdown would allow so many Americans to regain the blessings of liberty,” says executive director Wes Benedict, who faulted “one-size-fits-all centralized mandates” in education; military efforts in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya; welfare and, of course, taxes.

“Most importantly, Americans would once again be free of unjust and unconstitutional violations of their unalienable rights,” Mr. Benedict added. “We’re not talking about eliminating the federal government. We want to end all federal activities that are not authorized by the Constitution, and we want to cut everything else as much as we can. In 2000, the federal government spent $1.8 trillion. This year, it’s expected to spend $3.8 trillion. Things are going the wrong way - fast.”

LIKE OLD TIMES

The question, “Miss me yet?”, accompanied by a jaunty photo of former President George W. Bush has lingered on the public radar - not to mention billboards, bumper stickers and posters - for more than a year. Fans of “43” don’t need to pine for him too much, though. Mr. Bush, apparently, never went away.

Story Continues →