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Inside the Beltway

- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 5, 2011

CONFEDERATE HISTORY MONTH?

The impending 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War prompted the Harris Poll to gauge American sentiment on what the pollsters deemed "a dark yet formative period in U.S. history." How should the nation celebrate the anniversary? Their survey used some uncommon criteria to find out. Along with typical regional and age demographics, the pollster designated one group of respondents as "white Confederates" - Caucasian residents of states that were once part of the Confederacy.

Across the board, everyone - 91 percent - agreed that reading President Lincoln's Gettysburg Address was an appropriate way to remember the American Civil War. But then it got a little complicated.

Forty-seven percent felt that designating a "Confederate History Month" was acceptable, with 51 percent of East Coast residents and 57 percent of the "white confederates" agreeing to the idea. Forty-two percent overall said street parades to "celebrate secession and the Confederacy" were appropriate, a finding that was similar in all the demographics save the West, where the figure was 35 percent.

Thirty-nine percent overall said "flying the Confederate flag" was appropriate; among "white Confederates", the number was 51 percent; in the South, 43 percent. Less than a third overall said that a "mock swearing-in featuring Jefferson Davis" was the right thing to do; the findings were similar among all the respondents, as well as among "white confederates, where the numebrs was 35 percent.

"Remembering such a complicated and nuanced period in history is equally important as it is complex. True understanding requires significant education, perspective and sensitivity," advises Samantha Braverman, senior researcher for the survey of 2,566 adults conducted Jan. 17-24 and released March 30.

FRIENDS OF RYAN

House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan is fast becoming a new symbol of Republican guts and reason after releasing his fiscal 2012 budget resolution. Among the praise for the Wisconsin Republican:

"Rep. Ryans budget is what a real conservative budget looks like," says Americans for Tax Reform. "The resolution offers fortitude in a debate that has been dominated by the meek and the timid. Lacking the courage to confront unsustainable entitlement promises and rectify the government spending bloat of the past few years, President Obama and other self-proclaimed budget dealers such as the so-called 'Gang of Six' attempt to use the governments spending crisis to increase taxes and grow government."

PRESIDENTIAL EROSION

President Obama's re-election campaign is a mere 48 hours old and picking up speed, not to mention donations. But some say the influences of Mr. Obama's past could prove persistent, indeed.

Jack Cashill, author of "Deconstructing Obama, The Life, Loves, and Letters of America's First Postmodern President", concluded that Mr. Obama did not write his own memoir. The much-lauded "Dreams From My Father" was instead written by University of Illinois education professor and former "Weathermen" peace activist William Ayres, according to Mr. Cashill's research. And he insists that while this revelation should have swayed the 2008 presidential election, it could still influence 2012.

"To his credit, New Yorker editor and Obama biographer David Remnick understood just how newsworthy my revelation that President Obama did not write his own books should have been in the 2008 campaign. 'This was a charge,' he writes of the fraud accusation, 'that if ever proved true, or believed to be true among enough voters, could have been the end of the candidacy.' As the charge gains currency, now that my research is coalesced in book form, Obama's support will continue to erode," Mr. Cashill tells Inside the Beltway.

"God bless, Donald Trump. And look out for Hillary in 2012," he adds.

TRUMPALISCIOUS

And speaking of Mr. Trump, the billionaire real estate mogul, possible 2012 presidential candidate and newly realized "birther" has his own showbiz news to share. He has become a now-and-then anchorman of sorts.

Mr. Trump has landed his own news segment on Fox News' "Fox and Friends" morning show. The name is "Mondays With Trump," now airing every Monday morning as a foil to regular hosts Steve Doocy, Gretchen Carlson and Brian Kilmeade.

"Never bashful, brash Trump," proclaims the network.

"My message is a better message than anyone else," Mr. Trump says.

WEARING OBAMA

"Well, why not? Cafe Press, the online maker of wearables and bumper stickers emblazoned with the latest political sentiments, already is gauging public opinion of the 2012 presidential election according T-shirt sales.

This week, voters are showing their support - or adamant disapproval - of President Obama’s re-election campaign, with more than 13,000 “Obama 2012”-related product designs added in the past day alone,” the company says.

At the moment, Mr. Obama is in the lead: A total of 777,000 pro-Obama T-shirts have been designed by eager fans, compared with 453,000 anti-Obama T-shirts, she says. Of course, as soon as assorted Republican hopefuls make their own White House intentions known, that could change."

POLL DU JOUR

• 55 percent of Americans say opposing lawmakers should compromise on a budget deal.

• 71 percent of liberals and 69 percent of Democrats and 53 percent of independents agree.

• 43 percent of Republicans, 40 percent of conservatives and 26 percent of tea party supporters also agree.

• 36 percent overall say lawmakers should "stand by their principles," even if it means a government shutdown.

• 68 percent of tea party supporters, 56 percent of conservatives and 50 percent of Republicans agree.

• 38 percent of independents, 24 percent of liberals and 21 percent of Democrats also agree.

Source: A Pew Research Center survey of 1,507 adults conducted March 30-April 3.

Flag waving, yeas, nays and complaints to jharper@washingtontimes.com

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