- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 10, 2011

CHRISTINE STRIKES BACK

She’s not done yet. Former U.S. Senate hopeful Christine O'Donnell has penned a book titled “Troublemaker: Let’s Do What It Takes to Make America Great Again.” It will set the record straight, she says, “on who she is and where she comes from” and “voice the quiet anger” of voters frustrated with politics and political antics.

Ms. O'Donnell, a tea party favorite who shook up the 2010 election in her home state of Delaware, endured much mockery from an unfriendly press. It was Time magazine, in fact, that labeled her a “troublemaker.” Still, the candidate took things in stride, went the distance and kept her political prowess intact by declining an offer to appear on ABC’s “Dancing With the Stars.”

She’s also coming to the nation’s capital just as “Troublemaker” lands on the shelves and in iPods; the work is also available in audio form, read by the author. Ms. O'Donnell arrives in Washington on Aug. 18 for a book signing, followed by an appearance at a “boot camp” sponsored by the Ronald Reagan Institute for Conservative Leadership.

AIM AT AMES

Ames, Iowa, is now the official center of the known universe, for a few minutes this week anyway. And Iowa voters are “informed and tough, they take their responsibility as ‘president pickers’ pretty seriously,” says Fox News, getting all folksy but poised to broadcast the next Republican presidential debate live from Iowa State University on Thursday, in where-else-but-Ames. The anchor is Bret Baier, the moderators are Byron York and Susan Ferrechio of the Washington Examiner, and the airtime is 9 p.m. EDT.

As the opening act for the big, fat Ames Straw Poll on Saturday, the debate itself has drawn a cast that will likely be in the mood to spar, then peddle a few safe sound bites. The contenders: Reps. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota and Ron Paul of Texas; Mitt Romney, Tim Pawlenty, Herman Cain, Jon Huntsman Jr., Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich.

Ready to spar, and a whole lot more: Texas Gov. Rick Perry, in full rogue mode, is expected to announce his own White House bid in 48 hours. He’ll be speechifying Saturday afternoon at the RedState Gathering in South Carolina and later in New Hampshire.

OBAMA LOYALISTS

Republican strategists please note: Political rivals are entrenched and determined. Democrats are not “disillusioned” with President Obama, says a Pew Research Center poll of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents: 59 percent do not want another Democrat to challenge Mr. Obama for the 2012 nomination, while 38 percent approve of the idea. These numbers have not changed an iota since last fall, the pollster says.

EXPLAINING ‘CRAZY EYES’

Critics who question the validity of Newsweek’s odd, malevolent hit on Rep. Michele Bachmann this week have emerged from unexpected sources. Many are perplexed by the magazine’s direction under the tutelage of editor Tina Brown, also editor of the Daily Beast. Her Twitter name is “TheTinaBeast” as a matter of fact.

“This is Tina Brown’s last ditch attempt to keep a fading news magazine relevant. The cover shot was below-the-belt journalism, something even liberals like Jon Stewart and the National Organization for Women have recognized,” Geoffrey Dickens, deputy research director of the Media Research Center, tells Inside the Beltway.

“As far as Lois Romano’s companion story goes? That’s your standard by-the-numbers hit job on a conservative by the liberal media that more and more Americans are starting to see through,” Mr. Dickens adds.

PLEASE EXPLAIN

Curious about the letter that Rep. Peter T. King sent to CIA and Defense officials calling for an investigation into reported Hollywood access to classified materials from the Navy SEAL raid that killed Osama bin Laden? See the New York Republican’s entire communication at homeland.house.gov/letter/king-letter-dodcia-bin-laden-mission-film.

POINT AND CUT

Crop insurance, family planning grants, NASA? Here’s one way to chime in on what gets trimmed from the federal budget, offered by those who insist Congress has “abdicated its budget duties to yet another supercommittee” that could fall prey to special interest groups.

The Tea Party Debt Commission, launched online by the fiscally conservative grass-roots group FreedomWorks, allows visitors to vote on spending cuts with a little point-and-click, and also see projected savings which result. The votes will be tabulated and used to spark a “nationwide discussion” at activist hearings in key cities.

Give it a whirl at www.teapartydebtcommission.com.

POLL DU JOUR

• 75 percent of federal employees think of their agency’s Washington headquarters as a “bureaucracy.”

• 66 percent say there is “tension” between headquarters and employees in the field.

• 59 percent say “fed bashing” on Capitol Hill affects how they are perceived in their own community.

• 63 percent associate the term “politics” when they think of agency headquarters, 39 percent think of “policy wonks.”

• 35 percent associate headquarters with the term “useless.”

• 10 percent say headquarters is “essential,” 6 percent “helpful” and 4 percent “resourceful.”

• 51 percent of federal employees outside of Washington say they “never” communicate with D.C. colleagues.

Source: A Federal News Radio survey of 421 federal employees in civilian and defense agencies; roughly half work outside Washington, half in the D.C. metro area. The findings were released Aug. 8.

Wonkish honks, fed bashing, plain communications to jharper-at-washingtontimes.com.