- The Washington Times - Sunday, August 7, 2011

CLASH OF THE TITANS

The aftermath of the Standard & Poor’s downgrade of America has become melodramatic, bombastic and intensely politicized. Dire claims that America’s exceptionalism is at an end have surfaced, along with partisan vilification. Consider that the words “tea party downgrade” have appeared in nearly 5,000 news accounts in the past 24 hours, according to a Google News count. It’s going to get noisier as global critics join in the America’s-going-down dance. But take a calm breath, please.

“The downgrade is Wall Street’s way of claiming dominance over political jockeying. It would be a mistake for investors to panic,” financial guru Ric Edelman, host of the new PBS show “The Truth About Money,” tells Inside the Beltway.

“What is happening now is merely an example of Wall Street exerting its dominance over Washington in major financial matters affecting the U.S. The worst thing that could happen now would be an overreaction to the downgrade, with massive sell-offs,” Mr. Edelman says. “Knowledgeable, prudent investors must stay the course.”

Yes, good to be prudent, as former President George H.W. Bush has advised. Good to stay in touch with one’s inner Ronald Reagan-style optimism, too, as the ride could get bumpy on both sides of the aisle. Despite claims from this Obama cabinet member to the contrary, Arizona psychic Blair Robertson tells the Beltway: “I predict that Treasury secretary Timothy Geithner will resign as a result of the credit downgrade within 30 days.”

Meanwhile, Standard & Poor’s itself plays judgmental hardball in its official justification for the downgrade: “The political brinksmanship of recent months highlights what we see as America’s governance and policymaking becoming less stable, less effective, and less predictable than what we previously believed.”

PRAYERFUL READINESS

“We pray for our nation’s leaders, Lord - for parents, for pastors, for the generals, for governors - that You would inspire them in these difficult times. Father, we pray for our president, that You would impart your wisdom upon him, that You would guard his family. We pray for our military and the families who love them.”

That is Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s prayer, revealed at “The Response,” a faith event that was bashed indecorously in the press but nonetheless drew 30,000 enthusiasts to Houston on Saturday. The Creator, Mr. Perry told the reverent crowd, is “wise enough not to be affiliated with any political party,” and his “agenda” is salvation. Meanwhile, Mr. Perry has sent out fundraising information to “bundlers,” poised to begin an imminent campaign process.

“Perry will announce for the Republican presidential nomination very soon. Sensing that momentum is on his side, Perry’s team wants a quick show of force as soon as he enters the campaign, and raising the first few millions of dollars quickly would allow that to happen,” predicts Austin American-Statesman political analyst Jason Embry.

CANDIDATE TRACKER

Where are the Republican presidential hopefuls Monday as the countdown begins on the mighty Ames Straw Poll, which gets under way in a mere five days?

New Hampshire: Mitt Romney (Concord, Manchester, Nashua); Rep. Thaddeus G. McCotter of Minnesota (Concord, Rochester).

Iowa: Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota (Atlantic, Council Bluffs); Herman Cain (Council Bluffs, Denison, Sioux City); Tim Pawlenty (Ames, Clive, Johnston).

Newt Gingrich arrives in Ames on Thursday, while Gary Johnson is avoiding Iowa and the poll altogether.

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