- The Washington Times - Monday, December 12, 2011

SAVAGE FURY

In less than half an hour, Michael Savage’s hair-raising proposal drew close to 7,000 mentions on Google News: The syndicated radio host declared presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich “unelectable” Monday afternoon and offered him $1 million to drop out of the White House race. Frenzied, gleeful journalists fell upon the impeccably timed announcement with relish. The declaration, the money - which incidentally dwarfs Mitt Romney’s ballyhooed $10,000 bet with rival Rick Perry - went viral within minutes. Such is the chaotic political landscape.

Mr. Savage is convinced that only Mr. Romney has the political mettle to best President Obama in 2012 and says it’s the patriotic thing for Mr. Gingrich to disappear. And while this is the gaudiest call for a candidate to step aside in the name of party unity, it is not the last time Republican voters will bear witness to such things. Yes, Mr. Gingrich currently dominates the polls and the debates, and in many ways succeeds as the “conservative standard-bearer” in the Republican field, the one wearing the proverbial Ronald Reagan mantle.

Despite the sideshows and spectacle, the dynamics are serious. Mr. Romney consistently out-polls his rivals as the sole candidate who can beat Mr. Obama. Some analysts predict that Mr. Gingrich, like Herman Cain before him, will face serious character assassination from his critics before the Iowa caucuses Jan. 3. Others counter that Mr. Romney is a “Republican in name only” and the candidate of choice of the Democratic party. And that is just a sliver of political news in one hour. But back to Mr. Savage.

“If Newt Gingrich really loves this country as much as he says he does, if he really wants what is best for America, he will set his ego aside, call me, and accept my offer,” he says. “Take the money - and don’t run.”

NEW VOTING BLOC

Citing a “White House memorandum from President Obama and a historic speech from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on the importance of international LGBT human rights,” some 2,500 gay, bisexual and transgender rights advocates gather late next month in Washington and Baltimore to strategize and organize, they say, in a “critical election year.” They have multiple strategic alliances in the wings, meanwhile.

Joined by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, American Civil Liberties Union, Service Employees International Union and the American Association of University Women, the Creating Change Lobby will converge on Capitol Hill on Jan. 26 for an inaugural visit to advocate for legislation against discrimination, among other things.

NAACP President Benjamin Jealous is the keynote speaker; five days of events also include a State of the Movement address and a convention that has drawn corporate backing from Southwest and American airlines, Shell, Grey Goose vodka, Showtime, Office Depot, Chili’s restaurants and others. See the plans here: www.creatingchange.org.

“TEBOW FOR PRESIDENT”

So says ABC analyst Matthew Dowd, who insists that President Obama and Republican presidential hopefuls can learn a thing or two from Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow.

“I do think this Tebow boomlet is about faith. And it’s about confidence. And leadership. And humility - a humbleness born of strength and conviction. … Obama, and so too the Republican candidates for president, can learn a lot from what is going on in the Mile High City,” Mr. Dowd says.

“Our economy, and this country, are struggling with huge deficits of confidence and faith. We need a leader who can bring us together, exude confidence in us as a team, and lead us to where we need to go in the 21st century. A leader who is willing to admit mistakes and approach politics not by pointing fingers or scoring points but by helping us all be better people.

“Take a look at Obama’s latest interview. It does not make you feel better about where we are heading. You don’t feel like we are going to win under his leadership. He points fingers and refuses to admit his own mistakes or weaknesses. I often wonder: Where is the Barack Obama of the 2007 and 2008 campaign?”

FOR THE LEXICON

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