Inside the Beltway

THE LONG HAUL

Election fatigue: Seven out of 10 Americans can’t wait for the 2012 presidential campaign to be over, preferring to “fast-forward” to the end, says Gallup analyst Jeffrey Jones. An endless campaign, negative ads and public distaste for politicians and politics contribute to such antipathy in a new Gallup poll, which reveals that 66 percent of Republicans and 67 percent of Democrats share the sentiment.

“Importantly, despite their generally negative feelings toward the campaign, Americans are not necessarily going to tune it out completely, or decline to participate. The same poll finds that 57 percent of Americans have already given quite a lot of thought to the upcoming election, and 72 percent are at least somewhat enthusiastic about voting in next year’s election,” Mr. Jones adds.

BEST OF THE LESSERS

As the big Republican guns roll through Iowa on Monday for last-minute voter shopping, the “Lesser-Known Presidential Candidates” forum unfolds with gusto at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics at Saint Anselm College in Manchester. Initially, 35 assorted primary candidates were invited by the organizers; 11 Republicans and 8 Democrats from 17 states accepted.

The mix includes GOPers Bear Betzler of Philadelphia and satirist Vermin Supreme of Rockport, Maine - plus Democrat and anti-abortion activist Randall Terry. Well, uh, as the sages say, rock on. Each candidate gets an opening statement and lots of questions at this very public event.

CRAIG‘S LIST

A sterling moment for Ronald Reagan historian Craig Shirley, author of the intense, patriotic and exquisitely researched book “December 1941: 31 Days that Changed America and Saved the World,” released Dec. 6 by Thomas Nelson, a Christian publisher: Mr. Shirley made the New York Times best-seller list on Sunday, debuting at No. 20 for print and e-books combined, and No. 8 for e-books alone.

The takeaway: some traditional values and experiences transcend everything, including the New York Times.

“The month in 1941 he has chosen to chronicle did indeed change the way we live now, the way we will live as long as liberty is the organizing principle and animating spirit of America,” says Jon Meacham, former Newsweek editor, now executive editor of Random House.

Mr. Shirley’s work is in the Amazon top 10 for historical books, incidentally. The industrious author’s shrewdly titled “Citizen Newt: The Rise, Fall and Future of Speaker Gingrich” will be published in late January.

METAL METTLE

Neodymium, lanthanum, tellurium, indium and tungsten top the “most endangered” list of strategic elements vital to multiple defense applications, electronics, medical devices, autos, batteries and solar panels.

As with foreign-controlled oil, the lack of these metals could roil American industry, says manufacturer American Elements, which warns that China controls 97 percent of global rare-earth minerals production. See their list and its implications here: www.americanelements.com/2011Endangered_Elements_List.html

IN 30 DAYS

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