- The Washington Times - Monday, January 31, 2011

SNOW POLICE

At this juncture, much of the nation perhaps dreams of the cocktail hour in some balmy respite, as the palms sway overhead and an old recording of “Quiet Village” by Martin Denny plays on a hidden hi-fi. Yeah, well. It helps, though, to know that the Federal Emergency Management Agency is ever at the ready while Americans face another round of terrible snowstorms. FEMA‘S on it. The White House itself, in fact, is forwarding the agency’s “be prepared” press release to journalists, just to add a little heft.

“A storm of this size and scope needs to be taken seriously. As we continue to do our part to watch the storm and work closely with our state and local partners as they get ready, it’s critical that the public does its part to get ready,” suggests FEMA administrator Craig Fugate.

OK. Great. Now we understand your “part.” Any color-coded warnings? And meanwhile, what should we do? Among the instructions from FEMA’s guide to “Winter Storms and Extreme Cold,” found at www.ready.gov:

“When a Winter Storm WARNING is issued: Stay indoors during the storm. If you must go outside, several layers of lightweight clothing will keep you warmer than a single heavy coat. Gloves (or mittens) and a hat will prevent loss of body heat. Cover your mouth to protect your lungs. Walk carefully on snowy, icy, walkways.”

STRONG BREW

War footing. The tea party has it. The Republican and Democratic parties — querulous and restless these days — do not. So look out. While strategists dither over fickle poll numbers, press coverage and empty blog buzz, the tea party is barreling ahead to define its message, mission and battleground — and just get on with it.

Rep. Michele Bachmann’s tea party reply to the State of the Union address won coverage from CNN and other news organizations. Now, the 15-million-member Tea Party Patriots have announced their first big conference in Phoenix from Feb. 25 to 27. Rep. Louie Gohmert, Texas Republican; presidential hopeful Herman Cain and BigHollywod.com founder Andrew Breitbart are among the speakers at the event, dubbed “American Policy Summit — Pathways to Liberty.” The event is intended to “celebrate and recommit to the ideals and values that are responsible for the dramatic victories in the November election,” says coordinator Jenny Beth Martin.

The public appears receptive to those ideals and values. A new USA Today/Gallup Poll finds that 71 percent of Americans say it’s important for Republican leaders to consider tea party objectives and positions in “dealing with the nation’s problems.” Among Republicans, the number is 88 percent, among Democrats 53 percent.

The public appears somewhat aloof, though. The Republican Party garners a 47 percent favorability rating and 43 percent unfavorable, Gallup finds. The tea party? Thirty-nine percent favorable, 42 percent unfavorable. Still, only 25 percent oppose the movement; 30 percent support it and 46 percent don’t have an opinion — which suggests that tea party organizers should pursue a strong message. And a thoughtful one.

SHOULDER TO WHEEL

“While the year-end Federal Election Commission report reveals the Republican National Committee is $21 million in debt, I believe it is best to get out all the facts as we know them associated with our financial position. To date, the committee has approximately $23 million in debt: $15 million in loans, and $8 million owed to vendors,” says committee chairman Reince Priebus, reflecting on 2010 financial reviews from the agency.

“The RNC did raise nearly $105 million in 2010 mainly through low-dollar solicitations online and in the mail, but the costs to raise it were simply too high at approximately 64 cents for every dollar raised. Even more troubling, our major donor programs are at 10-year lows,” Mr. Priebus continues, revealing the group has reduced staff from 124 to 82 and frozen all major contracts.

“These moves alone have resulted in payroll savings of $500,000 a month and we exceeded the RNC’s major donor goals by over 30 percent in January with only half the execution time. I am excited about these first steps, but recognize we have a long way to go to build the world-class political organization necessary to defeat President Obama. I will accept nothing less,” he adds.

READ IT AND WEEP

While the mainstream media conveniently wallows in the idea that President Obama has suddenly grown “Reaganesque,” the Media Research Center offers a reality check. The title of this special report tells all: “Rewriting Ronald Reagan: How the Media Have Worked to Distort, Dismantle and Destroy His Legacy.” See the revealing report here: www.mrc.org.

“It is amazing to consider that President Reagan’s success at turning the U.S. away from 1960s-style liberalism was accomplished in the face of a daily wave of news media hostility,” notes Brent Baker, who authored the research with fellow analysts Tim Graham and Rich Noyes.

POLL DU JOUR

44 percent of Americans give President Obama a positive job review.

8 percent of Republicans, 14 percent of conservatives, 77 percent of liberals and 78 percent of Democrats agree.

62 percent of those with a postgraduate degree, 50 percent of East Coast residents, 48 percent of college grads and 39 percent of high school grads also agree.

56 percent of Americans overall give Mr. Obama a negative job rating.

92 percent of Republicans, 86 percent of conservatives, 23 percent of liberals and 22 percent of Democrats agree.

61 percent of high school grads, 60 percent of Southerners, 58 percent of men and 38 percent of those with postgraduate degrees agree.

Source: A Harris Poll of 2,556 adults conducted Jan. 17 to 24.

• Hats, gloves, press releases to jharper@washingtontimes.com.

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