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Inside the Beltway

- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 21, 2011

CLASH OF CIVILIZATIONS

And now for a reality check: "Muslim and Western publics continue to largely agree that relations between them are poor and disagree about who is at fault — Muslims largely blame Westerners, while those in the West generally blame Muslims. Westerners see Muslims as fanatical, violent, and as lacking tolerance. Muslims in the Middle East and Asia see Westerners as selfish, immoral and greedy — as well as violent and fanatical."

So says a massive new survey of about 14,000 respondents in Western and Muslim countries by the Pew Research Centers Global Attitudes Project. It also reveals that "widespread skepticism about the events of September 11, 2011, persists in predominantly Muslim nations. There is no Muslim public in which even 30 percent accept that Arabs conducted the 9/11 attacks."

In contrast to Western nations, among most of the Muslim publics polled, "Muslims tend to identify with their religion rather than their nationality," the survey says. See this startling research online (http://pewglobal.org).

DEBT, THE SHORT TAKE

"Default the debt"; "Kiss me, I'm bankrupt"; "Time to cut up the government credit cards"; "Debt-free 'cause of Jesus"; "Obankstas: Yes, they con"; and "I own shares in the national debt." (Assorted new t-shirt mottos from Zazzle.com)

MINING THE REAGAN GOLD

Sly Democrats are figuring out ways to align the White House with Ronald Reagan to better their chances of winning the debt-ceiling debate. The Congressional Progressive Caucus sent a letter to Republican lawmakers quoting a 1983 Reagan letter to then House Majority Leader Howard Baker, warning of the "consequences of default." The progressives mawkishly urge GOP colleagues to "take President Reagan's message to heart and put what's best for America's economy ahead of gaining a short-term political advantage."

Meanwhile, a House Democratic Caucus video mines a 1987 Reagan radio speech, deftly plucking out his phrase that the U.S. has a "special responsibility" to pay its debts. In the liberal feedback loop, MSNBC is broadcasting the video as gospel, asserting that President Obama is "more in line with Reagan than the Republicans," says a Media Research Center analysis.

"The Democratic National Committee is obviously pulling MSNBC's strings," says MRC President L. Brent Bozell III. "Ronald Reagan has absolutely nothing in common with Obama, especially not on taxes and the debt ceiling. Its outrageous for this disgraced network to exploit the late presidents good name and his conservative economic brilliance."

Yeah, well. MSNBC publicized the "deceptively edited spot," but ignored the rest of the Reagan address, in which the president said, "You don't need more taxes to balance the budget. Congress needs the discipline to stop spending more, and that can be done with the passage of a constitutional amendment."

Which sounds like the House Republicans, not Mr. Obama, Mr. Bozell observes.

ROEMER HASN'T ROAMED

He's already taken up a temporary residence in Manchester, N.H., mostly unsung by the press. Buddy Roemer is now a player, though. The former Louisiana governor officially fired up his 2012 campaign, declaring that his rivals are "only guessing" when it comes to the nation's woes.

"What would John Kennedy and Ronald Reagan say today if they were alive as America shrinks? And what are we going to do about it? Elect another pretty face, elect a guy with a lot of money in the bank, or are we going to stand up?" Mr. Roemer asks.

He's the sole presidential hopeful to impose a limit of $100 on donations. Alas, according to his first- and second-quarter campaign finance filings, he's raised just $60,560 from 700 donors, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. But they have reassuring news about the candidate's honesty.

"Roemer has stayed true to his promise. He's returned any donation exceeding $100," their analysis says.

HOLA, AMERICA

Hispanic ranchers and farmers are vexed with the White House, claiming that the Obama administration "has deported more Hispanics than the Bush administration" and favors black and American Indian farmers where financial settlements are concerned.

"As a former constitutional law professor, you know the federal government cannot, consistent with the constitutional guarantees of equal protection and due process, pick favorites among minority groups, yet it has done just that, providing black farmers a more favorable claims process than the one provided Hispanic farmers," say the Hispanic Farmers & Ranchers Inc. and Minority Agricultural Producers in an open letter to President Obama.

"If your administration believes that it can disrespect Hispanics in this way while offering a few platitudes about universal immigration reform and the Dream Act because we have no political alternative, it did not learn the lesson of the midterm elections. We do not seek special treatment, merely simple justice."

POLL DU JOUR

• 71 percent of Americans believe there are "life lessons" learned on summer vacation that can't be learned in a classroom.

• 66 percent are opposed to a 12-month, year-round school calendar.

• 56 percent say that children need to "spend more time in school" on a daily basis.

• 50 percent say the school year should start after Labor Day.

• 48 percent approve of a "lengthy" vacation from school.

• 45 percent say the school year should start in August.

• 34 percent say a long summer vacation "is bad for kids."

Source: A Rasmussen Reports survey of 1,000 adults conducted on July 19-20.

Tipline always open at jharper@washingtontimes.com. Follow the column at twitter.com/harperbulletin and facebook.com/harperuniverse.

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