- The Washington Times - Sunday, July 31, 2011


Though the debt ceiling debate has ended up a twisted wad of belligerence, at least it has prompted the million-dollar question: Is Congress stuck on stupid or stuck in neutral? That’s subject to interpretation. Academics caution lawmakers that melodramatic political theater in recent weeks has damaged their reputation permanently with the American public. Some pollsters insist that Republicans are the big losers, and that the sour sentiment will follow the Grand Old Party all the way to 2012.

But wait. Stubborn persistence is a viable political trait in other realms. Tea Party Patriots co-founder Mark Meckler praises lawmakers who “stand firm and buck the Washington elite” — and he has plenty of backup in the conservative blogosphere for that sentiment. There are also those who disagree and have taken to the airwaves:

“We are Republicans, Democrats and independents. But above all, we are Americans. We deplore that extreme partisan politics has trumped our patriotic duty. We have one word for our elected officials: Enough,” says dialogue from a stark little advocacy spot that begins airing Monday on CNN and other networks, from No Labels, the self-described “bipartisan group.”


“Regardless of our recent collective bad behavior, late-night comedians’ barbs, 24/7 cable news punditry vilifying us daily, and the American people at the end of their ropes, I am asking for a moment of reflection,” says Michigan’s Dennis Hertel, president of the U.S. Former Members of Congress Association.

“While we have a long way to go to restore the American people’s trust, I hope they know that we are dedicated public servants who got into this business for all the right reasons. We care and we want to make a difference.”


Talk about compromise. Just in time for that post-Aug. 2 debt ceiling funk, Englewood Wine Merchants, a purveyor in where else but New Jersey, is offering a “Debt Ceiling discount” of 20 percent off its wares, through 11:59 p.m. on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, less is more at Morton’s classic steakhouse, which offers the impossible dream for those fed up with the debt wars: spa-tini cocktails, each with less than 200 calories. Among those to be unveiled on Thursday:Skynny Blood Orange Cosmo, Red Velvet, a Skinny Rita, Antioxidant Me and the Lean and Green.


Uh-oh. Critics have taken notice that former New York City Mayor and potential presidential hopeful Rudolph W. Giuliani is hosting “Mob Week” on AMC from Monday to Sunday, and his treatment of anti-Italian stereotypes makes him “unpresidential.” So recalls the Italic Institute of America, a think tank that tracks such stereotypes in press and politics.

“Rudy clearly suffers from Godfather Tourette’s syndrome. He kicked off his 2008 campaign by aping Vito Corleone, something columnist Peggy Noonan found distasteful and utterly unpresidential,” notes Rosario A. Iaconis, chairman of the group. “Indeed, Giuliani delights in depicting the scions of Italy as vulgar Neanderthals a la Tony Soprano.”

Mr. Iaconis adds, “One can almost envision ‘Hizzoner’ tapping Herman Cain, former CEO of Godfather’s Pizza, to be his running mate. Rather than lauding his Italian heritage’s seminal role in the formation of the American republic, Giuliani traffics in vile stereotypes.”


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