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Inside the Beltway

- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 2, 2011

THE DEEP DISH

Be aware that ideology affects cuisine. Consider that conservatives prefer meat loaf with mashed potatoes and gravy, McDonald's french fries, soft tacos, deep-dish pizza and grape jelly. Correspondingly, liberals prefer chicken curry with vegetable biranyi, bistro-style fries, crunchy tacos, thin-crust pizza and strawberry jelly.

In addition, 29 percent of liberals say a bacon cheeseburger is "disgusting," 39 percent consider themselves to be "foodies." Among conservatives, 3 percent are vegetarians, and 52 percent do not know what the term "foodie" means. It's all from Hunch, an online research group that gauges cultural trends; the findings are based on 348,000 responses measured between Nov. 1, 2009, and May 31. Complete results are here at http://blog.hunch.com.

FAITH & FREEDOM FIREPOWER

Speakers at the 2011 Faith & Freedom Coalition conference in Washington this weekend are many, and noteworthy. Among lawmakers: Sen. Rand Paul, Kentucky Republican; House Speaker John A. Boehner, Republican Reps. Kevin McCarthy and Tom McClintock of California, Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, Eric Cantor of Virginia, Allen B. West and Daniel Webster of Florida, Michele Bachmann of Minnesota, Steve King of Iowa, Ron Paul, Louie Gohmert and Pete Sessions of Texas; Mike Pence of Indiana, Diane Black of Tennessee, Tom Price and Lynn Westmoreland of Georgia, Vicky Hartzler of Missouri and Mike Mulvaney of South Carolina.

Among presidential hopefuls: Donald Trump, Herman Cain, Mitt Romney, Tim Pawlenty, Rick Santorum, Jon Huntsman Jr.. Among assorted luminaries: Fox News host Glenn Beck, Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus, Virginia Attorney General Kenneth T. Cuccinelli II, pollster Frank Luntz, Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, George Allen, Tea Party Patriots founders Mark Meckler and Jenny Beth Martin.

"We're seeing a stunning turnout of top-flight speakers and candidates because we offer the opportunity to speak to the conservative base of primary voters — from the grass roots to social conservatives and the fervent tea party," the coalition's executive director Gary Marx tells Inside the Beltway. "Candidates know that to secure the nomination in 2012 they need to make a clear and compelling case for faith and freedom."

CARNEYIZED

"There will be a time and a place for the president to engage in 2012 election politics, and my guess is that will be 2012," observes White House press secretary Jay Carney.

But wait. The Republican National Committee notes that the White House has already made its fifth negative campaign attack on a potential Republican opponent and sent a fundraising email vilifying "special interest PACs," among other things.

"Carney managed to keep a straight face when he said the president wouldn't engage in the campaign until 2012. So what have those 25 Obama/Biden fundraisers been raising money for?" the committee asks.

COULTER UNIVERSE

Brace for impact. Ann Coulter has written her eighth book, "Demonic: How the Liberal Mob is Endangering America." She's getting historic. Miss Coulter delves into Gustave Le Bon's 1896 work "The Crowd: A Study of the Popular Mind," to prove that mob mentality has been part of the left-leaning mindset since the French Revolution.

Liberal Democrats remain enthralled. The author is vexed by the party's habit of speaking in slogans, demonizing such enemies as conservatives, the tea party and Sarah Palin — and of course, idolizing leaders.

"What is it about the Obamas that reduces network news hosts to babbling, pimple-faced losers at a Star Trek convention? Liberals worship so many political deities that they're forced to refer to them by their initials, just to save time — FDR, JFK, RFK, MLK, LBJ. When was the last time you saw a conservative get weepy about RWR?" Miss Coulter demands.

And of course, that monogram belongs to Ronald Wilson Reagan. The book will be published by Crown Forum on Tuesday.

NO REPUBLICAN CHAOS

Hungry for the next town-hall meeting, Republican presidential hopefuls are almost bumping into each other along the back roads of New Hampshire, with at least four of them handshaking their way through the Granite State on any given day. They kiss babies. They flip pancakes, they Tweet and blog, the campaign minutiae chronicled by a sarcastic press and voracious social media. Is it more chaotic than normal?

"This year is pretty typical," University of New Hampshire political scientist and pollster Andrew Smith tells Inside the Beltway.

"It's getting under way later than the 2009 cycle, but it's shaping up to be similar to 2000 and 2008. I think the 24-hour news cycle is largely ignored by voters in New Hampshire, but it certainly is of interest inside the Beltway. What else explains the Mitch Daniels and Jon Huntsman boomlets?" Mr. Smith asks.

"In my house growing up, The Times substituted for religion. If The Times said it, it was the absolute truth."

— Jill Abramson, reflecting on her appointment Thursday as executive editor of the New York Times, replacing Bill Keller, who becomes a columnist.

POLL DU JOUR

57 percent of Americans say wealth should be more evenly distributed in the U.S., 35 percent say the distribution is "fair."

49 percent say the government should not impose heavy taxes on the rich to redistribute wealth.

69 percent of Republicans, 53 percent of independents and 26 percent of Democrats agree.

47 percent say the government should impose heavier taxes on the rich.

28 percent of Republicans, 43 percent of independents and 71 percent of Democrats agree.

42 percent overall say the U.S. has "the right amount of rich people."

31 percent say there are "too many," 21 percent say there are "too few."

Source: A Gallup Poll of 1,077 adults conducted April 7 to 11 and released Thursday.

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