- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 20, 2011

CHA-CHA-CHA

It is a dance challenge for liberal, peace lovin’ Democrats when President Obama abandons the old “hope and change” Terpsichore and hearkens to the heavy thud of global politics. Like Libya, for instance. What’s a lawmaker to do? Well, have a conference call and make noise about the constitutionality of U.S. involvement in the turmoil — as did Rep. Dennis J. Kucinich of Ohio and eight other Democrats. Or get in line and learn the new routine. Some are tracking the progress of one Massachusetts Democrat in particular.

“How long before Sen. John Kerry is against the Libyan war?” asks William Jacobson, a Cornell University law professor and author of the Legal Insurrection blog. “Watching the Sunday morning shows is interesting for the first time in years, if only to see John Kerry and others who have bashed George W. Bush for years spin like out of control tops to justify intervention in Libya on humanitarian grounds.”

Mr. Jacobson demands, “No end game? No problem, now. No exit strategy? Already exited stage left. No congressional authorization? Congress who? Nuance, I guess. If it falls apart, will they forget that they were for the war before they were against it, like with Iraq? Will President Obama be accused of lying them into war?”

1040-OUCH

“What’s your pain threshold? For a plurality of Americans, it apparently hurts more to do their taxes than go to the dentist,” advises a Rasmussen Reports survey. “Forty-three percent of American adults say filing their tax paperwork is worse than a trip to the dentist. Thirty-five percent disagree and say going to the dentist is worse. Nearly one-in-four — 23 percent — are not sure which activity is more torturous.”

PALINTOLOGY

Along with her signature patriotic jewelry and a Christian cross, Sarah Palin wore a Star of David necklace as a show of solidarity with Israel — the final stop on her weekend journey that also took the potential presidential hopeful to India. Mrs. Palin meets with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday to talk issues and policy in the Holy Land before returning home.

In public appearances in the past few days, Mrs. Palin confirmed she’s still thinking about a White House run and suggested that there would be less “dithering” if she were in charge. She had sympathy for Japan, admiration for India’s democracy and definite uneasiness about U.S. debt and China’s “dangerous” role in it — not to mention the nation’s methodical military buildup. She dismissed talk of America’s decline as the “wishful thinking” of enemies. And there are other enemies to consider.

“You can’t really trust the media. You have to have the boldness and courage of setting the record straight. Especially when they have made their choice,” Mrs. Palin told a massive audience in New Delhi. “Too often, Republicans have the fighting instinct of sheep — they just sit back and take it. I’m pretty independent, and some players in the Republican hierarchy don’t like that. I’m so busy I don’t have the time to play some of the games these guys want to play.”

LITERARY MOMENTS

“Politics and Pasta: How I Prosecuted Mobsters, Rebuilt a Dying City, Dined with Sinatra, Spent Five Years in a Federally Funded Gated Community, and Lived to Tell the Tale”

That is the title of a new book by Vincent “Buddy” Cianci, a former mayor of Providence, R.I. (1975 to 1984 and 1991 to 2002), who was indicted in 2001 on federal criminal charges of racketeering, mail fraud, conspiracy, extortion and witness tampering. He served four years in federal prison and is now on a book tour to Washington and multiple northeastern cities.

FOOTING THE BILL

A ceremony of a different sort on Tuesday: American Legion National Commander Jimmie L. Foster is in Washington with a check for Albert Snyder, father of fallen U.S. Marine Lance Cpl. Matthew Snyder, who sued the Kansas-based Westboro Baptist Church after its members protested his son’s funeral in 2006.

Though Mr. Snyder lost his case in the U.S. Supreme Court on May 2 after the 8-1 ruling sided with the group’s First Amendment right, he still is liable to pay the legal costs. The American Legion raised $26,459 to that end, Mr. Foster says. Mr. Snyder and his attorney Sean Summers will address a sizable delegation of Legion members in the morning.

GETTING SNIPPY

The Republican call for fiscal sanity is torture, at least according to Howard Dean, founder of melodramatic Democracy for America, a grass-roots group that bears Mr. Dean’s inimitable touch.

“Republicans have gone from being fiscally irresponsible to morally reprehensible in only a few short months. Their goal appears to be the death of civil society by a thousand cuts,” Mr. Dean says.

Wait, weren’t the midterm elections the occasion of a thousand cuts? Like, uh, Democratic ones? No matter. The Grand Old Party is resolute and practical these days, as the party cleans house, confronts its identity and bulks up for the 2012 presidential bout.

“My priorities as chairman are running an efficient and effective RNC and bringing money in the door so we can support a successful campaign for our Republican presidential nominee. We have reexamined contracts, cut overhead by 35 percent, and exceeded our major donor fundraising goals by 200 percent in just two short months,” reports Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus.

“The Committee raised $5.21 million in February and took steps to retire the debt. We continue to receive bills from previous commitments but we have turned a corner and feel good about the direction of our committee and our party. Based on the success of the past two months, I am confident we will have the resources to defeat President Obama,” Mr. Priebus adds.

POLL DU JOUR

• 65 percent of U.S. voters oppose U.S. military involvement in the Libya conflict.

• 59 percent of Republicans, 70 percent of Democrats and 54 percent of tea party members agree.

• 59 percent overall say the primary goal of foreign policy is to promote democracy.

• 62 percent of Republicans, 59 percent of Democrats and 57 percent of tea party supporters agree.

• 43 percent overall approve of the way President Obama has handled the Libya matter.

• 28 percent of Republicans, 61 percent of Democrats and 23 percent of tea partyers also approve.

• 32 percent of Americans overall say actor Charlie Sheen has a “firmer grip on reality” than Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi.

• 14 percent cite Col. Gadhafi, 37 percent say “neither,” and 11 percent said they don’t know.

Source: A Fox News Poll of 913 registered voters conducted March 14-16.

Choruses, complaints, dance steps to jharper@washingtontimes.com.

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