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Inside the Beltway

A ROCKER'S POLITICS

"There's an incredible feeling of helplessness when you vote now. The political parties seem to have the same agenda, and I can't think of any legislation that was made in the interest of the citizens lately. I think America is on a course to an internationalism we've never known. They call it many things. New world order, planetary government. We're pretty much global as it is," Tommy James tells Inside the Beltway.

And this would be Tommy James, of Tommy James and the Shondells, the iconic 1960s-era rock band whose hits include "Mony Mony" and "Hanky Panky." The many tunes are set to emerge as a Broadway show in 18 months and, after that, in a Hollywood film version.

"I'm a pretty conservative guy. Grew up in the Midwest. I'm not a radical, just a regular American. And I am a constitutionalist," Mr. James said. "These days, I don't know how to describe our government. Democratic, Republican? Left, right? There are too many distractions. I sense we're losing the basic founding ideas of the nation. We've got to get back to those ideas. And why not start with reaffirming the middle class? To me, middle-class America should remain our center of gravity."

Mr. James, 64, has a noteworthy political pedigree. In 1968, he befriended Hubert H. Humphrey after appearing at campaign events for Humphrey's presidential campaign. The candidate even wrote the liner notes to Mr. James' "Crimson and Clover" album; the pair remained friends until Humphrey's death in 1978.

The rocker now heads to Minneapolis to help celebrate what would have been the former vice president and senator's centennial birthday this weekend, hosted by Humphrey's son, Hubert H. "Skip" Humphrey and former Vice President Walter F. Mondale. The event also will raise funds for a proposed memorial to Humphrey on the grounds of the Minnesota state Capitol.

PALIN NATION

Sarah Palin's fierce fans have already declared that they belong to "Palin Nation," now that their heroine has emerged in what appears to be a full star-spangled presidential mode. She'll embark on a campaign-style bus tour in some 48 hours, is the subject of a soon-to-be-released biographic film and will take up residence in Scottsdale, Ariz., a most friendly Republican territory.

The timing is canny and practical, the blitz launched as her fellow Americans savor their first days of summer vacation, and perhaps ponder Memorial Day. Mrs. Palin begins her tour Sunday in Washington, also appearing at Rolling Thunder, the exuberant gathering of motorcycles, veterans and patriots on the National Mall. She'll stop at historic sites along the East Coast, chosen because they are "key to the formation, survival and growth of the United States of America," says SarahPAC, the former Alaska governor's political action committee.

A Gallup poll finds Mrs. Palin with Mitt Romney at the top of the ever-shifting spectrum of Republican presidential hopefuls; Mr. Romney garners 17 percent of the vote in the match-up, Mrs. Palin 15 percent. So batten down the hatches. And expect many postcards from Mrs. Palin.

HOLA, AMERICA

"2010 Census shows nation's Hispanic population grew four times faster than the total U.S. population," says an analysis from the Census Bureau, which notes that "Hispanics were the majority population in 82 counties nationwide."

"The Hispanic population increased by 15.2 million between 2000 and 2010 and accounted for more than half of the total U.S. population increase of 27.3 million. Between 2000 and 2010, the Hispanic population grew by 43 percent, or four times the nation's 9.7 percent growth rate," the federal agency says.

COBURN'S MICROSCOPE

"$80,000 study on why the same teams always dominate March Madness; $315,000 study suggesting playing FarmVille on Facebook helps adults develop relationships; $1 million for an analysis of how quickly parents respond to trendy baby names; $50,000 to produce and publicize amateur songs about science; $581,000 on whether online dating site users are racist."

- Examples from Sen. Tom Coburn's investigation of the National Science Foundation's loss of $3 billion as a result of "waste, fraud, duplication and mismanagement." See the report at the Oklahoma Republican's website, http://coburn.senate.gov/public/.

SAVAGE FURY

"I am blacklisted by Britain. Not a word from the 'progressives' who bleat about the McCarthy-era blacklist. Nary a word from any 'conservatives.' This is how the enemies of freedom win. They pick off the strong, the brave, one at a time," talk radio host Michael Savage tells Inside the Beltway, on learning this week that British officials will keep him on a list of "undesirables" banned from the country.

"As Winston Churchill said, 'socialism cannot exist without a gestapo' to enforce the systems of control over the whole life of a society. With a complicit establishment media - both liberal and Republican - the socialist party U.S.A. - Democrats - do not need a fairness doctrine, nor a gestapo. Just the deafening silence," Mr. Savage adds.

POLL DU JOUR

*91 percent of "staunch conservatives" watch Fox News; 30 percent of "solid liberals" do the same.

*81 percent of the conservatives favor the Republican Party; 83 percent of the liberals favor the Democratic Party.

*72 percent of the conservatives and 1 percent of the liberals approve of the tea party.

*67 percent of conservatives believe in "American exceptionalism"; 19 percent of liberals agree.

*63 percent of conservatives are "frustrated" with the federal government; 56 percent of liberals agree.

*54 percent of conservatives say the U.S. should concentrate on domestic rather than foreign issues; 47 percent of liberals agree.

*3 percent of conservatives trust the federal government to do "what's right" most of the time; 38 percent of liberals agree.

Source: A Pew Research Center "2011 Political Typology" survey of 4,461 adults conducted February-April and released Thursday.

*Tipline always open at jharper@washingtontimes.com. Follow the column at twitter.com/harperbulletin.

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