- The Washington Times - Monday, November 14, 2011

SUPER DUPED

Memo to the supercommittee: Get it done in the next week, or else. Gallup reports that public opinion of Congress is “entrenched” at an all-time record low: 82 percent of Americans disapprove of the way lawmakers are handling their job; 13 percent approve. The committee’s failure could generate even worse numbers.

“If the congressional supercommittee charged with cutting more than a trillion dollars in spending from the federal budget is unable to do so by the end of this month, these measures of the public’s faith in Congress are likely to drop even lower,” notes Gallup director Frank Newport.

Presidential hopeful and the newest GOP poll darling Newt Gingrich, meanwhile, has unveiled his own plan to regain a balanced federal budget as the supercommittee “stumbles,” he says. Mr. Gingrich also recalls that he predicted the committee’s failure in August, when he called it “one of the dumbest ideas to come out of Washington in my lifetime.”

CLINTON NO. 3

News that NBC has hired Chelsea Clinton to be a contributor has reignited chatter that the daughter of former President Bill Clinton and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton could run for office herself, thus ensuring the family a continuing presence in the political marketplace. Democratic idealists fantasize that Ms. Clinton, 31, feasibly could run for president in 2016, when she is of electable age, or at least by 2020.

Such talk first surfaced four years ago, when Mr. Clinton told People magazine that he did “not rule out the possibility” his daughter might seek office. New York Magazine followed with a splashy profile, billing the beaming blonde as “The Next Clinton,” complete with her father’s observations that his daughter “has her mother’s character and her father’s energy.”

The notion of political Clinton No. 3 came up two weeks ago when a local blog reported that Chelsea was considering a run to replace Rep. Nita M. Lowery, a New York Democrat from the same Westchester neighborhood where the Clintons maintain a residence.

Meanwhile, Ms. Clinton has started a Facebook page, penned commentary for the Daily Beast and coordinated a recent star-studded Hollywood party - complete with a Lady Gaga serenade - to celebrate her father’s 65th birthday and raise funds for his foundation.

She’ll repeat the effort in Manhattan in early December, chairing another major fundraising and networking event with Mr. Clinton that has some lofty political trappings. The occasion, organizers say, will “bring together the next generation of leaders and philanthropists to learn about some of the most pressing issues of our interconnected world.”

HEALTHY DISCUSSION

The Supreme Court’s decision to review the constitutionality of health care reform has inspired much solemn commentary from those who see the move as a monumental moment with great portent.

“The Supreme Court has set the stage for the most significant case since Roe v. Wade,” observes Ilya Shapiro, a senior fellow in constitutional studies at the Cato Institute. “Indeed, this litigation implicates the future of the republic as Roe never did. On both the individual-mandate and Medicaid-coercion issues, the court will decide whether the Constitution’s structure - federalism and enumeration of powers - is judicially enforceable or whether Congress is the sole judge of its own authority. In other words, do we have a government of laws or men?”

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus says the decision “offers Americans hope that we may soon be freed of the one-size-fits-all mandates and regulations of this disastrous policy.”

And from Stephen B. Presser, legal-history professor at Northwestern University School of Law: “Power corrupts, Lord Acton told us, and absolute power corrupts absolutely, and we should not be surprised that when the act was originally passed, its proponents, such as then Speaker Pelosi, derided those who questioned the act’s constitutionality, asking, as she did, whether they were ‘serious.’ “

The Constitution, Mr. Presser points out, does limit that power in the 10th Amendment, and “it is now time for the court to reaffirm that limit.”

OCCUPADO

“Up with Poulpe”

Organizing a movement’s no small feat,

Nor securing a venue where all meet:

See the cephalopods,

Queued in querulous squads,

Launch a protest called Octopi Wall Street.

(Limerick courtesy of Politickles.com editor F.R. Duplantier.)

BASSO PROFUNDO

Voters prefer candidates with lower-pitched voices, according to psychologists at McMaster University.

“We’re looking at men’s low voice-pitch as a cue to dominance, which is related to leadership. Voters may take it into account when making voting decisions,” says lead author Cara Tigue, who asked respondents to rate the speakers’ attractiveness, leadership potential, honesty, intelligence and dominance, based solely on what they heard.

“Though the motivations were different, in all cases they preferred candidates with lower-pitched voices,” the research found, underscoring previous findings that in all presidential elections between 1960 and 2000, the candidate with the lower voice won the popular vote.

POLL DU JOUR

• 65 percent of Republican primary voters say Herman Cain should stay in the presidential race.

• 63 percent say their opinions about Mr. Cain have not changed.

• 61 percent say media treatment of Mr. Cain has been “mostly unfair.”

• 57 percent have a favorable impression of Mr. Cain.

• 54 percent say the sexual harassment allegations against Mr. Cain are “mostly false.”

• 43 percent say the media has been responsible for spreading the allegations.

• 32 percent cite “the Obama campaign,” 10 percent “one of the other Republican campaigns.”

• 28 percent currently would vote for Newt Gingrich as presidential nominee, 25 percent for Mr. Cain and 18 percent for Mitt Romney.

Source; A Public Policy Poll of 576 Republican primary voters conducted Nov. 10-13.

Press releases, hubbub, limericks to jharper@washingtontimes.com

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