- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 27, 2011

PERRIFIED

There’s a reason why even he-man Texas Gov. Rick Perry is leery of incoming presidential candidate debates, perhaps: “Politician” is one of the scariest jobs in the nation, say thousands of Americans asked to rank professions according to such factors as “imminent danger,” “public speaking” and ” potential humiliation.” Politician is No. 15 on the list, after such careers as exterminator, stand-up comedian, animal control officer and stunt person - all of which might showcase workplace skills that politicians might need, come to think of it.

The scariest profession of all is bomb squad technician, followed by high-rise window washer, member of the armed forces, miner, police officer, Alaskan crab fisherman, mortician, firefighter, high school teacher and cemetery worker. The list is based on a CareerBuilder.com survey of 4,384 full-time U.S. workers who also ranked what scares them most in their own jobs: 36 percent cited layoffs, 13 percent pay cuts and 9 percent their workload. Few fear “the boss” anymore - cited by a mere 3 percent.

And about Mr. Perry. He’ll soon be on familiar territory with Chris Wallace on “Fox News Sunday.” With eight GOP debates already under his gun belt, Mr. Perry is ready for the next bout Nov. 9 in Michigan. But 15 more debates loom in the next 12 weeks. His aides hint that he may be a no-show, a strategy that did not help Jon Huntsman Jr., who skipped a splashy showdown in Las Vegas.

Mr. Perry may be vexed by his sagging favorability polls after sparring with glib rival Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich, that indefatigable fount of institutional knowledge. But wait. There is one poll that Mr. Perry need not fear. And that would be a National Review survey revealing that 72 percent of the 12,000-plus respondents now say a Romney victory is not “inevitable.”

HOVERS LIKE A SPECTER

Never a dull moment: Citizens Against Government Waste reminds us of the true meaning of Halloween: “While the public squares of many of the country’s large cities are being occupied by disgruntled pod people who decry Wall Street greed and express a rabid hostility to capitalism, they should instead be protesting vampiric Washington politicians who plague taxpayers with wasteful spending,” the nonpartisan group points out.

“The biggest ‘trick’ of all is the fact that on October 31, 2011 the U.S. national debt will surpass the nation’s gross domestic product. This $14.9 trillion burden hovers like a specter over the country and promises to be a nightmare for future generations.”

Meanwhile, Halloween goody bags are on the way to Sen. Jon Kyl, Arizona Republican, plus Sen. John Kerry Massachusetts Democrat - not to mention the rest of the contentious congressional supercommittee charged with saving the U.S. from fiscal catastrophe.

“Our economy has withered away to skin and bones. We’re pepping up the super committee with a sugar high to get them working overtime on deficit spending cuts,” says Public Notice, the activist group behind the sweet jab.

SOLID REAGAN

Hurray for nifty public art. To be unveiled Tuesday at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, it’s Ronald Reagan: all 900 pounds of him. A 9-foot tall bronze statue of Reagan debuts at his namesake airport - “the statue captures President Reagan in motion, as he greets travelers arriving or departing,” organizers say.

The artist behind it all - North Carolina-based sculptor Chas Fagan - knows his subject well. His other Reagan statues stand in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda, in London’s Grosvenor Square and at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Library in Simi Valley, Calif.

On hand for the big moment: Three former Transportation secretaries: Ray LaHood, Elizabeth Dole and James Burnley, plus Charles D. Snelling, chairman of the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority and Frederick J. Ryan Jr., chairman of the board of trustees of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation.

CANDIDATE TRACKER

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