- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 6, 2011

DIXIE-CHICKED

“Is the Hank Williams Jr. incident a parallel to the Dixie Chicks?” asks Radio-Info.com, an insider site for the radio industry. The question has clogged up its message boards ever since Mr. Williams publicly compared a golf match between President Obama and House Speaker John A. Boehner to a game pitting Hitler and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Hubbub followed. The conservative country music star’s tune “All My Rowdy Friends Are Coming Over” — used as the theme for “NFL Monday Night Football” since 1989 — was dropped by ESPN, and so was he.

And the Dixie Chicks parallel? The Dallas-based country trio met with both adulation and criticism after singer Natalie Maines told a cheering London audience that she was “ashamed the president of the United States is from Texas,” just 10 days before President George W. Bush ordered a military invasion of Iraq in 2003.

The readers of Radio-info.com now wonder if Mr. Williams was “Dixie Chicked”; the singer himself says his First Amendment rights were violated by the network’s decision. The caterwaul has escalated into a discussion of political values, celebrity and civility.

“I hope he continues to say what he feels, even if everyone doesn’t agree with him,” said one contributor, while another countered, “He did call Obama and Biden ‘the enemy.’ You don’t do that, even if you don’t happen to like the current occupier of the White House.” And still another pointed out: “George W. Bush has been compared to Hitler by a number of people, and it did not hurt their careers.”

VALUES ON PARADE

The massive Values Voter Summit in Washington this weekend features some select political pairings and dozens of luminaries. On Friday morning alone, the 2,000-member, mostly grass-roots audience will witness House Speaker John A. Boehner and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor on the same stage as presidential hopeful Rick Santorum.

Fellow candidatesHerman Cain, Newt Gingrich and Texas Gov. Rick Perry quickly follow in the company of talk-radio goddess Laura Ingraham. Watch it all live online at www.valuesvotersummit.org. And yes, there’s a presidential straw poll, the results to be announced 3 p.m. Saturday as a fitting finale following the appearances of Mitt Romney, Rep. Ron Paul and broadcast hosts Bill Bennett and Glenn Beck. Everyone has his eye on 2012.

“Values voters — those who understand the intersection of faith, family and freedom — are determined to win this contest. Identifying the right candidate is the first step,” says Tony Perkins, president of Family Research Council Action, which hosts the summit.

YOU BETCHA

Well, that was quick. Odds are out already on whom Sarah Palin will endorse in the 2012 presidential bout. Irish bookmaker Paddy Power is tipping the former Alaska governor to lend her support to Herman Cain following her decision to bow out of the race herself.

Here’s how the bookmaker’s numbers shake out: 6/4 for Mr. Cain, 2/1 Texas Gov. Rick Perry, 7/2 Mitt Romney, 8/1 Rep. Ron Paul, 10/1 Rep. Michele Bachmann, 16/1 Newt Gingrich and 40/1 Jon Huntsman Jr.

“Whether or not any of these Republican candidates will actually welcome Sarah Palin’s public support is another matter entirely,” says Sharon McHugh, spokeswoman for the bookmaker. “But it will be interesting to see what effect her endorsement might have on their chances of election.”

WEEKEND READING

“Counting the Reasons to Defund: The 20 Most Memorable Leftist Excesses of Public Broadcasting.”

(A special report from the Media Research Center addressing the debate in Congress over $500,000 in funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Find it here: www.mrc.org)

WEEKEND VIEWING

” ‘The Ides of March’ takes place during the frantic last days before a heavily contested Ohio presidential primary, when an up-and-coming campaign press secretary finds himself involved in a political scandal that threatens to upend his candidate’s shot at the presidency.”

(Columbia Pictures’ official description of the George Clooney-Ryan Gosling movie opening nationwide Friday)

GOP VALUES THE VALUES

Less than half of Americans — 48 percent — say the federal government should promote “traditional values,” says a new Gallup Poll, while 46 percent say the feds shouldn’t promote any set of values. Republicans still stick up for the principles, though: 59 percent say the government should support traditional values, though GOP support for the cause has dropped by more than 10 percentage points since 2008, down from 71 percent.

“The recent decrease in Republicans’ support for government’s actively promoting traditional values could be tenuous and subject to reversal, depending on the issues debated in the upcoming presidential campaign,” observes Gallup analyst Lydia Saad.

POLL DU JOUR

• 48 percent of Americans would prefer President Obama in a hypothetical presidential match against Mitt Romney.

• 7 percent of Republicans, 88 percent of Democrats, 60 percent of Hispanics, 38 percent of “whites” and 95 percent of “blacks” support the president.

• 3 percent of conservatives, 96 percent of liberals, 3 percent of tea-party supporters, 42 percent of men and 53 percent of women also prefer Mr. Obama.

• 48 percent of Americans overall would prefer Mr. Romney in a hypothetical presidential match against Mr. Obama.

• 91 percent of Republicans, 10 percent of Democrats, 37 percent of Hispanics, 58 percent of “whites” and 3 percent of “blacks” support Mr. Romney.

• 95 percent of conservatives, 3 percent of liberals, 94 percent of tea partyers, 54 percent of men and 43 percent of women also prefer Mr. Romney.

Source: A Pew Research Center for the People & the Press poll of 2,410 U.S. adults conducted Sept. 22-Oct. 4.

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

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