- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Run for the hills, call off the convention, give up the election. Why, a hurricane could, maybe, possibly, potentially, perhaps hit Tampa, Fla., some time in the next five days. Coverage of what the National Hurricane Center still deems Tropical Storm Isaac has grown into a veritable cyclone, and one spinning with gleeful agendas.

Like climate change alarmists, news organizations ramp up public excitement that a future weather event might mar the Republican National Convention next week. Liberal use of adjectives and clever prose take the place of facts. A little sampling of headlines from the last 24 hours:

“Hurricane Isaac threatens to swamp GOP” (ABC News); “Will Hurricane Isaac crash Republican Party?” (South Florida Sun Sentinel); “Hurricane may be headed for Tampa, and it’s not named Mitt” (Crain’s Chicago Business); “Isaac may cause a bigger problem for RNC than Obama” (New York Daily News).


ABC, CBS and NBC “raced to nationalize” Rep. W. Todd Akin’s remarks about rape and abortion, says a new analysis by the Media Research Center, which found that the networks gave the Missouri Republican’s gaffe four times as much coverage as Vice President Joseph R. Biden’s “overtly racist comments” made during a recent Virginia campaign stop. Broadcasters gave Mr. Akin 89 minutes of airtime in the immediate aftermath, compared to fewer than 20 minutes for Mr. Biden in a comparable amount of time.

“There’s no denying that what Rep. Akin said was completely inappropriate, but for it to receive four times more coverage than the vice president of the United States’ indefensibly racist gaffe is unconscionable,” says Brent Bozell, founder of the media-watchdog group. “Todd Akin is a congressman. Joe Biden is one heartbeat from being the leader of the Free World.”


Some fret that the nation has traded its big-shouldered optimism for the neatly clipped, politically correct version set forth by global-minded apologists with a distaste for American exceptionalism. P.J. O’Rourke, a longtime oracle of cultural criticism, is on the growing list of alarmed observers.

“When did America quit bragging? When did we stop punching hardest, kicking highest, roaring loudest, beating the devil, and leaving everybody else in the dust?” he asks. “We’re the richest country on earth — 41/2 percent of the world’s people producing more than 20 percent of the world’s wealth. But you wouldn’t know from the cheapjack spending squabbles in Congress. We possess more military power than the rest of the planet combined. Though you couldn’t tell by the way we’re treated by everyone from the impotent Kremlin to the raggedy councils of the Taliban. The earth is ours. We have the might and means to achieve the spectacular — and no intention of doing so.”

Mr. O’Rourke blames self-absorbed baby boomers for the “course of willful self-diminishment,” detailed in a World Affairs Journal essay titled “Of Thee I Sigh.”

“America’s retreat from visible, tangible manifestations of superiority doesn’t hurt just our pride, our economy, and our place in the Guinness Book of World Records. It’s also a bad advertising campaign. America has one great product to sell, individual liberty. It’s attractive, useful, healthy, and the fate of the world depends upon it,” he says.

“We are the most important and maybe the only country that fully embodies the sanctity, dignity, independence and responsibility of each and every person. ‘American’ is not a nationality, an ethnicity, or a culture; it’s a fact of human freedom. Our country was not created and is not governed by a ruling class or even by majority rule. America is individuals exercising their right to do what they think is best,” Mr. O’Rourke observes, later adding, “This is not an ideology or a system. This is a blessing. The rest of the world would like to be so blessed.”


So will it be Barack Obameat or Meat Romney? While the nation wanders nervously towards the November election, here’s a distraction for those with a taste for the savory.

Jack Links, which makes beef jerky, paid an artist to create 2-by-3-foot portraits of President Obama and Mitt Romney in, uh, beef jerky. Now the Wisconsin company hopes the carnivorous public will cast their votes for one candidate or the other; an affable beef jerky Sasquatch is also in the running, so be prepared.

“We ask all Americans. Which meathead will you vote for?” proclaims spokesman Jeff LeFever, who notes that artist Jason Mecier spent 100 hours creating the portraits using 100 bags of jerky in five flavors.

But wait; there’s money involved. One lucky voter will receive a $5,000 “Snack Stimulus” prize package. Consult www.jacklinks.com/meatheads or Facebook.com/JackLink’sBeefJerky for more information.


They’re staying right on message. The official overall theme of the Republican National Convention is “A Better Future.” But there are three more daily themes that have been revealed like clockwork this week by Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus. The first was “We Can Do Better.” The second “We Built It.” Now Mr. Priebus has revealed a third motto for the big doings in Tampa: “We Can Change It.”

It’s intended to remind Americans that “we don’t have to settle for four more years of high unemployment, low pay and deep debt,” the chairman says, adding that Mitt Romney’s plan to strengthen the middle class is “optimistic and achievable.”


• 43 percent of registered U.S. voters have a favorable opinion of Vice President Joseph R. Biden.

• 15 percent of Republicans, 13 percent of conservative Republicans, 79 percent of Democrats and 80 percent of liberal Democrats agree.

• 36 percent of independents, 43 percent of men and 44 percent of women also agree.

• 41 percent of registered voters overall have a favorable opinion of Rep. Paul Ryan.

• 80 percent of Republicans, 88 percent of conservative Republicans, 11 percent of Democrats and 4 percent of liberal Democrats agree.

• 43 percent of independents, 46 percent of men and 36 percent of women also agree.

Source: An ABC News/Washington Post poll of 1,020 U.S. adults conducted Aug. 15-19.

Salient points, churlish remarks, mottos to jharper@washingtontimes.com.

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