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Inside the Beltway: Culture warrior Christie

- The Washington Times - Sunday, December 9, 2012

Viewer interest will likely intensify now that Sen. Joe Manchin III asked MTV to cancel "Buckwild," a new reality TV show that the West Virginia Democrat says promotes unsavory, inaccurate stereotypes about the Mountain State. He's also troubled that MTV will profit from the provocative backwoods shenanigans. Mr. Manchin may want to borrow a page from the playbook of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who has confronted MTV for similar reasons.

The network claims such programming is authentic, with "region-specific appeal." The template has already proved successful, more versions are likely to follow, and officials should be ready to defend their turf against cultural confabulations from MTV, or any other network.

Mr. Christie has created a template of his own, meanwhile. Two years ago, he blasted MTV's "Jersey Shore" after learning that only a single cast member of the wildly popular show was actually from the Garden State. But Mr. Christie did more than just complain. He also took away "Jersey Shore" tax credits.

"In this difficult fiscal climate, the taxpayers of New Jersey should not be forced to subsidize such programs as 'Jersey Shore,' We must ensure that our limited taxpayer dollars are spent on programs and projects that best benefit the state of New Jersey," Mr. Christie wrote in a 2011 letter to the New Jersey Economic Development Authority.

"I have no interest in policing the content of such projects, However, as chief executive I am duty-bound to ensure that taxpayers are not footing a $420,000 bill for a project which does nothing more than perpetuate misconceptions about the state and its citizens," the governor concluded.

FOUNDING FATHERS FUNDRAISER

Yes, why not do it in the name of the Founding Fathers? President Obama's inauguration committee will offer a quartet of big donor fundraising packages themed after the most historic American figures of all. Now available for generous individuals and institutions, it's the Washington premium partner access, which requires at least $250,000 from the sole donor or $1 million from a corporation. The Adams requires $150,000 or $500,000, respectively; the Jefferson $75,000 or $250,000 and the Madison $10,000 or $100,000.

News of this phenomenon was first shared with the New York Times, incidentally, by an "Obama fundraiser," the paper says.

ALLEN WEST: ONE LAST MESSAGE

"I find it interesting when media pundits and talking heads ask the disturbing question, 'What will America do if Bashar al-Assad uses chemical weapons on his people?' I would have hoped it would never get to the point of his feeling empowered to use those weapons. It just seems we continue to take a defensive posture reacting to events. If we had done as military generals on the ground had suggested in Iraq and retained a viable and credible military presence in the region, we could have precluded this. Instead, we now have Iran transiting across Iraq to support Assad, and continuing to support terrorist organizations such as Hezbollah, Hamas, and Islamic Jihad," says Rep. Allen B. West.

"The Obama administration was in such a rush to demand former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak step down. Why not the same vigor when it comes to Mohammed Morsi? I also recall the Obama administration supporting a Marxist/Socialist president in Honduras and not supporting the movement in Iran against Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Confusing? Just imagine what our allies are thinking," the Florida Republican continues.

"This is my final weekly update from our congressional office, but it is by no means my final weekly update. When one door closes, another opens and we shall continue to advocate for truth, the restoration of this Republic, and promote constitutional conservative principles in the New Year. It has been my honor to serve as the representative of the people of Florida's 22nd Congressional District. The fight for our Constitutional Republic has truly begun and I will be on the frontline," Mr. West vows.

AMERICAN ENTREPRENEURS

No wonder there is so much discussion about the distinguishing characteristics of the American entrepreneurial spirit.

"Despite experiencing more stress and worry than other workers, entrepreneurs are still more optimistic about their future. This elevated optimism, combined with communities that foster an entrepreneurial culture, may lead entrepreneurs to take business risks, create jobs, launch new products, and innovate," says a Gallup poll released Friday.

The differences are not large, but they register: 34 percent of entrepreneurs "worry," compared with 30 percent of other workers. But 71 percent of the entrepreneurs said they "learned to do something interesting yesterday," compared with 66 percent of the rest of the working population. Asked if they expected to be "at the top rung of the ladder in five years," 30 percent of the entrepreneurs agreed, compared with 25 percent of the rest.

"The same intellectual curiosity and energy needed to start and run a business may also drive entrepreneurs to seek out and take advantage of opportunities to learn or do something interesting or exciting on a regular basis," Gallup says. "Entrepreneurs also have creative and strategic control of their business and manage their own schedule to execute on their business plan. Thus, they may have more flexibility to pursue interesting and exciting learning opportunities and activities than other workers."

POLL DU JOUR

• 59 percent of Americans say it's likely they'll decrease their spending in restaurants in the next six months.

• 55 percent say it's likely they'll reduce spending on entertainment.

• 50 percent say it's likely they'll save or invest more money.

• 30 percent say it's likely they'll have more money to spend the "way they want."

• 29 percent are planning a vacation away from home for at least one week.

• 24 percent will buy a new computer, 16 percent will move to a new residence.

• 8 percent will purchase a house or condo, 1 percent will start a new business, 5 percent will buy a boat or recreational vehicle.

Source: A Harris Poll of 2,383 U.S. adults conducted Nov. 14 to 19 and released Friday.

Incredulity, annoyance, happy chatter to jharper@washingtontimes.com

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