- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 22, 2012

DEFENDING SARAH

For better or worse, here comes “Game Change”, the big-budget HBO film dramatizing the 2008 presidential election, most notably with Julianne Moore cast in the role of Sarah Palin. Up-dos and red power suits are in ample supply in the production which airs March 10, now being promoted heavily in such swank publications as Vanity Fair. HBO insists it has produced a “balanced portrayal” of the former Alaska governor.

Another filmmaker, however, smells a partisan rat. Stephen K. Bannon — writer and director of “The Undefeated”, a two-hour documentary of Mrs. Palin’s political career — says HBO scheduled the film to air close to the Super Tuesday primaries just to undermine her public image.

“When they made this film, they thought Sarah Palin was going to be in the race,” Mr. Bannon told the Los Angeles Times, adding there was a conspiracy afoot to “destroy” any of her political prospects.

He is striking back. Mr. Bannon managed to secure an airing of his documentary on the independent Reelz Network, to appear March 11, meant for those who want to see a more straightforward treatment of events which includes interviews with Andrew Breitbart and Mark Levin, among many others. Mr. Bannon calls the network’s support “courageous.”

The Bannon film is a “big story,” says Stan E. Hubbard, CEO of the upstart network. “Sarah Palin is a charismatic figure who burst onto the political scene, and whatever your leanings, if you have any interest or curiosity in politics, social change or the Sarah Palin phenomenon, this is a must-see movie.”

ROMNEY REINVENTED

“This is an election not only to replace a President. It is an election to save the soul of America.”

(Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney’s newest campaign slogan.)

THE SANTORUMOBILE

It’s still campaign bus season. Witness the big blue “Rick Bus,” bound for Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, Battle Creek and a dozen other Michigan cities in the name of “life, marriage and religious liberty.” On Thursday, the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List fires up a six-day grass-roots bus tour across the Wolverine State to support Republican presidential hopeful Rick Santorum.

The bus will roll over crucial territory at a critical time. The Michigan primary is Tuesday. Mr. Santorum has lost some momentum in the state to rival Mitt Romney, who has bombarded the state with $4 million in aggressive campaign ads in recent days, yielding him an uptick in favorability polls.

The bus is meant to counter it all at a down home level; stops include eateries, inns and parks. Among those along for the ride: former Colorado congresswoman turned organizer Marilyn Musgrave; Maggie Gallagher, director of the Culture War Victory Fund and co-founder of the National Organization for Marriage; Brian Burch, founder of Catholic Vote; Gary Bauer, president of Campaign for Working Families; and Colin Hanna, founder of Let Freedom Ring.

“Among the field of strong pro-life candidates in the GOP primary, Rick Santorum stands out as a proven leader,” observes Mrs. Musgrave.

WHERE’S BUDDY?

He’s not out yet. That would be presidential aspirant Buddy Roemer, who will formally announce he’s weary of the Republican Party on Thursday, and is ready for Part Deux.

“I will formally end my bid for the GOP nomination for President of the United States,” the former Louisiana governor says on his website, explaining that he’ll shift his candidacy to the Reform Party, founded by H. Ross Perot in the 1990s, and to the forward-thinking Americans Elect 2012, a nonpartisan group that organizes online presidential nominations.

Americans Elect’s advisory board includes the likes of former New Jersey governor Christine Todd Whitman, former George W. Bush advisor Mark McKinnon, and former FBI and CIA director William H. Webster.

“After many discussions with the Reform Party, I am excited to announce my intentions of seeking their nomination. It is time to heal our nation and build a coalition of Americans who are fed up with the status quo and the partisan gridlock that infects Washington,” Mr. Roemer adds.

SPACE MOMENT

In September, researcher/gadfly Stephen Bassett submitted “Disclosure Petition I” to the White House’s online “We the People” project, demanding that the U.S. government “formally acknowledge an extraterrestrial presence engaging the human race” and if there were any conspiracies afoot to hide evidence from the public. Mr. Bassett’s petition drew enough signatures to warrant a White House response. In short, their answer was “no” to alien life and “no” to conspiracy.

Mr. Bassett plans to try again Thursday when he submits “Disclosure Petition II — The Rockefeller Initiative” challenging the response, with some mysterious political underpinnings.

“Should this petition acquire 25,000 signatures within 30 days, the White House will be forced to defend its position, and very powerful people in the Obama administration and the Democratic Party are going to be extremely uncomfortable,” Mr. Bassett predicts.

See his new demands, and the 66 other entries at the White House public-petition program, on WhiteHouse.gov.

POLL DU JOUR

• 50 percent of Republican voters would vote for Rick Santorum in a Santorum-Mitt Romney matchup in a primary election.

• 57 percent of conservatives, 63 percent of evangelicals and 66 percent of tea partyers agree.

• 37 percent of Republicans overall would vote for Mr. Romney.

• 33 percent of conservatives, 26 percent of evangelicals and 26 percent of tea partyers agree.

• 47 percent of U.S. voters overall say they would vote for President Obama in a presidential election match with Mr. Santorum.

• 44 percent say they would vote for Mr. Santorum.

• 46 percent overall say they would vote for Mr. Obama in a presidential match with Mr. Romney.

• 44 percent say they would vote for Mr. Romney.

Source: A Quinnipiac University survey of 2,605 registered U.S. voters conducted Feb. 14 to 20; the sample included 789 Republican voters.

Disclosures, discoveries, disinterest, dismay to jharper@washingtontimes.com.