- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 3, 2012

ELECTION DREAD

The arrival of Election Year 2012 has triggered a Pavlovian response of drooling and whining among journalists. Faced with another 10 months of shrill news coverage and campaign bombardment, voters are just whining. And maybe wincing, too. The Republican hopefuls, meanwhile, have girded their loins, bravely tweeted and forgotten all about Iowa. It’s on to New Hampshire for Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich and Jon Huntsman Jr., while South Carolina beckons Rick Santorum and quite possibly, Texas Gov. Rick Perry. Prognosticators predict he’s not done yet.

Unpredictable drama continues. Mr. Huntsman continues on his “restoring trust” tour. Rep. Michele Bachmann has abandoned her quest to be “America’s Iron Lady” and retreated, while Mr. Santorum covets the titles “consistent conservative” and “momentum candidate” alone or in tandem. Mr. Perry, meanwhile, prefers to be known as the “fighting conservative,” and has kept up with his down-home style, with a potential campaign through the Palmetto State.

How down home? Mr. Perry’s campaign stops in the next 48 hours include appearances at the Gun Rack in Aiken, the Lizard Thicket in Lexington, Fat Jack’s Grillin’ and Chillin’ in Waterboro, Duke’s BBQ in Orangeburg and the Squat and Gobble in Bluffton.

OBAMA FUTURAMA

As the great GOP caucus squawk continues, the Republican National Committee predicts that Team Obama will attempt to ignore President Obama’s record and offer alternative justifications for his re-election. Meanwhile, the president will continue to offer “trademark empty rhetoric,” claim that things were worse than he thought and blame failures on somebody — or something — else. Like Europe.

“Each of these acts of political desperation translates simply to, ‘We failed,’” says the committee, which is still offering 18 free “Obama resolutions” e-cards for those who want to amuse fellow GOPers with helpful suggestions for the White House new year. See them at www.obamaresolutions.com.

91 PERCENTERS

A review of Planned Parenthood Federation of America’s new annual report by the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List finds that the organization topped $1 billion in total net assets. Almost half of its annual revenue -$487,400,000 — comes from taxpayers in the form of government grants, contracts and Medicaid reimbursements.

In 2010, abortion procedures made up 91 percent of Planned Parenthood services, while prenatal services and adoption referrals accounted for only 8.6 percent and 0.2 percent, respectively. Planned Parenthood reports to have served 3 million people and performed 329,445 abortions, according to the review.

“It is time for Planned Parenthood to end its reliance on taxpayer dollars. Despite an unprecedented effort by statewide and federal leaders to defund them, a wave of former employees willing to testify against them, and uniform agreement among Republican presidential candidates that they should be defunded, Planned Parenthood continues full-steam ahead,” observes Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List.

“They are unwilling to answer to the pro-life American majority that wants out of this business.”

THE ROMNEY EXPRESS

Can Mitt Romney take granite for granted? He drew 43 percent of the support among likely New Hampshire Republican primary voters, “easily outdistancing his nearest rivals,” says a Suffolk University survey of 250 Granite State voters conducted Sunday and Monday.

Rep. Ron Paul garnered 16 percent, Jon Huntsman Jr. (10 percent) and Newt Gingrich (9 percent). Meanwhile, Rick Santorum (5 percent) moved ahead of Michele Bachmann and Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who had 2 percent each. Thirteen percent of the voters remain undecided.

NPR REPUBLICANS?

Polls consistently claim that 40 percent of American voters are independents. They are fickle, surly and powerful — but difficult to woo.

“In the eyes of independent voters, our politicians are fiddling while Rome burns,” says Linda Killian, a scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center and author of “The Swing Vote: The Untapped Power of Independents,” to be published by St. Martin’s Press on Jan. 17.

The author has identified several new breeds of independent, unaffiliated and swing voters who are particularly common to such key states as Virginia, New Hampshire, Ohio, Florida, Pennsylvania and Colorado. Among new voting populations:

“NPR Republicans” (socially moderate and fiscally conservative), “America First Democrats” (working-class Midwesterners with traditional values), “Facebook Generation” voters (under 35, reluctant to join anything not organized online) and finally, “Starbucks Moms and Dads,” the “real power voters,” Miss Killian says. Curious? They are socially moderate, equally split between Democrats and Republicans and preoccupied with education and national security.

POLL DU JOUR

• 21 million: Number of Hispanics eligible to vote in the next presidential election.

• 68 percent would vote for President Obama in a face-off with Mitt Romney; 23 percent favor Mr. Romney.

• 67 percent are Democrats, 20 percent are Republicans and 9 percent are undecided.

• 59 percent disapprove of Mr. Obama’s deportation policy; 41 percent say it is more severe than former President George W. Bush’s deportation policy.

• 56 percent “have not given much thought” to the presidential candidates yet.

• 53 percent overall “have never heard of” Sen. Marco Rubio, Florida Republican.

• 31 percent give Mr. Rubio a favorable rating, 15 percent an unfavorable rating.

• 45 percent say Democrats “have more concern” for Hispanics than Republicans; 12 percent cite Republicans.

Source: A Pew Hispanic Center survey of 1,220 Hispanic adults in the U.S. conducted Nov. 9 to Dec. 7 and released Dec. 28.

Whining, polite applause to jharper@washingtontimes.com.

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