- The Washington Times - Monday, March 19, 2012

Political handicappers want to know: Did Sen. Marco Rubio bump the publication of “An American Son” up from October to June 19 because he’s actually the vice presidential nominee? A noble, classy memoir from a major publisher would be strategic and timely for Mr. Rubio, not to mention the Republican Party and its big, fat convention in late August. There is another possibility. The Florida Republican may be rushing to print in hopes of vanquishing “The Rise of Marco Rubio,” a book by Manuel Roig-Franzia, a political culture writer in The Washington Post’s Style section, due on bookshelves July 3.

Mr. Roig-Franzia’s take on the young Cuban-American lawmaker is billed by publisher Simon and Schuster as an American odyssey, the definitive biography of “the ‘crown prince’ of the tea party movement and ‘the Michael Jordan of Republican politics.” — not to mention the fact that Mr. Rubio is a “policy wonk married to a former Dolphins cheerleader.”

In his memoir, Mr. Rubio himself emphasizes that “conservatism is not about leaving people behind, conservatism is about allowing people to catch up,” and “the American Dream is still alive for those who pursue it,” says Sentinel Books, a publishing imprint of Penguin Group.

As a boy, Mr. Rubio says, his grandfather was a constant companion who “loved America for being a beacon of liberty to oppressed people around the world,” noting, “My grandfather didn’t know America was exceptional because he read about it in a book. He lived it and saw it with his own eyes.”

DAYS OF YORE

Political theater is a very old tradition in our great nation, mudslinging among politicians a historic art. Inside the Beltway will hereby offer occasional examples of such fare during the election season, for perspective and context, and just for the heck of it. To begin:

“He is vain, irritable and a bad calculator of the motives which govern man.” (Thomas Jefferson on John Adams, 1787).

ANOTHER TUESDAY

Another Tuesday, another primary, and the din of several hundred political analysts all reporting on the same poll. Such is life for the quartet of Republican presidential hopefuls, only one of which will actually be in the state of Illinois. Mitt Romney hosts his election night party in Schaumburg. Rick Santorum, meanwhile, stages his revels in Gettysburg, as in Pennsylvania. Newt Gingrich makes a single appearance at Strawn’s Eat Shop Too in Shreveport, La., where the specialty is “fresh ice-box strawberry pie.”

And Rep. Ron Paul? He’ll stage a $350-a plate luncheon at the Burbank, Calif., airport, followed by an appearance on NBC’s “Tonight Show” with Jay Leno.

NEW COMMANDER

“Our duty is to pick up his torch and forge ahead.”

That’s the mission, according to Stephen Bannon, on his appointment as executive chairman of the Breitbart News Network LLC, following the death of founder Andrew Breitbart on March 1. Mr. Bannon’s credentials: writer and filmmaker of the Sarah Palin documentary “The Undefeated,” former U.S. Navy officer, investment banker, master’s degrees from both Georgetown University and the Harvard Business School.

WAITING BY THE PHONE

“You’re only willing to defend certain women. You’re only willing to take a moral stand when you know your liberal supporters will stand behind you. But what if you did something radical and wildly unpopular with your base and took a stand against the denigration of all women, even if they’re just single moms? Even if they’re Republicans?” writes Bristol Palin in an open letter to President Obama, which asks when he’ll reach out to comfort her, as he did when Georgetown University law student Sandra Fluke was called a vulgar name by Rush Limbaugh.

“Mr. President, when should I expect the call?” asked Miss Palin, who racked up several insults over the years from HBO host Bill Maher, a million-dollar donor to the Obama re-election campaign.

“I’m not expecting your super PAC to return the money. You´re going to need every dime to hang on to your presidency. I’m not even really expecting a call. But would it be too much to expect a little consistency? After all, you’re president of all Americans, not just the liberals,” she adds.

“Interesting that the Dems thought they had a big winner on this whole ‘war against women’ thing, but it’s the people on the right who are gleefully keeping it alive now,” observes “Instapundit” and Pajamas Media contributor Glenn Reynolds.

GOWN ACTIVISM

When graduates at Michigan Technological University step forward to receive their diplomas next month, they’ll wear caps and gowns made of Repreve, a yarn made from recycled plastic water bottles. The campus is pleased: It takes 27 plastic water bottles to make the yarn for one gown, and with a thousand grads, some 27,000 empty bottles “will be put to use instead of into the landfill,” the university says.

“It’s part of our strategic plan to enhance our commitment to sustainability, so this is a great demonstration of our efforts,” says Beth Pollins, assistant to the vice president of student affairs at the campus.

Caps and gown cost $32 each. After commencement, organizers have advised grads to just go ahead and recycle their wardrobe.

POLL DU JOUR

• 79 percent of Americans favor requiring better fuel efficiency for vehicles; 67 percent of Republicans and 88 percent of Democrats agree.

• 69 percent overall favor more federal funding for research on wind, solar and hydrogen energy; 52 percent of Republicans and 81 percent of Democrats agree.

• 65 percent overall favor allowing more oil and gas drilling in U.S. waters; 89 percent of Republicans and 50 percent of Democrats agree.

• 46 percent overall favor giving tax cuts to energy companies for oil and gas exploration; 61 percent of Republicans and 38 percent of Democrats agree.

• 44 percent overall favor increased use of nuclear power; 54 percent of Republicans and 37 percent of Democrats agree.

Source: A Pew Research Center for the People & the Press survey of 1,503 U.S. adults conducted March 7-11

Mysteries, histories, hysteria to jharper@washingtontimes.com