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Inside the Beltway: Bipartisan gangland

- The Washington Times - Monday, May 14, 2012

The ever-fierce Jesse Ventura says it doesn't matter who wins the presidential election any more because the office has devolved into a kind of bipartisan gangland. To make his point, the former Minnesota governor and wrestling god has written a new book titled "DemoCRIPS and ReBLOODlicans: No More Gangs in Government," claiming the two major parties have been overcome by corporations, lobbyists and super PACs that manipulate elections and silence the American voter.

"The welfare of the American people is the third priority to any president. First there's the promises to the corporations which paid millions of dollars to fund his campaign, next his allegiance to his political party, [and] third on the list is what would be best for the nation," Mr. Ventura says.

He's vexed by all sorts of things: wealthy lawmakers, insider trading, the foundering post office, rigged voting machines, the press — don't get him started. Mr. Ventura has also plumbed the most historical documents for his book, due out June 11 from Skyhorse Publishing. Among others, he cites George Washington, who in 1796 described political parties as "potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people and to usurp for themselves the reins of government."

The author now calls for the abolition of the party system, adding, "It is my hope that this book is a step toward winning back our country. I can't be an advocate for third party politics anymore because parties don't run on ideas, they run on funding from sources interested in only amassing more power."

WOOING THE PAULITES

The 32 distinct coalitions that supported Rep. Ron Paul for president have not abandoned their plain-spoken hero, though he's relaxing his campaign until the Republican National Convention in August. Among those coalitions: veterans, gun owners, pro-lifers, farmers, homeschoolers, Protestants, Latter Day Saints, evangelicals, ranchers, truckers — who dutifully followed their designations with "for Ron Paul." They're still out there, and Libertarian presidential hopeful Gary Johnson knows it, and plans to court them.

"As much as the business-as-usual political elite would like to do so, you cant put a lid on the enthusiasm and commitment Ron Paul and his supporters bring to the process," Mr. Johnson observes.

LET THEM EAT TOFU

Uh-h-h, no burgers at Five Guys, please. And none of that cheese, either.

"I'm writing to encourage you to set the right tone for the G8 summit by directing that only foods that do not contribute to the problems of world hunger and global climate change — vegan meals — be served. ... Any discussion of world hunger, the environment, or food security must include taking a long, hard look at the problems inherent in the meat, dairy, and egg industries."

So writes People for Ethical Treatment of Animals President Ingrid Newkirk in a letter to President Obama, suggesting a major menu reinvention for a summit at Camp David this weekend. It takes up to 16 pounds of grain to produce just a pound of "animal flesh" and more fossil fuel to produce meat than plant-based foods, she says.

But look out. The organization is going beyond girls in bikinis made of romaine lettuce to make its point. It has submitted a Freedom of Information Act request to the White House asking for the release of all records about food to be served at the G-8 summit.

THAT'S SHOW BIZ

There was talk that President Obama originally intended to announce his support of same-sex marriage during an appearance on ABC's "The View." Instead, he converted the moment into a major news event on the network that garnered deafening buzz and repeat broadcasts.

The feminine hosts of the daytime talk show still get their presidential visit Tuesday, and once again the network is issuing teases and snippets beforehand, despite that fact that the president "did not appear to make any major news," according to a report filed by White House pool reporter David Nakamura of The Washington Post, who accompanied Mr. Obama to the taping Monday afternoon.

Oh well. This is Mr. Obama's fourth appearance on the show.

PRE-EMPTIVE STRIKE

"Big government wastes taxpayer dollars. A prime example of this is the General Services Administration's Las Vegas conference. Another example is the Secure Border Initiative Network where the Department of Homeland Security spent nearly 1 billion taxpayer dollars with little return on investment. Equally important is how our government employees conduct themselves," says Rep. Michael T. McCaul, chairman of the House Homeland Security subcommittee on oversight, investigations and management.

The Texas Republican plans a hearing Thursday to examine ethical standards within Customs and Border Protection, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and the Transportation Security Administration.

"Though there are stacks of government manuals, training materials and yearly briefings about ethics, lapses continue. They not only waste taxpayer dollars, they are a threat to the security of our nation," Mr. McCaul says.

POLL DU JOUR

• 52 percent of Americans say President Obama's support for gay marriage has had no effect on their opinion of him.

• 38 percent of Republicans, 52 percent of Democrats and 60 percent of independents agree.

• 25 percent say the president's support of gay marriage has made them react "less favorably" to him.

• 53 percent of Republicans, 13 percent of Democrats and 19 percent of independents agree.

• 19 percent say Mr. Obama's support made them feel "more favorably" towards him.

• 7 percent of Republicans, 32 percent of Democrats and 19 percent of independents agree.

Source: A Pew Research Center for the People & the Press survey of 1,003 U.S. adults conducted May 10 to 13.

Stern admonitions, hue and cry to jharper@washingtontimes.com.

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