- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 31, 2012

The tea party understands Wisconsin voters, no matter how many high-powered Democrats show up in the state before the big recall vote on Tuesday. Yes, there will be many spectacles staged to woo that Badger State vote — insta-visits from former President Bill Clinton, Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, Democratic National Committee chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz and — in strategists’ wildest dreams — President Obama himself.

That prospect is unlikely; the president has one public appearance and three fundraisers Friday alone, just 72 hours before the showdown between Gov. Scott Walker and Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett. But about those badgers.

“Going back to territorial days, Wisconsin has had the ferocious badger on the state’s coat of arms. The badger is an appropriate symbol because it is a natural enemy of snakes and rodents. The badgers of Wisconsin are not going to allow any D.C. special interest groups to prey on their great state, disrupting their election cycle and interfering with orderly government,” proclaim outreach organizers from the Tea Party Patriots.

The nation’s largest umbrella group for the movement has sent thousands of volunteers to Wisconsin to knock on doors — 7,000 of them, they say — and make phone calls on behalf of Mr. Walker. Their motto: “Save Wisconsin, save the country.” But they are also privy to some Badger State sentiment.

“The majority of Wisconsin voters who have talked to our volunteers are fed up with the recalls and think that they are a waste of the state’s time and money,” organizers add.

BUMPER PATROL

“I recall voting for Scott Walker. And I will again.”

- New bumper sticker from CafePress.com

POP CULTURE

“After the New York drink ban, smuggling Coke will take on a whole new meaning.”

So says comedian Albert Brooks, on New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s intent to ban super-size, sugar-tinctured sodas in his town by next year, for the sake of weight control among the chubby citizenry.

“If Republican Socialist Bloomberg gets his way, he’ll add the right to commit suicide-by-sugary-soda to the list of precious freedoms he’s stolen from New York City residents,” observes Forbes political writer Peter Cohan, who notes that the mayor was not keen on smoking, trans-fats and alcohol either.

But fried pastries? Not on the list yet, apparently. Mr. Bloomberg has issued an official proclamation recognizing National Donut Day on Friday, an event created 75 years ago by the Salvation Army.

MITT, THE OUTSIDER

Some say that expected Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney should embrace a new role as a Washington “outsider” to counter President Obama’s convenient rehash of spending under the George W. Bush administration.

“Obama wants to cast Romney as a return to Bush. It’s nearly the only argument he knows how to make. Romney, in my opinion, should turn the tables on Obama and make Obama defend his continuation of Bush’s spending binge,” says syndicated columnist and National Review contributor Jonah Goldberg.

“If Romney wanted to be really cruel, he could make the case Obama has continued many of Bush’s counter-terror policies as well. Romney has the luxury of being the outsider. He can criticize both parties’ records over the last decade. The tea parties won’t complain. Neither will independents. And, so long as Romney is respectful in how he frames his criticisms of GOP spending under Bush, most rank and file Republicans and movement conservatives will probably applaud as well,” Mr. Goldberg counsels.

“Meanwhile, watching Obama try to deal with an ‘anti-Bush’ opponent would be hilarious,” he adds.

FOR THE LEXICON

“Hyperadvocacy,” “hyperadvocates.” They’re nouns identifying closely coordinated, Twitter-empowered “propagandists” who send out huge volumes of information via Tweets and re-Tweets in short periods of time, without little original content.

Georgia Tech’s School of Computer Science researchers coined the terms after studying 100,000 old Tweets from the 2010 U.S. Senate race in Nevada and the 2011 debate over raising the U.S. debt ceiling.

“The study provides solid preliminary evidence in social media for the kind of message influencing that has long been known to exist within traditional media,” the researchers point out, labeling Twitter an “extreme democracy,” among other things.

“As people use social media more as a source of information about the world, it’s important to know the provenance of that information — where it’s coming from and whether it can be trusted,” warns Nick Feamster, who directed the research.

“You might think the information you see is coming from lots of different sources, but in fact it can be part of an orchestrated campaign,” he adds.

POLL DU JOUR

• 51 percent of Americans say that from “what they have seen and heard,” gas prices have gone down.

• 59 percent of Republicans, 53 percent of independents and 47 percent of Democrats agree.

• 65 percent of East Coast residents, 51 percent of Midwesterners and 20 percent of West Coast residents agree.

• 56 percent of those with annual incomes of more than $75,000 and 41 percent of those earning less than $30,000 agree.

• 39 percent of Americans overall say that gas prices have gone up.

• 33 percent of Republicans, 38 percent of independents and 42 percent of Democrats agree.

• 26 percent of East Coast residents, 36 percent of Midwesterners and 70 percent of West Coast residents agree.

• 37 percent of those with annual incomes of more than $75,000 and 47 percent of those earning less than $30,000 agree.

Source: A Pew Research Center for the People & the Press/Washington Post survey of 1,012 U.S. adults conducted May 24-27.

Tipline always open at jharper@washingtontimes.com