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Inside the Beltway: General quarters

"Too many generals are taking orders from their privates," summarizes Rush Limbaugh regarding the ever-mutating news about former CIA Director David H. Petraeus. Alas, there is collateral damage from all the bombshells, however.

"What is troubling about the investigation that resulted in this information coming to light is that the Obama administration once again exercised a major lack of transparency. Instead of following the laws that requires the reporting of this type of information to appropriate Congressional leadership, it was instead leaked first to the press," says Sen. James M. Inhofe, Oklahoma Republican.

"This is an alarming trend with the Obama administration, as they also failed to notify Congress of critical information regarding the Benghazi attack that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans and failed to notify Congress of the U.S. drone that Iranian forces fired at recently. With the close relationship that President Obama has with Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. and the regular FBI briefings he receives, does anyone really believe that Obama was unaware of this investigation until recently?" the lawmaker asks.

"The sex scandal has been compartmentalized by the media and even used as a distraction to avoid the Obama administration's dreadful handling of the situation in Libya -- from security failures to cover-up," predicts John Nolte, a columnist for Breitbart.com. "Moreover, we're now seeing the narrative move even further away from the White House and Libya, as the scandal is used to tarnish Petraeus' achievements in Iraq — a war the Left will always hate and still hopes we lose — and the military as a whole."

News coverage now includes much cheeky speculation. Gawker.com has confabulated a flow chart to help voyeurs follow the action. The Daily Beast offers a "Cheat Sheet" outlining who's who, naming "the real housewives of the CIA" and suggesting the best fictional candidates to replace Mr. Petraeus.

"Are these women a new kind of over manned drone, or the oldest weapon of all time, the heat seeking female predator?" asks Lucianne Goldberg, founder of the news website bearing her name.

"Now that we've got unfaithful wives and husbands, catfights over straying husbands and explicit emails from a war zone, the doilies in the D.C. media have to cover the far more serious Benghazi scandal involving the rejection of repeated SOS calls and unexplained abandonment of four Americans to die there in September," observes Andrew Malcolm of Investor's Business Daily.

CLIFF NOTES

The majority of Americans — 51 percent — say President Obama and Congress will not reach a deal to avoid the treacherous "fiscal cliff" at year's end. Two-thirds of Republicans and 40 percent of Democrats agree with this. There's not much confidence that both sides will meet in the cozy middle, either. Just 38 percent overall say an agreement will be forged; a quarter of the GOP and 47 percent of Democrats feel the same, all this according to a new Pew Research Center for the People and the Press survey conducted Nov. 8 to 11.

The partisan blame game meanwhile, is in full flower. Fifty-three percent of all Americans fault members of Congress for the gridlock; 12 percent of Republicans and 85 percent of Democrats agree. The White House is not entirely blameless: 29 percent overall blame Mr. Obama, as do 68 percent of the GOPers and 7 percent of Democrats.

TRUE NORTH

Escapists fare. Or maybe not. Oliver North's second military thriller novel, "Heroes Proved," will be published early next week, painting an America in 2032 that is supposedly "safe" from terror and Iranian nukes thanks to United Nations treaties and innovative technology.

"To save money, progressives holding power in our capital have cut the U.S. armed forces to the bone," says publisher Threshold Editions, an imprint of Simon & Schuster.

Suicide bombers change all that, and a U.S. Marine ultimately rights things in the book, which includes the lyrics to "America the Beautiful" in its end pages, incidentally. Mr. North will soon embark on a 33-city book tour.

"He says it's a novel. I say it's a wake-up call, a warning shot cross the bow of complacency," notes Fox News host Sean Hannity.

BUMPER PATROL

"Change you can step in."

(Bumper sticker spotted in Meredith, N.H.)

THE GREAT OUTDOORS

Amazing. Both sides can agree on fishing poles and shotgun shells, at least according to this memo from the Office of Management and Budget:

"The Administration supports S. 3525, the Sportsmen's Act of 2012, which would increase access to public lands for the tens of millions of Americans who participate in hunting, fishing and outdoor recreation and would support the conservation of wildlife and habitat. This legislation, a compilation of bipartisan bills, would promote our recreational hunting, fishing and shooting heritage and would continue a number of key initiatives and public-private partnerships that support conservation of fish and wildlife populations and vital habitat.

"This bill is consistent with the Administration's commitment under the America's Great Outdoors Initiative to provide opportunities for outdoor recreation, restore critical landscapes and support a robust outdoor economy. The Administration looks forward to continuing to work with the Congress and with the American people to advance a community-based conservation agenda."

POLL DU JOUR

• 59 percent of Americans say President Obama's second term will be "good" for lower income Americans.

• 56 percent say his new term will benefit women, 52 percent say it will benefit "the country as a whole."

• 51 percent say the middle class will benefit, 48 percent say they and their family will personally benefit.

• 48 percent say the second term will be good for Medicare and Medicaid.

• 43 percent say the 2010 health care law will benefit.

• 31 percent say "wealthy Americans" will benefit during the second term.

Source: A Kaiser Health Tracking poll of 1,233 U.S. adults conducted Nov. 7 to 10.

Squawks, hoots, hollers to jharper@washingtontimes.com.

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