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Inside the Beltway: The RG3 playbook

Question of the Day

Should Congress make English the official language of the U.S.?

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It was inevitable that a heroic quarterback in the nation's capital gets politicized: some now say President Obama could take a few political pointers from Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III. "While Obama prefers to preen as the man alone in the arena — keeping other pols at a distance on stage, parsimoniously handing out thanks and failing to mention his party or top surrogate Bill Clinton in his last victory speech — RGIII never passes up a chance to share credit," says New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd.

The observation could send a little unsettling jolt through conservatives who sense something familiar here. Hmm. Why yes.

"There is no limit to what a man can do or where he can go if he doesn't mind who gets the credit," President Ronald Reagan said almost a quarter of century ago.

"While Obama — who has had a failure to communicate — finds media a bother, Griffin has an easy charm with the press. He never shows aggrievement," Ms. Dowd continues. "While Obama gets tangled up in his head — trying to decide if he's too noble to play politics or if spending some evenings schmoozing with pols and flattering them to further his agenda will leave him too depleted — RGIII keeps the joy, intensity and bonhomie in his game."

TITLE FIGHT

Twitter is always percolating. At the moment, waggish White House critics are tweeting possible new titles for President Obama's next book, organized under the hashtag #Obama'sNextBook and rated by Twitchy.com, a conservative news curator of such things. Among the top-10 scores and scores of those titles: "How the West was Lost," "Uh," "The Audacity of Broke," "Green Eggs and Spam," and "Nightmares of Our Forefathers."

THE SO-SO LIFE

It could be worse, it could be better. Americans' satisfaction has "stabilized," with 31 percent saying they are satisfied with the way things are going in the U.S., a phenomenon that has lingered since September, according to a new Gallup poll. Nine-out-of-10 Republicans, however, are still in upheaval. The partisan divide is pronounced: 51 percent of Democrats are satisfied and 46 percent dissatisfied — compared to the Republican Party, where a mere 9 percent are satisfied and 91 percent are dissatisfied.

"Americans have been decidedly pessimistic about national conditions for several years, predating the economic downturn. Since May 2007, the percentage satisfied with the direction of the country has reached 30 percent or better in only seven months — for four months early in President Obama's first year in office from May through early August 2009, and in each of the last three months, from September through November," says Gallup analyst Jeffrey Jones.

HO HO HO

"Warning: driver carries less than $20 in ammunition," "I carry a pistol because my rifle won't fit in my purse," "There wouldn't be a First Amendment without a Second Amendment," "Gun Control is a tight 5-shot group."

- (Among the suggested "Smokin' Second Amendment" gift bumper stickers from the Patriot Post online store, found at www.patriotpostshop.com)

WITHDRAWAL SYNDROME

The White House may weigh in all those petitions filed from citizens in 18 states declaring their desire to withdraw from the union — filed right in the "We the People" section of the White House website earlier this month. The version from the state of Texas already has drawn more than 116,000 signatures, well beyond the 25,000 signatures required for a petition to garner an official response from the White House, or an appropriate administration official.

But wait. A counter petition has also been created, this one declaring "We petition the Obama administration to deport everyone that signed a petition to withdraw their state from the United States Of America." The petition has until Dec. 12 to secure the 25,000 signatures needed to secure an official White House response. As of Sunday, there were 25,312 signatures. Which would, in theory anyway, put it on the action list; currently, 82 petitions have drawn a response. But there's no guarantee.

"In a few rare cases (such as specific procurement, law enforcement, or ad judicatory matters), the White House response might not address the facts of a particular matter to avoid exercising improper influence," the White House advises.

PHONE LOVE

"Cell users now treat their gadget as a body appendage," says Lee Rainie, director of the Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project, which reveals that 85 percent of American adults now own a cellphone.

Talking may be an afterthought: 85 percent take photos with their phones, 80 percent text message, 56 percent go online, 50 percent email, 44 percent record video, 43 percent download apps, 31 percent seek health information and 29 percent make bank transactions.

The researchers surveyed more than 4,800 U.S. adults, and released their findings Sunday (http://pewinternet.org).

GOING AFTER GROVER

"The only good thing about Grover Norquist is he's named after a character from 'Sesame Street'," says ABC political analyst Matthew Dowd, summing up his opinion of the president of Americans for Tax Reform, a taxpayer advocacy group Mr. Norquist founded in 1985 at "President Reagan's request," the organization says.

POLL DU JOUR

• 99 percent of U.S. high school students say it's important to have good moral character.

• 93 percent are satisfied with their own ethics and character.

• 91 percent say "doing the right thing" is more important than being rich.

• 85 percent say "most adults" in their life consistently set a good example of ethics and character.

• 76 percent say living up to the standards of their religion is important; 71 percent say it's important to be wealthy.

• 56 percent say it's important to be popular; 39 percent say it's important to be famous.

Source: A survey of 23,000 high school students conducted by the Josephson Institute of Ethics throughout 2012; the biennial report was released Nov. 20.

•  Crabby outbursts, tolerant nods to jharper@washingtontimes.com

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