- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Excuses, excuses: Consider those voters who shirk their civic duty and bypass the poll booth on Election Day because, oh, the dog got loose or they had to rearrange their sock drawer. Or maybe it was raining. Well. Voila. Here comes serious research from the Weather Channel revealing that lousy weather could impact turnout for a “substantial” number of voters, with the most dithering among undecided voters.

“In a year where the candidates’ polling numbers are so close, every vote will count, and ultimately weather could be a big factor in determining our next president,” says Paul Walsh, vice president for weather analytics.

Among undecideds, 35 percent say inclement weather would sway their ability and/or intent to get to the polls. There’s also a partisan divide. Among likely voters, 27 percent of Democrats and 28 percent of those who plan to vote for President Obama say unfriendly skies could keep them home, compared to 20 percent of Republicans and 19 percent of Mitt Romney fans.

“Ultimately, these findings can help candidates plan their advertising campaigns for those final days building up to Election Day and know where they need to focus their efforts in the event of inclement weather,” observes Mr. Walsh, adding that the network will follow the weather closely in battleground states.

“NEVER SEEN IT THIS BAD”

“This election year, so much of the broadcast networks, their cable counterparts, and the major establishment print media are out of control with a deliberate and unmistakable leftist agenda. To put it bluntly: you are rigging this election and taking sides in order to pre-determine the outcome.”

And so reads a fierce letter of protest sent Tuesday to ABC, CBS, NBC and CNN, and signed by radio hosts Rush Limbaugh, Laura Ingraham and Mark Levin; American Conservative Union President Al Cardenas, FreedomWorks President Matt Kibbe, publisher Al Regnery, Tea Party Express Chairman Amy Kremer, Tea Party Patriots co-founder Jenny Beth Martin and a dozen other conservative leaders who urge their respective memberships to seek alternative sources for election news.

“We have covered seven presidential elections including this one. We have never seen it this bad,” says Media Research Center founder Brent Bozell, who organized the effort, and documents ongoing liberal bias in the press. See letter and signers here: mrc.org.

FOREIGN OBJECT

Should Mitt Romney worry about his political prowess in the foreign policy arena? No, says Justin Logan, director of foreign policy studies at the Cato Institute, who cautions Mr. Romney to stop “wasting time trying to move the needle on foreign policy,” despite advice from neoconservatives who say overseas issues could give the candidate a bump in the polls.

“The facts are not on their side,” Mr. Logan writes. “In every poll asking for voters’ top priority, foreign policy/war/terrorism comes in under five percent. However much GOP foreign policy people don’t like it, this election will turn on the economy.

“Second, voters prefer Obama to Romney by 15 points on foreign policy generally, and by 11 percent Obama specifically on foreign policy in the Middle East. Even after the Obama administration’s poor handling of the violence in Egypt and Libya, voters preferred Obama’s response over the Romney camp’s demagoguery by a margin of 45 to 26.”

BACHMANN’S GRIT

A year ago, Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota was a presidential contender. Now she says she’s in “the most heated race” of her career to defend her House seat against Jim Graves. The millionaire Democrat is a titan of the hospitality field, a founder of the AmericInn chain, and chief executive of a luxury hotel and restaurant development group. He’s hospitable to voters are well.

“I’m running for you,” Mr. Graves recently told local fans. “I’m not running against Michele Bachmann. I’ve started 120 businesses. And business is about people. Knowing what people want. Knowing what people need.”

Mrs. Bachmann, however, is running against him. And she is ready to rumble.

“All of our conservative values and beliefs are on the line. It is ‘now or never’ time,” the lawmaker says in a voter message that refers to Mr. Graves as a “hyperliberal union-backed opponent.” She’s also braced for inevitable slander from “the national Democrat attack machine.”

Mrs. Bachmann is not blinking, however. “The liberals working to defeat me have seen the work I have accomplished in Washington, and are shaking in their boots,” she adds.

MUSCLE FOREVER

Those who worry that the Toyota Prius could take over the nation’s highways, relax. American interest in classic muscle cars is alive and well.

“We’re seeing a general rise in auction and listing prices of classic muscle cars as market interest in these models picks up. Rare older models, in original or properly restored condition, are increasing in value even as the general economy continues to struggle.” says Karl Brauer, editor in chief of Total Car Score, a research group that rates autos old and new.

What are we talking about here? The most valuable is the 1969 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, now worth $425,000. In second place, the 1971 Plymouth Hemi ‘Cuda ($425,000) followed by 1969 Dodge Hemi Charger Daytona ($400,000), 1969 Ford Boss 429 Mustang ($220,000), 1968 Ford Mustang GT500KR ($130,000), 1970 Pontiac GTO Judge Ram Air IV ($80,000), 1970 Chevrolet Chevelle SS 454 LS6 ($75,000), 1970 Buick GSX Stage 1 ($75,0009), 1973 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am SD455 ($75,000), and in 10th place, 1970 Oldsmobile 442 W-30, now worth $35,000.

POLL DU JOUR

• 84 percent of U.S. small business owners and manufacturers say Congress should be held responsible for the impact of federal regulatory actions.

• 67 percent say there is “too much economic uncertainty” for their company to expand, grow or hire new workers.

• 65 percent say new federal regulations have increased in recent years.

• 63 percent perceive that President Obama shows a lack of understanding of how business is created.

• 55 percent would not start a business today, given the current economic climate.

• 50 percent consider themselves Republican, 33 percent Democrat, 16 percent independent.

Source: A National Federation of Independent Businesses/ National Association of Manufacturers survey of 800 small business owners and manufacturers conducted Aug.13 to Sept. 4 and released Tuesday.

Weather predictions, business forecasts to jharper@washingtontimes.com.