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Inside the Beltway: Dawdling Democrats

- The Washington Times - Sunday, February 17, 2013

A recent Bloomberg Government study reveals that Democratic congressional districts will be harder hit than Republican districts with the March 1 sequester. It stands to reason that conscientious Democrats might be leaping for compromise. Or maybe not.

"The Republican-led House has already voted twice to replace the president's sequester with targeted spending cuts based on real budget priorities," pointed out Rep. Martha Roby, Alabama Republican, in the weekly GOP address.

"Unfortunately, the Democratic-run Senate never acted on either bill. And, as the clock is ticking towards his devastating sequester, President Obama has failed to put forward a plan to prevent it. Why? Because President Obama and Senate Democrats see his sequester as an opportunity to push through another tax increase. If you're feeling a sense of deja vu, you're not alone. After all, the ink has barely dried on the tax hikes the president pushed through in January," the lawmaker continues.

"No one in Washington should be talking about raising your taxes when the federal government is still spending billions of dollars on things like giving people free cellphones. And it is a shame that our commander in chief is using the military he leads as leverage in an ideological crusade for higher taxes. These games have got to stop."

WASHINGTON SLEPT HERE

Oddly enough, four properties are for sale this week that George Washington either slept in or frequented. Listed among the condos and celebrity mansions, according to Toptenrealestatedeals.com:

Fairfield Manor: seven-bedroom, 8,400-square-foot stone home in Berryville, Va., built in 1768 for Warner Washington, a cousin. Price: $2.8 million, reduced from $3.9 million.

Spring Garden Tavern: Four-bedroom, 4,296-square-foot brick residence in Alexandria; Washington was once a patron, including his last Fourth of July in 1798. Price: $4.2 million.

Green House: Eight-bedroom, 5,400-square foot house built in 1786 in West Sayille, N.Y.; local historians confirm the local Green family hosted Washington in 1790. Price: $1.2 million.

Fowler Homestead: Five-bedroom, 5,500-square-foot home built in 1740 in Brewster, N.Y.; Washington stayed here frequently during the Revolutionary War, and also conducted a court-martial here in 1780. Price: $475,000.

IT'S ALL IN THE PITCH

If he wants to ban or tax plastic bags and sugar-charged sodas, New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg needs to switch his role from nanny to marketer. The public often frowns on meddlesome legislation fraught with agenda and/or political correctness. But couch those proposals in something helpful, and public attitude shifts:

"When voters statewide are initially asked their opinion of the idea of taxing the sale of sugar-sweetened beverages, more are opposed (53 percent) than in favor (40 percent)," says a new Field Poll of California voters released Friday. "However, support increases dramatically (68 percent in favor vs. 29 percent opposed) if proceeds from the tax are used to improve school nutrition and physical activity programs."

PRESIDENTS OF YORE

So President Obama goes to Florida for celebrity golf and such on Presidents Day. Well, OK. It's a federal holiday. But styles change. Witness an allegory of life as it once was in the nation's capital, from the White House Cookbook, written in 1887 by then-White House steward Hugo Zeimann and one Mrs. F.L. Gillette. Here is their suggested dinner menu for the grand occasion of George Washington's birthday 126 years ago:

"Oysters on the half shell, mock turtle soup, baked white fish and bechamel sauce, boiled turkey and oyster sauce, boiled sweet potatoes, steamed potatoes, stewed tomatoes, scalloped onions, salmi of game, olives, chicken salad, George Washington pie, Bavarian cream, variegated fruit jelly, marble cake, candied fruits, raisins, nuts, and coffee."

"Salmi," by the way, is thinly sliced meat reheated in brandied sauce. "George Washington pie," the authors explain, is similar to Boston cream pie, but embellished with raspberries.

FIRST AMENDMENT MOMENT

"I think it's my right, by the way, if I firmly believe that Osama bin Laden was killed by aliens, to depict that. And I should be able to put on there, 'This is 100 percent true and anyone who doubts it is themselves abducted by aliens' without a Senate investigation into where I got that notion. Right? In this country, isn't that legit?" And so says Mark Boal, screenwriter for "Zero Dark Thirty," to The Wall Street Journal.

It's his response, by the way, to recent criticism from Sens. Dianne Feinstein, California Democrat, and John McCain, Arizona Republican, who called the film "grossly inaccurate and misleading," and have suggested distributor Sony add a disclaimer that the movie contains "fictional narrative."

POLL DU JOUR

• 88 percent of likely Republican voters in New Hampshire are undecided on whom to vote for in the 2016 presidential election; 6 percent have made up their minds, 6 percent are "leaning toward someone."

• 82 percent of likely Democratic voters in New Hampshire are undecided who to vote for in 2016; 8 percent have made up their minds, 10 percent are "leaning toward someone."

• 63 percent of Democrats would vote for Hillary Rodham Clinton is the election were today; 10 percent would vote for Vice President Joseph R. Biden, 5 percent for New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, 2 percent for Newark, N.J., Mayor Cory Booker and 1 percent each for former Sen. Evan Bayh of Indiana, former Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer and Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper.

• 14 percent of Republican voters would vote for New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie if the election were today; 12 percent would vote for Sen. Marco Rubio, 11 percent for Rep. Paul Ryan, 8 percent for Sen. Rand Paul, 8 percent for Jon Huntsman Jr., 5 percent for Jeb Bush, 3 percent for Rick Santorum, 2 percent each for Govs. Bobby Jindal and Scott Walker, and 1 percent for Sen. Ted Cruz.

A University of New Hampshire survey of 414 likely New Hampshire voters conducted Jan. 30 to Feb. 5 and released Thursday; respondents chose the candidates from a supplied list.

• Happy Presidents Day from Inside the Beltway.

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