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Inside the Beltway: O’Bama on Irish-Americans

- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 28, 2013

"They endured prejudice and stinging ridicule. But through it all, these new citizens never gave up on one of our oldest ideas: that anyone from anywhere can write the next great chapter in the American story. So they raised families and built communities, earned a living and sent their kids to school. In time, what it meant to be Irish helped define what it means to be American."

(From President Obama's official proclamation recognizing March as Irish-American Heritage Month)

SEQUENTIAL SEQUESTER

So far, the White House has turned the sequester into a dramatic tableau for the Democratic cause, and with shameless zeal. Passing in review like scenes from a play: the relentless blame game with Republicans as the culprits, followed by President Obama's scare tactics with Republicans as culprits. The script evolved into a call for party loyalists to share their personal sequester horror stories, despite the fact that the sequester had not descended yet. And now, as a finale for this cliffhanger, a public petition orchestrated by Organizing for America, the aggressive grass-roots movement that grew out of Mr. Obama's 2012 campaign. It, too, is on message.

"Congressional Republicans are refusing to compromise -- all because they don't want to close tax loopholes for millionaires, billionaires, vacation homes, and corporate jets. Seriously. This has very real consequences," says Chairman Jim Messina in a public outreach for the effort.

"On the chopping block are 10,000 teaching jobs, more than 70,000 kids' spots in Head Start, $35 million for local fire departments, $43 million to make sure seniors don't go hungry, and access to nutrition assistance for 600,000 women and their families. That's just a few of the things we'll lose," he predicts.

BASHING BENEDICT

Bad pope jokes, and scandal. Even as the frail former pontiff exited the world stage, the "big three" broadcast networks went overboard with tacky coverage and liberal agendas, at Pope Benedict XVI's expense. And someone has counted the incidents, one by one. Since the pope's resignation announcement, ABC, NBC and CBS characterized the Catholic Church as "troubled" 122 times or involved in "scandal" 87 times, says a study from the Media Research Center.

Coverage also pushed for the church to be more liberal, calling for the church to "modernize" 32 times, to change its stance on women seven times and on gays 13 times, the study found. Then there was the funny stuff.

"The resignation of the leader of 1.2 billion Catholics is the time for making jokes. The networks ran jokes from late night shows about the Pope seven times and even brought on comedian George Lopez to give his sacrilegious perspective," the study said.

"The networks reminded people of faith that so-called journalists will use any chance to undermine conservative beliefs in family, marriage and life," observes Dan Gainor, vice president of business and culture for the research group.

THE ESCARGOT FACTOR

In a week of great partisan strife, there is one thing Republicans and Democrats agree on. They won't eat snails. This revelation comes from Public Policy Polling, a serious pollster that normally dwells on political races down to the very last crosstab. The group recently polled 500 registered voters on their taste in foods of all persuasion, to discover that the parties disagreed on much, from fast food to beer.

The shelled tidbit, though, brought them together: 7 out of 10 members of both parties said they would not eat snails. Similar numbers of Republicans and Democrats won't eat caviar, either. Sushi presented a partisan difference. Two-thirds of Republicans would refuse it, compared to 48 percent of Democrats.

"Most voters say they would not be willing to eat sushi," the poll analysis says, noting that 57 percent overall would also refuse it.

ANCHORS AWAY

The U.S. Navy christens the behemoth 785-foot Mobile Landing Platform Montford Point on Saturday during a 10 a.m. PST ceremony in San Diego; Marine Corps Commandant Maj. Gen. James F. Amos delivers the address. The versatile, first-of-its kind ship is named for 20,000 black Marine Corps recruits who trained at the Montford Point, N.C., facility from 1942 to 1949. Their exceptional service prompted President Truman to sign an executive order in 1948 disallowing segregation in the Marine Corps. See the ceremony online here: livestream.com/usnavy; don't forget it's on Pacific time.

WEEKEND VIEWING

Beginning Sunday at 9 p.m. on the History Channel, it's "The Bible," an ambitious, 10-hour, five-part epic devoted to remarkable accounts from the Old and New Testaments, lovingly produced by Roma Downey and husband Mark Burnett, who created the reality show "Survivor."

The show includes an international cast and computer-generated effects that show Jesus walking on water, but from an underwater vantage point. The miniseries concludes on Easter Sunday.

"Because of Hollywood's reputation as a liberal hotbed antagonistic toward traditional values, the promise of approaching religion with reverence -- and greater scope than that offered by often more narrowly focused Christian films -- potentially has a sizable built-in audience," predicts Variety film critic Brian Lowry.

POLL DU JOUR

• 62 percent of U.S. adults say it's important that the U.S. be "number one in the world militarily"; 80 percent of Republicans and 48 percent of Democrats agree.

• 37 percent of Americans overall say it's not important that the U.S. lead the nations in military power; 19 percent of Republican and 51 percent of Democrats agree.

• 53 percent overall say that the U.S. is the world's leading military power; 53 percent of Republicans and 55 percent of Democrats agree.

• 46 percent overall say the U.S. is "only one of several leading powers"; 46 percent of Republicans and 42 percent of Democrats agree.

Source: A Gallup poll of 1,015 U.S. adults conducted Feb. 7 to 10 and released Thursday.

• Tip line always open at jharper@washingtontimes.com.

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