Inside the Beltway: Kristin vs. Eliot

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New York City politics are baroque and entertaining, and offer evidence that voters are either very forgiving or have short memories. Step right up and witness disgraced former Congressman Anthony D. Weiner running for mayor, now joined by disgraced former governor and MSNBC host Eliot Spitzer, who pines to be city comptroller. Both men have taken vigorous steps to redeem themselves through political theater and bold talking points. Both have stalwart spouses.

Now along comes Kristin Davis, the platinum blond ex-madam and former gubernatorial and mayoral hopeful who once supplied escort girls to Mr. Spitzer, and served time for it. She’s also running for comptroller, and declared her candidacy on June 10, she says.

Oh, the irony.

Eliot Spitzer broke state and federal laws in his use of prostitutes and paid no penalty; I broke the law and paid my debt to society. There cannot be two standards of justice, one for the average citizen and another for the political and social elite” Miss Davis says.

She is a self-described small-government libertarian who proposes solving the city’s $2.2 billion deficit by legalizing and then taxing marijuana, and describes herself “as a former Wall Street hedge fund vice president who once ran the largest escort service in the country.” She also won the endorsement of local libertarians in her 2012 quest for mayor.

Qualifications, please?

“I have more financial management experience than either Eliot Spitzer or Scott Stringer,” she insists. Mr. Stringer is Manhattan Borough president and also in the race. “They are both career politicians looking to use the office of comptroller as a steppingstone to higher office.”

She is not keen on Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s “nanny state” government, she says, and oppose the New York City Police Department’s “stop and frisk” policy meant to reduce the number of illegal firearms in the city. But there’s work ahead. Miss Davis must file at least 3,750 signatures to qualify for the ballot. She’s ready to rumble.

“I look forward to the debates where I have many questions for Eliot Spitzer,” she says.

PERRY‘S 5,144 DAYS

He’s a wily showman. Texas Gov. Rick Perry announced Monday he would not seek re-election, but left both press and public with a Lone Star-sized cliffhanger. Though he was surrounded by his wife and daughters, who wore campaign-appropriate red and white dresses, Mr. Perry did not reveal whether he planned a repeat run for the White House. Statisticians already have tabulated his spot in the political pantheon, however.

“He now lays claim to one of the longest gubernatorial tenures in the history of the country,” says Eric Ostermeier, director of the University of Minnesota’s Smart Politics blog.

“The governor will end up in the No. 10 slot for all time, presuming he completes his term as expected on January 20th, 2015. At that point, Perry will have tallied 5,144 days in office. Fourteen years, one month,” Mr. Ostermeier notes.

Iowa Gov. Terry Brandstad currently leads the tenure list with 6,754 days, or well over 18 years in office. Mr. Ostermeier advises that only “post-U.S. Constitutional gubernatorial tenures” were studied for the report.

Meanwhile, a recent Public Policy Polling survey of Texas voters finds evidence of Perry fatigue: If the presidential election were held today, 27 percent would vote for Sen. Ted Cruz while only 7 percent would opt for Mr. Perry at this point. Mr. Cruz is most chivalrous and canny, meanwhile.

“Many thanks to Gov. Perry for your leadership and for helping make Texas the envy of the nation,” the senator tweeted following Mr. Perry’s non-announcement.

THE ‘BALKANIZATION’ OF NEWS

A new Gallup poll “documents the balkanization of news, primarily based on politics,” and some very distinct preferences.

“Underscoring the different partisan preferences of those who rely on Fox News vs. CNN for their news, the demographic and political profile of Americans who name each as their top news source are highly distinct. For example, nearly two-thirds of Fox News-oriented news consumers are 50 and older, compared with barely a third of CNN-oriented news consumers: 66 percent versus 35 percent. Relatedly, 69 percent of the Fox News group is married, versus 37 percent of the CNN group,” says analyst Lydia Saad.

“Additionally, core CNN viewers are more likely than core Fox News viewers to be male, while core Fox News viewers are much more likely than core CNN viewers to be white, Protestant, attend church weekly and to earn $75,000 or more per year,” she continues.

The demographic profile of Americans who name Fox News as their main news source is similar to the profile of Republicans, and for good reason. Two-thirds of core Fox News viewers identify themselves as Republican, and 94 percent either identify as or lean Republican. By contrast, 46 percent of core CNN viewers identify as Democrat, and 63 percent identify as or lean Democratic.

Ms. Saad adds, “Seventy-nine percent of the Fox News group describes their political views as conservative, 17 percent as moderate, and 2 percent as liberal. Among the CNN group, 21 percent are conservative, 51 percent are moderate, and 26 percent are liberal. Just 2 percent of the Fox News group, compared with 57 percent of the CNN group, approves of the job President Obama is doing.”

More numbers in today’s Poll du Jour.

OBAMA’S SUMMER SCHOOL

A handy-dandy overview of President Obama’s status comes from veteran pollster John Zogby, who gives Mr. Obama a grade somewhere between C-minus and D-plus. Jobless claims are down, there is some economic recovery, plus “talk of Obama scandals has subsided and given way to headlines about weather and mayhem in Egypt,” Mr. Zogby observes.

“Which brings us to the thumbs down side: Could the U.S. really have been blindsided by events in Egypt? The U.S. has the most sophisticated intelligence-gathering capacity of any nation in the world but it could not see a revolutionary moment ready to break in a big nation that is of huge strategic importance?” the pollster asks.

“Summer school recommended,” Mr. Zogby advises.

THE FIRST LADY’S MENU

Kale, broccoli, chicken and apple salad; sweet potato turkey sliders; vegan powerhouse pesto pasta; spinach frittata; zucchini pancakes with passion fruit banana smoothie; sushi salad.

No cheeseburgers, no fries. These are among the 54 winning recipes submitted by young chefs to first lady Michelle Obama’s “Healthy Lunchtime Challenge” contest. But they are what they eat: the young cooks will be at the White House on Tuesday for the second annual Kids State Dinner, which will feature a selection of the recipes.

POLL DU JOUR

• 26 percent of Americans say they get their news from television; 63 percent of Republicans and 54 percent of Democrats agree.

• 18 percent overall get their news online; 20 percent of Republicans and 18 percent of Democrats agree.

• 9 percent overall get their news from newspapers; 7 percent of Republicans and 12 percent of Democrats agree.

• 8 percent overall get their news from Fox News; 20 percent of Republicans and 1 percent of Democrats agree.

• 7 percent overall get their news from CNN; 4 percent of Republicans and 10 percent of Democrats agree.

• 4 percent overall get their news from radio; 6 percent of Republicans and 4 percent of Democrats agree.

Source: A Gallup poll of 2,048 U.S. adults conducted June 20 to 24 and released Monday.

Rants and reasonable assumptions to jharper@washingtontimes.com.

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