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Inside the Beltway: The evolving president

- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 19, 2013

One gauge of a president's favorability is the assorted descriptors the public volunteers to a pollster about the leader of the Free World. The Pew Research Center has tracked the assorted description of President Obama over the years, and has this to say:

"The survey finds that the one-word impressions people have of Obama have changed a great deal throughout his presidency. Terms like incompetent and liar now are among the most frequently used words to describe Obama. In April 2009, when his job approval was at 63%, these words were rare," Pew says.

"Some positive descriptions — such as good and honest — continue to be used often to characterize impressions of Obama. And the word socialist is used about as often today as it was in Obama's first year in office."

SEN. OBAMA, PART 2

One unexpected byproduct has emerged from first lady Michelle Obama's visit to Ireland earlier this week. Some members of the Irish press are convinced she should run for public office.

"She lacks political experience. But so did another first lady before she went on to become a U.S. senator for New York," says Bette Brown, a writer for the Irish Independent, who claims an unnamed source confirmed that yes, Mrs. Obama is only "waiting for the right time" to pursue a high profile perch.

"Hillary Clinton has already blazed the trail for Mrs. Obama, and what Mrs. Clinton did in New York in 2000, Mrs. Obama could do in Illinois in 2016," Ms. Brown says.

DON'T SEND HILLARY A BILL

"Hillary has to dump Bill now," proclaims Bloomberg News columnist Margaret Carlson, who feels that if Hillary Rodham Clinton is seriously intent on revamping her image for a White House run, then she must rein in her husband, or put her campaign at risk should the former president get "carried away" with his own glittering spot on the political landscape.

"Clearly, before returning to prime time, Hillary Clinton needs not only to manage expectations but also to show she can manage her husband, a manipulation that makes dealing with Vladimir Putin look easy by comparison. On balance, Bill Clinton has been very good for Hillary. Sexist though it may be to say, he did bring her to the party. She might have become governor of Arkansas and president in a fairer world, but fair politics is not," Ms. Carlson says.

DROPPING THE CREATOR

The 103-year-old Girl Guides — Britain's equivalent of the Girl Scouts — has dropped the promise to "love my God" in its official oath. The young ladies will now vow to "be true to myself and develop my beliefs." The overhaul followed the arrival of the group's new chief executive, Julie Bentley, the former head of the Family Planning Association who once described the Guides as "the ultimate feminist organization," according to The Telegraph.

"Where will it end? Demoting God in public life ignores a huge part of Britain's heritage: from the Coronation Oath through marriage vows, from schools and hospitals to orphanages and low-income housing, the Christian God has inspired much that is good about this country," observes Cristina Odone, a columnist for the British news organization.

For the record, the current U.S. Girl Scout oath is as follows: "On my honor, I will try to serve God and my country, to help people at all times, and to live by the Girl Scout law."

GLENN BECK'S EXPANDING KINGDOM

Independent media maven Glenn Beck is flexing his muscles. Mercury Radio Arts — parent company of TheBlaze, Mr. Beck's news, opinion and entertainment network — has purchased the sizable Texas studio it has been renting since last year. The 72,000-square-foot Studios at Las Colinas in Irving is the proverbial big deal, containing three soundstages that once served as backdrop for such films as "RoboCop" and the TV series "Walker, Texas Ranger." These days, Mr. Beck's hybrid news organization produces 43 hours of original live programming a week, with more planned.

"We are building a world-class facility," he says, "so that American stories can be told to viewers across the country."

DROPPING THE 'DEMOCRAT'

"In an age which is, perhaps, more shaped and informed by political identity than any other in our history, having a word in our banner that is so associated with a political party is no longer a very astute business decision."

And so says an editorial in the newly minted Fauquier Times, explaining why management opted to drop "Democrat" from its name. The Virginia newspaper had been either the Fauquier Democrat or the Fauquier Times-Democrat for the past 108 years. The last presidential candidate the publication endorsed was, incidentally, Sen. John McCain.

"We ran the idea of amending the name past two focus groups of engaged Fauquier residents two weeks ago, about 20 of the county's leading lights whom we asked to meet with us to help with the paper's redesign, a project that encompasses both content and aesthetics. They were of one mind — that the effect of the name change, if it has an effect at all, will be positive," the newspaper noted.

POLL DU JOUR

61 percent of U.S. voters say they are pet owners, as are 65 percent of Republicans and 63 percent of Democrats.

52 percent of voters overall prefer dogs; 61 percent of Republicans and 47 percent of Democrats agree.

37 percent overall say a dog would make a better "president of the U.S." than a cat; 46 percent of Republicans and 29 percent of Democrats agree.

21 percent overall prefer cats; 20 percent of Republicans and 26 percent of Democrats agree.

19 percent say a cat would be a better president; 15 percent of Republicans and 26 percent of Democrats agree.

18 percent overall say the Loch Ness monster is real; 18 percent of Republicans and 27 percent of Democrats agree.

Source: A Public Policy Polling survey of 603 registered U.S. voters conducted June 11-13.

Squawks, growls, fancy press releases to jharper@washingtontimes.com.

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