- The Washington Times - Sunday, April 6, 2014

Is the nation now witnessing dignity of office, a sense of decorum and gravitas? No. America is now on “the road to stinkburger” says online news maven Lucianne Goldberg, who refers to the increasing tendency of the White House to lower the quality of the public discourse.

To be specific, President Obama recently called the GOP budget proposal a “stinkburger” — much to the merriment of his college-aged audience. But there’s a price for such things.

“Presidents are most effective when they lead, not when they join the chorus of the ragtag pack,” notes Washington Post columnist Ed Rogers.

This is true, though presidents of yore took poetic license with their rivals according to historical records. Theodore Roosevelt once noted that William Taft was “a fathead with the brains of a guinea pig” while Herbert Hoover declared Franklin D. Roosevelt to be “a chameleon on plaid.” But wait. There’s official chafing over another popular, populist practice.

“Maybe this will be the end of all selfies,” White House special adviser Dan Pfeiffer proclaimed to CBS News on Sunday, addressing Mr. Obama’s recent selfie with Boston Red Sox star David Ortiz. The cheerful moment later was used by Samsung for publicity, the image retweeted by the company 5.2 million times to the distress of White House media handlers. White House lawyers, however, had a little word with the electronics giant.

Why, there hasn’t been this much fuss since the Weatherproof Garment Co. put Mr. Obama on a billboard over Times Square four years ago. Think of it. The manufacturer came across an Associated Press photo of the president, who happened to be wearing a Weatherproof windbreaker. The licensing fee for the image was paid, up went the billboard and “The Obama Jacket” was born. Yes, well. That didn’t last long.

“This ad is clearly misleading because the company suggests the approval or endorsement of the president or the White House that it does not have,” a White House aide said at the time.

The fate of the presidential selfie, meanwhile, is likely more secure, though Mr. Obama previously was criticized for orchestrating a quickie portrait with Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt and British Prime Minister David Cameron during a memorial service for Nelson Mandela. The Pope is still taking selfies, though. So are the British Royals.

“Let’s not get too selfie-righteous,” suggests Boston Herald sports columnist Chris Villani.


Disagreements between grass-roots tea partyers and “establishment” Republicans continues to draw an intense audience. And here comes the analysis. “Ranking the RINOs: Who does the tea party hate most?” asks new research by the Center for Responsive Politics, which ranks the vilified by the numbers, tracking how much tea party groups have spent in their battle against “Republicans in name only.”

Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky is in first place. “Conservative outside groups” spent $788,101 opposing him, and another $586,151 in support of his primary opponent Matt Bevin. Sen. Thad Cochran of Mississippi ranks a close second, “Conservative groups have spent $334,808 opposing Cochran and $780,539 in support of his tea party challenger, state Sen. Chris McDaniel,” the analysis says.

Rep. Walter B. Jones Jr. of North Carolina is in third place; the Ending Spending Fund and the Emergency Committee for Israel spent $348,000 opposing him. House Speaker John Boehner follows on the list. The TeaParty.net Leadership Fund spent $238,799 opposing the Ohio lawmaker and $33,558 boosting his the appeal of his grass-roots opponent, J.D. Winteregg.

And in fifth place, it’s Rep. Mike Simpson of Ohio. The Club for Growth Action and FreedomWorks spent $206,634 to defeat him and $36,869 in support of challenger Bryan Smith the watchdog says.

“The rankings will change as primary dates inch ever closer. Our tallies do not include the ‘issue’ ads favored by Americans for Prosperity and other organizations so far this cycle,” says analyst Emily Kopp. “Those are often aimed to influence elections, but do not specifically endorse or attack a candidate and thus needn’t be reported until the election is closer.”

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