- The Washington Times - Sunday, August 17, 2014

It’s not just political factors that suggest Democrats will not do well in the midterm elections, now 11 weeks away. Public dissatisfaction is also coming into play. A new Gallup poll finds that 76 percent of Americans are dissatisfied with the current state of affairs in the nation. A mere 22 percent are satisfied — which is exactly what the level was in 2010, the year of another midterm election when Democrats lost 63 seats in the U.S. House alone.

“Americans’ level of satisfaction with the way things are going in the country has historically been related to midterm election outcomes. Generally speaking, the lower the level of satisfaction, the more seats the president’s party loses in the House of Representatives,” says Gallup analyst Jeffrey M. Jones.

“With Americans mostly dissatisfied with the state of the country and most disapproving of the job President Obama is doing, the Democratic Party is going into the fall midterm in a very unfavorable political environment. Given that the president’s party almost always loses seats in Congress, the real uncertainty in the 2014 elections is not whether Democrats will lose seats in the House, but how many they will lose,” Mr. Jones observes.


The Perry press is upon us. It is helpful to keep in mind that Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s indictment is made up of two distinct components. One is legal, the other is political. The legal side is ongoing and subject to both the law and the methodical constraints of the legal process. But the political dynamics? They’re noisy, with more to come. A brief review of headlines from the past 24 hours:

“Even liberals think the indictment of Rick Perry looks weak” (Business Insider), “The strange case against Rick Perry” (The New Yorker), “Rick Perry’s redemption tour hits a big obstacle” (Washington Post), “Rick Perry’s ill-timed bombshell: Why Chris Christie’s having a good laugh” (Salon), “The (maybe) trial of Rick Perry” (Politico), “For Rick Perry it’s not the crime, it’s the politics” (Washington Post), “Rick Perry defiant in face of criminal charges” (Time), “I’m no Rick Perry fan but the indictment doesn’t identify a law he violated. Looks like politics not felony” (tweeted from Mia Farrow and later deleted).

SEE ALSO: Hillary Clinton alienates liberals with harsh critique of Obama foreign policy

There are also numerous insta-guides to Mr. Perry’s circumstances, and he’s getting advice, too. Dallas Morning News columnist Wayne Slater advises the governor to “frame the case as politics,” have a consistent statement always at the ready, move quickly to trial, reassure political donors and, yes, “smile for the mugshot,” if there is one. Treat it like a campaign brochure, Mr. Slater advises, and with good reason. Such an image will go viral.

“Perry is expected to be booked soon, and if there’s a mug shot, it’ll move faster online than a squirrel riding water skis,” he notes.


The backstage demands of superstars have provoked intense media coverage ever since one group of young rock legends demanded that no brown M&Ms were allowed in their dressing room. That was in 1982. Over two decades later, investigations continue; the press has revealed which performers must have rose-scented candles, who demands an arrangement of freesia blooms, who needs a humidifier and Vicks VapoRub, and who must have macaroni and cheese and red Twizzlers backstage.

Demands are different in the political world. While the public understands stringent needs for proper security, demands that appear finicky or haughty can be a political liability for candidates out to woo the voters with populist appeal. Investigations into such things are also underway. And for the 2016 presidential crowd, it starts with Hillary Rodham Clinton, who demands the “presidential suite” in her hotels, this according to a very tidy exploration by Las Vegas Review-Journal reporter Laura Myers. Political figures appear to be more into power symbols and control than personal quirks or eccentricities.

“She usually requires those who pay her six-figure fees for speeches to also provide a private jet for transportation — only a $39 million, 16-passenger Gulfstream G450 or larger will do,” says Ms. Myers, who pored over public records of Mrs. Clinton’s contracts for several recent or upcoming Vegas events.

One contract required that Mrs. Clinton be the “only person on the stage during her remarks,” she would remain at the event no longer than 90 minutes and pose for no more than 50 photos with no more than 100 people. Press coverage, video or audio taping plus broadcast and billboard advertising were banned, with only a stenographer-generated transcript made as a record.

“The size of Hillary Clinton’s fee has come under fire from critics who question the large expense in an era when students are hard-pressed to cover tuition and leave school saddled with massive debt. But Clinton’s $225,000 is something of a cut-rate,” Ms. Myers reports. “Documents obtained by the newspaper show that she initially asked for $300,000 and reveal that she insists on controlling every detail of the private event, large and small, to ensure that she will be the center of attention.”


“Bill” in this case has nothing to do with a former president. The Daily Mail proposes that Hillary Rodham Clinton’s memoir “Hard Choices” be renamed “Expensive Choices.” The British news organization went through some recent State Department purchase orders to discover that the federal agency was “curiously” billed for expenses from the European leg of Mrs. Clinton’s book tour in late July. To the tune of $55,000, says David Martosko, U.S. political editor.

And just a few details: $3,668 for a single night’s stay at the Four Seasons George V Hotel in Paris, $5,100 for Mercedes limousines during a single day in Berlin, and $35,183 for lodging elsewhere, this given to “miscellaneous foreign awardees,” according to the documents.


Over half of all Americans — 56 percent — have been subjected to public catcalls. Yes, both men and women have heard the old “hey baby” stuff. Interestingly enough, the exact same numbers say they also delivered their share of cat calls, with more women admitting it than men, 59 percent to 54 percent, respectively. This comes from a new YouGov poll released Friday.

Yes, it’s bad: About three-fourths of the nation say it’s “never appropriate” to holler out such comments, while over half say it’s harassment. “Should the police give tickets or even arrest people who make catcalls?” the poll asked. Almost two-thirds said no, a sentiment shared by 75 percent of Republicans, 64 percent of Democrats and 61 percent of independents.

“Commentators and feminists have been paying growing attention to catcalling, arguing that it represents an unacceptable assertion of power by men in public over the bodies of women. Others, however, argue that it’s just a bit of fun,” observes Peter Moore, a YouGov analyst.


48 percent of Americans say people should adopt issues and causes if they want to, but not feel “obligated to do so;” 51 percent of Republicans, 41 percent of Democrats and 53 percent of independents agree.

25 percent overall say people have a “personal responsibility” to make the world better through a cause; 22 percent of Republicans, 28 percent of Democrats and 27 percent of independents agree.

17 percent overall say people should become involved because “it is the right thing to do;” 19 percent of Republicans, 20 percent of Democrats and 15 percent of independents agree.

6 percent overall are unsure about the matter; 6 percent of Republicans, 5 percent of Democrats and 3 percent of independents agree.

4 percent overall say people should only look out for their own interests; 2 percent of Republicans, 6 percent of Democrats and 2 percent of independents agree.

Source: A Harris Poll of 2,306 U.S. adults conducted July 16-21 and released Thursday.

Indignant squawks, melodious little tunes to jharper@washingtontimes.com.

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