- The Washington Times - Sunday, July 13, 2014

Inquiring minds wonder if there’s a “G” in the grading repertoire. And that does not stand for “good.” Pollster John Zogby has given President Obama an “F” this week for the White House performance on the global stage, and the researcher has no imminent good news for the president.

“Some people have really bad weeks. Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff got an ‘F’ after the nation’s soccer team lost to Germany. But President Obama’s week was just as bad,” Mr. Zogby says. “Israel and the Palestinians are at war again. The president should have visited the U.S.-Mexican border, where so many immigrant children are in danger and so many American citizens are worried.”

He adds, “It just seems that even those who have been so hopeful [for] this president are finally just giving up. Things just appear to be out of control — at least out of his control. A very bad week. The grade is F.”

CEREMONIES, MEETINGS, ETCETERA

As White House golf monitors eagerly will tell you, Mr. Obama took the weekend off and got in his accustomed round of golf at a championship course in Maryland — the 180th game since he took office, or thereabouts. He’ll also take a most pleasant 15-day vacation to Martha’s Vineyard next month. And this week? Here’s what his schedule looks like, verbatim from the White House press office:

“On Monday, the President will participate in an Ambassador Credentialing Ceremony in the Oval Office. In the evening, the President will host an Iftar dinner celebrating Ramadan at the White House. On Tuesday, the President will deliver remarks on the economy at the Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center in McLean, Virginia. On Wednesday, the President will attend meetings at the White House. On Thursday, the President will travel to the New York City area to attend a Democratic National Committee roundtable. On Friday, the President will attend meetings at the White House.”

And now you know.

PERRY’S ENTITLED TO HIS IRE

Critics squawk much that Texas Gov. Rick Perry is trying to politicize the border crisis only to bolster a potential White House run in 2016. Yes, there could be some of that going on, but Mr. Perry also has a succinct reason for speaking out, loudly and often, about the surge of illegal immigrants, young and old: The Lone Star State has already spent a half-billion dollars on the situation.

“This is a crisis created by failed federal policy and a lack of will to dedicate the resources necessary to secure the border once and for all,” he says. “This has been a problem for a long time. In Texas, we’ve spent more than $500 million since 2005 to supplement border protection, fighting transnational gangs and drug cartels conducting criminal activities in the border region.”

The governor expects more of the same. But he has a clear solution in mind. Mr. Perry wants President Obama to send 1,000 National Guard troops to the Texas-Mexico border to augment the U.S. Border Patrol. He wants the Federal Aviation Administration to allow drone flights in the troubled region to track illegal drug and/or human trafficking. He’s not alone in his concern about the border crisis. Last week Marine Corps Gen. John Kelly, commander of U.S. Southern Command, told Defense One, “Many argue these threats are not existential and do not challenge our national security. I disagree.”

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel sides with the top officer, who is tasked with protecting the southern border of the U.S.

“He absolutely shares that concern,” said Pentagon press secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby.

“Ignoring the core problem will only cause more hardship,” reasons Mr. Perry.

HE SPEAKS VOLUMES

“Any fix for immigration must be bipartisan. Hillary Clinton must contribute all her unsold books to building a wall.” So said HBO host Bill Maher, voicing his solution for shoring up the nation’s southwestern border.

He may have a point. Consider that Mrs. Clinton got a $14 million advance for her memoir “Hard Choices,” published June 10 by Simon & Schuster.

“Current sales figures of 177,234 copies, not including e-books, according to Nielsen BookScan, mean Simon & Schuster is unlikely to recoup Mrs. Clinton’s advance and could fall far short of the 1 million copies shipped to bookstores,” noted a New York Times report published late last week. The organization currently lists Ed Klein’s “Blood Feud” at the top of its best-seller list; the expose claims a vigorous animosity exists between the Clinton and Obama families. Mrs. Clinton’s book, meanwhile, is second on the list. At Amazon, Mr. Klein’s book is No. 5, Mrs. Clinton’s No. 107.

THEY SPEAK VOLUMES

“More voters than ever now say U.S. elections are rigged to favor incumbents and are unfair to voters,” says Scott Rasmussen, reporting that 48 percent of voters look askance at the nation’s political bouts.

Thirty-nine percent think elections are fair; 14 percent are not sure,” Mr. Rasmussen adds. The survey of 1,000 likely voters was conducted July 9-10.

SANDRA, GLORIA, KAREN

Here comes the campaign of one Sandra Fluke, and it is getting louder. Much louder. You remember Ms. Fluke. She is the progressive pro-choice feminist who gained national attention after testifying before Congress two years ago with much input from Rush Limbaugh; she is now running for the state Senate seat in a tony region of California where Democrats outnumber Republicans 2-1.

“My career has always been devoted to the public interest and fighting for social justice. A few years ago, I was unexpectedly thrust into the public eye when I testified before Congress on the importance of comprehensive insurance coverage for reproductive health,” the candidate says in a campaign statement.”

“As the media attention grew, I believed it was my responsibility to use the microphone I was given to advocate for the progressive policies I’ve always fought for: affordable health care, access to a quality education, LGBTQ rights and economic justice,” notes Ms. Fluke, age 33 and an attorney who lives in West Hollywood with her husband and a dog named “Mr. President.

The aforementioned acronym stands for “lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender” and either “queer” or “questioning,” depending on the source. Meanwhile, among dozens of endorsements, Ms. Fluke has already accrued the approval of eight members of the U.S. Congress and 16 state and local officials — along with the Los Angeles Daily News, Emily’s List, Planned Parenthood, NARAL, three labor unions, 20 regional Democratic groups and such feminists as Gloria Steinem and the late Karen DeCrow.

POLL DU JOUR

• 43 percent of Americans currently approve of the job President Obama is doing.

• 72 percent of U.S. Muslims approve of Mr. Obama; 20 percent disapprove.

• 59 percent of “other non-Christians” approve; 34 percent disapprove.

• 55 percent of U.S. Jews approve of Mr. Obama; 41 percent disapprove.

• 54 percent of atheists or those with no religion approve; 38 percent disapprove.

• 44 percent of Catholics approve; 51 percent disapprove.

• 37 percent of Protestants and other Christian faiths approve; 58 percent disapprove.

• 18 percent of Mormons approve of the president; 78 percent disapprove.

Source: A Gallup Daily Tracking poll of 88,801 U.S. adults conducted January through June and released Friday.

Pertinent reminders, shopping lists to jharper@washingtontimes.com.

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