- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Although House Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer will not be among them, 58 Democratic lawmakers — and likely more — plan to boycott incoming President Donald Trump’s inauguration on Friday, right along with Secretary of State John F. Kerry. The practice is also much in fashion among celebrities like Jane Fonda, who will host a telethon to raise money for Planned Parenthood on the big day. What’s driving it all?

“They claim it is because Donald Trump is a racist, sexist, etcetera, etcetera — anathema to everything an inclusive America should be, and therefore unfit for the office. Not only that, Vladimir Putin put him there. But that’s the surface of what’s really upsetting them, what the shrinks call the presenting complaint. Deep down it’s something else, something far more potent. They’re afraid Donald Trump might actually succeed,” speculates Roger L. Simon, founder of PJ Media.

Meanwhile, Vice President-elect Mike Pence has a simple thought for those sitting out the historic event, and on the motivation of Mr. Trump himself:

“He is determined to be president of all of the people of the United States, to promote the kind of policy that will advance the safety and security, the prosperity and the opportunity for every American,” Mr. Pence told Fox News. “While we respect the opinions of every American and their right to express their opinions, I hope those folks will turn an attentive ear to the president-elect’s words in that inaugural address and give us a chance.”

Mr. Trump, incidentally, will hit the ground running on Friday. He will issue his own executive orders when he enters the White House on Friday — “probably in the area of four to five,” according to incoming White House press secretary Sean Spicer.

WEALTHY, WHITE, MALE, CHRISTIAN, CONSERVATIVE

“The public has starkly different expectations about which groups in society will gain influence — and those that will lose influence” with the incoming Trump administration, says an extensive new Pew Research Center poll. “Wealthy people” topped the list of those who will benefit, cited by 63 percent of the respondents. “Conservative Christians” were in second place, cited by 52 percent, followed by “whites” (51 percent) and “men” (51 percent). Gays and lesbians, Hispanics, blacks, women, children and even “older people” were at the bottom of the roster.

Perceptions differ, however. Among Republicans, 81 percent said the military would benefit in the Trump administration, followed by business “corps” (70 percent), conservative Christians (52 percent), typical Americans (45 percent), “poor people” (43 percent) and wealthy people (43 percent.)

Among Democrats, 83 percent said wealthy people would be the prime beneficiaries, followed by business (80 percent), men (65 percent), whites (64 percent) and “D.C. lobbyists” (50 percent).

RICKETY POLLS

“Two new polls — one from ABC and a second from CNN — tout Donald Trump as being the most unfavorable incoming president in modern history,” says Christian Datoc, a reporter for The Daily Caller. “Yet on second look, the data is clearly boosted by the pollsters’ decision to oversample Democrats.”

What he found: According to the survey methodology, ABC poll respondents were 31 percent Democrat and 23 percent Republican. CNN respondents were 32 percent Democrat and 24 percent Republican. Mr. Datoc points out that the gurus at the Gallup Poll say that the nation is currently 28 percent Republican and 21 percent Democrat.

ICE, ICE, BABY

A round of applause, please, for the incredible Coast Guard cutter Polar Star, which arrived at McMurdo Station on the very bottom of the planet 48 hours ago — this after cutting a resupply channel through more than 60 miles of Antarctic ice. The vessel is America’s only operational heavy icebreaker that could accomplish such a feat — and she was built 40 years ago. The Polar Star is a big girl: 399 feet long, 13,500 tons, 75,000 horsepower and a crew of 140. She can slice her way through ice up to 21 feet thick.

And a brief report of interest to global warming watchers on both sides of the argument:

In recent years the Polar Star’s crew typically crunched through 12 to 13 miles of ice to reach McMurdo. This year it was 60 miles, with thickness up to 10 feet.

“We experienced a significantly larger ice field this year compared to the last several years,” said Capt. Michael Davanzo, the commanding officer. “In several areas the ice was under considerable pressure and covered with several inches of snow, slowing our progress. Despite these challenges, the crew worked around the clock to prepare the resupply channel before the arrival of the first ship.”

FOX NEWS GETS THE JUMP

Broadcast coverage of the inauguration on Friday is wall to wall and as complex as election night. Fox News, however, will offer intense and ambitious inaugural coverage of note on Thursday as well. Some highlights:

“Fox & Friends” broadcasts live from the National Mall beginning at 6 a.m. EDT, followed by “America’s Newsroom” and “America’s News Headquarters” live from Lafayette Park, directly across from the White House, through 4 p.m. Neil Cavuto takes over for the next hour from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Building — just north of the White House.

Programming moves back to the mall at 5 p.m. for the next five hours. On tap: “The Five,” followed by “Special Report with Bret Baier,” “The First 100 Days” and “Tucker Carlson Tonight.” Sean Hannity will broadcast live at the Commerce building through 11 p.m.

POLL DU JOUR

41 percent of Americans feel optimistic about the incoming Trump administration; 77 percent of Republicans, 38 percent of independents and 15 percent of Democrats agree.

40 percent feel pessimistic about the next four years; 10 percent of Republicans, 36 percent of independents and 70 percent of Democrats agree.

35 percent think there will be progress in changing the partisan tone of Washington; 62 percent of Republicans, 30 percent of independents and 19 percent of Democrats agree.

19 percent are not sure how they feel about the future; 13 percent of Republicans, 26 percent of independents and 15 percent of Democrats agree.

Source: An Economist/YouGov survey of 1,447 U.S. adults conducted Jan. 14-17.

• Giddy chatter, anxious applause to jharper@washingtontimes.com

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