- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 2, 2006

The world’s a stage

No plans for election eve?

Let’s all join Al and Tipper Gore on Monday evening at the Kennedy Center Concert Hall “for an intimate conversation on the state of our environment, our global situation, our families and how we can all work together to make our future world a better place for everyone.”

Show time is 8 p.m. (tickets range from $60 to $100) for what will be a 90-minute chat titled: “Blueprint for Personal Action with Al and Tipper Gore.”

72-hour campaign

Nobody laid the groundwork more for a successful midterm Election Day than Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean. Placing the Democrats in the majority of Congress this month has been his No. 1 priority, and beyond that winning the White House in 2008.

So there’s good reason for Mr. Dean to be concerned these final days of campaigning, given sensational predictions from pundits and pollsters alike of an easy Democratic sweep on Tuesday.

Mr. Dean had this warning yesterday, which he sent to Inside the Beltway via e-mail: “We must stay focused and ignore the polls or pundits who tell us we have the election locked up,” he said. “This election is less than a week away, but there’s plenty of time left for a Republican comeback.

“Most worrisome,” he said: “the Republican Party’s ‘infamous 72-hour’ operation,” which he said will be “cranking up” starting this weekend to get out the Republican vote.

Tuesday fades

Everybody is waiting for Election Day, but the truth is that nearly a quarter of American voters will have cast ballots before Tuesday, either by absentee means or by visiting an early voting place.

“America is undergoing a revolution in voting. ‘Election Day’ is quickly becoming a thing of the past as we move towards a system of many mini-election days leading up to the main event,” notes John C. Fortier in his new book, “Absentee and Early Voting: Trends, Promises, and Perils.”

A research fellow at the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research, Mr. Fortier calls the rise in early voting “meteoric.” He writes that absentee voting originated during the Civil War for soldiers away from home, but today more and more states, including California, are promoting its use.

The book states that just 25 years ago, about 5 percent of Americans voted before Election Day. That number grew to 15 percent by 2004.

Pint of Adams

We had to laugh at part of a letter sent by “The Spirit of George Washington,” professional impersonator James Renwick Manship Sr., to a fellow Virginian christened with a pair of historical names.

“Dear Mason Adams,” Mr. Manship writes. “As I said when I met you a week ago at the church pastored by George Mark Washington, you have a great name of two great patriots.

“I was thinking of ‘my’ promoter for commander in chief, and ‘my’ Vice President John Adams. But you mentioned Sam Adams, who due to the lager brewed in his name, is likely better known, and more sought for ‘counsel’ than John in these current times.”

Sipping moxie

Calvin Coolidge’s “civility and high ethical stature were a strong tonic” in his day, and today’s leaders should “study his history and take a sip from his favorite drink, moxie.”

So Cyndy Bittinger, executive director of the Calvin Coolidge Memorial Foundation in Plymouth, Vt., tells Inside the Beltway, after we had written about columnist Cal Thomas’ efforts (he’s related to Coolidge) to build the nation’s 30th president a presidential library.

“Yes, up here in Vermont we think highly of Calvin Coolidge, a man from a farming community who made a difference in people’s lives,” Ms. Bittinger writes, adding that after World War I he “restored the nation to normalcy and peace.”

She also cites Coolidge’s “warm relationship” with the press. He met with reporters twice every week and, therefore, had no need for a press secretary.

Quote of the week

“Why are 30,000 U.S. troops tied down on that peninsula half a century after the Chinese left North Korea and 15 years after the Soviet Union expired? If the 60 million Koreans, North and South, were raptured up to heaven, how would America be imperiled?”

— Patrick J. Buchanan, arguing this week against both conservatives and liberals who are calling for an expansion of the U.S. military to respond to hot spots around the world. Instead, the commentator says obsolete alliances should be dissolved where there are no vital American interests.

John McCaslin, whose column is nationally syndicated, can be reached at 202/636-3284 or [email protected]washingtontimes.com.

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