- The Washington Times - Monday, November 27, 2006

Chads, anyone?

Sure, there remains a smidgen of bellyaching over voter irregularities and anomalies in the 2006 midterm elections, but most everybody who needed to has conceded defeat by now, and the candidates with the most votes are settling into Capitol Hill, where voting discrepancies will become a thing of the past.

Isn’t that right, Rep. Randy Neugebauer?

“I am recorded as ‘not voting’ on roll-call vote 519 on Nov. 13, 2006. However, I intended to vote ‘aye’ and believed I had done so during the roll-call vote” — or so the Texas Republican is now stating for the record.

2008 field

“It says something about John Kerry that he’s ranked below a guy who says he isn’t even running,” concludes the latest Political Derby 2008 Power Rankings (PoliticalDerby.com), one of the more intriguing tracking services for the current race for the White House.

Here are the latest odds and observations, beginning with Republicans:

1. John McCain: “For now, McCain clings to the top spot, but the horses behind him are picking up serious steam as we round the quarter pole.”

2. Mitt Romney: “He recently took his first shot, referring to McCain’s position on gay marriage as ‘disingenuous’ and positioning himself as the only top-tier candidate on the right side of immigration, campaign reform and detainee interrogation.”

3. Rudolph W. Giuliani: “Rudy is the nicest-looking horse on the farm, but will primary and caucus voters feel the same after a full physical?”

4. Newt Gingrich: “The grassroots loves him and every other horse will be whining for his support and endorsement.”

Remaining horses, in order of rank, are Gov. Mike Huckabee, Rep. Mike Pence, Sen. Bill Frist, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Rep. Duncan Hunter, and Sen. George Allen.

As for Democratic horses jockeying for position:

1. Hillary Rodham Clinton: “Hillary has occupied this spot since day one of our rankings, but the distance between the 800-pound horse and the field has shrunk considerably.”

2. John Edwards: “He’s refining his message nicely and appears more deliberate than in ‘04.”

3. Barack Obama: Is the ‘Obamamania Show’ already off the schedule? The tip sheet has seen Fox sitcoms last longer.”

4. Bill Richardson: “He’s showing some teeth, getting active online, and his resume is unmatched on the track.”

The rest of the field, in order, includes Sen. Evan Bayh, Al Gore, Wesley Clark, Howard Dean, Sen. Russ Feingold, and Mr. Kerry.

American idol

That would be the original American idol, 72-year-old singer and entertainer Pat Boone, appearing at the Heritage Foundation Wednesday morning at 11 a.m. to discuss his new book, “Pat Boone’s America — 50 Years: A Pop Culture Through the Last Five Decades.”

And while the past half-century has provided aplenty to sing praises, Mr. Boone isn’t impressed with some of the twists and turns encountered in today’s American landscape, which he says have helped steer the nation away from integrity and faith.

(And here he thought he’d seen it all when he sang “It’s a Sin to Tell a Lie” to President Nixon.)

Besides writing the new book, Mr. Boone has just cut five new albums dedicated to rock ‘n’ roll, love songs, ballads, rhythm and blues, and gospel music. He’s also national spokesman for the 60 Plus Association of senior citizens, based in Washington.

As for the “American Idol” reference, Mr. Boone in 1955 won both “Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts” and the Ted Mack’s “Original Amateur Hour.”

Feeling great

Appearing at the National Theatre alongside Linda Evans as co-star of “Legends,” actress Joan Collins plans to speak about “aging” during a National Press Club luncheon tomorrow.

No, the former pin-up girl isn’t going to peddle wrinkle cures and other beauty products; she’s going to argue that an adjustment is needed in the country’s perception of “old age,” while pointing out that the media and corporate world continue to put more emphasis on youth in an age when people are living much longer.

The former “Dynasty” star proves as much in her latest book, “The Art of Living Well: Looking Good, Feeling Great.”

Quote of the week

“The most important thing is not how high we jump up in church, but what we do when our feet hit the ground, and our feet hit the ground here [on Capitol Hill] every day of the week at about 9:30.”

Sen. Thomas R. Carper, Delaware Democrat

John McCaslin, whose column is nationally syndicated, can be reached at 202/636-3284 or jmccaslin @washingtontimes.com.

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