- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 20, 2008

EDITOR’S NOTE: Jennifer Harper is writing this column while Greg Pierce is on vacation.

Paging Emily Post

Civility may be the prudent choice for conservatives at the moment.

“When is the right time to begin bashing Barack Obama? Everyone knows that within the next few months, the GOP must fight fiercely and effectively to derail major aspects of the new president’s disastrous left-wing agenda,” writes syndicated columnist Michael Medved.

“But conservatives will make a serious mistake if we begin the conflict before Obama even takes office. The most important factor to remember is that most Americans feel exhausted and weary from a seemingly endless two-year campaign and seriously crave a break from politics. Part of the general sense of relief and exultation on election night involved the shattering of an historic racial barrier, of course, but the public also felt gratitude because they sensed that a bitter partisan struggle had at long last lurched, coughed and sputtered to its climactic conclusion,” continued Mr. Medved, who also has a national talk-radio show.

“They not only welcomed the unifying, bipartisan tone of both Obama’s victory speech and John McCain’s singularly gracious concession, but embraced the idea that the nation might actually enjoy a needed respite from the daily attacks and ‘gotcha’ politics.”

“In that sense, the immediate insistence on demonizing the president-elect conveys precisely the wrong message. One of the reasons the GOP suffered major reverses across the country involved the perception that they practiced more divisive and angry politics than did the Obama-crats, with their fuzzy, feel-good message of hope and change.”


The characterization by Al Qaeda’s No. 2 guy, Ayman al-Zawahri, of President-elect Barack Obama as a “house negro” on Wednesday was heavy with portent, some say.

“First and foremost, Al Qaeda is an organization that thrives on propaganda,” writes Ilan Goldenberg, policy director of the National Security Network.

“But Al Qaeda’s narrative is now under siege, and it’s clearly uncertain about how to react. The election of the first African-American President, one with a Muslim father, flies in the face of this narrative. It shows America as an open and tolerant society — not the oppressive empire Al Qaeda would like to portray. In fact, the overwhelmingly positive international reaction to Obama’s election is proof of the threat Al Qaeda faces.”

Philip Klein of the American Spectator has that, and more.

“It could mean that al-Zawahri is concerned that the election of a black president who speaks in [conciliatory] tones could make it more difficult for Al Qaeda to demonize the U.S. among followers and potential recruits, and thus weaken the group’s standing in the Muslim world,” he writes. “Alternatively, it shows that no matter who is the president, Al Qaeda will see the U.S. as the enemy and is intent on continuing its war against Americans.”

Four years hence

Yes, yes. Perhaps the turks of the Republican Party will huddle in Iowa this weekend to ponder a new dream ticket that will wrest the White House from Democratic domination come 2012.

But from the you-never-know department, here’s this speculation from uber-political maven Lucianne Goldberg:

“‘Petraeus-Palin ‘12’ has a nice ring to it,” she says.

Paining Palin

And speaking of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, she now has one more name to add to her Rolodex of Woe. That would be Zane Henning, an oil-company employee from Wasilla who filed a complaint against Mrs. Palin with the state attorney general on Wednesday, claiming she broke ethics rules by staging a TV interview in her office.

“The governor is using her official position and office in an attempt to repair her damaged political image on the national scene,” Mr. Henning noted in his complaint.

His beef: The governor’s Nov. 10 interview with Fox News Channel host Greta Van Susteren.

Mrs. Palin has spent the past two days in policy meetings, according to her spokesman Bill McAllister; there was little response from her office about the complaint. A persistent Mr. Henning, meanwhile, argued that Mrs. Palin broke the same ethics law that she exposed Republican Party Chairman Randy Ruedrich for violating when both served on the state oil and gas commission.

Mr. Ruedrich admitted in 2004 to conducting party business on the job and was fined $12,000, according to the Anchorage Daily News.

Apres Barney

Dog-tired yet? The obsessed press is on an Obamathon and will seize upon any private detail - from the future school of the adorable Obama daughters to the sartorial choices of future first lady Michelle Obama.

The prospect of the next “first dog” has inspired serious analyses, multiple public opinion polls and more than 2,000 news stories as Americans consider the possible breed of the future Obama canine.

At least one can make some money on it now. A Miami-based pet care resource is offering $1,000 to the first person that can correctly guess the name and breed of the “new Presidential Pooch.” Adults only, they say. For more information, visit www.onlyforpetlovers.com.

Considering Silda

Former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer is getting dramatic treatment on ABC News. His dalliance with escort Ashley Dupre, which caused his resignation from office last year, will be showcased in no uncertain terms.

“If it wasn’t me, it would have been someone else. I was doing my job. I don’t feel that I brought him down,” she told ABC, which will air the interview Friday at 10 p.m.

“He looked familiar. But I was 22 years old, I didn’t, I wasn’t reading the papers. I was so involved in my life, and I was so selfish and caught up in my life, and I didn’t know who he was. And I was whoever they wanted me to be, and he was whoever he wanted to be.”

“I didn’t know the depth to my situation,” she said. “That’s when I connected the dots, was when everyone else found out. I turned on the TV and I said, “Oh, [expletive], what did I get myself involved in?”

Miss Dupre says she was not focused on Mr. Spitzer during his resignation speech, but rather, his wife, Silda.

“I felt connected to her. I didn’t feel connected to him. Her pain. And I just saw the pain in her eyes.”

Contact Jennifer Harper at [email protected] times.com or 202/636-3085.

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