- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 25, 2008

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

Cease and desist

The White House isn’t everything. Really.

Hillary Clinton can be a great secretary of state if she puts presidential ambition aside,” writes Mike Lupica of the New York Daily News.

“Hillary Clinton was not a great candidate, even as her husband and her sidemen kept saying she was, as if saying it often enough would finally make it true. She would not have made a great president. She can be a great secretary of state, but only if she does this right, which means she stops running now.”

“This is a time in America when Barack Obama asks everybody to find the best in themselves. Something like that might as well start with the woman he defeated for the nomination. Hillary has the chance to be better in this job than in anything she has done before it, and that includes the Senate. Only if she can do it without the usual drama. This is about the good of the country this time, not the Clinton brand.”

“She is a politician, now and forever. She is a politician and a Clinton. So of course she is still going to think the whole thing is about her, even when it is not, when it is about Obama, about his vision and foreign policy and even ideals.”

Healthy Republicans

They’re not necessarily centrist, they’re centered: Republicans are better adjusted to the rigors of modern life than Democrats - and the rest of the population as well, at least according to a Harris poll released Monday.

Among Republicans, 43 percent have trouble sleeping, compared with 50 percent of Democrats. The average figure among all Americans was 47 percent.

Thirty-eight percent of Republicans said they had concerns about their health; the figure was 50 percent among the Democrats and for the overall population, 44 percent.

Republicans also had lower levels of stress over money, loneliness, relations with co-workers and information overload, the survey found.

Twenty-two percent of Republicans said they experienced considerable stress; the figure was 27 percent among Democrats and 26 percent among all Americans.

The survey of 5,210 adults was conducted between Oct. 30 and Nov. 3.

Now hear this

Thanksgiving often heralds all sorts of significant family conversations. Here’s one not to miss Thursday, airing on National Public Radio.

Dorothy Bush Koch will have a conversation with her brother, President Bush, and sister-in-law Laura Bush, though the topic of their talk was not disclosed. The motivation, however, is very public. The Bush family conversation will help launch the “National Day of Listening” initiative at NPR, which encourages family members to share old stories with one another.

Mrs. Koch will talk to the president and first lady at 6:40 a.m., 8:40 a.m. and 10:40 a.m.

Morris dance

“Since the beginning of October, Dick Morris has repeatedly used his columns and Fox News appearances to promote and raise money for the National Republican Trust PAC without disclosing that the organization has paid $24,000 to a company apparently connected to Morris, according to FEC filings. During that time, Morris’ email newsletter has frequently included ads that state: ‘Paid for by The National Republican Trust PAC.’”

That’s what Media Matters for America had to say in an analysis released Monday.

And the numbers? The liberal press watchdog group reports that between Oct. 27 and Nov. 17, Mr. Morris plugged the aforementioned PAC in 13 appearances on Fox News, and in four online columns, two columns for the Hill, a Newsmax interview, a column for Creators Syndicate and one for the New York Post.

The stiletto factor

Forget about press bias. There’s also a Huckabee bias, according to former presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee — who’s been more annoyed with Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin then he lets on.

“She, uh, was an appropriate choice, because she put John McCain back in the game,” Mr. Huckabee initially told the New Yorker.

But then he apparently gave it some thought. A few minutes later, Mr. Huckabee aired his real feelings.

“It was funny that all through the primary — I mean literally up until McCain got enough delegates to win — people said, ‘You know, Huckabee’s really running for vice president. Gee, Huckabee would be a great vice president.’ And from that day forward, when I actually was no longer running for president, nobody ever said, ‘Gee, Huckabee would be a great vice president .’”

He continued:

“I was scratching my head, saying, ‘Hey, wait a minute. She’s wonderful, but the only difference was she looks better in stilettos than I do, and she has better hair.’ It wasn’t so much a gender issue, but it was like they suddenly decided that everything they disliked about me was OK. She was given a pass by some of the very people who said I wasn’t prepared.”

The natural order

America is enjoying a buoyant period. But just wait.

“It’s always brightest before the inauguration … . There’s a story that President John F. Kennedy, sometime after his inauguration, was asked what about the presidency had been most surprising. His answer was he was surprised to learn that things really were as bad as he’d said they were during the campaign,” writes George Korda of the Knoxville News.

“There’s nothing mysterious as we head toward Inauguration 2009. Things really are that bad. Every day brings another passel of bad economic news. Then there’s the pesky issues of international terrorism, America’s energy needs, Iran, etc., etc., etc. That’s the setup in advance of the inauguration of Barack Obama as the 44th POTUS.

“On the home front, liberal groups are lining up to demand what they feel is their due. Centrist voters, who may have put aside concerns about left-wing economic policies or social stances, are hoping Obama can lead an economic turnaround. Some conservatives wonder if pragmatism will drive Obama more to the center. Either that or they’re hoping for a repeat of Bill Clinton’s first two disastrous presidential years, which led to a Republican renaissance in Washington and across the country.”

“Someone’s going to wind up disappointed. It’s the natural order of things: after the swearing-in comes the swearing at.”

• E-mail Jennifer Harper or call 202/636-3085.

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