- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 3, 2008

MR. LUNCH BUCKET

“Since Joe Biden landed on the Democratic ticket, we’ve all been treated to commentary attesting to the Lincolnesque rise of this proud son of Scranton, Pa.,” writes Wall Street Journal columnist William McGurn.

“Here we read the references to ‘working-class roots.’ There we see a headline trumpeting a ‘blue-collar messenger.’ And everywhere we turn, we bump into the most treasured compound-adjective of them all: lunch bucket,” Mr. McGurn said.

“The New York Times started it off with a column hailing this ‘lunch-bucket Democrat.’ The Boston Globe adds ethnicity, writing about ‘an Irish Catholic lunch-bucket Democrat.’ The Dallas Morning News emphasizes personality, celebrating a ‘gregarious lunch bucket Democrat’ - to distinguish him, evidently, from the nongregarious variety. The Economist contributes virtue, characterizing Sen. Biden as ‘a perfect example of a lunch bucket Democrat made good.’ And on it goes, with everyone from The Washington Post and Huffington Post to the Los Angeles Times, USA Today and the Associated Press serving up allusions to the senator’s lunch bucket. …

“Only in a place as removed from reality as the Beltway could a man who has spent more than three decades in the United States Senate be hailed as a working-class stiff. …

“The Senate disclosure forms do not require Mr. Biden to report his primary residence (or his federal pension). So I asked Jim Bowers - an old college roommate of mine who also lives in Delaware, who also went to the same high school, and who is also running for election. ‘Not many lunch buckets up Joe’s way,’ says Mr. Bowers, a Republican seeking a seat in Delaware’s House of Representatives. ‘You have to remember that the senator lives in an area known as chateau country.”

ODIOUS INSTINCTS

“I was unsure how the pregnancy of Sarah Palin’s daughter would affect social conservatives’ view of the governor’s nomination for VP, but they seem to be taking it in their stride,” Clive Crook writes at theatlantic.com.

“If anything they are seeing it as a positive - more proof that Mrs. Palin is a good and supportive mother. At any rate, they say, it is nobody’s business but the family’s.

“The other good news for the McCain campaign is that many Democrats are mishandling the issue as badly as they mishandled the nomination in the first place. There is a tone of exultation over the Palin family’s difficulties that will strike many centrists, and decent people regardless of ideology, as repellent,” Mr. Crook said.

He added: “While I am complaining about the odious instincts of my profession, let me mention in passing the bid that Campbell Brown is making to supplant Lou Dobbs as the most objectionable broadcast bloviator, thereby securing the top two slots for CNN’s ‘best political team on television.’

“On Sunday I watched amazed as her supposed interview of a McCain spokesman on the Palin pick degenerated into a laughing, contemptuous harangue. Her evident disgust at the choice was not to be appeased.

“Then on Monday she demanded of another McCain surrogate to know whether Palin could be a good mother since she had knowingly thrust her daughter into the spotlight. But who, for heaven’s sake, is directing that spotlight? This is like the mugger who tells his victim he regrets what’s happening, ‘but why were you so stupid as to walk up this dark alley?’ Others might be entitled to make that point, but it is nauseating to hear it from the regretful self-righteous mugger herself.”

THOSE SNEERS

Why has Sarah Palin generated such energy? John J. Pitney Jr. writes at National Review Online (www.national review.com).

“Some reasons are obvious. Economic conservatives like her fiscal record. Gun-rights advocates are eager to get behind a moose-hunting NRA member. Social and religious conservatives profoundly admire her for welcoming a Down syndrome baby into the world. Often with good reason, they suspect that Republican politicians cynically adopt pro-life positions without any real commitment to the cause. Palin is different. She has walked the pro-life walk,” Mr. Pitney said.

“There’s something else that could rally the base even further. In the mainstream media and the blogosphere, liberals are sneering at her. The big hair, the big family, the hunting rifle, the degree from the University of Idaho, the husband who does commercial fishing and races snowmobiles - all these things tell the urban liberal elite that she’s not one of them. Most telling of all, she placed second in the 1984 Miss Alaska Pageant. Bourgeois bohemians don’t do beauty contests.

“The sneers may amuse fans of Keith Olbermann and ‘The Daily Show,’ but they might not go over well with … you know, the kind of people who cling to guns and religion. Some of them may have been thinking of sitting out the election or even crossing to Obama. But if they get the idea that liberals are laughing at them, they might regard a vote for the McCain-Palin ticket as a good way to register their disapproval.”

ANOTHER MAVERICK

Kristi Burton is a maverick, but not quite in the same way as John McCain,” Fred Barnes writes at www.weeklystandard.com.

“She’s a 21-year-old delegate to the Republican convention from Colorado with a large accomplishment to her credit. Almost singlehandedly, Burton got a referendum on the Colorado ballot this fall that declares that life begins at conception,” Mr. Barnes said.

“Burton collected more than 130,000 signatures (76,047 were required) and warded off three legal challenges by a phalanx of pro-abortion organizations to get her referendum approved. It consists of one sentence that says in Colorado law ‘the term person or persons shall include every human being from the moment of fertilization.’

“If passed by voters, her initiative - its official name is Amendment 48 - would mean an unborn child in Colorado would be protected from being aborted. Whether the courts, following the Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion, would allow it is another story.

“Like McCain, Burton has clashed with members of her own party. As you might guess, her referendum is controversial - especially among Republicans. The fear among some of them is that it may hurt Republican candidates, notably pro-life Senate candidate Bob Schaffer. How? By driving away suburban women voters who might otherwise vote for Schaffer and other Republicans. That’s the fear anyway.

“Burton disagrees, arguing the amendment will attract more voters to the polls and help anti-abortion candidates like Schaffer. Republicans at the Colorado Republican convention in June sided with her. She was the seventh biggest vote-getter for 24 delegate slots.”

cGreg Pierce can be reached at 202/636-3285 or [email protected] times.com.


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