- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 23, 2009


Consumer polls reveal that Republicans relish a ride in an honest Ford F-150 pickup truck. Yet we’ve never seen a Ford GOP appear in the showroom. Or a Cadillac Conservative. As for Democrats - yes, surveys reveal they are drawn to a guilt-easing cruise in a Prius. But the car’s maker has never responded with, say, a Toyota Progressive. And there’s no Mercedes Lib.

Even in the age of uber-marketing, automotive and political brands have not been melded into a hybrid identity that combines partisan leanings with auto lust. And that will probably never change.

“Carmakers were loath to alienate half of their audience even when they were doing well, but now that GM and Chrysler are owned in part by the government, chances are even slighter,” Patrick Olsen tells Inside the Beltway.

He is editor-in-chief of Cars.com, the master site for online car shopping. Car names, Mr. Olsen says, are not always the best automotive feature. The Web site, in fact, has identified the very worst names of the past three decades, with nary a Lexus Libertarian among them. The offenders are:

In first place, the Ford Aspire, followed by Isuzu VehiCROSS, Subaru Brat, Ford Probe, Volkswagen Touareg, Subaru B9 Tribeca, Kia Forte Koup, Toyota Yaris, Hyundai Equus and anything by Lincoln that begins with “MK.”


Progressives are first up spinning a new strategy for President Obama, who must quickly retool his image from peacenik campaigner to wartime president. The Center for American Progress, which counts former President Bill Clinton adviser John Podesta as its president, has figured out a way for Mr. Obama to come up with $40 billion to fund the surge in Afghanistan without appearing too Bush-like.

The secret? Jettison the Cold War stuff, the group says, and avoid George W. Bush-style “supplemental budget appropriations” like kryptonite.

Recommended for the chopping block in the 25-page report:

Ballistic-missile defense; the Virginia-class submarine; the DDG-1000 destroyer; the V-22 Osprey; the Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle; the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter; and offensive space-based weapons - plus a scaling back of U.S. nuclear forces and of research, development, testing and evaluation funding.

“None of these Cold War-era weapons platforms really provide the urgent capabilities needed for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, nor likely future threats. By cutting or scaling back these programs, the Obama administration can both pay for the escalation of the war in Afghanistan and continue its pledge to create a more realistic defense budget in line with both our needs and our means,” the report advises.


“Barry from D.C.” - President Obama‘s on-air name for himself during a surprise call to WTOP’s radio call-in show Tuesday morning with outgoing Virginia Democratic Gov. Tim Kaine.


Fewer murders but more guns? Yes, say gun aficionados who did the math.

“A 10 percent drop in murders during the first six months of this year, at a time when gun sales were up dramatically, is more proof that there is no correlation between gun ownership and violent crime,” says Alan Gottlieb, spokesman for the Second Amendment Foundation, an activist group based in Belleview, Wash.

The FBI released data Monday that revealed the drop in murders, compared with the same period in 2008. Mr. Gottlieb compared that to data from the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS).

January 2009 background checks rose 28.8 percent over the same month in 2008; February’s NICS checks were up 23 percent; and in March they were up 30 percent over March 2008. The trend continued in April, with NICS checks up 30 percent, May (up by 16 percent) and June (up by 18 percent).

“What this shows is that gun prohibitionists are all wrong when they argue that more guns result in more crime,” Mr. Gottlieb says. “Firearms in the hands of law-abiding citizens are no threat to anyone. Hard facts trump hot air.”


Quick, someone contact the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The Advertising Specialty Institute announced Tuesday that hand-sanitizers now rival pens as the most popular “logo item” that companies give away to clients and employees.


A pair of media research organizations simultaneously identified the year’s worst press sinners. Opinion differs.

From the conservative Media Research Center:

Worst quote of the year: Melissa Lafsky of Discovery magazine, writing about Mary Jo Kopechne and Massachusetts Sen. Edward M. Kennedy in the Aug. 27 Huffington Post:

“Mary Jo wasnt a right-wing talking point or a negative campaign slogan. We dont know how much Kennedy was affected by her death, or what shed have thought about arguably being a catalyst for the most successful Senate career in history. One wonders what Mary Jo Kopechne would have had to say about Teds death, and what shed have thought of the life and career that are being (rightfully) heralded. Who knows - maybe shed feel it was worth it.”

And from the progressive Media Matters for America:

Glenn Beck‘s well of ridiculous was deep and poisonous before he launched his Fox News show, but the inauguration of the 44th president of the United States - and the permissive cheerleading of his Fox News honchos - uncorked the former Morning Zoo shock jock’s unique brand of vitriol, stage theatrics and hyperbolic fright, making him an easy choice for Media Matters’ 2009 Misinformer of the Year.”


- 21 percent of Republicans and 52 percent of Democrats say increased acceptance of gays and lesbians is a “change for the better.”

- 57 percent of Republicans and 66 percent of Democrats say increasing racial/ethnic diversity is change for the better.

- 40 percent of Republicans and 30 percent of Democrats say the increase in cable TV and talk shows is change for the better.

- 71 percent of Republicans and 66 percent of Democrats say the Internet has been a change for the better.

Source: A Pew Research Center survey of 1,504 adults conducted Dec. 9-13.

Blithe comments, churlish observations, executive summaries to jharper@washingtontimes.com.

• Jennifer Harper INSIDE THE BELTWAY can be reached at jharper@washingtontimes.com.old.

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