- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Savaging Savage

Only Queen Elizabeth II can fix this.

Press reports that Britain is making nice with talk-radio host Michael Savage are greatly exaggerated. Some accounts insisted Mr. Savage was now welcome in Britain after being placed on an “undesirables” list of terrorists and criminals three months ago by then-Home Secretary Jacqui Smith, who accused him of “fomenting hate.”

Not so.

Mr. Savage, whose nationally syndicated program is heard weekly by 10 million listeners, says he’s still on the list. His lawsuit against Ms. Smith is still on. And he still pines for a proper mea culpa.

“I feared this. The Labor government will not yet admit they made a big mistake in listing me alongside actual murderers. Talk is not murder. Murdering a reputation, is that murder or defamation?” Mr. Savage tells me.

“They leave me no option except to pursue my defamation complaint against Jacqui Smith. In time, I will clear my name, receive an apology from the British government - or the Queen - deliver a speech before the British Parliament and present the British people the gift of freedom of speech, for which their forefathers died. By my example, they will see how far their own nation has fallen under the rule of these coelenterates” - jellyfish, Mr. Savage says.

Hillary whisperer

Her cookies, her pantsuits, her allusions to the “vast right-wing conspiracy” - Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton has provided a veritable mother lode of cultural moments as governor’s wife, first lady, senator, presidential hopeful, diplomat.

But wait. There’s more.

Amid rumors that she could be the odd lady out in the Obama administration, Mrs. Clinton has emerged as a jaunty player on the world stage, weighing in on global warming, North Korea, Thailand, India, Bollywood, the Taliban, the war in Afghanistan and false rumors about Chelsea Clinton’s nuptials.

That’s just in the last 48 hours.

Anytime there’s an uptick in Clintonian visibility, inquiring minds wonder: Hey, where’s this coming from? New strategist, new playbook, new whiz-kid speechwriter? Apparently, none of the above.

“There’s not a single person writing her speeches. No, it’s more like a collective,” says State Department spokesman Noel Clay.

He was unsure if Mrs. Clinton’s playful moments with U.S. Ambassador to India Timothy Roemer were part of the script.

“You earned a great wheels-up party,” Mrs. Clinton told the diplomat this week, referring to the fete that occurs once a visiting muckety-muck is outward bound on a 747. “I am now somebody else’s problem.”

“Wheels-up parties are a common thing,” Mr. Clay assures me.

It’s in the jeans

Invasive moments? No such thing anymore. Acting presidential now means always having to say you’re sorry. President Obama went so far as to publicly apologize Tuesday for the baggy “mom jeans” he wore while throwing the first pitch at the All-Star Game in St. Louis.

“I’m a little frumpy. I hate to shop,” Mr. Obama told NBC. “Here’s my attitude: Michelle, she looks fabulous. For people who want a president to look great in tight jeans, I’m sorry.”

But imagine this happening in another era. Imagine if, say, Franklin D. Roosevelt had been called upon to explain his trousers. It would have gone something like this:

“I’m a little frumpy. I hate to shop,” President Roosevelt told NBC. “Here’s my attitude. Eleanor, she looks fabulous. For people who want a president to look great in tight jeans, I’m sorry.”

Yes. Just imagine.

Read it and weep

The number of lawmakers who have publicly pledged to actually read the 1,012-page health care reform legislation before voting on it has risen to 76 out of 535, according to Let Freedom Ring, a nonpartisan public policy organization that is tracking the trend.

“Some in Congress apparently believe they don’t need to understand the legislation on which they vote,” says Rep. Tom Price, Georgia Republican and a physician, who signed the pledge Tuesday. “Taking the proper time is only an obstacle to those who wish to discreetly slip unsavory or irresponsible provisions into law.”

Poll du jour

• 71 percent of Americans say the time and money spent to land men on the moon was “worth it.”

• 51 percent favor sending astronauts to Mars; 43 percent oppose the idea.

• 36 percent say the U.S. space program has met their expectations. Thirty-two percent said the program accomplished less than they expected; 27 percent say it accomplished more.

Source: A CBS News poll of 944 adults, conducted July 9-12

Aw, go ahead. Tips, asides, announcements welcome at jharper@washingtontimes.com or 202/636-3085.

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