- The Washington Times - Sunday, May 10, 2009

President Rush Limbaugh, Sen. Laura Ingraham, Rep. Mark Levin. Some observers insist that pivotal conservative radio personalities should run for public office for the good of the Republican Party, the ideology and the country itself.

“Conversation or candidates?”

That is the question from WMAL morning guy Fred Grandy, who admonishes radio gods to forgo fat media salaries in favor of public service. He speaks from experience. The former “Love Boat” actor served as a Republican congressman from Iowa for four terms and narrowly missed being elected governor. Fred Thompson responded to the call, not to mention Ronald Reagan.

“Sometimes you just have to take one for the team,” Mr. Grandy says.

Mr. Limbaugh, of course, has chastised Republicans in stern but mellifluous tones for dithering over their party identity. Though “President Limbaugh” has a certain ring to it, he ain’t runnin’. Ever.

“I’ve never run for office. I’ve never looked at seriously what that would take. I’m just a philosopher here on this kind of thing, that some might call me a strategerist in a way,” he says.

“When you look at politics as getting votes, when you look at politics as a matter of getting policy passed, you have to have a totally different view of it than I do — and you have to pander to certain people and groups. Sometimes you have to say things you don’t really believe. I couldn’t do it.”

Political donations are also repugnant to Mr. Limbaugh.

“I can’t stick my hand out and ask people for money. I just would never, ever be able to do it ‘cause they’re all gonna want to get paid back somehow,” he adds.

Compleat seat

Somewhere in the near future, we’ll all find balmy breezes, sparkling water, congenial company. Really. When you do find all that, here’s a place to sit — Painted Adirondack chairs in maple from Lands’ End in six colors, $159 each; ottomans and side tables also available. The company deems it all “American as apple pie,” which is good enough for all of us here at the Patriotic Furniture Desk.

Maybe we should put some of these in Congress.

Consult www.landsend. com or call 800/800-5800.

Celebrity fatigue

By now, most folks are weary of hearing about the White House Correspondents’ Association’s annual dinner, featuring all 2,500 White House “correspondents” jammed into the Washington Hilton on Saturday night. For insight into how many people are actually credentialed to cover things presidential, just check out the next White House press briefing on C-SPAN.

Meanwhile, growing celebrity obsession in academic sectors continues to escalate. Case in point: CBS News anchor lady Katie Couric will be delivering the “Class Day” address at Princeton University this year. NBC “Today” host Matt Lauer will make a similar address Harvard.

Will there be gravitas? Once, the bar was set high during such hallowed events: Consider what President Harry Truman told Princeton graduates during his commencement speech in 1947:

“The construction of the defenses of peace in the minds of men is the supreme task which our educational institutions must set for themselves.”

Quotes of note

“God is pretty explicit in what we’re supposed to do — what man and woman are for.” — Samuel “Joe the Plumber” Wurzelbacher, to Christianity Today

Arlen Specter, even if he spends 40 more years in government, will be remembered for nothing.” — Jonah Goldberg, in National Review

Rush Limbaugh, Dick Cheney, Newt Gingrich? These are sort of trollish figures.” — MSNBC’s Chris Matthews

Days of yore

The intrepid Ethan Allen and the not-so-intrepid Benedict Arnold captured Fort Ticonderoga from the British on this day in 1775.

The first transcontinental railroad was completed 140 years ago today as well, when California Gov. Leland Stanford — who missed on his first attempt — struck a golden spike into railroad ties linking the Central Pacific and Union Pacific lines in Promontory, Utah. The spot was named a national historic site in 1965; the little park now sells a replica “golden” spike for $25. The real one is on display at Stanford University.

Hillary Rodham Clinton, get out your party hat: Victoria Woodhull — the first woman to pine for a true White House post — was nominated for the presidency on this day in 1872.

President Rutherford B. Hayes had the first telephone installed in White House 132 years ago today. Not too many conversations, though — the Treasury Department had the only other direct phone line to the White House at the time.

Everyone was “Happy Together” — at least in 1969. The Turtles and the Temptations played the White House for Tricia Nixon exactly 40 years ago today.

By the numbers

49 percent of Americans have a close friend or family member who is gay or lesbian.

51 percent do not.

44 percent say same-sex marriage should be recognized by the law as valid.

54 percent say the marriages should not be recognized.

60 percent say individual states should recognize civil union between same-sex couples.

38 percent disagree.

48 percent favor a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy for gays in the military.

47 percent oppose the policy.

— From a CNN poll of 2,019 adults conducted April 23 to 26.

Contact Jennifer Harper at [email protected] or 202/636-3085. Follow her at twitter.com/harperbulletin.

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