- The Washington Times - Monday, November 16, 2009

FUTURE SHOCK

In the brave, new, weird world looming in America’s future, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin could conceivably run against Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton in the 2012 presidential race, while their respective parties’ menfolk dither on the sidelines, trying to get in touch with their inner presidential-ness.

Well, stranger things have occurred. And parsing out the feasibility of such a match is an entertaining distraction.

But wait. The potential rivals are already sizing one another up the way girls do - all sugar and sweet talk. In her new autobiography, Mrs. Palin praised Mrs. Clinton for her tenacity as a candidate in the 2008 presidential bout. And Mrs. Clinton on Mrs. Palin? Why, things couldn’t have been cozier:

“I’ve never met her, and I’d look forward to sit down and talk with her. Obviously, we’re going to hear a lot more from her in the upcoming weeks with her book coming out, and I would look forward to having a chance to actually get to meet her,” she toldABC’s “This Week” on Sunday.

The strategic cooing was not over, however.

“I absolutely would look forward to having coffee. I’ve never met her, and I think it would be very interesting to sit down and talk with her,” Mrs. Clinton told NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

The concept of a coffee klatch between the titans seized journalistic imaginations everywhere and was bandied about by a dozen news organizations; NewsBusters.com analyst Noel Sheppard suggested a “coffee summit,” inspired by President Obama’s “beer summit” staged at the White House in July to resolve a racial dispute involving a Harvard professor and a Cambridge cop.

Well, OK. But should they be future foes, these two women will not be trying to resolve anything. They will be staking out territory, checking their purses for a list of talking points and sizing up one another’s campaign chests.

And coffee? Hah. Inside the Beltway respectfully suggests a frozen daiquiri summit.

P.S.: We have a blender.

WOLF BANE

“Tea party” organizers might consider trademarking their signature methods of politics and public outreach. Maybe they should publish the “Dummies Guide to Tea Parties.”

Why? The Democrats are busy co-opting the idea, tearing the proverbial grass-roots pages right out of the tea-party playbook.

Organizing for America, the public outreach arm of the long-standing campaign site www.barackobama.com, is urging local Obama loyalists to pay a call on Rep. Frank R. Wolf, Virginia Republican, who did not vote in favor of health care reform.

“There’s still time to remind Rep. Wolf what your district wants by arranging a visit,” says the organization’s director Mitch Stewart in a lengthy message to constituents in the state’s 10th Congressional District.

“Rep. Wolf must understand that caving to the well-heeled lobbyists in D.C. has consequences at the ballot box,” Mr. Stewart says, adding: “Democracy is not a spectator sport. And right now, we need you in the game.”

Will there be shouting, placard-waving Democrats/liberals and mini-demonstrations in Mr. Wolf’s future? Maybe. And how will the press treat a Democratic “tea party”? Chances are good that the newest genre on the political landscape will not be called thugs, “wing-nuts” or loons in future coverage, as were their Republican/conservative counterparts.

RHYME AND REASON

While everyone is still trying to figure out whether the phrase “Pacific Rim” has something to do with either fusion cuisine or the future standing of the U.S. on the world stage, a moment of diplomacy remains under close examination.

Consider that NBC’s Brian Williams was criticized for bowing before President Obama while his network taped an extravagant day-in-the-life special at the White House, back when the Obama administration enjoyed a seamless press honeymoon.

Now Mr. Obama has drawn similar ire from those taken aback by his deep, formal bow to Japanese Emperor Akihito and EmpressMichiko in Tokyo over the weekend - “the grovel heard ‘round the world,” says Lucianne Goldberg, proprietress of the news Web site www.lucianne.com.

The moment also gets a little limerick treatment, this ditty shared with Inside the Beltway by F.R. Duplantier, author of the weekly Politickles dispatch.

“To Arabian shieks he’ll kowtow,

And the Japanese emperor now,

But the one we elect

Ought to show his respect

With a handshake and never a bow.”

BEAUTY AND THE BASH

So is the mainstream news media downright mean to women? Could be. Someone who maintained a near-impossible level of poise and grace during an eight-year command appearance at the White House acknowledged that things can be trying.

“The only thing that happens to women is that sometimes the coverage is about how they look. You know, there’s more written maybe about their hairstyles than there is about what’s really in their heads. And I think that’s too bad. We don’t talk that much about the way men look,” former first lady Laura Bush told Fox News.

“It is tougher for women,” she said.

POLL DU JOUR

• 59 percent of Americans say the fall of the Berlin Wall was the beginning of a “new world order.”

• 53 percent say the event “made the world safer.”

• 24 percent say it was “the end of history.”

• 23 percent say the breakup of the Soviet Union and the liberation of Europe was the most important change in two decades.

• 77 percent say the growth of terrorism is the most important change.

• 72 percent say the reunification of Germany was “a good thing,” while 25 percent are “not sure.”

Source: BBC World News America/Harris Pollsurvey of 2,116 adults conducted Nov. 3-5.

Smoke signals, passenger pigeons, telegrams to jharper@washingtontimes.com. Follow her at twitter.com/harperbulletin.

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