- The Washington Times - Friday, October 2, 2009

POLANSKIPALOOZA

We’ll have to live with the morality tale of filmmaker Roman Polanski for a while. It’s a perfect showcase for activists and actors intent on posturing, furthering an agenda or crafting their own dramatic tableau. Already, 10,000 news accounts about the septuagenarian’s arrest have appeared in print and broadcast according to Google News, and no wonder. The story almost writes itself - so buckle down for Parts II, III, IV and maybe a movie of the week as the filmmaker moves from set to set: Swiss jail cell, extradition, U.S. courtroom.

The White House managed to evade the question of a presidential pardon for Polanski and politicians appear to be avoiding the issue like kryptonite, at least until the radioactive glow dies down a little.

That moment may be sooner than we think: One sharp-eyed analyst has detected an unusual phenomenon. HotAir.com writer Ed Morrissey says “a right-left consensus” is building around the Polanski matter.

“Every once in a while, an issue comes along that has such clear-cut implications that it rearranges the usual political alignments - perhaps especially so when the issue has little to do with electoral politics,” Mr. Morrissey says. “After an initial blast of outrage from the Hollywood left, those cultural elites find themselves further and further marginalized as the vast majority of people from across the political spectrum vent their own outrage over the shabby and despicable excuses offered for Polanski’s actions.”

It’s one of those cultural moments, folks. Polanski apologists are demonstrating how far afield they are from mainstream America. And is this a good thing?

“I think it’s a very good development, if it marginalizes Hollywood radicals,” Mr. Morrissey tells Inside the Beltway.

BOOKED UP

Running for president? Quick, write a book - and be sure to appear noble, humble, heartfelt, down-home, historic, spiritual, tough-minded, flexible, chivalrous and street smart on every page. The formula should include 25 percent personal recollections, 25 percent family stories, 35 percent political prowess, 5 percent humorous asides, 5 percent swagger and 5 percent strategically placed “shocking” allegations - to be picked up in the media feedback loop by dopey journalists who think they have stumbled on something.

Oh, and don’t forget to mention what comfort food was served on the campaign trail, how you met the spouse or the time the limo got stuck in the Iowa snow on the way to the Rotary Club pancake breakfast.

It’s now open book season for Republican presidential hopefuls, though. Sarah Palin’s “Going Rogue: An American Life” is already No. 1 on the Amazon.com hit parade six weeks before the story even hits bookstores. Mike Huckabee has already authored “Character Makes a Difference.”

And now we find that Mitt Romney has joined the wordsmith ranks as well. Mr. Romney is writing a book called “No Apology: The Case for American Greatness,” which he claims to be writing all by himself. It won’t be out until March. Wait. Mitt. What about Christmas sales?

There’s no word yet on a possible tell-all from Louisiana Gov.Bobby Jindal or Minnesota Gov.Tim Pawlenty. But one Republican source speculates that in the author derby, Mr. Pawlenty will write something before Mr. Jindal.

“Oh yeah. Instinct tells me so,” he tells Beltway.

MAYBE WE SHOULD GO

The event is “Go West, Young Policy Wonk: Should D.C. Policy Advocates Become Hollywood Screenwriters?”

It’s Friday at the New America Foundation, featuring Dr. Neal Baer, executive producer of NBC’s “Law & Order: SVU.”

“Television in the past has played a vibrant role in dramatizing the complexities of policy debate, but are shows today continuing that legacy?” the nonpartisan public policy institute asks.

Maybe someone should ask Joy Behar.

MORE OF SAME

“Less than half of Americans (45 percent) say they have a great deal or fair amount of confidence in the media to report the news fully, accurately and fairly - on par with last year’s record-low 43 percent. About two in 10 Americans (18 percent) have no confidence in the media at all - which is also among the worst grades Gallup has recorded,” says Lymari Morales, an analyst of Gallup Poll.

“A full three-fourths of Republicans (74 percent) say the news media are too liberal, compared to 45 percent of independents and 21 percent of Democrats. In contrast, two in 10 Democrats (20 percent) and independents (19 percent), along with 4 percent of Republicans, say the news media are too conservative,” she adds.

Gallup queried 1,026 adults on the subject of trust from Aug. 28 to Sept. 1. The poll revealed that of all the demographic respondents, Democrats trusted the press the most with a 58 percent approval rating followed by “nonwhites,” high school graduates, liberals and women. At the bottom of the list? Conservatives, with 37 percent who trust the news media, and Republicans at 38 percent.

POLL DU JOUR

- 47 percent of American voters say that policies from the George W. Bush administration are responsible for recent job losses.

- 14 percent of Republicans, 38 percent of independents and 82 percent of Democrats agree.

- 36 percent overall blame policies from the Obama administration for job losses.

- 64 percent of Republicans, 9 percent of Democrats and 42 percent of independents agree.

- 15 percent say neither administration is to blame.

Source: A Zogby poll of 1,978 likely voters conducted Sept. 15-17.

Whistleblowing, intrigue, wonky policy statements to jharper@washingtontimes .com or 202/636-3085.

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