- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 21, 2009

YES, WE CAN

“Obama is still popular, but polls show the public losing faith in his policies,” Chicago Sun-Times columnist Steve Huntley writes.

“Another indicator was a ‘Saturday Night Live’ skit lampooning Obama for the major accomplishments of his administration - ‘jack and squat.’ If the honeymoon is ending with the American voter, it isn’t for obsequious elements of the mainstream media. CNN prostrated itself by fact-checking the ‘SNL’ comedy skit,” Mr. Huntley said.

“But that’s harmless compared to the virulent campaign against Obama critics carried out by the denizens of MSNBC. Its Obama acolytes seek to demonize opponents of Obama’s policies by focusing on most marginal corners of right-wing politics like, for example, the ‘birthers’ who deny Obama is a natural-born citizen. The larger scheme is to imply Obama critics are racists.

“That’s the backdrop to the story of Rush Limbaugh getting booted from a group bidding to buy the St. Louis Rams. He was smeared on CNN and MSNBC with false accusations of making two racist comments. He is an abrasive critic of Obama, so he must be racist, or so goes the left-wing story line. …



“Recently, an MSNBC personality accused the U.S. Chamber of Commerce of lobbying for policies that amount to being ‘treasonous to this country.’ Remember how liberals roared in outrage at any hint of their patriotism being questioned for criticizing the Iraq War? …

“The MSNBC blast against the chamber appears to dovetail with what the Politico newspaper reports is a White House and Democratic effort ‘to marginalize’ the business organization. That echoes the administration assault on the Fox News Channel: It says Fox isn’t a news organization.

“The White House trying to dictate who’s a news organization. Democrats out to gut a business group. Obama media allies damning Americans as racist, unpatriotic and treasonous. Is this the America Obama promised when he campaigned to end the cynical and divisive politics of the past?”

BOGUS POLL

Republican pollster Kellyanne Conway, writing in a blog at www.nationalreview, says polls purporting to show growing support for a health insurance “public option” are bogus.

“The Washington Post poll is the latest example of a ‘public poll’ in the past 2-3 weeks that curiously shows a growing number of Americans supportive of the ‘public option.’ AP and Gallup were others. This is agenda-driven polling,” Ms. Conway said.

“The fact is: Asking an ignorant public about the ‘public option’ is incomplete polling. It calls for a response to feel-good phraseology rather than a probing of underlying ideology. ‘Public option’ in health care is not so different from ‘campaign-finance reform,’ ‘Violence against Women’s Act,’ ‘revenue enhancements,’ and such.

“Our side has not done enough to discredit and expose the positive-sounding ‘public option’ for what it truly is: a government grab of one of the most intimate matters people face, and one about which most of them are presently content.

“Additionally, ‘private’ is the opposite of public, and privacy is an important word in the overall health care lexicon. We should message this aspect of ‘public option’ as well.

“The bogusness of these polls is also proved by President Obama himself, who is lukewarm on the inclusion of the public option and has suggested they would move forward with or without it. He must realize that good polling shows no such clamor for a public option. The great news there, of course, is the fire he faces from the Left (unions, Congressional Black Caucus) on this if public option is excluded or severely diluted.”

HEAD VS. HEART

“If the past is prelude, Republicans will gain seats during the 2010 midterm elections, but Barack Obama will be re-elected in November 2012. It’s early, true, but history is on Obama’s side: It is just difficult to oust an incumbent U.S. president,” Matt Lewis writes at www.politicsdaily.com.

“Tradition also suggests that the Republican Party will choose either Mitt Romney or perhaps Sarah Palin to challenge him. Leaving aside the question of whether the 2012 nominee will have much of a chance, Republicans tend to follow one of two historical models when selecting a nominee to challenge a sitting incumbent,” Mr. Lewis said.

“The most often repeated template is for Republicans to select the person whose ‘turn’ it is to run for president. That’s how the Grand Old Party opted for Richard Nixon, John McCain, Bob Dole - and even George H.W. Bush. The other, less frequently employed model, says: ‘If you’re going to send up a long-shot candidate anyway - perhaps a “sacrificial lamb” - why not go with your heart?’ That’s how the GOP chose conservative firebrand Barry Goldwater as its standard-bearer in 1964, a decision that guaranteed a landslide victory for Democrats.

“Today, the perfunctory, ‘next in line’ theory suggests that the most likely GOP nominee will be former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. While Romney dropped out of the 2008 campaign earlier than Mike Huckabee, most conservatives concede that Romney finished in second place - and that is certainly the view held by the McCainiacs. So, by the logic that led to the nominations of McCain and Dole, it’s Romney’s turn. Even rank-and-file conservatives who find him less than perfect concede that he’s paid his dues.

“But what about the other model? Who is this year’s Goldwater - and, just maybe, our Reagan? Who is the person movement conservatives really want? It sure ain’t Mike Huckabee. And it might be Sarah Palin.”

PAT ON THE HEAD

Fox News analyst Brit Hume, in an appearance Monday on the network’s “Special Report with Bret Baier,” wondered how other news organizations are reacting to the White House’s request that they quarantine Fox News, Jeff Poor reports at newsbusters .org.

“So the president’s aides appear on other news channels to say that Fox, unlike those outlets, is really not a news organization but an arm of the Republican Party,” Mr. Hume said. “One wonders how our colleagues at CNN and elsewhere like being patted on the head and given the seal of approval by the White House. These outlets already stand accused of being in the tank for Mr. Obama. Do they really want to open themselves up to more such criticism by ignoring legitimate stories because they originate here?”

Mr. Hume added: “Here at Fox, meanwhile, the attacks have been something of a boon, especially to the highly opinionated and wildly popular Glenn Beck, who has installed a direct phone line on his set and invited the White House to call if anyone there has a beef. So far, no calls.”

Greg Pierce can be reached at 202/636-3285 or gpierce@washingtontimes .com.

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