- The Washington Times - Sunday, October 4, 2009

Chair man of the bored

Politics + celebrity = celebritics. And it is such a delicious mix these days, n’est pas? Oui, oui. Consider that an ardent fan recently donated more than $63,000 to a charity to have dinner with Sarah Palin. So no one should be surprised that an esthetically inclined investor has put down $10,200 to buy Rod Blagojevich’s chair. Really.

Mississippi artist Sabrina Comola outbid everybody else in a charity auction for the very chair that the former Illinois governor sat upon during an appearance on “Jimmy Kimmel Live.”

It’s all a crafty spoof on current allegations that Mr. Blagojevich tried to “sell” President Obama’s seat back when he was just a senator.

Mrs. Comola plans to stage a chair party at her home once the thing arrives from ABC’s studios in California. Guests will be allowed to take turns sitting in it, just like Blago did. Mrs. Comola sees it all as a larger than life experience, and maybe a good investment.

“I hope the value of the seat goes up, and it will probably go up if he goes to prison. Some people in power think they can do whatever they want. Maybe the rules in Chicago politics have been a little loose,” she told the Chicago Tribune.

But the rules of celebritics dictate that both parties remain on their quest to stay buzz worthy, with distinctly political overtones. The former governors are busy on the speaking circuit, and promoting their respective books. His, “The Governor,” is already in bookstores. Hers, “Going Rogue: An American Life,” goes on sale Nov. 17.

Skyrocketing Sarah

We do not know if Mr. Blagojevich’s chair will rise in value.

But Mrs. Palin’s political stock is definitely rising according to one astute observer.

“While the usual political news sources have seen everything going wrong for Palin — scandal, personal oddness, intraparty hostilities, myriad family problems — everything, in fact, has been going right for her. The Palin plan is working,” says Michael Wolff, founder and editor of Newser.com

“She’s built a capable staff that’s shielding her and providing her with some basic political professionalism — she made her foreign-policy debut in Hong Kong last week without incident. She’s touring the country on behalf of local Republicans, building up a bank of politico IOUs. She’s got a fundraising effort going that’s aping the Obama Internet campaign. She may be the savviest buyer of search terms in politics. And, with her blowout book, she’s going to secure personal wealth as well as mightily advance her brand,” Mr. Wolff continues.

“Modern politics is all about phenomena with organizational skills. Lightning struck Sarah Palin in a way that almost every political professional found hard to believe, and stomach. What seems even harder to swallow is that she has the discipline and the desire — and enough of a mind for details — to have already put in place a capable plan to develop, exploit, and build the most distinctive political profile in the Republican Party.

“Sarah Palin is just getting started,” Mr. Wolff concludes.

Values village

New on the ever expanding roster of smart Web sites: www.jewishworldreview.com — which editor in chief Binyamin L. Jolkovsky insists is for everybody. There is a daily cavalcade of conservative columnists, rabbinical thought and a mother lode of information on traditional family values, biblical verse, marriage and philosophy.

“There is a real sense of commonality between believing Christians and believing Jews. There’s a lot of overlap,” Mr. Jolkovsky tells Beltway. “And I’m getting a lot of Christians coming to the site.”

He’s also setting out the welcome mat for politicians and policymakers in need of content and ideas.

“Anyone called upon to defend their values in the political arena is always in need of backup and information. We’ve got it. Politicians are welcome here 100 percent,” Mr. Jolkovsky says.

Days of yore

And we thought the old Gore v. Bush 2000 presidential bout was a close race. Happy birthday to Rutherford B. Hayes, born on this day in 1822 and 19th president. He won in the closest electoral contest in U.S. history, besting Samuel J. Tilden by a single electoral vote.

Happy birthday, too, to Charlton Heston, gentleman actor and former National Rifle Association president. He would have turned 86 today.

Carving began on Mount Rushmore in the Black Hills of South Dakota on this day in 1927. The massive project took 12 years to complete, the brainchild of historian Doane Robinson, who hoped to bring more tourists to the state. George Washington’s face was the first to be completed by sculptor Gutzon Borglum in 1934; the project cost $1 million and was paid for with federal funds.

Peaceniks, take note: Pope Paul VI called for an end to the Vietnam War 43 years ago today.

And last but not least, a sobering anniversary. Reagan National Airport reopened on this day in 2001, after being shuttered for security reasons in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Poll du jour

55 percent of Americans say there are “very strong/strong” social conflicts between immigrants and people born in the U.S.

47 percent say there are strong conflicts between rich people and poor people.

39 percent say there are conflicts between blacks and whites.

26 percent say there are conflicts between young people and older folks.

22 percent of Republicans and 36 percent of Democrats say there are strong conflicts within all these groups.

Source: A Pew Research Center survey of 1,815 adults conducted July 20 to Aug. 2.

Follow Jennifer Harper at twitter.com/harperbulletin.

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