- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 22, 2009

ORIGINS OF UNIVERSE

Yowsuh. It sounds like the Big Bang, or maybe nuclear fusion. Veteran Republican strategist Roger Stone thinks that a third political party could emerge from the newfound vibrancy of citizen protest. And he has stern warning for those dithering on the sidelines.

“A review of the ‘tea party’ crowds shows they are not all Republicans but a mix of Republicans, Democrats and independents. This is a populist revolt, rather than a conservative revolt,” Mr. Stone tells Inside the Beltway. “If the Republicans cannot find a leader and program to fill the political vacuum, the tea party movement could be the staging area of a new populist party that offers an alternative to Obamaism. The Republicans could get subsumed into the new party the same way the Whigs got subsumed in the modern-day Republican Party.”

And with new party comes new leader.

“The third-party candidate could be a Michael Bloomberg-like business person, if not Bloomberg himself, or an academic, teacher or military person. The damage to the Republican Party inflicted by George W. Bush and Karl Rove may not be fixable. We are no longer viewed as the party of fiscal conservatives. We have no natural leaders. The party must solve these problems or perish as a viable political force,” Mr. Stone says.

NOW HEAR THIS

Noisy critics of Rush Limbaugh should observe a moment of silence, please. Just 30 seconds. The talk-radio host quietly has donated $500,000 to the House Ear Institute in Los Angeles in memory of staff physician Dr. Antonio De la Cruz. The hearing specialist helped Mr. Limbaugh through a bout with sudden deafness in 2001 that jeopardized his career; medication and a cochlear implant proved the panacea.

“Rush Limbaughs gift is a testament to the care and treatment Dr. De la Cruz showed to all of his patients,” said Jim Boswell, CEO of the nonprofit research institute, established in 1946 to further advance hearing science.

GREEN TEA

Curmudgeons rejoice. The swashbuckling “tea party” tribe has co-opted the eco-conscious Al Gore message and transformed it into something less alarmist and guilt-ridden. Coming to Lafayette Park across from the White House on Saturday, it’s “the nation’s first Green Tea Party,” organized by Truth About Green, a Maryland-based nonprofit organization that aims to apply common sense to global warming, pollution and other handwringing topics.

The Heartland Institute, Institute for Liberty, Climate Depot, Freedom Action and other groups will be represented. Select lawmakers will attend. But look out.

“Like the other tea parties, this one will show that conservatives are still alive, still strong,” Steven Milloy tells Beltway.

He is author of “Green Hell: How Environmentalists Plan to Control Your Life and What You Can Do to Stop Them” and founder and publisher of www.junkscience.com.

“People in the Obama camp are activist by nature. Conservatives by habit flock to think tanks. But if they want to save their movement, they’ve got to get off their butts, get out of those think tanks and do it themselves. And this is what we’re doing here,” Mr. Milloy adds.

MELANCHOLY BABY

Much ado has been made about New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd’s angst that women are now quite sad - a cause also adopted by Arianna Huffington. The topic will be explored by former Gallup pollster Marcus Buckingham at the Huffington Post, complete with backup from the General Social Survey and other opinion gauges. OK. Great. But could it be that females are sad because 1960s-era feminism tore apart a long-standing women’s culture without leaving a viable replacement? They’re mourning the loss.

Ms. Huffington and her progressive/liberal compadres have uncomfortable reality to confront, though. Harris Polls, the Pew Research Center, Gallup and the aforementioned social survey suggest that Republicans and conservatives - including their womenfolk - are happier than their Democratic and liberal counterparts.

From a 2008 Harris Poll: Almost four in 10 Republicans (39 percent) are very happy, compared with about one-third of independents (34 percent) and Democrats (33 percent).

From a 2008 Pew poll: 47 percent of conservative Republicans say they’re happy, compared with 27 percent of liberal Democrats. “This big GOP edge in life’s happiness sweepstakes is not a new phenomenon. Ever since the General Social Survey first asked the question in 1972, Republicans have always been happier than Democrats.”

At Gallup, a 2007 poll found that “Republicans are more likely than independents or Democrats to say they are very satisfied with their personal lives and that they are very happy.” The trend has been noted since 1996.

“Surveys conducted by the General Social Surveys, from its inception in 1972 through 2006, consistently show a happiness divide, with Republican men being happier than Democratic men, and Republican women being happier than Democratic women,” notes a trends analysis from Reference.com, an online resource.

Mr. Buckingham has his work cut out for him.

POLL DU JOUR

• 72 percent of Americans have an unfavorable opinion of Congress.

• 56 percent of Democrats and 86 percent of Republicans view lawmakers unfavorably.

• 69 percent of Americans overall view business CEOs unfavorably; 54 percent view journalists unfavorably.

• 22 percent have an unfavorable impression of the clergy; 3 percent view small-business owners unfavorably.

Source: A Rasmussen Reports survey of 1,000 adults conducted Sept. 17-18.

Joyous exultations, whimpers, surveys to jharper@ washingtontimes.com or 202.636-3085.

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