- The Washington Times - Sunday, September 6, 2009

The big chair

Many Republicans have great affection for Sarah Palin for her style, grit, charisma, tenacity and cool shoes. But now we find that she also has a certain self-assured political demeanor — an intangible — that grants her power. The former Alaska governor is “head of the table” material, a quality shared by such heavyweights as Winston Churchill and Sen. Edward Kennedy, says Jeffrey Lord of The American Spectator.

“Wherever I sit is the head of the table,” Mr. Churchill once remarked to a hostess concerned about seating arrangements.

“A year after her emergence on the national scene, it is crystal clear that former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin has this ‘head of the table’ gene in spades. She is, in a remarkable way, the real heir — make that heiress — to Senator Kennedy. She is charismatic, she has a decided point of view and she is a lightning rod for controversy,” Mr. Lord says.

“This is what really drives Sarah Palin’s critics nuts. She sits up there in Alaska with Todd and the kids, taps out a few words on her Facebook page, and presto! ObamaCare has a torpedo amidships! Without doubt this causes Palin’s rivals, just as it once did with Churchill’s and Teddy Kennedy’s, to fret and fume if not foam,” he adds.

Mr. Lord later concluded, “But like Ted Kennedy, Sarah Palin has a gift. An ability to make Americans focus on the issue of the day — and likewise the head of the table ability to lead the country in a specific direction. … She may be president of the United States. Or like Ted Kennedy, she may never be president of the United States. But without doubt, Sarah Palin has demonstrated that she has exactly the opportunity that Ted Kennedy eventually found for himself in the United States Senate. The ability, whether she receives applause or scorn, to get the American people saying:

Did you hear what Sarah Palin said today?”

All right Albright

Why Madame Secretary.

We never knew.

Our far-flung sources tell us that former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright talked up media woes, democracy, the death of newspapers and all that other stuff at the Aspen Institute “Forum on Communications and Society” in recent weeks.

“When I was an academic, I wrote about the role of the press internationally in political change. And there is no question in my mind, in terms of authoritarian societies, if you do not have information, you can’t operate and it is power,” Mrs. Albright told her audience.

But wait, wait. Here comes the punch line.

“I am a complete news junkie, but I’m still into newspapers,” she said in conclusion. “Every morning I get up, I begin with The Washington Times to make me crazy. Then I go to The Washington Post, then I go to The New York Times, and The Wall Street Journal, then The Financial Times. And I feel that I need to read all of those in order to get what it is I need.”

Quotes of note

“Japanese Throw Liberal Democrats Out Like Garbage” — Headline in Pravda.

“We should train our politicians like we train our dogs.” — Frank Fleming, Pajamas Media.

“Conservatives dominate the broadcast and cable media in this country.” — Tom Shales, The Washington Post.

“STOP GLOBAL WHINING.” — T-shirt emblem from Rightwingstuff.com

Poll du jour

32 percent of Americans have signed a political petition in the last year.

30 percent have contacted a public official about an issue.

28 percent have worked with fellow citizens to solve a community problem.

24 percent have attended a local political meeting.

18 percent made a political donation.

15 percent were active members in a political group.

12 percent attended a political rally or speech.

Source: A Pew Internet and American Life Project survey of 2,251 adults conducted Aug. 12 and 31.

Days of yore

On this day 389 years ago, the Pilgrims departed from Plymouth, England, aboard the Mayflower to settle in the New World. The 102 passengers, a crew of five and two dogs took 66 days to cross the Atlantic in the ship, which historians speculate was 90 to 110 feet long and 25 feet wide. One infant boy was born en route and named Oceanus Hopkins. Another, Peregrine White, was born on the Mayflower moored in Provincetown Harbor before the passengers disembarked.

Interesting days just northeast of Washington: After crossing the Potomac River at White’s Ford, Confederate Gen. Thomas Jonathan “Stonewall” Jackson occupied Frederick, Md., on Sept. 6, 1862.

All hail the P-40 today, the birthday of U.S. Army Air Corps Lt. Gen. Claire Lee Chennault, born 116 years ago in Commerce, Texas, and the man who commanded three squadrons of intrepid “Flying Tigers” during World War II.

President William McKinley was shot on this day in 1901 at the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, N.Y., by anarchist Leon Czolgosz; McKinley lived almost a week before succumbing to a gangrene infection on Sept. 14.

Oh, and live long and prosper. For no reason in particular, we point out that the original “Star Trek” premiered on NBC 43 years ago today. The show spawned six spin-off TV series and 11 movies and much regret among the original network executives.

Contact Jennifer Harper at [email protected] times.com or 202/636-3085. Follow her at twitter.com/harperbulletin.

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