- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 30, 2010


Lose weight, stop smoking? Uh, no. Revere the U.S. Constitution and save money? You betcha. Newt Gingrich collected more than 200 citizen recommendations for New Year’s resolutions, congressional style, only to find that more than half of them advised lawmakers to uphold the Constitution.

“Many of these suggestions mentioned the 10th Amendment specifically and asked for Congress to return power and control back to the state governments. Others asked for a requirement that all new bills cite their constitutional authority,” Mr. Gingrich says. “Many others simply asked members of Congress to remember their oath of office, to ‘support and defend the Constitution of the United States,’ before every vote.”

Earmarks have got to go.

“It is clear that the American people are sick of politicians using taxpayer money to pad their re-election chances. Many pointed out that a worthwhile project should be able to sustain an up-or-down vote on its own. In third place was a resolution for Congress to fix our broken borders and immigration system,” Mr. Gingrich says. “Others making the top 10 were repealing Obamacare, simplifying legislative language and getting rid of the White House czars.”


It’s not just the lawmakers who are constitutionally challenged. The Bill of Rights Institute says Americans have “alarming gaps” in their knowledge of founding documents; they answer questions about such patriotic content less than a third of the time. A plurality — 42 percent — think Karl Marx‘s exposition of communism, “From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs,” came from the Bill of Rights.


In a survey of 2,100 adults, the research group also found that 60 percent did not realize that the U.S. government’s powers being derived “from the consent of the governed” is an attribute that makes America unique among nations.

“It is imperative that Americans understand how vital the Bill of Rights is to the future of our country,” says Jason Ross, vice president of education for the group. “With a better understanding of our founding documents, Americans can see how much our experiment in self-government depends on the ideas of the Founders and why America has been an example of freedom up to this point.”


“The Democrats have managed to forget that they are elected to do what the people want. Once again, they’ve made the classic mistake of thinking that they got the messaging wrong — not the policies,” says Manhattan marketing expert John Tantillo, who says the party is a “losing brand” in the political pantheon.

“Bottom line, until the Democrats understand that the majority of Americans do not believe that government is the permanent answer to their problems, the Democrat brand is going to weaken. Keep an eye out for Evan Bayh and other Democrats who understand that the party’s future is about listening to the people.”


Along with “throw their hat in the ring,” and “progressive,” Politics Daily correspondent Walter Shapiro is also tired of the catchphrase “grow the economy” and has placed it on a list of the “hackneyed and the humdrum” in political blabbery.

“This ungainly formulation, implying that the economy is a fragile orchid needing the tender ministrations of a dedicated gardener, was rarely employed until Bill Clinton ran for president,” Mr. Shapiro says.

“Sadly, this Clinton-ism grew like kudzu. Defending his tax-cutting zeal during an impromptu Sept. 4, 2001, press conference , George W. Bush said, ‘What we ought to be thinking about is: How do we grow the economy of the United States?’ In truth, what presidents ought to be thinking about is: How do we shrink the use of this grating expression?” he says.


“If elected RNC chairman, I pledge to you to fully fund our voter registration and GOTV operations starting in 2011. We must never again, and we will not if I am chairman, leave even one victory to chance.”

(Republican National Committee chairman hopeful Maria Cino, in a letter to the membership before the official candidate debate on Monday)


Old Glory, apple pie, good old American rock ‘n’ roll remain steadfast in American hearts. But Southeastern Louisiana University communications professor Joseph Burns says Americans can’t quite agree on rock heritage.

What was the first rock song ever issued? Mr. Burns conducted a survey among musicians and academics alike to find the following tunes among popular nominees: “How High the Moon” by Les Paul and Mary Ford; “Boogie Chillen” by John Lee Hooker; “Saturday Night Fish Fry” by Louis Jordan; “The Fat Man” by Fats Domino; “Rock Around the Clock” by Bill Haley and the Comets; and “Rocket 88” by Jackie Brenston and his Delta Cats.

“An argument can be made for and against every song mentioned, but there’s one that fits better than all of those noted: ‘That’s All Right Mama,’ by Arthur ‘Big Boy’ Crudup,” says Mr. Burns, explaining that the 1946 rockabilly tune combines a “blues melody line over top” and possibly the first guitar solo break.


• 60 percent of Americans feel more optimistic about “what is ahead for the world” in 2011.

• 56 percent say it is “not likely at all” they will make a New Year’s resolution.

• 44 percent plan to make a resolution.

• 17 percent of that group plan to stop smoking, 16 percent to lose weight and 13 percent to spend less.

• 10 percent want to be a “better person,” 8 percent will exercise more, and 6 percent want a “better job.”

• 3 percent want to “enjoy life,” 2 percent will increase family time.

• 1 percent plan to stop drinking, worry less, get politically involved and “get closer to God.”

Source: A Marist poll of 1,029 adults conducted Dec. 2 to 8.

Happy, prosperous New Year to one and all; tip line always open at jharper@washingtontimes.com.

Sign up for Daily Newsletters

Manage Newsletters

Copyright © 2021 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

Please read our comment policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide