- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 16, 2010


Has incivility ruined politics, and more importantly, the meaningful byproducts of political discourse? Sen. Evan Bayh blamed partisanship for his decision to ditch his re-election campaign. The Indiana Democrat is weary of the rigors of Congress.

Kent Roberts, founder of the Iowa-based Civility Institute, explains all:

“We’ve lost the art of talking with each other, rather than at each other, of cultivating common ground. We’ve created talking points, and we posture, and when we posture, we’re toast,” Mr. Roberts tells Inside the Beltway. “There’s no new territory. Everything turns into the same argument. We’re polarized, and therefore paralyzed.”

Something’s got to give, or public servants and politicians on both sides will continue to fall away, he warns.

“People are managing leadership, but they’re not leading. It’s come down to this. Americans are frustrated and angry, and it is a painful, disappointing thing to watch,” Mr. Roberts adds. “Some lawmakers have shown flashes of leadership, but still, most fall back on dogma and agenda. Now, they must remember that constructive conversation is a bipartisan value. Without it, we cease to be unique and creative as Americans, and it robs us of finding the new ground that is so important to our nation.”


Here’s how some journalists saw Mr. Bayh’s big reveal:

“Bayh to Obama: Take this job and shove it.” (Charles Lane, The Washington Post)

“Ouch. Bayh called Obama but not Harry Reid.” (Christina Bellantoni, Talking Points Memo)

“Indiana nightmare.” (Jonathan Martin, Politico)

Dan Quayle: Bayh out, Reaganism in.” (Robert Costa, National Review)


Where’s Al Gore? As “Snowmageddon” inspires snow politics, Mr. Gore’s name has been used in vain plenty when talk of global warming surfaces during the worst winter on record. But like the storybook character Waldo, Mr. Gore is still right in front of us, lingering amid myriad details and distractions.

Just 72 hours ago, the former vice president was fund-raising for Sen. Barbara Boxer in Los Angeles; the California Democrat staged a pre-Valentine’s luncheon with a grand prize for one lucky donor: A chance to lunch with Mr. Gore, with airfare and hotel accommodations included.

Mr. Gore’s critics have a long memory, meanwhile. Hollywood writer and Pajamas Media founder Roger L. Simon and filmmaker Lionel Chetwynd have already called on the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to rescind the Oscar awarded to Al Gore’s movie “An Inconvenient Truth.”

Now Donald Trump wants Mr. Gore’s Nobel Prize.

“With the coldest winter ever recorded, with snow setting record levels up and down the coast, the Nobel committee should take the Nobel Prize back from Al Gore,” Mr. Trump recently told an audience at the Trump National Golf Club in New York.

“Gore wants us to clean up our factories and plants in order to protect us from global warming, when China and other countries couldn’t care less. It would make us totally noncompetitive in the manufacturing world, and China, Japan and India are laughing at America’s stupidity.”


Goodbye, Britney. Hello, health care reform. A national “Mood Monitor” released Monday finds that “tough times drive Americans to take far more interest in serious issues.” Half of the nation has lost interest in “celebrity antics” and gained a pronounced taste for “a raft of weighty matters,” such as health care, the economy, taxes, domestic-policy politics and hard news in general.

Half of the respondents, in fact, have become more “news hungry” then ever, the research found.

“A year into the Obama presidency and 18 months into the economic crisis, Americans are looking more closely and more critically than ever at the public issues that affect them,” says Marian Salzman, president of Euro RSCG Worldwide, a marketing company that conducted the survey of 388 adults.

“Americans aren’t liking what they’re seeing,” she adds. “With this disgruntled mood prevailing, we can expect a lot of heat and upset in election contests this year. There was a strong current of opinion in favor of dumping incumbents.”


Now meandering around the Internet, this parody news story, brought to our attention by Ron Homan, a Beltway reader in Virginia:

“Recognition of George W. Bush by the Obama Administration: The Obama administration will be honoring the 43rd president of the United States by naming the gap between the tectonic plates beneath Haiti after him. The area will now officially be referred to as ‘Bush’s Fault.’ ”


Someone has noticed that NBC’s “Meet the Press” host David Gregory loves to showcase visceral political cartoons on his weekly hour of destiny - but he never credits the cartoonist. Among those who’s work has been lifted without credit: the Denver Post’s Mike Keefe, the Pittsburgh Post Gazette’s Rob Rogers and New Yorker illustrator Barry Blitt.

It’s a double standard, says Rob Tornoe, a political cartoonist for Politicker.com, and a blogger for Cagle’s Political Cartoonist Index.

“We’re like Rodney Dangerfield; we get no respect,” Mr. Tornoe observes. “Are they jealous of a cartoonist’s ability to sum up their thoughts in a single, thought-provoking image, since generally it takes them nearly 700 words or 10 minutes of air time to say the same thing?”


• 56 percent of U.S. voters say President Obama “still believes” that human activity is to blame for global warming.

• 35 percent agree with the president.

• 47 percent say “long-term planetary trends” are mostly to blame.

• 10 percent are not sure of the reason; 8 percent say there is “some other reason.”

• 56 percent say global warming remains “at least a somewhat serious problem.”

• 61 percent say finding new sources of energy is more important than lowering our energy consumption.

Source: A Rasmussen Reports survey of 1,000 likely voters conducted Feb. 13 to 14.

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