- The Washington Times - Friday, February 19, 2010

ASTROTURF FREE ZONE

Behold Colin Hanna: He was the man who tracked how many lawmakers pledged to actually read the behemoth health care reform legislation; he’s a master of ceremonies at CPAC this weekend and founder of Let Freedom Ring, a grass-roots group. Mr. Hanna also shapes messages of the “strategic, unique and measurable variety” to promote constitutional government and sound economic values, he tells Inside the Beltway.

“I want something fun about it, a sense of humor, a slight quirkiness to things that draw attention, bring a chuckle,” Mr. Hanna says, adding that his next big project showcases “arrogance in office.”

And there’s a new book, “Grandma’s Not Shovel Ready,” composed entirely of protest-sign mottoes from major tea party gatherings in recent months.

“It’s meant to be an important memento of remarkable days. Anyone who thinks the tea party movement is some kind of AstroTurf need only thumb through the pages. There is no way this stuff could come out of some corporate PR shop,” Mr. Hanna says.

The book is $10 and can be ordered from www. letfreedomringusa.com.

TRUE IDENTI-TEA

Demographics are emerging: Here are the hard numbers from a CNN survey of 124 self-described tea party activists, from a larger sampling of 1,023 adults conducted Feb. 12 to 15.

• 77 percent are conservative, 20 percent moderate, 3 percent liberal.

• 44 percent are Republican, 52 percent independent, 4 percent Democrat.

• 60 percent are male, 40 percent female.

• 80 percent are white, 10 percent Latino, 2 percent black.

• 68 percent are “Protestant/Other Christian,” 16 percent Catholic.

• 40 percent are college graduates, 34 percent have “some” college education.

• 50 percent live in rural areas, 41 percent in suburbia, 9 percent in cities.

SCREEN GEMS

Some alternative viewing: CNN will air “We Were Warned: Cyber Shockwave,” gleaned from a cyberterrorism scenario staged before a live audience last week by former CIA director and retired U.S. Air Force Gen. Michael Hayden. The cast includes former 9/11 commission chairmen Lee Hamilton and Thomas Kean and former Homeland Security director Michael Chertoff, among many.

“We were trying to show practical, concrete steps that the government and the private sector need to work on,” Gen. Hayden tells Inside the Beltway.

“Among these, I would include the development of 1) clearer policies with regard to what the government can and cannot do in these kinds of emergencies, 2) a broad national understanding of what constitutes a “reasonable expectation of privacy” on the Internet, 3) more robust and regularized public-private partnerships, and 4) a broadly accepted international regime of what constitutes acceptable and unacceptable behavior in cyberspace.”

The program airs Saturday and Sunday at 8 and 11 p.m., and 2 a.m.

Look for first lady Michelle Obama with Mike Huckabee on Fox News, Saturday and Sunday at 8 p.m. And uh-oh. “Family Guy” creator Seth MacFarlane explains his dubious remarks about Sarah Palin to Bill Maher on HBO, Friday at 10 p.m.

BUMPER PATROL

“Go back. Earth is full.”

Bumper sticker spotted in Leesburg, Va.

BIGGER AND BIGGER

When the Obama administration is in doubt, it either scurries to the campaign trail or creates a shiny new federal agency - sometimes simultaneously. Indeed, President Obama is currently campaigning for Democratic incumbents in Nevada and Colorado; he also authorized the formation of a fat fiscal commission to deal with the nation’s, uh, fat fiscals.

But don’t look too close. The commission’s findings won’t be released until Dec. 1, uh, conveniently after the midterm elections.

“It is unfortunately a political solution to a glaring math problem. Since the president has unfairly given Democrats and liberals an overrepresentation on the commission, the odds are high that its recommendations will be heavy on tax increases and light on spending reductions,” says Rep. Tom Price, Georgia Republican.

“Congress is responsible for America’s sad fiscal state, and Congress must make the tough decisions to fix it today. If the current membership of this Congress is not capable without the crutch of a White House commission, there are certainly plenty of Americans willing to replace them,” he adds.

POLL DU JOUR

• 21 percent of U.S. voters say that the federal government “enjoys the consent of the governed,” 18 percent are not sure.

• 61 percent believe the federal government does not enjoy that consent.

• 78 percent of Republicans and 44 percent of Democrats agree.

• 71 percent of voters overall now view the federal government as a “special interest group.”

• 70 percent say that the federal government works with big business in ways that hurt consumers.

Source: A Rasmussen Reports survey of 1,000 likely voters conducted Feb. 15 and 16.

Righteous mottoes, whispered asides, inane chat to jharper@washingtontimes .com.

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide