- The Washington Times - Friday, February 26, 2010

POLITICAL PLUMAGE

Forget the plain old red power tie. A high-profile, bipartisan pecking match brings out the plumage among he-man politicos, proving power is in the eye of the beholder, and maybe the broadcast cameras.

Behold the ties of the health care summit at Blair House on Thursday. No ascots. No bolos. No chest hair. But patterns, stripes, chevrons? Orange, rose and green? You betcha. Herewith the official Inside the Beltway tie watch, and a sampling of who wore what:

President Obama: Silvery sky blue.

Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.: Medium cadet blue.

Sen. Lamar Alexander, Tennessee Republican: Navy blue with white doodads.

Sen. Tom Coburn, Oklahoma Republican: Burnt orange with amber blobs.

Sen. Kent Conrad, North Dakota Democrat: Grass-green and white stripes.

Sen. Charles E. Grassley, Iowa Republican: Dark gray.

Sen. Tom Harkin, Iowa Democrat: Light blue with white diamonds.

Sen.John McCain, Arizona Republican: Burgundy with amber stripes.

Rep. Dave Camp, Michigan Republican: Mustard yellow with gray diamonds.

Rep. Eric Cantor, Virginia Republican: Muted crimson.

Sen. Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat: Wide dark- and light-blue stripes.

Rep.Peter Roskam, Illinois Republican: Gold with umber curlicues.

Rep.Paul D. Ryan, Wisconsin Republican: Deep rose and ivory stripes.

Rep.Henry A. Waxman, California Democrat: Burgundy with white diamonds.

UH-OH

The political insult barometer grows ever more colorful: Water conservation groups are in a fit of pique over remarks made by Maryland state Sen. Richard F.Colburn, Cambridge Republican.

“These river keepers - environmentalists - are watermelons: Green on the outside and red or socialist on the inside,” Mr. Colburn said during a recent appearance in the state Senate.

The groups in question are now seeing red.

On Thursday, Kathy Phillips of Assateague Coastkeeper called the remark “a McCarthy-like slur.”

“Having served two tours of duty in Vietnam, I take it personally when someone calls me a Red, a socialist,” said Richard Dove, a Republican retired Marine Corp colonel and a member of the Neuse Riverkeeper.

“If anything, Riverkeepers are red-blooded Americans, not Red socialists.” agreed Jeff Kelble of the Shenandoah Riverkeeper.

JUST SO YOU KNOW

$18,500: How much Levi Johnston owes Bristol Palin in back child support for her infant son, Tripp.

$1,688.42: How much Mr. Johnston must pay a month in child support, according to an Alaska court.

$105,000: How much Mr. Johnston reportedly earned for public appearances in 2009.

$4,400: How much he has paid Miss Palin so far.

May 14: The date Sarah Palin speaks before the National Rifle Association’s American Values Leadership Forum.

HELP FOR A SOLDIER

Talk-radio host Michael Savage has jumped to the defense of Lt. Michael Behenna, an Army Ranger sentenced to 25 years in Fort Leavenworth, Kan., prison for killing Ali Mansur, “a known member of an al Qaeda cell” while serving in Iraq in 2008. Lt. Behenna said it was in self-defense.

Mr. Savage and his listeners have raised almost $150,000 for the soldier’s defense fund. His case is currently in the Army Court of Appeals, with a government response due April 21.

“Even if you haven’t sent him any money, even if you only e-mailed him or wrote him a letter, it’s giving him the hope that one day he will be freed,” Mr. Savage tells Inside the Beltway, adding that the soldier’s defense fund is active at his Web site www.michaelsavage.com.

POLL DU JOUR

• 15 percent of Democrats and 87 percent of Republicans say the biggest problem in Washington is that “people there think they are smarter than the rest of us.”

• 64 percent of Democrats and 8 percent of Republicans say the biggest problem is that “nothing ever gets done.”

• 17 percent of Democrats and 86 percent of Republicans say the biggest problem is that lawmakers pass “too many bad bills.”

• 75 percent of Democrats and 21 percent of Republicans say the biggest problem is that “politicians fight too much.”

• 16 percent of Democrats and 68 percent of Republicans say the biggest problem is that “politicians cozy up to one another” and abandon their principles.

Source: A Zogby poll of 2,068 adults conducted Feb. 17-19.

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