- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Brand Obama

So. Is President Obama ferocious and reassuring enough for the American public yet? His transformation into a wartime president has prompted whining among liberals and grudging admiration from some conservatives. But Mr. Obama may not be quite there.

“President Obama is growing into his job. He’s playing catch-up, and it’s not as easy as he thought it would be. His personal ‘brand’ is evolving, hopefully towards a man of real experience rather than just a man with big ideas,” John Tantillo, a New York City marketing expert and Fox News contributor, tells Inside the Beltway.

“Experience always trumps intelligence, particularly in politics. There is also a significant difference between having knowledge and having true wisdom. Mr. Obama could be discovering this right now,” Mr. Tantillo continues.

“Do Americans buy the new image? There’s a likely three-way split on the new, improved wartime Obama. Democrats say he’s on the money, Republicans disagree, independents undecided. So the jury’s still out. Simple as that.”

Republican phoenix

It was once a familiar refrain: Oh, the poor, old Republicans. Losers. Out of touch. So bellicose, so archaic — and tainted by Bush administration warrior cooties while sparkling “hope and change” dawned on the horizon before the adoring public.

But wait. Those warrior cooties now don’t look so bad after a botched Christmas Day terrorist attack aboard a Detroit-bound international flight reminded Americans what lurks out there. Change of a different sort could be brewing.

“Since 9/11, the Republicans have led the Democrats in most yearly updates of the question on terrorism, with the exception of 2006-2007 — periods when George W. Bush’s approval rating was below 40 percent,” notes a recent Gallup analysis, which finds that in the last decade, the public trusted Republicans more than Democrats to protect the U.S. from “international terrorism and military threats” by as much as a 50 percent to 31 percent margin in some cases.

Preening of Republican plumage might be in order. Another bitter battle is affected as well.

“The foiled Christmas Day bombing also takes away the momentum of President Obama’s health care initiative and his domestic agenda. In 2010, it’s being replaced with the national security emergency that Democrats may not necessarily be prepared to handle,” Republican strategist Ron Bonjean tells Inside the Beltway.

“It’s not a bad idea for Republicans to offer policy alternatives and suggestions. Remember. Under Bush, people were kept safe,” Mr. Bonjean adds.

Pelosi posse

Some canny lawmakers side with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, though they masquerade as conservatives on the campaign trail.

“All too often Democrats get elected by lying to their constituents. In their home district, they talk and act ‘conservative.’ Back in Washington they vote for Speaker Pelosis radical agenda,” says Scott Wheeler, executive director of the National Republican Trust PAC.

The group was concerned about the phenomenon enough to create “The Pelosi Index,” a handy-dandy update that tracks the voting records of every member of Congress, and how often “self proclaimed moderates” actually support the Pelosi agenda. There are, for example, 100 Democrats who sided with Mrs. Pelosi 100 percent of the time, and another 226 who supported her on 75 percent of the legislation.

“Lawmakers of both parties will be forced to think twice before voting in favor of any new radical proposal Nancy Pelosi forces onto the House floor. There is no place for them to hide and the liberal media cannot protect them from their true voting record,” Mr. Wheeler says.

Curious? Find the index here: www.goptrust.com.

The compleat pollster

Indefatigable. Scott Rasmussen, the man behind Rasmussen Reports, reveals that his New Jersey based public opinion shop normally conducts two regular tracking polls a night and typically releases another six polling stories daily.

Not a wonder, then, that Mr. Rasmussen is at the receiving end of partisan potshots on occasion — most recently from the Democratic Party. Some operatives are vexed that the mainstream press is, well, publishing lots and lots of Rasmussen results these days according to Politico and other sources. But the proprietor is philosophical about it all.

“It’s always the case. When things aren’t going well, you shoot the messenger, you blame the referee,” Mr. Rasmussen tells The Beltway. “It’s not just us. The White House went after Gallup recently. There is so much more information, so many people following it — the intensity is growing. But things also change. When the polls show the Democrats are winning, they’re a little more forgiving.”

Sartorial demeanor

The meaner, the better perhaps. It’s a tough job, but somebody had to do it. Former Nixon-era heavyweight and frequent blogger Roger Stone has proclaimed the best- and worst-dressed Americans, his lists aglow with celebrities, plus a precious few from the political realm.

Among best-dressed politicos: President Obama, former San Francisco mayor Willie Brown and former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer. Hm. Well, OK. Worst dressed includes Michael Moore, CNN’s Larry King and Sen. Charles E. Schumer.

“Did he sleep in that suit?” Mr. Stone asks of the New York Democrat.

And on to the ladies. Best-dressed politico-ettes: Nancy Reagan, Sarah Palin and Maria Shriver. The worst dressed? Hm. There were none.

Poll du jour

58 percent of Americans say Congress is doing a “poor job.”

79 percent of Republicans and 32 percent of Democrats agree.

43 percent say “most members of Congress” are corrupt.

9 percent say the average lawmaker wants to “help people more.”

79 percent say lawmakers put their own careers first.

56 percent say Congress is unlikely to seriously address important problems.

Source: A Rasmussen reports survey of 1,000 likely voters conducted Dec. 30.

Whining, pining, opining to [email protected]

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