- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 10, 2010

WAXING AND WANING

Back waxes, fancy hairdos - hey, such is the stuff of politics sometimes. Marco Rubio will have none of such talk on the campaign trail, however. The conservative challenger to Florida Gov. Charlie Crist - both running for the Senate seat in the Sunshine State - will not respond in kind to Mr. Crist’s recent accusations that his opponent spent $130 on a cosmetic back wax. Why, Mr. Rubio could have suggested that the governor has a penchant for Aqua Velva and Nair - but no. Mr. Rubio is taking the high road.

“You know that Charlie Crist will use every dime in his multimillion-dollar attack machine to drag Marco down. Crist is a worried and bitter man at this point, and Marco is a man who is balancing his life as a serious candidate, a husband and a father of four,” Alex Burgos, Mr. Rubio’s spokesman, tells Inside the Beltway. “Consequently, Crist ends up giving disastrous, bizarre interviews.”

The interview in question was on Fox News; Mr. Crist told host Greta Van Susteren that Mr. Rubio had sullied his status as a fiscal conservative by wielding a “Republican Party credit card” to finance a $130 hair cut - or “maybe a back wax,” the waggish governor said.

Mr. Rubio’s camp did the math to discover that in the 11-minute interview, Mr. Crist spent a full two minutes on back-waxing.

“Charlie Crist is a desperate politician whose record of supporting the failed $787 billion stimulus, bailouts and tax increases is being rejected by Floridians,” Mr. Burgos says. “He is the sitting governor of the fourth-largest state who has fallen so far and so fast that he’s now reduced himself to making up stories about his opponent’s grooming habits.”

IN TOWN TODAY

And now, the other Hollywood: The USO presents a special congressional screening of Jake Rademacher’s critically acclaimed 2009 documentary “Brothers at War” on Wednesday at the National Museum of American History. The event will be hosted by Cindy McCain, Medal of Honor recipient Buddy Bucha and Army Chief of Staff Gen. George Casey.

“It’s extraordinary to screen this film, for this audience - and that it has been embraced as much as it has been by the public,” Mr. Rademacher tells the Beltway.

The filmmaker’s two younger brothers - both in the Army with multiple deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan - are the stars of the production, now available on DVD.

The audience will include, among many others, Republican Reps. John A. Boehner of Ohio, Thaddeus McCotter of Michigan and Jeff Miller of Florida; and Rep. John D. Dingell, Michigan Democrat.

ROVE ARRIVES

Karl Rove’s new book “Courage and Consequence: My Life as a Conservative in the Fight” just hit the bookstands, debuting at No. 1 on Amazon in the political and social sciences categories, and ranked No. 3 in overall sales.

“And we have 10 signed copies of the book to give away,” advises Rob Jesmer, executive director of the National Republican Senatorial Committee.

To be eligible to win, just text “Rove” to 54608 on your mobile phone, and you will be automatically entered, Mr. Jesmer says, with winners notified in the very near future.

COUNTING THE COUNTERS

Most everyone already has gotten a cozy little note from U.S. Census Bureau Director Robert Groves in the last 48 hours, advising them that their official 2010 census form will arrive next week, and please, oh, please fill it out and send it in so that every community gets its “fair share” of government funding. OK. Fair enough. But the note has given some observers great pause.

“I received the letter from the Census Bureau director. Assuming it was sent nationwide, I think it’s a waste of paper and money. Why an extra mailing? And what did it cost?” asks a concerned Beltway reader in Leesburg, Va.

PIPE DREAM

Legalize marijuana, tax it and make money, right? Wrong, says Vanderbilt University Law School professor Robert Mikos.

“People in favor of taxing marijuana distributors are grossly underestimating the difficulty of collecting a tax on a drug that remains illegal under federal law,” Mr. Mikos explains. “Thousands of suppliers now compete on the marijuana market, and that’s unlikely to change, even if a state repeals its own marijuana ban. Trying to track them down and monitor their businesses would be incredibly difficult and expensive.”

Then there is the courtroom to consider.

“Federal law enforcement officials could use any information the states gather, for example, lists of licensed dealers, to track down and sanction marijuana distributors,” he adds. “The federal ban would thus encourage distributors to evade state tax collectors as well as federal law enforcement officials.”

SQUEAK BY

The online urge is so great among lawmakers that a whole new set of awards to recognize the phenomenon now awaits them, complete with the guidance of academic swells at Harvard University, and a reception at the swank Willard InterContinental hotel. The Congressional Management Foundation (CMF) will bestow the “coveted Gold Mouse Awards to best member Web sites” next month. And in the feel-good era of everybody-at-least-gets-a-ribbon, the CMF will present over 135 congressional offices and committees with a Mouse Award.

Well, all right. We won’t be too hard on an award that has the word “mouse” in it. And they are considering a whopping 620 sites to consider, what with Senate and House members and delegates, committees and leadership. But the CMF has help: The “Gold Mouse Project” also will get input from Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, University of California-Riverside and Ohio State University.

POLL DU JOUR

• 79 percent of Republicans and 54 percent of Democrats have “a great deal of confidence” in the U.S. military.

• 62 percent of Republicans and 44 percent of Democrats feel the same way about “small business.”

• 7 percent of Republicans and 54 percent of Democrats have a great deal of confidence in the White House.

• 42 percent of Republicans and 21 percent of Democrats feel the same way about “organized religion.”

• 8 percent of Republicans and 22 percent of Democrats have a great deal of confidence in the press.

• 6 percent of Republicans and 14 percent of Democrats feel the same way about Congress.

Source: A Harris Poll of 1,010 adults conducted Feb. 16 to 21 and released Tuesday.

Rattles, battles, mouse squeaks to [email protected]

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