- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 9, 2010

TEA REPORTERS

Town halls are about to erupt in hallowed halls, particularly outside the doors of select Democrats. Prepare for a new wave of “tea party” citizen journalists: The Nationwide Tea Party Coalition - a broad federation of 30 local “tea parties” - has launched a proactive strike against the 50 or so House Democrats who have yet to reveal how they’ll vote on health care reform legislation. The group is urging its activists to play reporter and find out what truly lurks in the hearts of undecided lawmakers.

“We’re finding that responsible, respectable constituents want to personally ask their representatives questions, videotape the answers and provide feedback to folks back at home. This is real citizen journalism, from citizens seeking transparency,” spokesman Mark Skoda tells Inside the Beltway. “We want to know what these lawmakers know about the legislation, and if they don’t get it, well, we want to know that, too.”

Mr. Skoda adds, “Our objective is to bring thousands of constituents to D.C. to meet with their representatives, capture their comments and produce a review. We’ll find the lawmakers in the morning and challenge them at night.”

The effort, which begins in earnest Wednesday, will be staged from impromptu “war rooms” in Virginia and Maryland, complete with morning briefings and online videos. Check here for updates at www.takethetownhallstowashington.com.

RAHM-A-RAMA

Alas, poor White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel. Life and headlines can be cruel:

“Rahm Emanuel is tired and everyone hates him.” (Gawker.com)

“The Limits of Rahmism.” (The New York Times)

“Rahm Emanuel’s Obama drama.” (Chicago Sun-Times)

“Rahmverload.” (The Atlantic).

“The knives are out for Rahmbo.” (NBC Chicago)

JUST SO YOU KNOW

The White House official souvenir egg for the 2010 Easter Egg Roll comes in purple, pink, green, yellow - and mostly green.

“In a continued effort to make the Easter Egg Roll more environmentally friendly, all eggs have again been crafted in the United States from Forest Stewardship Council-certified hardwood,” the White House notes. “The packaging has also been designed to minimize waste and environmental impact. Made from Sustainability Forest Initiative (SFI)-certified paperboard. SFI paperboard uses no wood fibers from endangered forests. The printed carton is easily recyclable when collected and processed in a municipal or community Paperboard Recycling Program. Features vegetable oil-based inks and a water-based coating.”

Notes a newsroom sage: “Isn’t the original packaging on an egg sustainable?”

UNHEALTHY OBSESSION

Wait, wasn’t President Obama’s big “every argument has been made” health care speech supposed to put a lid on it all? But of course.

“And since there is nothing left to say about health care, the president takes to the podium to recite the same tired arguments for the 800th time,” says the Republican Study Committee.

“If this Democrat-only bill was so great and the president was so awesome at selling it, why is this debate still running at full steam more than a year after it began?” the group reasons. “Why has public support for the Democrats’ plan marched steadily downwards? Why is he giving us more speeches after ‘everything there is to say about health care has been said?’ News flash people - it’s not the message. It’s the product.”

BOXING WITH BOXER

Cat fight, clash of the titans, roller derby? Probably all of them: It’s not gonna be pretty.

“For 18 long years, California has been represented by a bitterly partisan and ineffective senator in Barbara Boxer. She has completely failed to represent the people who sent her to Washington in the first place. I don’t come from Washington; I come from the real world.”

- Carly Fiorina, as she filed to add her name on the June primary election ballot as a Republican candidate for U.S. Senate from California.

FROM THE UH-OH DEPT.

By now, most of the known universe has heard veteran newsman Dan Rather’s recent aside to MSNBC’s Chris Matthews that President Obama “couldn’t sell watermelons if you gave him the state troopers to flag down the traffic.” Mr. Matthews charged ahead with the interview, providing a moment of pause for some.

“While Rather may not have been being intentionally racist one has to wonder what the reaction would be if a conservative had used similar language on the show,” points out Geoffrey Dickens, senior news analyst at the Media Research Center.

FRANKEN-COMIC

Run for the hills, there’s a Sen. Al Franken comic book in the works. Indeed, the Minnesota Democrat has warranted his own cartoon biography from Bluewater Comics.

“Al Franken has this reputation - not completely unfounded, if you read the comic - as a metaphorical bomb thrower, a guy who hates his enemies and has an in-your-face style,” says writer Jerome Maida. “While I did find some stuff that would support that perception, I also found out a lot more interesting stuff that makes him a real person, a character instead of a caricature.”

The publisher has already produced comic biographies of President Obama, former President Ronald Reagan, Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., Colin Powell and Edward M. Kennedy, and oddly enough, the genre has resonated with the public - a fact campaign strategists should take under consideration when voter outreach comes calling.

“At a time in which comic book readership continues to decline, our ‘political power’ books continue to bring new readers to the graphic medium,” said Bluewater Productions president Darren G. Davis.

POLL DU JOUR

• 20 percent of Americans say abortion should be illegal “under all circumstances.”

• 33 percent of Republicans and 12 percent of Democrats agree.

• 21 percent say abortion should be legal “under any circumstances.”

• 12 percent of Republicans and 31 percent of Democrats agree.

• 55 percent say abortion should be legal “only under certain circumstances.”

• 54 percent of Republicans and 53 percent of Democrats agree.

Source: A Gallup Poll of 1,000 adults conducted throughout 2009 and released Monday.

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