- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 4, 2010


The midterm hubbub is over and President Obama has left town for 10 days, reportedly accompanied by one personal chef, 3,000 assorted officials, 200 business leaders, 40 aircraft, 34 warships and six armored cars. No elephants, though. In the aftermath, a certain gloom has descended upon politicians, somewhere between postelection depression and lame-duck dread. Republicans must size up the true dimensions of their victories, even as Democrats confabulate what strategic mischief they can wreak once Congress reconvenes. Soon-to-be House Speaker John A. Boehner has to worry who will play him in the inevitable “Saturday Night Live” spoof. And whether they like it or not, journalists have to spin their wheels until the next crisis comes along. Which is, oh, five minutes from now.

Meanwhile, some reasonable optimism has emerged in Carl Anderson’s book “Beyond A House Divided: The Moral Consensus Ignored by Washington, Wall Street and the Media,” released Tuesday. Americans, he says, share many core values - a phenomenon lost in shrill press coverage, misplaced political correctness and partisan caterwaul. Mr. Anderson says he’s out to debunk the “myth” that we are a polarized people on the brink of decline, with Marist College surveys to back his claims. Among the findings: Americans say a return to traditional values is “the best hope” for the nation’s future.

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“Time and again, polling has revealed that the moral compass of the American people is sound and continues to point an ethical way forward for our country. It seems like this consensus - the best hope for an effective way forward and past institutionalized partisanship and division - is too often ignored,” says Mr. Anderson, CEO of the Knights of Columbus and a former member of the Reagan administration.

“We have a moral consensus on the economy, on the need for ethics in government and even on issues that seem intractable, like abortion, where eight in 10 Americans can agree on certain restrictions. What we need now is for people in key institutions to act with courage on these transcendent values,” he says.


Even Bristol Palin wants her mother to run for president, telling CBS, “I know she is great, and she is great for our country.” And since we are now officially in premature presidential season, inquiring minds wonder: When will we know? If Sarah Palin makes that big announcement, she’s pledged to make it on KWHL, a local Anchorage FM rock station, where the playlist includes Metallica and the Foo Fighters.

“People have used our morning show to announce all kinds of news over the years - baby showers, weddings, where’s the best place is to catch a king salmon. So it’s no surprise to me that my good friend Sarah Palin would use our show to make such an important announcement,” morning host Bob Lester tells Inside the Beltway.

“This is another example of Sarah Palin remembering where she comes from. She is Alaska. She isn’t enamored with all the big lights and movie stars like so many think she is. She is a hometown girl who has her boots firmly planted on Alaska soil,” Mr. Lester adds. “That’s just her style. She is moose stew and ‘bunny’ boots much more than she is caviar and glass slippers.”


In preparation for President Obama’s upcoming visit, the Taj Mahal Palace hotel in Mumbai has prepared a “premium liquor cabinet” for him. According to New Delhi TV, “the hotel has arranged for the best available liquor for Mr. Obama and wife Michelle,” including 40-year-old Glenfiddich Rare Collection single-malt scotch, Louis XIII cognac and Dom Perignon Rose. A hotel source revealed that a half-dozen special-food containers have arrived at the Taj.

“He will be eating food prepared only by his personal chef. Huge containers have already been placed in deep freezers inside the hotel,” the source notes.


The nation’s most haughty campuses are still ivy-walled, ivory towered, Democratic and liberal. A Young America’s Foundation analysis of Federal Election Commission records reveals that among the nation’s top 10 colleges, 84 percent of the candidate contribution dollars from professors and staff went to Democrats. A fat 94 percent of all political action committee contributions went to liberal interest organizations. With 97 percent of their contributions going to Democrats, Princeton University was the bluest of all the schools; Dartmouth College - at 47 percent - the least. See it all at www.yaf.org, under “The Quad” listing.


Hurray. Engineers at the University of Michigan have unveiled the very handy “Polaris,” a field-ready, tabletop-sized gamma-ray detector that can pinpoint the exact location and type of ray, unlike conventional detectors. This is a first. Gamma rays, incidentally, are high-energy photons “emitted by dirty bombs and special nuclear materials that could be used for nuclear weapons,” the researchers explain. The research was funded by the Department of Defense’s Defense Threat Reduction Agency, the Department of Energy and the Department of Homeland Security’s domestic nuclear detection office. Way to go.


- 56 percent of Americans say lawmakers from opposing parties should work together and make consensus policy.

- 38 percent say they should “stick to the principles” on which they campaigned.

- 66 percent of Democrats and 47 percent of Republicans say the lawmakers should go for consensus.

- 29 percent of Democrats and 47 percent of Republicans say the lawmakers should stick with principles.

- 98 percent overall say it is “crucial” or “important” for Congress to focus on the budget deficit, 97 percent say the same for jobs, 94 percent for health care.

Source: A Reuters/Ipsos poll of 1,075 adults conducted Oct. 28 to 31.

- Tip line always open at jharper@washingtontimes.com. Follow her at twitter.com/harperbulletin.

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