- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 30, 2010

RAHM-A-RAMA

OK. Thank you. Enough already with the news that Rahm Emanuel is leaving the White House to run for mayor of Chicago. It’s the political spectacle that is of interest now - those vignettes that showcase the state of the Democratic Party as played in the Windy City. Mr. Emanuel appears to have a visceral connection with the office of mayor, a post electrified by popular culture and local lore. He’s ready to lunge, his “listening tour” already pumped up for the primary election on Feb. 22. Observers, meanwhile, wonder how long President Obama will stay interested in what is, after all, a local race.

So prepare for a dramatic tableau. Rivals protest that Mr. Emanuel is ineligible to run for the office because he has not been a Chicago resident for the last year, a prerequisite stipulated by the Chicago Board of Elections. And what grand Democrats support him?

Howard Dean could surface somewhere as the White House inner circle goes through yet another metamorphosis. Perhaps former President Bill Clinton will lend his heft to Mr. Emanuel’s cause, though veteran Democratic strategist Joe Trippi seems interested in managing the campaign of Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart, also in the mayoral race. Meanwhile, Illinois state Sen. James Meeks, an outspoken social conservative and the pastor/founder of the 20,000-member Salem Baptist Church, is already gathering signatures to get on the ballot.

Sheriff and clergy currently lead a Chicago Sun Times poll, with Mr. Dart garnering 12 percent of the vote and Mr. Meeks at 10 percent. Rep. Luis V. Gutierrez had 9 percent, and Rep. Jesse L. Jackson Jr., 8 percent, while Mr. Emanuel carried 7 percent. The winner of the poll, however, is “don’t know,” which carried 35 percent of the vote, the newspaper says.

PARSING THE MARCH

“One Nation Working Together” at the Lincoln Memorial on Saturday - billed by progressive organizers as a “march,” not a “rally” - is drawing 2,500 buses full of marchers ready, they say, “to demonstrate our re-commitment to change.” Among the 400 sponsoring organizations:

Communist Party USA, Coffee Party Progressives, Queers for Economic Justice, Code Pink, Mass Transgender Political Coalition, War Resisters League, Bronx for Change, Gertrude Stein Democratic Club, Friends of the Earth, Friends of the Poor, Gray Panthers, Planned Parenthood, Green Party USA, American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, Mexican American Coalition, Committee of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism, Veterans for Peace, Left Labor Project.

TIE ONE ON

A more casual White House and Capitol Hill? Never. Meritalk, a government information-technology network, surveyed 256 government and industry insiders to reveal that 64 percent say men absolutely must wear ties to cut it in the nation’s capital. Oh, and the number was 71 percent among women. So there. “The future of the silkworm is safe in D.C. Now may not be the time to slip the noose if you’re doing business with Uncle Sam,” says Stephen W.T. OKeeffe, founder of the network.

THE ROUSE EFFECT

Is powerful, understated 64-year-old Pete Rouse - President Obama’s reported interim choice to replace Rahm Emanuel as his chief of staff - a canny return to original White House tenets? Could be.

“When the Administrative Reorganization Commission created the White House staff and the Executive Office of the President in 1939, it stipulated that their personnel should have a ‘passion for anonymity.’ That is, they should place the president’s interests above their own, and they should shy away from publicity that would detract from the president and his agenda,” observes Charles Dunn, a Regent University professor of government and a former appointee in the Reagan and George W. Bush administrations.

“Among presidential chiefs of staff, Emanuel has had one of the highest public profiles, often detracting attention from the president and his agenda,” he adds.

TAXING SITUATION

Bound to grab the attention of cash-strapped voters: The Cato Institute’s 10th biennial fiscal report card of U.S. governors for 2008-10. Simply put, those who cut taxes and spending got high grades; tax-happy big spenders, the low marks.

“Four governors were awarded an ‘A’ in this report card - Mark Sanford of South Carolina, Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota and Joe Manchin of West Virginia,” says Chris Edwards, director of tax-policy studies at the organization. “Seven governors were awarded an ‘F’ - Ted Kulongoski of Oregon, David Paterson of New York, Jodi Rell of Connecticut, Pat Quinn of Illinois, Jim Doyle of Wisconsin, Bill Ritter of Colorado, and Chris Gregoire of Washington.”

Needless to say, three of the top four are Republicans, six of the bottom seven are Democrats.

POLL DU JOUR

- 52 percent of Democrats favor President Obama for the Democratic nomination for president in 2012; 37 percent favor Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.

- 63 percent of liberal Democrats favor Mr. Obama; 30 percent favor Mrs. Clinton.

- 41 percent of conservative Democrats favor Mr. Obama; 48 percent favor Mrs. Clinton.

- 19 percent of conservative Republicans favor Mitt Romney for the 2012 Republican candidate; 16 percent favor Sarah Palin.

- 15 percent favor Mike Huckabee; 10 percent favor Newt Gingrich; 7 percent favor Rep. Ron Paul of Texas.

Source: Gallup polls of 859 Democrats and 906 Republicans, both conducted Sept. 25-26.

Tipline always open at jharper@washingtontimes .com. Follow her at twitter .com/harperbulletin.

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