- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 5, 2011


A picture is worth a thousand words, sound bites, talking points. House Speaker John A. Boehner hails from a large Ohio family with much loyalty shared among three sisters and nine brothers. Ten of them showed up Wednesday to witness Mr. Boehner’s great gavel moment, when he was handed the hefty icon of congressional power by outgoing Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

“It’s still just me,” Mr. Boehner assured the chamber soon afterward.

Meanwhile, group photos of the Boehner clan surrounding their powerful brother have emerged. True to Mr. Boehner’s more humble mien, his office simply posted the images as “Speaker Boehner’s Photostream” on Flickr for all to see. Humble, yes. Practical, too.

The photos also came with a disclaimer reading: “The photograph may not be manipulated in any way and may not be used in commercial or political materials, advertisements, e-mails, products, promotions that in any way suggests approval or endorsement of the Speaker of the House.”


“Now the heavy lifting begins,” says Republican National Committee Chairman Michael S. Steele, of the 112th Congress.


Let the snarling begin. Rep. Rush D. Holt, New Jersey Democrat; Libertarian Party executive director Wes Benedict, perpetually angry activist Ralph Nader, veteran security expert Edward Luttwak and Cato Institute information policy guy Jim Harper are among the many speakers at a public conference titled, “The Stripping of Freedom: A Careful Scan of TSA Security Procedures.” Within the august halls of the Carnegie Institute in Washington on Thursday, the group will parse public distaste for Transportation Security Agency pat-down pitfalls, the legal implications, and how we can go about “restoring sanity,” among other things.

“TSA agents strip-scan and grope us when we want to take an airline flight. We need to treat their security theater with just as much scrutiny. Terrorists win by tricking us into letting government trample on our rights,” observes Mr. Benedict.


Maybe things haven’t spiraled out of control completely. The Boy Scouts of America, Boys’ Life magazine, the Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation and the Society of America’s living Medal of Honor recipients have joined forces to recognize a Scout with the foundation’s American Spirit Award for “extraordinary skill, professionalism and a spirit of excellence in a challenging situation” — an honor that previously went to airline pilot Chesley B. Sullenberger of “Miracle on the Hudson” fame, among others.

A quartet of Scouts has been nominated for deeds that include some old-school virtue, heroism — two have saved lives — and hard work, like cleaning up Chaplain’s Hill at Arlington National Cemetery. See these young men — and vote for the winner — here: https://boyslife.org/americanspiritaward.


Republicans are deft at social media, and there are some telling updates for those who revere the tweets, Facebook postings and blogs of the powerful. Sign up for e-mailed missives, and yes, read the blog of House Speaker John A. Boehner here: https://speaker.house.gov.

For those of you keeping score: “For the 112th Congress, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia takes over the account once held by Speaker-elect Boehner, who will now tweet as @SpeakerBoehner. Majority Whip-elect Kevin McCarthy of California will take over @GOPWhip,” Mr. Cantor’s office advises.

It is still odd to associate words like “tweet” and “blog” with the likes of Mr. Boehner, but no matter. We have moved beyond the Reagan era, when a fountain pen was considered a powerful communications tool.

“Americans can also ‘like’ House Chamber on Facebook and receive the House’s weekly and daily floor schedule, as well as schedule updates in real-time throughout the day as Congress debates and votes on legislation to address the major challenges confronting our nation,” the Cantor advisory also notes.


Heavens. The ladies of “The View” are about to get another dose of Republican manhood. No, it’s not Fox News pundit Bill O’Reilly, who irked Whoopi Goldberg and Joy Behar so much that they stormed off the glittering set in high dudgeon. This time, Sen. Scott Brown of Massachusetts and likely presidential hopefuls Tim Pawlenty and Mitt Romney will appear in January and February on the ABC daytime talk show.

“‘The View’ has established itself as an important player in the political process,” explains executive producer Barbara Walters.


 42 percent of likely voters say it is a positive attribute if a candidate is described as “politically conservative.”

 21 percent call it a negative quality, 36 percent say it’s “in-between.”

31 percent say a “tea party candidate” is a positive attribute.

32 percent say it is negative, 33 percent place it somewhere in-between.

22 percent say a progressive label is positive.

 34 percent say it is negative, 41 percent in-between.

Source: A Rasmussen reports survey of 1,000 likely voters conducted Jan. 3-4.

Yeas, nays, family photos to jharper@washingtontimes.com

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