- The Washington Times - Sunday, May 6, 2012

“Republicans have higher levels of well-being than do Democrats,” says a huge Gallup health survey of 405,000 U.S. adults that tallies a half-dozen “well-being” indexes that include physical and emotional health, positive behaviors and workplace perceptions. Even the pollster acknowledges that religion could have something to do with it.

“Republicans enjoy at least modestly higher scores than Democrats on five of the six sub-indexes. Democrats score slightly higher on the ‘life evaluation’ index. This difference could reflect the political impact of having a Democrat in the White House,” says the three-month survey, which was conducted from Jan. 2 to March 31, 2011, but just released Friday.

“Political identification in the United States today is highly intertwined with many aspects of American social and economic life … Republicans have the highest well-being, above and beyond what would be explained by differences in well-being by demographics,” the survey concludes.

“Why this is the case is not known for sure, although one possibility may relate to religion; Republicans are more religious in general than independents or Democrats, and Gallup has shown in previous analyses that religiosity has a significantly positive relationship to well-being.”


“Forget hope and change. I’ll settle for competence.”

- Bumper sticker spotted in Dumfries, Va.


Oblivious to the duels and scuffles among Republicans and Democrats, the Libertarian Party nominated former GOP hopeful Gary E. Johnson as their presidential champion. The former New Mexico governor won 70 percent of the vote among the 595 delegates assembled for the National Libertarian Convention in Las Vegas, which ended Sunday.

“I was on NPR’s ‘All Things Considered’ yesterday. The question was, ‘You’re on the torture rack, they’re going to kill you, who are you going to vote for? Mitt Romney or Barack Obama?’ I said, ‘Look, I’ve climbed Mount Everest. I know how to do what it takes. Take this to the bank: I would rather die,’ ” the victor told his audience.

The fiercely anti-war Mr. Johnson says the nation is on the cusp of rejecting a two-party “chokehold” because of economic woes. He vows to “grow” his adapted party from its current population of 250,000 registered voters, aspiring to bring in disaffected, disenfranchised or disgusted folks of any political or ideological persuasion.

Mr. Johnson’s running mate is former California Superior Court judge James P. Gray, whose main agenda involves downsizing the federal government and marijuana decriminalization. Mr. Gray is, in fact, the chief proponent of a California ballot initiative called “Regulate Marijuana Like Wine.” He also ran against Sen. Barbara Boxer in 2004 as a Libertarian.

“I am proud. I am invigorated. I am excited,” Mr. Gray declares.


“Four years ago President Obama set the goal posts with the question of ‘will this country be better off four years from now?’ ” observes ever vigilant Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus, recalling a sterling moment when then-Sen. Obama asked that question at a rally in Canton, Ohio, in 2008. At his first “official” event for the 2012 campaign, Mr. Obama was back in Ohio on Saturday, with a variant of the same query.

“Are we satisfied? … The real question, the question that will actually make a difference in your life, and the lives of your children, it’s not just about how we’re doing today, but how we’ll be doing tomorrow. Will we be better off?” the president asked, not once but five times — effectively “moving the goal posts,” Mr. Priebus says.

“Even though Obama would like us to forget he’s been president the past three years, Americans aren’t satisfied with the Obama policies that have resulted in 12.5 million Americans unemployed, 5.5 million mortgages in foreclosure or delinquent, and a record $5 trillion added to the debt,” he adds. “Barack Obama is right. Americans aren’t satisfied, and that’s why we can’t afford a second term.”


Out of office, transitioning back into Hollywood, facing an impending divorce, but not done being a Republican. That would be former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, now in reflective mode, recalling that his admiration of Richard Nixon prompted him to become a Republican 44 years ago. But the actor, who is penning a memoir, warns of a new enemy.

“In the current climate, the extreme right wing of the party is targeting anyone who doesn’t meet its strict criteria. Its new and narrow litmus test for party membership doesn’t allow compromise,” Mr. Schwarzenegger, 64, writes in a Los Angeles Times Op-Ed published Sunday.

“It’s time for the Republicans who are so bent on enforcing conformity to ask themselves a question: What would Ronald Reagan have done? … We need to remind the Republicans who want to enforce ideological purity that if they succeed, they will undo Reagan’s work to create an inclusive party that could fit many different views,” he says.

“An inclusive party would welcome the party’s most conservative activists right alongside its most liberal activists. There is room for those whose views, I think, make them sound like cavemen. And there is also room for us in the center, with views the traditionalists probably think make us sound like progressive softies,” Mr. Schwarzenegger notes.

He ultimately concludes, “Big ideas don’t often come from small tents.”


• 150 million Americans currently use Facebook.

• 28 percent have shared their wall posts with an audience “wider than just their friends.”

• 25 percent falsify some data on their Facebook profiles to protect their identity.

• 13 percent of the users do not know that Facebook has “privacy tools.”

• 11 percent had “trouble” on Facebook last year, such as harassment.

• 4.8 million users shared specific information about where they planned to go on a certain day.

• 4.7 million “liked” a Facebook page about health conditions or treatments.

Source: A Consumer Reports National Research Center “State of the Net” survey of 2,002 U.S. adults from “Internet households” conducted Jan. 16 to 31, published Friday in the June issue of Consumer Reports.

Prattle, murmurs and asides to [email protected]



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