The Guy Behind the Palin Pick

RICK’S PICK

Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin can thank Washington lobbyist and political consultant Rick Davis, chief executive officer of John McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign, for being the ultimate pick to become the Republican vice presidential candidate.

"It was all his doing. He was completely snowed by Palin," a source close to Mr. McCain confided to this columnist over the weekend. "He was totally taken by her."

Otherwise, according to the source, Mr. McCain "wanted Lieberman all along" — referring to Sen. Joe Lieberman, Connecticut independent — until such time it was agreed by powers-to-be that adding a woman to the GOP ticket would improve whatever chances the GOP had of defeating Democrat Barack Obama.

OBAMA’S GAME

Men’s Journal, one of the more popular magazines available at newsstands, recently featured a glowing cover story on Barack Obama, the in-shape athletic jock.

Now the magazine’s editors have published a pair of letters, sent in by readers Jim Koepke of Minneapolis and Skip Schmidt of Columbus, Ohio, neither of whom, suffice to say, were impressed with the reporting.

Mr. Koepke: "I’m sad that you seem to have joined the media lovefest for Barack Obama. With each issue, you slide toward left-wing, politically correct eco-nonsense. I don’t recall a cover of George W. Bush biking. And Dubya could probably kick Obama’s [expletive] in a footrace."

Mr. Schmidt: "You might see a jock when you look at Obama, but I see a scrawny cigarette-smoker who plays basketball."

JOE’S FINE

Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman‘s most recent, much-publicized re-election campaign has been fined $50,000 by the Federal Election Commission.

A complaint filed with the FEC had charged that Mr. Lieberman’s campaign, Friends of Joe Lieberman, spent more than $387,000 in cash payments, each of which exceeded a $100 limit allowed for petty-cash disbursements. It was also alleged that Mr. Lieberman’s campaign treasurer, Lynn Fusco, failed to disclose and maintain written records of the disbursements in question.

Lieberman lost his Democratic Party primary election in 2006, but won re-election after filing as a third-party independent candidate. While mostly voting today with Democrats in the Senate, Mr. Lieberman endorsed Republican Sen. John McCain for president over Barack Obama in November.

DOMED CITY

We already knew that 100 senators and 435 congressmen go to work every day in the U.S. Capitol — when all of Congress’ seats are filled. Now we know how many visitors come to the U.S. Capitol each day to witness democracy (and socialism, of late) at work.

Thursday afternoon, we’re not sure exactly during what hour and minute, an unknown person, perhaps a child or senior citizen, became the one millionth visitor to walk into the new Capitol Visitor Center, which only opened its doors just 5 1/2 months ago, on Dec. 3.

Whereas the current congressional body has extremely low approval ratings among Americans, we can tell you that more and more citizens are coming to watch their elected representatives conduct business: compared to this year’s million, there were only 467,800 visitors to the U.S. Capitol during the same period one year ago.

The peak visitors’ day thus far in 2009: Monday, April 20, when 19,500 people — six times the population of Nome, Alaska — entered the U.S. Capitol building.

ELITE SIX

Hats off to Heritage Foundation President Edwin J. Feulner Jr. for receiving the Charles H. Hoeflich Lifetime Achievement Award from the national educational organization Intercollegiate Studies Institute (ISI).

Mr. Feulner, who heads the nation’s leading conservative public policy organization, is an ISI alumnus and currently an ISI trustee.

Since 1953, there have been only six recipients of ISI’s Lifetime Achievement Award – William F. Buckley Jr., M. Stanton Evans, and philosopher Gerhart Niemeyer among them.

STILL TRYING

As attempted, unsuccessfully, in previous congressional sessions, a pair of pro-English language bills were introduced in the Senate last week, one by Sen. James M. Inhofe, Oklahoma Republican, to declare English as the official language of the United States while establishing a uniform English language rule for naturalization.

In addition, Mr. Inhofe and 14 other senators offered a bill to amend the United States Code to declare English as the national language of the U.S. government.

MORE WORDS

No wonder there are so many opponents of making English the official language of the United States — a million words are difficult to learn, not the least being "obamamania."

Now we learn that the English language, which currently stands at about 999,500 words, will pass the "million word" mark on or about June 10, according to the Global Language Monitor (GLM). The latest words under consideration: defollow, defriend, greenwashing, chiconomics and noob.

In William Shakespeare‘s day, according to GLM president and chief word analyst Paul JJ Payack, there were only 2 million speakers of English and fewer than 100,000 words. Shakespeare himself coined some 1,700 words.

Thomas Jefferson
invented about 200 words, and former President George W. Bush created a handful, the most prominent "misunderestimate." President Obama’s surname passed into wordhood last year with the rise of "obamamania."

There are three momentous trends occurring in the English language today," says Mr. Payak. "First, this is an explosion in word creation — English words are being added to the language at the rate of some 14.7 words a day. The last time words were being added to the language at this rate was during Shakespeare’s time.

"Second, a geographic explosion has taken place where some 1.53 billion people now speak English around the globe as a primary, auxiliary or business language. And, three, English has become, in fact, the first truly global language. Never before has a single language had the extent and influence as that of English."

Noob, by the way (often spelled and pronounced as nooby or newby), is short for a newcomer to the Internet.

MISSING POLITICS

Former Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole of Kansas, who with hundreds of others in the nation’s capital today is mourning the passing of his former vice presidential running mate Jack Kemp, may be approaching his 86th birthday, but the political fire still burns in his belly.

"Some days when I watch C-SPAN," the one-time Republican leader told the Topeka Capital-Journal newspaper, "I wish I were back."

MCCAIN IN 2012

In recent days, a woman telephoned one of Washington’s more famous senior citizens, 97-year-old Roberta McCain, the mother of two-time Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain, and invited her to a church function in suburban Maryland.

The woman, who does not wish to be identified, assumed Mrs. McCain would be driven by somebody else to the church. Just about the time the event was to begin, a car carrying only one person rolled into the church’s crowded parking lot "and out popped Mrs. McCain — and she ran, in 2-inch heels, to the church."

Those looking on were "astounded," says our source, especially when Mrs. McCain, whose vigor and zest for life is well-documented (Mr. McCain says his mother still runs circles around him), explained that she "got real lost" on the way to the church, but finally found it.

Observes our source: "Still driving and wearing 2-inch heels. Gotta love her."

CUB REPORTERS

As downsizing continues in journalism, it’s difficult to find a top-notch White House correspondent who can get the facts straight when filing a White House pool report: "Correction: The UN seal was on the podium, not the presidential seal. And it’s Elmo, not Elmer, on Sesame Street."


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