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Convict’s Final Wish ‘Vote for Barack Obama’

This week’s Washington Rumor Mill.

RAIN DANCE

Short of his pending pick of a vice presidential running mate, the biggest news to come out of the Barack Obama camp thus far was when presidential campaign manager David Plouffe announced that the Illinois senator on Aug. 28 will formally accept the Democratic nomination in an outdoor stadium in mile-high Denver before more than 75,000 screaming fans.

Given all that hoopla, this columnist asked Erick Erickson, founder and managing editor of RedState.com, the largest online community of conservative activists, how in the world the more politically traditional future Republican presidential nominee Sen. John McCain could counter such a roused-up venue?

“Well, I think he launches into his evangelical outreach effort and has all the evangelicals pray for rain,” Mr. Erickson answered. “I don’t know how he’s going to counter it, but anything he does is going to be completely ignored by the media in favor of the coronation of Barack Obama.”

GIPPER DAY

One realizes the tremendous impact and popularity of the late President Ronald Reagan when Congress is already gearing up for his 100th birthday observance still some three years away.

A bill establishing a $1 million, 11-member Ronald Reagan Centennial Commission was approved on Capitol Hill this week, its duties to plan, develop, advise and assist provide advice and assistance to carry out federal, state and local festivities in honor of the nation’s 40th president, who was born on Feb. 6, 1911, in Tampico, Ill.

Those appointed to the commission during the next 90 days will be the interior secretary, three senators and three congressmen, and four members chosen by President Bush based on the recommendations of the board of trustees of the Ronald Reagan Foundation.
TIMES FOR TEMPERS

We see that Virginia Sen. Jim Webb, in the “media appearances” section of his weekly newsletter, draws attention to his interview in recent days with Steve Colbert on Comedy Central’s “The Colbert Report.”

“You’re known for having something of a temper,” Mr. Colbert reminded the Democrat. “Why is it you and [John] McCain, the two Navy men from Vietnam, are the ones in the Senate known for their volcanic tempers?”

Mr. Webb replied: “I don’t think that I’m actually known for a temper,” but then conceded “there are things to fight for, by the way.”

For the record, Mr. Webb’s bio states that he served with the Fifth Marine Regiment during Vietnam, where as a rifle platoon and company commander in the infamous An Hoa Basin west of Danang he was awarded the Navy Cross, the Silver Star Medal, two Bronze Star Medals, and two Purple Hearts. He left the Marine Corps in 1972.

In 1987, President Reagan appointed him secretary of the Navy, a position he resigned from one year later when he refused to agree to a congressionally-mandated reduction of the Navy’s force structure because of budget cuts.

MIRRORS SOCIETY

“Are you politically incorrect enough for this?” writes game creator David Pimentel, sending this columnist his California company’s newest board game, “Politically Correct the Game.”

The object, the directions reveal, is to be the most politically correct person. For instance, the ultimate winner will have known that Bill Clinton was actually honored as the nation’s “first black president” at the 2001 Congressional Black Caucus Awards Dinner in Washington.

Instead of tokens like Monopoly’s top hat, thimble, or horse and rider, pawns of Politically Correct include gardener Zeferino Ortiz de la Vega Hernandez, described as a 38-year-old Mexican illegal immigrant with six U.S.-born children. He sends half of his income to Mexico, and is a registered Democrat.

Other pawns include a jihadist named Yasser Mohammad Arafat, a 19-year-old Palestinian unemployed construction worker and loyal member of Hamas whose aspirations are to become a suicide bomber and kill innocent people. Other pawns include Father O’Hara, an embattled Catholic priest from Boston; an oil company CEO who takes advantage of more than just American motorists; a Kentucky tobacco farmer; and a pregnant teenage high school dropout.

Before politically correct readers get too upset at us for promoting this most unusual yet arguably realistic board game, we are pleased to report that a portion of the proceeds of sales go to the children of U.S. soldiers killed in the line of duty.

QUOTE OF THE WEEK

“In fact, the only part of this river that’s scenic is the graffiti that’s found on the bridges and the human embankments that are part of this river system. The only thing that’s wild about this river are the gangs that wrote this graffiti in the first place.”
Rep. Rob Bishop, Utah Republican, during recent House debate on a bill authored by Democratic Rep. Barney Frank to include the Taunton River in southeastern Massachusetts in the national Wild and Scenic Rivers program. Mr. Bishop argued it “doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize that if you are floating down this river, it is not wild and scenic if you can look over and see the local McDonald’s right there on the bank.”

MIRACLE MAN?

Talk about former Vice President Al Gore putting the pressure to perform on Barack Obama should he win the White House.

“Remember, there’s a new world waiting at the other side of these elections,” Mr. Gore promised in recent days, not that Mr. Obama himself isn’t offering much of the same.

FINAL WISH

Consider this last-minute endorsement for Barack Obama.

Minutes after both Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour and the U.S. Supreme Court denied appeals to spare his life and he was put to death by lethal injection Wednesday evening for his role in a 1998 claw hammer bludgeoning of a friend, 34-year-old Dale Leo Bishop urged Americans to vote for the Illinois senator for president.

According to the Natchez Democrat, after being strapped to a gurney last week and apologizing for the crime, the goateed Bishop uttered these final words:

“For those who oppose the death penalty and want to see it end, our best bet is to vote for Barack Obama because his supporters have been working behind the scenes to end this practice. God bless America; it’s been great living here. That’s all.”

FREE INK

“Most people trust reporters kind of like they trust Wikipedia.”

So concludes Scott Rasmussen, president of the political polling giant Rasmussen Reports, referring to the free Internet encyclopedia that often falls victim to tampering.

We interviewed Mr. Rasmussen on the heels of his firm’s new survey of 1,000 likely voters about media coverage of the 2008 presidential election. One question asked whether reporters provide unbiased coverage, or else stray so far as to help their preferred candidate win election.

Amazingly, 71 percent said reporters try to help the preferred candidate win. In the interview, Mr. Rasmussen called the results “a pretty devastating assessment” of the Fourth Estate.

“I’m going to tell you one thing that was not in this survey,” he added. “People tend to think it’s at least as important to have a friendly reporter [aligned with a candidate] as it is to have major campaign contributions. They think a reporter can help at least as much as a whole lot of money.”

MISSING ARE MISSING

Some members of Congress want the Pentagon to restore the designations of prisoner of war and missing in action to those servicemen and servicewomen who are missing in operations in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Because the United States is not officially “at war” with the nations of Afghanistan or Iraq, the Defense Department has chosen not to designate those troops who go missing in operations as prisoners of war or missing in action, instead using terms like “duty status whereabouts unknown” and “missing-captured.”

Supporters of the wartime designations point out that the armed forces currently engaged in operations in Afghanistan and Iraq are participants “in the larger war on terrorism, showing a incomparable level of valor and duty to the United States of America.”

HALL OF FAME

The Arizona Legislature is urging Congress to authorize the placement of a statue in Statuary Hall of the U.S. Capitol of the late Republican Sen. Barry M. Goldwater.
If approved, the state measure presented in Congress this week, which supports another previously introduced congressional proposal, would authorize the Arizona Historical Advisory Commission to organize and direct funding for the creation of the statue in honor of the five-term conservative trailblazer.

Mr. Goldwater, who retired from the Senate in 1986, died in 1998 at age 89. Historians said his campaign for the president in 1964, though unsuccessful, paved the way for Ronald Reagan’s successful campaigns for the White House.

CAN’T CHEW

Americans are deteriorating to skin and bones because of escalating energy costs, and the proof is in the pudding.

Sen. Michael D. Crapo, Idaho Republican, recently asked Idahoans to share with him how high energy prices are affecting their lives, and they responded by the hundreds.
“I personally would love to have a new pair of teeth; the ones I have are broken and pretty useless,” a woman named Marylynna wrote to the senator. “But can I even save to get a pair of teeth? I am weighing in at 101 pounds because all of my money goes to propane.”

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Written By

John McCaslin pens the award-winning Inside the Beltway column for The Washington Times. His column has been syndicated by the Los Angeles Times Syndicate and Tribune Media Services.

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