'Let Them Buy Stocks'!

When other 2008 Republican presidential candidates donned blinders, Mike Huckabee says, he knew the U.S. economy was headed for disaster.

“As much as I would have liked to joined in the ‘jolly good feeling’ that the other Republicans were expressing for the state of all things economic in America … I said that my friends on the stage must have been talking to a different crowd,” the former Arkansas governor writes in his new book, “Do the Right Thing.”

“The people I met every day serving food, sweeping and mopping, making beds at the hotel, or tagging bags at the airport weren’t getting ahead,” he points out.

During one debate in Iowa, Mr. Huckabee recalls, “Mitt Romney was asked what we could do to help the economy. I stood there in stunned silence when he went into his well-prepared, programmed answer about how we needed to invest more in high-yield stocks. High-yield stocks!

“I wanted to scream out, ‘Let them buy stocks!'”

More Experience

We’re told there is no truth to a rumor that Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, when first approached by Barack Obama to become his secretary of state, pointed out that she could see Canada from her adopted state of New York.

Weight Transfer

Thanksgiving over, and soon to celebrate his final Christmas as president, George W. Bush is turning his sights on Texas. But first he has to pass the keys to the White House to President-elect Barack Obama on the steps of the U.S. Capitol.

The Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies educates that following the inaugural ceremony on the west front of the U.S. Capitol, the outgoing president and first lady traditionally “with little ceremony” leave the nation’s capital to begin their post-presidential lives.

An 1889 “Handbook of Official and Social Etiquette and Public Ceremonies at Washington,” describes it this way: “His departure from the capital is attended with no ceremony, other than the presence of the members of his late Cabinet and a few officials and personal friends. The president leaves the Capital as soon as practicable after the inauguration of his successor.”

After all, says the 2009 committee: “In 1798, George Washington attended the inauguration of his successor, John Adams, and several observers noted that onlookers paid more attention to Washington than to Adams.” (Unlikely this go-round, given Mr. Obama’s extreme popularity.)

Here’s what our readers will likely see on Jan. 20: Immediately after the swearing-in ceremony, the newly installed president and vice president (in this case Mr. Obama and Joseph R. Biden Jr.) will escort their predecessors (Mr. Bush and Dick Cheney) through a military cordon and out of the Capitol.

Ever since Gerald R. Ford‘s departure in 1977, the former president and first lady then climb into a helicopter and fly away from the Capitol grounds, during which the weight of the world — arguably heavier now than at any other time in U.S. history — falls onto the shoulders of the nation’s new president.

Black Gipper?

Black conservative leader Deneen Borelli, a senior fellow with the Project 21 black leadership network, says she’s not overly excited — at least not yet — about Barack Obama becoming the next president of the United States.

“A black Jimmy Carter would be nothing to be thankful for,” notes Ms. Borelli, who serves on the board of trustees of the Opportunity Charter School in Harlem in New York. “But a black Ronald Reagan would be a precious gift to the nation.”

Thrills & Groans

Every year, one of Washington’s favorite political bloggers, Howard Mortman, compiles a top-10 list of funniest (if not pathetic) quotes uttered by our politicians. Without further ado, the 2008 honorees:

10. Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, on what squirrel tastes like: “It tastes like squirrel.”

9. Former Sen. John Edwards on cheating on Elizabeth Edwards: “Can I explain to you what happened? First of all, it happened during a period after she was in remission from cancer.”

8. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat: “I have always loved longitude. I love latitude; it’s in the stars. But longitude, it’s about time.”

7. President Bush, meeting with President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo of the Philippines: “I reminded the president that I am reminded of the great talent of the — of our Philippine-Americans when I eat dinner at the White House.”

6. President-elect Barack Obama: “Can you imagine if you had your Social Security invested in the stock market these last two weeks? These last two months? You wouldn’t need Social Security. You’d be having a — you know like, what was it, ‘Sanford and Son,’ ‘I’m coming, Weezie.’ It ain’t right.”

5. Vice President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr., hearing testimony from Gen. David Petraeus:

Gen. Petraeus: “Senator, the vice president was in Iraq just a couple weeks after that, and he also had a very warm reception.”

Mr. Biden: “Did he get kissed? Get a kiss?”

Gen. Petraeus: “I believe he did get kissed when he was there.”

Mr. Biden: “I just want to know whether he got kissed, that’s all.”

4. Sen. John McCain: “We should be able to deliver bottled hot water to dehydrated babies.”

3. Gov. Sarah Palin, being interviewed by CBS news anchor Katie Couric:

Miss Couric: “[W]hat newspapers and magazines did you regularly read before you were tapped for this to stay informed and to understand the world?”

Mrs. Palin: “I’ve read most of them, again with a great appreciation for the press, for the media.”

Miss Couric: “What, specifically?”

Mrs. Palin: “Um, all of them, any of them that have been in front of me all these years.”

2. MSNBC’s Chris Matthews: “It’s part of reporting this case, this election, the feeling most people get when they hear Barack Obama’s speech. My, I felt this thrill going up my leg. I mean, I don’t have that too often.”

1. Former President Bill Clinton: “The country is groaning and moaning and screaming for change.”

Wrong Sleeper

Wow, the State Department Federal Credit Union doesn’t mess around when its members fail to make contractual payments on time, going so far as to wake up its customers at ungodly hours of the morning.

While this columnist does not have and never has opened an account with the credit union, my home telephone startled me awake at 1 a.m. Sunday with a prerecorded warning that if I don’t pony up some dough posthaste, it will repossess everything but my dog.

Chartered in 1935 through the efforts of eight employees of the Department of State, the credit union boasts of 64,000 members worldwide, offering a wide range of financial products.

Fur Wing

Like her politics or not, “Miss September” Ann Coulter looks amazing in fur.

“Pretty in Mink” is the title of the 2009 calendar of the Luce Policy Institute, an organization promoting smart, conservative women role models.

“We took some of your favorite leaders of today’s conservative movement on a journey back in time and made them up into glamorous movie stars of classic Hollywood. Back when the big screen was a little more glamorous, women were a little more feminine, the men a little more charming — and the world a little less politically correct,” the institute explains.

Wrapped in minks (supplied by Miller’s Furs) are these 2009 pinup girls: Miss January – Kellyanne Conway; Miss February – Star Parker; Miss March – Susan Phalen; Miss April – Nonie Darwish; Miss May – Mary Katharine Ham; Miss June – Michelle Malkin; Miss July – Amanda Carpenter; Miss August – Sandy Liddy Bourne; Miss September – Ann Coulter; Miss October – Kate Obenshain; Miss November – Miriam Grossman; Miss December – Clare Boothe Luce.

New Delhi Deli

We’ve written before about Washington PR mogul and author Peter Hannaford. He was spokesman for Ronald Reagan when the former president was governor of California, and he was senior communications adviser for the Gipper’s 1980 presidential campaign. He bypassed “semiretirement” upon moving to Northern California by accepting the post of editorial-page editor of the Eureka Reporter.

Now, Mr. Hannaford sends this columnist a clipping from his newspaper, the headline: “Dalai Lama hospitalized in New Deli following checkup.”

Quips the editor: “My advice to the Dalai Lama: Going to a new deli for a pastrami sandwich is risky. Always go to an old, reliable one.”