IN­SIDE THE BELT­WAY

The Washington Times Daily - - POLITICS - BY JEN­NIFER HARPER SOURCE: AN ECON­O­MIST/YOUGOV POLL OF 1,500 U.S. ADULTS CON­DUCTED JAN. 6-8. Kindly fol­low Jen­nifer Harper on Twit­ter @HarperBul­letin

TANTRUM? DEMOCRATS ADOPT EX­TREME BE­HAV­IOR

Out­cry, in­sults and provoca­tive demon­stra­tions may not be the best po­lit­i­cal strat­egy in an era when U.S. vot­ers across the board say they are tired of par­ti­san divi­sion and a “do-noth­ing Congress.” None­the­less, Democrats ap­pear to be in touch with their in­ner pranksters, even as they seek to ac­cuse Pres­i­dent Trump of ex­hibit­ing “tem­per tantrums.”

Take, for ex­am­ple, Demo­cratic Reps. Jackie Speier and Jared Huff­man of Cal­i­for­nia, who helped lo­cal vol­un­teers pick up trash in San Fran­cisco’s Golden Gate Park as the gov­ern­ment shut down, uh, rages. The two law­mak­ers then brought the garbage all the way across coun­try to the na­tion’s cap­i­tal and de­liv­ered it to the White House.

No one ques­tioned their car­bon foot­print here. The me­dia chron­i­cled the process. But some ques­tion the mo­ti­va­tion.

“Real ma­ture. When things get se­ri­ous, you can al­ways count on Democrats to put the best in­ter­est of the coun­try ahead of ev­ery­thing. Just kid­ding. In­stead, when the chips are down, you can ex­pect Democrats to pull stunts — point­less, crude and child­ish,” Joseph Curl writes in a col­umn for The Daily Sig­nal.

On an­other front, for­mer Demo­cratic Rep. Beto O’Rourke of­fered a live video com­men­tary on il­le­gal im­mi­gra­tion as he was hav­ing had his teeth cleaned. But the old deco­rum among elected of­fi­cials is gone, re­placed by strate­gic feats meant to spark af­fec­tion­ate buzz or pos­i­tive no­tice, and reach mil­lions via so­cial me­dia. Have a beer on cam­era. Dance on a rooftop. Mr. O’Rourke’s per­for­mance won him an ac­co­lade from the Amer­i­can Den­tal As­so­ci­a­tion.

“To­day’s top con­tenders run slick dig­i­tal cam­paigns, honed for vi­ral­ity. And they’re ef­fec­tive. Dur­ing his pres­i­den­tial cam­paign, Don­ald Trump at­tracted a dis­pro­por­tion­ate share of me­dia at­ten­tion, due in part to his in­flam­ma­tory tweets. O’Rourke gave us high­def­i­ni­tion footage of his gums,” writes Daily Beast re­porter Kelly Weill. “As more can­di­dates de­clare, and vot­ers fur­ther en­trench them­selves in so­cial me­dia, we’re doomed to see more dig­i­tal stunts. But just like a pa­tient at the den­tist, maybe it’s time for over­shar­ers to close their mouths a lit­tle.”

DAYS OF YORE

“Pol­i­tics is just like show busi­ness. You have a hell of an open­ing, coast for a while and then have a hell of a close.”

— Quote from Pres­i­dent Ronald Rea­gan to his po­lit­i­cal con­sul­tant Stu­art Spencer in 1966, from “The Macmil­lan Dic­tio­nary of Po­lit­i­cal Quo­ta­tions”

THE POM­PEO EF­FECT

Sec­re­tary of State Mike Pom­peo has put an end to the ef­fec­tive­ness of “apol­ogy tours” that were often the diplo­macy of choice in a pre­vi­ous ad­min­is­tra­tion that ap­peared to push the nar­ra­tive that Amer­ica is to blame for much of the world’s ills.

“The good news is this: The age of self-in­flicted Amer­i­can shame is over, and so are the poli­cies that pro­duced so much need­less suf­fer­ing. Now comes the real ‘new be­gin­ning,’” Mr. Pom­peo told an au­di­ence in Cairo.

Head­lines and in­ter­pre­ta­tion fol­lowed:

“Pom­peo de­liv­ers anti-Obama Mideast man­i­festo” (The Na­tional In­ter­est); “Pom­peo re­pu­di­ates Obama Mideast pol­icy, takes aim at Iran” (The San Fran­cisco Chron­i­cle); “Pom­peo’s Cairo speech re­vealed the to­tal in­co­her­ence of Trump’s Mid­dle East pol­icy” (Vox); “In Cairo, Pom­peo de­liv­ers Trump’s vi­sion: Con­fronta­tion with Iran” (Al Jazeera); “Pom­peo’s thank­less visit to the Mid­dle East” (Pow­er­Line.com); “Mike Pom­peo con­tin­ues his re­as­sur­ance tour of the Mid­dle East” (The New York Post).

CLASH OF THE TI­TANS; KA­MALA VS. LIZ

Po­lit­i­cal brand­ing has to be pre­cise when there are scores of pos­si­ble con­tenders in the race. Such is the case for the 40 po­ten­tial Demo­cratic pres­i­den­tial hope­fuls ready to show­case their dis­tin­guish­ing tal­ents for a chance at the big prize. A few Repub­li­cans who eye the White House could fol­low suit. Well, maybe.

Mean­while, a cer­tain po­ten­tial clash of the ti­tans has emerged among Democrats, and it il­lus­trates a sim­ple po­lit­i­cal truth: Vot­ers have to like the can­di­date. We’re talk­ing Sen. El­iz­a­beth War­ren of Mas­sachusetts and Sen. Ka­mala D. Har­ris of Cal­i­for­nia. The for­mer de­clared her in­tent to run for pres­i­dent a few weeks ago, the lat­ter has penned a well-re­ceived new mem­oir and is cur­rently on a press blitz and book tour. Which brand will win hearts and minds in these early days?

“Ka­mala Har­ris is laugh­ing all the way to her 2020 pres­i­den­tial an­nounce­ment. The ju­nior Demo­cratic se­na­tor is cur­rently con­duct­ing a me­dia tour to pro­mote her new book — ‘The Truths We Hold’ — that’s serv­ing as a play­ful tease to a White House run that now feels all but in­evitable,” writes David Catanese, se­nior po­lit­i­cal writer for U.S. News & World Re­port.

“A week after El­iz­a­beth War­ren faced a cri­tique that un­corked a touchy de­bate about ‘like­abil­ity’ — and whether that wholly sub­jec­tive eval­u­a­tion should be made about fe­male can­di­dates — Har­ris is prov­ing her­self to be a com­fort­able con­ver­sa­tion­al­ist, bub­bly and en­gag­ing, and prone to openly cack­ling at her own wise­cracks. In other words, she’s like­able. Even to those well out­side of her po­lit­i­cal ide­ol­ogy,” says Mr. Catanese.

He adds that Ms. Har­ris also is “un­furl­ing a more se­ri­ous but lesser-known record as a for­mer at­tor­ney gen­eral of Cal­i­for­nia that has the po­ten­tial to cut into War­ren’s per­ceived own­er­ship of com­bat­ing cor­po­rate malfea­sance.”

WEEK­END REAL ES­TATE

For sale: 2018 HGTV Dream Home, a dra­matic “modern rus­tic” home built by ar­ti­sans in 2018 on one acre over­look­ing Gig Har­bor, Wash­ing­ton. Four bed­rooms, four baths, open floor plan with liv­ing, din­ing, me­dia and gourmet kitchen ar­eas; 3,591 square feet. De­signer con­tents of home in­cluded in sale. Vaulted ceil­ings, two-story win­dows, wrought iron stair­case, cus­tom deck, out­door kitchen and wa­ter­side lounge, pitched steel roof and nat­u­ral wood sid­ing; con­crete bulk­head. Priced at $1.9 mil­lion through Sothes­bysre­alty.com; en­ter 1395958 in search func­tion.

POLL DU JOUR

● 29 per­cent of Amer­i­cans trust the Repub­li­can Party the most for “bor­der se­cu­rity”; 76 per­cent of Repub­li­cans, 20 per­cent of in­de­pen­dents and 3 per­cent of Democrats agree.

● 27 per­cent trust the Demo­cratic Party the most; 5 per­cent of Repub­li­cans, 12 per­cent of in­de­pen­dents and 67 per­cent of Democrats agree.

● 27 per­cent trust nei­ther party; 11 per­cent of Repub­li­cans, 44 per­cent of in­de­pen­dents and 15 per­cent of Democrats agree.

● 10 per­cent are not sure; 4 per­cent of Repub­li­cans, 16 per­cent of in­de­pen­dents and 7 per­cent of Democrats agree.

● 7 per­cent trust both par­ties equally; 4 per­cent of Repub­li­cans, 8 per­cent of in­de­pen­dents and 8 per­cent of Democrats agree.

REP. JARED HUFF­MAN

Rep. Jared Huff­man dis­plays the “Trump Trash” he col­lected with Rep. Jackie Speier dur­ing the shut­down, then de­liv­ered to the White House.

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