NEWS AND OPINION:
The official “cultural barometer” keepers at CafePress say that more than 1,000 Osama bin Laden-themed products have been created by online entrepreneurs in the last 24 hours marking the death of the terrorist leader. Among the many mottos from bumper stickers, T-shirts, water bottles, mugs, yoga mats, underwear: “Osama bin Hit,” “5/1/11: We remember 9/11,” “SEAL Team 6 (Resistance is Futile),” “Navy 1, Osama 0,” “Justice is Done, God Bless America.” “We Got Him,” “Obama got Osama.” See more at www.cafepress.com
President Obama will draw only limited political benefits from the death of Osama bin Laden, some say, though the timing and tone of his surprise announcement had plenty of firepower. Indeed, Mr. Obama’s statement provided a dramatic finale to his birth-certificate duel with Donald Trump and temporarily quelled criticism of recent heavy-handed fundraising.
“He was matter-of-fact, he was perfunctory in his delivery of very serious news, and that worked for him,” Bruce Buchanan, a University of Texas presidential historian, tells Inside the Beltway.
“Mr. Obama was the one who got to pull the trigger on this rather than President George W. Bush, though there is a certain luck of the draw involved. Still, Mr. Obama gets only a short-term political boost,” Mr. Buchanan says. “We are still far, far away from the 2012 election, and those public passions can fade very quickly.”
Uh, no bounce. Even a terrorist can’t evade the reach of pollsters. Osama bin Laden only got tepid favorability numbers in the months leading up to his death. So says the Pew Research Center.
“A survey of Muslim publics around the world found little support for the al Qaeda leader. Among the six predominantly Muslim nations surveyed by the Pew Research Centers Global Attitudes Project, bin Laden received his highest level of support in the Palestinian territories - although even there only 34 percent said they had confidence in the terrorist leader to do the right thing in world affairs,” advises Andrew Kohut, president of the research group.
“Minorities of Muslims in Indonesia (25 percent), Egypt (22 percent) and Jordan (13 percent) also expressed confidence in bin Laden, while he has almost no support among Turkish (3 percent) or Lebanese Muslims (1 percent). In Pakistan, where 2011 data is still not available, confidence in bin Laden fell from 52 percent in 2005 to just 18 percent in last years survey,” Mr. Kohut notes.
“Al Qaeda also received largely negative ratings among Muslim publics in the 2011 survey. Only 2 percent of Muslims in Lebanon and 5 percent in Turkey expressed favorable views of al Qaeda. In Jordan, 15 percent had a positive opinion of al Qaeda, while about one-in-five in Indonesia (22 percent) and Egypt (21 percent) shared this view. Palestinian Muslims offered somewhat more positive opinions (28 percent favorable), but about two-thirds viewed bin Ladens organization unfavorably,” Mr. Kohut adds.
The real deal comes to town: Sheriff Larry Dever of Cochise County, Ariz., testifies Tuesday at a House Homeland Security border and maritime security subcommittee hearing titled “Border security and enforcement: Department of Homeland Security’s Cooperation with State and Local Law Enforcement Stakeholders.” The 34-year veteran lawman, incidentally, is also honorary co-chairman of the interest group www.bordersheriffs.com.
Sheriff Dever plans to counter the agency’s recent claims that the U.S.-Mexico border is “more secure than ever” owing to apparent dips in border apprehensions by the Border Patrol. The border “is still far from being secure,” he says, even as federal officials “kick the ball of enforcement back and forth” and dicker over what’s secure, and what’s not.
“Bottom line is, anyone who wants to cross into our southern border can,” Sheriff Dever says.
YES, NO, MAYBE
The first official Republican presidential debate at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library on May 2 was canceled because of a lack of contenders. We likely will not see a repeat of this phenomenon on Thursday, when the much-ballyhooed Fox News/South Carolina Republican Party debate is scheduled. It’s a go. So far.
Who’s committed to debate: Tim Pawlenty, Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, Rick Santorum, Buddy Roemer and Herman Cain.
Who’s staying home: Mitt Romney, Sarah Palin, Mike Huckabee and Newt Gingrich.
FOR THE UNBORN
“That little, almost-born infant struggling to live is a member of the human family, and abortion is a lethal assault against the very idea of human rights and destroys, along with a defenseless little baby, the moral foundation of our democracy. Our moment in history is marked by a mortal conflict between a culture of death and a culture of life, and today, here and now, we must choose sides.”
- the late Rep. Henry J. Hyde, whose voice is heard in a radio ad campaign from the Faith Family Freedom Fund, a political action committee associated with Family Research Council Action. Now heard in a dozen congressional districts, the spot calls on the House to approve the “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act,” which would codify the Hyde amendment to prevent government funding for abortion. A vote on the legislation is expected Wednesday.
Well, maybe it’s as good a time for a cocktail as any. At sunset on Tuesday, the Distilled Spirits Council’s second annual “Congressional Spirits” descends on Capitol Hill right in the Cannon House Office Building to showcase the finest artisanal and “craft” creations from such providers as Blackwater Distilling in Maryland and Copper Fox in Virginia.
Among the many, many lawmakers attending: Republican Reps. Gary G. Miller of California, Cynthia M. Lummis of Wyoming and Thomas E. Petri of Wisconsin. Among the Democrats: Rep. John D. Dingell of California, William Lacy Clay of Missouri and Nick J. Rahall II of West Virginia.
POLL DU JOUR
• 47 percent of U.S. voters like Donald Trump’s “straight talk,” regardless of whether they’d vote for him in the 2012 presidential election.
• 33 percent of Democrats, 66 percent of Republicans, 47 percent of independents and 80 percent of tea partyers agree.
• 33 percent of voters overall are “not at all proud” that President Obama is in the White House
• 9 percent of Democrats, 63 percent of Republicans, 34 percent of independents and 73 percent of tea party supporters agree.
• 39 percent overall “would not be at all proud” if Mitt Romney were elected president.
• 60 percent of Democrats, 16 percent of Republicans, 30 percent of independents and 21 percent of tea partyers agree.
Source: A Fox News Poll of 911 registered voters conducted April 25-27.
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