Tales from the Trail

Will she? Won’t she? Still reading the tea leaves…

USA/Is Sarah Palin getting the kind of press that makes for viable presidential campaigns? Maybe not, and her critics appear to be increasingly of a conservative stripe.

The Mama of Mama Grizzlies proved to be a fierce campaigner on the 2010 midterm election trail, and she continues to command an army of devoted supporters, particularly among members of the Tea Party movement.

But winning the White House requires an ability to attract many, many independent voters. And two months after the Arizona shootings, and her use of the charged term “blood libel” against critics of her gun-toting rhetoric, Palin seems to be having trouble convincing influential conservatives to take her seriously as a seaworthy candidate.

“She’s becoming Al Sharpton, Alaska edition,” says the headline of a  POLITICO article that identifies the Republican 2008 vice presidential nominee with a politics of grievance and group identity that betrays conservative principles. And who are these critics? Conservative columnist George Will… former Bush strategist Peter Wehner… Manhattan Institute analyst Heather Mac Donald

Not exactly the Lamestream Media.

Then there’s Fox News jefe Roger Ailes. According to New York Magazine, Palin sought Ailes’ advice after the January shooting of Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords unleashed a deluge of criticism over her use of rifle cross-hairs to identify vulnerable Democratic congressional districts, including Giffords’, on a 2010 campaign map.

Obama’s big speech may draw bipartisan seating arrangement

A top Republican on Friday embraced a Democratic proposal to project a sense of national unity by having members of their respective parties sit together at President Barack Obama’s State of the Union Address to Congress on Jan. 25 

“I like the idea,” House Republican Whip Kevin McCarthy told reporters at the second day of a three-day retreat in Baltimore by the new House Republican majority. “I think the American public would find it as a positive,” he said.OBAMA/

Democrats and Republicans traditionally sit divided by party at the annual State of the Union Address. Partisanship is on display with members of one party — and then the other — standing to clap when they like what the president says, and sitting quietly when they don’t.

Washington Extra – Word test

Presidents are tested almost every day, in big ways and small.

Tonight is one of the bigger ones. Will Obama’s words at the memorial service for the Arizona shooting victims have the impact of uniting a politically divided country? USA-SHOOTING/

Will Obama’s words resonate with a public that is divided over whether he is taking the country in the right direction? There will be plenty of analysis and punditry afterward on whether the president’s famed oratorical skills stood up to the test.

His predecessors faced similar challenges. President George W. Bush was credited with helping pull the country together in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks, and President Bill Clinton’s popularity was boosted after his speech on the Oklahoma City bombing.

U.S. public says Giffords shooting, rhetoric unrelated

RTXWDK6_Comp-150x150Most Americans see no relation between the attempted assassination of congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and the political tactic of lacing vitriolic rhetoric with firearms analogies.

That’s the conclusion of a CBS News poll that found most Republicans (69 pct), most independents (56 pct) and even a plurality of Democrats (49 pct) believe the two phenomena unrelated.

Those numbers add up to 57 percent of Americans overall — a true majority though not quite big enough to break a Senate filibuster.

Washington Extra – Sound of silence

The sound of silence is quite rare in Washington where talk is currency.

So it was perhaps the highest honor that the city can pay to the victims of the Arizona shooting by standing still for a moment of silence. USA/

President Barack Obama and the first lady stood heads bowed, joined by about 300 White House staffers on the South Lawn. A bell tolled three times.

Lawmakers and congressional staff gathered on the steps of the Capitol to remember the victims that included two of their own — congressional aide Gabe Zimmerman who was killed, and congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, who is fighting to recover.