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Barack's Shadow

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of

We had to laugh at Sen. Michael Bennet, Colorado Democrat, when he reminded his colleagues on the Senate floor: "It has been somewhat less remarked upon, but this week also happens to mark my first 100 days in office."


Junior senators shouldn't feel too bad about their first 100 days in office being overshadowed by President Obama's first 100 days.

Consider a recent study by George Mason and Chapman universities revealing that President George W. Bush was similarly ignored by the media during his first three months in office - until, of course, Sept. 11. Indeed, Mr. Obama received more than three times more news coverage than the Republican president.

In fact, during Mr. Obama's first 50 days in office the big three network evening newscasts featured more than 1,000 stories (28 hours' worth) about Obama doings, devoting more than half the airtime to the new president. Mr. Bush, at the same time, received less than eight hours of network news coverage.


What's with the "kinder, gentler Marxism" phrase we keep hearing repeated on Capitol Hill when describing President Obama's ultimate agenda?

Eric Etheridge didn't help ease concerns when he opined in the New York Times that Mr. Obama is not a socialist, he's a "social Democrat."

Which had Rep. John Carter, Texas Republican, running to open his dictionary.

"An objective definition of social democracy from Merriam-Webster's online dictionary," the congressman found, "is as follows: 'A political movement advocating a gradual and peaceful transition from capitalism to socialism by democratic means.' "

Yikes, is that the only definition?

"Here is the first paragraph from the Encyclopedia Britannica about social democracy: 'A political ideology that advocates a peaceful, evolutionary transition of society from capitalism to socialism using established political processes. Based on 19th century socialism and the tenets of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, social democracy shares common ideological roots with communism, but eschews its militancy and totalitarianism.' "


The 2008 calendar date on which "Debt Day" fell (when the U.S. government runs out of money in a given year and all of the spending for the remainder of the year is borrowed money): Aug. 5.

Date that "Debt Day" fell in 2009: last Sunday, April 26.


Like everybody's favorite weatherman Willard Scott, members of Congress frequently rise on the House floor to salute constituents who reach the ripe old age of 100.

This columnist once wrote about a congressionally recognized woman who continued to inhale cigarettes beyond the century mark, albeit her congressman was quick to caution Americans not to follow her example.

Two things stand out (we have no idea whether he smokes or not) about Louisiana native Adam Milliken Jr., who Republican Rep. Rodney Alexander says will celebrate his 100th birthday on May 12.

First, the elderly resident of Lake Providence is the father of 10 children. One can imagine, therefore, how many grandchildren, great-grandchildren, great-great-grandchildren, and so on, bear his name.

Also worth noting is that the retired African-American farmer has made politics his hobby throughout his life, even though he initially was not granted the right to vote.

"Truly an integral part of Louisiana history, Mr. Millikin's fascination with politics has deep roots," says Mr. Alexander, who reveals that his constituent "was just one of four [black] males who first obtained the right to vote in East Carroll Parish."

Mr. Milliken has attended church his entire life, and to this day serves as deacon of the Rose Hill Baptist Church.

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