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Lou Dobbs in the White House: just a 'crazy idea'?

The ex-CNN commentator says he's thinking about it. Also, a new global-warming poll will likely give fodder to partisans on both sides.

November 29, 2009|By Andrew Malcolm and Johanna Neuman

President Lou Dobbs.

Has a nice ring to it, right?

Well, he's starting to think so. Word out of New York last Monday was that LD is pondering a run for the White House.

The 64-year-old award-winning former radio/TV host, the son of a Texas propane dealer (no gasbag jokes, please), was asked on a radio interview Monday about this "crazy idea" floating around of him seeking the presidency of these United States.

His response: "What's so crazy about that? Golly!" (He really said golly.)

He elaborated slightly:

"Well, I'll tell you this much -- it's one of the discussions that we're having. For the first time, I'm actually listening to some people about politics. I don't think I've got the nature for it. [But] we've got to do something in this country, and I think that being in the public arena means you've got to be part of the solution."

The controversial Harvard-educated CNN commentator, who was particularly outspoken on this cockamamie idea that the United States has some kind of illegal immigration problem, abruptly resigned on-air Nov. 11. Protest groups claimed they had him pushed out.

But Dobbs cited his growing concern over the nation's expanding problems and the need to address them beyond his cable commentator's role.

Now, it's taken the self-described "independent populist" 12 whole days to broach the idea of running for the White House, good news for any incumbent since Dobbs and you-name-all-the-others can divvy up the voters unhappy with him.

It is, of course, a preposterous idea that someone never elected to anything except high school student body president in rural Texas could win the nation's top elected job on the backs of angry voters who believe the incumbent is incompetent.

Next thing you know, people will be suggesting that some old movie actor from California, who switched parties and peddled refrigerators on black-and-white TV, could run against a Democratic president elected after eight years of Republican controversy and scandal. And then the Republican actor could be elected president -- twice.

Global warming waits on horizon

It's true that we have not yet seen the finale on healthcare reform.

Nor have we heard the last about President Obama's Afghanistan policy. Or about financial regulatory reform.

But you can tell that the next issue on the horizon, after the smoke has cleared from the current debates, is global warming.

Already, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has mustered its considerable heft against a cap-and-trade bill moving through Congress. And Republicans have been unstinting in their criticism of what Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.), called "the global warming Gestapo."

A new poll will probably give fodder to partisans on both sides. The Washington Post-ABC News poll finds that fewer Americans -- though still a solid majority -- believe that global warming is a real threat. According to the poll, 72% of the public now thinks climate change is caused by people, down from 80% last year.

Since its peak nearly four years ago, belief that people are causing climate change is down sharply among Republicans -- 76% to 54% -- and independents: 86% to 71%. Even Democrats are growing more skeptical; their number is down from 92% to 86%. Maybe Al Gore needs to bring his movie back for reruns.

Still, whether climate change is man-made or cyclical, a majority of poll respondents (53%) supports legislation to control emissions. And one analyst thinks the slippage may be due less to skepticism over global warming than concerns about the economy.

"The majority of people view it as an economic issue," said David Winston, who has polled for the House and Senate Republican leadership on the issue.

andrew.malcolm@latimes.com

Top of the Ticket, The Times' blog on national politics ( www.latimes.com/ticket "> www.latimes.com/ticket ), is a blend of commentary, analysis and news. These are selections from the last week.

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