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Back on the Beat

That, and other news, in today’s Political Panorama.

I’m back from a honeymoon in Paris, to a portfolio of items…

Time is out with its Person of the Year contenders. “Who Will It Be in 2008?” Maybe the question is, “Is there any doubt?”

Franken in D.C.: Al Franken travels to Washington on Tuesday to give Democratic Senate leaders an update on the status of his recount in Minnesota. He trails Norm Coleman by just 206 votes, in a post-election spectacle every bit as acrimonious as the campaign itself. The recount begins on Wednesday.

Huckabee’s Book: Time has details of Mike Huckabee’s tell-all memoir of the campaign trail. Mitt Romney gets a drubbing, and Huckabee also takes aim at the media. Time reports, “The national media gets no pardon either. “Reporters facilitate the greedy and grubby process whereby too many elections go to the highest bidder and his sharpie hirelings,” he writes. He remains sore about the degree to which candidate credibility is judged by their bank accounts, and notes that during the debates, he often was asked about religion while the other candidates dealt with questions of government policy. Why, he asks, was a “floating cross” in the window of one of his ads such a media controversy, while reporters gave a pass to a Barack Obama direct mail piece that obviously photographed the Democrat before a large Christian cross?”

HRC Under Fire: After a weekend of Prop.8 protests around the world, Andrew Sullivan takes aim at the Human Rights Campaign, citing its Website’s one blog post on the demonstrations — focusing on the celebrity angle of the events — as evidence that the gay rights lobbying org has become irrelevant.

Sullivan writes, “You will also notice that a handful of young non-professionals were able to organize in a few days what HRC has been incapable of doing in months or years. You will know from brutal experience that in the two decades of serious struggle for marriage equality, the Human Rights Campaign has been mostly absent, and when present, often passive or reactive.”

The org has been criticized before, particularly in light of the defeat of ballot initiatives, of which there have been plenty. But it also has been chided for focusing too much on celebrities, especially when it comes to fund-raising at its annual dinners.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, meanwhile, told ABC News that he believes marriage is between a man and a woman but “I don’t want to force my will on anyone.” He predicts the California Supreme Court will reject Proposition 8, just as it overturned Proposition 187 in 1995. That initiative would have denied health and education services to illegal immigrants in the state, and there was such a backlash against it among Latinos that the state Republican party has never really recovered. The governor does say that protests and boycotts are not the means for effective action.

Next on the Boycott List? Prince chimes in on gay marriage in the New Yorker. Via Towleroad: “Recently, Prince hosted an executive who works for Philip Anschutz, the Christian businessman whose company owns the Staples Center. ‘We started talking red and blue,’ Prince said. ‘People with money—money like that—are not affected by the stock market, and they’re not freaking out over anything. They’re just watching. So here’s how it is: you’ve got the Republicans, and basically they want to live according to this.’ He pointed to a Bible. ‘But there’s the problem of interpretation, and you’ve got some churches, some people, basically doing things and saying it comes from here, but it doesn’t. And then on the opposite end of the spectrum you’ve got blue, you’ve got the Democrats, and they’re, like, ‘You can do whatever you want.’ Gay marriage, whatever. But neither of them is right.’ When asked about his perspective on social issues—gay marriage, abortion—Prince tapped his Bible and said, ‘God came to earth and saw people sticking it wherever and doing it with whatever, and he just cleared it all out. He was, like, ‘Enough.””

Wanda Sykes Comes Out: Speaking in Las Vegas at a Prop 8 protest, she tells of her marriage last month.

“Milk” Legacy: Dustin Lance Black, screenwriter of “Milk,” and activist Cleve Jones call for a “national seven week equality campaign” leading to the inauguration.

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