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The LiberalOasis Blog
The daily view from the oasis

October 7, 2005 PERMALINK
As Indictments Loom, Terror Talk Returns
(posted Oct. 7 1:15 AM ET)

On Sunday’s Meet The Press, the Wall Street Journal’s John Harwood noted that Bush was to give a speech to the National Endowment for Democracy this week as part of “a very aggressive White House effort [leading] up to that vote on [Iraq’s] Constitution.”

In short: part of an effort to shore up public opinion of the war.

And while yesterday’s NED speech was an extended argument justifying the war, one line in the speech seemed gratuitous.

After listing the various Al Qaeda operatives we have killed, which was not new information, he offered up a new tidbit:

Overall, the United States and our partners have disrupted at least ten serious al Qaeda terrorist plots since September the 11th, including three al Qaeda plots to attack inside the United States.

Later in the day, the White House said info on eight of the ten remains classified, somewhat explaining why that stat has never been articulated before.

Put aside the question whether that is an accurate stat (Think Progress has its doubts.)

As it was a line fairly irrelevant to the point he was trying to make about the war in Iraq and its supposed place in the “war on terror,” it seems inserted at the last minute, mainly to generate news.

New info is typically treated as news, and there wasn’t much else in the speech that was new.

Why would Bush want to do that?

Not to “distract” attention from the swirl of negative stories burdening the White House.

Sometimes that’s the plan, but sometimes distraction isn’t possible. The news that you can control isn’t always powerful enough to displace the stories you can’t control.

The “10 plots” news is just a one-day nugget, not something that can spark an extended media frenzy – like when the Roberts nomination temporarily nudged PlameGate off the front pages.

But Plamegate is back, very possibly with a vengeance, with Rove giving testimony for the fourth time, and rumors intensifying that indictments are coming.

If there are indictments of high-level White House officials (not to mention if Bush or Cheney are named unindicted co-conspirators), that will be a story Bush cannot easily control.

That gives Bush a fresh reason to re-focus the public on his terrorism record, consistently the issue where he gets his highest marks.

Why? Because, as The Weekly Standard’s Bill Kristol put it “Policy Trumps Scandal.”

Much of Kristol’s article is off-base conservative spin.

But his central point is spot-on: “[People] tend to care more about substantive policies and real-world results than they do about alleged sleaze or even corruption.”

People don’t think much about politicians in general, so why throw out a politician who’s at least doing something for you over a scandal?

Bill Clinton is the most famous example of this dynamic. In mid-January 1998, he was quite popular with 60% approval and a vibrant economy.

After the Lewinsky affair surfaced, he went up 9 points, and he broke 70% after being impeached.

Part of his strategy to keep his support up to was to be seen continuing to do the people’s business, which was relatively easy to do because the public already believed he was doing the people’s business.

But if scandal hits the Bush White House with full force this month, Bush will not automatically have the public’s backing to prop him up.

The latest CBS poll has him down to 37% approval, and even approval for his handling of terrorism has fallen below 50% (via Daily Kos).

As Bush generally has been holding steady in the 40s, his decline stalled by the GOP base, the drop below 40 indicates the base is weakening.

(That tweaks the dynamic LiberalOasis laid out last week in “Do Low Poll Numbers Matter To Republicans?”)

However, Bush has not been marketing his terrorism efforts with the same consistency as he did in his first term (with no re-election campaign on the horizon, he obviously didn’t see the point).

In theory, highlighting terrorism consistently once again could bring those numbers back up.

And since the scandal he is facing is a national security scandal, Bush has a particular need to show he is delivering results on national security to minimize fallout.

Most likely tipped off on Rove’s situation earlier in the week, Bush sought to implement such a strategy ahead of any indictments.

Will it work? Doubtful. Policy trumps scandal, not speeches.

Belatedly (and dubiously) announcing foiled plots doesn’t answer the age-old question “what have you done for me lately?”

And as mentioned here on Monday, the short-term GOP agenda doesn’t have much potential to yield the public tangible short-term benefits.

Without much opportunity to please the bulk of Americans, the best he can hope to do is make a harder push on hard-right strategic initiatives that will please the base and get him back over 40%.

(In particular, tax code overhaul may be in the pipeline)

The risk there is that he will weaken the already tenuous hold the GOP had on the broad middle of the American electorate, but only if Dems do not flinch from challenging that policy agenda head on.

In other words, despite the tweaking of the political dynamic, the strategic advice from last week’s “Do Low Poll Numbers Matter To Republicans?” still holds.

October 6, 2005 PERMALINK
*** SPECIAL EDITION ***
Exclusive Interview With Sen. Russ Feingold
(posted Oct. 5 11 PM ET)

The buzz that Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI) might run for President in 2008 increased after his two-day trip to New Hampshire last week.

After the visit, the Senator granted LiberalOasis an exclusive interview, which was conducted by phone on Oct. 5.

The Senator discussed the future of Iraq, fighting terrorism, ending genocide in the Sudan, guaranteed health care, what he expects from Harriet Miers, and what he heard from New Hampshire voters about the Democratic Party.

An edited transcript is below. You can read this interview in a wider-column format by clicking here.

LiberalOasis: What are the main goals and tactics of a Feingold foreign policy, and how would they differ from the current Bush foreign policy?

Sen. Russ Feingold: Well I’m not interested in articulating a Feingold foreign policy per se.

What I think we ought to do is come together as a nation and get unified again, as we were after 9/11, with a primary focus on those who attacked us on 9/11.

What’s wrong with the Bush policy is that after starting off very effectively after 9/11, they became diverted into an extreme focus on Iraq.

And it is my view, and I think the view of many people, that Iraq is important but it is not the be all and end all of our national security.

What really points this up is that on the State Department website, two months after 9/11, Bush’s name was on a document about the Al Qaeda threat. And they listed 45 countries where Al Qaeda was operating at the time, and the Administration itself didn’t even have Iraq on the list of 45 countries.

So, the idea of putting this much effort, these many resources, into the Iraqi situation, has actually weakened us in our general fight against terrorism. It has depleted our Army and our National Guard. And it has alienated peoples all around the world, including many Islamic people who were willing to be helpful to us after 9/11.

That is a major source of disagreement between me, and many others, and the Bush Administration.

LO: If your proposal to fully withdraw troops from Iraq by the end of 2006 was actually implemented, what, in your view, should happen in 2007? Does the US and the international community have a responsibility to provide humanitarian aid and help Iraq rebuild? Or is it Iraq’s responsibility to take care of itself without anyone’s help?

RF: My proposal is a target date for the end of the ground troop military mission. It is not a proposal that we have no military relationship with Iraq. In fact, it’s just the opposite.

What I would like to see us do if the Iraqi government is willing, is to have a continuing effort, as requested by the Iraqi government, to take targeted actions against terrorist cells within Iraq and nearby, as we are doing with other countries such as the Philippines and Indonesia and others. That’s the kind of military relationship we should have.

So, not only am I not proposing completely severing our ties with Iraq, I am proposing the potential for a much more effective and targeted military relationship.

And I am not proposing the elimination of our reconstruction efforts or our diplomatic efforts. Of course we want to continue to be engaged in helping the Iraqi people succeed.

The point is, is that they need to stand on their own militarily at some point in the not-too-distant future. And that’s why I have suggested the possible target date of the end of 2006. But disengaging completely from Iraq is not at all what I have suggested.

LO: Does that indicate a support for putting down permanent military bases in Iraq, and if so, what would that do to the stability of the region?

RF: It’s a very difficult question, and I certainly was not by my remarks suggesting permanent bases.

I have heard quite a few concerns, including recent reports from our top military people in Iraq, that they think that permanent bases would be a destabilizing influence in the region.

And I’m going to listen to the experts from the region as well as military experts before taking a final position.

But I am skeptical about the idea of permanent bases because I think it could create more harm than good.

LO: How would you address the genocide in the Sudan differently than Bush has so far?

RF: I’ve been working on this issue for many years, as the ranking member of the Africa Subcommittee in the Foreign Relations Committee.

And what I have proposed for some time is that we have a high-level, not a medium-level, a high-level special envoy whose purpose is specifically to deal with Darfur and the genocide in that region.

Sort of, of the type we had with Ambassador [John] Danforth, former Senator Danforth, when his job was to try to help broker the agreement between the North and the South.

I think that our policy should be as firm as possible, and should be even stronger than it has been. And we should push other countries around the world, including the United Nations, to create some real downside or penalties for the Sudan regime if they do not cooperate and if they do not control these militias which continue to do great violence in the Darfur region.

One of the ways to do that, is to link progress on stopping the violence in Darfur with cooperation in terms of the North-South peace agreement.

In other words, the two should not be separate. Some people think of them as completely unrelated, but they are not unrelated if the Khartoum government is going to continue to try to oppress the people in the West as they supposedly seek peace with the people in the South.

So those are some of my differences in the approach that the Administration is taking.

LO: Why do you think Bush is not being that proactive, and do you think he is too close to the Sudan government?

RF: Well it’s always a concern.

I mean, I do think the Administration, on occasion, has done good things in this regard. They certainly haven’t ignored the issue and in some ways have been stronger than some other countries.

But I do worry about the Administration pulling back a little bit on pressuring the Khartoum government, for at least two reasons.

One is, they have, of course, invested a lot in trying to have a peace agreement between the North and the South and that’s clearly one of the priorities of the Administration.

The other is the Sudan government has, on balance, apparently been pretty cooperative since 9/11 in the fight against terrorism, which is a big deal given the fact that they were one of the places where terrorists were hiding out in the past, and maybe even today.

So I think those are two reasons why the Administration sometimes has not been as strong as it should be with regard to Darfur.

LO: You voted for John Roberts, but in doing so you were critical of “nominees who refuse to answer reasonable questions or whose documents the Administration refuses to provide”. By voting for such a nominee, aren’t you helping to set such a standard, where blank slates like Harriet Miers are not expected to provide evidence of their judicial philosophy?

RF: You know, I think it’s just the opposite. And I made that point when I commented on my vote for Roberts in the Judiciary Committee.

I did point out that the failure to produce documents that were reasonably requested, and Roberts’ own unwillingness to answer some questions that he should have answered, would in most cases disqualify a candidate for me.

It was only the exceptional ability and training and manner of Judge Roberts that overcame that.

And I specifically said a lesser nominee would not receive deference from me on this point. And we could be in that situation here.

If the Administration does not produce documents so we can learn anything about her, and if she doesn’t answer more questions than Roberts, she’s in a much more vulnerable position because she is simply not as qualified as Roberts.

LO: Are there any specific issues that you want hear Miers address to earn your vote?

RF: I’ll be working on that for the coming weeks, but certainly I’ll be interested in her views on executive power, especially after 9/11. I’ll be very interested in her views about precedent. I’ll be very interested in her views about things such as the death penalty, and some of the issues that I brought up with Roberts.

LO: You recently paid a visit to the early presidential primary state of New Hampshire. What did you learn from that trip?

RF: It was a tremendous experience to be around so many people who have a vital interest in American democracy, and in particular, in the credibility of the presidential selection process. It is really quite a laboratory for presidential politics.

And I benefited a lot from hearing their comments about the kind of Democratic Party and the kind of candidate they’re looking for.

It’s similar to the kind of gatherings I’ve held in Tennessee and Alabama and Pennsylvania. It’s very interesting to see some of the common themes that go way across the Red and Blue state divide.

LO: Themes such as?

RF: The desire to have the Democratic Party be a party that is more unified in terms of presenting a message that is challenging the Administration, especially on foreign policy, especially on Iraq.

What I heard there was a very strong feeling that we need to be firm, and have the courage to question this Iraq invasion, and to talk about it as a diversion from the fight against terrorism.

Also, very powerful statements about health care and the need for guaranteed health care for all Americans, which I strongly agree with, but it was exciting to hear that in a state that, you know, is certainly considered to be moderate to moderate-conservative at times.

LO: Do you support a single-payer health care system?

RF: I do like the idea of a single-payer health care system. But what I’ve talked to people in Wisconsin about the last couple of years, and what I mentioned in New Hampshire seems to be well-received.

And that is: to have Congress pass and the President sign a bill to guarantee health care for all Americans, but give each state a fair amount of flexibility in how they achieve that. In other words, let them adapt it to their economy or their culture.

And I got what seemed to me to be a good response to that in New Hampshire.

October 5, 2005 PERMALINK
The Right Plays The God Card
(posted Oct. 5 1:30 AM ET)

With the NY Times, W. Post and Knight-Ridder all highlighting Harriet Miers’ involvement with the right-wing evangelical Valley View Christian Church, we may be headed for a very polarizing and distracting debate.

Let’s be clear: as far as liberals are concerned, any nominee’s personal faith is neither a qualifier or a disqualifier to serving on the federal bench.

All that matters is one’s judicial philosophy and ability.

However, it can’t go unnoticed that some fringe fundamentalists are arguing that Harriet Miers deserves support because of her specific faith.

On Fox News, when Dr. James Dobson was asked to “cite” something “in her record that gives you confidence in her,” he answered, “she is a conservative Christian ... I know the church that she goes to and I know the people who go to church with her.”

And on Pat Robertson’s “700 Club,” Jay Sekulow (the head of Robertson’s ACLJ) noted her religion and said “this is a big opportunity for those of us who have a conviction, that share an evangelical faith in Christianity, to see someone with our positions put on the court.”

In other words, “Don’t support Miers because she’s a Christian. Support her because she’s our kind of Christian.”

To be clear again: it is the Right that is using Miers’ church membership to make their case, not the Left.

Of course, such statements are nothing but crude code to convince the base that Miers, like her particular church, does not support equality for gays and reproductive rights.

To note as much will likely spark the Right to attack liberals for believing anyone who is a member of a conservative church deserves disqualification.

But that is not the liberal standard.

Personal faith, as well as personal political views, are not the issue if there is evidence that the nominee is willing and able to separate personal views from faithful application of the Constitution to all citizens equally.

Which is the problem with blank slates like Miers. They lack any such evidence.

Meanwhile, the message from Dobson and Sekulow is the opposite.

They are urging people to support Miers because her specific interpretation of the Bible -- the anti-abortion, anti-gay interpretation -- will carry over to her work on the Court.

Liberals don’t need to get into what church she goes to.

All we need to insist on is evidence of her specific interpretation of the Constitution.

QUICK HIT

The History of Fighting Judicial Nominees

For those who still don’t believe that defeating a right-wing nominee can eventually lead to better nominee, consider recent history.

In 1987, President Reagan nominated the right-wing Robert Bork, who was defeated on the Senate floor because of his judicial views.

Reagan then put up another right-winger, Doug Ginsburg, who withdrew because he smoked pot.

A weakened Reagan nominated the relatively better Anthony Kennedy. Not exactly a moderate, but did uphold Roe and wrote the landmark gay equality opinion in Lawrence.

In 1969, President Nixon nominated the right-wing Clement Haynsworth for the Court, who was opposed by civil rights and labor groups, and was beat on the Senate Floor after a financial scandal emerged.

Nixon followed with another right-winger, Harrold Carswell. His legal credentials were deemed lackluster, and he expressed support for “white supremacy” years earlier. He also lost on the Senate floor.

Nixon’s third choice was Harry Blackmun, who wrote the majority opinion in Roe.

It can happen. It has happened.

(hat tip: Law Courts & Politics)

October 4, 2005 PERMALINK
A Blank Slate And A Crony
(posted Oct. 3 11:30 PM ET)

Bush, concluding that a right-wing nominee must have hidden views to get on the Supreme Court, followed the Roberts Model and put up Harriet Miers.

Yet the first 24 hours of the Miers nomination didn’t go as smoothly as the Roberts nomination, as elements of the conservative base expressed disappointment.

Does it mean that Miers isn’t as conservative as Roberts? Does it mean liberals should get behind Miers?

No, and No.

With Roberts, you had a nominee that was part of the Reagan Administration and was well known in the Beltway GOP Establishment – and yet, the Bushies still had to stroke the social conservatives far in advance of the nomination to ensure a smooth roll-out.

With Miers, they apparently tried to do similar advance outreach, putting her name out as a trial balloon.

But the base was eager to get an out-of-the-closet conservative, so they pushed hard for someone else.

Part of it is a lack of trust. They want to know for sure that the next judge won’t disappoint them like David Souter did.

The other part is they want to win on the merits. They want to win because the person has a right-wing judicial philosophy, not despite of it.

Because that will grease the path for the next generation of right-wing judges. They don’t want the best and brightest to feel obliged to refrain from writing down their views in order to succeed.

Bush obviously concluded differently, that going for an overt right-winger wasn’t a politically feasible option.

But he had a dearth of candidates like Roberts that lacked a paper trail and were pre-accepted by the base (despite Bush’s best efforts to stroke).

Of course, picking a real moderate judge does not serve the Bush/Rove vision.

They are thinking long-term GOP majority, and they have longed believe they need a strong base to get it.

Kicking the base in the teeth on its number one issue doesn’t help the cause.

Temporary agita? That's more palatable than a serious kick. The base's whining will fade once the judge starts voting on cases.

So he had no choice but to pick a conservative that lacked a paper trail. Miers was one of the few options available that fit the profile.

That just requires some post-nomination stroking so things don’t get totally out of hand.

(The stroking is in full effect, and is starting to work. During Fox News’ 6 PM show, Dr. James Dobson said “The more we know about her and find out about her, the more we are impressed with her” including “things I’m not prepared to talk about here.”)

And that’s why “disappointed base” does not equal “moderate judge.”

And should not equal “Dem support.”

Amazingly, the initial spasm of conservative consternation did to Miers what was not done not to Roberts, give her a bad first 24 hours.

Dems never got their footing against Roberts because they stood down during that critical period, while GOPers spun hard how “brilliant” Roberts was.

With Miers, both sides stood down on the spin war, and the line on Miers is “blank slate” and “crony.”

That “blank slate” frame is exactly what you need to defeat a stealth pick. The “crony” tag helps to drive home the importance of nominees with stellar records, not more of the Bush practice of picking political pals with no experience.

Dems and liberal activists got all that without even trying, despite just confirming a guy who was pretty much a blank slate.

But will they realize the gift that conservatives just gave them?

Doesn’t look like it.

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid signaled his support for Miers in advance, for reasons that are not adequately explained.

And some liberals are already assuming that anything that right-wingers whine about must be good for us.

Without leadership at the top, and without energy from the grassroots, we will likely have the same floundering, ineffectual opposition that we saw in the Roberts process – if we have any opposition at all.

Some may say, so what? Miers is probably the best we can do. If we defeat Miers, whoever comes next would have to be worse.

This is faulty, short-sighted logic.

If there’s enough criticism coming from the left and right to sink the nominee (a coalition David Corn suggests putting together), Bush ends up in his weakest political position ever.

If he then feels compelled to pick an overt right-winger to rehab his base, then that pick can be beat with a unified Democratic party backed by public opinion, completely boxing Bush in – unable to get a stealth pick or a overt right-wing pick.

Dems then would have the political leverage to force a real moderate pick.

Of course, it is highly doubtful that there will be enough conservative opposition in the Senate, despite the whining from parts of the base, to block Miers in the first place.

The point is simply that a Miers defeat does not strengthen Bush’s ability to confirm an overt right-winger, so it is not dangerous to make that an ideal goal.

And there is a larger strategic goal as well.

To articulate to the public why this nomination is so important; how our workplaces, our environment and our privacy will be impacted by this one vote; and how Democrats and liberals would do a better job in shaping our judiciary and protecting our rights.

To stand down on Miers, as was done on Roberts, is to fail in explaining to the public what Democrats and liberals stand for.

October 3, 2005 PERMALINK
The Sunday Talkshow Breakdown
A weekly feature of LiberalOasis
(posted Oct. 3 1 AM ET)

In giving an exlcusive interview to Fox News Sunday, Tom DeLay maintained his high public profile, as he attempts to keep his reputation from crumbling in advance of his trial.

One of his motives is to prevent the new House Majority Leader Roy Blunt from getting too cozy.

DeLay failed to get Rep. David Dreier to function as a seatwarmer. The idea was that Dreier wouldn’t have enough support in the GOP caucus to permanently steal the job away, but he didn’t even have enough support to be elected seatwarmer.

Now, DeLay has to resort to subtle threats.

Most attention seems to be focused DeLay’s comments “I can do my job with or without the title” and “I get to continue my partnership with the speaker.”

But perhaps the most important exchange was this:

CHRIS WALLACE: Will you continue to raise millions of dollars?

TOM DELAY: Absolutely.

That is the source of DeLay’s power, his ability to rake in the corporate cash.

If he can continue infusing the party with the monetary lifeblood, then the caucus will still feel indebted to him.

By getting the right-wing spin machine to join him in pushing the “thin, politically motivated indictment” talking point, DeLay appears to have succeeded in convincing the DC Establishment that he may well beat the rap.

(Case in point: the W. Post’s Dan Balz said on NBC’s Meet The Press: “This may be a difficult case to prove. And Ronnie Earle has had a history of bringing indictments that don't stand up once he goes into court ... DeLay may be right that he may be able to beat this.”)

Creating the perception that he’s in good legal shape is key for him to be able to maintain his donor network.

So DeLay is executing his PR strategy well.

That may be good for DeLay, but it’s not necessarily good for his party.

If DeLay is maintaining his power base, while Blunt is seeking to expand his, it might get a little crowded at the top of the House GOP leadership as the two jockey for power.

Last week, LiberalOasis noted that the GOP’s corruption problems would not automatically weaken the their ability to advance their agenda (at least, without a well-executed opposition strategy.)

But an intra-party power struggle could hinder GOP effectiveness.

And DeLay’s recent moves may be instigating such a struggle.

Which would be ironic, since DeLay understands that making policy progress is the best antidote to scandal coverage. From Fox:

WALLACE: Aren't Republicans going to have to scale back dramatically on their agenda over the next couple of years?

DELAY: Absolutely not. In fact, we need to be more aggressive.

The way you counter this politics of personal destruction is you go and you're aggressive and you move fast and do something about the gas prices ...

...Do something about spending. We're cutting spending through the appropriations process.

Do something about protecting our borders and enforcing illegal immigration.

Do something about reforming this government and reforming entitlements.

Move aggressively and boldly with our principles. That's how you win.

Meanwhile, over at Meet The Press, Dem Rep. Rahm Emanuel sought to put a counteragenda on table:

EMANUEL: One, we make college education as universal for the 21st century that a high school education was in the 20th...

...Second, we get a summit on the budget to deal with the $3 trillion of debt that's been added up in five years and structural deficits of $400 billion a year.

Third, an energy policy that says in 10 years, we cut our dependence on foreign oil in half and make this a hybrid economy.

Four, we create an institute on science and technology that builds for America like, the National Institutes has done for health care, we maintain our edge.

And five, we have a universal health-care system over the next 10 years where if you work, you have health care.

That says fiscal discipline and investing in the American people by putting people first.

The policies that the Republicans have offered have gotten us in the ditch we have today.

MR. RUSSERT: In order to pay for those programs, you'd consider raising taxes?

REP. EMANUEL: I think in this time and age, when we face the challenges we have, everybody has skin in the game.

And I think the tax policies we have in place reward the type of culture of cronyism where, in fact, what we're doing is protecting the most well off while we throw middle-class families in front of the train.

That’s a healthy step towards painting a positive vision where Democrats would take America – and arguably there’s a good deal more positive vision than what DeLay put forward.

Furthermore, Emanuel even took a step towards building a public mandate for necessary tax increases to restore fair and adequate levels of taxation.

DeLay’s short-term agenda not only lacks vision: it is unlikely to provide any short-term benefits for the America people.

Gas prices? The GOP mantra has been that there are no quick fixes for lower gas prices. Prices may edge down on their own accord (and the GOP may seek to take credit) but significant relief doesn’t seem likely, no matter what happens in Congress.

Spending cuts? There isn’t enough fat to make much of a dent in the deficit, and if they go after some bone (like health care for the poor), it gives Dems an opening.

Immigration? Even if the GOP can reconcile its split on the issue, none of the plans on the table will do much to stop illegal immigration, since they don’t address the economic disparity between the US and Mexico.

Entitlements? That’s Social Security, and that already failed.

But if those are the areas the GOP plans to focus on, Dems should be ready to go toe to toe.

We’re halfway there. The Dem “hybrid economy” vision should stack up well, and Dems have the upper hand on Social Security.

On spending, Dems should offer up their own list of cuts, to highlight the GOP failure to reign in wasteful spending, and to show that spending cuts are not enough to balance the budget and pay off the debt.

On immigration, check out this earlier LiberalOasis post.

And in addition to going toe for toe, Dems should be shining sunlight on the other parts of the GOP agenda that the majority would prefer stayed below the radar.

The Blog Wire
Tracking the liberal blogosphere

Tapped: "Implicit in Bennett's statement is the assumption that African Americans contribute only criminality to America ... That's what's offensive"

Huffington Post's Trey Ellis: If William Bennett Had Been Aborted

The Nation's David Corn: "One person who recently had contact with Fitzgerald and his attorneys says that they seem confident about whatever it is they are pursuing. The Miller matter was something of a sideshow that at times drew more attention than the central issue."

Hullabaloo: "Just in case Judy didn't know what Libby would like her to say to the Grand Jury, the Washington Post helpfully printed it up for her ... Why would Fitzgerald think she would tell the truth when it's clear that Libby wants her to testify on his behalf? Because somebody else has already spilled the beans."

Confirm Them (right-wing blog): "'Shell shocked,' 'confused,' 'stumbling,' 'full of doubt.' These are all words I have heard used to describe the current White House effort to find ... O’Connor’s replacement ... Several have told me not to buy into the Miers trial balloon. It is, I’m told, just that — a trial balloon. Another tells me, 'The President wants Gonzales. That’s what is dragging this thing out. They’re sending out people to say he is conservative as if by telling us that enough we will say, "sure, he really is one of us." That is not going to happen.' ... The situation is fluid, very fluid."

Sept. 30: It has been 812 days since Karl Rove violated his obligations under Standard Form 312 without the White House taking “corrective action.”

Whatever Already: "I first reported in the American Prospect last August 8 that Miller had met with Libby on July 8, 2003 ... A short time after that story appeared ... Miller's attorneys and Libby's attorney ... began the long negotiations that would lead to Libby finally providing her a personal waiver ... There is quite a backstory there ..."

Mark A.R. Kleiman: "Lawrence Franklin has agreed to plead guilty to leaking classfied information to two AIPAC staff members ... that's bad news for the folks who outed Valerie Plame Wilson ... Franklin was indicted under the Espionage Act ... for giving classified information to those not eligible to receive it, including members of the media. No money involved, no inteligence identities. And Franklin is pleading out. Looks to me as if the Espionage Act is still alive, and as if it applies squarely to the facts of the Plame case."

Eschaton: "Now that [Judy] Miller has apparently done something she could've done months ago, just what was that principle she was upholding in the first place?"

The Carpetbagger Report: The DeLay case in a nutshell

The Washington Note: Will the Main Stream Media Report that Dreier was Blocked Because He is GAY? (via Atrios)

Sept. 29: It has been 811 days since Karl Rove violated his obligations under Standard Form 312 without the White House taking “corrective action.”

The Stakeholder: "As for whether the charge against DeLay holds up ... It has to be shown he was aware of the transaction alleged to be money-laundering ... this would probably take some testimony. But that's all it would take."

Burnt Orange Report: "Ronnie Earle had [Kay Bailey Hutchison dead to rights in that case, and a technicality saved her from the slammer and let her rise through the ranks of the US Senate"

Daily DeLay on Roy Blunt: "The Congressman from Philip Morris and UPS"

Raw Story: "Republicans dump gay leader, pick House Whip Blunt [to replace DeLay.] Sources tell RAW STORY that Dreier -- who was a shoo-in for the position -- was nixed for various reasons, in part because his sexuality would raise ire within the party ranks. He is also out of favor because he is pro-choice."

Talking Points Memo: "Hastert plans to recommend Rep. David Dreier (R-CA) as [DeLay's] replacement. Why Dreier? Because DeLay plans on coming back. If DeLay lets someone into the job who actually has the juice to hold it, he might never get it back."

The Stakeholder: "Hey, CNN - Grand Juries indict people, not DAs. Were they all Democrats on the Grand Jury? No. So how bouts you stop pretending like this is a he-said she-said ideological debate."

Just World News: Capt. Fishback's Stand For Humanity

Give 'Em Hell Harry, Harry Reid's new site, says "The Democratic Policy Committee recently invited executives from our nations largest gas companies to come to Capitol Hill and testify why Americans are paying so much at the pump. Not a single one decided to appear. It's time the CEOs ... answered to the American people"

Sept. 28: It has been 810 days since Karl Rove violated his obligations under Standard Form 312 without the White House taking “corrective action.”

Preemptive Karma and Demagogue on Michael Brown's blame-shifting congressional testimony

Seeing The Forest: Operation Offset - the Republican jihad against government continues

Sept. 27: It has been 809 days since Karl Rove violated his obligations under Standard Form 312 without the White House taking “corrective action.”

Think Progress: Frist Defenders Dust Off The "He Doesn’t Need the Money" Defense

War and Piece: "3,000 killed just in Baghdad in what, five months?"

Mahablog: "maybe there's a plan ... Massive contracts to GOP Party cronies for reconstruction ... Suspension of Davis-Bacon, so the contractors can pay slave wages. Easing restrictions on illegal aliens, most of which will be poor Latinos desperate to find work ... Cheap labor. It's what the Republican Party is all about."

Angry Bear: "Deferring spending rather than reducing it or finding taxes to pay for it is more akin to Enron accounting than it is fiscal responsibility."

The Red Cross is accepting donations to help the victims of Hurricane Katrina

ASPCA is taking donations for its disaster relief fund

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