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April 25, 2005


here's how it works when you overplay your hand:

The Bolton battle is not over, but the meeting seemed to epitomize an outnumbered but stubborn party that has frustrated Republicans with its ability to deter or outflank the majority on key issues.

Democrats credit House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Harry M. Reid (Nev.) with promoting solidarity through pep talks, lectures on loyalty and constant reassurances that Republicans are overplaying their hand. But the GOP has inadvertently helped, they say, by unwisely diving into the Terri Schiavo case and by starting the year with a drive to rewrite Social Security, considered sacrosanct to the Democratic Party.

You make your opponents look like geniuses.

Pelosi and Reid insisted that Bush's plan to create private investment accounts would diminish Social Security's long-term benefits, and even the most vulnerable Democrats from Republican-leaning states stood with them. "Rather than break Democrats apart, it brought them together," said Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.), a former Clinton White House strategist.

Interesting side note: are we assuming that the administration insists on paying for Iraq in $80 billion increments in the hopes that people will confuse the supplemental requests and never be entirely clear on what the running total is, or even how often money is being requested?

yep.. as if paying by the tank of gas won't make people notice the effect of gas prices on the economy or their wallets... it's a constant nagging reminder that Mission is Not Accomplished.

I blogged about this on my blog, too.

My hypothesis about Krugman's usually dead-on assessments is that Krugman doesn't live in D.C. and can't be infected by D.C.-itis.

I hope that all Democrats take the Feingold-Heinz-townhalls-everywhere approach. Go local, Democrats!

(That's former Senator John Heinz, BTW.)

as if paying by the tank of gas won't make people notice the effect of gas prices on the economy or their wallets... it's a constant nagging reminder that Mission is Not Accomplished.

Yeah, the local news stations have really cranked up "gas price watch" segments lately. Everytime gas prices go up, local news stations start giving viewers info on where the cheapest gas is.

btw, contrast the Note today, which is the epitome of DC-itis


The White House's political foci, in the order it cares about them (from most to least):

1. Iraq war completion
2. Economy, oil, and Saudi Arabia
3. Social Security
4. Budget negotiations
5. Bolton nomination
6. Filibuster face-off
7. DeLay's fate

The left-leaning and conflict obsessed MSM's political foci, in the order it cares about them (from most to least):

1. Filibuster face-off (Bill Frist is an extremist puppet of the Right!!!)
2. Economy, oil, and Saudi Arabia (release the SPR!!!)
3. DeLay fate (bring him down!!!)
4. Bolton nomination (withdraw it!!! or Hagel and other GOP defections will cause it to go down on votes!!!)
5. Social Security (let it suffer a fate worse than HillaryCare!!!)
6. Iraq war (is that thing still going on??!!!)
7. North Korea (David Sanger only.)
8. Areas of disagreement between Brad Freeman and Roland Betts regarding the White House gardener (Elisabeth Bumiller only.)
9. Budget negotiations

The Note's political foci, in the order we care about them (from most to least):

1. Budget negotiations
2. Substance of the allegations against Bolton and DeLay
3. Raymond Reggie's FBI wire
4. Filibuster face-off
5. Mitt Romney's 2006/08 decision

Wow. How do they carry those huge brains around without getting fatigued?

Normal people:
1. American Idol
2. Fox Morning News coverage of the issues surrounding American Idol, including Paula Abdul's neuroses


407. Painful rectal itch
408. The Note

This happened somewhat beneath the radar, but Senator Byrd has done his part to shut down this sham of leaving Iraq out of the budget to hide the costs. He proposed a "sense of the Senate" amendment, which passed 61-31, providing (among other things) that: "any request for funds for a fiscal year after fiscal year 2006 for an ongoing military operation overseas, including operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, should be included in the annual budget of the President for such fiscal year."

Congress does not have the power to directly order the President to include any item in his budget request, of course, so this may be for naught. One of the findings contained in Byrd's amendment states: "The Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2004 (Public Law 108-87) and the Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2005 (Public Law 108-287) each contain a sense of the Senate provision urging the President to provide in the annual budget requests of the President for a fiscal year under section 1105(a) of title 31, United States Code, an estimate of the cost of ongoing military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan in such fiscal year." In other words, they have demanded this from Bush for the last two years as well.

Nonetheless, the fact that these demands have passed in the Republican-controlled Senate demonstrates that it is not only the Democrats who are weary of the Administration's numbers games.

The problem with Krugman's analysis is that large majorities of Americans disagreed with the Republican program and Bush's actions before the election. They voted for him anyway.

The Republicans have learned to push the right emotional buttons and people vote for the emotional appeal. They don't count up the issues where they agree or disagree. They just go with a gut reaction, and that reaction is manipulated deliberately and effectively.

But not forever. See the WaPo poll today.

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