« The CIA Report on Joe Wilson's Trip | Main | Little Lost President »

November 01, 2005


Some points:

From Charlie Cook,

It is hard to find veteran Republican pros who don't think that changes in the White House are essential. But it is equally difficult to find Republicans close to the White House who see those changes as likely to occur.

Take for example, a likely scenario to replace Treasury Secretary John Snow.

At some point in the not too distant future, Snow is likely to step down, leaving that job open for White House Chief of Staff Andy Card, who has long coveted and angled for the job.

But promoting from within the administration or within "the Bush II family" is not the kind of change that needs to happen.

Bush, et. al, are trapped. To the extent that the WH can change the subject (Alito, avian flu) they win. To the extent that the Democrats talk about iraq, the indictment and Cheney, they win. But it's not a Dem Grand Slam until the come to grips with the war. This is a box they've put themselves in, and they have to do a Gephardt to get out.

Frist and Reid: Reid wins, they get a report back in 2 weeks.

Dana Milbank on Hardball:

"it was a Democratic stunt, but it worked marvelously. I chucked my alito story to talk about the Senate shut-down"

See above.

I should say the title comes from Dick Durbin, who is also right on message.

Also a side note.

Why isn't anyone talking about John Hannah, near flipper, just got a big promotion?

Dick Cheney just tried to buy the loyalty of two people who could bring him down. I'd ask what the cost of a GOP soul is, but I won't bother.

oooh, nice WaPo headline, big block letters:

Senate GOP Angered by Rare Closed Session

Demanding answers about intelligence, Democrats force unexpected shutdown and provoke a furious reaction from Republicans.

No wonder they're furious. The Dems prevented them from changing the subject.

so can we assume that hannah hasn't "flipped?" we had heard reports that he had been threatened with indictment. wurmser as well. . .

I loved the line-up of Republicans complaining about Reid's "affront" to the Senate leadership, to the Senate and to America because he asked for an end to what amounts to GOP obstructionism on investigating the propaganda/smear effort that has cost the lives of tens of thousands of human beings, destroyed tens of billions in property, cost the U.S. treasury at least $200 billion, screwed up diplomacy, weakened the military, given enemies of freedom a chance to learn and capitalize on the vulnerabilities of the greatest war-making machine on the planet and given terrorists a fabulous recruiting poster?

These jackals actually had the temerity to say that calling the closed-door session was all about the Democrats not wanting to confront budget cuts and deficit reduction. It is sooooooooooooo lovely to see them on the defensive with such a weak defense.

What they really meant with all their whining was that Reid & the Fighting Dems (it is sooooooo wonderful to be able to say that without gagging, ew) just trashed this week's Republican effort to seize back control of the media cycle after a disastrous October. Dead Americans? No big deal. Perjury? Who cares? But mess with their grip on spin and they go bananas.

The Democratic press conference was especially delightful, with both Durbin and Levin soft-spokeningly kicking GOP butts all over the place.

I kind of wish (well, I definitely wish) Levin was the ranking in the SSCI. He's got incredible cojones hidden somewhere in that non-threatening demeanor.

But whatever, he's on the committee at least.

One thing I'm intrigued by. I don't think SSCI member Olympia Snowe (nor, probably, Mike DeWine) are really looking forward to the Alito hearings. I wonder whether one of them will be appointed to the 6-person subcommittee. Throw in Lott, Hagel, and we might get somewhere.

But then, who am I kidding, the three republicans will probably be Bond, Roberts, and Hatch, the people who have thrown this in the first place.

Of note: Today's session should amply demonstrate why the reaction to the nuclear option isn't a "shutdown," and why Democrats should stop using the term.

The GOP would like nothing better than to characterize how the Democrats will use the rules in the wake of the nuclear option as a shutdown, and compare it with Newt Gingrich's tremendous blunder that was tagged with the same name.

Senator Reid's post-nuclear plans have always been clear: for the Senate Dems to use the rules to see that more work and more votes on more issues of importance to the American people take place more often than ever before, and certainly more often than the Republicans want to see happening.

That's how Democrats do it. The very opposite of a shutdown, and the very opposite of obstructionism.

Remember it. Repeat it.

Too bad there's no good antonym for shutdown that has its resonance and fits in a headline.

It's a work-in.

This is a great move by Reid, and just the first of many, I hope. The R's are paying for killing off Daschle just like they paid in the Social Security fight by killing off Charlie Stenholm. They really ought to be careful what they wish for.

Reid undoubtedly has many more up the sleeve from which he got this one, and Frist, who never did master the Senate rules, will be flummoxed every time. It isn't about shutting anything down, it is about paying back their lack of comity and attempt to marginalize the Dems. It is about seizing control of the agenda every now and then to throw off the timetable for the railroad and the attempt to distract the public.

This makes it ever more likely that the Alito hearings will take place next year. As I have said many times, don't predict what will happen based simply on where we are today, (let alone where we were months ago). Nothing is certain but change.

Someday I am going to ask/attempt-to-think in detail about the reverse of Mimikatz's comment. If the Rs erred by killing off Stenholm (and to a lesser extent Daschle), how might Democrats err by failing to influence the shape of the Republican party? Is it to our long-term advantage to have figures like Shays and McCain and Specter and Snowe in the other party? On one hand they often go off the reservation and lend legitimacy to our view of reality, legitimacy that no "partisan Democrat" could add. On the other hand, they're sometimes the cover for an increasingly radical party, and they often hold seats we could win outright. It seems like Democrats ought to actively try to shape their opposition party, just as Club for Growth hoped to knock Dean and his ideas (such as they were) out of even the Democratic mainstream. But I'm not sure what the right goals would be, nor what methods are really available.

A discussion for another day maybe, but Mimikatz's Stenholm comment reminded me of it.

This isn't a "Shutdown" this is Democrats "Forcing Republicans to Account" :)

All of the media is saying how the Democrats "Forced" the Republicans today. Guess who comes out looking STRONG on the subject of National Security today? We need more headlines saying the Democrats have "Forced" the Republicans...

Note Mark Schmitt's take:

I have a theory about Congress, which is that there is often a moment when the effective majority switches, when the minority takes control of the agenda well before an election. It happened in 1994 when Gingrich forced the Crime Bill back to conference. It happened in 1996 when Kennedy forced the Senate to take up the minimum wage increase. After those events, the majority never quite had control of the agenda again.
I think the same thing just happened today when Harry Reid took the Senate into closed session


I'M BACK, BUT FOR A MOMENT [John Podhoretz] I think the Democratic move today in the Senate is politically canny. In the past five days, Democrats have seen the political momentum shifting the president's way with shocking speed. They don't know what to do about the inspired Alito nomination, which they almost certainly can't filibuster. And with the president's announcement of a war against bird flu this morning -- which strikes me as ridiculous policy but inspired Clintonian politics -- Democrats were on the verge of having the Fitzgerald probe consigned to the ash-heap of history. And what do they have going for them right now but Scooter-gate? So by pulling this unprecedented maneuver with Section 21, they're staging a counterassault against the president's effort to change the political story of the moment. This is the sort of thing to make the Huffington Puffington people shriek with happiness and the Kossians to chortle with joy -- almost as much as Bush pulling Miers's nomination did for us (I know, we're not supposed to gloat, but come on). And unfortunately, what the GOP has to respond to the maneuver is Bill Frist, who's a great and noble human being but a stinko political leader. It may not work, but there's no sense pretending this is a dumb thing to do. It isn't. Posted at 03:59 PM


From Digby be sure to see Knight Ridder on Hannah (VP keeps dark side close) and according to Hotline reading Waas' article at National Journal on VP holding back documents from SSIC is why Reid and Rockefellar took action today

Heh. Reid and Rockefeller may have taken action to focus on the issues Waas raises, but they did it today to change the subject.


I like this:

stinko political leader

Heather, absolutely, they did this because of the Waas issues--but as my link about points out, these issues have been burning since November 7, 2003. They chose today to launch it (decided last night if you believe Durbin). There are three reasons why: Libby's indictment, Dick's response, and Bush's Alito response.

Dem from Ct-I agree 100% with cook here. Gergen (who I happen to think is very smart when it comes to handling political scandals) said the same thing as Cook reported. He said that the WH desperately needs new blood. How does the WH not know one of these guys may end up indicted. Of course, Bush is pathologically incapable of firing someone. He couldn't even fire Libby until the indictments were announced. Why does Rove still have a security clearance? Lots of questions still left unanswered.

Why isn't anyone talking about John Hannah, near flipper, just got a big promotion?

Yes, that is interesting. I thought the same thing. Perhaps Cheney wants to keep an eye on Hannah. He probably understood way more of what that indictment meant and who's who than we ever will know.

Here's something to watch. I have Google news alerts set for "nuclear option," "filibuster," etc.

The headlines it has sent me over the past few days have had a decided conservative slant, and almost all the related articles have argued that a filibuster of Alito was either highly unlikely or impossible, because the Democrats knew they'd lose, and feared the consequences.

We'll see what the smart money says tomorrow. Try it at home!

Frist will never trust Reid again, eh? These days, any move that forces Frist to talk about "trust" is a good move.

This was more. A brilliant stroke, with a fine sense of timing -- keeping contact with a retreating adversary who has lost tempo and composure, denying him opportunities to regroup and counter. And adding a new device to the attack, just when he thought he had learned to cope with the existing threat matrix.

Not so much Reid the poker player, but Reid the boxer.

Ron K

I was thinking the same thing--boxer, not poker player. But I know shit about boxing, so I couldn't do it justice.


The calls for new blood are becoming a constant scream at this point. But what kind of leverage are the GOPers making those calls using? None, as far as I can see. They really really desperately want Bush to bring in some adults...or at least competent teenageers. But they're not yet willing to force him to.

Watching Frist mumble and fumble and lose it was worth sitting through the rest of Hardball. And Lott sticking the knife into Rove, suggesting that it perhaps wasn't all that good to have the political adviser also pretend to be a policy adviser too. So put dumping Lott for Frist on the list of things BushCo perhaps should have thought through a little better.

I think that the only way the grownups come in is when everything has completely collapsed. Of course, if I were Jr. I wouldn't want the public humiliation of having to call in Sr. to clean up my mess. When even Trent Lott is calling for the graybeards to come in an fix things, looks like the WH is in a pretty bad state.

The comments to this entry are closed.

Where We Met

Blog powered by Typepad