Washington Prowler

Supreme Struggles

Justice Alito day. Howie vs. Harry. Abramoff Democrats.

By 1.30.06

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ALITO SCENARIO
According to White House sources, should Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito be confirmed at the 11 a.m. Senate vote this morning, the President intends to swear him in and have him present with his colleagues at the State of the Union Address Tuesday evening.

More details should be released later today, but the expectation is that Alito would be sworn in at the White House before heading up to Capitol Hill. The White House was mulling whether to place Alito's wife as part of the contingent sitting with First Lady Laura Bush.

HOWIE AND HARRY
It appears that the Democrat Party is closer to imploding than the Republican. How else to explain the ongoing attempts by Democrat Party Chairman Howard Dean to destroy Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid?

According to knowledgeable DNC sources, Dean about ten days ago was shown opposition research documents generated by the Republican National Committee more than three years ago, which laid out facts regarding Reid and his family's lobbying and ethical conflicts.

Dean, according to the sources, was fascinated by the details, and asked that his staff research and independently confirm everything on the documents. "Basically he oppo'd a member of his own party," says a DNC source loyal to Dean.

"Basically, we were looking at three- or four-page documents that made Jack Abramoff's lobbying work look like that of a rank amateur," says the DNC source. "Between the minority leader's past in Nevada and here in Washington, and the activities of his sons and son-in-law, there probably isn't anyone in this town with more conflicts. The Reid family is the symbol of what's wrong with Washington; it's their behavior that enabled the culture that spawned people like Abramoff."

Dean then went public over the weekend, saying that Democrats with an Abramoff problem would be in trouble, not only with voters, but with the Democrat Party. But why attack a senior member of his own party?

According to Democrat Party watchers and DNC staff, Dean has grown increasingly frustrated at how he is treated by the likes of Reid, Sen. Dick Durbin, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, and Rep. Rahm Emanuel, who leads the House Democrat candidate recruitment effort. "They treat him like a lackey, not as an equal," says another DNC employee. "Just last week, they were all badmouthing his fundraising activities, when clearly he's done a good job. What this comes down to a fight for the soul of our party, and if the chairman has to draw a long knife on a few of his colleagues, he's more than willing to do so."

JACK OF ALL TRADES
A number of people in Washington are wondering why the White House won't release details regarding its contacts with lobbyist Jack Abramoff. Knowledgeable sources say that contacts were minimal inside the White House, and that the release would actually be helpful to the President.

A more interesting line of investigation, they say, is that reporters should be asking which House and Senate Democrat leaders have had personal and professional contact with Abramoff. "There were a few Democrats who were more than willing to be seen in public setting like restaurants or on the street walking with Abramoff, just like Republicans are more than willing to be seen with the likes of Tommy Boggs," says a DNC source. "People just weren't aware of what they were seeing at the time."

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