KEEP ROVE ALIVE
Just how hijacked is the Democratic Party? Former CIA analyst and Joe Wilson advocate Larry Johnson was allowed to give the party's weekly national radio address. Some Democrats in both the House and Senate are wondering why the party continues to beat on the supposed Karl Rove scandal, despite the fact that there is no clear evidence the story is helping the party politically.
"I haven't seen a single, serious poll beyond the media's that attacking Rove helps us one bit with the voters," says a Democratic House member. "No one can show me numbers. This is all the fringe people like MoveOn and even Howard Dean. It's all about not getting past 2000 and 2004. And I really fear we're going to pay for it down the road."
He points to the energy bill wending its way out of both the Senate and House, as well as the USA PATRIOT Act renewal, and the highway bill as evidence that his party is losing sight of good political fights they should be waging, and instead are focusing on what amounts to minor scandals.
"My party is making a huge bet on something we really know nothing about," says the Democrat. "We don't know where this Plame thing is going to go, yet we're giving these people a huge platform. I'd rather be fighting for the issues that we know Americans care about: the environment, more of their tax dollars on national security and homeland defense. That stuff resonates at home."
New York Sen. Chuck Schumer was none too pleased with press reports on Monday that his junior colleague from New York, Hillary Rodham Clinton, had announced that she would not oppose the nomination of Judge John Roberts to the Supreme Court.
"He pitched a fit," says a Senate Judiciary staffer, who interacts extensively with Schumer's staff. "His staff thought she was opening up the trapdoor for him to fall through. It appeared to be classic Clinton triangulation."
Clinton's remarks pushed Schumer's position -- that he could not commit to a position on Roberts without more information, hearings, and documents -- into the far left with his pals Pat Leahy and Dick Durbin.
Other fellow Senate Democrats say that before the Clinton furor, Schumer and his staff had done a relatively decent job of keeping his role in the stalking of Roberts in the background. Behind the scenes, Schumer's staff has been driving the push for the release of Roberts' papers during his time in the Solicitor General's Office.
But Clinton's staff assured Schumer that her decision was not final, and that she was going to take a wait and see approach to the nomination process.
"What is fascinating, at least to me, is how Schumer in these situations acts more like the junior senator," says another Democratic Judiciary staffer. "Clinton really does cast a shadow over him."
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