The Spectacle Blog

Bill Thomas

By on 3.6.06 | 12:13PM

Prowler: Thomas is an SOB of the first order, but he was more often than not OUR SOB, with the intellect to get things done (and with the repeated reminders from Thomas himself that he does possess said intellect and that therefore you should defer to him). One of the biggest opportunities we had last year for real SS reform was when Thomas said he wanted to EXPAND the proposal so that it covered all sorts of other retirement-related programs as well, so that it would be comprehensive reform that would have other "sweeteners" in it that could make it more politically salable. Frankly, Sununu-Ryan was better both substantively and politically, but Thomas' idea was better than having a brave but poorly planned White House effort that went solo. If Bush had worked WITH Thomas from the start, there might have been a chance to achieve something solid for personal accounts. Now, with Thomas retiring, the odds, quite sadly, look even worse.

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Lobbying Reform

By on 3.6.06 | 12:04PM

Some on the Hill are wondering if Thomas's announcement isn't going to lead to a set of exits by elected officials concerned about a possible two-year moratorium on lobbying their former colleagues.

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist is the big proponent of this 24-month lock down, and it's not clear how much support it has.

By the way, for those of you looking at the electoral map, Thomas's district is very much solid Republican, and our sources say that Thomas would not resign without a succession plan, of sorts.

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Thomas Announcement

By on 3.6.06 | 12:02PM

Sources on the House Ways and Means Committee are telling us that Rep. Bill Thomas, the committee's chairman, will be announcing his retirement from the House shortly.

Thomas has been a solid chairman, pushing hard for tax cuts, an advocate for spending cuts, and didn't always play ball with the White House the way it would have liked. Those are all good things.

If Thomas does go through with it -- and it's a big if given how he can get emotional about things -- it's a somewhat surprising move. Our sources tell us that he had just completed a reorganization of his senior staff on the committee, and had assured some of them, who had been mulling exits of their own, that he was staying put.

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Oh yes, Jack’s GOP

By on 3.6.06 | 11:54AM

By the way, I should have added in my post on Nicklaus that he long has been quite publicly a GOPer, and he campaigned hard for Bush in Ohio in 2004.

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Consulting the Iraq Experts

By on 3.6.06 | 11:14AM

So this morning's Washington Post/ABC News poll finds that a strong majority belives civil war is imminent. Those polled? A majority of Americans. Methinks it might be a bit more instructive to poll Iraqis about whether or not their country will descend into civil war, not the American man on the street.

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Jack for Senate

By on 3.6.06 | 11:04AM

By the way, speaking of the great Jack Nicklaus (as I did a few posts ago when talking about Tiger Woods), I have a very, very serious suggestion: Florida Republicans should evict the hopeless underdog Katherine Harris from the Senate race (okay, I know, she won't actually step down, but in my plan she would be outgunned regardless) by drafting Nicklaus as their Senate nominee. The man is a solid, commonsense conservative Republican; he can largely self-fund; he's a terrific speaker and has infinite grace under press questioning; he's incorruptible; he has a history of charitable work that makes it impossible to lable him a "heartless conservative"; and he's a living, breathing hero, fergoshsakes. Truth be told, I think he would be a shoo-in in Ohio, whereas in Florida he would start out probably as a 50-50 chance (which is better than Harris, who has almost no chance, it seems) -- but Ohio has an incumbent semi-Republican already on the ballot in Mike DeWine. Florida needs Jack; the U.S. Senate needs Jack; and please don't anybody tell me that I "don't know Jack (s..)" about the subject, because I'm sure Nicklaus would have a better chance than Rep. Harris.

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Last Word to Wlady on Sayers

By on 3.6.06 | 10:32AM

Okay, most of what I've seen of Sayers were highlight reels; when I was first really getting into the NFL at age 5 and 6, he already was on his way out the door because of his knee injuries. But your description of his grace is so lyrical that he MUST have been even more beautiful to watch than O.J.; to inspire such brilliantly written blog-writing, he MUST have been even more special than I remember. Thanks for the descriptions, Wlady.

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Tiger, burning bright

By on 3.6.06 | 10:28AM

It is to Tiger Woods' credit that he is always in position to win if other people choke, and that he himself never seems to choke to hand away titles to other people. He is indeed the most dominant athlete in his sport in my entire lifetime, Lance Armstrong included. But how I wish we could see him, a la my idol Jack Nicklaus, be forced to deal with excruciating defeats once in a while. Just once it would be nice to see somebody do to Tiger what Lee Trevino and especially Tom Watson (and several others, although they made no habit of it) did to Jack, which is to make birdies to snatch victories away when Jack seemed to have done everything necessary to win. Instead, the only people who have even held on in the face of Tiger in the lead or tied for the lead were the forgettable Bob May -- who lost, but didn't choke -- the perennial runner-up Chris DiMarco -- who choked early on Sunday, then came back, but was made to look better when Tiger bogeyed the final two holes of regulation -- and the enigmatic Thomas Bjorn, who just lucked out when Tiger mis-hit a ball into the water on 18 to hand Bjorn the victory. In short, once Tiger has the lead, everybody else folds.

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Great Work If You Can Get It

By on 3.6.06 | 9:36AM

Pennsylvania's Supreme Court justices billed the state for more than $50,000 in assorted food, travel, and miscellaneous expenses -- for trips to conferences in Alaska, South Carolina, and Puerto Rico. And that's just for the first half of the fiscal year. Given their approval of the unconstitutional pay raise for themselves and the legislature last year, such spending would merit an audit. But no such luck, since Ed Rendell's the governor.

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