The Spectacle Blog

Democratic Wish List

By on 1.12.06 | 11:40AM

Democrats in the House, speaking privately, say that they have a clear favorite in the House Majority Leader race: Roy Blunt.

"We can run against him nationally, no problem," says one Democratic member from a Blue Dog state. "Boehner presents a bit more of a challenge, but not much more."

Regardless of who is elected on the Republican side, though, the tempest across the aisle seems to have emboldened Democrats to look at their own leadership. The Democrats say that regardless of where Republicans go with their leadership, and regardless of how their party fares in the mid-term elections, there is a sense inside their caucus that they will change leaders, too.

"Nancy Pelosi is a goner," says another Democrat. "I look forward to the day when I can call Steny Hoyer my majority leader. Or minority leader."

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Lindsay Graham and Mrs. Alito

By on 1.12.06 | 11:39AM

Human Events reports that the AP got the story of Mrs. Alito crying wrong, that she began crying at Sen. Lindsay Graham's apology for the Democrats' behavior, not at his "are you a closet bigot" question. No matter. In his defense or not, Graham's question was ridiculous and offensive.

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Shagging Shadegg

By on 1.12.06 | 11:33AM

The boys over at RedState are now officially pushing the candidacy of Rep. John Shadegg for Republican Majority Leader in the House.

Shadegg has been speaking a bit more in the past couple of days, talking about his consultation with his fellow members. But we're hearing that Shadegg intends to make a formal annoucement within the next 24 hours.

Supporters of both current candidates for the job -- Reps. John Boehner and Roy Blunt -- have been speaking with Shadegg since Monday in an attempt to head him off from entering the race. It isn't clear that either man would lose a huge number of commitments to Shadegg, but probably enough to make their own election a bit more questionable.

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EU-3 Call Emergency IAEA Meeting

By on 1.12.06 | 11:29AM

Germany, France and England have called for an emergency meeting of the UN International Atomic Energy Agency to consider Iran's reopening of its Natanz nuclear facility. This is the prelude to bringing Iran before the Security Council for sanctions. This is good news and bad. The EUnuchs say they realize that their diplomacy with Iran has failed. But their remedy is to try more diplomacy in another forum. This will tie up the effort to defeat Iran's nuclear weapons plans in the UN for months or years. In that time, Iran will almost certainly achieve their ambition to have, and be able to manufacture, nuclear weapons.

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A Breathless House Race Tally

By on 1.12.06 | 11:23AM

For those following the leadership race in the House, The Hill has set up a daily tally page. From what I'm hearing, though, the moment-by-moment coverage of this may be a waste of breath -- until members actually return to town, phone commitments probably don't mean as much as personal commitments. And as we've already seen with the Shadegg entry, the winds can quickly change with a news story in one direction or another.

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Schumer Should Talk

By on 1.12.06 | 10:41AM

A TAS exclusive: Ol' Chuck Schumer is accusing Samuel Alito Jr. of being a bigot? Look at Jay Homnick's piece and find out the truth here.

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With a Whimper, Not a Bang

By on 1.12.06 | 8:26AM

T.S. Eliot was wrong when he wrote, “This is the way the world ends. Not with a bang, but a whimper.” The whimper precedes the bang, as it now does regarding Iran. The Iranians this week removed the seals the IAEA placed on its Natanz nuclear facility, vowing to resume immediately their “research” into nuclear technology. And the best the leaders of the west can do is vow to sometime soon perhaps think about bringing Iran before the UN Security Council to seek economic sanctions to compel the most dangerous terrorist nation in the world to see the error of its ways.

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Milbank Nails It Again

By on 1.12.06 | 8:08AM

Confirming the addage that even a stopped clock is right twice a day, Dana Milbank captured yesterday's confirmation hearing circus:

Thus did Democrats take their last stand against Alito. It had become clear that the committee, with unified GOP support, would clear the judge. Surveying the various lines of attack against Alito -- his opposition to abortion, his support for a powerful president, his conflict-of-interest issues -- Democrats concluded that their best hope was in Alito's membership in a group opposed to gains by women and minorities. Clarence Thomas had Anita Hill. Alito would have the Concerned Alumni of Princeton.

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Trouble in Montana?

By on 1.12.06 | 12:40AM

If Rasmussen is to be believed, it looks like the Abramoff scandal is taking its toll on Conrad Burns. Burns hasn't quite fallen behind either of his likely challengers, and the backlash may have long since peaked and receded by November. But this isn't good news.

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Flake, Shadegg, Arizona Rising

By on 1.11.06 | 10:01PM

Spoke tonight with fresh, convincing Jeff Flake of 6th Arizona with regard the succession crisis in the Republican House of Representatives, and he called on all self-announcing candidates for leader and whip to give up their current posts and compete as unprivileged back-bench members. This especially applies to Roy Blunt of Missouri, who is campaigning for leader from his whip post, which Flake explained meant that Blunt, should he lose, would be required to advance the agenda of a man or woman he opposed just moments before. Flake also believes it would strengthen Speaker Hastert if he submitted himself to re-election on February 2, though this would also mean that the Democrats get involved in the election process separate from the Republican leader and whip races.

Flake responded most readily to mention of John Shadegg of 3rd Arizona running for leader. "I've talked to him a number of times," Flake told me, "and I'm encouraging him to get in."

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