I'll be subbing for Hugh again today (6-9 pm EST on the Salem Radio Network). We'll be talking about the Dems' maneuvers to delay Alito, DeLay's altercations with the House leadership (viz. the Prowler) and just how far should the conservatives go in attacking the left on its feckless positions on the war. Pat Robertson goes too far. But most of us don't go far enough. See ya on the radio.
The Spectacle Blog
Hotline is now reporting two dozen House Republicans have stepped up to sign on to an election petition, and fingers Rep. Jeff Flake as one of the ringleaders. There are at least two or three others lobbying conservatives and moderates to sign on.
The names in play for new leadership continue to be Blunt and Boehner. Fiscal conservatives are pushing Rep. Mike Pence, while others are pushing Rep. Zach Wamp.
We think, based on conversations we've had in the past few days that the names to watch - and what they say and do over the next few days - are Reps. Debra Pryce, Eric Cantor and Pence.
Pryce is being overlooked, and shouldn't be underestimated. Cantor is increasingly getting attention, and while he may not have built up the operation to pull off an election to Leader, he almost certainly will leap frog others to a senior leadership post.
The other wild card: Speaker Dennis Hastert. He has been strangely quiet about all of this, and while that has allowed others to fill the vacuum and move ahead with an election drive, there are some wondering just how long he intends to put up with a growing mess of a situation.
We're hearing that the House Republican Caucus may have at least partial closure to the Tom DeLay drama by Monday morning, perhaps sooner depending on how hot the phone lines get over the next 36 hours.
By then, Republicans will have have pulled together the requisite 50 members formally requesting an election for leadership posts.
The petition drive is not being driven by senior members of the caucus who might also be candidates for leadership positions, we are told. Rather, it is the tier of Republicans just below them that is driving this train. At least two regional whips are said to be involved in the lobbying to pull together the "Gang of 50."
As we reported before Christmas, GOP House leaders meeting on St. Michael's Island after Thanksgiving anticipated such a petition would be forwarded to the caucus after the holidays, particularly if the Texas courts didn't clarify Leader DeLay's legal predicament any further.
That NYT write-up is a joke. Notice how they deep they buried the positive comments. And the lead is that Colin Powell "said nothing -- a silence that spoke volumes to many in the White House on Thursday morning." That was the most important thing about the meeting? Really?
Maybe it's the Bushies' fault for failing to emphasize that nearly everyone in that room more or less agrees with their Iraq policy -- none are calling for an instant pull-out, to my knowledge. Certainly Eagleburger, Baker, Schlesinger, Shultz, Laird, Carlucci, and McNamara back the war and (I think) have from the begining; probably Haig, Perry, and Cohen, too. Even Albright's criticism wasn't really of Iraq per se, more of a generic partisan foreign policy brickbat.
I notice that Caspar Weinberger was among those who couldn't make it. I was wondering if he'd be there, since word is he and and several of the people in that room haven't been on speaking terms since his 1996 book The Next War was published.
Talk about a motley crew that the Democrats have lined up to attack Judge Samuel Alito.
Powerline hits Leahy on the inclusion of Stephen Dujack on one of the panels (according to Leahy's list, the final panel). Dujack is considered even in some left-wing circles a bit a gadfly. He is expected to attack Alito for his purported activities as a member of Concerned Alumni of Princeton.
We've been hearing for weeks that Leahy staffers have been pressuring the Washington Post and New York to write about CAP and Alito, claiming they had "explosive" evidence. It isn't clear that anyone is biting. But clearly, Leahy thinks Dujack will impress.
The real fireworks should play out in panel three, which features attorney Fred Gray (famous for serving as a legal counsel to Rosa Parks), Kate Michelman (supporter of the slaughter of innocent lives), and Ronald Sullivan, a law professor at Yale.
... If Bush, having gathered previous secretaries of state and defense, had Madeline Albright arrested?
Maybe he could have thrown in the journalist too. "Exceedingly upbeat"? You mean they didn't have a death count marquee along the bottom of the video feed that presented the Iraqi ambassador?
Officially U.S. government officials over at the State Department or the White House aren't saying anything different from what Israeli officials are saying about the status of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. But unofficially, the White House is making plans for possible events in Jerusalem mid-week, next week. A source close to the situation confirmed chatter elsewhere this morning that the White House doesn't expect any official word on Sharon's status until after the Sabbath concludes. This, coincidentally... or not, is also around the time that Sharon's induced coma might be reversed.