Congress is home for the Thanksgiving holiday and WSJ's George Melloan says good riddance (sub. req'd): "Few sessions could surpass this year's deliberations of the 109th Congress in terms of the hours wasted on bombast and blather with so little serious accomplishment." Read the rest for a truly depressing account of how Washington's finer features and campaign finance reform have seated a wasteful permanent government.
The Spectacle Blog
North Carolina Sen. Elizabeth Dole edged out Minnesota Republican colleague, Sen. Norm Coleman for head of the Republican Senatorial campaign committee, and Republican leaders in Washington and around the country have been underwhelmed by her performance thus far in recruiting candidates and raising money. Latest numbers show the GOP in the Senate trailing Dems and Chuck Schumer's committee by about a million bucks, something the GOP hasn't seen in almost six years.
Senate insiders chalk up the fundraising disparity to the need of Democrats to raise more money to run more campaigns, as they have to defend more seats than Republicans this cycle. But no one in Republicans circles disputes that Dole is playing way over her head, and that she has performed badly as a recruiter for Senate candidates. She has failed to upgrade candidates in Florida and Nebraska, and had little to do with the recruitment of the GOP's one star candidate, Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael Steele.
Republicans will most likely hold on to the Senate, but it won't be because of anything Elizabeth Dole did.
Interesting that last night, Bob Woodward seemed to be sending out a warning to both prosecutor Fitzgerald and Libby defense counsel that neither would be happy with what he ultimately would be able to testify to in open court. This may be an attempt on his part to get everyone off his back, but we have heard this is less bravado and more fact. Woodward can help Libby's case in some areas, and hurt it in others. Fitzgerald's case is not as airtight as before, but his total case has not yet been revealed, and Woodward may have helped him in ways some folks aren't aware of.
It's really cool that President and Mrs. Bush were able to play tourist in Ulan Bator, Mongolia, at our expense. No sitting U.S. President before Bush ever visited Mongolia. There's a reason for that. It's called prioritization. Usually U.S. presidents in trouble at home board Air Force One and head to Beijing. That Bush felt it necessary to also visit the land that time -- and everyone else -- forgot, illustrates how bad things are for Bush at home.
John Kerry attacking Vice President Cheney for allegedly lying about pre-war intelligence is about as credible as Ted Kennedy lecturing anyone on drunk driving or the proper way to treat young waitresses.
The Junior Senator from Massachussets launched his political career by slandering the soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines fighting in Vietnam. When pushed about his testimony before Congress, he has admitted that he didn't really witness any atrocities (as he testified under oath), but heard about such misconduct from other service members who heard about them from others, and so on and so on and so on. We know that the overwhelming majority of troops fighting in Vietnam were the best of their generation -- something that cannot be said of Kerry, even taking into account his military service.
To charge the President and Vice President with lying about intelligence in order to manipulate the Congress and public support to remove Saddam Hussein by force is as immoral as falsely charging one's brothers in arms with war crimes.
There are some people whose advice we ignore at our peril. A letter to the editor to the WaPo published today, from someone in that category. Here it is in full:
"One of the most critical issues that members of Congress must address is the wisdom of setting a schedule for our continued presence in Iraq. In this regard, I would hope that they would look back to September 1983, when both houses of Congress held War Powers Act hearings on our presence in Beirut as part of a multinational force. I asked Congress then not to set a schedule for our withdrawal from war-torn Lebanon. I said, 'If the time is too short, our enemies will wait us out; if it is too long, they will drive us out.'
WaPo's Bob Woodward -- he of the recently-partially-revealed memories on the Plame leak mess -- has a very important data point quoted in today's paper. Woodward said:
"Remember the investigation and the allegations that people have printed about this story is that there's some vast conspiracy to slime Joe Wilson and his wife, really attack him in an ugly way that is outside the boundaries of hardball. The evidence I had, firsthand, a small piece of the puzzle I acknowledge, is that was not the case." (emphasis added).
After all is said and done, I'd have to go with President Bush. Those purple fingertips would be impossible without him. Whatever his other deficiencies - like his seeming disinterest, until recently, in responding to the slanders brought against him - his steadfast refusal to give in to the withdrawal chorus is a profile in courage. Now if he'd just get out that veto pen …