The Spectacle Blog
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
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.
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."
If you've been tracking the going's on today in the House Republical Leader race, you'll know that the big story was Rep. John Boehner's touted plan to change the way legislative earmarks are dealt with in legislation: namely, he'd make earmarks as we know them today a thing of the past.
Getting earmarks inserted into legislation is big business in Washington and there is no better outfit at getting their clients earmarks than the mega-lobbying and advocacy firm of Cassidy and Associates. So no big surprise that Cassidy was hosting a mega fundraiser for Rep. Roy Blunt's leadership PAC, Rely On Your Beliefs (ROYB).
Problem is, the fundraiser -- $5000 per head -- was to be held on January 26, a week before the election for House Leader.
Late today came word that Blunt had canceled the fundraiser.
Or at least a medal for having Lindsay Graham patronizingly ask him, "Are you a closet bigot?" I don't care if Graham's trying to help him. No one should have to sit and answer these questions with a straight face and such comity.
"Put not your trust in princes." -- Psalm 146
The Republican Party needs CENTCOM to mass 3rd Infantry Division at the District border and invade Washington to liberate the tyrannized American citizenry from the U.S. Congress. How bad is the Abramoff scandal? We may soon need a Coalition Provisional Authority to prepare for a transition from DeLayism to democracy.
The DOJ leak this morning that five members of Congress, Burns, Dorgan, Reid, Hayworth, Ney, are targeted by Team Abramoff at the Office of Public Integrity means that the road ahead is an insurgency fog. Expect obtuse Reid to fight like Uday Hussein in a palazzo, guns blazing, and to threaten to take Ensign of Nevada down with him in a hail for smoke grenades. Expect steroid-voiced Hayworth of Arizona to crusade to invade Mexico City and perhaps Havana in order to divert fury. Expect Burns to depart with incoherence and Dorgan to wrap himself in victimization. Ney is a road bump to the charging Coalition tanks.
Wlady: Now you have me confused. Is it that DeLay is dirty for associating with Abramoff or is Abramoff dirty for associating with DeLay? And where in the New York Times shall I go for guidance on this?
This has bothered me since yesterday. A Washington Post page 1 story was headlined: "Lobby Firm Is Scandal Casualty: Abramoff, DeLay Publicity Blamed for Shutdown." A seemingly related New York Times front page story ran under this head: "Lobbyist's Firm Escapes From a Scandal."
So which is it? Is past affiliation with Jack Abramoff and/or Tom DeLay a kiss of death or isn't it? In the first case, the firm in question, Alexander Strategy Group, is a small business that last employed about a dozen lobbyists in Washington, some very close to Abramoff-DeLay. In the second case, the firm in question, Greenberg Traurig, is a major law firm employing some 1,500 lawyers in more than 25 offices in several major cities. Abramoff earned a mere $1 million a year from it before he was fired in 2004. Clearly, in pure business terms, there is safety in size and numbers. But interesting how the New York Times seems to prefer bigger game.