It has been learned on good authority (remember that one?) that the Washington Redskins are not among the several Indian Tribes to receive refunds from the Abramoff kitty.
The Spectacle Blog
Word off the Hill on the Senate side is that Democrats are divided on how to approach a delay on the vote of Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito. According the Senate sources, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid was none too happy with the leak late yesterday by some of his aides about the planned one-week delay in a Judiciary Committee vote. But just what Democrats will do remains unclear. It appears now that the Democrats seem content to talk a tough good game, but wait to see how the hearings play out before they show their true hand.
While much of the media spotlight of late has focused on Sens. Patrick Leahy and Chuck Schumer, the man to watch next week -- as with the Robert Bork nomination -- is Sen. Ted Kennedy. He is the one spearheading much of the agitation on the Democratic side, and there is talk that if he had his way, the Alito vote would be put off into February.
I seem to recall some rather indignant reactions when I dared to suggest back in September that it was time to cut DeLay loose. National Review, calling for DeLay to step aside in light of developments in the Abramoff scandal, sticks by the line that to dump DeLay then "would have rewarded a Democratic political power play."
Come on: Democrats haven't stopped hating DeLay, and lots of them will be feeling "rewarded" by his downfall, and will cheer it. They'll be wrong to cheer, since they'll be weaker against a different Majority Leader. The Abramoff plea deal makes this only slightly more true now than it was in the fall. And don't kid yourself: Since the moment DeLay took his "temporary" leave, and certainly since Roy Blunt beat out David Dreier for acting leader, the leadership on the Hill has just been waiting for the right moment to push him out for good. I'm glad they've found it.
Interesting watching the "dog chasing its own tail" on other blog sites as the MSM has created the buzz and excitement of an impending election that was a foregone conclusion a month ago to readers of sites like AmSpec and RedState.
For us, the only question was the timing and how late into January the Republican caucus and its leadership felt they could hold on.
It may be that Rep. Roy Blunt has built up enough goodwill in the past two months to have the "interim" removed from his leadership title. But as we have pointed out before, one reason Blunt's star was tarnished to begin with was damage inflicted by then-Leader Tom DeLay. There has been no reconciliation. DeLay is still influential in the caucus and will do everything he can to ensure Blunt is not given what DeLay feels his colleague should not have to begin with.
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.
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?