WASHINGTON, Oct. 10
We know (we think) a little more about the Thoughts and Life of Patrick Fitzgerald this morning than we did the last time we wrote to you, dear gentle reader.
Eschewing the hurly burly of our usual Gang of 500 Lauriol Plaza brunch this weekend, we convened the more elite Group of 10 for Oyster Po Boys and ale at Hank's Oyster Bar in Dupont Circle yesterday to try to figure things out.
And/but a raging combination of insecurity and modesty forces us to tell you first what we all agreed we DON'T know.
We don't know what Fitzgerald's theory of the case is. We don't know what day Karl Rove is expected before the grand jury this week. We don't know what the President and Vice President knew and when they knew it. We don't know why all of a sudden reporters are writing about a new possible charge related to the disclosure of government information that is different than the Agents Identity Act (OK: that one we pretty much know.). We don't know what Judy Miller has told her bosses or what drives the suspicions of her colleagues. We don't know when something is going to happen, or what happens after that, and after that.
What we do know: if you aren't spending 90% of your waking time thinking about this, talking about this, and doodling on your jeans about this, then you aren't a member of the Gang of 500, and you probably will never be (even though we are, uhm, expecting some openings pretty soon).
On the Harriet Miers matter, we still believe that confirmation is more likely than not -- and withdrawal is more likely than defeat on the Senate floor.
We are still amazed by the lack of a White House handle on Miers record, by the lack of un-Hechtian surrogates, by the things that come out of Judge Hecht's mouth, by the only memorable thing Sen. Coats has said so far in "support" of Miers, by the apparent failure to think through the Dobson thing and the Richard Land thing, and by the effort that is going to be required to turn Ms. Miers into a world-class expert on constitutional law in less time than it normally takes to pass through driving school.
Unfortunately for the Bush Administration, these two story lines (Fitzgerald and Miers) have been mixed in with Iraq, Social Security, poll ratings, gas prices, and Katrina to produce a one-way news cycle trajectory as the week begins.
To say the political press corps has gotten hold of a narrative they can and will milk for some time is to understate the current political moment.
Time Magazine's Joe Klein has a Republican Senator saying: "'This Administration has been excellent at politics and spin. . . It hasn't been very good at governance. Perhaps it's time for Bush to do what Ronald Reagan did to shore up his White House in the final years—bring in a team of terrific managers, people with credibility from Day One.'" LINK
In their above-the-fold debut on A1 of the Washington Post, Chris Cillizza and Charles Babington look at the GOP's Senate recruitment problems and Note that while some Republican operatives, including some who work closely with the White House, privately point to what they regard as a lackluster performance by NRSC Chair Elizabeth Dole, some strategists more sympathetic to Dole "point the finger right back." LINK