The Note

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Politically, we live in the Age of the Unbelievable.

After the '94 Republican tsunami, the government shutdown, impeachment, the Florida recount, and the '02 Republican defiance of electoral history, we have learned to check our surprise at the door when the seemingly impossible occurs right before our eyes.

It might SEEM like a slow and steamy summer day, but all over the place, the unbelievable is happening.

To wit:

For insiders and GOP-savvy members of the Gang of 500, the most unbelievable passage to appear in any newspaper in America in ages is this from today's Washington Post story about how John McCain (who co-chairs the president's re-election campaign in Arizona) will unbelievably campaign with the president at the end of this week!!

This is the amazing part: "McCain's trip with Bush grew out of a meeting this spring between White House senior adviser Karl Rove and John Weaver, a top adviser to McCain, who became a Democratic consultant after the bitter campaign between Bush and McCain." LINK

"Rove and Weaver, who both were GOP strategists in Texas, had a well-publicized falling-out in the late 1980s and have been rivals ever since — a relationship that was strained further by the 2000 campaign. Weaver described Rove as 'gracious' and said the two had 'a very honest and very frank discussion and let's just leave it at that.'" (emphasis added by a fainting Googling monkey).

Why is this unbelievable? Let us list the ways: LINK, LINK, LINK, LINK, LINK, LINK, LINK.

But there are plenty of other unbelievable things out there.

For instance, the New York Times ' David Sanger — who continues to write about the potential political implications of the president's foreign policy with more nuance and sophistication than anyone else out there — is still able to slip the word "privately" past his unsuspecting editors, as in

"Mr. Bush's aides are increasingly apprehensive about the drop in his approval ratings that polls indicate are largely attributable to his handling of Iraq and the prisoner abuse scandal. Publicly, they express confidence that those numbers will recover once Iraq settles down. Privately, they say, they are uncertain it will settle down in time for the election." LINK

(Nicely reported out, Mr. Sanger. That's pretty much the whole ball of wax at this point.)

And suspend your (dis)belief for this: It's June, and President Bush is taking his TV ads off the air (for "days not weeks") while John Kerry stays on the air. And even if the Republicans are right when they say it is simply a smart use of their resources, it is even more unbelievable how much cash Kerry is still raising.

And, in the kind of snap judgment (daring to be wrong!) that The Note makes all too regularly, we are amazed that all the hand wringing over how Bill Clinton would address the Monica Lewinsky issue in his book might have been completely vaporized by how he talked about it in the just-released CBS excerpt.

Another one: even with Jano Cabrera helping shape the message of the Democratic National Committee, the party chairman, Terry McAuliffe, continues to use the greatest cliché of our time with impunity, telling the Washington Post : ""This is a perfect storm for fundraising, a visceral dislike of George Bush's policies, a great nominee, and a unified and energized party."

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