The Note

It's a hot July, and David Broder is writing about Howard Dean.

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"The path was marked very clearly by Jimmy Carter, more than a quarter-century ago, and Vermont Gov. Howard Dean (D) is following it scrupulously."

"Like former Georgia governor Carter in 1976, the physician-politician is challenging a group of better-known Washington insiders — and conventional wisdom — for the presidential nomination of his party."

Broder writes about Dean gaining traction by attacking his rivals for supporting "No Child Left Behind," for bragging about his record of fiscal discipline, and his touting of universal health care.

But (and we normally eschew the shaggy dog lead), Broder wrote all that on July 12, 2002, when Dean's progress was "measured mainly in the pile of business cards collected at every stop by Kate O'Connor, his gubernatorial aide and fellow-traveler."

Now, of course, Dean's progress can be measured in all sorts of ways, included the fact that he dominated the weekend's political coverage.

Most obviously, the print press was filled with Dean stories, and let's remind you what Broder's kicker was nearly one year ago today:

" … (W)hen the Des Moines Register headlined a small story about Dean's visit, 'Vermont governor blasts GOP drug plan,' Dean remarked, 'It will be a breakthrough for me when my name is well-enough known that they can use it in a headline.'"

Now, of course, using the word "Dean" in a headline is no big whoop, and trying to figure out what to do about Howard Dean is the quiet preoccupation of more than one Democratic presidential candidate.

This is fun, inside baseball for those of you (read: "us") looking for an interesting 2004 storyline (in 2003 … .), but the best American political coverage uses the ups and downs and twists and turns of every campaign to hold a mirror up to a still-young nation that happens to be the world's finest democracy.

Practicing and covering nomination politics are imperfect sciences, but you really can learn something about the mood of a party and — we are serious — about the mood of the nation, when an insurgent candidate does well.

We'd like to lock Congressman Gephardt and Senators Kerry, Edwards, Lieberman, and Graham in a windowless, un-air-conditioned classroom in Concord this afternoon and give them this pop quiz (not open book, and candidates only — no help from Elmo, Jer-dan, Baldick, the Campaign Director, or Jarding):

--List three lines from Howard Dean's stump speech that always get a big crowd reaction and explain why. (15 minutes)

--Write an essay explaining what Dean's surge says about what the party wants in its nominee, and what larger sentiments does his message reveal about the state of the American psyche right now? (45 minutes)

George Bush survived a 19-point loss to John McCain because he became a Reformer with Results and started doing town meetings, proving he could adapt to a different message and a different mode of operation (as in: "steal what worked from the guy who was doing well").

A year ago, after Broder wrote what was one of the first pieces that made it into the Dean clip packet, there was some speculation that the Doctor might have been peaking too early.

And now that speculation has begun anew.

But ask any rival campaign whether Dean is still growing or is starting to bump up against the limits of his support, and the answers sound as if they are trying to convince themselves as much as they are trying to convince you.

Writing his paper's third consecutive day of Dean coverage, the New York Times ' Adam Nagourney looks at the weekend in New Hampshire, and two of the more seminal aspects of the Dean crowds: they are intense, and/but many worry about his electability. LINK

Writing about the challenges ahead, Nagourney says:

"Dr. Dean's fund-raising prowess has also placed him on a political precipice, compelling him to deal with his own success. He said he had called 'a big strategy meeting' with his top advisers for Tuesday at his headquarters in Burlington, Vt., to decide how to make the most of this attention without stumbling the way some past presidential candidates in his position have."

"'Look, every insurgent campaign has gone exactly through this,' said Dr. Dean, who is making his first bid for national office. 'The outsider is always given the back of the hand. Then these insider candidates, which is just about all of them, spin like crazy trying to get you to write unflattering stories about how we couldn't possibly win … .'"

"History suggests that Dr. Dean will have to do some repackaging of himself in the months ahead. But he insisted that he had no intention of doing that."

While the other campaigns will grit their teeth and shake their heads and slap their foreheads at Dean's boasting of the best homeland security record in the field (for protecting Vermonters after 9/11), Dean's base couldn't care less about such things.

Over the extended holiday weekend, with Dean, Kerry, Graham, Gephardt, and Lieberman in New Hampshire, the candidates largely tried to stay away from even mentioning each other's names, although the Union Leader put a headline on a story suggesting that Joe Lieberman was looking to isolate Dean.

"Lieberman Seeks Distance From Dean" the paper said. LINK

Although Lieberman will not utter the word "Dean," he is right now the most aggressive in trying to make the case that Deanism is bad for the party. (Lieberman is perhaps obligated to be outspoken because his New Hampshire campaign is predicated on reaching non-liberal Democrats and independents).

Yesterday, when three young(ish) reporters tried to get Lieberman to take a version of our pop quiz as he was leaving a Concord baseball game, he wouldn't engage directly, but he did say "You have to go beyond the anger."

He also said, per Nagourney, "I think the policy of opposing all tax cuts, opposing the war, et cetera, et cetera, is a ticket to nowhere for the Democratic Party … "

But a perspiration-less John Kerry (literally, NOT metaphorically) refused to discuss Dean directly at his July 4th parades, maintaining his policy of not discussing his fellow Democrats publicly.

So with his rivals refusing (for now) to take him on frontally (or steal some/all of his mojo), the media, as it so often does, rushed in to fill the vacuum.

There were profiles, and lots of focus on his campaign's using the Internet, and hand-wringing about what happens if he wins the nomination, but probably the seminal item was from Saturday's Washington Post , where Juliet Eilperin must-wrote Karl Rove cheering on Howard Dean at a parade (and the photo is a keeper!) LINK

"As a dozen people marched toward Dana Place wearing Dean for President T-shirts and carrying Dean for America signs, Rove told a companion, '"Heh, heh, heh. Yeah, that's the one we want,' … .. 'How come no one is cheering for Dean?'"

"Then … Rove exhorted the marchers and the parade audience: 'Come on, everybody! Go, Howard Dean!'"

Will Team Dean come up with a way to deal with the electability issue at their meeting tomorrow?

Will that be the issue that other campaigns go after him on, or will they broaden out the (public) attack?

Or will they, just maybe, think about WHY Howard Dean is doing well, and try to incorporate that into their modes and methods?

For the overwhelming glut of weekend cyber ink spilled over Mike Weissman's boss, see "Invisible Primary/DEAN" below.

With the president in Africa through the 12th, Dean and the other Democrats will continue to run around this week. Sort of.

Senators Edwards and Lieberman are in New Hampshire today. Senator Graham is in Oklahoma.

On Tuesday, plaintiffs' briefs are due in the consolidated BCRA case.

On Wednesday, Reverend Sharpton addresses the DL21C in New York City.

Also on Wednesday, the Young Republican National Federation Conference kicks off in Boston.

As part of his European trip, President Clinton participates in the Progressive Governance Conference on Friday.

On Friday, the National Association of Counties 2003 Annual Conference and Exposition opens in Milwaukee.

Governor Dean has no public events until Thursday in New Hampshire, so far as we can tell.

Congressman Gephardt has more than a dozen events in Western, Central and Eastern Iowa from Wednesday through Sunday. Also Sunday, Gephardt hears it from the Harkin heartland in Dubuque.

The president leaves tonight for Senegal.

Tomorrow: Senegal and Pretoria, South Africa

Wednesday: lunch with President Mbeki

Thursday: Botswana; visits a Southern Africa Global Competitiveness Trade Hub Exhibit; meets with women entrepreneurs; visits the Mokolodi Nature Reserve

Friday: Uganda; visits an AIDS clinic and patient support center; makes remarks; departs for Nigeria.

Saturday: In Nigeria, attends an HIV/AIDS briefing and returns that evening to Washington.

Today's California Recall headlines:

--Congressman Issa has long had his eyes on statewide office in California, surprising no one with his aggressive attempt at ousting Governor Davis

--Democrats may not be playing their cards right by refusing to put up a Democratic name on a recall ballot

--Do Arnold Schwarzenegger's movies tell us anything about how he might govern?

ABC 2004: The Invisible Primary:

DEAN

At a house party in Atkinson, New Hampshire on Saturday, a group of a hundred or so people, mainly New Hampshirites, stood about in the sultry heat of the backyard to hear Howard Dean give a talk.

The assembly, which ranged from the coolly considering to the ardently inspired, listened carefully as Dean began to address the overlapping issues of energy and terrorism; when he announced that the country needn't suffer just because Bush "has a jones for oil," the crowd erupted in delighted laughter tinged with a frisson of shock.

Why the buzz of scandalized conviviality at that gathering in New Hampshire?

The phrase "to have a jones for," or "jonesing" was coined, writes the New York Times 's Ed Boland, Jr. in a piece from March 2002, by New York City drug addicts who indulged in their fixation down in NoHo.

According to Boland: "The slang term 'jones,' meaning an addiction to drugs, is said to have originated among addicts who lived in Great Jones Alley, off Great Jones Street, between Broadway and Lafayette Street."

Over the years, the phrase has expanded somewhat to include craving for things other than narcotics; the Online Slang Dictionary includes the primary drug-related derivation, then offers an additional definition: "to crave something, not necessarily a drug. ('Man, I'm jonesing for a kiss!')" (LINK)

The 1970s Slang Glossary also focuses on more varied urges: "Jones — An irresistible urge, addiction. 'He's got a serious chocolate jones'" and "Jonesing — Verb form of jones. 'I'm jonesing for a cup of coffee,'" (LINK) while the Gay Slang Dictionary takes the phrase an unprintable, unlinkable step farther (at least for this family-friendly site).

Perhaps the amused onlookers had a range of risqué definitions popping into their heads. Perhaps they were taken aback to hear a presidential candidate use such casual jargon during a campaign speech. Perhaps that is part of the Governor's appeal.

But we look forward to seeing if he keeps using that colorful phrase.

Time looks at Dean and the web, with an exclusive, adorable Kate O'Connor interview. LINK

The Kansas City Star's Steve Kraske on Sunday said Dean is the "top" Democrat on the "carousel." LINK

And Kraske apparently sees the semiotics of political journalism much the same way as Tom Beaumont does:

"One certainty is that life for Dean will now get tougher. Scrutiny will increase. Exhibit one: Dean showed up in Dubuque, Iowa, last week with reporters from two British newspapers and the Chicago Tribune on his tail."

(Here's what Beaumont wrote last week: "The buzz surrounding Dean's campaign was apparent Wednesday at Dubuque's Carnegie-Stout Library, where about 75 Dubuque-area Democrats attended a noon event. Dean was being trailed by Washington, D.C., correspondents for two British newspapers and the Chicago Tribune.") LINK

Sunday's Washington Post profile on Dean include an interview with his elusive spouse. LINK

In the photo slide show, check out #1 (Dean and cows) and #6 (Dean and the Macker).

Friday, Anne Kornblut looked at stopping Dean in the Boston Globe . LINK

Saturday, the New York Times ' focused on Dean's Internet power. LINK

And the paper's Nagourney got two paragraphs in the Week in Review to write about the very same thing. LINK

Also Saturday, the Baltimore Sun's Paul West did his usual super-sophisticated job, with a Kerry interview and a nice look at the Kerry-Dean meta-competition. LINK

Sunday, the Chicago Tribune's 30-something Jeff Zeleny looked at Dean's influence, and sees Al From questioning, the other campaigns re-evaluating, and a GOP tracker tracking. LINK

USA Today 's Chuck Raash looks at the Dean "boomlet" and compares him to "another governor who ran the same gauntlet in the last presidential election." LINK

"In 1999, Bush was a phenom, but for different reasons than Dean … ."

"After an initial boomlet, Bush went through a rough period in late 1999 and early 2000 when pundits and political handicappers took a second look and questioned his intellect, experience and political acumen."

"Bush survived that test. Now it remains to be seen whether another governor with no foreign policy experience can meet the searing questions about to come his way."

Chicago Sun Times columnist Mark Steyn raised all sorts of questions about Howard Dean yesterday, including all this in this tour de force last paragraph: LINK

"I'd say the South will be a bridge too far for Dean and the Vermontification of the Democratic Party. In electoral terms, Vermont is a polarizing state. It's the Hillary Rodham Clinton of states. It has high negatives. It's not like Kentucky or New Mexico or a gazillion others you've no particular view on. To most people in Bush-voting states, Vermont is a province of Canada, and they don't mean that in a good way. But even if he doesn't get the nomination, in this critical pre-primary summer, Dean's the pacesetter, pulling the party well to the left of where it wants to be. My Vermont pals are stunned at how their hitherto obscure former governor has suddenly gone big-time. Either that, or their party's decided to go small-time."

Someone get Joe Trippi to stop giggling at the skeptical and misguided piece in the Washington Post 's Outlook section yesterday suggesting the use of the web was overrated, ephemeral, mirage-like, and doomed for Dean. LINK

Yes, Dean has managed to use the Internet — and publicize it — more successfully than any candidate before him or currently running alongside him. Yes, he raised more than half his second-quarter $7.5 million haul online. And yes, Dean supporters are turning out in droves to Meetup.com events.

"Sounding a bit like a 1999-vintage dot-com business promoter, [Dean campaign manager Joe] Trippi said, 'If television took the grass roots out of politics, the Internet will put it back in.'"

But in the grand scheme, market analyst J.P. Gownder argues, "I would say that reports of a revolution are, as yet, greatly exaggerated."

Either the Internet will become the left's talk radio organically, or Ron Brownstein will force that baby into existence.LINK

His column today is very familiar for Browsteiniacs.

But "wait a while," says Vincent Bugliosi:

A few folks (including The Washington Post 's Ruth Marcus — LINK) have begun to notice that Dean's webhead supporters tend to be white and affluent. They question whether Dean is gong to have the downmarket non-white appeal that is normally required.

Bob Novak's Sunday column claimed that Dean's "Rwanda" crack on "Meet" will hurt him with African-Americans. LINK

(And Novak is just SO plugged in to that community.)

Yesterday, the Des Moines Register 's Tom Beaumont went all big-thinky, with an effort at teasing out the differences between the Democratic candidates on big issues, such as war, the economy, and health care. LINK

This part caught our eye:

"Joe Trippi, Dean's national campaign manager, said a strategy built on emphasizing Bush's handling of economy above other issues is flawed."

"'To hope for the economy to get worse is not a great strategy. It shows a tremendous lack of leadership,' Trippi said."

At his Nashua office opening on the Fourth of July (with great main drag vis) Dr. Dean told one person, "Actually television is more powerful than print."

Dean and the Net made it onto ComputerWorld's web site. LINK

Over the weekend, the Baltimore Sun's Rob Hiaasen wrote an article that Joe Trippi will love, in which he calls Governor Dean "the Internet's inaugural presidential candidate." LINK

Similarly, on the other end of the country, the Oakland Tribune's Josh Richman wrote that the Dean campaign "is using high technology and old-fashioned elbow grease to parlay his already-potent Bay Area support into strength in a key early primary state." LINK

LIEBERMAN

Senator Lieberman's New Hampshire visit was very positively covered this weekend; the campaign's "independent Democrat" theme found its way into just about every lead we read.

As an 'independent Democrat,' the senator said he hoped to attract both the base of the Democratic party and the 'undeclared[,]'" says the Union Leader. LINK

"As President George W. Bush mulls sending troops to Liberia, Lieberman said, 'I wouldn't send American men and women in uniform to Liberia unless I was convinced the country was ready for peacekeeping.'"

"Right now, he said, fierce fighting continued in the country. 'And I don't think it's appropriate for American soldiers to get into the middle of that.'"

"Although Former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean has gained momentum, Lieberman said he is the candidate who can win next November because he knows when to employ diplomacy and when to exert force."

"'I don't believe that the American people in the age of terrorism, with a world as unsettled and dangerous as ours is today, are going to elect a President who they don't feel comfortable and confident will be a strong commander in chief of our military — (one) who will know when to use diplomacy . . . but also know when to use our power,' he said."

More and more and more … LINK and LINK

Great Joe Tipper, That Joe.

A waitress who served Senator Lieberman's coffee on Sunday at the Airfield Cafe in North Hampton, NH told one of us that the Senator from Connecticut ordered iced tea because there was no iced coffee … but tipped her more than 30 percent.

Sunday's New Haven Register looked at "Joe's Woes" but was actually a decently upbeat assessment of the Senator's chances, with Jano adopting his normal "what, me worry?" posture. LINK

In a Washington Post op-ed today, Joe Lieberman lays out a six-point plan for getting postwar Iraq back on track (due to technical difficulties-- theirs, not ours — read it in the hard copy).

"We didn't send our young people to war unprepared; we must not ask them to keep a difficult peace without a clear strategy and adequate resources to do the job," Lieberman writes. "As of today, they have neither."

Nation-building is a worthwhile proposition, Lieberman argues, and in order to get it done, here's what should happen in Iraq: more troops; NATO involvement; a timetable for an Iraqi interim government; establish a process to keep Iraq in control of its oil and keep decisions in the open; a timetable for a permanent Iraqi government, and fairly prosecute Saddam Hussein and his loyalists.

SHARPTON

The Los Angeles Times' Josh Getlin drew the Sunday Sharpton profile duty. LINK

Under the header "Sharpton calls Bush L.A. gang leader," The Washington Times ' Audrey Hudson writes up the Rev. Al Sharpton's turn on CBS's "Face the Nation". LINK

Those crazy GOPers … LINK

EDWARDS

Tim Funk writes in the Charlotte Observer that Edwards has missed 47 percent of roll-call votes, making him "far from the worst in the field of Democratic presidential contenders." LINK

Per an unnamed Edwards spokesgal:

Today, "you will see a new [E]dwards staffer on the road, Mr. Hunter Pruette, "Traveling Chief of Staff," which I believe is the (Mike) Feldman title (from the Gore campaign)."

" Hunter just completed year 2 at UNZC law school and is taking a leave of absence to rejoin Edwards World. He worked on the '98 campaign and in the Senate office. Hunter was also in Nashville for Gore and worked on Barak's '01 reelect. Hunter is a native North Carolinian, from Concord, NC." (Note Note: they talk different in the "other" Concord, Hunter.)

"And … hold on to your hats, ladies … he is as good looking as John Edwards, but has better hair!"

John Wagner reports for the Raleigh News & Observer that Edwards "plans to endorse the expensing of stock options today during a speech in Manchester, N.H." and that Hunter Pruette will become the would-be president's new "traveling chief of staff" today in New Hampshire. LINK

(Quick quiz: what other '04 has a good-looking "Hunter" playing a prominent role?)

An Independence Day report from Wagner indicates that the Edwards campaign and the Washington Times are far from friends. LINK

"U.S. Senator John Edwards aides' have been warring with The Washington Times this week over a pair of articles that alleged that the North Carolina Democrat 'single-handedly' delayed action on a bill that would defer student- loan payments for soldiers engaged in military operations. The bill, dubbed the 'Heroes Act,' sailed through the House in April and has not moved out of the Senate since."

The Associated Press reports that Senator Edwards on Sunday "continued his traditional annual beach walk [in Wrightsville Beach, N.C.] even though he's setting his sights on a higher prize nationwide."LINK

GEPHARDT

In the last three days, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch's Deirdre Shesgreen and Bill Lambrecht, in an almost Boston Globian manner, have produced a blitz of articles on St. Louis's favorite son.

On Saturday, the headline was: "The evolution of Richard Gephardt." LINK

On Sunday, it was: "Abortion stance shows wider shift on social issues." LINK

Today, it's: "War brought congressman's policy back to where it started: More hawk, less dove." LINK

The State's Lauren Markoe reports, "[At] the helm of [the Gephardt] campaign are three South Carolinians — natives of Columbia, Aiken and Belton — who bring a bit of the Southern touch to Gephardt's bid for the White House." LINK

GRAHAM

The Associated Press reports that Senator Graham's "presidential campaign has hit the NASCAR racing circuit in a big way." LINK

"The candidate-sponsored Ford truck, No. 50, won its first NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race, a 250-miler in Kansas."

Here are the unofficial NASCAR results: LINK

On Sunday, the AP's Holly Ramer wrote about Senator Graham's experiences on the campaign trail in New Hampshire, where apparently the Senator thinks a lot about how and what a fellow named Bill Clinton did there. LINK

One anecdote …

"'Who's Bob Graham, and what ticket is he running on?' a woman hollered out her car window last week when she spotted Graham's campaign signs in a Manchester parking lot."

"Graham, who was standing next to the signs, stepped forward to introduce himself."

Those pesky Bobcats: LINK

IOWA

The Des Moines Register 's Jane "Stormin" Norman pulled back the veil of secrecy behind the "Hear It From the Heartland" moneybags. LINK

SOUTH CAROLINA

Lee Bandy writes about how he misses all the Democrats being in Columbia, like they were back in May for the "Collision," but makes no mention of missing the ABC News Political Unit. LINK

ABC 2004: Bush-Cheney re-elect:

President Bush leaves for Africa this week, but the economy is still giving the administration a big headache. The Wall Street Journal 's Greg Hitt takes a look at the White House's PR offensive on the economy, with Treasury Secretary John Snow, Commerce Secretary Don Evans, and Labor Secretary Elaine Chao planning to hit the road by bus later this month to make sure the president gets his due.

Foreign policy and homeland security victories aside, it's signs like the June unemployment rate at 6.4% and second-quarter economic growth rate expected to be around 2%, Hitt says, that can spell danger for Bush's re-election effort. Democrats are revving up their engines on the economic question, and it won't be pretty.

"'With 30,000 more jobs lost last month on President Bush's watch, more than three million Americans have been thrown out of work in less than three years,'" said Democratic presidential hopeful Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts. "'I think everyone knows that the only person in this country who deserves to be laid off is George W. Bush.'"

Whether the Democrats' attacks will stick remains to be seen, but the White House's preemptive strike — timed to coincide with tax-cut refund checks showing up in a mailbox near you — are designed to remind voters that the president is on the case.

"Rich Bond, the former chairman of the Republican National Committee, suggests all politicians may get a boost if the economy begins to turn up — but none more than the president. "'There's a halo effect for everyone — but Bush gets it most,'" Mr. Bond said."

In a speech today at an elementary school in Landover, Maryland, President Bush will promote "an overhaul of the Head Start program that annually helps nearly a million 3- and 4-year-olds from low-income families prepare for kindergarten," the Associated Press reports. LINK

The Washington Post 's Michael Dobbs discusses President Bush's trip to Africa, and the surprise of critics of the administration to the amount of time and effort — some say lip service — that the White House has given to Africa. LINK

"'Our expectations were very low that this president would seriously engage Africa,'" said Ted Gagne, a specialist in African affairs at the Congressional Research Service. "'We misjudged him.'"

The Chicago Tribune reports that the president "seemed in good spirits, chuckling at jokes that Rev. Spencer Rice sprinkled into his sermon" on Sunday. LINK

Happy 57th, Mr. P.

On Sunday, the AP's very learned owl, Sharon Theimer, mapped out how many licks it takes to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop. One. Two. Crunch. LINK

"First comes the advance work by White House political adviser Karl Rove, followed by several phone calls and letters from big-time money-raisers known as 'pioneers.' Then, finally, is the visit from President Bush, who brings along his folksy humor but often leaves before dinner is done."

More: "The businesslike Bush relishes the cheers and applause of donors. At a $3.5 million fund-raising dinner in Los Angeles late last month, the president thanked the crowd repeatedly for its standing ovation, but also flashed an 'all right-already' determination to get on with his speech. After 20 minutes of talking, there were 10 minutes of handshakes. Then it was out the door and to Air Force One."

Theimer also Notes: "Bush's style has changed since his days as governor, but it still smacks of a 'kind of a laid-back Texas style,' sort of that of a 'good ol' boy,' said William Bokovoy, a Houston real-estate investor who helped raise money for Bush's first gubernatorial campaign and is now a presidential donor."

From Elisabeth Bumiller's wonderful examination of Laura Bush's evolving public role:

"Mrs. Bush, the public go-along spouse, shows increasing hints of an independent and determined woman underneath. Laura watchers like to recount her admonishments to Mr. Bush on the campaign trail to 'rein it in, Bubba' when he got out of hand, or her more gentle pokes of fun at him in public. LINK

Be sure to read the comparison between Mrs. Bush as the First Librarian and her status as an enormous political asset.

Holding the next G8 summit in New Hampshire is a possibility — and might help Mr. Bush politically, the Manchester Union Leader reports. LINK

Sunday, the Los Angeles Times' Maura Reynolds got Dan Bartlett to say that the president's re-election is about the future. LINK

And the Daily News' Tom DeFrank gets anonymous Bush advisers to show great courage and insight by telling him that the president is trusted by the American people on Iraq, but the economy could hurt him! LINK

Big Casino budget politics, Medicare and Medicaid:

The government has given states some flexibility in how they spend their Medicaid dollars in return for meeting certain coverage goals. The Times ' Robert Pear says that

there's flexibility a-plenty but very little accountability. LINK

The Washington Post 's crafty Ceci Connolly took a look and found that members of Congress and the executive branch might be getting better health care than the proposed Medicare changes would bring real Americans. LINK

Cheney spokesgal Jennifer Millerwise and DeLay spokesguy Stuart Roy have a fidelity to medical privacy that will warm your heart.

In a news analysis, USA Today 's Jim Drinkard writes that the drug bill emerging from Congress is a "well-financed victory for industry." LINK

"Final work on the new Medicare drug benefit … faces Congress as it returns this week from its Fourth of July break."

"But pharmaceutical-makers already have averted what they feared most: a single new bloc of 40 million consumers with the market power to dramatically drive down prescription prices — and industry profits. Both the House and Senate versions of the bill bar the government from getting involved in price negotiations."

Legislative Agenda:

Adam Clymer looked at state queasiness about federal law enforcement legislation in Sunday's Week in Review. LINK

The AP's Jim Abrams reports that "Congress faces such tough issues as the crisis in medical malpractice insurance while reaching for a historic deal on giving older Americans a prescription drug benefit." LINK

Mr. Abrams has a real nice outline of all the pending legislative business, and it should be your business to study it, especially because, as Abrams Notes, "In the run-up to the 2004 election campaign, politics will enter into every vote. The spending bills in particular will give Democrats a forum for their argument that the Republican pursuit of tax cuts has saddled the nation with a budget deficit projected at $400 billion this year while leaving education, health, veterans and homeland security programs underfunded."

California recall:

Tony Quinn of the California Target Book penned an op-ed over the weekend for the L.A. Times explaining why California Democrats may be making a grave mistake by not offering up a Democratic alternative to Governor Davis should a recall election occur. LINK

"The Democratic Party's decision to run no replacement option in a recall election means it will be harder to motivate this additional Democratic turnout. It's gambling that the recall will be a repeat of 2002, with only Rep. Darrell Issa or Simon as candidates. Simon and Issa are more conservative than the California electorate, so in a one-on-one election against either, Davis might survive."

"There's a problem: The recall process is not static. It's not a one-on-one election. Anyone can run as a replacement for Davis, and the candidacy of either actor Arnold Schwarzenegger or former Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan would shatter the Democratic strategy."

"By not assuring a replacement candidate on the ballot, Democrats are trying to impose a static election on a mercurial and volatile electorate. It won't work."

"Democrats may actually have figured this out. None of the possible replacement Democrats has taken the Gen. William T. Sherman pledge: If nominated, I will not run; if elected, I will not serve. As of now, the word from Feinstein and other ambitious Democrats is that 'I do not intend to run.'"

The Los Angeles Times' Faye Fiore profiles the ambitious Darrell Issa. LINK

"'In this town, Darrell Issa is known as a guy waiting to run for some statewide office in California,' said independent political analyst Stuart Rothenberg. 'He is part of a new political class that can write checks to bypass all the groundwork candidates used to do.'"

"Issa is known for nothing if not his ambition. Bursting onto the landscape five years ago with no political experience, he spent $9 million of his own money on a run for the U.S. Senate and lost. Two years later, he settled for a seat in Congress, but few expected him to follow the plodding career path of many politicians, amassing the seniority that opens doors in Washington."

Terrance Rafferty wrote an op-ed in Sunday's New York Times exploring how Arnold Schwarzenegger's film career may give insight into his potential gubernatorial candidacy. LINK

The Los Angeles' Times Paul Pringle takes a look at the folks asking for your autograph in California.

"The drive to remove Davis from office and the parallel effort to keep him there have depended largely on the mercenary, nomadic and legally murky world of paid petition circulators." LINK

The Sacramento Bee's Margaret Talev looks at the anti-recall strategy being employed by Governor Davis' advisers and reports it has very little to do with Governor Davis. LINK

"Instead of trying to resurrect voters' sentiments toward the Democratic incumbent — whose favorability rating is at 21 percent largely because of the state's fiscal crisis — the centerpiece of the Davis strategy has been to go on the offensive: Demonize the recall by demonizing Darrell Issa."

The Los Angeles Times' Patt Morrison writes that California Republicans are not all necessarily on the same page when it comes to determining how best to handle the recall effort. LINK

The Hartford Courant's David Lightman soaked up some pacific summer air and realized that there might be a big election to cover in 2003 before any Iowans head to their caucuses. LINK

Politics: The New York Times ' Carl Hulse assesses the state of Southern Senate races for Democrats and finds it ominous. LINK

If we had a dime for every time a young activist told us his or her demographic group was on the precipice of an electoral explosion, well, we wouldn't rely on charity bananas.

A Boston Globe story this Sunday touched on the familiar tropes: the frustration that engaged young people don't vote; questions about why; assertions that the current generation of politicians is out of touch; the hope that the next election cycle will be different. LINK

We hope so, too.

Andrew Shea Morris, welcome to the world! LINK

A ballot initiative in Alaska may decide the future of bear-baiting. LINK

The Clintons of Chappaqua:

Who am I?

This weekend, the London Indpendent wrote this about me:

"The only other interruption to the smooth flow of the queue was the two elderly gentlemen in grubby macs, one of whom had a slightly askew toupee, whose companion had something very important that he wanted Mrs. Clinton to sign as well. They were gently escorted away by Mrs. Clinton's smooth young press officer."

Apparently, the Brits are mad about the wrong boy. (See the end). LINK

The Washington Times ' Hugh Aynesworth reports that a redistricting plan that could "cost Democrats five or six seats in Congress next year" is likely to advance to the Texas House of Representatives today or tomorrow. LINK

BCRA:

FEC commissioner Michael Toner repeated his public financing proposals in the Post on the 4th. LINK

Judicial confirmation battles:

Not over a replacement for THIS justice, says O'Connor. LINK

Bush Administration strategy/personality:

On Sunday, the Boston Globe 's Wayne Washington and Susan Milligan wrote, "By putting together one of the most racially diverse administrations in US history, President Bush has met a challenge that Colin Powell issued to the Republican Party at its 2000 convention, but critics say the president has failed to live up to other expectations that his policies would benefit minorities." LINK

Washington and Milligan report that despite the fact that "Bush has appointed more minorities to top-level government positions than President Clinton did when he put his first administration together," "minority leaders say they have had difficulty getting access to the White House."

I, Lewis. I Lewis Libby. LINK

And read the second, fourth, and fifth corrections, too.

Knight Ridder's Diego Ibarguen reports, "The White House has not taken a position on whether to seek extra funds for AmeriCorps, and in the vacuum of its indecision a political firestorm is building." LINK

USA Today 's Barbara Slavin writes up Richard Haass' "calculation that he might be able to have more influence on U.S. foreign policy from outside the administration" as the new president of the Council on Foreign Relations. LINK

The Media:

The New York Post 's Keith Kelly says Bill Keller is a lock for the big job, and implicitly raises the question: if it's "Bill and Jill," who gets that supremely powerful DC bureau chief job? LINK

How many delegates come with winning the Russert Primary? The Washington Post 's Howard Kurtz describes the abject terror of everyone who undergoes questioning by the legendary NBC bureau chief on "Meet the Press." LINK

And Howie faithfully repeats Joe Trippi's "We Got Money and Support 'Cause Our Candidate Bombed" reaction-formation theory.