The Note: Abducted by Aliens

Along the same lines, Dick Morris writes in the New York Post that the Democratic positions on the Patriot Act and the NSA wiretapping story are helping to rehabilitate President Bush's poll numbers due to the strong isolationist streak Morris believes runs through many independents in America. LINK

The New York Times leads today's paper with Eric Lipton's preview of Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff's expected announcement to shift security money disbursements to a more risk-based approach. LINK

Politics of immigration:

Keying off of an ABC News-Washington Post poll taken in mid-December, Dan Balz reports that Americans support tighter border controls but split on what should happen to immigrants already in the United States. LINK

The Geoffrey Garin kicker quote carries a lot of Balzian water.

GOP agenda:

"It's going to be a banner year for C-SPAN," writes Christian Science Monitor's Gail Chaddock in her congressional curtain-raiser for 2006. LINK

The economy:

Economists predict a thriving business sector should carry the economy through the fifth year of economic expansion, though overall growth will slow due primarily to a softening housing market, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Medicare:

Finish this analogy: Robert Pear is to the new Medicare prescription drug benefit as Sting is to __________________. Here is Pear's New York Times dispatch on the mixed bag of results new beneficiaries are finding thus far. LINK

2008: Republicans:

While traveling in Australia, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) told Prime Minister John Howard that troops will be needed in Iraq for years to come, reports The Australian. LINK

Sen. McCain tells the Washington Post's Style section that before re-working "Character Is Destiny," he and co-author Mark Salter almost scrapped it because they thought that everything they wrote was "condescending." LINK

2008: Democrats:

The Washington Post's Eugene Robinson mocks Sen. Clinton's "epic rightward march" and changed "allegiance in the Culture War." LINK

2006:

The Washington Post's E.J. Dionne analogizes 2006 to 1958, 1966, and 1978 and columnizes that if the Democrats prosper in 2006, it will be because whatever program they come up with exploits "the failures of the party in power" and exacerbates "the contradictions in its coalition." LINK

The Houston Chronicle reports on the "bold stroke or a huge long shot" by Texas state comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn who will step away from the Republican party as a candidate and now challenge Gov. Rick Perry as an independent. LINK

The Dallas Morning News has more: LINK

Irritated, in part, by his opposition to the Syria Accountability Act, some pro-Israel money is flowing to Stephen Laffey, the Club for Growth-backed GOPer who is challenging Sen. Lincoln Chafee (R-RI) on the right, the New York Sun's Josh "Papa Doc" Gerstein reports. LINK

Eliot Spitzer's temperament gets Fred Dicker's attention in the New York Post. LINK (One has to wonder if Spitzer's press operation has developed a plan to deal with the Post's obsession. . . .)

Dicker also gets Donald Trump to rule out a 2006 gubernatorial run, but does his best to float a potential 2008 presidential campaign. LINK

The estranged wife of Democratic state Rep. Armando "Mando" Martinez from Texas filed Monday to run against her husband in a South Texas race. LINK

House of Labor:

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