The Note: Basically Under Control

WASHINGTON, Mar. 8

(It's The Note, so Notes first.)

(Today's Note summary contains 3 jokes, 4 moments of sarcasm, and three interludes of irony.)

(Find 'em if you can, hostile bloggers.)

(Our analysis in the quiz answers is the product of current conditions and should not be used as the basis for future actions or investment.)

We are so, so embarrassed that it took us this long to figure out how the Dubai Ports World imbroglio was going to end.

Despite the huffing and puffing you hear/read about "a veto showdown with the White House" and "a big election year issue," the Miersian ending is clear, and it falls short of what Krauthammer called for.

Whether you want to make the White House the hand or the glove in the metaphor, it is clear that behind the scenes, the Bush Administration is working closely with DPW to figure out how to handle this thing. Given what the will of the House is (to which the Speaker is bowing) and given that Sen./Dr./Leader Frist can only hold out for so long, the handwriting is on the proverbial wall.

The outcome: there will be no veto because DPW will give in to pressure and withdraw the U.S. portion of the deal.

So this is another case in which Senator Rockefeller's analysis is correct. The outcome is "basically under the control of the White House."

However, putting out the port fire does not mean the President's poll numbers will improve enough to avoid losing control of Congress in November. To see what his chances of that are, take today's Note quiz.

For each of the following, does the White House have (a) no control or little control; (b) some control; or (c) total control?

To keep the Republican majorities in Congress for the last two years of his term, the President needs 6 out of 10 either (b)s or (c)s.

1. the Senate Intelligence Committee (a) no control or little control; (b) some control; or (c) total control?

2. the Abramoff investigation (a) no control or little control; (b) some control; or (c) total control?

3. the Libby trial and Fitzgerald investigation (a) no control or little control; (b) some control; or (c) total control?

4. how Americans view Bush's performance on the economy (a) no control or little control; (b) some control; or (c) total control?

5. what David Rogers thinks about emergency defense spending bills (a) no control or little control; (b) some control; or (c) total control?

6. how many House Republicans in shaky districts retire (a) no control or little control; (b) some control; or (c) total control?

7. what conferences Dana Milbank attends (a) no control or little control; (b) some control; or (c) total control?

8. the amount spent supporting Republican candidates (a) no control or little control; (b) some control; or (c) total control?

9. Elizabeth Dole's acumen (a) no control or little control; (b) some control; or (c) total control?

10. facts on the ground in Iraq (a) no control or little control; (b) some control; or (c) total control?

For the answers, see the end of the summary.

Now: one more quiz question: Quick, when did you last watch an enrollment ceremony on Capitol Hill?

Speaker Hastert, Senate Majority Leader Frist, and other members of the Republican leadership hold a high-profile and rare enrollment ceremony of the USA Patriot Act at 10:15 am ET. (Just in case you thought the Republican Party was not the party of national security matters, they'll try their best to remind you of that today.)

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