The Note: Political Grandstanding

WASHINGTON, Mar. 14

Jonathan Weisman of the Washington Post has a must-read piece on the unsolvable Rubik's Cube of budget cuts, tax cuts, fiscal discipline, the image of fiscal discipline, and re-election for the Republican majority. LINK

Read it in full and carefully.

What will the Bush legacy be on these matters?

Ron Brownstein of the Los Angeles Times has a must-read on the states are dealing with health care coverage. LINK

Read it in full and carefully.

What will the Bush legacy be on these matters?

Susan Page of USA Today in her own must read says forget the domestic budget and health care -- all that matters is Iraq. LINK

But the ultimate must reads of the day are the press releases of Speaker Hastert (not on the website, Ron and Heidi!!) and Leader Boehner responding, in rare fashion, to something going on in the other chamber -- Senator Feingold's Murthanian call for censure of the President.

Here is the Boehner release. LINK

"This maneuver is political grandstanding of the very worst kind. Senator Feingold has exposed the soft underbelly of the Democrats' positions on national security issues. Many Democrats took glee in trying to kill the USA PATRIOT Act, and now they're trying to tear down the President over a Terrorist Surveillance Program that makes Americans safer.

"While Republicans are working to support our troops and win the War on Terror, Democrats are once again showing the American people what the Democrat party is all about: their message of retreat and defeat on national security speaks volumes at a time we need to be supporting the men and women in our Armed Forces."

(How many hot-button words do you count in that 111-word statement?)

Post-publication clarification from Ron Bonjean of the Speaker's office: "To All Note Lovers, our press releases can be accessed at the homepage of www.speaker.gov on the left-hand side under "Recent Releases." LINK

So, if you want to know why some Republicans are optimistic about the midterms -- despite Weisman, Brownstein, and Page -- wonder no more.

Well aware of his capacity to "use" national security as a political trump (and ready to load some of those 111 words into his fall stump speech), President Bush crosses everyone up by speaking about the Medicare prescription drug benefit at an 11:35 am ET event in Canandaigua, NY.

The Senate takes up business on the budget today and breaks off into party policy luncheons at 12:00 pm ET. Let's see who sits next to Feingold.

The Senate Judiciary Committee holds a hearing on energy industry consolidation with executives from Shell, BP, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobile, Chevron, and Valero at 10:30 am ET.

The House Appropriations Subcommittee holds a hearing on quality of life in the military with Gen. John Abizaid at 1:30 pm ET and then meets with Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez at 2:00 pm ET.

First Lady Laura Bush makes remarks at the National League of Cities Conference at 10:10 am ET in Washington, DC. We bet the First Lady would say the Feingold resolution is "silly" and "political" if someone asks her about it.

Gen. Peter Pace joins Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld at 1:30PM for an on-camera briefing at the Pentagon.

Katrina survivors, members of Congress, clergy and community activists march to protest the eviction of Katrina evacuees and the legitimacy of the upcoming New Orleans elections in front of the White House at 2 pm ET.

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