The Note: Long Ball Lay-up

WASHINGTON, May 8

President Bush is scheduled to name Gen. Michael Hayden as his choice to replace Porter Goss as CIA Director at 9:30 am ET in the Oval Office. (In other news, the President will also make a 11:40 am ET statement on Darfur.)

Those with in-cycle news responsibilities and who know nothing about how to track politics can obsess all week in the abstract about whether General Hayden (a/k/a at the White House as "Mr. Hayden") will be confirmed.

Those with a sense of the long game will glance at the members of the Senate Intelligence Committee and Note the following names: DeWine, Lott, Snowe, and Hagel, and realize that, even with those names, it's all about the Chair -- if Kansas Sen. Pat Roberts is for Hayden, game over.

The smartest among you will realize that today's must-read stories unlock the key to our shared future. So ignore the day's meaningless soundbites from House members and Democratic Senators about their "serious concerns" about Hayden and read these:

1. The Los Angeles Times' breath-takingly perfect Brownstein and Hook, telling you exactly what needs to be known to answer your boss, your neighbor, or your dinner party companion when asked if Republicans will lose control of the House and/or the Senate. Perfect pitch: LINK

Money quote: "[As] Democratic pollster Mark Mellman put it: 'The question is: Which is going to be more important, the stability of the structure or the size of the wave?'"

So: maybe.

2. The Wall Street Journal with the definitive piece on Al Gore 2008 (?) with the startling well-sourced anti-CW claim that Gore is more likely to make the race if Hillary Clinton runs than if she doesn't. And it is free cone week at Dow Jones, so the article is available to everyone. LINK

3. The Washington Post's Diamond Jim VandeHei on the state of Fitzgerald v. Rove, reminding all of us of what is at stake, and the point of view that says that if everyone who ever forgot a phone conversation they had with Matt Cooper was in prison, the prisons would be crowded indeed. LINK

4. The New York Times' Jim Rutenberg, apparently having gotten Bumiller to tell him how to get Rove on the record, gets Rove on the record on the midterm strategy of taxes, national security, health care (!), Chairmen Conyers and Rangel, and contrast contrast contrast. LINK

5. Bob Novak on Chairman Grassley and taxes. Nuff said. LINK

6. The Los Angeles Times' Havemann, indirectly, on why Democrats can't win even the easy fights, and thus, maybe, elections. LINK

7. The Washington Post's Jonathan Weisman on yesterday's front page: "Democratic leaders, increasingly confident they will seize control of the House in November, are laying plans for a legislative blitz during their first week in power that would raise the minimum wage, roll back parts of the Republican prescription drug law, implement homeland security measures and reinstate lapsed budget deficit controls." LINK

8. (For 2008 presidential candidates only): Sunday's Boston Globe story about the closing of a mill in Berlin (and you better know how to pronounce "Berlin.") LINK

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