The Note: Running in a New Direction


Is going in a New Direction the same as Cutting and Running?

Whatever the outcome of Joe Lieberman's Connecticut Senate primary one week from today, in all likelihood, the Democratic Party's chances of taking control of the House will depend on convincing the American people that they have a better way forward in Iraq.

Yesterday's letter issued by 12 senior Democrats -- including both Leaders -- adds no specifics about how many troops should be withdrawn or how rapidly. But the Democrats' missive to President Bush garnered lots of positive print coverage this morning, in which they urged him to begin withdrawing U.S. troops by the end of the year. And it just might represent some minority party cohesion.

It is a mortal lock that by Election Day, a majority of the American people (and the vast majority of the Old Media) will believe that the country is on the wrong track, that the war in Iraq is not going well, and that the Bush White House has made more than a few mistakes.

What is a less certain bet is that Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid can capture the energy behind those views, add a healthy dose of optimism about how tomorrow will be better than today if Democrats control Congress, and organize, organize, organize.

But with Castro ceding power, the Middle East on fire, Iraq a killing field, and (did we mention?) the wrong track number sky high, Ken Mehlman will tell you: Stay the Course. PelosiReid will tell you: America needs a New Direction.

Conclusion: if the 2006 midterm elections are held on paper, Democrats will take the House.

(Note: at this time, there are no plans to hold the midterms on paper.)

And/but then there is the culture war, whose political benefits seem to benefit the two warring sides unequally.

Less than a year after the Kansas State Board of Education adopted rules for teaching science at odds with Charles Darwin's theory about evolution, three incumbent Republican conservatives and the political heir to a fourth are facing primary election challenges today that could result in a reversal of state science standards.

After a busy day on the beaches of Miami, President Bush is expected to get good marks when he undergoes his annual physical today. The 60-year-old Bush choppered to Bethesda's National Naval Medical Center this morning, arriving at 8:00 am ET. He's scheduled to arrive back at the White House by 1:35 pm ET.

In his first speech since leaving Goldman Sachs to take his current job as Treasury Secretary, Henry Paulson delivers an 11:15 am ET address on the economy at Columbia University. The speech is sandwiched between two other stops: in the morning he tours the New York Stock Exchange, and at the end of the day he rings the closing bell on the NASDAQ.

While the House is in recess until Sept. 6, a final vote is expected as the Senate nears approval on an offshore oil and gas drilling bill. The bill would open more than 8 million acres in the Gulf of Mexico to oil and gas drilling. More from the New York Times: LINK

Former President Clinton is in Los Angeles today raising money for Phil Angelides, the Democrat running against Gov. Arnold Schwarzeneggeer (R-CA).

Back in Washington, Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) attends a 10:00 am ET HELP Committee hearing and business meeting to examine the nominations of Andrew von Eschenbach fo Texas to be Commissioner of HHS Commissioner of Food and Drugs and Paul DeCamp of Virginia to be Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division Administrator, to be followed by business meetings to consider pending nominations in Dirksen 430.

Sen. Clinton attends a 2:30 pm ET EPW Fisheries, Wildlife and Water Subcommittee Hearing to examine interpreting the effect of the U.S. Supreme Court's recent decision in the joint cases of Rapanos vs. United States and Carabeli vs. United States Army Corps of Engineers on "The Waters of the United States" in Dirksen 406.

The US Chamber of Commerce announces its "vote for Business Bandwagon," a month-long voter-education bus tour, at 10:45 am ET.

Gov. Mike Huckabee (R-AR) makes remarks at the Healthy Schools Forum in Little Rock, AR.

Sen. John Edwards speaks at the 2006 Iowa State Education Association Summer Conference in Storm Lake, Iowa.

DNC Chairman Howard Dean attends a grassroots fundraiser for the Delaware Democratic Party at 4:00 pm ET.

Reps. Chris Smith (R-NJ) and Frank Wolf (R-VA) hold a news conference in the nation's capital concerning the Darfur genocide and their hope to have a special envoy to Sudan appointed.

As discussions on immigration continue, the Cato Institute hosts a presentation themed "Comprehensive Immigration Reform for a Growing Economy" with Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez at 12:00 pm ET. Meanwhile, the National Hispanic Leadership Agenda releases its Latino Leadership Report and hosts a news conference at the National Council for La Raza Headquarters at 11:00 am ET.

The Young America's Foundation's annual convention rolls forward with addresses from New York Times columnist David Brooks and former Secretary of State Alexander Haig at GW's Marvin Center.

Politics of Iraq:

The Washington Post's Charles Babington and Jim VandeHei report that "senior Republicans quickly denounced the document as defeatist" while Noting that this rebuttal came "as a number of GOP lawmakers are joining Democrats in criticizing the war's progress." LINK

"Democratic Leaders Ask Bush to Redeploy Troops in Iraq," New York Times LINK

"Dems Unite, Call for Troop Pullout from Iraq by Year's End," the AP. LINK

"Democrats urge Bush for pullout from Iraq," Washington Times. LINK

Hastert spokesguy Ron Bonjean reacted to the Democratic missive thusly: "The Democratic leadership continues to demand that American soldiers end their mission and wave the white flag of surrender to the terrorists that we are. fighting in Iraq. In fact, 42 Democrats defied their leadership and stood with House Republicans last month to support both our troops and their mission in Iraq as part of winning the Global War on Terror. The Democratic leadership has failed to understand the sacrifices made by our troops on foreign shores are keeping the battle against the terrorists out of our cities and neighborhoods. Our soldiers know that by going into harms way, they are keeping American freedoms safe."

"Some Democrats Seek to Rescind War Approval," Roll Call on House Dems' Iraq War Powers Repeal Act.

Kansas politics:

"Evolution's Backers in Kansas Mount a Counterattack," New York Times LINK

"Election Could Flip Kan. Evolution Stance," Washington Post LINK

"Kansas GOP Seeking One Moore Shot," Roll Call on today's vote on a GOP candidate to challenge Rep. Dennis Moore (D-KS) in KS-03.

Sen. Lieberman's primary politics:

"In a key primary, MoveOn's revolt divides Democrats, liberal online group backs Sen. Lieberman's rival over stance on Iraq war mobilizing the 'Netroots'," Wall Street Journal's Jeanne Cummings turns in a front page story on the role played by Tom Matzzie and Eli Pariser in helping Ned Lamont challenger Sen. Joe Lieberman (D-CT). LINK

"Connecticut Primary Draws Fence-Sitters," New York Times on the 6,715 voters who have changed their registration from unaffiliated to Democrat. LINK

"As Primary Nears, Voters Join Democratic Party," Hartford Courant. LINK

"Running Silent," Hartford Courant reports that Sen. Joe Lieberman (D-CT) and his campaign staff refuse to discuss the circulation of petitions supporting a third-party bid should he lose the Democratic primary next week. LINK

"Big Names in a Big Race," Hartford Courant reports that Lieberman and Lamont have both stepped up their campaigns with stumps at inner-city Churches followed by appearances with prominent Washington Democrats as the primary draws near. LINK

"Bush Baggage Could Cost Lieberman Primary," Los Angeles Times, in which Ron Brownstein takes leave from his book leave to weigh in. LINK

"A Primary Lesson for Lieberman," the Washington Post's E.J. Dionne on a Democratic Party that "desperately wants to go on offense," saying that Lieberman has to back down on his war stance to win the primary, which, The Note would guess, his friends have been telling him for weeks. LINK

Castro politics:

"Castro's Health Crisis Could Transform Island, Exiles Here," Miami Herald reports on Cuban leader Fidel Castro's recent and temporary surrender of power due to his medical emergency. LINK

"A Prelude: Miami Streets Burst with Spontaneous Joy," more from the Miami Herald about citizens' reactions to the news. LINK

Long before Castro's current health situation, James Fallows speculated in the pages of the Atlantic in a faux memo about what would happen if Castro were to die before 2008. LINK

Bush Administration agenda:

"Bush Calls Attack on Qana 'Awful,' but Refrains From Calling for Immediate Cease-Fire," New York Times LINK

"Bush Touts His Economics," Los Angeles Times. LINK

"On Miami Trip, Bush Team Addresses Storm Readiness," New York Times. LINK

Minimum wage and the estate tax:

"Drama in the Senate: Rich Plan, Poor Plan," Washington Post on Senate disagreement between a higher minimum wage and a lower estate tax LINK

"Strickland, Brown backed wage bill despite section cutting estate taxes," Cleveland Plain Dealer on Ohio Senate candidate Rep. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and gubernatorial contender Ted Strickland's (D-OH) decision to back a minimum wage increase tied to an estate tax cut. LINK

"Editorial: Bad Bargain: Senators shouldn't be cowed by the House effort to hold a minimum wage increase hostage to cutting estate taxes," Washington Post LINK

"Maximum cynicism: The House minimum-wage plan is a poison pill," Pittsburgh Post-Gazette believes it is counterproductive to raise the minimum wage while cutting the estate tax. LINK

Plan B:

"Plan B Pill May Be Approaching Wider Release," Los Angeles Times on religious conservatives peeved by the FDA proposal of the over-the-counter "morning after" pill. LINK

Politics of immigration:

"Bush criticized from unusual corner," Dallas Morning News on Sen. John Cornyn's (R-TX) New Direction Quote of the Day in the making: "The president's got some proving himself to do when it comes to his commitment." LINK

"Colorado Governor Signs Immigration Law," New York Times on the "tough package of immigration laws" that could "force 1 million people receiving state and federal benefits to prove they are legal U.S. residents." LINK


"Appeals court hears from lawyers in DeLay ballot battle," Houston Chronicle. LINK

2006: House:

"Vets set sights on Murtha," Tribune Democrat on what Bill Burton calls the "swiftboating" of Rep. John Murtha (D-PA). LINK

> "They plan to hold a national rally in Johnstown in October 'to show their outrage at John Murtha over what he is saying about our troops,' state chairman and former Johnstowner Mark Parker said in a release. Details of the rally will be outlined at a news conference at 11 a.m. Thursday in front of Murtha's office at 647 Main St."

"Stem cell calls target swing voters," Chicago Daily Herald on Democratic House candidate Tammy Duckworth beginning stem-cell robo calls. LINK

"Democrats Slam Away in 7th District Contest," Roll Call on a nasty Colorado primary battle. LINK

"Cranley: Chabot wage vote a GOP ploy," Cincinnati Enquirer on Democratic House candidate John Cranley's criticism of opponent Rep. Steve Chabot's (R-OH) vote for a House bill that raises the minimum wage but cuts the estate tax. LINK

2006: Senate:

"Senate Democrats to plow cash into ads," AP on DSCC ad buys in Ohio, Missouri and Pennsylvania. LINK

"Reunited: Jimmy, Fritz Work for Carter's Son," Roll Call on plans by former President Carter and former Vice President Mondale to campaign for Jack Carter in Nevada on Aug. 4.

"Santorum donors give to Green Party," Philadelphia Inquirer on Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) supporters' efforts to get Green candidate Carl Romanelli on ballot in hopes that he will steal votes from Democratic candidate Bob Casey, Jr. LINK

"Santorum urges total defeat of Hezbollah," Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Sen. Santorum's railing against a cease-fire in Lebanon. LINK

"GOP Officials Say They Told Harris to Leave Race in May," Orlando Sentinel Notes that Republican Senate candidate Katherine Harris lost the backing of her party's leaders long ago. LINK

"3 GOP Leaders Asked Harris in May to Drop Senate Bid," more from the Palm Beach Post. LINK


"Nine potential presidential candidates plan trips," Des Moines Register LINK

"Mike Lost 'Juice' in Blackout, Poll says," New York Post on voters disapproving of the way Mayor Mike Bloomberg handled the blackout in Queens. LINK

2008: Republicans:

"The Not-So Fine Art of Forgiveness," the San Francisco Chronicle discusses the "notoriety" surrounding Gov. Huckabee's unexcused pardon of Rolling Stone guitarist Keith Richards for his 1975 case of reckless driving. LINK

"Frist fails to disclose foundation role," Associated Press. LINK

2008: Democrats:

"New Dawn for Morning After Pill," Los Angeles Times editorial sympathizes with threats by Sen. Clinton and Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) to block Dr. Andrew C. von Eschenbach's confirmation until after the FDA proposal has been passed. LINK

"Clinton Speaks of Ways to Revitalize Rural America," New York Times LINK

"Primary foe rips Hil on Israel," New York Daily News on primary opponent Jonathan Tasini's criticism of Sen. Clinton for not calling for an immediate ceasefire. LINK

"Kerry proposal calls for insurance for all by 2012," Boston Globe LINK

AP on the same: LINK

Clintons of Chappaqua:

"Clinton digs at GOP, Bush during Seattle stop," Seattle Post-Intelligencer. LINK

"He told both crowds that Democrats have a philosophy instead of an ideology, and that they can concede they're wrong sometimes."

2008: nominating conventions:

"Benefit of GOP Convention is a Guess," The Tampa Tribune discusses Tampa's prospects as the site of the 2008 Republican National Convention. LINK

The Schwarzenegger Era:

"Schwarzenegger Slightly Ahead of Angelides in Fundraising," Los Angeles Times. LINK

"Governor, Blair Reach Environmental Accord," Los Angeles Times on the signed agreement made bet. Gov. Schwarzenegger and British Prime Minister Tony Blair, who jointly promised to curb gas emissions. LINK

> AP on the same: LINK

Fitzgerald investigation:

"Libby's Lawyers Ask to Use Memory Expert," New York Times. LINK


"White House press room gets a makeover, video wall, other technology could inject drama and directly appeal to public in briefings," the Wall Street Journal. LINK


"Pastors not playing the God card," the Columbus Dispatch on some evangelical churches unwilling "to push political agendas." LINK