The Note: With No Apologies to Bill Safire

WASHINGTON, Nov. 27

You might be focused on holiday travel, office parties, gift buying, and why your relatives are so psychotic, but for the power players of politics -- who want to win the legislative battles of early 2007, the fundraising skirmishes of early-to-mid 2007, and the chance to inherit the Iraqi war from the current President Bush -- the future is now.

A quick perusal of any political news source makes one thing clear: no one has a bloody clue what is going on.

The best The Note can do, even after our little break, is to offer up some choices.

Thus, our Annual Post-Thanksgiving Note Quiz:

1. Jim Baker's main goal with the Iraq Study Group is

a. To give President Bush a political out.

b. To end the war in Iraq.

c. To secure his own place in history.

d. To give armchair psychobabbleists another crack at 41-43 data.

2. The President's communications aides' biggest quandary in planning the State of the Union is

a. How much of the speech to devote to Iraq.

b. How much of an olive branch to offer on Iraq.

c. What to say about judges.

d. What jokes to give the President to defuse all of the inevitable booing and hissing (from both sides of the aisle).

3. The lesson Rep. Nancy Pelosi learned from the Rangel-draft controversy was

a. There is no controlling what some members of the Caucus say.

b. The media is obsessed with meaningless things and there is nothing one can do about it.

c. George Miller might not have perfect judgment about everything.

d. Democrats need to act like the majority, even before they take over.

4. The entity/person most freaked out by the new Democratic majority is

a. Republican lobbyists.

b. Ken Johnson.

c. Senior Republican leadership aides.

d. The staff of the Weekly Standard.

5. Mel Martinez's model for how to be national chair of a major political party will be

a. Frank Fahrenkopf.

b. Ed Rendell.

c. Ken Mehlman.

d. Bob Strauss.

6. The most underrated person in Washington is

a. Ed Markey.

b. Peter Baker.

c. Mark Salter.

d. John McCain.

7. Barack Obama's biggest variable is

a. Does the low-hanging fruit add up to $30 million, or more than $30 million.

b. What did he leave out of the first book that would be hard to explain.

c. What does he know that John Glenn, Bob Kerrey, and Bill Bradley do not.

d. Family matters.

8. The person who has the clearest chapter-and-verse hold on Mitt Romney's past statements and actions on abortion, gay rights, and other hot button issues is

a. A Boston Globe reporter.

b. John Weaver.

c. Mitt Romney.

d. A DNC oppo researcher.

9. Coverage of Governor Vilsack's presidential announcement tour will garner how many total minutes on the three broadcast network evening newscasts:

a. Less than 1 minute.

b. 1 minute-2 minutes.

c. 2 minutes-4 minutes.

d. More than 4 minutes.

10. The entity or person most angry with Pelosi's choice for Intelligence chair will be

a. Alcee Hastings.

b. The Congressional Black Caucus.

c. The Washington press corps.

d. The White House.

11. The President's first veto in the New, New Normal will be of a bill on

a. Spending.

b. Foreign policy.

c. A social issue.

d. Intelligence.

12. Hillary Clinton will first set foot on New Hampshire soil in

a. January.

b. February.

c. March.

d. After March.

13. The most-likely factor that could keep John McCain from becoming 44 will be

a. Age.

b. Temper.

c. Temperament.

d. He doesn't run.

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