The Note: Wagons and Firing Squads


On Iraq, congressional Democrats and their 2008 presidential candidates are (moving towards being) united on how to proceed.

But in forging bicameral plans that can (maybe) win majorities, Democrats have (re)united congressional Republicans (and Joe Lieberman) in support of the President's Iraq policy. And Barack Obama makes it clear in an interview with the phone-obsessed John DiStaso of the Union Leader that Democratic Senators don't care much for their House partymates' Iraq plan. LINK

The Republican decision to hang together is a short-term problem for Democrats and their desire to end the war. (But as the Washington Post's Dan Balz and Shailagh Murray report in a must read, Iraq could be a looming 2008 problem for Republicans. LINK)

On Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, congressional Democrats and their 2008 presidential candidates are (mostly) united on how to proceed.

And/but because congressional Republicans maintain their reflexive public loyalty (their private thoughts notwithstanding), they are not calling for the departure of the Attorney General. (And the Wall Street Journal page is SO back on the Rove reservation, making it all about Webb Hubbell in their ultimate must-read editorial for those who wish to understand how the battle lines are now drawn. LINK)

But/and as the blind quotes in the must-read New York Times story by Sheryl Gay Stolberg and Jeff Zeleny make clear, some Bush loyalists are using the Gray Lady to signal to Gonzales that it is time for him to go.

The Times duo smuggle into their lede piece two anonymous sources who play the national security card against the President's close personal friend!! LINK

"The two Republicans, who spoke anonymously so they could share private conversations with senior White House officials, said top aides to Mr. Bush, including Fred F. Fielding, the new White House counsel, were concerned that the controversy had so damaged Mr. Gonzales's credibility that he would be unable to advance the White House agenda on national security matters, including terrorism prosecutions."

One of the Timespersons' "close to the Bush administration" sources says, "I really think there's a serious estrangement between the White House and Alberto now."

And the other one says this: "They're taking it seriously . . . I think Rove and Bolten believe there is the potential for erosion of the president's credibility on this issue."

Note to the AG: you better figure out who those two sources are -- if you want to know what your chances are.

(And, from the same Times' story, in order to help out Frank Rich and Paul Krugman, Sen. John Ensign (R-NV) says this, with no apparent irony: "I think there are times where you just have to do what you feel is right, and this is one of those times.")

Despite Gonzales energetic round of morning show appearances (nearly the full Ginsberg), the brutal filleting by Ruth Marcus on the Washington Post op-ed page LINK makes clear that not all the questions have been answered quite yet.

At press time, Gonzales' schedule could not be determined.

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