The Note: What Doesn't Kill You Only Makes You Stronger

3 days to the Inauguration


At the start of a week of celebration of the re-inauguration of George W. Bush, at least one thing is clear: none of the dangers lurking derive from the strength(s) of the Democratic Party.

Disorganized, distracted, distraught, and down, the Democrats (sort of) have plenty of time to get their act together.

As they grope for a party chair and moan and groan about the prospects of X, Y, and Z (also knows as "G," "K," and "D") running for president in 2008, Democrats haven't figured out how to push back effectively on the President's agenda, let alone come up with one of their own. ("One" being both an agenda and a president . . . )

But -- make no mistake -- there are threats out there to Mr. Bush's second-term vision.


1. Iraq.

2. Some ticking-time-bomb personnel error that will disrupt Cabinet harmony.

3. The unshackled mutiny of Hill GOPers (on the war, immigration, Social Security, the budget), as the LaHood Award becomes more and more coveted.

4. The secretly written tell-all book by Dick Cheney, to be published in March by Simon & Schuster. (Just kidding about that one . . .)

5. The wasted government time come the spring, as staffers try to figure out if all those blind quotes in accounts of past Administration decisions from "a former government official familiar with Powell's version of events" are in each case from Colin Powell or Richard Armitage.

6. The unforeseen. (We got that one from Dan Bartlett . . . )

7. Paralysis in the White House communications shop caused by longing for the days of Milbank and Allen.

8. Did we mention Iraq?

9. A fatal miscalculation about sequencing that brings the domestic legislative agenda down like a house of cards.

10. Rising interest rates and/or the bursting of the housing bubble.

But none of that is likely to come acropper this week, so we can focus on the here and now.

As for your reading, it appears a lot of people had a lot of the same ideas in the last 72 hours:

A. Read the Los Angeles Times and the New York Times from Sunday on the apparent use of the Social Security bureaucracy to sell change. LINK and LINK

B. Read the Los Angeles Times and the New York Times from Sunday on Newt Inc. LINK and LINK

C. Read John Harris in today's Washington Post and the Boston Globe's Peter Canellos on the Bush dynasty. LINK and LINK

D. Read the Sunday New York Post on the alleged effort to get Bob Kerrey to run for DNC chair and CNN's coverage of Tim Roemer's lament. LINK and LINK

E. The New York Times' Todd Purdum, the Washington Post's Glenn Kessler, and the Los Angeles Times' M.Z. Barabak all curtain raised the confirmation hearings of Dr. Rice. LINK and LINK and LINK

This week . . .

Today at 10:00 am ET, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Birthday Celebration Day Committee holds its Annual King Celebration. There's an interfaith "Prayer, Peace and Praise" service at the Tenth Street Baptist Church in Washington, DC, and a wreath-laying ceremony at the African-American Civil War Memorial at 12:30 pm ET.

At noon ET, the U.S. Conference of Mayors opens its 73rd winter meeting in Washington, DC, beginning with a luncheon honoring the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. From 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm ET, mayors meet for a session on new best practices.

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