The Note: Peggy Noonan Has Never Met Belinda Carlisle

On "This Week," to some questions, Dr. Dean did not answer and deftly changed the subject. (For example: even if he's not a polarizing figure, how does he combat the perception by outsiders that he is one?) But he did bite his tongue before answering a specific policy question on Iraq, perhaps an indication of his willingness to leave policy-making to those who make policy. Except he did answer other questions. Count us confused!

The "good" Doctor, asked about Rep. Marty Meehan's idea for a fixed withdrawal timetable, said: "That's a policy area tha the Congress people are going to be responsible for. If Marty Meehan just got back from Iraq, who am I to come of a Sunday talk show and disagree with his assessment?"

So perhaps Dean as DNC chair would speak in glittering generalities and allow members of Congress to fill in the specifics. Except when he wouldn't -- like when asked about how he would vote on Dr. Rice (against, he said) or if the Iraqi elections should be delayed (no, they shouldn't, he said).

Today, Dean is expected to pick up the endorsements of two senior DNC members: vice chair Gloria Molina and deputy chair Ben Johnson, according to a knowledgeable Democrat.

The San Francisco Chronicle's Carla Marunicci suggests an era of inevitability about Dean but Notes that many in the DNC Western Regional Forum audience thought Frost could win. LINK

The Los Angeles Times' Mark Barabak highlights Frost's critique of the "consultant culture" in Washington and Simon Rosenberg's vow to end the "monopoly of New Hampshire and Washington." LINK

Howard Fineman has newsmagazinely exclusive details of anti-Dean remarks at Clintonian parties, a bid by governors to recruit Jennifer Granholm, and more. By our count, the Clintons have (allegedly) pushed more candidates than Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi! LINK

George Will has a sophisticated analysis of the strengths Martin Frost and Howard Dean would bring to the job. Clintonism looms in the distance... LINK


Justin Sayfie points our attention to a Ft. Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel article on Florida Democrats strategizing about 2006. LINK

If you don't check out Justin's site every day, you're missing out. LINK

The AP reports that Asa Hutchinson has told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette that he plans to resign today from his post with the Homeland Security Department, after he was passed over twice by the Bush Administration to be secretary of the department. Hutchinson said that he was disappointed that he wasn't selected to be secretary but is excited about other options, including a possible run for Arkansas governor in 2006. But he didn't give any definite political plans for the future.

Roll Call's Lauren Whittington looks at the role the issue of abortion may end up playing in the 2006 Senate races as Democrats examine their ranks who don't support abortion rights.


Roll Call's Chris Cillizza looks at the "talent primary" -- the race to line up big-gun consultants for the next presidential campaign. Clip and save!

The Wall Street Journal calls Sen. Bill Frist's "biggest failure of . . . leadership" his "inability to corral Republicans and stop the Democrats' unprecedented filibuster of 10 of President Bush's appeals-court nominees."

Sheryl Gay Stolberg's story about John Kerry's return to the limelight in Sunday's New York Times Week In Review is worth reading if only for the closing quote from Charlie Black. LINK

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