The Note: Searching For Light

WASHINGTON, Feb. 8 --

NEWS SUMMARY

President Bush heads to the Motor City to sell his budget Notions at the country's most prestigious economic forum. He speaks at 12:15 ET, and our Carnac the Magnificent prediction is that it will get cable news roadblock coverage.

The President will be speaking about the budget, Social Security, and policy priorities at the Detroit Economic Club, but we bet he will also be listening.

Because George W. Bush is a man who knows that there is lot of common-sense Midwestern wisdom to be gleaned from the good folks he will meet during his visit.

In the meantime, while we wait for that, we have some (seeming) wisdom of our own to parcel out to a few readers:

FOR POLITICAL REPORTERS AND HERITAGE/CATO BUDGET ANALYSTS WHO WANT THE PRESIDENT TO VETO A BILL -- ANY BILL -- TO SHOW HE'LL BE TOUGH ON SPENDING: Get real, and think this through -- given the close coordination between the White House and the GOP congressional leadership, how could the budget process yield a bill on Mr. Bush's desk that he isn't prepared to sign?

FOR WHITE HOUSE BUDGET STRATEGISTS: The fact that almost no Democrats are reacting to your budget by calling for a repeal of the income tax cuts for upper income Americans is a victory of sorts, but Note well what David Brooks writes in the New York Times today about how to pass some sort of retirement savings accounts (" . . . (I)t would be smart for Republicans to forgo making the Bush tax cuts permanent in exchange for these kinds of accounts."), and Pete Domenici (R-NM) is said by the Los Angeles Times to be having "second thoughts" about making the tax cuts permanent. Watch out to see if this Brownsteinian attitude grows inside the party -- danger, Will Robinson.

FOR SEN. HARRY REID: Many Democrats are still taking your measure as one of their leaders; if you think that "asking" the White House in high moral dudgeon to call off the incessant, cookie cutter attacks on your alleged Blue State tendencies will achieve anything but making you look a bit naïve, you have another thing coming.

FOR GOV. HOWARD DEAN: If you haven't asked several smart people if your icky favorable/unfavorable ratings matter, and, if they do, what is to be done about them, a case could be made that you are even less prepared for your new job than those who are most worried about the words "DNC Chairman Howard Dean" fear.

After his Motown gig, the President flies back to the White House to participate in a celebration of Black History Month at 3:15 pm ET.

The Senate takes up class action reform legislation at 9:30 am ET, and Sen. Frist is scheduled to come to cameras following his party's policy lunch at about 2:00 pm ET.

Treasury Secretary John Snow talks about the budget with the House Ways and Means Committee at 10:30 am ET and the Senate budget committee later; Budget director Josh Bolten also makes the rounds.

First Lady Laura Bush continues her post-SOTU tour at a school in Baltimore this morning.

Also today, the New Hampshire Presidential Primary Democratic Task Force meets in Concord, NH, and Gov. Granholm of Michigan (D) gives her State of the State speech.

Bush agenda and a visit to Detroit:

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