The Note: Carving Out the Carve-Outs?

WASHINGTON, March 3 --

NEWS SUMMARY

Since yesterday's episode of The Note, so much has happened regarding Social Security.

The White House denounced the Gang of 500 CW that the President's plans are in trouble; Secretary Snow announced a big new PR offensive (with boosted Cheney involvement!!); Secretary Snow appeared open to add-on accounts instead of carve outs; Sen. Grassley suggested that perhaps legislative efforts should focus for now on solvency rather than personal accounts; Bob Novak and others reported on the President's innermost thoughts on how all this is going (rare, that); two new polls showed American public opinion not exactly where the White House would want it to be; and Chairman Greenspan went yada yada yada.

The basic how-a-bill-becomes-a-law riddle still exists, and we still can't answer it. (More on all this below.)

So we turn instead to one of our Note exclusives.

To make extra money to pay for a nicer font for The Note, one of the Googling monkeys has been working the late shift at Stetson's on U Street, cleaning up after the place closes for the night.

While sweeping up last night, said monkey found this super-secret memo:

_________________________________________________________

TO: GOV. DEAN

FROM: DNC STAFF

RE: SO FAR

With successful trips to two Red States under your belt and not a single public (or even cowardly on-background) quote leveled against you from a Democratic strategist/leader/operative, you are off to a fine start.

But there are some things we think you could do, uhm, better.

Here's our list:

1) Implied in your insistence that we call you "Governor" instead of "Chairman" seems to be a forlorn fondness for your former employ and a disdain for your current job. Keep this up and we may end up splitting the baby and just calling you "the politician-formerly-known-as-front-runner." [Keep this up and we may end up insisting that you call us "former McAuliffe staffers." Stings a little, doesn't it?]

2) We know you're sick of hearing it, but that's okay because frankly three weeks in, we're already sick of telling you: watch the language. Osama bin Laden is evil. Lionel Ritchie music is evil. Astroturf is evil. Republicans are not evil. Entirely.

3) The Fabulous Flournoy has been captaining the ship well, but we have no idea who her lieutenants are. Vagueness was okay on week one. And two. And arguably three. But we're now nearly on week four of the new Dean regime and we need two words our party seems allergic to -- "org chart."

4) Word to the wise -- staff is a constituency, and like any constituency you have to win us over. You can't do that if you won't talk to us. The last guy here wouldn't shut up -- and we loved him for it.

5) Psychologists say room decor reveals a lot about a person. Actually we just made that up. But it does sound like something they would say. Anyway, we're ascribing that to them to make a point: your office is too spare. Where's the campaign memorabilia, the 11 framed balanced budgets, the conspicuously absent Trippi photo, etc.?

6) Terry was to Cafe Milano as Howard is to . . . what? Until you can answer that question, you're not really our chairman. That said, we're here to serve. From what we've gathered from our time together so far, you're probably a tad more earthy; we recommend you consider Nora, Two Quail and Ben's Chili Bowl.

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