The Note: 'Both Hopeful and Precarious'

If, as some expect, Doris Matsui wins more than 50 percent in today's primary to succeed her husband, she is likely headed for an assignment on the Rules Committee, and possibly Budget, Roll Call's Erin Billings and Josh Kurtz report.

The Congress:

Writes the New York Times' Sheryl Gay Stolberg in full explanatory mode: "A bankruptcy bill pending before the Senate is about to provide a forum for the first abortion battle of the new Congress, and how it plays out could set the stage for much larger fights over abortion restrictions and judicial nominees, including perhaps a nominee to the Supreme Court." LINK

"At issue is a proposed amendment intended to deny bankruptcy protection to protesters who use violence to shut down abortion clinics. The measure is expected to come up for a vote on Tuesday before a Senate with an expanded Republican majority that includes some of the most ardent abortion opponents in American politics."

Paul Krugman on the bankruptcy bill: "The bankruptcy bill was written by and for credit card companies, and the industry's political muscle is the reason it seems unstoppable. But the bill also fits into the broader context of what Jacob Hacker, a political scientist at Yale, calls 'risk privatization': a steady erosion of the protection the government provides against personal misfortune, even as ordinary families face ever-growing economic insecurity." LINK

Note to 2008 Democratic presidential candidates: Note that Krugman throws down the gauntlet in his final graph.

The Los Angeles Times' Mary Curtius reports that Senate Republicans on Monday defeated the minimum wage hike Democrats were trying to attach to the bankruptcy bill by a vote of 49 to 46. LINK

Congressional Democrats are planning to take a page from the Republican Revolution playbook today with a 147-page report accusing the Republican leadership of abusing their power with parliamentary tactics, writes the Washington Post's Mike Allen. LINK

Blogs and politics:

The American Prospect's Garance Franke-Ruta Notes the increasingly murky links between prominent Republican political operatives and the conservative blogosphere, bringing up the Thune-Daschle race, Eason Jordan, the smear of O'Malley and more more. While she acknowledges that lefty bloggers have their entaglements with the Democratic establishment, she concludes ". . . there's another a key difference between the effort against Gannon and conservative blog firestorms: The targets of the liberal blogosphere are conservative activists; the target of the conservative blogosphere is the free and independent press itself, just as it has been for conservative activists since the '60s. For the Republican Party, pseudo-journalism Internet sites and the blogosphere are just another way to get around 'the filter,' as Bush has dubbed the mainstream media." LINK

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