The Note: Weekend Update

Bob Novak's sources say Condoleezza Rice is keen on a quick pull-out of U.S. troops from Iraq. And then he throws in a mystifyingly and insultingly irrelevant "willowy, vulnerable-looking woman" description of the Secretary of State. LINK

Wolfowitz and the World Bank:

The Washington Post's Sebastian Mallaby looks at the camps that have sprung up over the nomination of Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz to head the World Bank: praising his gravitas, worrying that the institution will end up tarnished because it will be seen as a tool of U.S. foreign policy and ideology, and a third: being happy that the World Bank will be seen as a tool of U.S. foreign policy and ideology. LINK

"The problem with the Bush administration has not been that it bent the World Bank to its foreign policy. It's been that it often failed to do so. The planning for postwar Iraq might have been smarter if the administration had consulted the bank's experts early. The expansion of U.S. bilateral development aid that President Bush promises would have been more effective if the money had been channeled through the World Bank. If Bush had handed the World Bank presidency to some CEO campaign contributor, this malign neglect might have continued. Now that he's installing a valued lieutenant, cooperation should improve."

Big casino budget politics:

The Wall Street Journal's Sarah Leuck forecasts a double-digit premium increase for Medicare beneficiaries.

Big casino state budget politics:

On Sunday, the Washington Post's T.R. Reid took a look at the Republican governors, including Gov. Kenny Guinn (NV), Sonny Perdue (GA), Bob Taft (OH), Mitch Daniels (IN), Bill Owens (CO) and Dirk Kempthorne (ID), who once promoted state tax and spending limits but who are now singing a different tune in the face of federal tax cuts that have left them responsible for bigger Medicaid and education bills. LINK

Speaking of, tax breaks are emerging as a center-stage issue in the Virginia gubernatorial race, reported the Washington Post's Peter Whoriskey and Michael Shear on Sunday. LINK

The Schwarzenegger era:

The Washington Post's Dan Balz writes that in the face of his fight with public-sector unions over pensions, education, and health care, and Democrats in the state legislature, Arnold Schwarzenegger, who as a candidate promised to be an ally to those on both sides of the aisle, is increasingly partisan. LINK

" . . . during an interview in his spacious Capitol office, the celebrity governor gave every indication that he relishes the opportunity to defeat, not compromise with, his opponents. When it was suggested that Schwarzenegger sounded as though he would be disappointed if a face-off were averted by compromise, he responded without hesitation. 'There's something very attractive about it,' he said. 'You're absolutely right.'"

" . . . The governor said the battle is not Democrats vs. Republicans. But his opponents see him and his agenda as part of a partisan and ideological battle that echoes the priorities of President Bush and the Republicans in Washington. Schwarzenegger, they say, has turned from conciliator to partisan by embracing an economic agenda championed by wealthy corporate interests. They contend that he turned increasingly partisan after candidates he backed lost a series of legislative elections last November."

Make sure you read the awesome kicker.

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