The Note: Everybody into the Pool

The Boston Globe's Brian MacQuarrie profiles one family of evangelical Christians in Ohio as a way of looking at how religious views shape voters' politics -- and how Democrats are waking up to that. LINK

The New Republic's Noam Scheiber gets New York Times op-ed real estate to write that "the practical effect of the idealistic arguments the Republican leadership puts forth to defend much of its agenda -- from health care to education to immigration reform -- may be to sell the middle of the electorate on longtime Democratic positions." LINK

The Congress:

What do Mark Twain, Buster Keaton and Walt Disney have in common? They all filed for bankruptcy. And that sentiment, echoed by 12 bankruptcy judges, is why the Los Angeles Times' Peter Gosselin discusses if the new bankruptcy bill is good or bad. The judges (not "real judges according to a Washington credit card industry lobbyist) say it does; others, such as SCOTUS shortlister Edith H. Jones disagree. LINK

Leader DeLay:

House Majority Leader Tom DeLay's supporters are rallying to his defense despite this weekend's stories, the Houston Chronicle reports. LINK

Rush Limbaugh was in full defense mode yesterday for the Leader as well.

Iraq:

The great Jonathan Karl, essayist extraordinaire and ABC News' senior foreign affairs correspondent, has a piece in the Weekly Standard about Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's brand of diplomacy.

"If her first months in office are any indication, Secretary Rice's State Department is going to be radically different from Colin Powell's. Rice has forbidden her senior staff to make even off-the-record comparisons between her and Powell, but they don't need to. Rice's senior advisers like to say that she will be an effective secretary of state because when people talk to her they believe they are talking to the president. Powell may have been respected around the world, but he was viewed as out of step with the administration. As a result, when he spoke to a foreign leader, there was often a nagging question: Is Colin Powell speaking for the Bush administration or is he speaking for himself? Nobody asks that question about Condoleezza Rice. So when Rice hits somebody, it stings." LINK

"Rice's proximity to the president, combined with the sense of urgency she brings to her new job, has turned the State Department into a political power center again, the kind of place where Karen Hughes, one of President Bush's two or three closest advisers, would take a third-tier job. Even Dina Powell, who as director of White House personnel had no shortage of opportunities in the administration, chose to go to work for Rice as an assistant secretary of state. The State Department has been something of a political backwater for more than a decade. In the Clinton years, Warren Christopher was so inactive that a running joke among Foreign Service officers during his tenure was to complain about something and add, 'None of this would be happening if Warren Christopher were alive.' Madeleine Albright traveled more, but that only contributed to the perception that she was out of the loop and AWOL when the major national security decisions were being made by the National Security Council. And in George W. Bush's first term, Powell made his biggest headlines when he was at odds with the White House."

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