The Note: Mistaking Obstructionism for Progress

"Both parties have a responsibility to avert a filibuster showdown with a deal to approve some of Bush's backlogged judges and establish reasonable procedures for future consultation. But the greatest obligation rests with Bush. His political strategy and definition of leadership often seem to preclude the building of consensus. But that should be one of a president's highest priorities. In the impending fight over the filibuster, and the approaching likelihood of a Supreme Court vacancy, Bush can lead just his party, or transcend it to lead the country."

Brownstein also ledes a wrap of the Sunday shows with Sen. John McCain's appearance "Face the Nation," where he said banning filibusters is the top of a "slippery slope," urging caution that the move could come back to bite Republicans if Democrats hold the White House and the Senate. LINK

Sen. Rick Santorum last week assured worried conservatives that Senate Majority Leader Frist is ready to go ahead with his plan to cut judicial filibusters, The Hill's Alexander Bolton reports. LINK

Campaigns to impeach judges, and anger with the federal judiciary aren't unusual, writes the Washington Post's ed board member Ruth Marcus. "What's perhaps most astonishing is that this anger is being directed at a federal judiciary in general, and a Supreme Court in particular, that is far more conservative than the liberal bench that once provoked similar complaints." LINK

On Sunday, the Los Angeles Times' Ron Brownstein used Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid's Democratic radio address as a touching-off point to look at the growing tension over judicial nominations, wrapping the conflicting Republican opinions about eliminating the filibuster, look at Sen. Ben Nelson's compromise, and look ahead to this week's planned rally by Democrats. LINK

Newsweek's Howard Fineman examines Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid's strategy of letting Republicans strike their own knockout blow to themselves over the filibuster. LINK

Bush agenda:

The Wall Street Journal editorial board warns the Administration: "President Bush's first term got off to a bad trade start with steel tariffs; textile protectionism is no way to start the second."

Elisabeth Bumiller scrolls through the First iPod:

"Mr. Bush's iPod is heavy on traditional country singers like George Jones, Alan Jackson and Kenny Chesney. He has selections by Van Morrison, whose 'Brown Eyed Girl' is a Bush favorite, and by John Fogerty, most predictably 'Centerfield,' which was played at Texas Rangers games when Mr. Bush was an owner and is still played at ballparks all over America. ('Oh, put me in coach, I'm ready to play today.')" LINK

On Sunday, the Washington Post's Spencer Hsu and Sarah Cohen reported that $120 million of the $145 million in anti-terrorism grants earmarked for the Washington, DC area has gone unspent, putting it in last place compared to the 50 states -- and curtain-raising last night's "60 Minutes" report about the funds. LINK

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