The Note: Mistaking Obstructionism for Progress

"Nationwide, U.S. aid to first-responders -- which the Bush administration estimates at $13 billion -- has been beset with bureaucratic problems since increasing 30-fold in the year after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. Funds became stalled for months in federal and state administrative pipelines. Analysts warned that sparsely populated states received more per-capita aid than states with many targets such as New York. Cash-poor jurisdictions complained that they lacked the budgets to tackle big projects on a reimbursement basis, as required. Planning and accountability at all levels lagged."

On Sunday, the Washington Post's David Broder expressed sympathy for Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez and Housing and Urban Development Secretary Alphonso Jackson, who have the unhappy task of trying to sell to Congress President Bush's proposal to shift the $4.7 billion Community Development Block Grant and 17 other programs from HUD to Commerce. LINK

In a Washington Post op-ed on Sunday, former Fed chairman Paul Volcker argued that the U.S. economy, which is consuming and spending about 6 percent more than it's producing and is getting about 80 percent of the net flow of international capitol, is at a dangerous imbalance with the economies of the rest of the world and is "skating on increasingly thin ice." LINK

White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove told Republican activists in Wisconsin on Saturday to take heart, that their work was not in vain even though Sen. Kerry won the Badger State. LINK

And there was another "smarty pants" line!!!

"After the next four years, Bush will 'be known as one of the great domestic reformers,' said Rove, a deputy White House chief of staff who has taken on a greater role coordinating policy since the election. The American people gave Bush a sweeping mandate to do so, he said." LINK

"'The next time one of your smarty pants Democrat friends tells you that he doesn't have a mandate,' Rove said, 'you just remind them of this: he got a higher percentage of the vote than any Democrat candidate for president since 1964.'"

Rove's fundraiser in Minneapolis on Friday night brought in at least $150,000 for Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty. LINK

Bolton:

It's all (read: "mostly") about Sen. Chafee.

The Washington Post's Dafna Linzer curtain-raises today's hearings on the nomination of John Bolton to be the U.S. representative to the United Nations, focusing on Bolton's combative approach and adherence to hard-line foreign policy decisions, such as regime change, that "have made him perhaps the most controversial figure nominated to serve in Bush's second term." Is he too hardline, and therefore a hindrance to the President's foreign policy goals, or is he the embodiment of the truest form of the President's doctrine? His supporters and opponents are expected to duke it out, and the hearings will delve further into allegations that Bolton misused intelligence data to support his end goals, and tried to intimidate subordinates in the intelligence community. LINK

More from the AP: LINK

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