The Note: Blessed Is He Who Expects Nothing . . .

USA Today's Jill Lawrence wraps Democrats' comments about Sen/Leader/Dr. Frist on the Sunday talk shows for his scheduled participation in the Family Research Council's program, during which they used plenty of buzz words like "extreme," "radical," "over the line," and "un-American" -- the last by Sen. Schumer describing the event, not Frist. LINK

Newsweek's Howard Fineman examines the exceptionally fine line Frist is trying to draw on the filibuster fight -- participating in the FRC's program, but looking to talk only about the up-or-down vote and not faith; guiding his party through the process and trying to make the contacts and form the alliances he'll need for a presidential bid; and trying to get a leg up on his potential competitors (Fineman insists on including Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour in the list. . . ) for the GOP nomination in 2008. Meanwhile, Frist is trying to broker a compromise with Sen. John McCain threatening to upstage him, and Sen. Trent Lott pushing the hard line. LINK

Democrats are revving up their efforts to tie Sen. Frist's push to change Senate rules to his presidential ambitions, writes Roll Call's Chris Cillizza, previewing the DSCC e-mail to go out this week, accusing Frist of knuckling under to conservative pressure in exchange for support for his White House bid.

Roll Call's Paul Kane looks at the seven Republican Senators who are publicly undecided on whether to support changing the Senate rules -- and the heat they're feeling because of it. High in their minds: avoiding the nuclear/constitutional fallout.

Newsweek's Debra Rosenberg takes a closer look at how the age-old pastime of criticizing judges has evolved into a battle over "activists." LINK

In a Washington Post op-ed on Sunday, Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) made the case for President Bush's judicial nominees, and called Democrats' stalling tactics and threats over judicial nominees and the filibuster a violation of constitutional principles and an example of tyranny of the minority. LINK

Wade Henderson and Stephen Moore argued against changing the filibuster rules -- for different reasons -- on Sunday's Washington Post op-ed page. Among those reasons: former Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole long view that the party in the majority today could be the party in the minority in the future. LINK

On Sunday, the Los Angeles Times' David Savage took a good 30,000-foot look at the federal courts, including the Supreme Court -- now largely controlled by Republican-appointed judges, Noting that the stripe of Republican-appointed judge is more important than the fact that they he or she was appointed by a Republican. LINK

Social Security:

"After spending nearly four months campaigning to restructure Social Security, President Bush is headed toward what many Republicans consider a make-or-break moment in the effort to transform the 70-year-old retirement program: a showdown with the Senate Finance Committee," the Washington Post's Jim VandeHei wrote on Sunday in a must-read that was likely lost for some of you in the warm weather. LINK

"Bush is confident that he has convinced Americans that Social Security faces long-term fiscal problems, even if they remain skeptical of his plan for personal investment accounts. Now, aides say, he wants the Finance Committee, which has jurisdiction over the issue, to take the lead role in crafting a new Social Security program."

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