The Note: Learning to Use Irrationality As a Bargaining Tool



There are three completely inexplicable politico-media phenomena in our shared lives this morning.

1. Why does this Friday bring (possibly explosive) new Tom DeLay/Abramoff stories from the Associated Press, the Los Angeles Times (2!!!), the Wall Street Journal, and the New York Times? (And the release of island public records doesn't explain them all . . . )

2. Why did Bill Clinton do a Wednesday interview with Al Gore's Harvard pal Deborah Orin, and why did she hold it a day?

3. Is there any other newspaper in America that would run an implication-laden paragraph like this one from today's Boston Globe front-pager about the reported plans of federal prosecutor Sullivan to indict former Massachusetts Speaker Finneran for perjury?

"It would be perilous for Sullivan, having launched the probe, to end it without indictment, and risk being viewed as soft on the once politically powerful former speaker. However, bringing indictment will provoke anger in the political arena, and possible retaliation from other politicians. Still, indicting Finneran, and failing to get a conviction, could create a perception that Sullivan overreached, and taint his reputation." LINK

The answers are: (1) We don't know; (2) we really don't know, and we don't know; and (3) NO!!!!!

In other news:

"Solved" by Washington standards: hyper-respected Wall Street Journal reporter David Rogers thinks Tom DeLay's now-famous trip to Scotland was more about golf than policy; the White House has accepted that watching the Powerful Chairman of the Powerful Ways and Means Committee roll the dice on retirement security reform is its best bet for moving Social Security forward; John Kerry -- unlike Ted Kennedy -- doesn't believe the Massachusetts Democratic Party platform should endorse gay marriage; the Los Angeles Times still has a big investigative reporting budget; and 41 has now pledged never to attack 42 politically again.

"Loggerheads" by Gang of 500 standards: Sens. Lugar and Biden over how to proceed on the Bolton hearings; whether the Gang of 500 bought the Social Security push-back message from Wednesday's White House briefing on progressive indexing enough to assimilate it into the daily coverage zeitgeist; the New York Times website re-design versus the New York Post Web site re-design; and whether the U.S. government shares David Sanger's concerns about North Korea's alleged nuclear program.

"Pending" by Note standards: will the House ethics committee ultimately agree with David Rogers about DeLay's Scotland trip; will Bill Clinton be able to become de facto President of the World through his nimble post-presidential work; whether the AFL-CIO can solve its leadership riddle fast enough to fight the Bush Administration's clever efforts to reshape the landscape; which of the Millerwise Bush spokesgals works more hours per week; and how Sen./Dr./Leader Frist will feel when he learns that Sen. Collins shared his "private" e-mails with the New York Times.

Old business from yesterday's Note list of people that both 43 and 42 like (based on a cascade of reader responses):

Adds: Dee Dee Myers, Mike Leavitt, Kinky Friedman.

Potential subtraction: Paul Begala.

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