The Note: A Man Soon Forgets That He Trod on a Lion's Tail . . .

WASHINGTON, May 16

NEWS SUMMARY

(Historic Note for the uninitiated: The Note is based 1/3 part on The Hotline, 1/3 part on "Finnegans Wake," and 1/3 part on Newsweek's long-running, brilliant, and unAltered Conventional Wisdom Watch feature.)

(By "based on," we mean "ripped off of.")

(Like, "ripped off of" to the point where we wake up every day amazed none of the three -- or their estates -- have sued us.)

(And just this weekend, on the Newsweek Web site, we Noticed this for the first time: "The CW is not Newsweek's opinion, but an informal distillation of the ever-changing thinking of Beltway pundits and the chattering classes.")

(We couldn't have said it better ourselves, except we like to consider our work "formal" and the stuff we cover/channel to be a bit more static than "ever-changing.")

(In any case, the next time one of you with full Internet access and blogging rights decides you don't like something we say here, how about you re-read that Newsweek disclaimer and our seconding of it?)

(In any case, per the CW as sprung full-grown from the brains of the members of the Gang of 500 gathered for their usual Sunday brunch at Lauriol Plaza yesterday, there is only one story engaging the politico-media complex, so here is the bottom line on that.)

The Gang of 500 positively cannot wait for Sen./Dr./Leader Frist to pull the trigger on changing the filibuster rules.

The Gang of 500 (minus Carl Leubsdorf, Linda Douglass, and David Rogers) can read the explanations over and over as to what will actually happen when the trigger is pulled, and still not really understand it. ("Explain again why Cheney has to be there.")

The Gang of 500 (minus Boyden Gray and Bob Novak) is totally opposed to changing the rules of the Senate, mostly because (as David Rogers reports this morning) Howard Baker seems to be against it too.

The Gang of 500 refuses to call this "the constitution option," since the phrase "nuclear option" is so much sexier.

The Gang of 500 has no idea if Mitch McConnell is telling the truth when he claims to have the votes if needed to change the rules.

The Gang of 500 is torn about whether it wants a last-minute deal to be reached or not, but it does "know" for sure that Bill Frist is only doing this because he wants to run for president in 2008.

The Gang of 500 has no idea what will happen if the trigger is pulled, and/but the Gang of 500 is bored silly with many aspects of this long-running saga, which is why the Gang of 500 has mixed feelings about it dominating the week (and maybe beyond).

The Gang -- which remembers Ronald Reagan palling around with Tip O'Neill, and George H.W. Bush yukking it up with Danny Rostenkowski -- wonders why all this can't be settled over a bit of duck l'orange, since . . .

Harry Reid likes and respects Sig Rogich.

Sig Rogich likes and respects Kenny Guinn.

Kenny Guinn likes and respects Marybel Batjer.

Marybel Batjer likes and respects Colin Powell.

Colin Powell likes and respects Rudy Giuliani.

Rudy Giuliani likes and respects Andrew Kirtzman.

Andrew Kirtzman likes and respects Al Sharpton.

Al Sharpton likes and respects Howard Dean.

Howard Dean likes and respects Jim Jordan.

Jim Jordan likes and respects Mitch Bainwol.

And Mitch Bainwol likes and respects Bill Frist.

And yet -- and yet -- Harry Reid and Bill Frist at this point can't solve the filibuster thing, because their far-from-neutral corners won't let them compromise, and this baby (so far) can't be split.

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