The Note: June Comes in Like a Lamb



Do we all have the Deep Throat thing out of our systems?

If so, allow us to update you:

Pending, as far as the Gang of 500 is concerned:

Will the highway bill pass? Will the highway bill be vetoed? Will the stem cell bill pass? Will the stem cell bill be vetoed? Will the stem cell bill be filibustered? Will Bolton be filibustered? Will the energy bill pass?

And: What is the next Social Security shoe to drop? Will there be a SCOTUS retirement?

Also: What does the Bush Administration decide to do about North Korea? Will David Sanger approve?

Logjams, as far as America is concerned:

Why do gas, college, and health care cost so much? Why are they doing all that fighting in Washington?

How absolutely A-D-O-R-A-B-L-E is the "McGovern-McGovern" byline on today's Boston Globe op-ed page???!!! LINK (Note: we made that one up.)

Has Tom Cruise's zanily effusive behavior single-handedly torpedoed "War of the Worlds" and/or "Mission 3"? Will future 20-something starlets reconsider what measures are required to jump from the B list to the A?

Will Russell Crowe be penitent for abusing the Mercer staffer as well as his phone?

Also: Are Jessica and Nick really on the outs? What will the Michael Jackson jury do and how quickly will they do it? How do I get my iPod settlement from Apple?

In the balance, as far as The Note is concerned:

Do those BSD Democrats who were worried that Howard Dean (a) couldn't raise money; (b) couldn't watch his mouth; (c) couldn't build credibility with the media; (d) couldn't appeal to swing voters; (e) couldn't appeal to Red State voters; and (f) couldn't stop being a distraction -- do those Democrats think this weekend was more of the same or a watershed?

Will Mike Allen's Washington Post story about "the DeLay effect" cause a paradigm shift?

Is the Boston and/or national press corps done with the Romney abortion story, or not? (After today, we mean.) Which (other) 2008 would-bes have met with their advisors to discuss the lessons learned from this? (Beyond, we mean, that running for president "against" the Boston Globe is a bad idea . . . )

Also: Will a regional superprimary enhance, detract, or do nothing to the perceived/real power associated with Iowa and New Hampshire? Will the Democrats be able to win elections in 2006 based on the "reform" principle without putting forth and solid (and legitimate) proposals to "fix the system?" Who is the first 2008 Democrat to put forth a convincing foreign policy narrative?

And: While the Democratic Party tries to expand its field operation to all 50 states, how far ahead of them has Ken Mehlman already taken the Republicans in six short months? What role will 527 groups on both sides play in 2006? Will the FEC regulate blogging?

As we all wait for the answers, President Bush delivers remarks at the opening of the Organization of American States General Assembly at Greater Fort Lauderdale and Broward County Convention Center in Fort Lauderdale, FL at 11:45 am ET. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice introduces him.

Back in Washington, he speaks at the White House Black Music Month reception on the South Lawn at 5:00 pm ET.

Vice President Cheney participates in a lunch for Rep. Dave Reichert (R-WA) in Seattle at 3:30 pm ET. At 10:30 pm ET, Mr. Cheney delivers remarks at annual dinner of the Gerald Ford Foundation in Rancho Mirage, CA to honor Betty Ford as recipient of the 2005 Gerald Ford Medal for Distinguished Service. President Ford makes the presentation.

The Senate meets at 2:00 pm ET to consider the nomination of Judge Janice Rogers Brown to be U.S. Circuit Judge for the D.C. Circuit. No roll call votes today.

The Supreme Court meets at 10:00 to release rulings and orders. Among those that could be coming, according to ABC News' Manny Medrano: Medical marijuana, Ten Commandments, and Internet file-sharing.

In Washington State, Judge John Bridges is expected to rule whether the Republican challenge to the election of Gov. Christine Gregoire warrants a re-vote. (Whichever way it goes, the case will be retried before the state supreme court.)

Today, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid and Sen. Byron Dorgan will push the Democrats' agenda for working families at a 2:15 pm ET press conference on the Hill.

At 9:30 am ET, the 9/11 Public Discourse Project -- the nonprofit organization founded by former 9/11 commissioners -- holds a panel discussion on proposed changes to the CIA and FBI one year after the release of the commission's recommendations. Participants include Jamie Gorelick; Richard Thornburgh; John Gannon, former chairman of the National Intelligence Council; and Chitra Ragavan, staff writer for U.S. News and World Report.

Former Sen. John Edwards is in DC today for a conference on poverty sponsored by Call to Renewal and Bread for the World. He accepted Call to Renewal's "Joseph Award," which honors "individuals who faithfully use their position of influence to benefit those in poverty" at 8:00 am ET. Edwards, Rev. Jim Wallis, and Mary Nelson, president of Bethel New Life, spoke at the ceremony.

At 2:00 pm ET, Pentagon officials hold a media briefing about an emergency response exercise taking place there on Wednesday.

At 9:00 am ET, Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan participates in a teleconference hosted by the International Monetary Conference in Beijing. The Fed's Board of Governors holds a closed meeting at 11:30 am ET. Greenspan testifies before the House Joint Economic Committee on Thursday.

Tonight, former Vice President Al Gore receives the lifetime achievement at the 9th Annual Webby Awards in New York. We can't wait to hear the five-word speech.

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) heads to Michigan to visit Macomb and Oakland counties, and attends the Macomb County GOP Lincoln Day Dinner this evening.

CNN's Paula Zahn sits down with Cherie Blair as part of the Nation's Capital Distinguished Speakers series at the Kennedy Center at 8:00 pm ET.

As for the rest of the week . . .

President Bush welcomes British Prime Minister Tony Blair to the White House tomorrow to talk about Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as Middle East weapons and security issues.

He meets with Turkish Prime Minister Tayip Erdogan and sits down with Fox News Channel's Neil Cavuto for an interview on Wednesday.

On Thursday, the President talks about the Patriot Act at the Ohio State Highway Patrol Academy in Columbus, OH.

On Friday, he meets with South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun. He also tours the National Counterterrorism Center in McLean, VA.

The House is back in session tomorrow.

House Ways and Means Chairman William Thomas (R-CA) delivers remarks on key legislation pending on economic policy, international trade, Social Security, and health care policy at a Policy Insiders breakfast hosted by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce tomorrow morning.

The Senate has a busy day tomorrow. Lawmakers will hold a cloture vote on the nomination of William Pryor to be a circuit judge for the 11th Circuit. The Finance Committee looks at preventing pensions from collapsing. The nomination of John Bolton to be the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations could also come up this week if Democrats find themselves without the votes to continue to block him.

New Jersey holds its gubernatorial primary tomorrow, with a very contested GOP field.

New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson is in New Hampshire Tuesday and Wednesday.

Former President Bill Clinton addresses the Special Libraries Association Annual Conference in Toronto, Canada on Wednesday.

Medicare administrator Mark McClellan delivers remarks on the Medicare drug benefit at a luncheon of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday.

On Wednesday, Sen. Evan Bayh gets to speak to the Greater Des Moines Partnership's Congressional leaders lunch at the Washington Court hotel in the nation's capital. South Dakota Sen. John Thune represents Republicans at the event.

On Wednesday night, the 12th annual Rock the Vote Awards honor Sen. John McCain, Sen. Barack Obama, former President Bill Clinton and the Black Eyed Peas.

On Thursday, the House Government Reform Committee considers the mission and effectiveness of the Department of Homeland Security.

Also on Thursday, the Council on Foreign Relations holds an on-the-record discussion on "Promoting Reform in the Arab World: Report of an Independent Task Force," with Madeleine Albright and former Rep. Vin Weber (R-MN).


The Los Angeles Times' Maura Reynolds and Richard Simon have a very nice overview of the atmosphere Senators are returning to this week after their recess, with judges, John Bolton, the energy bill, the highway bill, and the opinions of disillusioned voters to contend with -- which could add up to more fighting and not necessarily resolution. LINK

"Some senators had speculated that the deal on judges might lead to a more collegial, bipartisan atmosphere in the chamber. Instead, as a result of the dispute over Bolton, many lawmakers left town seething -- Republicans over what they considered Democratic bad faith, Democrats over what they considered Republican high-handedness."

"As they return this week, that bad feeling is expected to linger. Republicans believe that they are only two votes short of the 60 they need to end debate on Bolton, and they are working to find them. Frist is unlikely to put the nomination back on the agenda until he is certain he has all the votes."

USA Today's Kathy Kiely looks at the influence freshman lawmakers are finding themselves wielding in the 109th Congress. LINK

As well as their relatively bipartisan approach to legislating and dealmaking. LINK

The Washington Post's Juliet Eilperin takes Note of a provision in the House energy bill that gives major automakers credit for building cars that can run on ethanol, even if those who own them only ever use gas. LINK

Rep. Steve King shared his novel new IDEA (New Illegal Deduction Elimination Act) on border tightening with the "Iowa Press" on Friday. "The bill would punish employers who hire undocumented workers by forcing the business to pay taxes on wages and benefits paid to those workers." LINK

Bush agenda:

"After failing to pass an energy bill for years, Congress is positioned to send one to President Bush, but the legislation could be derailed before ever reaching the White House," writes John Fialka in the Wall Street Journal.

"Proposals for expanding offshore drilling and ethanol mandates are among potential 'deal killers' -- measures that could be inserted when the full Senate takes up the bill this month or that could block agreement between the more Republican-dominated House and the more consensus-oriented Senate."

"With compromise uncertain, the bill's fate could hinge on developments outside the energy-policy debate. If the price of gasoline steams toward $3 a gallon during the summer driving season, lawmakers will feel heat from voters to pass a bill. If the current d├ętente between Senate Democrats and Republicans over judicial nominees breaks down, the energy bill will become the first target of renewed delaying tactics."

"But after four years -- including a major regional electricity blackout and oil and natural-gas price increases -- some lawmakers are willing to set aside differences and get something done. 'I am not inclined to spend too much time in search of the ideal,' Sen. Pete V. Domenici, (R., N.M.), chairman of the Senate Energy Committee, explained during the panel's deliberations, as he accepted some Democratic proposals without much disagreement. He said he shaped the bill's contents 'always with an eye on the votes.'"

Bob Novak sounds a familiar tone: Bush "has not progressed in handling Congress. He seems as much at a loss in dealing with the legislative branch as the day he entered the White House." LINK

(Novak is no Neustadtian!)

"Bush is the only Republican president since the 1920s to enjoy protracted control of both houses of Congress by his own party. Yet, he seems less able to direct the legislative branch than Republican predecessors who had to handle a Democratic-controlled Congress. With Congress in its lengthy Memorial Day recess, GOP legislators and lobbyists tabulated the scorecard on items large and small."

The New York Times' Elisabeth Bumiller writes about Laura Bush's outspokenness during her trip to Egypt and tries to assess the reasons and consequences of her (some would say unusual) solicitousness toward Hosni Mubarak's reforms. LINK

"At this point, it remains unclear why Mrs. Bush said what she said, even as some Egyptians have not ruled out graciousness to her hostess, Suzanne Mubarak, the wife of the Egyptian president. Mrs. Bush did echo much of her husband's positive encouragement to Mr. Mubarak, and the White House position is that her comments were not as out of step with her husband's as her critics have said. In any case, by the time Mrs. Bush was on a plane back to the United States, she had abandoned the word 'bold' and had instead adopted Mr. Bush's construction that Mr. Mubarak had taken a 'very important first step.'"

Mike Williams of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution previews President Bush's OAS remarks, which are expected to focus not only on CAFTA, but on reestablishing the U.S.' influence in the Western hemisphere. LINK?UrAuth=`N_NUOcNZUbTTUWUXUTUZT[UTUWUbU]UZUcU^UcTYWYWZV">LINK

The Miami Herald takes a closer look at the remarks of Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who's chairing the OAS meeting. LINK

Glenn Kessler of the Washington Post wraps Secretary of State Rice's remarks to the Organization of American States on Sunday, in which she pressed Western hemisphere nations to actively support democracy and oppose trends toward authoritarianism in the region that would threaten it -- with a pointed, yet less-than-explicit shot at Venezuela. LINK

The Los Angeles Times' Sonni Efron contemplates whether National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley is too nice to be effective in his role and make sure all opposing sides are heard. When was the last time you heard that concern about anyone in Washington? LINK

On Sunday, the Washington Post's Jim VandeHei and Peter Baker wrote that President Bush's continued optimism that the U.S. military is succeeding against the insurgency in Iraq, despite the ongoing violence and uncertainty that the institutions that have been established will hold, much less succeed, is creating room for new skepticism and criticism of the White House's approach to Iraq -- particularly after recent CODELs to the country. LINK

"The disconnect between Rose Garden optimism and Baghdad pessimism, according to government officials and independent analysts, stems not only from Bush's focus on tentative signs of long-term progress but also from the shrinking range of policy options available to him if he is wrong. Having set out on a course of trying to stand up a new constitutional, elected government with the security firepower to defend itself, Bush finds himself locked into a strategy that, even if it proves successful, foreshadows many more deadly months to come first, analysts said."

The Los Angeles Times' Tyler Marshall on Sunday examined just how big a priority President Bush's policy of expanding democracy in the world has become since he declared it in his second inaugural address -- via meetings with foreign officials, development programs, and lofty rhetoric. LINK

" Although few foreign policy specialists interviewed for this article questioned the president's personal sincerity, some dismissed his plan as little more than fantasy. Others expressed doubt that the U.S. had the credibility to advance such ambitious reforms -- especially in the Islamic world."

SEC nominee Christopher Cox:

Roll Call's Chris Cillizza looks at the nomination of Rep. Christopher Cox to the SEC, Noting the difference between the White House's public line that it's a coincidence that the President has recently chosen three members of the House of Representatives (add Cox to Portman and Goss) to join his Administration, and "other knowledgeable sources" who said "the run on Members was due to an increased Republican majority and a desire to bring in individuals who could work well in Congress and also sell Bush's policy priorities to the public. Having figures in the Administration who are known entities in Congress could be particularly important as concerns grow that Republican Members may be more willing to stray from the agenda of a president who will not face voters again."

It's not just the race for Cox's House seat that's coming together -- Roll Call's Ben Pershing looks at the angling his nomination is touching off for the chairmanship of the homeland security committee.


In search of an answer to the question of how the focus on Leader DeLay's ethics issues (i.e., the "DeLay effect") could adversely affect House Republicans' chances in 2006, the Washington Post's Mike Allen headed to Ohio, where Rep. Bob Ney's ties to DeLay and Jack Abramoff regularly get ink in the local press and threaten to jeopardize more than his status as "mayor of Capitol Hill" as he prepares for an inquiry by the House ethics committee. Allen also takes a glance at some other House Republicans who Democrats and liberal interest groups are targeting, and the perception of how things are broken adding to the questions they face. Do yourself a favor and read it all. LINK


We're not sure what to make of this Wall Street Journal newsatorial, but here are the first few paragraphs: "On Thursday, Samir Kassir, a prominent Lebanese newspaper columnist and long-time critic of Syria, was murdered in Beirut when a bomb exploded under the hood of his car. The following day, we learned that Syria had test-fired three missiles the previous week -- one Scud B, with a range of 190 miles, and two Scud Ds, with ranges of 400 miles. The missiles, of North Korean design, are configured to carry chemical warheads, according to Israeli security sources; they can hit any target in Israel along with U.S. military installations in Turkey, Iraq and elsewhere in the region."

"There are several lessons here, but one of them is this: John Bolton was right."

The New York Times' David Kirkpatrick spent some quality recess time with Sen. George Voinovich and was therefore able to craft these must-read paragraphs: "In [an] interview, however, Mr. Voinovich said he supported the rest of Mr. Bush's foreign policy and had his interests at heart in his opposition to Mr. Bolton. 'It is like kids,' he said, laughing. 'You do some stuff for them, and they don't want you to do it, but you do it anyhow.'" LINK

"Besides, he said, he believes that Vice President Dick Cheney has been the real force behind Mr. Bolton's nomination. 'I think the major reason he is going there is because the vice president wants him to go,' Mr. Voinovich said, arguing that Mr. Cheney had promoted Mr. Bolton for the nomination after he failed to become the deputy secretary of state."

"Although Mr. Voinovich has said his colleagues are under pressure from the White House to support Mr. Bolton, he said he had not felt any. 'No one has leaned on me,' he said. He declined to talk about specific conversations, but added: 'I think I have a good enough relationship with Dick Cheney. He respects me. I think he knows I am not a kook. What reason do I have to do this except I have a fervent belief that this is not in the best interest of our country?'"


USA Today's Joan Biskupic offers a glimpse at the behind-the-scenes flurry of opinion writing and lobbying going on at the Supreme Court in advance of this first Monday in June, and the questions -- namely whether or not Chief Justice Rehnquist will step down -- that continue to hang over it. LINK

Judicial nomination battles:

Lee Bandy summarizes the criticism directed toward Sen. Lindsay Graham of South Carolina. LINK

But the AP's Bruce Smith writes that many South Carolinians weren't surprised. "There was a scattering of negative calls in strongly Republican Lexington County but most people called the compromise 'typical Lindsey,' said county chairman Tim Miller." LINK

The Washington Post's Chuck Babington went home to Nebraska with Sen. Ben Nelson over the recess, and on Sunday he took an excellent look at how skilled Democratic Senators in Red States can hold their own and may end up successful in preventing Republicans from winning a filibuster-proof majority. Babington also ran through the 2006 electoral math and looked at the difficulties Republicans are facing in recruiting candidates in Nebraska, North Dakota, and Florida. LINK

But in the end, the GOP looks to be in a pretty good spot Senate-wise for a midterm with their guy in the White House.

Roll Call's Paul Kane looks at the new power-broker status that Sens. Ben Nelson (D-NE) and Mark Pryor (R-AR) have adopted since the nuclear deal.

Guantanamo Bay:

James Gordon Meek of the New York Daily News writes up Sen. Biden's Sunday comments to ABC's George Stephanopoulos on shutting down Gitmo. LINK

"Biden said the lives of Americans overseas 'are in jeopardy' because of the perception that Gitmo is a prison bereft of human rights, which 'has become the greatest propaganda tool that exists for recruiting of terrorists around the world.'"

On Saturday, the Washington Post's Josh White and Dan Eggen looked at the five confirmed cases of U.S. military personnel mishandling the Koran at the prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba found by the Pentagon, "acknowledging that soldiers and interrogators kicked the Muslim holy book, got copies wet, stood on a Koran during an interrogation and inadvertently sprayed urine on another copy." The duo Note that the task force led by Brig. Gen. Jay Hood found 15 incidents in which detainees mishandled the Koran as well. LINK

The politics of national security:

The New York Times is reporting that the 10 commissioners from the Sept. 11 panel, acting through a private group they founded last summer, "will present a letter within days to Andrew H. Card Jr., President Bush's chief of staff, asking the White House to allow the group to gather detailed information from the Central Intelligence Agency, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Pentagon, the State Department and other agencies about the government's recent performance in dealing with terrorist threats." LINK

"The moves, which may not be welcome at the White House or among Congressional leaders, represent an unusual effort by members of a high-profile federal commission to retain their political viability and to lobby for their recommendations long after their official investigation came to an end."

The New York Times' David Sanger (who else?) picks up the senior DoD official's comments about high level contacts between the Administration and North Korea and the sense that internal disagreements about what do are coming "to a boil." LINK

Will it soon be easier for the FBI to wiretap a person who is a suspected national security threat? On Sunday, The Boston Globe's Charles Savage curtain raised this week's (behind closed doors) Intelligence Committee hearings. LINK

Social Security:

On Saturday, Thomas Beaumont of the Des Moines Register reviewed Sen. Charles Grassley's recess visit to Iowa. The Finance Committee chairman admitted that the President's dream of Social Security restructuring likely needs a sprinkling of pixie dust to become a reality, although he would gladly chuck personal accounts if that would allow for bill passage. Minority Leader Harry Reid, however, cannot ensure a fairy tale ending unless private account proposals are cast out, never to return. LINK

Dean's Democrats:

The director of grassroots fundraising for the DNC, Nancy Eiring, has resigned, citing strategic differences with aides to DNC chairman Howard Dean, according to two Democrats -- including one who has spoken to Eiring.

Eiring, who worked on the Kerry campaign and then the DNC later during the '04 election, was one of the few holdovers in the Dean era, partly because of the vast sums of money the DNC has traditionally raised through direct mail.

Much of the money accumulated by the committee since former chair Terry McAuliffe stepped down has come through the mail. Traditionally, major donors have little reason to write checks during the lull between presidential elections and the start of the midterm campaigns.

Party officials say Dean has been able to raise more money in his first few months -- more than $1 million a week -- than any other DNC chair during an off-off year - nearly $19 million to date.

The party has stepped up its efforts to leverage Dean's popularity with online givers by sending out e-mails urging small contributions to help build the party's infrastructure in Red states. In the past two weeks alone, the party has raised more than $500,000 online for that purpose.

But some Democrats believe Dean's ascension to party chair has generated unusual ill-will among some of the party's top fundraisers. And the party's cash-on-hand totals -$7.2 million at last report -- are one third of what the Republican National Committee has to spend.

Eiring was not able to be reached for comment this morning.

"Nancy helped guide grassroots fundraising at the DNC during a tough election season and through the transition and we are grateful for her hard work and dedication. We wish her all the best," said DNC spokeswoman Karen Finney.

Proposition: The Democratic National Committee and Gov. Howard Dean's ambitious agenda will be paralyzed/hampered until (other) leaders of his party stop trashing him privately and publicly. But getting this circular firing squad to flatten out and shoot straight is as much Dean's responsibility as anyone's.

On Thursday, Dean remarked that Republicans have "never made an honest living in their lives." His defenders later suggested that he was referring to Republican leaders, not people who vote Republican, but others didn't see it that way. Friday's USA Today, as Noted here, quoted some prominent Democratic consultants (Axelrod, McCurry) being critical of Dean.

This weekend, two Democrats who are unquestionably party leaders were even more stark in their challenges to the chair.

Per this AP: "Democrats Joseph Biden and John Edwards are criticizing party chairman Howard Dean, saying his rhetorical attacks on Republicans have gone too far." LINK

"Dean 'doesn't speak for me with that kind of rhetoric and I don't think he speaks for the majority of Democrats,' Biden, the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said Sunday on ABC's 'This Week.'"

"While discussing the hardship of working Americans standing in long lines to vote, Dean said Thursday, 'Republicans, I guess, can do that because a lot of them have never made an honest living in their lives.' Dean said later his comments did not refer to hard-working Americans, but rather to the failure of Republican leadership to address working-class concerns."

"Responding to Dean's initial remark, Edwards said Dean 'is not the spokesman for the party.'"

"Dean is 'a voice. I don't agree with it,' Edwards, a former senator and the Democrats' vice presidential nominee in 2004, said Saturday at a party fundraising dinner in Nashville, Tenn."

(Note Note: accepting for a moment that Dean meant to criticize Republican leaders initially, Edwards we suppose might agree with the point, since it rings of his "Two Americas" theory.)

Anyway, here is the dutiful response from Karen Finney:

"As Governor Dean clarified, he was not talking about hard working American people. He was talking about the failure of Republican leadership to address the issues that affect the daily lives of hard working Americans, which is something all Democrats agree on."

"We will have disagreements, just as there are disagreements in the Republican party, but we are unified in our commitment to getting our country back on track."

The Democratic Party remains as divided about Dean today as they were two years ago -- maybe even more so. Despite his efforts to cultivate Red State media and defer to elected officials on policy (occasionally), his record as chair seems to have hardened the two sides -- at least within the Beltway.

At one wing are his defenders who admit he that he occasionally doesn't express his thoughts all that well but who say he has the right vision and skills to lead the Democratic Party out of wherever it is and into a new era of 50-state campaigns, less reliance on institutional fundraising, and a coherent and acceptable public image so that independents won't feel so icky about voting for Ds.

At the other end are the MSM's political corps and a collection of prominent party fundraisers, strategists, Members of Congress, DLCers, and 2008 presidential candidates.

Their dislike/concern stems from partly-true (but partly oversimplistic) pre-conceived notions - "Dean represents everything Democrats can't be," "Dean doesn't think before he speaks," "Dean will reduce our power in the party," "Dean has poor political instincts and is not aware of his limitations as a public figure."

These notions self-perpetuate. Dean will never get the benefit of the doubt, and news articles about his comments will always quote from internal detractors.

Most every story that's been picked up nationally in the past three months has had three elements: Dean stays "X" about Republicans. Democrats and Republicans who dislike Dean criticize him. Dean's staff wearily explains what he really meant.

But you can't turn the page, as they say in Arkansas, if you keep reading aloud from the same book.

A special problem for Dean, as we have always said, is that THIS press dynamic will probably always be his cross to bear, and if he cannot bypass this filter effectively, then he will never receive the support he needs from the entire party to accomplish his goals.

We sympathize at times with Dean's defenders, who point out that Terry McAullife regularly lashed Republicans with passionate and intense words and believe that Dean is held to a vastly different standard. We also agree that if Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton is the Democratic nominee in 2008, the DNC will have no problem raising money for her, no matter how many fundraisers sit on their hands in 2006 because of Howard Dean.

But the obverse is also true: Dean set the standards by which he is judged by being such a polarizing public figure to begin with.

Here's what Nina Easton said on Fox News Sunday: "Let's not forget that Howard Dean brought in millions of new voters -- energized voters, new voters, young voters, Internet savvy voters -- and there was the rise of the independent expenditures -- 527s on the left -- raised an enormous amount of money. Those people have to be kept in the party and energized."

"The problem is, as Juan mentioned, he has a separate strategy of going into Red States, conservative areas, and trying to build Democratic bases there."

"I think at some level, these two strategies can conflict with each other. I'm not sure he can get away with that rhetoric and still be appealing in the South."

Other good takes on this from some of the blogs: LINK

"Howard Dean makes a fairly innocuous criticism of Republicans. The response? He gets dumped on by leading Democrats, John Edwards and Joe Biden, both of whom are (surprise, surprise) thinking about running for President themselves."

And "Folks, Dean is a fabulous guy. Dean is the kind of leader the Democratic party sorely needs. So, don't get me wrong. But, to win the battle of minds against the GOP leadership, you have to be smarter in how you play the hands you are dealt with." LINK

Deep Throat revealed:

In his look at the lessons of Watergate that all came to a head last week, the Washington Post's Howard Kurtz buries the nut graph far down: "Perhaps a better lesson for the press is the way that Woodward and Bernstein pored over phone lists and knocked on doors late at night, the kind of shoe leather reporting that seems less fashionable in an age of cable, blogs, Podcasts and the like. There is still a burning need for original reporting amid the cacophony of analysis, commentary and celebrity news." LINK

"Agent David Kuhn and author/lawyer John D. O'Connor -- in their meetings with publishers -- have recast the proposal as a multi-generational saga focusing on three generations of the Felt family," writes the New York Post's Keith Kelly. LINK

"It will include the 30-year career of Felt, who became the No. 2 man in the bureau at a tumultuous time in U.S. history, and the profound impact on his family."

Newsweek's Evan Thomas takes a lengthy cover-story look at the larger context of the Watergate story now that Deep Throat's identity has been revealed, and how the pendulum has swung back -- and back -- on the relationship between the press and those in power. LINK

Newsweek's Jonathan Alter argues that with Republicans in control of Congress, a modern-day scandal like Watergate wouldn't even see hearings on the Hill. LINK


Joe Klein's column on political brands is a must-read. LINK

Of the judicial confirmation compromise, he writes, "is it possible that these victories represent the glimmerings of a blissfully reasonable new era? The front runners for the presidency in both parties, Senators John McCain and Hillary Clinton, are essentially Sane sorts. But both will have to navigate the partisan interests, especially the secular and religious extremists, in their respective parties. And both will have to worry about being overtaken by candidates representing their party's version of the Party of Passion."

"In fact, there appears to be a growing market for a moderate version of 'America First' populism, which has been represented in recent presidential elections only by extremists like Pat Buchanan and Dennis Kucinich. The outlines of this product are well known: more restrictive trade and illegal-immigration policies, a 'bring the troops home soonest' foreign policy and a more conservative view of social issues like abortion and gay marriage. The Pew Research Center conducted an extensive survey of the American electorate, dividing voters into nine political types-and while this sort of slicing and dicing is superficial almost by definition, a stunning subtext emerged: the populist proclivities of nearly 70% of the electorate, ranging across the spectrum from 'social conservatives' to 'disadvantaged Democrats.' When Pew asked if it was better for the government to focus on problems at home or be active in the world, the homebodies won 49% to 44%, with a dramatic split according to family income (the wealthier, the worldlier). 'I wouldn't be surprised,' says Carville, 'if the coming word in American politics was neo-isolationism. Somebody in one of these parties is going to run on this platform.'"

Roll Call's "Heard on the Hill" has some of the lineup slated to address the Greater Des Moines Partnership on Capitol Hill Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday.

In case you skipped the Saturday Des Moines Register, we point you to this poignant lede from Donnelle Eller and Patt Johnson:

"Younkers department store will close in August after more than 100 years in downtown Des Moines, concluding a downward decline that began decades ago." LINK

"Ordinary" Note readers are assigned to read the whole thing.

John Maxwell and Gordon Fischer are assigned to explain to strategists who want to work on 2008 presidential campaigns what the cosmic significance of this is.

(We are thinking, tentatively, John Edwards in home furnishings, Hillary Clinton in lawn and garden, Chuck Hagel in housewares, George Allen in sporting goods, etc.)

2008: Democrats:

". . . in perhaps a preview of Republican campaign strategy, (Ken) Mehlman called Clinton 'more liberal than 82% of the United States Congress,'" writes the New York Daily News' Derek Rose in his Mehlman on Hillary write up of the RNC Chairman's "Meet the Press" performance. LINK

"'I think the question that people will look to for Sen. Clinton is: Where does she stand on the issues they care about?' Mehlman said."

The Nashua Telegraph reports that Bill Richardson, who is in New Hampshire this week, will be making appearances on Granite State military bases, radio talk shows, and speaking to local organizations, clubs, and colleges. LINK

Former Vice President Al Gore's call to mayors to stop global warming got weekend AP ink. LINK

Former Sen. John Edwards said in Nashville Saturday that he has not decided whether or not he'll run for the presidential nomination in 2008, AP reports. LINK

Sen. Evan Bayh's J-J dinner address in Indianapolis Saturday night featured plenty of Bush-bashing and plenty of Bayh 2008 signs (not officially sanctioned, apparently). LINK

Virginia Gov. Mark Warner, like Edwards, hits the ground in Iowa next month, AP reports. LINK

2008: Republicans:

The Boston Report talks with organizations opposing abortion who are liking Gov. Romney's shifting language on the issue, but are waiting to see if the possible '08 candidate can stay on board with his message. LINK

Boston Globe columnist Eileen McNamara skewered Gov. Romney (R-MA) in her Sunday column demanding he fully explain to the Massachusetts public any change in his thinking and/or beliefs surrounding abortion. LINK

"You may have one foot out the door, but you are still the governor of Massachusetts. If your thinking has changed, you owe us a substantive conversation about the nature and the cause of that change. Certainly, you owe us more than scripted statements, accompanied by a robotic refusal to elaborate."

Romney entertained the New Hampshire Federation of Republican Women at their Lilac Convention Friday evening, reported the Manchester Union Leader's Garry Rayno. In what we imagine was quite a fragrant room, Romney quipped about everything from John Kerry's tanning habits (recycled joke) to how a Republican official survives in a state with a serious case of the Blues. Wisecracking aside, Mitt made reference to the recent abortion confusion: he does not condone it, but will uphold Bay State's standing rules. He also said couples should marry for the kids (leaving same-sex marriage partners with a little predicament): "marriage isn't about the rights of adults. Marriage is about raising children, and every child has a right to have a mother and a father." LINK

The Arizona Republic curtain-raises Sen. McCain's Michigan visit today. LINK

New York campaign diarist Patrick D. Healy writes up Gov. George Pataki's Laura Bush-esque send up of himself. Boffo review!!! LINK

The New York Times' Carl Hulse took a Sunday Page 1 look at Leader/Sen./Dr. Frist, hanging tough and declaring victory in the long run over, well, everything. LINK


"With only a couple of days to go before voters head to the polls, the seven men who want to be the Republican nominee for governor of New Jersey accused one another yesterday, in their last televised debate, of distorting their respective records and proposals over property taxes, corruption and home rule," writes David Chen in the New York Times. LINK

"And without fail, the five candidates who are trailing in the polls reserved their sharpest criticisms for the two men who are far ahead: Douglas R. Forrester, the former mayor of West Windsor, and Bret D. Schundler, the former mayor of Jersey City."

Talk about natural tightening! On this eve of the New Jersey GOP gubernatorial primary, Quinnipiac University released its latest poll numbers. "The New Jersey Republican primary for Governor is too close to call, with 35 percent of likely Republican primary voters backing Douglas Forrester and 33 percent backing Bret Schundler, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today," says Quinnipiac's release. The margin of error is +/- 5.4 percent.

In this year's mayoral race, Newsday's Dan Janison sees many similarities to the last time a Republican incumbent was seeking reelection to City Hall. LINK

David Seifman and Stephanie Gaskell of the New York Post offer you a nicely packaged Sunday mayoral campaign trail wrap including Mayor Bloomberg's conveniently scheduled West Side stadium talks with Shelly Silver allowing him to miss an Independence Party appearance. LINK

New York Daily News duo Maggie Haberman and Michael Saul remind their readers about Terry McAuliffe's 2001 anger over Democratic consultants working for Republican campaigns and the scribes also wonder when that Ferrer/Spitzer endorsement photo op will occur. It's all in their campaign column, which you can access here: LINK

In his Sunday offering, New York Daily News columnist Michael Goodwin all but called the 2005 New York City mayoral race over. LINK

"Virginia gubernatorial candidate Timothy M. Kaine has enlisted the help of former Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle," the Washington Times' Christina Bellantoni writes. LINK

"Mr. Daschle, the South Dakota Democrat who was defeated in November after 18 years in the Senate, is appealing to supporters in a message on Mr. Kaine's Web site, where he criticizes a television advertisement that he says attacks Mr. Kaine."

On Sunday, the Washington Post's Michael Shear assessed the job that White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove did in revving up Virginia Republicans at a Richmond fundraiser for the state party featuring former state attorney general/gubernatorial contender Jerry Kilgore on Saturday night. LINK

Recognizing that Republican victories often take some work, Rove heralded White House support of Jerry Kilgore's Virginia GOP nomination over the weekend, the Hampton Daily Press reports. LINK

More from the Richmond Times-Dispatch. LINK


The New York Post's Albany guru, Fred Dicker, reports that former FBI agent and Suffolk County Executive Robert Gaffney may be interested in seeking the Republican gubernatorial nomination next year. Also Note Dicker's priceless behind-the-scenes look at a George and Libby Pataki -- LCA photo op. LINK

Texas Gov. Rick Perry's bill-singing at a Christian private school -- and an e-mail sent out to promote it and gin on conservative support -- is raising some hackles in Texas, but winning support elsewhere. LINK

Roll Call's Ben Pershing reports House Speaker Dennis Hastert gave Rep. Christopher Shays a little fundraising help in Greenwich, CT last week, where the party leader carefully avoided talking about social issues.

Washington governor's race on trial:

The Seattle Times' David Postman doesn't exactly try to read Judge Bridges' mind, but rather brings together as much evidence as he can about Bridges' approach to the case, his thoughts about the evidence and appeals, and what he thinks of his role as a jurist. Great catch-up read. LINK

The Schwarzenegger era:

The trouble-stirring David Carr of the New York Times obtains e-mails and questions whether the Today Show is unduly deferential to the first lady of California. LINK

John Wildermuth and Carla Marinucci (an incredibly powerful double byline that) of the San Francisco Chronicle call upon the likes of Garry South and Bill Whalen to help put Gov. Schwarzenegger's likely special election in proper political perspective. LINK

"Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's plan for a November special election is a high-stakes gamble: Win and he clears his path to re-election. Lose and his cloak of political invincibility disappears. "

"With a deadline next week to call the special election, supporters and critics say the governor is too far along to back out despite the political risks and a determined, well-financed opposition."

On Sunday, the Los Angeles Times' Robert Salladay looked at the special perks that big-money donors to Gov. Schwarzenegger get when they write their checks -- including twice-monthly conference calls during which they can learn about the Governator's campaign strategy and give him advice. The next call is June 16. LINK

"In the latest such call, a few days ago, Schwarzenegger's media expert, Don Sipple, outlined a strategy 'based on a lot of polling' to create a 'phenomenon of anger' among voters toward public employee unions. Firefighters, police officers, teachers and other state-paid workers have become the governor's harshest critics this year."

". . . The Thursday discussion, involving multiple contributors and three top Schwarzenegger strategists, offered a rare glimpse of the governor's "donor maintenance" effort: insider information, solicitous compliments, invitations to exclusive parties. It was also a window on the governor's attack strategy ahead of an expected Nov. 8 special election."

OK: who leaked the call information?

We (HEART) Tom:

Welcome back, Tom Oliphant. You were greatly missed. We wish you well in your continued recovery. LINK


The AP reports that Republicans are seeking California to be their new Red State in the next election, with Ken Mehlman making a visit every six weeks to try to keep and boost the Republican vote, looking to incorporate Hispanic traditional values with Californians' liberal-leaning economic needs. LINK

Diane Cardwell ends her wonderful, fly-on-the-paneled-wall look at the Regency hotel's power breakfast environment with this class graf: "Despite its proximity to his East 79th Street town house, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, a billionaire, has no need to solicit financial support and does not eat breakfast there. And besides, said his chief spokesman, Ed Skyler, in a terse e-mail message, 'He prefers diners.'" LINK

Jane Norman of the Des Moines Register revealed on Sunday that Iowa has some big spenders. "Iowa's Democratic and Republican parties together ranked 12th in the nation when it came to contributions, bringing in $20 million during the election cycle. Of that sum, 58 percent went to Democrats and 42 percent to Republicans." LINK

The Washington Post news desk exercised excellent judgment when it decided that the three co-authors of the second wittiest opinion piece to run this weekend (Sorry, boys, Larry David's Deep Throat New York Times op-ed was genius and wins the Gold. LINK) need no shirttail to be identified.

But for the few in the Gang of 497 who haven't yet met the trio of creators of the op-ed/art that graced the cover of Sunday's Style section with an entertaining poke in the eye of the oft-ridiculed DC cab system: Jeff is wordsmith and co-author to the political stars, Philippe is Sen. Clinton's (D-Chappaqua) longtime spokesman, and Jano is, well, Jano.

Today's Note quiz: which of these three thinks that the best way to get around the irritation of DC cabs is to leave next week and head to a war zone where a perilous cab ride from the airport costs $2,390?

Hint: those "Minister of Information" business cards from his early DNC days might come in handy as he does a 90 day stint in Iraq for NDI.

The Note looks forward to dispatches from his Sunday night sendoff, expects periodic updates from him -- and, most importantly, wishes him a safe and successful journey.