"The surge in violence in Iraq since the new government took control -- 80 U.S. soldiers and more than 700 Iraqis died in May amid a rash of car bombings -- has been accompanied by rising gloom about the overall fight against terrorism. By 50 percent to 49 percent, Americans approved of the way Bush is handling the war on terror, down from 56 percent approval in April, equaling the lowest rating Bush has earned on the issue that has consistently been his core strength with the public. Some authorities on war and public opinion said the figures indicate that pessimism about the war in Iraq has reached a dangerous level. 'It appears that Americans are coming to the realization that the war in Iraq is not being won and may well prove unwinnable,' said retired Army Col. Andrew Bacevich, now a professor at Boston University. 'That conclusion bleeds over into a conviction that it may not have been necessary in the first place.'" Full poll questionnaire and results: LINK
"President George W. Bush's drive to add investment accounts to Social Security is running up against an old cliche: Timing is everything," writes Bloomberg's Heidi Przbyla. "When Bush first pitched the idea of overhauling the government retirement insurance program -- in the 2000 election campaign -- the bull market was just peaking, and the notion (sic) of putting Social Security money in stocks had broad appeal."
"Now, public anxiety about a four-year lull in stock returns and pension-plan failures at U.S. companies is playing a major role in undermining Bush's effort to sell his proposals, administration officials and opponents say."
USA Today's editorial board argues that taxing the rich more won't fix Social Security's solvency problems. LINK
Rep. Robert Wexler (D-FL), on USA Today's op-ed page, argues that raising the cap on benefits subject to the Social Security tax beats cutting benefits. LINK
Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN), on the same page, says the President's "fiscal discipline" approach is the way to go. LINK
Judicial nomination battles:
The Washington Post's Chuck Babington writes that with the impending confirmation of Judge Janice Rogers Brown to the DC Circuit, some liberals are getting jittery about the filibuster deal. LINK
"Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) yesterday postponed Senate consideration of several controversial judicial nominees despite pressure from Republican senators and conservative activists to challenge immediately a recent compromise to avert the so-called "nuclear option," reports The Hill's Alexander Bolton. LINK
Sen. Allen (R-VA) continues to hold his fellow potential 2008 candidate's feet to the fire.
"'The sooner the better,' Allen said yesterday, shortly after Frist announced he had no intention of bringing up Myers immediately. 'It should happen before there is any vacancy on the Supreme Court.'"
George Will looks at the medical marijuana decision and reasons that labels about judicial activism, restraint, conservative, and liberal don't necessarily mean much. LINK
The politics of national security:
"The Federal Bureau of Investigation would gain the right to demand a variety of records in terror cases without a judge's approval, under an expanded version of the law known as the USA Patriot Act that the Senate intelligence committee approved late Tuesday after a closed-door debate," writes Eric Lipton in the New York Times. LINK