The Note: Over the Line

The Washington Post's Albert Crenshaw looks at the pension bill to be introduced today by Reps. John A. Boehner (R-OH), and Sam Johnson (R-TX) to require companies with underfunded pension plans to fund them fully within seven years -- and in some cases more rapidly. LINK

Dean's Democrats:

The Washington Post's Shailagh Murray wraps the Dean flap and tries to give some context in terms of other . . . outspoken DNC chairmen. LINK

Nina Easton and Rick Klein of the Boston Globe look the effects of Dean's recent remarks. LINK

"(A). . . top aide to Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton," Howard Wolfson, called Dean's most recent controversial comments "unhelpful," "over the line," and "not appropriate." The New York Post's Fred Dicker has the story. LINK

Nancy Pelosi tells the San Francisco Chronicle's Carla Marinucci that the possibility of Dean resigning over the current flap is "ridiculous" and "unthinkable." LINK

DeLay:

"Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas) has positioned himself as a driving force behind an ambitious plan to overhaul the congressional budgetary rules, aligning himself with House conservatives with whom he has recently clashed on the issue," writes The Hill's Alexander Bolton. LINK

"DeLay has also asked the chairman of the Appropriations Committee to work with fiscal conservatives to implement budget reforms, bringing together two factions of the GOP conference that have been mutually antagonistic."

Note: if you don't know how serious the President is about this issue, you haven't paid enough attention to the wonky side of George W. Bush.

"Values" politics:

"Emboldened by the political right's growing influence on public policy, opponents of school activities aimed at educating students about homosexuality or promoting acceptance of gay people are mounting challenges to such programs, at individual schools, at statehouses and in Congress," writes Michael Janofsky in the New York Times. LINK

"Chief among the targets are sex education programs that include discussions of homosexuality, and after-school clubs that bring gay and straight students together, two initiatives that gained assent in numerous schools over the last decade."

The politics of national security:

International Freedom Center honcho Richard Tofel gets to answer his critics in a Wall Street Journal op-ed. Let's just say . . . we don't think his critics will be sedated.

Bolton:

Geoff Earle of The Hill looks at John Thune's decision to link the potential closure of Ellsworth Air Force Base to John Bolton's nomination to the U.N. LINK

"Some Republicans have privately questioned the wisdom of linking two such apparently unrelated issues -- one GOP source called it a rookie mistake. But several GOP senators expressed an appreciation for Thune's position. He campaigned on his close ties to the White House, pledging to use his access to prevent closure of the base."

"'The [base closing] thing obviously hurts South Dakota tremendously,' said Sen. Robert Bennett (R-Utah). 'He has to demonstrate to his folks back home that he's willing to fight for it.' Asked whether fellow Republicans understood Thune's position, and his decision to oppose the Bolton nomination, Bennett replied, 'I think so, and I think the White House does.'"

Bush legacy:

Warren Vieth and Ed Chen of the Los Angeles Times assess the plans in motion for the George W. Bush Presidential Library. LINK

Campaign finance:

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