Report from Iowa: The Republicans

This post is for the political horserace fans out there in Swampland. Everyone else may want to move on to the next post:

After a day following Mitt Romney through Waterloo and Dubuque (and getting a really interesting tour of an ethanol plant–wish I could have brought my 10-year-old son), I’m beginning to wonder whether this first …

In the Arena In the Arena

Uncheneyed Melody–Reader Response

Thanks, readers, for your generally unsnarky response to the post below. But one reader wanted to know why I wasn’t writing this sort of stuff in June 2003.
Answer: the intelligence sources who knew the details weren’t sufficiently upset with Bush Administration policy to talk to me about it until June 2005. I spent the summer of 2005 …

Re: UnCheneyed Melody

Like Joe*, I’m also enjoying the Libby trial’s revelations about the level of pettiness and backbiting at the White House in 2003. The spectacle has become a “Behind the Music” for the Iraq War (compared to Bob Woodward’s more Ken Burns-ish approach): apparently the band was falling apart long before anyone knew.

The only person who’s …

In the Arena In the Arena

UnCheneyed Melody

I’m beginning to love this trial.
I love it because it is firmly establishing this fact:

She testified that both Mr. Cheney and Mr. Libby were intensely interested in Ms. Wilson and her husband, Joseph C. Wilson IV, who had been sent to Africa to investigate reports that Saddam Hussein was trying to buy uranium from Niger for his nuclear

Way too early for this…

There’s still a year to go before the Iowa caucuses, but this weekend, I’ll be chasing presidential candidates from Waterloo to Des Moines to Cedar Rapids to Davenport. Thank you, God, for Mapquest, but it would be terrific if Hertz in Waterloo offered GPS. Such an early and fast start to the campaign is not necessarily a good thing. …

In the Arena In the Arena

Why Politicians Don’t Take Risks–Continued

A reader writes:

So, it’s not incorrect, but you don’t like it, because it’s reminiscent of how Republicans have been attacking Democrats for the last 20 years? Get used to it Joe. The Democrats have learned how to fight back.

No, I don’t like it because it’s (a) bad policy and (b) doesn’t reflect where the Democratic Party actually …

In the Arena In the Arena

Why Politicians Don’t Take Risks

Headline of Press Release from the Democratic National Committee:

Bush Pushes Health Care Tax Increase
In The Show Me State

Readers of this blog know that I slagged Bush’s non-plan the other day…but, as I wrote then, the one positive feature was his limit on the deductability of health insurance. Yes, this is a tax increase. And …

In the Arena In the Arena

Right Questions…But How about some answers?

Barack Obama raises some of the right questions in his call for universal health insurance today:

Another, more controversial area we need to look at is how much of our health care spending is going toward the record-breaking profits earned by the drug and health care industry. It’s perfectly understandable for a corporation to try

Re: Cheney Blasts Wolf

A transcript of yesterday’s remarkably contentious CNN interview is up here (and some video here and here). I admit, I was most amused by the verbal sniping between Blitzer and Cheney over Blitzer’s fame relative to that of certain major terrorists (if only it was Wolf they had to catch!). But, as many have pointed out (including here,

The State of the Senate

Yesterday’s Senate Foreign Relations Committee vote–in which only one Republican, Chuck Hagel, voted in favor of a nonbinding resolution denouncing President Bush’s plan to send more troops to Iraq–has Democratic leaders rethinking their strategy for bringing the resolution to the floor. If the Foreign Relations vote is any sign of …

Re: Two Vets Passing in the Night

There’s a personal story about the two on that score: Webb despised Kerry for his anti-war activities after Vietnam. It took the Iraq war to bring about an unlikely rapprochement. I ran into Webb during the height of the Swift Boat controversy in 2004, and asked him what he thought about it as a Vietnam vet himself. (At the time, it had …

In the Arena In the Arena

Two Vets Passing in the Night

Jim Webb and John Kerry, two Vietnam war heroes, passed each other on the up and down escalators in the past 24 hours–and there is a link between Webb’s rise and Kerry’s fall, and it has everything to do with social class. One of the reason’s why Webb’s speech worked so well last night–why it seemed so fresh–was the marriage of a …

Football at Foggy Bottom

Our colleague Elaine Shannon, who covers the State Department, passed on this intel about Condi Rice’s Sunday obsession:

There’s no world crisis big enough to stop Condi Rice, rabid football fan, from watching the playoffs. With her favorite team, the Cleveland Browns, failing to make the post-season, Rice was pulling for the Colts and

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