Eve Fairbanks

Elephants United

Has ever a Republican Senator been more altered at the hands of Rush Limbaugh? After Senator Lindsey Graham debuted his immigration reform bill this spring, the chief of Dittohead Nation labeled him "Senator Grahamnesty" and set off a firestorm against him from the Republican base.

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Standing General

Washington scandals have life spans. Like the life spans of human beings, vigorous and careful nourishment can lengthen them, but fundamentally they are determined by some mysterious, deep-hidden genetic code. At a certain point--often when they are just beginning to open into the full bloom of all they have to offer--they just start to wither and fade. Sitting in this morning's Senate Judiciary Committee hearing with Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, it was clear that we are well into the U.S. attorney scandal's geriatric decline. The press tables were half empty.

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Slumber Party

If Hillary Clinton gives a speech calling for withdrawal from Iraq at 4:15 in the morning, does anybody hear it? Sitting in the nearly empty Senate chamber at the exceedingly painful halfway mark of the Democrats' forced all-night debate on an amendment to start redeploying troops from Iraq, the answer is pretty clearly no. As to whether it made a sound--a metaphorical sound, that is; an impact on any wavering Republicans or a consolation to the base--that's a big no, too.

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Warmed over

'You're looking at my heads?" John Dingell, the 80-year-old Michigan representative, watches me gaily as I gaze at the rows of antlered stags and snarling boar mounted on the walls of his Rayburn office. The chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee tells me he shot the decor himself: a disquieting fact, no doubt, to the environmental activists who know that--since he is shepherding a big energy bill through the House this year--the future of the Earth rests in his hands.

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Warmed Over

John Dingell, the 80-year-old Michigan representative, watches me gaily as I gaze at the rows of antlered stags and snarling boar mounted on the walls of his Rayburn office. The chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee tells me he shot the decor himself: a disquieting fact, no doubt, to the environmental activists who know that--since he is shepherding a big energy bill through the House this year--the future of the Earth rests in his hands.

READ MORE >>

'Call me the dean of federal whistle-blowers," says Joe Carson, handing me his business card. prevailing whistleblower, it reads, along with his job as a Department of Energy (DOE) nuclear safety engineer. Carson, a towering man whose shoulders slope forward as if he's pushing into a gale wind, hovers above the crowd at the Warehouse Theater bar in Washington detailing his bona fides: He first blew the whistle on safety violations at Tennessee's Oak Ridge lab in 1992; since then, he has blown it seven more times, all while still employed at DOE.

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'Call me the dean of federal whistle-blowers," says Joe Carson,handing me his business card. prevailing whistleblower, it reads,along with his job as a Department of Energy (DOE) nuclear safetyengineer. Carson, a towering man whose shoulders slope forward asif he's pushing into a gale wind, hovers above the crowd at theWarehouse Theater bar in Washington detailing his bona fides: Hefirst blew the whistle on safety violations at Tennessee's OakRidge lab in 1992; since then, he has blown it seven more times, allwhile still employed at DOE.

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Grand Stand

But many that are first shall be last, and the last shall be first. Never did Jesus' dictum seem truer than Wednesday night at the first Democratic presidential debate about Iraq at the Johns Hopkins University's School for Advanced International Studies (SAIS). Paul Wolfowitz once presided here for seven years as dean. But his star has fallen, and now it is Mike Gravel--presidential candidate, gadfly, and self-described "potted plant" who readily admits to his role in the 2008 race "as the crazy uncle who came down from the attic"--standing at the SAIS podium.

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Red-Handed

I get to the House Judiciary Committee room 20 minutes before ex-Department of Justice White House liaison Monica Goodling's hearing is set to begin, and the place is already a madhouse. Frenzied cameramen climb over people's laps and sprawl prostrate on the floor beneath Goodling's witness table, and there are no seats left--not even for press. Amid the chaos, a committee aide shoves me into a standing-room slot beside a gleeful, obese television producer. He is bellowing into his BlackBerry.

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The Life Coach

The morning after President Bush vetoed the Democrats' Iraq supplemental bill, House Minority Leader John Boehner was in a House press conference room, working himself into a fine lather. With his pinstriped suit, sherbet-orange tie, and deep tan, Boehner looked less like a congressman than a Miami kingpin's flamboyant defense lawyer--and he mimicked one in manner, peering down the mics at the journalists clustered before him with unconcealed hostility.

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