After Fredo
August 27, 2007

While those outside the loop are discussing names such as Michael Chertoff to be the new Attorney General, Ross Douthat--who's evidently far better wired into the White House than I realized--has already been auditioning possible replacements and seems to have found the one person on the face of the earth better at not answering a question than Alberto Gonzales: After five minutes of this, even Pat Leahy will throw in the towel. Update: John Cole concurs. --Christopher Orr

Kinsley On Scully On Gerson...
August 24, 2007

Mark me down as agreeing with Michael Kinsley on the Mike Gerson hatchet job the Atlantic ran this month. Like Kinsley, I thought the offenses catalogued by Matt Scully, Gerson's former White House speechwriting colleague, were pretty miniscule. Aside from a certain exhibitionist allure--which is, of course, why it was the first thing I turned to, and why I read straight through in one sitting--the piece had little to offer. As Kinsley points out, it's Scully, rather than Gerson, who comes off looking like the prick here.

Blast Off
August 23, 2007

Apart from razing the Appalachian landscape, polluting thousands of rivers and streams, devastating local communities, and increasing erosion and flooding in the surrounding areas, there's really not a whole lot to love about the mountaintop-removal method of coal mining. Here's the latest in a long, long line of White House moves to bolster the technique: The Bush administration is set to issue a regulation on Friday that would enshrine the coal mining practice of mountaintop removal. The technique involves blasting off the tops of mountains and dumping the rubble into valleys and streams.

Because Bubbles Don't Build Themselves
August 22, 2007

From today's WaPo: A White House manual that came to light recently gives presidential advance staffers extensive instructions in the art of "deterring potential protestors" from President Bush's public appearances around the country. Among other things, any event must be open only to those with tickets tightly controlled by organizers. Those entering must be screened in case they are hiding secret signs. Any anti-Bush demonstrators who manage to get in anyway should be shouted down by "rally squads" stationed in strategic locations.

Rove In His Perma-bunker
August 20, 2007

Aside from the expression on Chris Wallace's face when he realized he was questioning a lunatic, my two favorite parts of Fox's Karl Rove interview were as follows: WALLACE: Forgive me. I don't want to re-fight the Cleland race in Georgia in 2002. I want to ask a bigger question, though, because this was far from the only time that you called--you--called Democrats soft on terror.

Rich And Rove
August 19, 2007

Frank Rich, mailing it in: It is this condemnation of Rove from his own ideological camp--not the Democrats' familiar litany about his corruption, polarizing partisanship, dirty tricks, etc.--that the White House and Mr. Rove wanted to bury in the August dog days.[Italics Mine] Sunday talk show guest list: Fox News Sunday: Karl RoveMeet The Press: Karl RoveFace The Nation: Karl Rove --Isaac Chotiner

Fred And The Little People
August 17, 2007

Overheard last night in the Des Moines Marriott -- a Republican hotel of choice -- where I happened to be for a non-'08 story: WOMAN (apparently joking about some would-be joggers): They're in training.FRED THOMPSON (with a wearied look): I'm in serious training. Maybe the endlessly postponed Thompson launch date reflects neither a strategy nor the candidate's famed indecisiveness, but merely the amount of effort necessary to get ol' Fred ready for the soapbox? P.S.: Okay, lump me in with Chris Matthews, but watching him banter with staff and glad-hand for ten minutes in the hotel lobby, ther

Blood On The Track
August 14, 2007

The New York Times, reflecting on the recent day Eliot Spitzer spent at the racetrack, reveals that the New York governor comes by his NASCAR fandom honestly: Ever since he married his North Carolina-born wife, whose brother is a top engineer at Hendrick Motorsports, one of Nascar's top teams, Mr. Spitzer has followed stock car racing, and has made Jeff Gordon, a Hendrick driver, his favorite. Here's the problem, though.

Requiem For A Turd Blossom
August 13, 2007

Karl Rove tells the WSJ's Paul Gigot that he's leaving the White House on August 31. He also predicts that the "fatally flawed" Hillary Clinton will be the Democratic nominee, and that President Bush's approval ratings might just hit 40 percent. --Jason Zengerle

Rove Reading
August 13, 2007

I happened to be reading Josh Green's big, excellent Atlantic Monthly story about Rove last night, and obviously the timing for the piece turns out to be fantastic.