Scully Slaps Gerson...hard
August 08, 2007

Better pieces of journalism have been produced in the past year (and the last 500 words are cringe-inducingly bad--more on that later), but Matthew Scully's not-yet-available-online Atlantic takedown of Michael Gerson is an enormously fun and interesting read. Scully is a former Bush speechwriter and animal-rights defender, and Gerson is also a onetime Bush speechwriter and now a Washington Post columnist. Scully alleges that Gerson repeatedly misled and lied to reporters about his role in crafting the president's speeches.

Whose Genocide Are You On?
August 06, 2007

As congressional Democrats head for a possible fall showdown with the White House over the perplexing issue of an Armenian genocide resolution, the Armenians have scored a victory by forcing the Bush administration to withdraw its nominee for ambassador to Armenia because he refuses to call what happened in Turkey around 1915 a "genocide." This is just a subplot to the much larger war over the U.S.'s official position on the genocide question, but it shows the strength of Armenian-American community. Meanwhile, it seems that Washington lobbying has now entered the YouTube era, as evidenced by

The Senate Gets Veto-proof
August 03, 2007

There's not a ton of good news coming out of Congress these days, so it's nice to see that the Senate passed a bipartisan SCHIP bill with a 68-31 majority--enough to override the promised White House veto. Most senators, in the end, weren't scared off by conservative rants about "socialized medicine" and Michael Moore. What a surprise. So as it stands now, the Senate bill would cover 4 million low-income children who would otherwise go uninsured.

Fredo Lives!
August 03, 2007

Why is Alberto Gonzalez still our Attorney General? Time explains it all. The gist: Because he's protecting the White House from even more investigations. Sweet. There's also news of some possible horse-trading that makes me wish even more that Gonzalez be given the heave-ho: "In private, Democrats say that if Gonzales did step down, his replacement would be required to agree to an independent investigation of Gonzales' tenure in order to be confirmed by the Senate." Too bad it won't happen any time soon. --Ben Wasserstein

A Novel Approach
August 02, 2007

Today's Senate judiciary hearing on the attorney firings, mainly called, it seems, so that Karl Rove wouldn't show up, was notable for little new information and much senatorial outrage about White House deputy political director Scott Jennings's refusal to answer questions based on Bush's invocation of executive privilege (he used the phrase, "Pursuant to the president's assertion of executive privilege, I must respectfully decline to answer that question at this time," at least ten times--Chairman Patrick Leahy, who cut him off a couple of times before he got to "assertion," grumpily called

Obama And Pakistan
August 01, 2007

So it looks like Obama is getting to the right not only of Hillary but of Bush on the issue of Pakistan. He's giving a speech at the Wilson Center later today in which, according to excerpts released by his campaign, he'll say: I understand that President Musharraf has his own challenges. But let me make this clear. There are terrorists holed up in those mountains who murdered 3,000 Americans. They are plotting to strike again. It was a terrible mistake to fail to act when we had a chance to take out an al Qaeda leadership meeting in 2005.

Winning A Third Term
August 01, 2007

Charlie Cook has an interesting column about some challenges facing the Republican contenders in '08. Still, this part of his argument was entirely unconvincing: The fundamentals are quite clear. Four out of five times in the post-World War II era, the party holding the White House for two consecutive terms failed in their attempt to win a third term. In 1960, 1968, 1976 and 2000, the party occupying the White House saw its string end with two terms. Well, okay. Or you could say that the score is really 2-1-2 rather than 4-1.

The Gop's Glum View
August 01, 2007

Along with several other reporters today I attended a background lunch (held at 101 Constitution Avenue, naturally) with a prominent Republican senator. It doesn't seem like much fun to be in his shoes right now. He could barely mount a case for a Republican comeback in the short term, and even fretted about the possibility of Democratic numbers in the Senate growing to the point where Harry Reid can easily break filibusters. Particularly telling was his response when someone asked which issues he thought the GOP could ride back into power.

Fred Thompson's Launch Date
July 27, 2007

Via this morning's Hotline, I see that Fred Thompson told Hannity & Colmes last night that he'll probably announce his candidacy in September. His reasoning: "August is kind of a down month, not much going on, so it wouldn't make sense to do it in August." Sound familiar? It should. Here's Andy Card, explaining back in 2002 why the White House waited until September to start aggressively making the case for war with Iraq: "From a marketing point of view, you don't introduce new products in August." And the Thompson analogies just keep on coming. --Jason Zengerle

Rawls Continued
July 27, 2007

By Jacob T. Levy A few days ago, Linda Hirshman (I apologize for having misspelled her name a few times below) wrote: Perversely, Rawlsian liberalism also produced a slippery slope into its opposite, complete selfishness. After all, unless you could achieve the degree of selflessness he required, there was no other place to stop.