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.

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Liberals Vs. Wittes

Scott Lemieux (surprise, surprise) is not a fan of Benjamin Wittes's article up on TNR Online today. Nor is Matt Yglesias. The basic argument they make is that Wittes is being naive-that the Bush administration will simply use the broad language of the new wiretapping law to justify anything and everything it wants to do, rather than attempt to apply it in a fair-minded fashion. Given the administration's fondness for untrammeled executive power, their concern is certainly justified. In fact, Wittes himself acknowledged as much in a TNR Online piece from two weeks ago.

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Freedom's False Ring

Rudy Giuliani says, "Preserving and extending American ideals must remain the goal of all U.S. policy, foreign and domestic," and he's not alone. Lots of our leaders think everyone should want what we want. Saying otherwise puts you among President Bush's vile "some," who deny that "every time people are given a choice, they choose freedom." Yet people--even Americans--sometimes don't, and forcing them can prove disastrous. Or such is the theme of a brace of new books by a couple of non-Americans nervous about U.S.

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Rich And Rove

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

In Sunday's Washington Post, John Solomon and company have a lengthy piece outlining Karl Rove's strategy of deploying federal officials on behalf of Republican candidates in close elections around the country. What's most notable about their account is not so much the unprecedented scale and audacity of the scheme, which have been public knowledge for quite some time, but how painstaking Rove's efforts were in scripting events for even the most minor occasions.

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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

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Blood On The Track

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.

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A few days ago, a bunch of conservative bloggers had themselves a little uproar. Noel Sheppard wrote, "[A] government agency is actually participating in a fraud against the American people." Fraud! The culprit, it seems, was James Hansen, head of NASA's Goddard Institute. "[L]eftist hero James Hansen is behind this deliberate fraud," wrote The Ace. "He should be frog-marched out of his office." A different blogger, Ace of Spades, agreed: "Fire him.

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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

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.

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