Monday, December 12, 2005

Morning copy 12.12.2005

The war over the war in Iraq

President George W. Bush will deliver a midday speech on Iraqi democracy today. Recent polls are in the low 40s for the president, indicating some progress in persuading the people about his policy in Iraq. TIME has a story about Bush's minor restoration -- by no means complete -- and I find this quote most troubling:
"It's time for the Bush comeback story!" one coached TIME for this article. "The perfect storm has receded. We have better news in Iraq, oil prices are down, and Katrina has kind of fallen off the radar screen in terms of public concern."
This administration member seems to be glad that Katrina recovery no longer matters to the public, so that the president doesn't have to deliver on much that he promised.

Roads, airports and the borders are to be shut down in Iraq as this week's election approaches, Washington Times.

Another Iraqi run prison was the scene of "severe torture," Washington Post. The New York Times' account.

A prominent Shiite (and SCIRI) Iraqi VP pictures several semi-autonomous regions that share oil wealth alone, USA Today.

Newsweek has a story on the expected participation of Sunnis in this election:
But the consequences for Adhamiya were severe: shadowy religious militias with ties to the Shiite-dominated government began arresting, kidnapping and sometimes murdering young Sunni men in the neighborhood; Duraid felt unprotected, even abandoned, by the country's new leaders. "We didn't participate, and the others took power alone, and this is the result," Duraid told NEWSWEEK.
The New York Times has an interesting story on the use of the word "caliphate" by prominent administration members:
A number of scholars and former government officials take strong issue with the administration's warning about a new caliphate, and compare it to the fear of communism spread during the Cold War. They say that although Al Qaeda's statements do indeed describe a caliphate as a goal, the administration is exaggerating the magnitude of the threat as it seeks to gain support for its policies in Iraq.
Abu Mousab al-Zarqawi is profiled in TIME.

Newsweek identifies the nature of Bush's governing style, the bubble, and some of the problems it can create:
A White House aide, who like virtually all White House officials (in this story and in general) refused to be identified for fear of antagonizing the president, says that Murtha was a lost cause anyway and dismisses the notion that Bush is isolated or out of touch. Still, the complaints don't just come from Democrats: Sen. Richard Lugar, Republican chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, pointedly told reporters that Bush needs to "have much more of a cadre of people in both houses, from both parties" visiting the White House "very frequently." Lugar cited Bill Clinton as the model.
Opinion Journal implies that Jack Murtha is a "sunshine patriot" and says that the United States can win militarily in Iraq. The devil is in the definition, of course.

Note these two grafs from a widely circulated A.P. story this moring:
WASHINGTON - Moderates are imploring colleagues in Congress to tone down the rhetoric on Iraq as debate about President Bush's war policies has become increasingly bitter and partisan.

Their pleas are likely to be ignored.
McCain's torture amendment

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist said that an agreement would be reached on the amendment, but those involved in the negotiations are more cautious, New York Times.


Another massive car bomb has killed a prominent anti-Syrian leader in Beirut, CNN.

The Congress

Ronald Brownstein, in the Los Angeles Times, writes that the nomination of Samuel Alito will test if well definied nominees are possible for a president to select, or if more stealth candidates are required. Robert Novak writes that Alito's supporters are fighting for their pick, Chicago Sun Times.

House Republicans are moving toward tougher immigration laws, without a worker program to help illegals find a lawful way to participate in the economy, Washington Post.

House and Senate negotiators are looking to resolve "huge differences" in the Medicaid bill, New York Times.

The Houston Chronicle reports that Travis county prosecutors must prove that Tom DeLay knowingly raised cash with the intent of breaking the law.

GOP Senator Lincoln Chafee is called out by Opinion Journal. (With friends like this...)


Dan Balz, in the Washington Post, writes that Hillary Clinton's Iraq stance is "in the shadows."

A task force of Democrats has approved a scaled-down effort to expand the early stage of the 2008 primaries, Washington Post. The Manchester Union Leader ledes with angry New Hampshire politicos.

Virginia's governor, Mark Warner, tries to expand his national profile, New York Times.

New Orleans

New Orleans Times Picayune on the disaster response:
The documents show that the White House delayed its decision to deploy federal troops while it pressured the nation's senior National Guard official to persuade Blanco to accept the president's hand-picked commander to run the entire response effort.

The records also reveal a Democratic administration in Baton Rouge seized with anxiety that the media, swayed by a Republican spin machine, would make it appear that the relief effort would improve overnight if the president took control, and that Blanco was dragging her feet to invite federal help.

From Knight Ridder:
A FEMA program to reimburse applicants for generators and storm cleanup items has benefited middle- and upper-income Floridians the most and has so far cost taxpayers more than $332 million for the past two hurricane seasons, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel found in a continuing investigation of disaster aid.
Eugene McCarthy

David Broder on the former Senator who passed away on Saturday.


Blogger Bassizzzt said...

Now is not the time for a Bush comeback - but concentrating on the good news coming out of Iraq IS.

Let's hope the elections are pulled off without major interruptions. If there is a suicide bombing, this will send the media once again into a spin.

11:24 AM  

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