In it, but not of it. TPM DC

Peace Action, an anti-war coalition that has enlisted four Democratic and four GOP members of Congress in an effort to dissuade President Obama from sending more troops to Afghanistan, just invoked an ominous historical analogy to describe today's new White House war plan.

Kevin Martin, executive director of the anti-war alliance, said in a statement:

It's a shame President Obama believes he can pursue the same militaristic strategy as his predecessors and produce a different result. While President Obama has made some good statements on increasing diplomacy and economic aid to Afghanistan and Pakistan, the emphasis is clearly on military operations. John F. Kennedy was in a comparable situation when he was elected. He chose to escalate then as well, and the consequences of his decision left our country mired in an unwinnable war.

Peace Action is organizing local protests against the escalation of the U.S. military presence in Afghanistan, starting in early April.

Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin (D-MI) just weighed in on this morning's White House rollout of a new plan for Afghanistan and Pakistan -- and he's taking the opposite view of Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI), who warned the administration against an overly "Afghan-centric" approach.

In a long statement, Levin praised President Obama for starting off "on the right track" before openly questioning Pakistan's commitment to policing its lawless northwestern border with Afghanistan. "I disagree with some administration statements that we can't make progress in Afghanistan without success on the Pakistan side of the border," Levin said. His response is available in full after the jump.

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Minnesota DFL Party chairman Brian Melendez just gave TPM this statement, in response to Michele Bachmann's call for an "orderly revolution" to save freedom from Barack Obama's Marxism:

"Michele Bachmann must have missed the memo: The revolution already happened. The old way of doing business -- her way of doing business -- lost.

"We face the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. To overcome that crisis, Americans must come together, set our differences aside, and get to work. There is plenty of room for thoughtful, respectful debate and criticism. There is no room for hatred or for demonizing those with whom you disagree. Calling one's colleagues 'enemies' and oneself a 'foreign correspondent' is not only a roadblock to results, it is the exact spirit and tone that the American people so overwhelmingly rejected."

We now have some new evidence in a story that dogged Norm Coleman in the final days of his 2008 Senate reelection campaign. According to the original report, businessman Nasser Kazeminy, a longtime Coleman friend, arranged for money to be paid to Norm Coleman's wife, for no work done, as a way of funneling money to Coleman himself.

Now the Star-Tribune has obtained a March 19 deposition from the lawsuit that first surfaced the scandal. The deposition is from B.J. Thomas, the chief financial officer of the company that paid out $75,000 to a firm where Laurie Coleman worked as a consultant -- even though he found no evidence of actual work.

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Here's an interesting piece of the Afghanistan-Pakistan plan that President Obama rolled out today: He plans to set up a new special inspector general for Afghanistan and include "robust investments" in his budget to combat corrupt misuse of foreign aid (in the words of deputy national security adviser Denis McDonough).

However, Obama's full budget won't be sent to Congress until April -- just as lawmakers are wrapping up their own spending plans. So any substantial spending on anti-corruption efforts in Afghanistan may have to come as part of a supplemental war funding request that the administration sends to the Hill later this spring.

George Stephanopoulos, reading the tea leaves on Obama's strong anti-corruption focus, sees it as a kiss-off to Afghan President Hamid Karzai:

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Wow. Just plain wow. This past Wednesday, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) appeared on Sean Hannity's radio show, and sharply reiterated her calls for revolution in America, warning against the imminent dangers of tyranny under Barack Obama:

"We are headed down the lane of economic Marxism," said Bachmann. "More quickly, Sean, than anyone could have possibly imagined. It's difficult for us to even keep up with it day to day."

And then came this:

At this point the American people - it's like Thomas Jefferson said, a revolution every now and then is a good thing. We are at the point, Sean, of revolution. And by that, what I mean, an orderly revolution -- where the people of this country wake up get up and make a decision that this is not going to happen on their watch. It won't be our children and grandchildren that are in debt. It is we who are in debt, we who will be bankrupting this country, inside of ten years, if we don't get a grip. And we can't let the Democrats achieve their ends any longer.

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Democratic lawmakers are warmly greeting President Obama's new plan for Afghanistan and Pakistan, which won't be formally submitted to Congress but does rely in part on passing two bills that never came to a vote during the Bush administration.

The first bill would establish Reconstruction Opportunity Zones (ROZs) along the volatile border between the two nations, essentially using free trade to establish a firmer economic footing in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Any goods produced in the ROZs could be exported to the U.S. duty-free ... although in this time of steep recession, it's tough to see where the market would be for more imported textiles and apparel.

The second bill Obama called on Congress to pass today is a measure once shepherded by Vice President Joe Biden: a tripling of non-military aid to Pakistan that would send $1.5 billion in annual reconstruction money to the politically unstable nation.

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A new Republican poll, from the firm Wilson Research, shows that Democrats are starting out with the advantage to pick up the Missouri Senate seat of retiring GOPer Kit Bond in 2010.

When matching up presumptive Democratic nominee Robin Carnahan against Rep. Roy Blunt, the former House GOP whip, Carnahan is ahead 47%-43%. Against former state Treasurer Sarah Steelman, who ran unsuccessfully in the primary for governor last year, Carnahan is up 47%-39%. The margin of error is ±4%.

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Congressional Democrats are hailing President Obama's plan, announced today, to send 4,000 more troops to Afghanistan and set goals for fighting extremist groups entrenched along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border.

The Democratic reaction boils down to a single sentiment: After spending seven years decrying George W. Bush's lack of focus on the volatile Afghanistan-Pakistan region, Obama's party is thrilled to see him focus on what it asserts is the "central front of the war on terror."

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) put it simply:

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