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Conrad Burns squirms the

Conrad Burns squirms, the press edges toward accurate reporting, and John Boehner equivocates and whether or not he'll kill the K Street Project. All this and more in today's Daily Muck.

From the Washington Post

From the Washington Post look at Republican leadership races past:

When the House speaker's job opened up in 1998, Rep. Christopher Cox (R-Calif.) -- a telegenic policy intellectual from the nation's most populous state -- seemed like a logical candidate. Cox certainly thought so. He brooded over his options and mused about a possible run on CNN.

But while Cox was in the studio, J. Dennis Hastert was winning the cloakroom. With powerful backing from Rep. Tom DeLay (R-Tex.), Hastert -- a decidedly untelegenic, nuts-and-bolts pol from small-town Illinois -- was working the phones, cutting deals and forming alliances. Within hours, he locked down the most powerful job in Congress.

Which raises the question -- as the House tries to clean house, how come Hastert's head isn't on the table? Admittedly, he's not implicated in criminal activity the way Tom DeLay is, but in theory he's in charge of the House Republican leadership operation. At a minimum, one wouldn't say he's been very proactive 'lo these past several years in rooting out corruption not just inside his own caucus but inside his own leadership team. The tendency has been for him to get a free pass on all the antics that go down on the Hill because he's universally regarded as an empty suit. But if he's so inconsequential that he doesn't deserve a share of the blame for the dirty deals that have gone down under his purview, then it's hard to see why he deserves to sit in the Speaker's chair. If he doesn't matter because, as is widely assumed, he's just a DeLay puppet, then how can you justify ditching the Hammer without also dumping his cat's paw? Certainly, if the GOP was serious about turning over a new leaf, his job security would be pretty seriously imperiled.

But of course nobody in that quarter's really all that serious about changing things, so this is what you get. The leadership race is all about who can best position themselves as the candidate of superficial change.

Greetings TPM readers Ill

Greetings, TPM readers, I'll be your guest-blogger from the day. You may remember me from a stint last spring, or know my exciting TPMCafe blog, or my other blog, or possibly read Tapped where I'm a contributor. At any rate, I'll try and shift to a more in-the-moment subject as the day goes on, but last time I was a guest here it was all Social Security all the time, so for nostalgia's sake if nothing else take a gander at the Century Foundation's latest on Chile's not-so-pleasant encounter with pension privatization.

If you're so inclined, drop me a line at myglesias at Comcast dot net.

Pat Robertson prominent American

Pat Robertson, prominent American cartoon character, sends letter of apology to Omri Sharon, son of Ariel, asking forgiveness for his moronic and offensive remarks.

Wrote Robertson, "I ask your forgiveness and the forgiveness of the people of Israel for remarks I made at the time concerning the writing of the holy prophet Joel and his view of the inviolate nature of the land of Israel."

A number of you

A number of you have written in to ask whether there's a permanent link you can use to access our new Daily Muck feature.

The answer is, not yet. But it requires a bit more explanation.

As you know, we're building toward launching our new site, TPMmuckraker.com. It should come online right around the beginning of the month. The Daily Muck will be part of TPMmuckraker. But we decided to get the Muck started over at TPMCafe for the next few weeks just to get the muckraking juices flowing now and have the format down pat for when it's folded into TPMmuckraker.com.

If you've read the Muck already, you know it's written by Paul Kiel. So let me take a moment to introduce him. Paul's the first of our two hires for TPMmuckraker. Drop him a line, say hi, give him a lecture about the high standards of meticulousness and zealousness you require from him in terms of his muckraking activities and so forth. (You can drop Paul a line through the regular TPM comment email address.)

On a more practical note, in addition to the original reporting the new site will feature, we want the Daily Muck to pull together all the key muck in the news each day, one digestible muck run-down to keep you up to speed on public villainies of all sorts being perpretrated around the country.

And our advantage in being able to put that together is you.

Needless to say, we'll be checking the Times and Post and the major national news outlets everyday to track the latest developments in these stories. But my experience running this site for more than five years tells me that some of the most telling clues and breaks in the story first pop up in news outlets that run beneath the radar of the national political press -- local and regional papers, television stations, magazines, and so forth. And of course we want your tips too.

So as we move forward, if you see a story in your local paper about your congressman and Jack Abramoff or any other nugget you see that you think deserves wider exposure, send it in to use. If you think it's muck-worthy, flag its mucktitude for Paul in the subject line.

And, of course, let us know how you think we're doing.

The Hill reports that

The Hill reports that Roy Blunt is ahead of John Boehner by 64 to 35 in pledged votes in the race to become the next House Majority Leader. They have the list of who's on whose team. See who your Republican member of congress is supporting.

What's strikes me though is that there are rather more than 99 membersof the House GOP conference. That makes Blunt's position look much less commanding.

A little earlier I

A little earlier I linked to this choice Dick Cheney quote from yesterday. But after getting an email from TPM Reader GM, I just had to return to this one point that made me laugh the first time I read it.

Says Cheney ...

And Steve Hayes is of the view -- and I think he's correct -- that a lot of those documents that were captured over there that have not yet been evaluated offer additional evidence that, in fact, there was a relationship that stretched over many years between Saddam Hussein and the al Qaeda organization.

Now, Hayes and I are something between acquaintances and friends. I don't want to get him in trouble by the association. And I'll let him speak for himself. But I say this only by way of noting that it's always created a bit of cognitive dissonance in my mind identifying the upstanding and amiable colleague I know with a lot of his work on Al Qaida and Saddam Hussein that, let's just say, I can't find any point of agreement with.

In any case, Dick Cheney speaks for himself. What we're talking about here is what he said. And I will confide in you that I don't have any problem giving him a hard time. So let's look at this statement. Cheney says there are all these documents "that have not yet been evaluated." But those unevaluated documents provide "additional evidence" of the fabled Iraq-AQ tie.

Does that make any sense?

You start to see how the Veep has managed to spout so much malarkey over the last five years when he seems to have so much difficulty spotting a logical fallacy.

We have this new defector. We haven't heard yet what he has to say. But what he says sounds pretty convincing.