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A bad news Wall

A bad news Wall Street Journal poll for the president ...

Almost three months into President Bush's second term, a raft of economic and social issues -- Social Security, immigration, gay marriage and the recent national debate over Terri Schiavo -- is splintering the Republican base.

After winning re-election on the strength of support from nine in 10 Republican voters, the president is seeing significant chunks of that base balk at major initiatives, a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll shows. One-third of Republicans say Democrats in Congress should prevent Mr. Bush and party leaders from "going too far in pushing their agenda," and 41% oppose eliminating filibusters against Mr. Bush's judicial nominees -- the "nuclear option" that Senate Republican leaders are considering.


Also of note ...

On his centerpiece initiative of Social Security, for instance, 32% of Republicans call it "a bad idea" to let workers invest payroll taxes in the stock markets.

Despite Mr. Bush's cross-country tour to sell his plan, that proportion has held steady since January, while resistance among Democrats and senior citizens has driven overall opposition to 55% from the 50% recorded on the eve of his second inauguration. On Social Security, "opinions are hardening in a way that makes Bush's job more difficult," Mr. McInturff says.

On judicial nominations -- a cause of contention between the White House and Democratic leaders -- resistance among rank-and-file Republicans is even higher. Four in 10 say the option of filibusters should be preserved.


Tomorrow, more on the <$NoAd$> doctrine of Rovian infallibility.

If Im not mistaken

If I'm not mistaken, this new story about Tom DeLay's junket to the Marianas back in the late 1990s is pretty much the same story we read in the late 1990s.

(Just to be clear and fair: The reporter with the byline on the ABC report -- Brian Ross -- is one of the journalists who reported on the story back at the time.)

This is the case where DeLay and his family got a luxe trip to a resort in Saipan so he could help make the US territory safe for sweatshop labor.

Don't get me wrong. It stinks to high heaven.

But the resurrection of this story does seem to suggest that we're in that phase of the battle where all the stuff that was long written up about DeLay, but routinely ignored, is getting written up again. And now we're shocked, shocked that this hustler has been polluting the people's House with his neo-Tammany shenanigans.

Theres going to be

There's going to be rather an abundance of gloating and knife-toothed smiles (as well there should be) among Democrats tonight as people read Mike Allen's piece in Thursday's Post revealing the identity of the person who wrote the infamous Schiavo 'talking points' distributed in the senate last month.

This is the document that called the Schiavo tragi-circus a "a great political issue" and one that "the pro-life base will be excited that the Senate is debating."

Turns out it was the legal counsel to freshman Sen. Martinez (R) of Florida, a former gun-rights lobbyist named Brian Darling. As you might imagine, Darling's now chosen to leave the senator's employ and move on to other opportunities.

I'll let others dig into how many other Republicans knew about the memo, or helped distribute it or whatever else.

To me, though, the folks who really deserve to be tarred and feathered over this are the almost criminally fatuous commentators and reporters who wrote up stories suggesting the memo was actually a dirty trick by the Democrats, a false flag operation meant to make the Republicans look bad.

In politics, anything is possible. And often the most improbable and devilish things turn out to be true. So, sure, anyone could have been the author.

But look at the evidence some folks walked into print with ...

Look, all the Republicans senators say they didn't do it! And if they didn't, who did?

And did you see that the strategy memo wasn't written on RNC letterhead? And you want us to believe it was written by a Republican?

I hope some folks have sense enough to feel like real fools tonight.

CNN in the bag

CNN in the bag? Or in the sack?

Lou Dobbs insta-poll question tonight is: "Do you believe House Majority Leader Tom Delay is the victim of a campaign by the 'liberal' media to embarrass him?"

There's truly no end to the comedy.

One thing I always

One thing I always say is that Washington needs more bipartisan cooperation. And since David Keene, Chairman of the American Conservative Union, seems to be the head conservative leading up the effort to defend Tom DeLay and keep him in place as House Majority Leader, it occurred to me that I should reach out to him and see if we can form a coalition, bringing together Republicans and Democrats of goodwill, who want to keep Tom DeLay where he is as head of the House Republican caucus, doing what he does best.

Some groups and leaders in the Democratic neck of the woods might not want to join our coalition publicly, sort of like all those brokerage houses that fund the Social Security phase-out front groups. But behind the scenes I have no doubt we can enlist many of them in our joint effort. And they'll be quite active in support.

David, what say you?

Late Update: We can call it the CDI: The Coalition to DeLay the Inevitable.

News Flash CNN reports

News Flash: CNN reports latest DeLay stories on front page!

Oh, no, wait ... They report DeLay's calling the reports "seedy" on the front page.

My bad ...

Let me mention a

Let me mention a few more details about the new site we're getting ready to launch.

It has a few different components. But the main one is a new group blog with a few more than a dozen individual contributors. The group blog will be a forum both for posts on topics and questions of interest to the individual contributors and also, we hope, for debate and discussion amongst them.

As you might expect, the focus of conversation will be politics and current affairs, but neither narrowly nor exclusively. We're also hoping for lively exchanges about the arts, literature, religion and the sciences.

We're still putting together the list of contributors. And we'll be bringing you more on that in the coming days. But the list of those who've already signed on includes Todd Gitlin, Ed Kilgore, Mike Lind and Judith Shulevitz, among others.

More on this soon.

The Moose sees it

The Moose sees it too. Marshall Wittman says that the sourcing of those DeLay hit articles makes it look a lot like Rove may be pulling the trap door lever on the bug man.

Meanwhile, the Mallet got his House caucus to line up in support and got Rep. Roy Blunt (R) of Missouri, their #3 man, to sign up as chief spear-catcher: "I don't see any wavering of the support for the leader. I think a lot of members think he's taking arrows for all of us."

(Can someone out there translate that line into Italian for us?)

Finally, a conservative pal sent me a form letter from the ACU's David Keene calling on all conservatives to line up behind Tom DeLay and defend him with every measure of their strength.

So it would seem that to small government, strong national defense and traditional values has been added a fourth pillar of the conservative movement: defending Tom DeLay no matter what new ethics infractions, crimes or generalized corruption might show up in tomorrow's papers.

Okay at just after

Okay, at just after 2 PM, CNN rolled out their DeLay story. It's prominently linked ... Actually I can't find it linked anywhere. But a bunch of TPM Readers sent me the link so it must be linked somewhere on their page.

Late Update: TPM Reader MF sends in a handy guide to finding the DeLay story on the CNN site ...

FYI:

main page:
http://www.cnn.com/
click on 'politics':
http://www.cnn.com/POLITICS/
go down to "Other News" and click on the tiny 'more stories' button which leads to
http://www.cnn.com/POLITICS/archive/
and it's the fourth story down.


Sheesh, how could I have missed it?

As we told you

As we told you earlier, an article in the Boston Globe this morning suggests that Sen. Chafee (R) or Rhode Island was sending signals he might vote against the nomination of John Bolton as UN ambassador.

(Steve Clemons has some good commentary on this latest development.)

But I hear from a senate source that Chafee aides are busily trying to walk back the Globe story, telling reporters and fellow Republicans that he's actually leaning toward casting a vote in Bolton's favor.

So hard to strike the right balance when you're a senator from a blue state trying to carry the water of tomato-red administration.

LiveWire