If you're in Little Rock or Tampa, you're up. Today's your day. The Bamboozlebooza Tour is coming to town. If you're going to be on hand for the festivities do let us know and let us know what you hear and see. If you've got a blog, even better. There may even be a "Privatize This" T-Shirt in it for you.
Even better, are you on the black-list for today's events in either town? If so and you can prove it, there's a definite shirt in it for you. At the moment, the White House is claiming that the Fargo black-list was the work of an "overzealous volunteer" whose identity they and the local Republican party claim they are nevertheless unable to discover.
We wondered last night whether Rep. Denny Rehberg (R) of Montana had really gotten through all the festivities yesterday without making any mention of his position on the president's phase-out plan. Well, we hear this morning from listeners on the scene that Rehberg made some equivocal comments on the radio. And this passage from today's Missoulian seems to be the closest he got in print ...
Fellow Republicans U.S. Sen. Conrad Burns and Rep. Denny Rehberg, both of Montana, said after the speech they haven't made up their minds on Bush's ideas. Rehberg said the country needs to openly discuss the issue and not kill the opportunity to fix Social Security with partisan bickering.
"The president is trying to create a consensus opportunity," Rehberg said.
Clearly, Rehberg now gets slotted into FIW status in the Caucus. But if I'm not mistaken Bush didn't even get the two Republicans in Montana to sign on to his plan. If you see instances of the national press picking up on this fact rather than going on about Baucus, can you drop us a line about that too?
This isn't about Democrats: The President Is Hunting for Republicans Who Will Go On The Record In Support of His Plan.
Now on to Arkansas and Florida.
As we said we're keen to get reports from the ground in both states. As we told you here at TPM earlier and in more detail in my column this week in The Hill, Tampa is a hotbed of membership in the Conscience Caucus. You've got our favorite Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite to the north, Caucus member Rep. Bill Young right next door, Caucus member Rep. Katherine Harris to the South. And aside from them you've got folks like Rep. Bilirakis (R) who don't even seem willing to discuss the issue with the press and Rep. Adam Putnam (R) who looks likely to shift whichever way the wind blows.
These Floridians all to one degree or another have their fingers in the wind. And if you can't say much else for them they're good weather vanes, especially Rep. Brown-Waite. So if you hear them chatting on the radio or get quoted in the papers or if they get up on stage with the president to testify to their phase-out conversion experience, do let us know.
So basically the president is finding hardly any Republicans in any of these states who are willing to go on the record in support of his plan. This is why I would never make it in the news business. I woulda thought that'd be a big story.