Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Dickie's Quickies

Here's a scary thought for the day: on Hardball with Chris Matthews last night, Michael Wolff, Howard Fineman, and Matthews spent much of the first segment talking about the Plame case and it's effect on the White House. The discussion turned to that fact that Dick Cheney and Karl Rove don't seem to be around much anymore and speculation as to why that may be happening. One theory posed was that Bush is distancing himself from both men because of possible indictments. Chris Matthews let Michael Wolff have the final thought:

WOLFF: You know, one of the interesting things to remember here is that, is that, if these guys are out of the loop, if Cheney is out of the loop, if Karl is out of the loop, that really leaves the B team in charge.


WOLFF: I mean, Andy Card, Dan Bartlett, these are—you know, these are perfectly decent, I suppose, guys, but they have never been in charge.

MATTHEWS: Right. And they have got to play the second half of the season with the second team.

You mean, these second tier players could actually be worse?!!?

What would a day be like without a round up of political sniping at the Miers nomination? After Laura Bush commented that there was a whiff of sexism in the right's attacks on Miers, the Washington Post contained this nugget from Bill Kristol:

"It is striking to me they are spending less time explaining the merits of Harriet Miers and more time . . . using liberal talking points to criticize the critics," he said. "I think it is going to backfire."

A similar quote was also rendered in the same article from Jonah Goldberg. Meanwhile, Newsweek has a report on some of the conservative lawyers who assisted the White House with the Roberts nomination process, but don't appear to be going anywhere near Miers. Choice quotes:
"We are keeping quiet. And hiding from the media," wrote Abigail Thernstrom, the Bush-designated vice chair of the U.S. Civil Rights Commission and a prominent critic of affirmative-action policies, in an e-mail copied to other members of the network. "As for undermining trust in the president, I am afraid he has accomplished that all on his own—without any help from us."

..."It no longer matters whether she's the second coming of John Marshall; the cronyism charge has stuck, bec. [sic] it's so obviously true," wrote Michael Greve, a legal scholar at the conservative American Enterprise Institute. Greve wondered what was next. Would Bush, he asked, replace Fed chair Alan Greenspan with "a young lady in the basement of the West Wing who did a terrific job on the TX Railroad Commission [and was the] first Armenian bond trader in Dallas ..."
And the final word on this topic comes from a NY Times article on how Senate staffers feel about the Miers nomination. Choice quotes:
"Everybody is hoping that something will happen on Miers, either that the president would withdraw her or she would realize she is not up to it and pull out while she has some dignity intact," a lawyer to a Republican committee member said.

..."You could say there is pretty much uniform disappointment with the nomination at the staff level," another Republican on the committee staff said. "It is clear there is quite a bit of skepticism, and even some flashes of hostility."

Another Republican aide close to the committee said, "I don't know a staffer who approves of this nomination, anywhere. Most of it is outright hostility throughout the Judiciary Committee staff."

In other Bush news, Hit and Run reports today on research by Veronique de Rugby, an analyst at the American Enterprise Institute (noted above as being a conservative think tank). She studied inflation-adjusted increases in discretionary spending (mostly defense and non entitlement spending). I'll let Nick Gillespie's words make the point:

The gap becomes even bigger when you stretch the comparisons out to the first five years of each prez's budgets. Here are numbers for all recent presidents who oversaw at least five budgets prepared by American Enterprise Institute analyst Veronique de Rugy. All are based on Office of Management and Budget and all are adjusted for inflation. The Bush figure for fiscal year 2005 is based on OMB midsession review numbers; the figure for fiscal year 2006 is based on the OMB midsession review of the budget Bush submitted earlier this year (if anything, the final figures will be higher than his provisional budget):

First Five Years, Percentage Changes in Real Discretionary Spending

LBJ: 25.2%
Nixon: -16.5%
Reagan: 11.9%
Clinton: -8.2%
Bush: 35.2%

Note: Clinton's and Nixon's spending fell in the first five years. Bush, Reagan, and LBJ's spending rose in that time. But let's call Bush the clear winner and the American people the clear loser.

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