Archive for the ‘Beltway Drama’ Category

This story in the Washington Post is unbelievable. If this had happened in the private sector, people would have been fired immediately.

This exchange really captures the severity of it all:

“Isn’t that a terrible way to look after the taxpayers’ money and to make purchases anywhere?” Sen. Richard C. Shelby (R-Ala.), ranking member on the Senate Banking Committee, said at a hearing on oversight of the bailout.

Warren replied, “Senator, Treasury simply did not do what it said it was doing.”

“In other words, they misled the Congress, did they not?” said a visibly flustered Shelby.

When a Republican senator is openly accusing the Bush Treasury Department of misleading Congress, you know it’s bad.

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With the obscene amounts of money being proposed for the economic stimulus, CNN’s Christine Romans effectively states the obvious: billions are no longer enough.

According to today’s Washington Post, change is in the air as the Republican National Committee looks for its next chairman.

As the Bush administration winds down, Democrats and historians are concerned about what information (documents, emails, etc.) might be deleted, destroyed, or withheld before they leave office. ProPublica’s Kristin Jones has this brief review of which documents are and are not protected from destruction by the Presidential Records Act of 1978.

homer

I don’t know what’s worse, the CEOs of the three American car companies going to request a multibillion dollar bailout on Capitol Hill while flying on private corporate jets to travel to Washington, or Sarah Palin giving an interview after pardoning a Thanksgiving turkey while other turkeys are being slaughtered behind her.

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I have not yet seen Oliver Stone’s recent biopic of the 43rd president, but I recommend reading this discussion about the movie and the Bush presidency between Stone and journalists Ron Suskind, Jacob Weisberg, Bob Woodward, and Michael Isikoff.

Downballot Senate Republicans are warning of Democrats controlling the Washington trifecta with a Senate supermajority:

WASHINGTON — In the waning days of the 2008 elections, Republicans from the top of the ticket on down are making a remarkable appeal: Vote for me, because the rest of my party seems headed for defeat.

A spate of new ads paid for by the National Republican Senatorial Committee are premised on Barack Obama beating John McCain. Some even say that Democrats could pick up enough Senate seats to have a filibuster-proof majority of 60 votes. McCain, meanwhile, is arguing that a vote for him is a check against a Democrat-dominated Congress.

“Sending Jeff Merkley to the U.S. Senate could give one party a blank check … again,” says an announcer in an ad for Sen. Gordon Smith of Oregon, a Republican in a close race with Merkley, a Democrat. “Especially in this economy, Oregon needs an independent voice in the U.S. Senate.”

In North Carolina, where Republican Sen. Elizabeth Dole is at risk of losing to Democrat Kay Hagan, the announcer intones, “Who’s the Senate race really about? Hagan or Dole? Neither one. It’s about liberals in Washington. They want complete control of the government … The left wants 60 votes in the Senate.”

In Louisiana, another ad paid for by the Republican committee said of Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu: “Landrieu votes with Barack Obama 81% of the time. Landrieu endorsed Obama. … Don’t give Washington liberals complete control; don’t give them a blank check.”

Following up on my post yesterday about Joe Lieberman losing his chairmanship of the Homeland Security Committee, The Hill has this story which puts it in the context of a broader reshuffling of the Senate Democratic caucus, caused by the potential loss of at least two members to the executive branch (Obama and Biden), health issues (Byrd and Kennedy), an expanded majority depending on how many seats they pick up next week.

According to Steve Clemons, there is a rumor the Obama campaign will announce his cabinet on November 7 – three days after the election. The other rumor is that John Kerry and Bill Richardson are frontrunners to be Secretary of State.

While every campaign has a short list of candidates for the cabinet and other key political appointments, I think it is extremely foolish for the Obama campaign to be so presumptuous to be telegraphing a move like this. Yes, they are in the driver’s seat right now with just over a week to go before the election, but a lot can happen or change in one day, let alone eight.

The McCain campaign seized on the erroneous story that John Podesta had already written Obama’s inaugural address. If this is true, expect a similar reaction.

The Washington Post has an interesting investigative story on what I didn’t realize was a cottage industry in Washington: commissioning artists to paint portraits of senior government officials using taxpayer money.