This is one of those days when I opened up the Washington Post and found a large, greasy combo platter of interesting political stories, so I thought I'd do some micro-blogging on a few of them, using the Post headlines and subheadlines.
1. Food Stamp Cuts Are Proposed: House Plan Would Affect 300,000.
My colleague The Moose is right; this proposed House GOP budget "savings" package should be viewed as the formal tombstone for "compassionate conservatism." Needing $50 billion in budget cuts, the House Budget Committee went after food stamps for legal immigrants; child support enforcement resources; foster parenting; and school lunch eligibility. They didn't feel the need to take a second look at five-year costs of $106 billion in new tax cuts; $60 billion in corporate subsidies; $42 billion in congressional-district-specific pork and transportation earmarks; or $23 billion in oil and gas subsidies. It will be interesting to see how many Republican "moderates" refuse to go along with this outrage.
2. Rove's Future Is Debated: White House May Seek Fresh Start In Wake of Leak. This is one of those classic Washington stories where somebody's lying: The Post's "sources" say:
Bush's top advisers are considering whether it is tenable for Rove to remain on the staff, given that Fizgerald has already documented that Rove and Whie House official spokesmen once emphatically denied--that he played a central role in dicussions with journalists about Plame's role at the CIA and her marriage to former ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV, a critic of the Iraq war.
"Karl does not have any real enemies in the White House, but there are a lot of people in the White House wondering how they can put this behind them if the cloud remains over Karl," said a GOP strategist who has discussed the issue with top White House officials.
A bit further down in the story, there's this graph:
White House communications director Nicole Wallace said there have not been any White House meetings t4o discuss Rove's fate, and that the senior adviser is actively engaged and "doing an outstanding job." She said "there is no debate" over Rove's future.Hmmm. It appears that either the White House is aflame with a debate about Rove, or there's no debate at all. Like I said: somebody's lying, and if I were Rove, I wouldn't be particularly comforted by official assurances that he's doin' a heckuva job.
3. Norton Ex-Aides Clash on Lobbyist's Influence: Lawyer Says He Accused Griles of Aiding Abramoff. Ah, yes, another chapter in the Casino Jack Ambramoff scandal, this time in hearings before the Senate Indian Affairs Committee. And it's another somebody-must-be-lying story, with the Interior Department's former legal counselor claiming the agency's former deputy secretary was very involved in advancing the interests of Casino Jack's tribal clients, and the former deputy secretary saying he did no such thing.
4. Consultants To Virginia Candidates Linked To Indicted Lobbyist. In still more fallout from Casino Jack's troubles, check out this lede from the Metro section: "Two key campaign consultants for Virginia attorney general candidate Robert F. McDonnell established a nonprofit group five years ago that its director now says was used almost exclusively to secretly fund political efforts -- including one organized by indicted Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff."
McDonnell, long a darling of the theocratic Right, has been getting some negative attention for the shadowy sources of his suddenly massive media expenditures in the down-ballot race. It's beginning to look like he just doesn't keep very good company.
Speaking of Virginia politics:
5. Wilder backs Kaine, plays down differences over 2004 tax package. This headline is actually from the Richmond Time-Dispatch, but it's potentially a big deal. Former governor and current Richmond mayor Doug Wilder, the first African-American to be elected governor of any state, is one of the country's craftiest politicians, and deliberately held back his endorsement to the moment of maximum impact. His endorsement of Mark Warner four years ago was definitely a factor in Warner's narrow win, and his refusal to endorse Don Beyer eight years ago helped bury Beyer.
The Wilder endorsement also draws attention to one of the X-factors in the Virginia gubernatorial election next Tuesday. African-American Virginians, who have often given GOP candidates a higher percentage of their vote than in other southern states, might go massively for Kaine to send a message to Jerry (Absolutely No Relation) Kilgore's buddies across the Potomac in recognition of their fine conduct during the Katrina relief and recovery operation.
All in all, it's been a good day for political junkies and a bad day for the GOP. --