DECIDEDLY PURPLE.E.J. Dionne Jr. ponders whether Mark Warner will be able to turn purple Virginia blue, and help bump the red/blue divide a little further south. But the thesis of his article is that the Dems can, and will, win these states by putting forth moderate candidates who appeal to suburbanites. "Safe, soothing and very suburban: These could be the characteristics of the new American majority," he writes. But could this new American majority make any major progressive strides?
SUCK ON THIS. Via Chris Hayes, Tom Friedman on the Charlie Rose Show: "We hit Iraq because we could." I appreciate his candor, but what's that mean now that we're stuck in this remnants of that bubble, clutching our ever-shortening stick? Points for honesty though.
FACT CHECK. Our own Terence Samuel examines the implications for Republicans of Bush's embrace of the Petraeus report, and gets at the point I made last night: "The Iraq war, judged by the number of American troops engaged at the front, will look next spring the same as it did last spring -- more than 130,000 American troops on the ground trying to advance the noble mission of creating 'breathing room' for Iraqis to construct some kind of human infrastructure that will allow them to live together in peace."
NUMBERS. ABC News is reporting that Bush will announce plans to pull 5,700 troops out of Iraq by the end of the year during tonight's speech. The New York Timesreports that he's going to call for a troop reduction of 30,000 by July 2008. Both numbers are far below what most Dems would like to see. Granted, this does mark the first time Bush has described a plan for troop reductions, but does it really count as a move toward withdrawal if you're just going back to pre-surge levels?
ARE WE HAVING FUND YET? A scientific panel created in 2002 at the behest of President Bush is failing largely due to Bush administration funding cuts and delays, according to a report issued by an independent review by the National Academy of Sciences issued Thursday.