JAILBIRD ROCK?Newt Gingrich (who I still believe will be the Republican nominee in 2008, so get used to him) got some attention in New Hampshire this week for giving a speech at "First Amendment" dinner and declaring that the War on Terror called for "a totally different set of rules" on speech.
But what he would take away with one hand, he gives back with another. In the interest of, he said, "expanding First Amendment rights," he called for the elimination of all limits on campaign contributions, in exchange for candidates' and parties' reporting all contributions on the Internet.
THE NEOCON PARTY. It's tempting to make fun of Marshall Wittmann's newest guise, as Lieberman's communications director, as if it were just another twist in one of the oddest careers in Washington. The New York Times has some fun with that theme today.
WINNING BY LOSING.Ezra's fine article in the print edition reminds us that the Republican approach to policy was not just to pass what they thought were good ideas, but to use policy to disembowel their enemies. He does a fine job of identifying some strategies that are not only good policy, but would help break down the right-wing power structure.
In novels, films, or real life, there's really only one Washington story: Newcomer comes to town, full of idealism and ready to change the country, but soon encounters the permanent government that defines what you can't do and whom you have to deal with if you want to try. The permanent government might be octogenarian committee chairs, ruthless staffers, or -- more recently, as the power of the committee chairs has waned -- the lobbyists.
It's the story of the Carter administration, the Clinton administration, and almost every new congressional majority. Even Republican right wingers claim it's their story that "we came to change Washington, but Washington changed us." (That one's not true, but we'll get to that.)
DEM GOVS: AN EMBARASSMENT OF RICHES. As Scottpointed out, Mattworries that there's too little talk about good middle-America governors as presidential candidates, and that "we may be doomed to an endless cycle of Senators (who DC political reporters already cover), governors from Virginia and Maryland (whose exploits are detailed in the Metro section of The Washington Post), and scions of famous families."