Some non-horse race items this morning:
Many papers this morning went with stories about the increase in cancelled flights from other countries to the US, and how other countries are asking how credible our intelligence is for canceling those flights. Aside from the entertainment value of seeing that one of the suspected terrorists we identified was a five-year old and that in many cases none of the suspected terrorists were legitimate, the bigger point is the following:
American officials said they were determined to avoid the kind of missed warning signs that preceded the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, even if it meant inconveniencing travelers.
So we are now admitting we missed warning signals in the days leading up to 9/11, even though Condi told us that there was no way to know that Al Qaeda would use planes as missiles against domestic targets? Is that why Condi is afraid of testifying to Tom Kean’s commission?
North Korean Visit
The White House says that it is not concerned that a delegation of Americans will be visiting North Korea through China next week to discuss Pyongyang’s nuclear program, but don’t believe it. It probably infuriates the Cheney/Rummy/Rice troika that the trip is occurring at all. The key name to note of those visiting is Jack Pritchard, who until recently was Colin Powell’s man of reason on North Korea, who left the Bush Administration due to the internal infighting and the belligerency of the above troika. Knowing how this administration does things, you can expect something from the troika to sabotage this trip between now and when the trip departs.
Tom DeLay In the Crosshairs
A Texas District Attorney is investigating Tom DeLay’s PAC and fundraising practices in his 2002 takeover of the Texas House of Representatives for campaign finance law violations. You may make little of this until you read that the DA involved has already granted limited immunity to DeLay’s chief fundraiser in exchange for testimony in front of a grand jury.
Iraq Attacks Continue Unabated After Saddam's "Capture"
David Brooks: GOP Needs to Be Party of Reform
David Brooks has an interesting column in the Times today, wherein he admits that the GOP can no longer credibly run as the party of smaller government. He now says that the GOP must run as the party of reform. Yeah, that should do it. But since Brooks does occasionally act as a bellwether for the White House, we can expect Bush to trot out this line of garbage at the SOTU. As a result, perhaps the Democrats should get the jump on this “reform” line by reminding voters that reforming Social Security does not mean privatizing it or intentionally underfunding it to force benefit cuts; reforming Medicare does not mean turning it into a corporate welfare program for drug company campaign contributors while leaving seniors to shoulder large drug costs; reforming education does not mean setting national standards and then underfunding national mandates that do nothing to improve college entrance and success rates while taking away local control. You get the picture.