Monday Morning Quick Hits
Democrats have formally adopted the Newt Gingrich strategy from 1994 in attacking entrenched GOP arrogance and power on Capitol Hill, using the same themes against the GOP that Gingrich used against Tom Foley over a decade ago. But with Tom DeLay being set up for a fall by Rick Santorum, Chris Shays, and the likelihood that his partner in crime lobbyist Jack Abramoff will turn on him out of revenge, Democrats need to be careful to keep DeLay around a little while longer.
Newly-elected Iraqi president Jalal Talabani has proposed that amnesty be giving to insurgent fighters willing to lay down their arms, even those fighters that have killed USA troops. It sure seems that the new Iraqi government will take extraordinary steps to unify the country, even if it means taking steps that the US wouldnít approve of. But the good news is that the Pentagon thinks they can reduce troop numbers in Iraq possibly 25% next year, due to an improving security situation.
China and India announced this morning the settlement of a long-running border dispute, and the improvement of trade and other relations. Although the agreement did not include defense or military relations, it is clear that China is rushing into a void left by the US preoccupation with Iraq and terrorism to cement itself as the regional power with India and Pakistan.
Bush may be gaining the support of industry trade groups for Social Security privatization, but the individual companies arenít going along and would rather see Washington deal with health care costs, the dollar, and trade imbalances. Plus, conservatives have come to realize that Bush may have bungled the privatization roll-out so badly that what will emerge will be a conservativeís worst nightmare: higher taxes to fix the solvency problem harped on by Bush and no private accounts because the public is convinced they do nothing to fix the basic problem.
Workers have received, as the Los Angeles Times calls it, an across-the-board pay cut, as wages have fallen behind increasing housing, energy, and health care costs for the first time in fourteen years. So this is the Bush recovery?
The Washington Post wimps out this morning and after decrying John Boltonís nomination as UN ambassador, then says if Bush wants him, thatís good enough for them.
As if on cue, a recent American visitor to North Korea now says that due to ongoing harsh rhetoric from the Bush Administration and Condi Rice, Pyongyang is no longer willing to discuss a step-by-step dismantling of their nuclear program.