Capitol Hillbillies

Going to war over war bill

Congressional Democrats are heading toward another confrontation with President Bush and this time they’re hoping they might finally win one. Don’t bet on it.

Putting president ahead of people

As House Republicans push for a vote on the Senate’s revision of the Protect America Act, one key point has been lost in the debate: The Senate version of the legislation would do more to protect the Bush administration than it would to protect Americans and their rights.

Born to be ambiguous

Constitutional scholars spend countless hours trying to decipher the meaning of a 221-year-old document written by men who, while demonstrably among the more advanced political thinkers of their day, could hardly have been prescient enough to anticipate an urban nation of huge ethnic diversity let alone a global social order.

The down on the farm bill

When President Bush took office, one of his early orders of business was the 2002 renewal of the farm bill. He had idealistic plans to slash taxpayer farm subsidies and place income limits on those who could receive those subsidies.

McCain is for sale, just like the rest

Arizona Sen. John McCain, the presumptive GOP candidate for Presidents, portrays himself as a “straight talker” who avoids back room,deal making politics.

In truth, McCain is just another politician on the take, ready and willing to do anything to help a fatcat friend with deep pockets and lots of pull.

And one of McCain’s best friends is an Arizona deal-maker named Donald R. Diamond.

Curse of the midnight earmark

A principle as old as Congress is that once a bill is passed it is final. There are no do-overs or changes unless the full Congress votes them in a subsequent bill. But strange things do happen, and one of those is causing furor on Capitol Hill.

Petraeus meets his next boss

Gen. David Petraeus, meet your next commander in chief.

The top commander in Iraq found himself in the middle of presidential politics Tuesday — literally — as he was questioned by White House candidates politically and physically on either side during a congressional hearing.

So much for reform from Democrats

Last fall, the newly ascendant congressional Democrats promised a thorough reform of earmarks or, failing that, a one-year moratorium on them. That was then and this is now, and now is an election year.

Chuck Hagel: Time for a new political party

U.S. Sen. Chuck Hagel writes in a new book that the United States needs independent leadership and possibly another political party, while suggesting the Iraq war might be remembered as one of the five biggest blunders in history.

“In the current impasse, an independent candidate for the presidency, or a bipartisan unity ticket … could be appealing to Americans,” Hagel writes in “America: Our Next Chapter,” due in stores Tuesday. The Associated Press obtained an advance copy.