Unfiled

Baker joins growing list of Republicans who question Bush

James A. Baker III, the former secretary of state with a long-standing reputation of service to Republican presidents and the Bush family in particular, has joined a list of prominent Republicans raising questions about the administration’s Iraq policy.

Co-chairman of a bipartisan commission studying what to do next in the wartorn country, Baker said his panel is preparing to recommend that President Bush consider options other than his “stay-the-course” strategy in Iraq.

Dennis Hastert’s friend, roommate & fixer: Scott Palmer

George Bush has Karl Rove, Bill Clinton had James Carville and Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert has Scott Palmer. Call them powers behind the throne, the political gurus who guide their bosses’ careers and, if they’re good, keep them out of trouble.

Palmer, Hastert’s chief of staff, is more than an employee. He’s Hastert’s friend and his roommate in Washington, a living arrangement the Speaker may find difficult to explain in the wake of the Mark Foley Congressional page scandal.

But while some on Capitol Hill see Hastert as a likable, affable buffoon, they see Palmer as a ruthless, arrogant SOB who rides roughshod over anyone who gets in his, Hastert’s or the GOP’s way.

The good-cop, bad-cop relationship is found often in political operations and it lets Palmer take the heat while concealing the fact that Hastert can be just as arrogant and ruthless as his top aide. In fact, both believe a scorched-earth policy is the only answer to running the House of Representatives.

New polls show Republicans in deep, deep trouble

Democratic candidates have a big edge on Republicans one month before elections to decide control of Congress, a flurry of new polls said on Monday, with ratings for President George W. Bush and Congress dropping after the Capitol Hill sex scandal.

The no-win scenario

Conservatives will occasionally accuse liberals — or more generally anyone who opposes the war in Iraq — of hating President Bush so much that they actually hope that the United States loses. But I’m skeptical of this accusation.

FBI screwups still haunt anthrax investigation

Few incidents seem to exemplify the governmental excesses and the difficulties controlling them in the atmosphere of fear following 9-11 than the five-year investigation into the anthrax attack that took the lives of five Americans, made 17 gravely ill and was a potential threat to thousands of others.

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