Political Pumpkins: Dinner with Margaret Carlson & Judith Czelusniak

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margaret carlson fall dinner 1 - adjust1.jpg
About 20 people, a long table, a backyard under a fall night sky, carved pumpkins and gourds, candles flickering everywhere, pomegranate margaritas, a magnificent meal (some of which also arrived in personal pumpkins) — and the equally uber-connected and delightful Margaret Carlson and Judith Czelusniak as co-hostesses.
This was how I spent yesterday evening when I decided that pain from my oral surgery would be more easily distracted by Carlson and friends — than Bob Gates speaking at the annual dinner for the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs which I had originally planned to ‘engage.’
It was just about one of the most hip dinners I’ve been to in Washington — next to an equally fabulous night that came with a lightning and rain storm that made an evening hosted by the New York Times‘ Helene Cooper, AP’s Anne Gearan, and CNN’s Elisa Abbot seem like something magnificent but other-worldly out of Witches of Eastwick.
Margaret Carlson is, of course, political columnist for Bloomberg News, appears on CNN’s “Capital Gang” and is Washington Editor for The Week while Judith Czelusniak heads public relations for Bloomberg in New York and controls the guest list for the big Bloomberg bash after the White House Correspondents’ Dinner. The guest included Bob Bennett (yep, the one who defended Bill Clinton, Judith Miller, has a great voice, and a brother named Bill), Andy Card brother-in-law and Romney supporter Ron Kaufman, Inside Washington host Gordon Peterson, Anne Schroeder of Politico, Patrick Gavin of the Washington Examiner, political wunderkind Michael Allen of Politico‘s “Playbook,” Qorvis PR Managing Director David Bass, a really into-his-new-role (and impressively informed) Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, Center for Amerian Progress General Counsel Debbie Fine, Washington Post editorial writer and gay debates co-anchor Jonathan Capehart, and the political and smart energizer bunny of this party, MSNBC’s Tammy Haddad.
margaret carlson fall dinner 2.jpgThis is one of those great parties that you sort of see on TV and wonder if they really happen. There were other folks there but perhaps none who had three and half hours of oral surgery the same day and completely forgot the pain because of the mesmerizing discussions.
Tammy Haddad was the first to sense how excited I was getting about the fact that just about everyone was saying something that would be top paragraph in an Al Kamen column but no one had said “off the record.” She’s been a blogger I’ve since learned — and yelled out, “wait! wait! consipiracist blogger in the room — it’s all off the record.”
So, it will have to stay that way — with two exceptions. Everyone went around the table and prognosticated on who would win the Democratic and Republican presidential nominations — and who their respective running mates would be. First of all, not a single person picked Obama. Amazing.
Lots like Huckabee as Vice President. A couple liked Biden. I was surprised by that. Someone said Hillary would pick Bob Graham as her VP running mate. Many who saw Giuliani winning the nomination saw him picking McCain as his VP — and then they’d have a hearty laugh.
I said that as things looked to me at that moment in my heavy advil and pomegranate margarita state, Hillary Clinton looked like she’d win the nomination. I said she might pick Evan Bayh or even a Wes Clark as a running mate. Someone yelled out Richardson — and a gaggle of voices said “no way.” Someone then yelled Vilsack, and folks went silent, pondering that.
I then predicted Romney would beat Giuliani — and he’d pick Hagel if the war was really, really bad and worsening and if he needed to distance himself further from the Cheney gang — most of whom are joining the Giuliani bandwagon anyway. But realistically, if the economy is in bad shape and Romney wanted to lure some semi-alienated fervent non-Mormon Christians to his camp, he’d pick Huckabee.
One lad suggested that Romney needed someone from the Midwest rather than the South, but then said that there wasn’t anyone in the Midwest that came to mind. . .and Hagel didn’t count according to this person.
The second thing I can drag into the record was said by super lawyer Bob Bennett. He said that “I will not support any Democrat who stands on the platform with Al Sharpton, and you can quote me on that.”
So I have.
Judith Czelusniak and Margaret Carlson are just amazing hosts — so my recommendation to you is if you ever are double booked and have a dinner elsewhere planned and one or the other calls you, choose them.
More later — I need some more advil now.
— Steve Clemons

Comments

54 comments on “Political Pumpkins: Dinner with Margaret Carlson & Judith Czelusniak

  1. NeilS says:

    Midwesterner nails it.
    Focus on the material and do not be distracted by the flame. Remember what happens to the moth.

    Reply

  2. NeilS says:

    Midwesterner nails it.
    Focus on the material and do not let yourself be hypnotized by the flame.

    Reply

  3. Midwesterner says:

    Steve,
    Alas, I must agree with the others. This is such a dreadful, lame, brain-dead post, I can only hope that you were high or drunk when you wrote it.
    a) If so, ‘fess up.
    b) If not, we’ll be forced to accept that you really do think Margaret Carlson is hip and happening. And that this was a swell party full of really smart people. Which would mean that you really have drunk the Beltway Koolaid.
    After reading this post, I trust your judgement a whole lot less. And from the comments, it’s clear, I’m not the only one.

    Reply

  4. HyperIon says:

    The owner of this blog wrote:
    so my recommendation to you is if you ever are double booked and have a dinner elsewhere planned and one or the other calls you, choose them.
    gee, steve, thanks for that great advice. /snark off
    maybe after your advil has kicked in, you will reread your post and think what i did: what a wanker.
    question: it’s pretty obvious that your dining companions will still respect you in the morning. but what about your readers?

    Reply

  5. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Steve, did you hear Ron Paul mentioned at this little gathering of America’s glittering elite?
    No?
    Well, while you were busy harmonizing to the sounds of blenders, dildoes, ice and egos, Ron Paul was concerning himself with the state of our nation, and the destruction of our Constitution.
    And yes, Steve, there is truly a difference between elephants and gophers, and your swooning admiration for these abominations that comprise the social and political scene in Washington has blinded you to the differences.
    I pray that we can assist you in your journey into the light, but I sincerely am beginning to doubt it. You should reflect on why your cocktail party experiences always ellicit far more comment from you, and far more expressed excitement and tittilation, than your Cascade camping experiences do. “Values” comes to mind.
    You are standing at a crossroads, Steve. You need to decide which side of history you want to stand on.
    I apologise if my post sounds presumptive, but this blog truly is a window into Steve Clemons. And in looking into that window, this reader doesn’t think you truly see how blinded you’ve become. The time will come, soon, when you will have to make the choice. Us. Or them. Open your eyes……..
    Ron Paul Introduces Bill to Restore the Constitution
    Saturday, October 20th, 2007
    This week Ron Paul introduced the ‘American Freedom Agenda Act of 2007′ to roll back the power of the federal government by restoring support for the US Constitution.
    The bill would, among other things, repeal the Military Commissions Act of 2006, prohibits “extraordinary rendition,” and the use of secret evidence.
    Ron Paul spoke on the floor of the House when he introduced the bill.
    The driving force behind the legislation are two groups: the conservative American Freedom Agenda and the liberal American Freedom Campaign. Naomi Wolf wrote about the bill.
    We urge everyone to contact their representatives to support this bill.
    http://www.antiwar.com/blog/2007/10/20/ron-paul-introduces-bill-to-restore-the-constitution/

    Reply

  6. Taylor says:

    I do wonder how much of the “informed conversation” at these events includes repetition of canards like Al Gore claiming he invented the Internet, Kerry’s metrosexuality, etc.
    In other words, the chatter of the Kewl Kidz is not nearly as informed or as insightful as they like to think, unaware that they are that they are being played by our modern day propagandists. If Goebbels were alive today, he’d probably have figured out that the Beltway weenie circuit is a much better (more subtle) way of establishing a popular narrative than relying on the likes of Lani Rieffenstahl.
    Outside the Beltway cocktail circuit, we can only rely on what is said when they chatter in TV studios. What we have mostly on show there is mindless repetition of conventional wisdom, by people who judged on the basis of what they say are intellectually lazy and apparently not very bright, with little or no analysis and frequent factual errors.
    Does the “analysis” get any better when they chatter in private? It surely couldn’t get any worse.
    Obama is tanking? Rudy might pick McCain? This is insight? Was there any discussion of the neocon loonies who are advising Rudy, and would likely drive US foreign policy under a Giuliani government? Or did the discussion focus on which candidate they would most like to have a beer with?

    Reply

  7. Carroll says:

    Posted by DonS at October 20, 2007 01:31 PM
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    Yep Glenn nails it.
    “And after watching them for the past two decades very closely, I think it’s obvious that what interests the media more than anything is access and gossip and vicious little smears piled one atop the other. And why not? They are easy to report, require no mind numbing shuffling of financial reports or struggling through arcane policy papers. In fact, the press has made a virtue of the simple-mindedness by calling what used to be known as gossip, “character issues”, which are used to stand in for judgment about policy.”
    I am so disgusted with “all of it” that every time I see any “pundits” on any of the news shows I immediately switch the program off. If it wasn’t for c-span I would get rid of TV altogether.

    Reply

  8. DonS says:

    For a somewhat related reflection on putative, self-appointed insider hipness of the beltway media, Glenn Greenwald lets loose with a little well-targeted bile.
    http://tinyurl.com/2axfca

    Reply

  9. PissedOffAmerican says:

    It amazes me that this country has sunk so low that the majority of Americans do not realize what grave danger our current government, including both sides of the aisle, poses to world peace, our own security, and our very way of life. And I believe that the insiders, such as Steve, are even more blind to it, rendered intellectually impotent by the sheer tittilation of rubbing elbows with the world’s elitist power brokers. We are on a precipice that is every bit as pressing, and as dangerous, as the darkest hours of the cold war. And due to a purposelly nurtured partisan divide, such treasonous and destructive leadership can move forward, un-opposed. Only by sowing partisan division, and thus fracturing a universal concensus amongst the citizens can such corrupt and treasonous leadership retain its grip on power. Pelosi just condemned Stark’s brave rhetoric, and it is now revealed that this posturing fraud bitch Hillary has the lion’s share of the Arms Industry’s support. And now this mewling coward Reid is aping Pelosi’s statements about Stark. Meanwhile, all of these turncoat slimeballs are not fighting Bush’s efforts to giving the telecoms immunity. I will NEVER again vote a Democrat ticket.
    Fuck these people, they have completely and utterly sold us out.

    Reply

  10. Carroll says:

    Maybe at Margret’s next party they can play connect the dots.
    The Build Up To Iran Timeline
    By Larisa Alexandrovna and Muriel Kane
    The “Axis of Evil”
    September 2000
    The Project for the New American Century issues “Rebuilding America’s Defenses” as a blueprint for a potential Bush administration.
    (Members of PNAC who then joined the Bush administration include Richard Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Lewis “Scooter” Libby, Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle, and Richard Armitage.)
    PNAC (pdf)
    Cooperative Research
    December 9, 2001
    Michael Ledeen, consulting for the Department of Defense, along with DOD employees Harold Rhode and Larry Franklin, meet in Rome with Iran Contra arms dealer Manucher Ghorbanifar, and other Iranians.
    Ledeen, who is only present for one of the meetings, has told Raw Story that the meetings were authorized by then-Deputy National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley and then-National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice. He also stated that the meetings had to do with Iranian support for the opposition to US forces in Afghanistan.
    According to Ghorbanifar, however, the discussions involved regime change in Iran.
    Newsweek
    Early 2002
    Michael Ledeen and Morris Amitay form the Coalition for Democracy in Iran, which is supported by former CIA director James Woolsey, and leading neo-conservative Frank Gaffney, among others.
    Third World Traveler
    January 29, 2002
    Bush’s State of the Union Address includes Iraq, Iran, and North Korea in the “Axis of Evil.”
    White House
    February 2, 2002
    Time Magazine reports that Iran may have been helping Taliban and al-Qaeda members escape from Afghanistan. Iran denies it.
    Time Magazine
    CNN
    February 26, 2002
    Frm. Amb. Joseph Wilson visits Niger. According to a 2004 report by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, “The intelligence report also said that Niger’s former Minister for Energy and Mines [redacted]. Mai Manga, stated that there were no sales outside of International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) channels since the mid-1980s. He knew of no contracts signed between Niger and any rogue states for the sale of uranium.
    He said that an Iranian delegation was interested in purchasing 400 tons of yellowcake from Niger in 1998, but said that no contract was ever signed with Iran.”
    Washington Note
    Senate Report (pdf)
    August 5, 2002
    Steve Rosen of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) asks DOD employee A (possibly Doug Feith, then Undersecretary of Defense Policy, or Harold Rhode) for the name of someone with expertise on Iran and is directed to Larry Franklin.
    On August 15, Franklin begins a series of meetings with Naor Gilon, then political officer at the Israeli Embassy.
    By about that time, Condoleezza Rice and Stephen Hadley were aware that the FBI was carrying out a counterintelligence investigation of AIPAC.
    Franklin indictment
    Washington Post
    Mid-August 2002
    The National Council of Resistance of Iran (which considers itself an Iranian government in exile, and of which Mujahedin-E-Khalq or for short MEK, is the dominant member) holds a press conference in Washington and states that Iran has a secret nuclear facility at Natanz, due for completion in 2003.
    Global Security
    Council of Resistance of Iran v. State Department
    October 2002 – January 2003
    Iran conducting uranium laser enrichment experiments. (Note that this does not mean a WMD program.)
    Global Security
    February 10, 2003
    Iran acknowledges that it is building a nuclear energy facility at Natanz as part of a nuclear energy program.
    Global Security
    February 12, 2003
    Larry Franklin and DoD employee B meet with Rosen and Kieth Weissman of AIPAC for the first of a series of meetings concerning US policy towards Iran.
    Franklin indictment
    February 21, 2003
    IAEA inspectors (including El Baradei) visit Iran. They are shocked to find that the design of the centrifuges is of Pakistani origin. Pakistan is an ally of the United States in the War on Terror.
    Global Security
    February 24, 2003
    Neocon analyst Yossef Bodansky claims:
    “The Iranian clerical leaders have decided to actively undermine the US ability to consolidate a post-Saddam government in Baghdad. Iran has already begun implementing this policy, deploying proxy Shi’ite forces into Iraqi Kurdistan and modifying the deployment of Iran’s own Armed Forces.”
    Internet Archive (Global Information System)
    March 7, 2003
    Rep. Curt Weldon (R-PA) first hears about “Ali” (former Iranian minister Fereidoun Mahdavi), an associate of Manucher Gorbanifar. Some have suggested that the introductions are made via Michael Ledeen, although Ledeen and Weldon’s spokesperson have both denied the allegations.
    American Prospect
    March 20, 2003
    Invasion of Iraq.
    CNN
    April 15, 2003
    The US Army permits the Mujahedin-E-Khalq (MEK) in Iraq — militant Islamo-Maoist opponents of the government in Iran, officially considered terrorists by the US, and formerly supporters of Saddam’s regime — to keep their weapons.
    Raw Story
    April 25, 2003
    Curt Weldon meets with an “Ali” in Paris. Ali claims that Iranian intelligence had stolen enriched uranium from Iraq prior to the start of the war, smuggling it into Iran. But the CIA determines this to be a fabrication.
    Michael Ledeen has recounted a very similar story, which he also passed along to US intelligence. He denies Ghorbanifar is his source on this.
    Raw Story
    April 30, 2003
    Michael Ledeen tells the JINSA Policy Forum it’s time to focus on Iran.
    JINSA
    May 6, 2003
    Forum on “The Future of Iran” sponsored by the American Enterprise Institute, Hudson Institute, andFoundation for the Defense of Democracies and chaired by Meyrav Wurmser. Participants include Michael Ledeen and Morris Amitay.
    Wurmser’s husband, David, is the Middle East Advisor to VP Cheney.
    AEI
    May 10, 2003
    The MEK accept a formal cease-fire and are placed under a sort of protective custody by US special forces in Iraq.
    Global Security
    May 12, 2003
    Editorial by Neocon William Kristol in the Weekly Standard calls for regime change in Iran.
    Weekly Standard
    May 16, 2003
    US officials say the May 12 bombings in Saudi Arabia were carried out by al-Qaeda operatives who have taken refuge in Iran.
    CBS
    May 17, 2003
    The Forward reports that Neocons and warhawks in the administration have convinced Bush, Cheney, and the Pentagon of the need for regime change in Iran but the State Department remains opposed.
    It also states that the infamous Office of Special Plans is now gathering intelligence on Iran.
    Information Clearing House
    May 20, 2003
    Neocon Daniel Pipes promotes support for the MEK.
    Daniel Pipes
    June 3, 2003
    Larry Franklin and Naor Gilon meet to discuss a person (who may be Judith Miller), her thoughts on Iran’s nuclear program, and certain charity efforts, which may refer to Miller’s work with Rhode and Ahmed Chalabi on the Iraqi Jewish Archive.
    Franklin indictment
    June 2003
    (probably between June 6 and 12)
    Rhode and Ghorbanifar meet in Paris. According to the Jerusalem Post, the purpose of the meeting was to undermine any deal for Iran to hand over several high-ranking al-Qaeda members in exchange for the US either handing over MEK members and/or cutting off its support of MEK. More generally, the intent is to worsen US-Iran relations.
    Juan Cole
    Washington
    Monthly
    June 15, 2003
    George Bush endorses pro-democracy student demonstrations in Iran that have been going on for the previous five days.
    PBS
    June 16, 2003
    El Baradei calls on Iran to allow more intrusive inspections. Iran says its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes and accuses the US of stirring up the IAEA.
    PBS
    June 17, 2003
    French police arrest 165 MEK members at their headquarters near Paris. This comes in the context of both the ongoing student demonstrations and a conflict in the US administration between the Pentagon and the State Department over whether to form an alliance with MEK against the Iranian government.
    Eurasianet
    Raw Story
    July 6, 2003
    Joseph Wilson op-ed in the New York Times, “What I Didn’t Find in Africa.”
    Common Dreams
    July 10-13, 2003
    The IAEA holds technical discussions with Iran and asks for full transparency.
    Global Security
    July 14, 2003
    CIA covert officer, Valerie Plame Wilson is outed by Robert Novak in alleged retaliation for her husband’s criticism of the Bush administration.
    Plame-Wilson was working on an Iran project at the time of her outing. Later, in their book, Hubris – Michael Isikoff and David Corn – we would report that she was also working on Iraq WMD as well.
    Raw Story
    Crooks and Liars (MSNBC video)
    The Nation
    July 2003
    Israel warns the United States of a heightened insurgency to come in Iraq with support from Iran, but the US rejects Israeli urgings to seal the border. When the insurgency explodes in early August, the Israelis conclude the US is unwilling to confront Iran.
    New Yorker
    July 28, 2003
    Iran is reported to be holding several top al-Qaeda members.
    Monitor
    August 9-12, 2003
    IAEA team of technical experts in Iran to inspect sites.
    Global Security
    August 15, 2003
    Secretary Powell lists the National Council of Resistance of Iran as an alias of MEK, which the State Department still considers a terrorist organization, ordering its US offices closed and its assets frozen. The NCR charges that this is a part of the negotiations for Iran to turn over al-Qaeda operatives under its control and allow IAEA to inspect its nuclear sites.
    US Government
    MEK
    October 21, 2003
    Iran agrees to accept tougher IAEA inspections.
    CNN
    October 24, 2003
    Franklin and Naor Gilin speak on the phone about how work on the US policy towards Iran in which they have been interested seems to have stopped.
    Franklin indictment
    December 2003
    According to Seymour Hersh, by the end of 2003, the Israelis have concluded that the US is incapable of stabilizing Iraq. In response, they began training Kurdish commandos to run operations inside Kurdish areas of Syria and Iran and to spy on Iranian nuclear facilities. Israel is convinced that Iran is on the verge of developing nuclear weapons.
    New Yorker
    September 27, 2004
    President Bush tells Fox News talking head Bill O’Reilly that the US will never let Iran acquire nuclear weapons and that “all options are on the table.”
    FOX News
    October 2004
    According to former UN weapons inspector, Scott Ritter, the Pentagon presents George Bush at this time with a status report on its plans to have a viable military option for Iran in place by June 2005.
    PNAC Info
    January 6, 2005
    The Iran Freedom Support Act, supporting “a transition to democracy in Iran,” is introduced in the House of Representatives. It is introduced in the Senate on February 9.
    SourceWatch
    The Orator
    January 20, 2005
    Vice President Cheney states that Iran is “right at the top of the list” of global trouble spots and hints that Israel might strike to shut down its nuclear program.
    Washington Post
    January 2005
    The Iran Policy Committee is founded, with the objective of promoting regime change in Iran and with a membership dominated by Neocons and defense contractors. It is an active supporter of MEK.
    RightWeb
    Online Journal
    April 6, 2005
    The newly-formed Iran Human Rights and Democracy Caucus in the House of Representatives sponsors a briefing by the Iran Policy Committee promoting support for MEK. A similar briefing follows on May 10.
    RightWeb
    June 12, 2005
    Bomb blasts in the Iranian city of Ahwaz. According to Raw Story, MEK forces carried out these bombings in hopes of provoking a Sunni insurgency.
    BBC News
    Raw Story
    June 14, 2005
    Publication of Kenneth Timmerman’s Countdown to Crisis: The Coming Nuclear Showdown with Iran.
    Timmerman is a Neocon who has been pressing for confrontation with Iran ever since his formation of the Foundation for Democracy in Iran in 1995. He has been responsible for disseminating numerous stories intended to discredit the Iranian regime, many of which have quickly proved to be false.
    Amazon
    FDI
    June 20, 2005
    Scott Ritter reports that “the US war with Iran has already begun.” He says the US is using pilotless drones and also sending MEK members into Iranian territory as special operations forces.
    Raw Story, in a 2006 article, also reported on the use of MEK in Iran:
    “The Pentagon is bypassing official US intelligence channels and turning to a dangerous and unruly cast of characters in order to create strife in Iran in preparation for any possible attack, former and current intelligence officials say.
    “One of the operational assets being used by the Defense Department is a right-wing terrorist organization known as Mujahedeen-e Khalq (MEK), which is being “run” in two southern regional areas of Iran. They are Baluchistan, a Sunni stronghold, and Khuzestan, a Shia region where a series of recent attacks has left many dead and hundreds injured in the last three months.”
    CommonDreams
    Raw Story
    July 20, 2005
    Rep. Curt Weldon and House Intelligence Committee Chair Peter Hoekstra (R-MI) are reported to have met in Paris the previous week with Manucher Ghorbanifar’s associate, “Ali.”
    McClatchy
    August 2, 2005
    The Washington Post reports the leak of a new NIE on Iran assessing they are ten years away from having the ability to make nuclear weapons.
    Washington Post
    September 13, 2005
    The Washington Post reports that the Bush administration has been trying to convince allies that Iran is on a fast track to obtaining nuclear weapons, using a presentation at odds with the NIE.
    Washington Post
    December 19, 2005
    President Bush states that Iran cannot be allowed to have the capacity to enrich uranium because it “would lead to a weapons program.”
    White House
    early January 2006
    Plane carrying 11 top commanders of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards goes down near the Iraq border. Foul play is suspected, and Iran accuses the US and UK of bringing the plane down through electronic jamming.
    Asia Times
    mid-January 2006
    Kenneth Timmerman of the Foundation for Democracy in Iran tells Israeli radio he expects a pre-emptive strike on Iran by Israel within 60 days.
    Asia Times
    January 19, 2006
    A pro-MEK rally in Washington is endorsed by Representatives Tom Tancredo (R-CO),Bob Filner (D-CA), and other members of Congress.
    RightWeb
    February 4, 2006
    The IAEA votes to report Iran to the Security Council, a step potentially leading to UN sanctions.
    CBC
    February 2006
    Condoleezza Rice asks Congress for an extra $75 million to promote democracy and assist dissidents in Iran, much of it to go to the Voice of America.
    Information Clearing House
    March 2006
    An attack said to have been carried out by MEK kills 22 Iranian officials.
    Raw Story
    March 2006
    The State Department creates an Office of Iranian Affairs, while the Pentagon creates an Iranian Directorate, on orders from Vice President Cheney, thereby undercutting Negroponte’s role as Director of National Intelligence.
    The Iranian Directorate appears to be equivalent to the Office of Special Plans that is said to have played a central role in fixing the pre-war Iraq intelligence.
    Information Clearing House
    Raw Story
    Raw Story
    March-April 2006
    The US begins a hard push for a UN resolution that could pave the way for military action against Iran.
    Raw Story
    April 9, 2006
    The Washington Post reports that “the Bush administration is studying options for military strikes against Iran.”
    Washington Post
    April 17, 2006
    Seymour Hersh reports that “the Bush Administration, while publicly advocating diplomacy in order to stop Iran from pursuing a nuclear weapon, has increased clandestine activities inside Iran and intensified planning for a possible major air attack.” He indicates that the nuclear option is on the table.
    According to Hersh, teams of US combat troops are already operating under cover within Iran, in concert with Kurds, Azeris, and Baluchs. Six months later, he will add that about this time, the US and Israel began working together to support incursions into Iranian territory by the Kurdish rebel groups, Party for Free Life in Kurdistan (PJAK). Because these operations are carried out by military special forces and not the CIA, the administration is not required to brief Congress.
    New Yorker
    TruthOut
    April 20, 2006
    Raw Story reports that President Cheney and the Department of Defense have put Manucher Ghorbanifar back on the payroll as an intelligence asset — with approval from Rep. Pete Hoekstra, chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence — as part of an attempt to squelch any possible diplomatic resolution with Iran.
    Raw Story
    April 21, 2006
    May 11, 2006
    Raw Story reports that military assets are beginning to be put in place for an air strike against Iran. The key assets could be in place by June, according to the report. (However, by June tensions appear to have eased for a time.)
    Raw Story
    late spring or early summer 2006
    Rep. Peter Hoekstra travels to Paris to meet for a second time with Manucher Ghorbanifar’s associate “Ali.”
    Raw Story
    July 14, 2006
    Israeli incursion into Lebanon, initiating the 2006 Israeli-Lebanese War.
    Herald Tribune
    August 6, 2006
    The Sunday Times alleges that Iran has been plotting to obtain large amounts of uranium from the African nation of Congo.
    Sunday Times
    August 14, 2006
    Seymour Hersh reports that the US is watching the Israeli campaign against Lebanon as a possible prelude to an attack on Iran’s nuclear installations.
    New Yorker
    August 23, 2006
    The House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence
    Subcommittee on Intelligence Policy, chaired by Rep. Pete Hoekstra, releases a report “Recognizing Iran as a Strategic Threat.”
    Based on unsubstantiated public sources, it is widely considered to be a transparent attempt to force a conclusion that Iran is an active threat to the United States. Some of the information is believed to have been obtained during Hoekstra’s earlier meetings with Ghorbanifar.
    PDA of report
    Juan Cole
    Ray McGovern
    September 14, 2006
    The IAEA says that the Hoekstra report contains “erroneous, misleading and unsubstantiated information.”
    McClatchy
    September 17, 2006
    Time Magazine reports that the Navy is deploying minesweepers to the Persian Gulf and is studying the possibility of blockading Iranian oil ports.
    Time
    September 21, 2006
    Raw Story reports that the Pentagon has moved to second-stage contingency planning for a possible military strike against Iran and is prepping for deployment of naval carriers.
    Raw Story
    September 30, 2006
    The Iran Freedom Support Act is signed into law.
    White House
    early fall 2006
    According to Seymour Hersh, a CIA assessment based on high-tech monitoring finds no evidence of an Iranian nuclear weapons program. The White House dismisses the findings but is concerned that they might be incorporated into a forthcoming National Intelligence Estimate.
    TruthOut
    October 1, 2006
    The Sunday Times reports that Director of National Intelligence Negroponte has cautioned President Bush against the use of force with regard to Iran.
    Sunday Times
    October 1, 2006
    It becomes apparent that the US is building up its naval forces in the Persian Gulf region. Pentagon officials confirm such a buildup on December 19.
    Global Research
    CNN
    November 2006
    Joshua Muravchik (a co-founder in 1995 of the Foundation for Democracy in Iran) writes, “Make no mistake: President Bush will need to bomb Iran’s nuclear facilities before leaving office,” and adds that his fellow Neocons “need to pave the way intellectually now and be prepared to defend the action when it comes.”
    TruthOut
    November 13, 2006
    Laura Rozen reports on the formation of the Iran Enterprise Institute, dedicated to regime change and led by an Iranian exile with dubious credentials.
    American Prospect
    January 9, 2007
    The US imposes sanctions on a major Iranian bank.
    MSNBC
    January 10, 2007
    Speech by George W. Bush announcing a “surge” of troops in Iraq which also states:
    “Iran is providing material support for attacks on American troops. We will disrupt the attacks on our forces. We will interrupt the flow of support from Iran and Syria, and we will seek out and destroy the networks providing advanced weaponry and training to our enemies in Iraq.”
    Radio Free Europe
    January 11, 2007
    The US raids an Iranian diplomatic mission in northern Iran and detains five staff members.
    MSNBC
    4 October 2007 |
    Further steps in the lead-up to the war with Iran
    The Bush Administration says it wants to solve the situation with Iran diplomatically. But events point to the possibility that the U.S. could provoke an incident in order to then be able to intervene militarily.

    Reply

  11. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Oh my.
    “Useless meatsacks” indeed.
    I hate to be a shameless plagarist, but that very descriptive phrase just might become a regular addition to my vocabulary. I’ll have to think about it though, for the term “monsters” still seems so much more apropos. Its truly a shame we can’t ship them to main street Bagdad for a month or so, and let them live the fruits of their intellectual exercises. Or better yet, give them an hourly waterboarding for a week or so, so they can make an educated conclusion as to whether or not we are actually torturing people. Or, perhaps, just stacking them naked in the halls of Congress while some leering pervert like Lyndie England holds their leashes might do the trick in dampening some of their enthusiasm for power. Then again, judging from the conduct of many of these people, we might actually be doing them a favor by subjecting them to Lyndie’s perverse attentions.

    Reply

  12. Carroll says:

    From Cole:
    Danny Postel on how the Neoconservatives are big supporters of the terrorist MEK [Mojahedin-e Khalq] organization that has blown up lots of people in Iran and has now been adopted by the US Pentagon. It is almost certainly a major source, along with some Kurdish groups, of the false information on Iran continually spewed by US generals in Iraq. I.e., just as the Neoconservatives ‘ran’ Chalabi to mislead the US government, so now they are running the MEK for the same purpose. My country is run by a congeries of Cults
    Story on the MEK terrorist group:
    http://commonsense.ourfuture.org/terrorism_awareness_indeed
    Terrorism Awareness Indeed
    “During the week of October 22-26, an official announcement effuses, “The nation will be rocked by the biggest conservative campus protest ever – Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week, a wake-up call for Americans on 200 university and college campuses.” Ringmastered by David Horowitz, this circus will be performing under the tent of something called the “Terrorism Awareness Project.”
    The purpose of this ballyhoolooza, we are told, is to confront the “Big Lies” of the Left regarding terrorism and militant Islam. Worthy subjects, to be sure. Indeed I would like to help the sponsors of the “wake-up call” promote awareness of them. Toward this end, let’s consider the American Right’s “special relationship” with one group of terrorists.
    The U.S. State Department officially considers the Mujahedeen-e Khalq (MEK) a Foreign Terrorist Organization. While those honors date back to 1994, they’ve been renewed during the Bush years. Indeed in 2003 Foggy Bottom went further, including the National Council of Resistance of Iran — an MEK alias — under the terrorist designation. (The MEK is also known as the People’s Mujahedeen.)
    To make a long and bizarre story short, the MEK got its start in early 1960s Iran, helped overthrow the Shah in 1979, but quickly turned on the revolutionary government it helped bring to power. Employing an ideological blend of Stalinism and Islamism, the tactics of a paramilitary guerilla faction, and the organizational structure of a cult, the group went into exile, eventually making their home in Iraq in the mid-1980s. Not only did Saddam give the organization cover: he armed, funded, and utilized them for a variety of ends over two decades.
    Here you have virtually everything the Right claims to oppose all rolled into one: Islamism, Marxism, terrorism, and Saddam. Naturally, then, neoconservatives would utterly deplore the MEK and everything it stands for, right? The MEK would in fact make an ideal target for Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week and Terrorism Awareness efforts, no?
    Well, no. At least one of the carnival’s acts, it turns out, is rather fond of the Islamo-Stalinist-terrorist cult group, and has repeatedly argued for the removal of the MEK from the State Department’s list of terrorist groups and indeed urged the U.S. government to embrace it. Daniel Pipes, who will be speaking at Tufts on October 24th as part of the Horowitz high jinks, has made the MEK a recurring theme in his writings going back several years: here, here, and here.
    Pipes has also gone to bat for the MEK right in the pages of Horowitz’s house organ.
    But Pipes is far from alone on the Right in championing the MEK. He co-authored the first piece linked to above with Patrick Clawson of the right-wing Washington Institute for Near East Policy. Right-wing commentator Max Boot has argued not merely for the removal of the MEK from the terrorist list but for funding and unleashing it to do battle with Iranian forces — this while casually acknowledging that it is a “political cult.” (More on Boot’s disfigured views here.)
    In some cases the MEK plays a stealth role in the media machinery of the American Right. What the FOX News Channel tells viewers about Alireza Jafarzadeh when he appears on its airwaves is that he is an “FNC Foreign Affairs Analyst.” What you have to go to the FOX News website to discover, however, is that Jafarzadeh served “for a dozen years as the chief congressional liaison and media spokesman for the U.S. representative office of Iran’s parliament in exile, the National Council of Resistance of Iran.” But it is scarcely known that the sonorous-sounding National Council of Resistance of Iran is in fact a front name for the MEK.
    Now, it’s true that Jafarzadeh discontinued his post with the National Council of Resistance of Iran—but only when (and only because) its Washington office was forced to close in 2003 as a result of the State Department decision about it being a front for the MEK. It’s not like he had a change of heart.
    If you attend an “Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week” event, you might want to ask the speakers about this terrorist cult and whether they condemn it. Some of them might — not all neoconservatives agree on the MEK. (See here and here for examples of right-wing criticism of the outfit — though the lines of argumentation are sometimes bizarrely convoluted.)
    But the fact that several prominent American conservatives have cozied up to an Islamist-Stalinist cult that was on Saddam’s payroll and the State Department considers a terrorist organization — this raises serious questions (to put it mildly) about the Right’s bedfellows and the calculus that determines them.
    It suggests the need for a little more terrorism awareness.
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    I want to know why Horowitz, Clawson, Boot , Pipes and the rest of these freaks..”The pro-MEK rally was endorsed by two U.S. Senators: Tom Coburn (R-OK) and Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX), and by four individual congressional representatives: Christopher Shays (R-CT), Ed Towns (D-NY), Bob Filner (D-CA), and Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX)…… have not been arrested for supporting a terrorist group.
    I think a letter to the FBI asking why is in order. Politicans should be subject to the same treatment John Doe would get for rallying to support an officially US listed terrorist group.

    Reply

  13. susan says:

    As always, Charles Pierce gets it right:
    http://mediamatters.org/altercation/
    “…with all due respect to brother Clemons, but I’d rather be strung up in a shipping crate at Bagram than sit through this gathering of useless meatsacks.”
    (Clicking on the word “meatsacks” links the reader to this post.)

    Reply

  14. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Gee, I bet Krongard is a completely different person when he’s hobnobbing with the Washington elite, a Whiskey Sour in his hand, and his pant’s crotch stuffed with socks.
    I was just thinking about the first Gulf War, the sanctions, and this current criminal clusterfuck. How many people do you think have died as a result of the last sixteen years of our treatment of Iraq? Two million? Three? Five? We’ll never know. How many are yet to die? How many will die from generations of DU exposure?
    Any moral person, of even moderate intelligence, should be demanding the impeachment, indictment, prosecution, and execution of our current leadership, and very probably the leadership of AT LEAST the last two Executive Administrations.
    Instead, we see the leadership, and the elite, such as the abominable perversions of humanity described above, throwing cute little afternoon soirees and evening cocktail parties, completely oblivious to the horrendous human suffering going on so we can fuel our SUVs and charge the batteries on our pink plastic Chinese dildoes.
    History will not be kind to 20th century America. And, undoubtedly, the chapter on 21st century America is going to be a very short one.
    http://www.antiwar.com/orig/hallinan.php?articleid=11776

    Reply

  15. Carroll says:

    MEET HOWARD KRONGARD, your State Dept Inspector General, currently being investigated by the FBI for threatening whistleblowers in his office for spilling the beans about the fraud and corruption in Iraq.
    GLENN KESSLER, WASHINGTON POST – The son and daughter-in-law of State Department Inspector General Howard J. Krongard have asked a judge to issue a restraining order forcing him to stop sending “unprofessional and highly offensive” e-mails that suggested the family would be put “on the street” if they lost a lawsuit Krongard has filed against them, according to documents filed last week in a New Jersey court. The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform is investigating whether Krongard, a lawyer who was general counsel of Deloitte and Touche, thwarted politically embarrassing inquiries into contractor fraud and treated subordinates poorly. . .
    Krongard filed suit last year against his son, Kenneth W. Krongard, and his daughter-in-law, Kristin, over a home loan that he said they had defaulted on. They paid back the full loan — then totaling about $320,000 — within weeks of his suit being filed. But Krongard has demanded hundreds of thousands of dollars in additional interest and penalties and a full repayment of his legal fees. One of the exhibits on file in the case show that Krongard has claimed he has already been billed nearly $114,000 in legal fees. . .
    In Krongard’s e-mails included in last week’s filing, he repeatedly berates his son, including denigrating his choice of lawyer. “As much as you despise me, do you really want to bet your family’s future ON Barry Donohue and AGAINST me?” he asked on Aug. 12, referring to the lawyer.
    On Aug. 9, in urging his son accept a settlement, Krongard wrote, “If you are willing to put your wife and children’s future in jeopardy, that’s your business.”. . .
    In another e-mail Sept. 1, Krongard insisted he was “not the psychotic threat to [his grandchildren] that Kristin chooses to claim.”

    Reply

  16. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Gads Steve, it seems your expedition into Gopher Gotham hasn’t exactly ingratiated you to your readers.
    Trust me, invest in an elephant gun, and the comments will surely improve, both in tone, and in appreciation.

    Reply

  17. Kathleen says:

    John H, thanks for that info on John Adams. I wanted Russ Feingold for President, but he chose not to run, so I’m hoping someone chooses him for VEEP, then. It could happen and would make a Presidential run easier for him, next time around.
    Do you suppose this party is the sort of party where supposedly Valerie Plame’s work at the CIA was bandied about? Just asking.

    Reply

  18. cben says:

    The fact that you think this is a “hip” bunch speaks volumes. I wonder if they thought they were hip when they were in high school, or if they were, instead, the kids at the back of the room at the Friday night after-the-game dance.
    “Hip,” indeed! Rubbing elbows with the powerful and seeing yourself on television does not make you “hip,” it just makes you think so. Self-importance is why so many pundits are so surprised when their self-described nuggets of conventional wisdom turn out to be both unconventional and unwise.
    Let each of them go back to a small town paper and cover a school board meeting or a zoning hearing, then talk to the people in attendance. You might get a completely different perspective on what’s important to most of the voters out there, as opposed to what’s important to the punditocracy.
    Stop preening, stop prognosticating, and get back to the business of reporting.

    Reply

  19. Nan says:

    Robert Morrow,
    “All Rudy is is Hillary in drag without the criminality.”
    What “criminality”?
    The one the Starr Chamber couldn’t find after spending $100 million on the biggest witchunt since Salem?

    Reply

  20. Nan says:

    I can’t stand Margaret Carlson. She is symbol of everything that is wrong with the Washington journalism establishment. She is positioning herself as the female David Broder, sort of taking over from retiring Cokie Roberts. Someone who has absolutely nothing to say about anything but serves as a conveyor belt for DC conventional wisdom. Her only loyalty seems to be to the System, which she owes her power and position to.

    Reply

  21. Linda says:

    I’m not the Linda above and pretty much agree about this kind of blog, both pro and con, about what the pundits are doing.
    Steve, I hope you are doing well with dental recovery. You didn’t answer the pressing question that I asked off-line.
    I want to know if they actually cooked the dinner or was it catered? It had to be better than the kosher rubber chicken you’d have had at JINSA.

    Reply

  22. BN says:

    Steve, I am a fan of your blog and will continue to visit regularly

    Reply

  23. moot23 says:

    Wow! Please stop posting while drunk and/or high. You’re not good at it.

    Reply

  24. TomT says:

    This post is pretty embarrassing. I’m a big fan of your work, so I can only guess that the tone of this just came out wrong.
    Happens to the best of us.

    Reply

  25. John says:

    Kathleen writes that Russ Feingold (whom I greatly admire) would make an excellent VP because he could be the first one to preside over the Senate on a daily basis. John Adams did this when he was Washington’s VP. He took the job seriously, but also complained that it was essentially a throwaway position. All that aside, it would be nice to live in a society where Feingold could actually be a candidate for Pres!

    Reply

  26. John says:

    Kathleen writes that Russ Feingold (whom I greatly admire) would make an excellent VP because he could be the first one to preside over the Senate on a daily basis. John Adams did this when he was Washington’s VP. He took the job seriously, but also complained that it was essentially a throwaway position. All that aside, it would be nice to live in a society where Feingold could actually be a candidate for Pres!

    Reply

  27. Carroll says:

    BTW
    Here is the letter to Bush on the Isr-Pal conference by NAF and others Steve said he would post but evidently forgot to
    ‘BECAUSE FAILURE RISKS DEVASTATING CONSEQUENCES, IT IS CRITICALLY IMPORTANT THAT THE MIDDLE EAST PEACE CONFERENCE SUCCEED.’
    The following letter on the Middle East peace conference scheduled for Annapolis, Maryland in late November, was addressed by its signatories to President George W. Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. The statement is a joint initiative of the U.S./Middle East Project, Inc., the International Crisis Group, and the New America Foundation/American Strategy Program
    The full text follows:
    http://www.prospectsforpeace.com/2007/10/bipartisan_foreign_policy_lead.html
    However now that Isr has bombed or said they bombed, nuke or chemical or nothing at all facilities, (who the hell knows when it comes from the Israelis) Syria may or may not show up at the peace conference. I guess that was the point of the bombing.

    Reply

  28. Joe says:

    I can’t stand Margaret Carlson. She sucks. Not only wouldn’t I party with her, I wouldn’t even shake her hand. Not even if I was paid.

    Reply

  29. Upper West says:

    I agree with B.N., Chesire 111 et al. The breathless tone of the post really put me off, especially since I’m a real fan of your policy analysis.
    Did you ask any of them how they feel about FISA Telecom immunity? I’d bet most have no problem with that desecration.
    Steve, a tsunami is brewing out here, and that party reeks of Versailles. (Mixed, but apt, I hope.)

    Reply

  30. downtown says:

    Not having Bob Bennett’s support is addition by subtraction. What a slime bag family.

    Reply

  31. Pinko Punko says:

    Steve,
    You do a lot of nice work, but if you don’t get why this is sad, and this world you happen to inhabit and enjoy (wouldn’t it be nice if we could join you) is a cancer on the American political front. It is just sad. That said, I haven’t been reading lately, but I hope you have endorsed Hillary because from day one it really has seemed like you are in her bag. I’m only saying this because you seem genuine on a lot of topics but quite oily at times when dealing with the Presidential race. I apologize if my honest is offensive.

    Reply

  32. Carroll says:

    Posted by Chesire111 at October 18, 2007 01:09 PM
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    DITTO.
    It’s even more than obnoxious. I don’t know how to describe it. It’s like the royal courts of old where the court jesters and elite groupies feasted and got drunk with the King-Queen while the rabble outside starved and died.
    They don’t see themselves for what they are but the rest of us do.

    Reply

  33. Kathleen says:

    Chesire111, hmmmmm, too true for comfort. Maybe Steve should ask Margaret what she thinks about wounded Vets having to pay for their meals while they’re in the hospital???

    Reply

  34. Chesire111 says:

    I suppose what I find most obnoxious about the beltway pundits, whether I agree with them or not, whether they are liberal or conservative, is their propensity to treat everything as an amusing parlour game. They gossip about matters of war and peace without apparent regard for the consequences of either course. Being seen to make clever comments and prescient predictions appears to matter more to them than serious consideration of whether a policy is practical or beneficial.
    They treated the run up to the war in exactly this manner. Those who questioned the need to invade Iraq or the consequences were ostracized from the debate. Only those who waxed rhapsodic about Bush’s steely resolve and manly swagger were taken seriously. Four and a half years later, thousands of American soldiers and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis are dead with no end in sight and still the shamelessly vapid gossip flows unabated
    Kids are being made into orphans, soldiers being rendered lifeless or limbless in service of the clueless, but Barack Obama won’t wear a tacky pin on his lapel (Quelle horreur!”) and Margaret Carlson throws fabulous parties.
    Swell!

    Reply

  35. pauline says:

    poa,
    You know, one time when I was glancing at the DC gossip rags, I remember reading (over 7 years ago) that Margaret C was “dating” Fred Thompson, who at that time was considered a strong candidate for VP. (And he supposedly was simultaneously involved with another woman at the same time.) The Senator’s VP chances, mentioned fairly often in the gossip columns back in 2000, were apparently hurt by his liaison with the “too liberal” Ms. Carlson.
    We all know the result. “Bad aim” dick did all his dirty work from inside the WH. And Thompson these days sounds weak and lost on his campaign path (not big enought to be a trail) without displaying any real fire in his belly. Too bad Margaret was so challenging.

    Reply

  36. Carroll says:

    I don’t think it matters what the pundits say or think..it’s all the same old circle and people and system.
    It’s much more enlightening to watch what the rest of the world is doing and saying in relation to the US, that’s where the action is:
    ** Iraq will award Iran and China a $1.1 bn. contract to build two enormous electricity generating plants, says the NYT
    ** The joint statement of President Putin and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad include a joint call for a timetable to be set for the withdrawal of US troops from Iraq; Russian investment in the Iranian energy sector (which the US opposes and says it would punish by boycotts); further consultations between Iran and the Shanghai Cooperation Council; and a peaceable resolution of the dispute over Iran’s nuclear energy research program.
    Text of the joint statement is at:
    http://www.juancole.com/
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    Trick or treat time is over, truth and consequences begin…the world is moving on.

    Reply

  37. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Who the hell cares if so and so has a zit on her surgically altered nose when Monkey Boy and his minions are murdering Muslims at an exponential rate?

    Reply

  38. DonS says:

    Having lived in DC during the 60′ and 70’s, and now a firmly converted provincial, still on occasion I imagine myself wrapped in the city ambiance (after the horribleness of Summer), almost able to forget that the world is suffering because of its political denizens and their enablers.
    Of course I could never afford to buy back in to that lovely Capitol Hill town house I owned!

    Reply

  39. Bill Camarda says:

    You’re, of course, in an interesting position. You are becoming one of the nation’s higher profile conduits between the Washington mainstream establishment and the disempowered citizens who make the country work (to the extent that it does). While emotionally I find myself completely agreeing with Hank Essay that these folks have become “an actively destructive force in this country,” I can’t deny that posts like these are at least somewhat edifying.
    But it goes both ways. Now I ask of you something that is difficult, perhaps impossible, but nevertheless necessary: as you share with us what delightful hosts these folks are, have you found a way to share with THEM how much the rest of us detest them — and, more to the point, WHY?

    Reply

  40. Robert Morrow says:

    I like all the posts on social events. I think it is a nice break to the blog and you complainers can learn a lot if you will just pay attention. If you don’t like weimaraners or social circuit updates, then go read another web page, perhaps Foreign Affairs. You’ll probably be suicidal after about 15 page loads.
    I learn a lot from today’s social update. I learned that the Washington establishment has totally written off Obambi. That tells me folks in Iowa and NH, who are NOT DC Establishment, just might want to pull a surprise in the caucuses or primaries if for no other reason than to upset the apple cart. Obambi has plenty of money and organization in Iowa to do. All he needs is a catalyst.
    My goal this election cycle is to keep Hillary, Guiliani and McCain out of the White House. If that happens, I will have to call it a success. 1 down, 2 to go. I told the readers of this blog months ago that there was no way in hell the Republicans were going to nominate that thorn in the base McCain.
    I feel the same way about Rudy Julie Annie. All Rudy is is Hillary in drag without the criminality. Don’t worry, we are not going to nominate that joker: gun control, pro abortion, pro gay rights, whatever that is. He is also for the Trans Texas Corridor which is VERY unpopular down here on the range in Texas.
    Mitt Romney is best positioned to be Repub nominee. Huckabee could very well win Iowa or South Carolina. Fred Thompson is a jug-headed idiot who stands for nothing and is only running because his wife wants him to. With James Carville’s wife running his campaign, Thompson is totally suspect. He is also soft on the Clintons as is Newt Gingrich who couldn’t keep his pants up in the 1990’s either.
    Romney and Thompson both scare me because they both will roll over, die, and let the Wicked Witch of the West accept her coronation. Guiliani will fight Hillary, but the problem is Guiliani IS Hillary.
    Ron Paul has a LOCK on the independent voter and independent voters decide elections. If the Republicans don’t nominate Ron Paul, I am afraid the 2008 campaign will be a potential disaster.

    Reply

  41. Hank Essay says:

    Steve,
    Feel free to post missives about life inside the Beltway, but please understand that there are many (including this former DC resident) who are simply disgusted with what the go-along/get-along Beltway culture has wrought on our civic life and, now, the global stage. Many of us are repulsed and sickened by people like Margaret Carlson and consider her (and her cohorts) to be an actively destructive force in this country.
    I was pretty sickened to read this post, as I believed you were above such nonsense. You really can do better and it is your reader’s job—people like me—to call you on it.

    Reply

  42. linda says:

    next time you see maggie, please ask if she regrets her complicity in the effort to destroy al gore. the daily howler has some most excellent carlson quotes of her delight in that regard, if you need a refresher.

    Reply

  43. Chuck Dupree says:

    Steve, holy crap, what took three and a half hours? For me, they’re talking about five extractions and three implants, which they estimated at around an hour and a half. Is my dentist grotesquely overoptimistic, or what? And what’s up with the advil? You don’t even get vicodin? I realize it’s probably the 800mg ibuprofins, but still.
    As for the gossip-column point, I think it’s valuable to be reminded of how personal the civic and communal really are, at base. Plus, if you’re fresh out of surgery, you’re not ready to concentrate your intellect on weighty matters; they’ve already given me two 5mg valiums to take two hours before I arrive…
    At this moment it seems there’s a very real chance that war-weary couch warriors will choose two warriors if they’re on offer. Clinton/Clark would be a strong Republican ticket; Greenspan/Mitchell would love them, for example. They’d attract the McCain vote and some of the Giuliani vote, plus the DLC wing of the Democratic party. Of course Clinton will also activate a section of the Republican base that would be partially dormant otherwise; but Clark would reduce that impact somewhat.
    One of my remaining hopes is that in such a case the Democratic wing of the Democratic party would bolt. As long as “progressives”, or whatever FDR-style Democrats call themselves, buckle to whatever compromises the DLC makes money on, the country will continue to move to the right, and civil liberties will continue to drain away

    Reply

  44. Chesire111 says:

    I can understand the need for a member of the new media to maintain cordial relations with members of the broadcast and print media (especially when living and working in a town as incestuous as DC) but I, for one, value your blog for it’s focus on policy and policy-makers, not the casual commentary of people whose semi-informed views already enjoy too much exposure. (I don’t care for Margaret Carlson’s sober analysis, so why would I care what she has to say after she’s had a few drinks?)
    Those of us in the provinces already know what the inside the beltway pundits think (they are the ones hogging the megaphones, after all!) The challenge is not to inform the provinces of what the pundits think, but first to inform us of what the experts say and pundits won’t share, then to convey to decision makers what we poor benighted provincials think. The whole virtue of blogs, as I see them, is their potential to facilitate just such a democratic flow of information. I hate to see it undermined by too much fraternization with the “information autocrats” of the media establishment.
    I greatly enjoy The Washington Note and the attention it focuses on serious policy discussion and analysis. It’s your blog and you do a great job with it, but for what it’s worth, I just hope not to see to much or too laudatory coverage of pundits on the DC cocktail circuit.

    Reply

  45. velvet says:

    YES to Wes for heaven’s sake 🙂

    Reply

  46. Kathleen says:

    Wouldn’t Judith and Maragret be “hostesses”, not “hosts”?
    I think every name mentioned for VEEP is a big DUD.
    When Senator Russ Feingold announced his decision to not run for Prez, he said he wanted to get somethings accomplished in the Senate.
    Were he the candidate for VEEP, he would be President of the Senate and could be the first VEEP to fully develope that dual role of the VEEP’s office by presiding every day, instead of just when there was a tie vote. He would provide an exellent link between the Executive and Legislative Branches, a link which I think our Founding Fathers intended. Then we’d see some things get done, for sure. Feingold is a leader and an ethical man and would keep the left from bolting, not to mention, really keep hope alive. Mine is on its death bed and I expect Busholini to pull the plug any day now.
    I’ve said this before here and couldn’t help smiling to myself back when Darth said he wasn’t part of the Executive because he was President of the Senate. Nice try, Darth but the roles are not mutually exclusive. You hang either way.

    Reply

  47. Ben Cronin says:

    As someone in the provinces, I like to know what the people in the Capital are thinking. So thanks for that, Steve.
    Also, don’t count Obama out yet.

    Reply

  48. Steve Clemons says:

    B.N. — sorry to hear, but I live in Dupont Circle and get invited to these things. They may not be for you — but many folks out there would like to know what is going on here in DC and what they are saying. I don’t pretend to know the outside-the-beltway sentiment, but I do regret you are disappointed. This was a society in DC commentary –and I’m going to do it ever so often….it’s valuable to some folks.
    Thanks for registering your objection,
    Steve

    Reply

  49. Sandy says:

    I thought Margaret Carlson used to be in love with Fred Thompson?
    I do miss the Capital Gang…..even if it was Bob Novak’s idea.

    Reply

  50. rollingmyeyes says:

    Clark? Never! After all, he WON his war, without killing a single American in combat! You can’t be a hero without being in combat. The slime machine would be all over that.
    About the party–just remember, they put on their pantsuits one leg at a time! Don’t let the serious people here whine, demanding you always should have a long, serious face. They should deal with it. Yeah, I just had my first post put in. Ouch!

    Reply

  51. dan says:

    Richardson won’t be a VP candidate b/c of his “women” problem so forget about him. I think General Clark is the one if Hillary wins the nod.

    Reply

  52. B.N. says:

    One of the few times, I am disappointed reading your blog–sounds like a society/gossip column.

    Reply

  53. Heidi Williams says:

    Just one comment: Most of us erstwhile, used-to-was Republican (aka Now Independent nee Republican) Iowans would also fall silent at the mention of Vilsack as vice presidential nominee. In these perilous times, what does the guy bring to the table of national governance? Hillary will be a bitter enough pill to swallow for many Iowans. I don’t see how the citizens here who regard her as Lady Macbeth could manage to swallow their bile and vote for her with Banquo’s ghost as a running mate. About the only thing we could hang our hats on with her is that she would possibly present competent governance (in comparison with the current exemplar of compentence’s opposite). I’m afraid that small hook would be ripped from the sheetrock with Vilsack’s candidacy. (You’ll notice we were somewhat less than exhilarated with his early presidential bid).

    Reply

  54. Edward Haley says:

    Sorry, Steve. If I had a chance to sit around with that bunch and listen to their prognostications, I would need a lot of margaritas and I’m not sure that would do it. For one thing Margaret Carlson lost my vote when she giggled about how she and the press had really enjoyed demolishing Gore at every opportunity. As to the rest of the guests, well I guess after 3 1/2 hours of oral surgery everything takes on a peculiar glow.

    Reply

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