Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Ladies and Gentlemen, We Have a Plan

ANOTHER MAJOR SPEECH, another big sign behind Bush. Is it just us or does it seem like the messages on these signs are in the wrong order? Take a look.

This famous one from May 2003

Then this from October 2005

And this from earlier today

Normally, wouldn't it go like this: you have a plan; then develop a strategy; then accomplish the mission? Who is the genius running the communications strategy for this president? What's next, a speech in front of a sign that reads, "Hey, turns out we have some troops in Iraq"?

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

More Crapp from Cropp

THE FATE OF the Washington Nationals may not be a national story, but Just Inside the Beltway needs to chime in and say: Linda Cropp, the Chair of the DC City Council, is full of crap.

Last year at this time Cropp orchestrated a campaign to get a better deal from Major League Baseball that nearly derailed the move of the Montreal Expos to Washington. Now, one year later, she is threatening to back out on an agreement that SHE AND THE COUNCIL APPROVED because she fears it will cost DC taxpayers too much. Monday, during an all day hearing on the stadium deal, she said, "If it's over, then let it be over. It is time to cut our losses."

We think it's time to note a couple of things:

1) Linda Cropp is running for Mayor and her stance on the issue screams politics.

  • Last December she claimed "baseball is dead" in DC.
  • Later that month she voted in favor of a deal to bring the team to Washington. A deal which included a large amount of private financing for a new stadium to be built along the SE waterfront. (Let's leave aside, for the moment, the fact that municipalities can get much lower interest rates on loans than can private borrowers -- thus helping keep the overall costs down).
  • In January she wore her Nats cap and officially welcomed baseball to DC, cheering wildly the whole time.
  • In April she attended the home opener for the Nats, a 5-3 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks.
  • Earlier this summer (in her Mayoral candidacy announcement) she boasted, "Many people told me that I shouldn't take on the baseball league. But I did."
  • This month she argued in favor of a plan that would put the stadium on the grounds of RFK -- a direct violation of the agreement she helped broker with MLB last year.
  • Yesterday: "It's time to cut our losses."

We understand that politicians like to have it both ways, but this is rediculous.

2) Linda Cropp and her mates on the Council oversee a government that throws money away by the millions and has no idea how it is being spent -- as a new series of reports in the Washington Post highlighted in a series of stories earlier this week. Now she's fretting over a $20 million overlay that will more than pay for itself in the long term by way of corporate investment and community revitalization. Investors are already pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into the area.

3) JIB understands that the current deal with baseball is not a great one for DC. But one year of baseball in DC should help detractors see the benefits that baseball will bring. Not only was the team profitable last year (in a bad ball park), the potential for economic revival in an area of town that desperately needs it is a critical part of the equation. 10 years ago the Gallery Place/Chinatown part of DC was full of vacant buildings and crack houses. Now it is a thriving part of town with residential, retail, and commercial spaces booming. Why? In large part it is due to the vision of Abe Pollin, the owner of the Washington Wizards and then-owner of the Washington Capitals who stuck to his guns (despite heavy resistance from -- guess who -- the DC City Countil) and built the MCI Center on the corner of 7th and G Streets. Granted, he used his own money to build the arena, but the economic boom to the area has been enormous. A ballpark on the waterfront could have MCI Center-like results. How about a ballpark at RFK? Not a chance!

Much more in today's Post, including a great column by Marc Fisher. [Wash Post]

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

No Brad & Angelina for DC

IF DC RESIDENTS were hoping to have Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie as neighbors, it appears they are going to be disappointed. Folks (and by folks I mean 3 or 4 people) in the Capital were buzzing over internet reports that Brad and Angelina were walking around the Kalorama area with a real estate agent. Turns out, there were just "admiring the architecure." What a shame. Those of us linving inside the Beltway love power couples, but we're growing a bit tired of the middle-aged, often unattractive political power couples that pop up at Morton's or the Palm for dinner. Brad and Angelina would be a huge upgrade from what we're used to. [Reliable Source]

Monday, November 21, 2005

Deep Throat II?

WE DON'T KNOW how Bob Woodward found out about Valerie Plame's CIA connection, but it would be great if it involved secret meetings in a DC area parking garage. Washington Post's editor Len Downie, Jr. took some heat Sunday on the whole topic from CNN's Howard Kurtz. Of course, what made this such great television was that Downie is Kurtz's boss -- Kurtz being the chief media critic at the Post. Hmmmm. Wonder if the two practiced the interview in the Post cafeteria before sharing a cab over to CNN. Actually, most accounts give Kurtz good marks for pressing Downie down to the mat pretty hard. Monday's NY Times has a good summary of the interview.

Meanwhile, Woodward is doing his best not to hide under a rock, booking himself on CNN's Larry King Live for Monday night. Presumably he'll discuss what he knew, when he knew it, and why he stayed silent for more than 2 years. Of course, all we really want is for Woodward to rat out his source. Unfortunately, he doesn't have a long track record of doing that sort of thing.

We'll be watch tonight at 9:00pm.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

JIB Gossip

IT IS ALWAYS a shame when business gets in the way of leisure. An 8-day business trip doesn't always create an environment where Just Inside the Beltway can update itself on a regular basis. Thus is life. While we were away:

Just Inside the Beltway gossip.
  • Now it's Woodward's turn to reveal what he knew and when he knew it. [Wash Post]
  • Alito argues for the difference between a political job and an advocacy job -- and in Diane Feinstein's office, no less. [CNN]
  • Time for Bush to visit his closest allies -- so it's off to Mongolia. That's right, our staunchest ally at moment appears to be Mongolia. [Wash Post]
  • Will oil execs change their tune if they testify under oath? Senate Dems seem to think so.
    [Breitbart News]
  • Patrick Fitzgerald gets a spot in People's 'Sexiest Man Alive' issue -- but under the heading 'Smart Guys'. Is that like saying a woman has a 'great personality'? [Reliable Source]
  • Cheney is blasting critics again. But why shouldn't he? Isn't it obvious that those who even question administration policies are Al-Qaida operatives? We say round-up all the sons-of-bitches who disagree with BushCheney and throw them in Gitmo. We'll all be better off. [TPM]

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Washington Loves "Social" Dinners

TONGIHT'S DINNER AT the White House in honor of Prince Charles and Camilla is officially a "Social" dinner, not a "State" dinner.

Just Inside the Beltway doesn't care if it's a "Buffet" dinner, we just want to be invited next time. The White House is the place to be tonight as evidenced by the offical guest list (get full list here). Not only will the Prince and his mistress...oh yeah...wife be there, but quite a few 'A' list Washington celebs as well. In addition to the usual (Condi, Rummy, Card, a few Senators) there are some interesting people too: Two Toms (Watson and Brokaw) and a Yo-You (Ma) just to name a few. But even more interesting are some of the combinations of people attending tonight's dinner. Examples:
  • Jenna Bush and her guest Mr. Henry Hager (he must be the beau).
  • Condi and her guest Mr. Gene Washington (a big shot with the NFL).
  • Mary Cheney and her guest Ms. Heather Poe (not that there's anything wrong with that).
  • John Roberts and his wife (yet another perk of being the freakin' Chief Justice of the Supreme Court).
  • and former First Lady Nancy Reagan with her guest....Merv Griffin (didn't see that one coming).

A special luncheon earlier in the day for Camilla, the -- and it's still a bit hard to say this-- Dutchess of Cornwall, included watercress soup, lemon sole with herb crust, chicory petit easparagus with black cherry tomatoes, and some sort of salad. All, but the way, served on the Truman china. We'll see what tonight's dinner holds, but with a guy as eager to sneak around on his wife as Prince Charles, we're hoping dinner is served on the Clinton china.

So Much for that Midwestern Education

To: Southern Methodist Univeristy
From: President Bush
Date: October 31, 2005

really did. I did my best to convince members of the Senate that a Supreme Court nominee didn't have to be from a fancy Northeastern Ivy League school. Remember when I stood at the podium and told the world that Harriet Miers' law degree from SMU would help her case because it would prove she wasn't a political insider? Wow, that did not go very well. Turns out people inside the Beltway kind of think SMU might be a crappy school compared to Harvard and Yale. At least that's my take. So this time I went with a good ol' white guy from Princeton and Yale. So far it seem to be working out because no one is questioning his 'itellectual ability.' They're questioning mine for nominating Ms. Miers in the first place, but I can live with that -- at least I graduated from Yale. Sure I had a C average -- but if there is one thing I've learned about Washington its that a C average from Yale sure beats the hell out of an A average from SMU.