The Corner

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From last night’s Special Report with Brit Hume:

On David Obey’s Earmark Plan

MORT KONDRACKE: You will not be able to challenge a bill on the floor, an earmark on the floor, and have a vote on it.

HUME: So where is the money going to come from? Is that what [Boehner] is talking about when he claims there’s a slush fund?

KONDRACKE: Well, there are plugs in the bill to cover a certain amount of money for earmarks, unspecified funds that are in the bill to be allocated later. Exactly.

HUME: But we don’t know what the earmarks are going to be.

KONDRACKE: We don’t know, so, over the August recess, people will have an opportunity to . . . look at the earmarks, and if they don’t like them, they can file a challenge with the House Appropriations Committee which will then decide, Obey will then decide which earmarks go into the conference report, and which don’t. He will be in charge.

HUME: The sole arbiter?

KONDRACKE: He will be the sole arbiter. But there will never be an opportunity on the floor to vote.

On Ted Kennedy and the Republicans

HUME: What further explains, if anything, the Kennedy mystique that seems to have captured Lindsey Graham, Trent Lott, and Michael Chertoff, among others? . . .

KONDRACKE: This is a man who is 75 years old, and he is there, he’s been during the immigration debate on the floor, all the time managing his side of the issue, making bargains, passionately arguing, dogged, and as everybody has said, he is a legislator, he wants to get something done. . . .

BARNES: There is one other thing. He’s fun to watch. He yells at Democratic colleagues. He yells at Republicans. He knows how to manage a bill. He’s got it all in his head. I have never seen a floor man that is more fun to watch. . . .

KONDRACKE: And there is always a moment in every hearing when he cares about something, when he delivers the sound-bite peroration, usually passionately, quaking and shaking and all that, and it’s wonderful to watch. You know it is coming, and you wait for it, and enjoy it. That’s pure political theater, as well as substance.

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