POLITICS

Good Reads

This morning the Washington Post has some news stories political aficionados should not miss.

The first is Joby Warrick's "Leak Severed a Link to Al-Qaeda's Secrets." Joby shows how a small company patriotically shared its
early acquisition of a bin Laden video with the administration only to have the White House leak the video and wreck the company's apparently excellent sources.

The second story has a rare Bush administration figure speaking frankly about fellow Republicans - reflecting the droves who are jumping ship.

My friend and former colleague Peter Baker's story is worth reading in its entirety. As Baker describes it, one of President Bush's closest former advisers, Dan Bartlett, has a brutally candid analysis of the Republican nomination battle: Fred Thompson is the campaign's "biggest dud," Mitt Romney has "a real problem in the South" because people will not vote for a Mormon, Mike Huckabee's last name is too hick, and John McCain could end up repeating 2000 by winning New Hampshire but losing the nomination.

A third Post story is by another friend and former Post colleague, Jeff Birnbaum. Using his labyrinthine contacts in the special interest-lobbying community, Jeff has learned that the much ballyhooed Democratic proposal to make certain buy-out wheeler-dealers pay income taxes like ordinary citizens is dead this year.