Morning Read


Iraq and the U.S. presidential campaign are the major topics for bloggers this morning, with some bloggers offering their own history lesson for insight into the three presidential candidates.

On Iraq, conservative bloggers criticized the mainstream media



The Battle of Basra, between Iraqi government forces and the Shiite militias who have controlled much of the southern Iraqi city, is keeping the blogs busy Monday morning.

While the Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr has offered a truce, Allahpundit at Hot Air isn't sure whether government forces have succeeded. The Weekly Standard's Michael Goldfarb argues that, at the very least, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has "bet big" on confronting one of the major threats to his government's sovereignty, the Shiite militias. Goldfarb notes that is something other leaders, including Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, have yet to do.

smintheus at Daily Kos, however, claims that Maliki blinked by extending the deadline for the militias to lay down their arms, an action that also shows he's incapable of governing. And firedoglake's Siun argues that Maliki's inability to make headway against al-Sadr's forces, even with support from American air strikes, demonstrates "the futility of our occupation."

Looking at the presidential race, California Yankee at RedState praised Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) for his comment that John McCain, not the Democratic candidates, represents the legacy of John Kennedy. Two Kleins, Ezra and Joe, analyze Barack Obama's failure to secure John Edwards's endorsement (as reported by New York magazine), and what it means for Obama's policies and candidacy.

And in the fight over FISA, Glenn Greenwald claims that Attorney General Michael Mukasey is "exploiting" 9/11 and peddling "falsehoods" in making the White House's case for expanded intelligence powers.

What's Really Going On In Basra -- Allahpundit, Hot Air
Basra: Maliki "Bet Big" -- Michael Goldfarb, Weekly Standard
Maliki Blinks -- smintheus, Daily Kos
What We Learned in Iraq This Week -- Siun, firedoglake
Closing the Message Gap on Iraq -- A. Huffington, HuffPo
Clinton: All The Way to Denver -- Josh Marshall, TPM
Say It Ain't So, Joe -- Michael Scherer, Swampland
No Longer Your Father's Dem Party -- Calif. Yankee, RedState
Obama Diplomacy? -- Joe Klein, Swampland
How Health Care Hurt Obama -- Ezra Klein
MyDD: Watch Out for Evil GOP -- Ed Morrissey, Hot Air
Clinton's Campaign and Feminism -- K.J. Lopez, The Corner
Michael Mukasey's Tearful Lies -- Glenn Greenwald

Shiite Cleric Sadr Offers Conditions for Truce -- Wash. Post
New Backing For Obama As Party Seeks Unity -- WSJ
Lieberman in McCain's Corner -- This Week
Who'll Stop the Pain? -- New York



Debate over whether the fight between Democrats Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton will pull their party apart before November is driving talk on conservative and mainstream media blogs on Friday.

Both Pejman Yousefzadeh at RedState and Carol Platt Liebau at find some pleasure in a recent Gallup poll showing large swaths of Obama and Clinton supporters voting for Republican John McCain if their favored candidate doesn't win the Democratic presidential nomination. Liebau, however, cautions readers to remember that Republicans went through their own bruising nomination fight before picking a winner in McCain, who emerged intact.

Chris Cillizza writes there's a good chance Democrats will rally behind their party's candidate come November. Marc Ambinder breaks down the Democratic demographics most likely to defect: conservatives and independents. And Mark Halperin notes that Democratic Party Chairman Howard Dean went on morning network shows to warn that bickering could harm his party.

Liberal blogs are focused on Iraq and McCain. Josh Marshall writes that Iraq is "teetering," with government forces struggling in their attempted crackdown of Shiite militias. Several blogs, meanwhile, were forced to run corrections after linking to a Think Progress post that mistakenly claimed McCain plagiarized Adm. Timothy Ziemer's speech in his own foreign policy speech this week. The McCain campaign pointed out that the senator uttered the lines in question before the admiral did.

Obamacains and McClintons -- Chris Cillizza, The Fix
Democrats Defecting -- Marc Ambinder
A Note of Caution -- Carol Platt Liebau,
Popcorn For Spectacles Such As These -- Yousefzadeh, RedState
Clinton's Lifeline Strategy -- Jerome Armstrong, MyDD
McCain of the Moment and Immig. -- David Neiwert, firedoglake
McCain & Romney: So Happy
-- D. Montenaro, First Read
CFG is Sweet on McCain -- D. Freddoso, The Corner
Pew: Media Stopped Covering Iraq -- Ed Morrissey, Hot Air
Saying 'Surge is Working' Worked -- Meteor Blades, Kos
Iraq: Teetering -- Josh Marshall, TalkingPointsMemo
Today in Iraq
-- Joe Klein, Swampland
Yet More Threats -- Chris Bowers, Open Left
Airbrushing Rev. Wright -- Paul Mirengoff, Power Line
Key Part of Obama's Econ Speech -- N. Scheiber, The Stump
McCain Word-for-Word With Adm.
-- Mark Silva, The Swamp
Medellin: Ball In Congress


Conservative bloggers have jumped all over a story alleging Saddam Hussein paid for three House Democrats to visit Iraq during the run-up to war. Hot Air blogger Ed Morrissey simply states, "let's just say that the optics on this story will not help Democrats." Power Line blogger Paul is calling it the "oil-for-stooges deal."

Liberal blogs have yet to mount a defense to the story as they are spending their time going after each other.

Obama supporters have come out in force against the letter sent to Speaker Nancy Pelosi from Clinton fundraisers. Huffington Post blogger Oliver Willis calls the letter "symptomatic" of the "negative that came along with the all the good President Clinton did." Mathew Yglesias writes the letter "reenforces the case that he Clintons and their close allies are selfish people willing and ready to destroy the party in order to maintain control over it."

Nice Congress You Got Here - Pejman Yousefzadeh, RedState
Poll Shows Obama Weathering Controversy - Taegan Goddard
Who Do Clinton Donors Think They Are? - Oliver Willis, Huffington Post
Mayor Bloomberg to Introduce Obama - John McCormick, The Swamp
It's Not Rocket Science - Rep. Danny Davis - The Hill's Congress Blog
Saddam Paid for Congressional Junket - Ed Morrissey, Hot Air
Threats - Mathew Yglesias
A 500K Day For HRC - Athena Jones, Hotline On Call

Democrats Are Tied in New Poll - Jackie Calmes, Wall Street Journal
McCain Hits Obama - Sam Youngman, The Hill
Saddam Paid For Lawmakers' Trip - Matt Apuzzo, AP


Bloggers who support Barack Obama have bought into the suggestion by an anonymous Democratic official that Hillary Clinton is resorting to the "Tonya Harding option." Both kos and John Aravosis suggest that Clinton is willing to do anything to win, just like the former Olympic figure skater, who resorted to hiring someone to kneecap her rival. Aravosis notes Clinton invoked Jeremiah Wright