Mark Schmitt on Budget Coverage...
Brad DeLong's Semi-Daily Journal: Memories... and Hard-Disk Space and Processor Speed

It's Time for a Contest! (Why Oh Why Can't We Have a Better Press Corps? Washington Post Edition)

This morning Jim VandeHei writes:

GOP Irritation At Bush Was Long Brewing: By Jim VandeHeiWashington Post Staff Writer Friday, March 17, 2006; A01: President Bush's troubles with congressional Republicans, which erupted during the backlash to the Dubai seaport deal, are rooted in policy frustrations and personal resentments that GOP lawmakers say stretch back to the opening days of the administration. For years, the Bush White House and its allies on Capitol Hill seemed like one of the most unified teams Washington had ever seen, passing most of Bush's agenda with little dissent. Privately, however, many lawmakers felt underappreciated, ignored and sometimes bullied by what they regarded as a White House intent on running government with little input from them. Often it was to pass items -- an expanded federal role in education under the No Child Left Behind law and an expensive prescription drug benefit under Medicare -- that left conservatives deeply uneasy. What Bush is facing now, beyond just election-year jitters by legislators eyeing his depressed approval ratings, is a rebellion that has been brewing since the days when he looked invincible, say many lawmakers and strategists...

Jim VandeHei is correct. Since the earliest days of this administration--in fact, even before this administration first took office--there has been an extraordinarily high degree of resentment and frustration with the substantive policies of the George W. Bush administration. Current and former Bush appointees and allies have discussed their frustrations with me; they have occasionarlly discussed their frustrations with the press (think of John DiIulio and Paul O'Neill); and they have often discussed their frustrations around the VandeHei household kitchen table.

But those frustrations have not--until now--shown up in the coverage of the White House by Jim VandeHei, have they? "Irritation" (a very, very mild word to describe the views of congressional Republicans, which cannot be printed in this family weblog) has "long been brewing," but you would not know it by reading Jim VandeHei over the past several years, would you?

I could be wrong. So: a contest: a free copy of David Frum's The Right Man to the commenter who can find, in the past writings of Jim VandeHei, the closest foreshadowing of his current (true) claim that congressional Republicans' "policy frustrations and personal resentments... [with him] stretch back to the opening days of the administration... [since which] lawmakers [have] felt underappreciated, ignored and sometimes bullied... [legislation] that left conservatives deeply uneasy... a rebellion that has been brewing since the days when he looked invincible, say many lawmakers and strategists..."