Last week’s death of former KGB Colonel Alexander Litvinenko in London from poisoning by a nuclear isotope, Polonium 210, raises a number of disturbing questions. Let us examine:

Facts: All we know for certain is that a healthy 43-year old Litvinenko somehow ingested the deadly Polonium on Wednesday, November 1st in London - either in his frequent haunt, Isto - a sushi restaurant, the Millenium Hotel or at his house. (All three places have been found to have traces of Polonium.) Mr. Litvinenko died three weeks later after losing 28 pounds, all his hair and suffering massive organ failure and finally a heart attack. Those are all indisputable facts; the rest is subject to conjecture and investigation.


1) Russian President Vladimir Putin, himself a former KGB officer, ordered the ‘hit’ because Litvinenko was a vocal and fierce critic of Putin. In Moscow over the weekend the following theory predominates: several years ago Litvinenko was ordered to kill Russian oligarch and vocal Putin critic, billionaire Boris Bereshovsky, who was living in exile in England. Instead of killing him, Litvinenko approached Bereshovsky and said he would not kill him if Bereshovsky would pay him more than the KGB was paying him to do the ‘hit.’

Bereshovsky indeed paid Litvinenko - and in fact they became friends who even did business deals together.

So, when Litvinenko gave an October speech in London again criticizing Putin, a new ‘hit’ was ordered: this time on Litvinenko himself - to send a message to all other KGB personnel: you disobey orders at your own peril.

2) Putin and his spokesmen over the past few days have gone out of their way to deny any involvement in this Polonium Poisoning. Doth they protest too much?

Does Vladimir have any credibility? Does he have - s GW Bush so naively once stated - a soul?

Putin’s PR team is of course denying any involvement - and instead trotting out their own theory: the murder was done by someone out to embarrass Putin. Hmmmm.... Does that sound credible? Would someone really murder someone - using a very-difficult-to-obtain ‘weapon’ - just to pin it on Russia’s president?

Obtaining Polonium 210 is far more problematic than using a gun with the serial number removed. This is a weapon more likely used by a government which has access to nuclear isotopes.

3) The third theory floating around is that some ‘rogue KGB group’ - not under Moscow-control - carried out this hit on their own.

Of course the obvious questions are: Who are these people and Why would they do it? Or is this so-called Rogue Operation a convenient way for the KGB to do their dirty work and maintain their all-important deniability?


A man has been murdered in London with the most deadly weapon made by man: a “small atomic bomb” as Litvinenko’s father called it.

This sounds and smells like a “hit.”

It also has the earmarks of “pay-back” and a “message murder.”

It is doubtful that British authorities will conclusively prove who did it; the perpetrators are too clever to be caught.

But we can surmise much from just what we know so far: the Soviet Union may have imploded, but the Russian police state is back - and more dangerous than ever.


In the two weeks since the Republican Meltdown, there is a rising anger among Republicans - aimed not at the Pelosi/Reid/Hillary Democrats - but at GW Bush, the White House, and the House GOP leadership.

Grassroots Republicans and conservatives are waking up every day now and getting madder and madder at how inept and incompetent the Republican leadership has been. President Bush is blamed for blowing the election by ignoring concerns over the stagnating situation in Iraq - and then firing Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld the day after the election - instead of weeks earlier.

The surviving Republican members of the House and Senate have now learned a valuable lesson: you listen and follow W and Karl Rove at your own peril.

Thus the Senate Republican brought back Trent Lott, who Bush and Rove had improperly helped to sack four years ago; this was a clear sign that these GOP senators no longer will follow Bush’s wishes.

This rising discontent among grass roots Republicans will have a profound impact on the 2008 GOP presidential nomination race - which begins in just over one year.

So forget everything you hear on TV: dismiss all this nonsense from inside-the-beltway media pundits that McCain vs. Hillary is already “in the bag” for 2008.

The American people are in an uproar over Iraq and the direction of our country. They are not likely to select ‘status quo’ candidates and front-runners - especially two of the biggest boosters (McCain and Hillary) of the war when the decision was made to invade in 2002-2003.

No, indeed the 2008 race is wide open on both sides and here are some quick hit looks at each of the main candidates as they get ready to run:

Hillary: yes, she is the Democrats’ front-runner. But she is dogged by internal Democrat fears that she is yet another ‘northeastern liberal loser in November.’ Also, she has high negatives and automatically unites the GOP - no matter how fractured they are coming out of their primaries. Plus she is so polarizing - in a time when America wants a leader to unite the country; that unity will never happen with a Clinton back in the White House.

Barack Obama: His popularity is precisely because the Left is wary and fatigued of Hillary. He cannot win a general election - and the Democrats would be idiotic to nominate him. Not to say that he isn’t a nice fellow - and a smart one, too. But he is not the prescription for a party that has only won the White House with white southern governors in the last 30 years.

John Edwards: Ahead of Hillary in Iowa; been ‘round the track and survived; sympathy for wife who has so far conquered breast cancer; he is attractive and hungry. But he is also a bit of a light-weight. But if he knocks Hillary off in Iowa, the whole race changes.

McCain: The Right will never accept him - no matter how hard he panders, brags, jokes and reverses course, he has antagonized too many people with his sarcastic, vicious temper over the years. His greatest strength - the fawning love of the So-called Mainstream Media - is also his greatest weakness. The more they love him, the more the Right distrusts him. Plus, he is too old, wrong on Iraq, and has a political tin ear. He is a tree 9/10's sawed through - and one good puff of wind and he will fall.

Rudy Giuliani: The media likes him, too. Plus he has some charisma from 9/11. But he does not fit the GOP. Besides his unacceptable (to the Right) liberal positions on social issues, he is pro-illegal immigration! He kept New York City as a Sanctuary City during his eight years in Gracie Mansion, thus protecting illegals who were discovered by the city. GOP primary voters are not going to support someone so diametrically opposed to everything they stand for. Plus, he and McCain are fighting for the same votes: moderates, independents who can vote in cross-over primaries.

Mitt Romney: the hot flavor of the month on the Right. With Allen and Santorum gone - and Frist a pathetic soon-to-be-ex Senate leader - the mini primary to focus on is who is going to become Mr. Conservative? The winner of that moniker will be the odds-on favorite to become the GOP nominee. Romney - formerly a liberal - has recast himself as a conservative. He is enormously attractive on TV, and a genuinely nice fellow. But many worry that his Mormonism will haunt him... many see it as a cult in a time when the Religious Right is imploding and the Republicans may want to cool it a bit with religious candidates.

Others: Yes, there are Sam Brownback (forget it), Mike Huckabee (engaging), Tommy Thompson and George Pataki (my cat has a better chance); Evan Bayh (a bore but a straight-shooter) and Tom Vilsak (he’ll upset Iowa a bit).

Conclusion: 1) Iraq is a key to 2008: if we are still there, it will be the single most important issue of the 2008 race.

2) Because the American voter is mired in a bad mood over many things, the front-runners better watch out.

3) 2008 will be full of surprises - and some of those will happen in 2007.


With the 2006 mid-term election over - and the 2008 presidential election about to begin - the Republican Party faces one crucial, soul-searching question:

Will we be the party of Reagan or the party of Bush?

If we make the correct decision, we will again become the majority party in this country; if we err and repeat our recent mistakes, we will go back to being a permanent minority party.

Let us make some quick and simple definitions:

The political philosophy of Ronald Reagan - which became the dominant thinking in the GOP in the 1980's - was a libertarian conservative way of thinking: government should not and would not interfere in the day-to-day lives of Americans. Also, government programs - if they could not be cut or dismantled (an almost impossible task in today’s PC/entitlement-loving climate) - would at least not grow any faster than necessary. Certainly no new entitlements or Big Government programs would be enacted.

The role of government was simple: less is better.

And less federal involvement. And as many federal tasks as possible should be turned back over to the states.

Under Ronald Reagan, the Republican Party was also able to re-make its image from a Country Club Republicanism to the party of Main Street. Reagan so appealed to working people that a majority of union members voted for Reagan - despite the anti-Reaganism of their own union leaders.

In foreign policy, the Reagan Doctrine was clear: peace through strength. Or, as Churchill said, “We arm to parley.” Ronald Reagan - lifelong anti-communist - indeed talked to the Soviets. Indeed he made deals with them, but from a position of military, economic and moral superiority.

The Reagan Era - and especially his military re-building after Vietnam and Carter’s emasculation of the Pentagon - accelerated the end of the Soviet Union. No, he didn’t cause it; many others - both Democrats and Republicans - along the way since 1946 share the credit. But Ronnie Reagan caused the ending of this dread ‘disease’ through a constant, steady philosophy.

The result wasn’t just the ending of communism, but the elevation of the United States of America as the ‘Shining City on the Hill’ he so often talked about.

And it will forever be his legacy as one of our greatest presidents.

The Republicans under Reagan projected a sunny, happy political demeanor. We believed in our conservative way of governing - but we respected our opposition and treated them with respect. Humor was a useful tool of combat - both self-deprecating and as a way of tweaking your opponent.

Reaganites have always believed in trying to convert others to our way of thinking.

Now, in stark contrast, is the Bush philosophy:

Both George Bushes are Big Government descendants of the Rockefeller Wing of the Republican Party. They both love power - and loved expanding the power and reach of the federal government.

They both often bragged that they wanted to be known as the “Education President,” thus ignoring the long-held Republican tenet that the federal government had no role in primary and secondary education; that was for local communities and states to handle.

G.W. Bush - in total contravention of the Republican Platform upon which he ran and was elected in 2000, which called for the abolition of the Department of Education - increased education spending his first year in office by a whopping 11%. And then he teamed with Teddy Kennedy to pass the No Child Left Behind program which has ended up being a total fraud of a program. Teachers now ‘teach the test’ so that they get rewarded and promoted; the students - as usual - suffer by being used as guinea pigs for this political program.

G.W. Bush misled his own party members on the Hill about his Medicare Prescription Drug Program: the White House lied about the true cost of this new entitlement program. In truth, it costs a whopping $400 billion more than the Congress was told.

Where is the fiscal restraint? GW Bush’s Republican government spends more money than any government - ever. And he has allowed the National Debt to rise to an unfathomable $8 trillion!

And all of this with - unlike Reagan - a GOP-controlled House and Senate!

GW Bush - and his father - love Fortune 500 CEOs and fat cats. Under both Bushes, the image of the Republican Party quickly changed from Reagan’s party of Main Street into Bush’s Party of Wall Street.

On foreign policy, GW Bush also misled the nation in 2000 when he said, “We have too many of our soldiers spread around the world engaged in nation-building.”

Now, six years later we are bogged down in Iraq - doing just that - nation-building - and it isn’t working. Our wonderful soldiers are not policemen - and should not be refereeing a Sunni-Shi’ia internal Muslim civil war.

Because of Iraq - and Bush’s attitude toward other countries - we are now the most hated and reviled nation in the world.

Demeanor: the Bush way is snide, sneering, chip-on-the-shoulder arrogance, devoid of humor or lightness.

And his GOP acolytes have followed suit: just look at Delay, Rove, Mehlman, Dan Bartlett and some of their conservative media supporters: they are just like Bush. They cockily echo Bush’s governing philosophy: you are either with me or against me. The Rush Limbaugh mocking of a Parkinson-ridden Michael J. Fox was a new low and brought this new, derisive description of him on the day after the election - a “gasbag drug addict” ; so, too, was Ann Coulter opining on foreign policy: “We should invade the Middle East and convert them all to Christianity.”

What a way to run the conservative movement and the Republican Party. No wonder we got creamed in the latest elections!

Instead of trying to win over others, the Bush Way is you basically write them off and “play to the base.”

And now the back-biting has begun: Karl Rove, the genius ‘architect’ says in a new Time Magazine interview that Iraq wasn’t the problem, the Congressional leaders were. What arrogance and blame-gaming!

And so typical of these people: they are never wrong, can’t think of a mistake they have ever made and always have to blame anyone else, even members of their own team.

Indeed, the contrast between being the party of Reagan or the party of Bush is stark.

The decision of which direction and tone and image to choose is vital.

Is we follow the Bush model, we will self-destruct into a dysfunctional party than can’t win anymore.

But if we return to the Reagan philosophy, we can and will win. And in the process we can restore this country to its rightful role in the world: a model of how all people can live and work together.


The results are still coming in, but here is some quick analysis:

1) George W. Bush has been resoundingly rejected by the American people. His arrogance, cockiness, smirk and condescension have turned off 60% of the American people.

2) Iraq has ruined the Republican Party - and the Bush presidency. The people are sick of it and want a change - pronto.

3) The Neo-Conservatives have infected the Republican Party and the conservative movement - and their influence needs to be reduced in order for us to regain our inherent support around the country.

4) The pre-election polls were almost entirely accurate - so please don’t start with this “the polls are rigged” nonsense. In almost every Senate and House race, the polls of those races were within a point or so.

5) The last minute GOP spin that they “were closing the gap and picking up momentum” was total baloney - just like their repeated claims that “we are making great progress in Iraq.”

6) Sadly, the Bush-led GOP has become just like the Clinton-led Democrats: a spin machine totally devoid of reality and truth. You can’t trust ‘em to tell you anything. And the people no longer trust Bush.

7) Corruption was the other driving force in the election. The GOP House majority has grown fat, lazy and crooked. They tolerated Mark Foley, feasted off of sleazy Jack Abramoff and covered up for each other as they grew arrogant and power-mad.

8) The so-called ‘architect’ - Karl Rove - is over-rated. All his - and Bush’s - bragging about their ‘revolution’ has gone up in smoke: they’ve blown it! They handed the Democrats the House, probably the Senate and the majority of Governorships. Rove and Bush - as Daddy Bush did in 1992 - have betrayed Reaganism and allowed the Democrats back into power.

9) So much for Dick Morris - who one day says the GOP is doing great and the next says they’re blowing it. Why does anyone pay attention to him? How about some constancy?

10 ) If you read this column you know we have been dead-on for seven years about how the Bushes would take the GOP and the conservative movement right over the cliff. And they have.

11) And we have been constant, too, about how Iraq was a disastrous mistake that need not have happened - and how arrogant, ignorant Bush and his ‘team’ have severely damaged our country for decades to come.

12) And these arrogant in-the-tank-for-Bush radio hosts who do nothing but read the Rove-fed Talking Points: maybe they should try thinking for themselves for a change, eh? Claiming that “early voting and absentee ballots were breaking for the GOP” last week was patented nonsense! How would anyone know how votes are breaking before they are counted?

13) In sum, the Bush-led Republican Party and conservative movement are in a shambles. We need to start all over again. We need to get away from the Bushes - and from McCain who is too old, too arrogant, too out-of-touch to lead anyone.

14) Out of every disaster comes new hopes and new directions. We begin today - first by admitting our mistakes and vowing not to repeat them.


Tuesday’s mid-term elections have world-wide significance.

Indeed, the whole world is watching us to see if we re-affirm the decision to pre-emptively invade Iraq and occupy a country that had not invaded us.

The 2004 re-election of President Bush was such a re-affirmation; the question now is will the American people again support Mr. Bush and his war.

A loss of one house of Congress will be interpreted as a rejection of the Bush-led GOP; if both the House and Senate go Democratic, that will be seen as a massive rejection of the entire Bush presidency.

Predictions are a dangerous game, so instead of ‘guessing’ the numbers in each race, it is better to predict what happens after the election:

1) If the Republicans win - in a surprise - and keep the House and Senate, not much will change at all. Mr. Bush and his staff will read that as support for his policies - and he will feel no cause to change. He will also reject the James Baker ‘Commission’ - formerly known as the Iraq Study Group. The White House will feel they have two more years to do as they please in Iraq.

2) If the GOP only loses control of the House, the Bush White House will try to pin the blame on Mark Foley and the House leadership’s “mis-management of that and other scandals.” The White House spin machine will immediately try to marginalize the Democratic leadership - and paint them as out-of-touch lefties. Thus, we will be back to DC Gridlock for the last two years of the Bush Presidency.

3) If the Democrats somehow win both houses of Congress, the Bush White House will wake up Wednesday knowing that their world is going to be radically different - and difficult - for the next two years. Such a victory will be read as a rejection of Mr. Bush himself and of the war in Iraq. Suddenly, Jim Baker’s recommendations will find a receptive ear in the Oval Office.

4) Unless the GOP maintains overall Congressional control, we are about to enter a stalemated DC - heading into a wide-open 2008 presidential campaign. It will be ugly, contentious and petty; and the result will be even more disgust for our career politicians by the 2008 primaries.

5) The rise of Obama already signals a deep-seeded unhappiness on the Left with Hillary’s ‘inevitability.’

6) The Mainstream Media’s- annoited GOP fave - John McCain - is an old tree nine tenths sawed through: one strong puff of wind and he falls. That is how tenuous his candidacy already is. We on the Right are awaiting our ‘Obama’ - a new, fresh face to take over the weakened GOP and conservative movement.

All of this will become clearer on Wednesday or Thursday, depending on close races and late ‘calls.’

No matter what happens, the political world is about to change. In what direction? We do not yet know.

That’s what makes politics so much fun.