William Katz:  Urgent Agenda

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SHORT TAKES ON THE DRIFTING WRECKAGE – AT 9:16 P.M. ET: 

I KID YOU NOT – What are called "well connected" Democratic sources say that Rahm Emanuel, mayor of that dandy, corruption-riddled, shoot-'em-up city of Chicago, is considering a run for the presidency in 2016, but only if Hillary Clinton doesn't run.  (There's an incentive for us to hope Hillary runs.)   Other Dems pour water on the idea.  But pundits make the point that, in Hillary's absence, the Dem field is very thin.  Ancient Joe Biden and increasingly crazy Andy Cuomo in New York, and who else?  At least Rahm would make it interesting, and X-rated.

HAGEL HELD BACK – Republicans defeated a motion in the Senate today to bring the Chuck Hagel nomination for secretary of defense to a quick vote.  But most observers say the delay is temporary, based on GOP anger over Hagel himself and the administration's refusal to provide additional documents about Benghazi.  The Senate will go into recess, returning toward the end of the month.  At that time, sadly, Hagel is expected to be confirmed...unless a new piece of negative information comes up in the meantime.  Let's hope it does.  Let's also hope that those "moderate" Democratic senators up for re-election next year are made to feel real heat in their home states over voting for this goofball.  Party loyalty sometimes demands too much.

HE WANTS TO FADE AWAY – Pope Benedict says that, after he leaves the papacy on February 28th, he will be "hidden to the world."  He will not have a public presence.  That is the correct thing to do.  Will someone please send the Pope's statement to Jimmy Carter, with a little note saying, "This is what class looks like." 

OBAMA'S MAGIC GLOW – Gallup reports that, after four years of Obama in the White House, some 92% of Pakistanis disapprove of his leadership.  Only 4% approve.  Obama got a small Pakistani bump when he came into office, but his reputation has slipped dramatically since.  In 2006, with Bush in office, about 68% of Pakistanis disapproved of his leadership and about 8% approved.  So Obama has been a net loss.  And Hillary apparently didn't do us much good over there.

February 14, 2013