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Senator Fights for the House

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Send your entry -- and rationale -- via e-mail to intheloop@washpost.com. Top 10 winners get one of those highly coveted In the Loop T-shirts. Entries on background are welcome, but everyone must include telephone numbers to be eligible. Remember to avoid names ending in -gate.

Gray in Brussels

The White House yesterday threw in the towel on getting Bush I White House counsel C. Boyden Gray confirmed to be ambassador to the European Union in Brussels. It looked for a while as if Gray could overcome holds from Senate Democrats and get his nomination confirmed, but it didn't happen. The Democrats took offense at an ad by the Committee for Justice, which Gray headed and which was pushing for confirmation of Republican judges. Democrats said one of the ads accused them of opposing a judicial candidate because he was Roman Catholic. Gray reportedly chatted with the Democrats and apologized, but apparently to no avail so President Bush gave him a recess appointment, which is good for two years.

Details or You're Grounded

A final note from Air Traffic Controllers Association President John Carr 's daily blog on that wonderful issues conference/golf outing at the Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel in Hawaii.

"Yesterday was the third day" of the American Airport Association Executives conference, Carr's blog reported Friday, "and it was a repeat of the first two days, so I won't bore you with all the salacious details about who golfed with who, and what lobbyist split flapjacks with which Congressman."

No, no, boring is good.

The Axis of Thermidors

At a news conference last week, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice addressed the state of affairs in the Middle East.

"The neighborhood is changing," she said. "It's changing quite dramatically. And while there are a couple of states -- among them Syria and Iran -- that seem to want to engage in pushing toward some kind of thermidor, it's not going to happen."

The unwashed and uneducated reporters scratched their heads. Lobster? Refrigerator? What's she talking about?

But Loop Fans and other sophisticates would immediately understand she was referring to the month that Robespierre was overthrown in the French Revolution. It's a historical term that has come to mean the reactionary period after a revolution. And Washington helped bring a democracy revolution in the Middle East.

So is Bush Robespierre?


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