John McCaslin

You'd gather from Republicans on Capitol Hill that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is overdue for a visit to the congressional physician's office.

With "plummeting" approval ratings and virtually "no legislative accomplishments" during these final days of the first session of the 110th Congress, the National Republican Congressional Committee is suggesting that it has reached the point where the San Francisco speaker is "melting down."

Mostly, say Republicans, U.S. military successes from the "surge" in Iraq have agitated Mrs. Pelosi to the point that she is now "despondent."

Showing Hillary

So much for party unity.

Anybody paying attention to the 2008 Democratic and Republican presidential-primary seasons has witnessed a sobering reality about politics: When it comes to winning a party's nomination, Democrats have no trouble digging up mud to sling at fellow Democrats, and the same goes for Republicans.

All of which leaves one wondering if the two major political parties and their representatives are really that different to begin with. The worst offender of all, this primary season at least, has been New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, whose attacks on her one-time Democratic "colleague," Illinois Sen. Barack Obama, have been relentless.

His White House prospects and reputation now on the line, the shell-shocked Mr. Obama has had no choice but to respond in kind, all of which will continue by both camps until such time as a nominee is chosen and the bashing of Republicans can resume.

That day, however, is several weeks if not more away, so in the meantime "Arlingtonians for Obama," "Alexandrians for Obama," "Virginia for Obama," "Generation Obama Virginia," "D.C. for Obama" and "Generation Obama Washington, D.C.," are together inviting Democrats to bash you-know-who at their Iowa Caucus Night on Jan. 3.

The venue, intriguingly enough, will be Bailey's Pub & Grille in the Ballston neighborhood of Arlington — practically next door to Mrs. Clinton's campaign headquarters.

"[W]e can show the world — and Hillary's Ballston headquarters — that Arlington, and purple Virginia, and all of America, from red to blue, is Obama country," say organizers.

White House lawyer

Washington malpractice lawyer Jack Olender has enjoyed a 90 percent success rate with his annual lists of legal predictions. Last year, he hit 100 percent on the money.

Without further ado, eight of his predictions for 2008:

1. Home-run king Barry Bonds will not go to prison.

2. Major League Baseball's report on steroids, authored by former Sen. George Mitchell, could result in libel and slander suits.

John McCaslin

John McCaslin is a contributing columnist on and author of Inside The Beltway: Offbeat Stories, Scoops, and Shenanigans from around the Nation's Capital .

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