We tried to keep this blog report light on Richard Clarke, in large part because bloggers have been repeating the same tired points for the past week or so. We’re also tired of the terrible puns: “Clarke Kent,” “Clarke Barred,” and, courtesy of Scott McClellan, the too-clever-by-half “Dick Clarke’s American grandstand.” But that won’t, of course, stop us from making some dubious puns of our own. For example: here’s the Washington Monthly’s (Kevin) Drum, perfectly tuned to the oh-so-monotonous beat:

If you’re a liberal, [Clarke’s] a heroic truthteller and if you’re a conservative he’s a bitter Bush hater. Is anyone going to change their mind at this point?

Drum read Clarke’s book and has a nice recap — a little substance for those of you tired of the rhetorical back-and-forth. For the mudslingers, there’s Mickey Kaus’ assertion that Clarke appeared to be misleading the 9/11 Commission when he said that he “asked for a Republican ballot” when voting in the 2000 Virginia presidential primary, in light of his vote in the general election for Al Gore. And Robert Waldmann, who takes a dim view of National Security Advisor Condi Rice’s performance thus far in the debate with Clarke, has proposed a system for making the fight more fair: forbid Clarke from using words that contain the letters “e” or “a.”

Amy Sullivan, who says “George W. Bush is … the man who campaigned in 2000 with Jesus as his running mate,” is aghast that the Bush campaign would characterize a John Kerry’s citation of a Bible verse in an address at a St. Louis church “beyond the bounds of acceptable discourse and a sad exploitation of Scripture for a political attack.” “For the Bush campaign to complain that Kerry is improperly injecting religion in a political campaign is ludicrous,” says Sullivan, “given Bush’s intermingling of the two over the past four years.”

Meanwhile, Ezra Klein at Pandragon cynically imagines Kerry’s upcoming meeting with Nader:

Kerry:”Will you please drop out? This country can’t take four more years of George Bush.”

Nader: “Can I be your Vice-President?”

Kerry: “I don’t think so.”

Nader: “Then no.”

Finally, for all you blogworld gossipmongers out there: Kos has pictures of the mysterious Atrios, but he blurred out the face to preserve Atrios’ anonymity, making the Democrats’ Unity Dinner looks something like an upscale episode of COPS. Kos’ take on the whole thing has the oddly poignant flavor of a junior high student reporting back on his own infiltration of the annual PTA dinner. Here are a few phrases you’ll never read from a New York Times reporter filing to the night desk:

The National Building Museum was stunningly gorgeous. The food was lame. Carter looked like he was 4 feet tall and old. Ted Kennedy looked REALLY old.

Sharpton was funny. Gephardt looked good. Wes Clark looked good. All the speakers talked about how great McAuliffe was (and if nothing else, he did get the DNC out of debt). Clinton gave Kucinich some props in his speech, but no one else did (that I remember). Edwards looked weird to me, but I’m not sure in what way.

Hmmm. Maybe Kos had Edwards confused with this guy

Brian Montopoli

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Brian Montopoli is a writer at CJR Daily.