The Night Beat: Admirals and Generals to Watch

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Charlie Crist Loses A Round
Adm. Allen trusts BP, but Congress doesn't
The Anti-Obama in Alabama

The recent market volatility is scary, unsustainable and sure to further undermine confidence in consumer spending and the euro. How the financial regulatory reform conference plays into that is an interesting question. Conferees for the Senate will be appointed Monday; the House will appoint them after the recess.

Democrats will rush to pass their jobs bill by the end of the week, feeling pressure from labor allies, now possessing a partial scalp from the Blanche Lincoln run-off, who are communicating the message that "if you aren't for this bill, you aren't for jobs, period."

This is probably the last week that the administration has to keep criticism of its handling of the oil spill contained. The last best chance to stop the leak is with this week's top kill. If that doesn't work, then administration officials concede that the leak isn't likely to be plugged until August, when the parallel well is finished. Criticisms of their work will intensify.

The drip-drip of discontent has already spilled beyond the boundaries of partisanship. There is more than a trickle of discontent in Congress that the administration seems too deferential to BP, even as it publicly scolds the company. Having held enough hearings, senators will travel to the region Monday, along with several Cabinet secretaries. National Incident Commander Thad Allen joins Gibbs in the briefing room in the afternoon. EPA Administrator Jackson in Louisiana. And the President is participating in the daily briefing call with Gulf State Governors.

There were arched eyebrows at Adm. Allen's comment Sunday that he trusted the word of BP's president. This sentiment is NOT shared by Democrats in Congress. BP's word is not trusted in Congress.

The long-awaited National Security Strategy will be released Wednesday. Obama's West Point speech was meant to be its preview. Key words: strength through robust American institutions, investment in American resources, international institutions and diplomacy.

USD(I) James Clapper remains the leading candidate to be the next director of national intelligence. USD/(SOLICIC) Mike Vickers is not out of the running. And Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R-MI) is floating Rep. Jane Harman's name.

I don't claim to know what the entire West Wing is reading, but I do know that Joe Klein's article on the new Iran sanctions is being distributed with favorable adjectives.

The following are flag officers whose careers are in their vertical hours: Soon to be three-star Adm. William Gortney, head of naval forces for CENTCOM and the 5th Fleet, has been promoted to the extremely influence post of head of the Joint Staff at the Joint Chiefs of Staff. This post is one of the most influential in the military. When the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff wants something done, he turns to his staff director.  ... The next Commandant of the Marine Corps is likely to be Gen. James Mattis, the current CinC of the Joint Forces Command ... a guy who doesn't bide his words ... and who will not publicly oppose the transition to a post Don't Ask, Don't Tell military. (See this video clip http://www.pentagonchannel.mil/?fr_story=91d7b08e698a179de81cb0ab643f0b9e7ac7ef5e&rf=rss) of Mathis speaking at a conference: the guy is impressive and he hates PowerPoints. ... Also on the inside track for a more senior billet is Gen. Norton Schwartz, chief of staff for the Air Force. Schwartz has extensive Special Ops experience as well, and was formerly the head of the transportation command. He is the highest ranking Jewish flag officer in the military.

Charlie Crist is running into a bit of trouble. Predictable trouble. He started his campaign seeking the support of the conservative establishment. Now, reborn as an independent, he sought the support of the Democratic establishment, trying in vain to get the AFL-CIO's endorsement in Florida over the weekend. He failed, despite having cuddled up to the teachers' union and having opened the door to supporting card check. If Crist doesn't get the monetary and organizational support he was counting on from Democratic institutions like the AFL-CIO, his independent campaign for Senate will be tougher.

The beer guy is out of the race in Wisconsin. Dick Leinenkugel stunned the crowd at the state GOP convention with his announcement. That leaves Russ Feingold with one fewer credible potential opponent.

What the conservative media machine will be talking about: BP, and maybe Les Phillip, a Republican running in the AL 05 primary race against Parker Griffith, who switched parties earlier this year. Phillip is black, and this matters because he is framing himself as the anti-Obama, displaying the president alongside pictures of William Ayers and Rev. Jeremiah Wright and saying, "I'm going to Washington to stop Obama from destroying our nation -- and they're not going to call ME a racist."
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Marc Ambinder is an Atlantic contributing editor. He is also a senior contributor at Defense One, a contributing editor at GQ, and a regular contributor at The Week.

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