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Balanced Fare: We Report, You Deride

Tuesday, December 03, 2002

The Banal, The Bold, And The... Well, Bizarre

It's Back to the Future for Maureen Dowd, in a tour de force presented in Sunday's Times. (Yes, its back to the future here at the MinuteMan, as well). MoDo bravely takes a stand held by only about 99% of the commentariat, and deplores the selection of Kissinger as chair-ogre of the 9/11 commission. However, this column represents a break-through of sorts - Ms. Dowd ends her post-election boycott of US news, and manages to acknowledge that Bush is still President. Since her boycott, which so intrigued us, is ended, our boycott of Ms. Dowd can now resume.

If I were high-priced pundit talent for the NY Times with modest ambitions towards delivering an interesting column, I would have tried to present something original. For example, the comission is due to report in eighteen months, which is roughly June of 2004. Normally, these commissions are timed to deliver their bombshells just after an election - what gives? Is Bush worried that he will be subject to damaging pre-election leaks, only to have an exculpatory final report delayed until after the election? Or does Bush have the idea that 9/11 will be a better topic for Republicans than whatever it is that Democrats will be describing as the "real issues"? Did Democrats encourage this timng, oppose it, or get blind-sided by it? A few phone calls, and my columns would be done. Where is Mickey?

Or, another original tack would be to look at the "chairman" question from a different perspective - just what Republican should Bush have appointed? The heavy talent from Bush I, such as Baker and Scowcroft, are too closely associated with the Bush dynasty to be credible. George Schulz from the Reagan era? Iran-contra, folks will scream.

William Safire, in a bold column explaining why Kissinger is a good choice for the country, proposes candidates to fill out the commission:

I'd like to see them joined not only by Gary Hart and Warren Rudman, but by wild cards like Lee Hamilton and Dan Quayle, Mario Cuomo and Stanley Sporkin, shaken up by writers David Wise and Edward Jay Epstein. A popular choice for chief counsel would be Rudy Giuliani.

With the exception of Giuliani, who is not only busy with his new business venture but may be harboring ambitions to run for Chuck Schumer's Senate seat in 2004, none of the Republican names stand out as a potential chairman.

Or, with another approach, Neal Pollack describes a very special "K".

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