The pundits could pull talking head duty yesterday and still have plenty of time to rush home and fulfill their Mother’s Day obligations.
I had to choose between peace in my time or the VCR.
I chose the VCR.
The Sunday shows lacked big names or common focus. Fox News Sunday thumbed pretty far down the "A" list to find Senator Don Nickles, R-Okla. Face the Nation led with the victim of a Catholic priest and an attorney for victims. Steve Forbes emerged from obscurity to appear on This Week.
Tim Russert went into full suck-up mode on Meet the Press, bringing in Caroline Kennedy. He fawned over her, urging her to run for office while relentlessly plugging her new book, Profiles in Courage for Our Time.
Al Hunt of The Wall Street Journal and Bob Woodward of the Washington Post appeared with Kennedy. Both wrote chapters for her book. Hunt wrote of Senators John McCain and Russell Feingold’s courage in pursuing campaign finance reform in the face of unfailing support and adulation from almost every major newspaper in the country.
Woodward, who wrote about President Gerald Ford’s pardon of Richard Nixon, got off the best line of this forgettable segment: "As we find out in all profiles in courage, it’s never a profile in total courage."
Jim Lehrer, Chopped Liver
Meet the Press hyped an "exclusive" interview with "His Majesty, King Abdullah II of Jordan." Abdullah was interviewed Friday by Jim Lehrer on The News Hour. Perhaps to warm up for his flattering of Caroline Kennedy, Tim Russert showed pictures of the dashing King beside a motorcycle, on horseback and scuba diving.
Why No Military Action in Gaza?
A full-scale incursion into Gaza would be Jenin duplicated many times over. — Al Hunt, on Capital Gang
It would be Jenin times 1,000. — Margaret Carlson, Time magazine, on Capital Gang
Because of world opinion. — Cokie Roberts, on This Week
I don’t think world opinion had a particle to do with it. — George Will, Washington Post columnist, on This Week
"I wouldn't make a good president." — Bob Novak, Chicago Sun-Times, on Capital Gang
"I like Europe. I even like Europeans. Sort of." — Bill Kristol, The Weekly Standard, on Fox News Sunday.
A Fresh Feud
Add George Will and Fahreed Zakaria, editor of Newsweek International, to the Brit Hume — Juan Williams (Fox) and Bob Novak — Al Hunt (Capital Gang) school of feuding pundits. Zakaria, filling in for George Stephanopolous on This Week’s roundtable, challenged Will right from the start. Arguing for ending the Cuban embargo, Zakaria said,
"I remember as a college student watching George Will at this table denounce Ronald Reagan for trading with the Soviet Empire, saying that it showed he loved commerce more than he loathed communism."
Will replied icily, "I would not credit commerce with bringing down East Germany." Zakaria then disagreed with him on the meaning of polls showing Yasser Arafat’s popularity, and finally challenged him on his interpretation of the Second Amendment: "George, if you want to allow people to buy Uzi’s, then that’s fine."
Pim Fortuyn, RIP
Mark Chavannes, U.S. correspondent and former political editor of the Dutch daily newspaper, NRC Handelsblad, remembered assassinated Dutch Prime Minister candidate Pim Fortuyn on Capital Gang:
"He was a pop figure. He was a latter-day Clinton rather than a Le Pen. He was a star. He was a circus figure. He could not have hoped to reach any further than this fantastic death…his party will disappear.
Bush Bashing Binge
Al Hunt went on a Capital Gang roll:
"When it comes to the midterm elections, there'll be no coattails. It's an Eisenhower jacket... No one's afraid to vote against George Bush…The Bush White House loves to say, ‘This is a guy of principle who really stands up for what he believes in.’ What's the principle? This Bush popularity at 74 percent is incredibly wide and about two inches deep. Democrats come back from meetings with the White House saying that Bush doesn't really understand a lot of what's going on…And I told one Republican that today, and his response was really fascinating. He said, ‘That's not totally fair.’"
David Brooks of The Weekly Standard, appearing on The News Hour, had this comment on the running battle between Democrats and Republicans over judicial nominees:
"You have to be a fine connoisseur of atrociousness to discern which party is worse, because they both are equally bad at suppressing the other guy's nominees, not giving them any chance. And I have to believe deep down both parties don't want hearings because this is the way social policy is fought now."
David Townsend of Atlanta, Ga., agrees with last week’s Cokie Roberts outburst against armed pilots:
"I will not fly on any aircraft that has an armed pilot. Why? Simple — no one who has received a few hours of class and a day or two of shooting instructions will be qualified to handle a potentially violent situation.
The stress and anxiety that an untrained person feels in a life or death situation will cause that person to make poor tactical decisions. At a critical moment that untrained person will either hesitate, getting themselves and others killed, or panic and fire until the weapon is empty. That is fine if the person attacking is a burglar. Even if you miss, there is a better than even chance he will flee. In an aircraft cockpit that reaction would be devastating to everyone on the aircraft. It’s not like the movies: few people have the ability to calmly shoot someone standing a few inches or feet away."
Will Vehrs is an economic developer in Richmond, Va. Unable to obsess on golf, fishing or a weed-free lawn, he chose to stalk the weekend talk show pundits and their syndicated print brethren. His "Punditwatch" column appears in Tony Adragna's Quasipundit.