Monday, July 10, 2006

# Posted 9:35 PM by Ariel David Adesnik  

SUNDAY MORNING ROUND-UP: The headliner on both NBC and CBS was Nick Burns, the #3 man in the State Department and point man on North Korea. He was followed on NBC by a trio of Clinton administration officials who dealt with North Korea and on CBS by John McCain and Chris Dodd. ABC had Dick Lugar, followed by pre-taped segments with George Allen and his challenger, Jim Webb.
Burns on NBC: B-. What a terrible position to be in. You're supposed to address a problem that's basically unsolvable and can't say anything that will offend any of the other parties to the six-party talks. Not surprisngly, Burns evaded every question.

Burns on CBS: B. Easier questions made Burns sound better. I think he's probably a very smart guy with an impossible job.

The Clinton trio: C. You'd expect just a tad more humility from people who dealt with the North Korea problem throughout most of the 90s and had basically nothing to show for it. More commentary to follow.

McCain: B. Not a good showing by his standards. He seemed to genuinely not understand what incentive China had to be completely non-cooperative with regard to North Korea.

Dodd: B+. How often does a staunchly liberal Democratic senator have not one bad thing to say about George W. Bush? Dodd thinks we should have bilateral talks with the North Koreans in spite of the July 4th missile launches, but what do you expect from a lifelong dove?

Lugar: B-. A great senator, especially on foreign policy. A consistently bland performer on Sunday morning with a preference for vague positions.

George Allen: B. Said nothing dumb.

Jim Webb: C. Insists George Bush has a secret intention to keep a major US force in Iraq for thirty years. Also wants veterans to enjoy a lifetime tax break of five percentage points. Webb says this will encourage high earners to enter the military.
It was an uneventful week for the hosts. 'B's all around.
(3) opinions -- Add your opinion

You'd expect just a tad more humility from people who dealt with the North Korea problem throughout most of the 90s and had basically nothing to show for it

I'm willing to cut a ton of slack for them for everything they tried with North Korea. Sure, some things didn't work out, but it is a darn near unsolveable problem, especially when South Korea doesn't want anything to happen. (With some reason, they fear a collapse of the North and having to pick up the pieces.)

But I've seen way too Clinton Administration officials pretend that while the deal was on-going, the DPRK wasn't working on missiles or a bomb at all. Come on. We know that's not true, and their cheating is essentially why the deal fell apart.
I didn't see the shows. In relying on your judgment of the highlights, though, it seems you rate on a curve if you gave Webb a C or do you give extra credit for those believing they have ESP and can spot Bush Admin secrets?

Not to beat a dead Webb, there are many reasonable arguments for giving those in the military a tax rate break and I'd be willing to consider it. However, Webb's "to attract high wage earners to the military" is ridiculous for reasons to numerous to mention. But I'll give you one -- HWEs can be spotted because they AREN'T in the military. There are thousands of big and small Pat Stillmans serving right now that, if they weren't, would be high wage earners in the private sector. But because they are, they aren't -- they get military salaries. (I will note, though, that serving in the military does provide a good boost to post-service wage earnings.)

The problem with people like Webb is that the epiphany center of their brain is short-circuited to the part which controls the vocal chords.

The problem with
Sorry, the last line fell below the fold of editing.
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