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"To announce that there must be no criticism of the president, or that we are to stand by the president, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public." Theodore Roosevelt


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Saturday, September 17, 2005

Reconstruction

Sound advice for Dubya, from David Corn:
An easy way for him to show his good faith would be to appoint, say, a prominent Democrat of strong reputation (I assume one can be found) to oversee this endeavor and to name an ombudsman of impeccable credentials. Who might fill these slots? A few days ago, I suggested that if an independent commission is established to review what went wrong in New Orleans and the Gulf Coast (which includes many destroyed towns in Mississippi not routinely mentioned on the news), then James Lee Witt, FEMA's chief in the Clinton years, ought to be named head of that inquiry. Witt may be out of the running for that slot, for he has been advising Louisiana Governor Kathleen Babineaux Blanco (who would be a subject of any such examination). And it's unclear if such an entity will ever be born; Bush has not endorsed an independent and nonpartisan probe, and congressional Republicans have opposed the calls for this sort of probe (opting instead for an inquiry to be controlled by congressional Republicans). But imagine if Bush asked Witt to be the reconstruction czar. (Do we have to use that term? Anyone have a better suggestion?) That would be way outside-the box. What would all the Clinton-haters say?

Bush could even go further. He could ask Representative Henry Waxman, the California Democrat who has pursued allegations of Halliburton wrongdoing, to be the uber-ombudsman. Am I on drugs? Yes, I am: Sudafed. And it is late. But if Bush wants to signal that the revival of New Orleans and the other cities is not going to be business-as-usual, he could do so with a few bold and daring choices along these lines. If Witt doesn't want the headaches, how about Al Gore? A move of this sort would depoliticize the project--which, as a citizen (as opposed to a politically-minded journalist) I wouldn't mind seeing. Yes, if Bush is sincere, it won't be too hard for him to prove it. All he really needs is the desire.
Great advice Mr. Corn, but you and I both know he doesn't have it in him... Or should I say Rove doesn't have it.

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