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Asshat Safire

In today's NYT, Will Safire unleashes a belligerent barrage of bromides toward the 9/11 Commission and its "private lobbying juggernaut," praising the sturdy stalwart of stoppage, the brawny bulwark of blockage, the enervating advocate of obstruction, the inspiring apostle of impotence, the courageous champion of constipation, California Republican Duncan Hunter, for stopping the perfidious project of pablum, intelligence reform.

Safire argues in his typically disingenuous manner that the press and administration critics have "flip-flopped," initially arguing that Bush ruled his administration with despotic powers, only to now characterize him as impotent for failing to pass the intelligence reform bill. He later, of course, explains the "conventional media narrative," that "the Machiavellian president is publicly posing as a reacher-outer, but is privately telling the House to drag a foot to protect the Pentagon" - admirably resolving the dialectic tension in a mere 23 words. I also must thank the pedant for attributing to administration critics the use of the word "reacher-outer." Bravo!

Perhaps addled by the excitement of impending retirement, Safire desires that the "next Congress take a hard look at a radical notion in the current bill - to strip the C.I.A. of its covert-action arm and assign that function to the Pentagon. That calls for all-out war or no action at all - when sometimes it is wise to operate in the gray area of plausible denial." Of course, just last week Bush "ordered an interagency group to devise a plan that could expand the Defense Department role in covert operations that have traditionally been the specialty of the Central Intelligence Agency."

Safire closes by claiming "lame ducks shouldn't stampede." They shouldn't write either.


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