A win-win proposal

The more I think about it, the more outrageous President Bush’s refusal to talk to the entire 9-11 Commission, or to talk for more than a single hour, seems to me.

Given the President’s documented capacity to pack enormous numbers of words into tiny amounts of meaning, he will probably have exhausted sixty minutes by the time he finishes answering the question, “Where did you go and what did you do immediately after hearing the news of the second WTC crash, and for the rest of that day?” which will leave him no time to answer the next question: “Who authorized the evacuation of all bin Laden family members and other prominent Saudi citizens from the United States before the FBI had a chance to interview any of them?”

Still, I understand that this is a partisan reaction, from an inveterate Bush-hater. In my more reasonable moments, I believe in finding win-win solutions to contested issues.

So here’s a modest proposal: Since the President obviously has many hours to spend at fund-raising events, let’s combine the hearing with a fund-raiser. Sell seats at, say, $1000 per hour per seat, with the proceeds going to the Bush-Cheney campaign, and let the hearing go on for as long as there are at least 100 paying guests in the audience.

That way the public interest in knowing in some detail about the President’s performance before and after the crash and the President’s interest in having enough money on hand to tell convincing lies about that performance can be satisfied simultaneously.

There! Now who says I’m unreasonable?


A reader points to this snopes.com analysis of the story about the bin Ladens’ having been whisked out of the country, which doesn’t fully support the claims in the article linked to above.

Josh Marshall makes a point that, inexplicably, hadn’t occurred to me: if showing 9-11 images in the President’s campaign ads is legitimate because 9-11 constitutes part of the record on which the President is running (as Glenn Reynolds and James Lileks assert), then how can the President justify refusing to answer questions about that record to a national commission created under a law he signed?

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com

One thought on “A win-win proposal”


    Nice work, and let's note now that Kerry himself needs to amp up the rhetoric on this issue, pointing out the vast gulf between Funnypants's rhetoric (9/11 changed everything) and his actions (one hour, max).

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