Pre-9/11 thinking

Nancy Pelosi should be ashamed of herself.

Josh Marshall is wrong and Howard Kurtz is right: Nancy Pelosi’s handling of the military-aircraft question has been thoroughly irresponsible. She has recklessly allowed security considerations to override appearances.

That’s pre-9/11 thinking. Post 9/11, we have learned from the Decider that PR is more important than reality. Making it harder for terrorists to take out the third-in-succession for the Presidency (especially in coordination with a possible attack on the President and Vice-President) pales in importance compared to scoring political points, or avoiding having political points scored against you.

Worse, Pelosi deferred to the judgment of the responsible career official rather than relying on her political advisers, taking a poll, or letting her gut decide.

Really, you couldn’t have expected any better from a San Franciscan, could you? Let’s face it: they’re basically a bunch of reality addicts. Some of them, I’m sorry to say, are even patriots: you know, the sort of holier-than-thou folks who put country ahead of party.

Footnote If you doubt that protecting Pelosi in the event that Bush and Cheney were taken out would be a matter of grave national-security importance, I have two words to say to you: Robert Byrd.

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: