Their word is their junk bond

Seems that Bush and Lott are trying to see if they can get away with welsching on the deal they made with the families of the 9-11 victims to have one of the Republicans on the Kissinger Commission not be an administration lapdog. McCain and Shelby were supposed to get to pick someone to fill one of the Republican seats, though formally the choice is up to Lott. McCain and Shelby picked Warren Rudman, who’s been running a private commission on defense against terrorism along with Gary Hart. Now the White House is objecting (behind the scenes, of course) and Lott is waffling on his commitment.

Rudman chaired McCain’s primary campaign, and the Christian Coalition and Strom Thurmond’s buddies in South Carolina made sure their fundamentalist voters knew that Rudman was Jewish. Maybe Bush is afraid that Rudman might have a memory. Or maybe he figures that Rudman, as a friend of McCain’s, would have a strong incentive to make trouble for Bush. Or maybe they’re just so afraid of what an honest, competent inquiry might turn up that they’re going to insist that the “independent” seat be filled by someone too weak or too ignorant to be effective. (Tell me, just how did it come about that all the bin Laden relatives in the U.S. were whisked away to Saudi Arabia before the FBI could question them?)

If there’s enough outcry, Lott and Bush will probably back off. No bets either way.

If there were a Democratic Party, it would be taping ads right now with the 9-11 family members talking about how they got stabbed in the back. They might come in handy a couple of years from now.

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: