A few observations on MTP today. The guests were, 9/11 Commission Chair Thomas Kean(R) & Vice Chair Lee Hamilton.(D)
The 9/11 commission, mostly due to the media, has bordered on a circus. It was nice to see these two guys who seemed like they had a more level headed approach to the whole thing. They played things down the middle and I don’t think they really had any significant differences of opinion between them despite their party difference. (save one)
Gov. Kean felt strongly that 9/11 could have been avoided. When pressed as to why, he listed many things that could have stopped it including catching the terrorists at the border and snatching bin Laden when we had the chance. Rep. Hamilton took a more measured approach and said that yes it could have been avoided but stressed that we would have needed “a little luck” to pull it off.
You could read into it that the Republican was leaning toward faulting Clinton and the Dem was defending him but I think that would be a stretch. I wrote it off to a Governor vs a Washington approach. The Gov thinks we should have “done more” and the Beltway veteran knows things move slowly in Washington.
Two interesting points came out. Russert noted that the media ignored terrorism in the last election cycle. Only 2 terrorism questions were asked of the candidates during all the Bush/Gore debates. Hamilton then addressed the issue of congressional oversight. He noted that there were NO congressional hearings on the terrorism issue before 9/11. He stressed that we must look at everything with a 9/10 view of the world. (That is something sorely lacking in this debate) Terrorism was not a big issue in the American debate before 9/11.
Then came the topic of Richard Clarke…
Now that some of the smoke is starting to clear on Clarke I think he actually did have a single point. To his credit, he was apparently banging the al Qeada drum in Washington louder than anyone. And if he had stopped there, he would have his reputation in tact. Where he trashed his own credibility is when he said Clinton’s top priority was terrorism and Bush blew it off. As Dr. Joyner has made the point several times, and makes it again today in this excellent post, this is demonstrably not true.
I think the 9/11 commission proper is doing a good job. However the media is, as always, another story. No doubt when the final report is released, right in the middle of the campaign, the media will spin it wildly. But what is new there?