The most dangerous place in the world is between Joe Biden and a camera. BOING! WAH! Okay, so it's an old joke. But I had to work in a dig against Biden before I totally rip George Allen's appearance on Meet the Press this morning.
It's no mystery that Senator George Allen (R-VA) is the White House's heir apparent for the presidency in 2008. Rush Limbaugh loves him, probably because Allen, who voted with the president 96 percent of the time, is a White House dittohead.
Russert asked Allen about his "George Bush Republican" label. Allen, suddenly breaking out of his plastic shell, blasted back, "I'm a common sense Jeffersonian conservative ... I'm, I -- look, I support President Bush, I have in the past, I'm not running away from that. But I'm my own person with my own philosophy."
Good one, Senator. Let me tell you a joke about Biden and cameras. It's funny.
This year, Allen will most likely face a tough re-election campaign against Vietnam veteran Jim Webb, Reagan's former Secretary of the Navy and current Democrat. Webb earned two Purple Hearts, the Navy cross, a Silver Star, and two Bronze Stars. In other words, Webb is clearly unpatriotic and hates the troops. Karl Rove never met a decorated war veteran he didn't Swift-Boat, and there's no chance in hell Allen is going to pass up Rove's help.
Make no mistake, Allen is Rove's Fisher-Price Man.
Of course, Russert made no effort to mention Webb. But when the Rove-inspired ads are wheeled out this August, you can bet Russert will invite Webb on MTP to answer to charges that he's a flip-flopper (Webb was for Allen, before he was against him) and to defend his patriotism, while totally neglecting to mention that Allen never served and how Allen was for embryonic stem cell research before he was against it.
Russert allowed Allen to flatly state, "Yes, these are tough times in Iraq. Let's not get everyone so depressed, so demoralized about things," and to subsequently mention the "political victories" of the past year.
The political landscape in Iraq is just as turbulent as anything else in Iraq. I'm sure Russert and Allen know that Muqtada al-Sadr, a powerful and charismatic insurgent leader, is pulling the strings in the Iraqi government. Please tell me they know. Okay, they probably don't. Last month, while we were Photoshopping Cheney's head onto Elmer Fudd drawings, the New York Times reported that al-Sadr installed Ibrahim al-Jaafari as the new Iraqi Prime Minister. With a single phone call.
And just as Allen told Russert, "Things seem to be calming down," news broke on CNN that 36 people were killed and more than 100 wounded in three car bomb attacks in Sadr City.
But things are calming down.
Meanwhile, Allen, who is his own person, mentioned the virtues of Clean Coal in a brief statement about energy independence.
ALLEN: We need development of oil and natural gas in this country, more biofuels, the use of advanced nuclear and clean-coal technology...
Perfect tie-in to one of Russert's advertisers this morning: LearnAboutCoal.org.
Let's try a round of what I like to call "Six Degrees of Meet the Press."
George Allen mentioned Clean Coal on Meet the Press today. Meet the Press sold advertising time to LearnAboutCoal.org, a Clean Coal proponent. The "non-profit" and "non-partisan" Learn About Coal organization's website domain name is registered to CEED, the Center for Energy and Economic Development. CEED's vice chairman is Michael Ward. Michael Ward is the chairman and CEO of the CSX Corporation. Guess who used to be the chairman and CEO of CSX? Treasury Secretary John Snow. Who was the chairman of CSX/Sea-Land under Snow? David Sanborn. In January of this year, David Sanborn was nominated by President Bush as the next Administrator of the Maritime Administration (Dept. of Transportation). Who does Sanborn work for right at this very minute? Dubai Ports World, which acquired CSX's ports for $1.15 billion in 2004. And finally, who introduced David Sanborn's nomination in the Senate? Senator George Allen.
So that was more like 10 degrees. 10 shameful degrees forming a Mobius Loop of financial and political incest.
Meet the Press and George Allen need to come clean about who they're in bed with. In the interest of being their own persons, of course.