The Head Review is a work in progress, and some fine tuning is in order. Rather than switching back and forth between shows and summarizing by topic, I’m going to summarize by program instead. I’m still having problems with the scope of coverage, since all four broadcast shows run at the same time and, this week, there are no second showings until late afternoon. Thus, the review will be short this week.
The White House has dispatched Condi to NBC and Fox and Abu Gonzales to ABC and CBS. NBC and Fox are all-Republicans, all the time. The Iraquagmire and immigration are the top topics.
Meet The Press Today, Tiny Tim is joined by Condoleezza Rice, then moderates an "exclusive immigration debate with Rep. Charlie Norwood, R-GA, and Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-SC." Exclusive like the V.I.P. room at Carl’s Jr.
Condi was in full stonewall mode, determined to say nothing newsworthy during her 20 minutes. Fortunately for her, Tim’s pumpkin head is occupied with his latest book project and he was phoning it in. Fortunately for us, Tim didn’t repeat his tired schtick asking Condi whether she was going to run for President.
Condi’s very optimistic about the forthcoming "unity government" under Iraq Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki, despite the fact that the top spots at the Ministries of Defense, Interior and National Security remain vacant. Condi refused to comment on the anticipated coronation of her old pal Ahmad Chalabi as head of the Interior.
She once again defended the quagmire, emphasizing that, back in 2003, everyone who believed the Administration’s lies thought Iraq had WMDs. She also claimed that those who opposed endless occupation were either proposing that the U.S. "replace Saddam with a strongman" or asserting that "the Iraqis are unable to govern themselves." When was that again?
The Secretary of State also refused to state when withdrawal of U.S. troops might commence, saying (as always) that it depends on the capabilities of Iraq’s security forces. Good luck with that.
In the great Republican immigration debate, Lindsey Graham (R-SC) is all for George Bush’s indentured servitude plan, er, "road map to success." As long as immigrants take pay a fine, pass two english exams, work at below the minimum wage for over a decade and "add value" to the country, Graham will welcome them with open arms, at least until the law changes 10 years hence.
Georgia representative Charlie Norwood on the other hand, drawled his four-square opposition to such "piddl[ing] around." Norwood wants not 6,000 but 36,000 National Guard troops dispatched to the southern border, as in the glory days of Pancho Villa. But Norwood’s not for mass deportation; he proposes that 11 million aliens vacate voluntarily, and in an orderly fashion, over the next 2 to 3 years. The good immigrants will sign up for tamperproof i.d. cards and retinal scans and then work for a couple of years before vacating the premises, while the "terrorists, gang dealers [and] drug dealers" won’t.
As the debate closed, Tim quoted Harry Reid’s opposition to English Only, and Norwood quipped, "Dr. No is at work, who cares what he says?" No one at NBC, that’s for sure.
Late Edition With Wolf Blitzer (Second Hour) Feisal al-Istrabadi, Iraq’s Deputy Ambassador to the United Nations is just as bullish on Iraq as our Condi. He doesn’t believe any of the civil war scenarios, and anticipates the various militias ultimately will be intergrated into a national security force under command of the Minister of Defense. Istrabadi can’t say when the troops of the "multi-national forces" might be able to leave, but that the immediate withdrawal of those forces would be cataclysmic. Assurances were given that the middle classes aren’t really fleeing; Istrabadi says they’re just "taking the opportunity to travel for the first time" in years.
Wolf’s second guest, Aussie P.M. John Howard, promised to stay the course in Iraq. Australia will maintain its current troop level in Iraq — all 900 soldiers — for the foreseeable future. On Iran, Howard says the U.N plan and diplomacy should be allowed to work. And there’s not much hostility toward Muslims in Australia; last year’s riots were the result of too much sun and too much beer. (And when does that ever happen in the land down under?)
This Week With Geo. Stephanopoulos I didn’t see it, but I see John Edwards posed a riddle: "Who is the president that broke the law and the Constitution and started spying on the American people?" Cm’n, John, give us a tough one.