“When everybody says you are drunk, you had better sit down,” is my favorite alleged old Irish proverb, which accurate or not in its origins, directs us to the wisdom of (informed) crowds.
Thus when an idea appeals to me, I’ll test it against at least a few of the first-team minds in the country to see whether it is a keeper. That I can do so with the top tier of the country’s public intellectuals is an advantage of having a nationally syndicated radio show.
That I have to do so live and in front of a very large listening audience, especially when I torture a question on Scooter Libby with Mary Matalin as a guest — well, not so much.
On Friday’s show, I had a few issues to bounce off Matalin, Charles Krauthammer and Stephen Hayes.
“I’m with you,” declared Krauthammer on my argument for border security, “a fence from left to right, from east to west, except obviously the mountain areas.”
The central focus of the trio of interviews was not border security and immigration reform, however, but on how to investigate and repair our crumbling Maginot Line of Transportation Security Administration screeners and unwatched watch lists, even as we fix our immigration mess?
The distinguished Fox News commentator (the most influential of all talking heads regularly on TV?) committed apostasy in the eyes of Angels fans in an aside on the Bryce Harper-Mike Trout debate.
But he met me halfway on the need for a select committee in the House established by Speaker John Boehner for the purpose of investigating both the Boston bombings and Benghazi with focus and zeal.
“Let me go halfway with you on this,” Krauthammer replied to my questions on the need for one committee, not the three in the House that are currently probing Benghazi and Boston.
“I would say let a thousand flowers bloom right now. Let the leaks come from all the agencies on the CYAs,” he added. “Let the three committees look into this, and discover what they can.”
“In about a week or two or three, we’ll have a pretty good idea of where this fits, how much was screwed up, where the screw-ups were, what needs to be known,” he concluded. “And then it might be a good time to say ‘All right, let’s have one committee to put [Boston] in a larger context — Benghazi, this idea of Mirandizing [terrorists].”
Hayes and Matalin were much more unambiguous in their support for a select committee and the virtues of media focus it would bring to key investigations.
Two-and-a-half thumbs up on an idea is a good day’s work, but better was the argument around it displayed for the listening audience. (Transcripts are available at HughHewitt.com.)
Official Beltway is rapidly losing its ability to conduct any sort of sustained, public debate. The relatively new success of Fox’s “The Five,” along with that of Bret Baier’s “Special Report,” Sean Hannity and Bill O’Reilly and hope for CNN’s “The Lead with Jake Tapper” and the resurrected “Crossfire” with Newt Gingrich and Stephanie Cutter is that at least the legislators may occasionally stumble upon a new idea, openly debated and evolving on air, and think “Hey, what about that?”
One such idea is a Select Committee on the Boston Bombings and Benghazi. Too many committees issuing too many unread reports and scrambling the news cycle allows the flaws to remain hidden and the mistakes uncorrected. Don’t trust me on this. Ask around, and then have the drunks sit down.