A Clintonologist responds.

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Feb. 7 2003 11:44 PM

Duck and Cover? Duck and Rabbit.

Clintonology is all about appearances.

Part Duh: It's been a very nachtraglich week, with Margaret Scranton's response below and now Don Kettl's leap into the Chatterbox Fray. Kettl is the author of Team Bush: Leadership Lessons From the Bush White House, which Tim Noah discussed back on January 28th, in "Dubya’s Genius Moment, Part 2." The essence of that moment seems to be a willingness to "redefine the president's vices as virtues and urge private enterprise to emulate them." Here is Kettl's version, from his post:

[T]he book makes the point that Bush certainly isn't the brightest porch light on the block--that he recognizes that clearly--that he's not afraid of hiring people brighter than he is--and that his real knack lies in people skills, in framing the big picture, and in pursuing his strategy with unusual discipline … 8:45 p.m.

Grabs of academe: Beginning here, Betty_the_Crow and Don go round and round about the British government's apparent plagiarism. It seems the Brits stole whole swaths of prose from Ibrahim al-Marashi and plugged them into the dossier Colin Powell touted so highly at the UN. The UK Channel 4 story is here. Don suspects al_Marashi was recycling his own work. ...

Extra Credit: A week after Virginia Heffernan's review of C-SPAN's The Clinton Presidency appeared, Professor Margaret Scranton jumps into the Fray to defend her colleague, archivist David Alsobrook. Heffernan shows him ducking questions about an executive order from President Bush blocking access to Reagan-era records; Scranton recharacterizes:

[H]e confidently addressed the question as a responsible professional, teaching the students that while they have a right to ask, he has a right and the obligation not to comment publicly on certain issues. Just as members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff do not put their personal views on the record when they testify publicly before congressional committees, a federal employee should not take public positions on certain issues, such as those raised by my student.

In support, Scranton quotes a student who concurs that Alsobrook was right to demur, and that, in any case, he answered the question off-camera:

I appreciated his unapologetic yet firm resistance to discussing before the cameras the Presidents Bush situation under the 1978 Presidential Records Act, and his willingness to spend time with students after class to do so. …

Everywhere with VTOL capabilities: In Heffernan's most recent piece, the battle between the "Monica-Lewinsky-mouthed" Boeing X-32 and the Lockheed X-35 makes for gripping television. TheRover asks, "Why should looks matter?" here. BitterShawn contends that looks do matter to the Air Force, while JackCerf thinks cites the aeronautical engineers' maxim: "If it looks right, it flies right." Both stick up for the A-10 Warthog.

Uncle Osama: An excellent thread in Fighting Words takes up Christopher Hitchens' proposition that "I have never seen it argued since that al-Qaida got what it wanted out of the Afghan operation." Joe_JP thinks al-Qaida could have, if

al-Qaida was attempting to accelerate the war between the West and Muslims, cause discontent, scare the U.S., provide a base while the WTC bombing and other efforts was being planned, and so forth. They accomplished some, if not all of these objectives, even if not in the complete way they desired.

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