Politics from the Palouse to Puget Sound

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Patty Murray's Post-Senate Career Options

With Senator Patty Murray (D-Seattle) trailing even the eccentric Clint Didier in the polls, she might want to start polishing her resumé in preparation for her third career. Keeping the wolf away from the door usually isn’t a problem for retired politicians. The reason is that even the simplest politicians make enough friends that their influence becomes a marketable commodity. You’ll never see a failed politician standing on a street corner with a hand lettered cardboard sign reading, “will wreck health care for food.”

Liberal politicians have other career alternatives as well. For example, the ever vigilant and unbiased mainstream news media always has openings. George Stephanopolous (This Week on ABC), Chris Matthews and Lawrence O’Donnell (MSNBC) and the late Tim Russert (NBC’s Meet the Press) all went from work as highly partisan Democratic political aides to objective journalism without missing a beat. And I think that this is Patty Murray’s true calling. I even have a network for her – CNN.

First of all, you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to work at CNN. And Patty Murray is no rocket scientist. In fact, her greatest achievement during her tenure in the Senate has been to move up from being the 100th smartest senator to the 99th position. She didn’t get any brighter. It’s just that Oregon elected Ron Wyden and he jumped right into the 100th spot and has held that title tenaciously.

Her intellect makes her a great fit at CNN. One of the network’s premier news anchors is Wolf Blitzer. One does not have to watch Wolf Blitzer long to appreciate that he’s about as sharp as a marble. But Blitzer was not satisfied with being thought a fool. He removed all doubt with an appearance on Celebrity Jeopardy. On that game show Wolf Blitzer posted a historically low score, well into negative numbers. You can watch his painfully inept appearance on YouTube.

Another of CNN’s star attractions is Rich Sanchez. Among his other achievements, while on live television, Rick Sanchez could not find the Hawaiian Islands on a map, duplicating Ron Wyden’s inability to find Bosnia on a globe. Sanchez eventually found the Galapagos Islands and decided they must be the Hawaiian Islands. Right ocean anyway. Another time, after repeating without verification that there were far more death threats against Barack Obama than any other modern president, he learned from the Secret Service that his information was not true. So, like the good, responsible journalist he is, he blamed the Secret Service for not correcting him sooner.

But what really makes Patty Murray a perfect fit for CNN was her claim several years ago that the reason that Osama Bin Laden was so popular in the Muslim world was that he provided baby sitters.

"We've got to ask, 'Why is this man (Osama bin Laden) so popular around the world?' ... "Why are people so supportive of him in many countries ... that are riddled with poverty?

"He's been out in these countries for decades, building schools, building roads, building infrastructure, building day-care facilities, building health-care facilities, and the people are extremely grateful. We haven't done that.

"How would they look at us today if we had been there helping them with some of that rather than just being the people who are going to bomb in Iraq and go to Afghanistan?"

Such penetrating insights fit perfectly into the CNN model. Not only is she every bit the intellectual powerhouse as either Rick Sanchez or Wolf Blitzer, she has the foreign policy acumen of CNN reporter Reza Sayah. Sayah was recently explaining Barack Obama’s latest foreign policy initiatives to the Muslim World: “Well, I think the U.S., the Obama administration, is convinced that this is the right approach. In addition to the military approach, you have to have an economic approach. They say it's an interesting project here. If Mrs. Clinton has her way in the months and years to come, Pakistan will export more of its delicious and very juicy mangoes. Americans will eat them. It will all be a part of the fight against militants.”

So that’s all we have to do to defeat Islamic extremism – buy and eat Pakistani mangos. After all, buying Saudi oil and fattening the sheiks has done wonders to tamp down extremism there.

All CNN needs now is for Patty Murray to explain how day care centers will finish off the Jihadi threat.

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