In constructing a balanced panel to discuss a president's fortunes, one does not normally select one person who opposes him and. . . another person who opposes him and ran against him in a general election.
But that was the Today's show notion of 'fair & balanced' this morning. In to discuss W's drooping poll numbers were former Clinton spokesperson Dee Dee Myers and Patrick Buchanan. In introducing Buchanan, Couric highlighted his GOP credentials. But while stating Buchanan had been an aide in the Nixon, Ford and Reagan White Houses, Katie conveniently omitted mentioning that in 2000 he had, as the presidential nominee of the Reform Party, run a bitterly critical campaign against George W. Bush and has since been an incessant Bush critic, particularly on the centerpiece of Bush's foreign policy - the war in Iraq.
In opening the show, Today used a double-entendre to signal that it was planning yet another bumpy ride for the president. "Going South" was the headline, and Today made it clear that, beyond the President's trip to South America, it also had in mind what the show sees as W's sagging political fortunes, as reflected in the latest round of opinion polls.
Buchanan did predict that W could put Plame-gate behind him if he "didn't feed the scandal by firing Rove and if Rove is not indicted." But that wouldn't get the president off the hook, in Pat's mind. He predictably opined that the real problem "is this war and the constant bleeding of American soldiers."
Katie also did her best to advance the Dem theme-of-the-week - tying Plame-gate to W's credibility on the war. Noting poll results in which many apparently questioned the president's honesty, Couric offered up her theory, in the guise of a question to Myers:
"So obviously [W's poll number on integrity] is being reflected not only in the CIA leak story but in the whole building to war and the rationale for invading Iraq . . . right?"
Dee Dee was only too happy to agree.
Modest suggestion to Today: next time you're seeking to balance a Bush opponent with a supporter, try to find someone . . . who supports him!