Sunday, December 29, 2002

Peripatetic Powell Pacifies Pundits

Secretary of State Colin Powell appeared on every major Sunday talk show to address the gathering storm over North Korea.

On Meet the Press and Face the Nation, the issue seemed to be semantic—is this a crisis? Powell preferred to call it a “matter of great concern” on Meet the Press. Senators Joe Biden (D, DE) and Richard Lugar (R, IN), also on Meet the Press, called it a “crisis,” as did a bellicose Senator Joe Lieberman (D, CT) on Face the Nation. Lieberman suggested that the “military option” be openly on the table, while Powell took pains to insist that military action was just one of many options.

Fox News Sunday and This Week didn’t worry about definitions, but the Washington Post’s Charles Krauthammer, on Fox, was semantically apocalyptic. “This is a crisis of unbelievable proportions. Our hands are tied. They know we can’t handle two wars.”

This Week host George Stephanopolous asked the toughest question, showing Powell a critical quote from Senator John Kerry. “John Kerry is running for office,” Powell noted, then went on to disagree with Kerry while declaring that he respected the Massachusetts Senator. Powell also laid much of the situation at the feet of the Clinton Administration without criticizing them at all.

Powell took great delight in one of his talking points. He noted that the administration has been criticized for being unilateral, “reaching for a gun” instead of using diplomacy. Now relying on diplomacy and multi-lateralism, they are also being criticized.

Fox News Sunday had the best non-North Korea stories, tackling cloning and the possible Democratic strategy of opposing the President for doing too little on homeland security. Assistant Democratic Senate Leader Harry Reid (D, NV), pointedly refused to second Senator and presidential contender John Edward (D, NC) claim that “Washington is not doing enough to make Americans feel safe.” To Reid, the issue was funding and he appeared to favor campaigning against Bush on economic security.

Prop of the Week

Senator Joe Biden (D, DE), held up a clear plastic cup of water on Meet the Press and informed viewers that an amount of plutonium equal to the bottom of the circumference of the cup was all that North Korea needed to transfer to al Qaeda for disastrous consequences.

“Plutonium is the stuff that makes those bombs go ‘boom,’” he added, helpfully.

Pundit Line-up Changes

Clarence Page of the Chicago Tribune filled in for Mark Shields on The News Hour and his performance made Punditwatch long for him to become a permanent replacement. Then National Review’s Kate O’Bierne turned in a robotic performance as Shields’ replacement as host of Capital Gang, making Punditwatch long for Shields’ return—except that Shields was as loose and comfortable as he’s ever been just being a guest on a live feed from Austin, Texas. CBS White House correspondent John Roberts filled in capably for Bob Schieffer on Face the Nation, getting the same amount of information—and more—from Colin Powell than Tim Russert got on Meet the Press in twice the time.

Pundit Sit-Down Comedy

Capital Gang brought in aging, inside the beltway comedian Mark Russell for their annual wrap-up edition. Proving they’re after a different demographic, This Week’s roundtable had comedian Al Franken as a guest. George Will appeared constipated with Franken at the table.

Graham’s Problem, Graham’s Opportunity

David Brooks of The Weekly Standard, appearing on The News Hour, noted a possible problem Senator Bob Graham (D, FL) might face as a presidential candidate:

People don't like anal retentives for some reason. They're prejudiced against them.

Graham keeps voluminous daily diaries. On the plus side, however, Brooks offered this:

Bob Graham has been on the Intelligence Committee, has articulated positions on Hezbollah, knows how to spell Hezbollah, which is more than most Senators do.

Recap of the Week

ABC’s Michele Martin, referring to CEOs, clergy, Trent Lott, summarized 2002 on This Week:

This was the year the bill for bad behavior came due.

Korean Surprise?

Ceci Connally of the Washington Post, on Fox:

Someone in the Bush Administration should have been a little more prepared for this.

Check It Out on New Year’s Eve

NPR’s Juan Williams, on Fox:

I think Dick Clark, the ageless one, may already have been cloned.


Pundit-Psychiatrist Charles Krauthammer on Fox, commenting on the cloning claims of the Raelian cult:

These people are off the charts.”

Cliff’s Notes on Frist

David Brooks provided a summary of Senator Bill Frist:

I brought along his resume, which is 12 pages, Harvard, Princeton, all the awards, all the books, all the journal articles. You get to Page 10 before he mentions he can walk on water. It is an amazing resume. He is an unbelievable guy.

Bully of the Week

Juan Williams compared North Korea’s Kim Jong Il to Mike Tyson and the Harry Potter character Draco Malfoy.

Check out for the Punditwatch year-end summary tomorrow, December 30th, after 1PM EST.

Sunday, December 22, 2002

A Lott to Let Go Before Fristing

Democrats and Democrat-leaning pundits enjoyed the Trent Lott scandal and had difficulty letting go after Lott’s resignation as Majority Leader on Friday.

Syndicated columnist Mark Shields started the pundit weekend by raising the Confederate flag issue on The News Hour. The Weekly Standard’s David Brooks called Shields’ charge that the issue was used in Georgia a “canard.”

On Capital Gang, the discussion about Lott erupted into a debate over whether “racism” was a part of the Republican Party. Al Hunt of the Wall Street Journal reminded viewers, “Trent Lott is not the only Republican ever to play the race card. “

Bob Novak of the Chicago Sun-Times accused Democrats and fellow Gang members of raising racial issues in order to “intimidate” Republicans into changing their positions on affirmative action and judicial appointments.

Senator Patrick Leahy, D-Vt, charged on This Week that Republicans tried to suppress the black vote in Louisiana’s December 7th special election. Senator Hillary Clinton’s comments that Republicans had been in engaged in a “constant exploitation of race” and “two Republican Senators were elected on the Confederate flag” were shown on This Week and Fox News Sunday.

“I’m disappointed in her comments,” said Senator Orrin Hatch, R-UT, on This Week. He called them “race baiting.”

“Democrats are wildly overplaying their hand. She needs to be held accountable,” thundered The Weekly Standard’s Bill Kristol on Fox. “Don’t hold your breath,” muttered Fox host Brit Hume.

Surprisingly, the pundits did not spend much time on Senator Bill Frist, R-Tenn, Majority Leader-designate. David Brooks said of him, “He is perhaps the least cynical member of the Senate. He is a very straightforward and sincere guy. He is also a terrifically sweet and nice guy.”

Perhaps pundits are holding their breath as they negotiate to be the first to snag a Frist interview.

David Broder of the Washington Post, appearing on Meet the Press, maintained that Democrats were the losers in the Lott to Frist change. The Republicans showed moral leadership in deposing Lott and “defanged Daschle” with the choice of Frist.

Iraq was discussed briefly, with most pundits agreeing that allies were offended by the Iraqi declaration to the UN, although not enough to use the term “material breach.” Newsweek’s Fahreed Zakaria said on This Week that they were waiting for “the other shoe to drop” before making that leap, but that the Administration’s plan was gaining support.

Finally, This Week introduced Time magazine’s “Persons of the Year,” three female whistle blowers. “It’s hard to believe they were the most important women in the country or the world,” sniffed Bill Kristol on Fox.

Post-Lott Policies

Most Republican Senators appearing on the weekend talk shows supported the renomination of Charles Pickering for the Federal bench, including Judiciary Committee Chairman Hatch and Lott’s Mississippi colleague, Senator Thad Cochran, R-Miss. They were much more circumspect on the issue of affirmative action, deferring to the White House on which side to take in the pending University of Michigan case before the Supreme Court.

Asleep at the Switch

Face the Nation’s Bob Schieffer confessed that he fell asleep while watching the Strom Thurmond birthday tribute, so he missed Trent Lott’s controversial comments. He was honest enough to admit that he might not have caught their significance.

Awake at the Switch

Robert George of the New York Post, appearing on Meet the Press, credited “internet journalists and web bloggers” for keeping the Lott story alive. He became, if the not the first, then one of the first pundits to mention “bloggers” on a national Sunday program.

Desperately Seeking Equivalence

Fox’s Brit Hume tried to equate comments by Senator Patti Murray, D-Wash, on Osama bin Laden with Trent Lott’s remarks. When Senator Joe Biden, D-Del, and Senator Richard Lugar, R-Ind, did not criticize her to his satisfaction, he compared them to senators who were initially supportive of Lott. Biden did allow that Murray had made “a bad choice of words.”

Just Like Democrats

First Lady Laura Bush, appearing on Meet the Press, said of her husband, “I do not like to get advice from him.”

Time Stays on Message

FBI whistleblower Coleen Rowley was named one of the three Time magazine “Persons of the Year” on Sunday. The night before, a person in Rowley’s office was the subject of Time’s Margaret Carlson’s “Outrage of the Week”:

Guess who got the FBI's award for distinguished performance? Agent Spike Bowman, who denied the Minneapolis office a warrant to search the 20th hijacker Moussaoui's laptop. Guess who didn't get one? Coleen Rowley, who had the goods linking Moussaoui to Osama. She later joked that resistance from Washington was so great there must be a mole from al Qaeda there.

Bowman said there were probably lots of Moussaouis in the phone book. There was only one. And she had trouble linking him to just the precise group that's Bowman thought she should. He gets up to 35 percent of his salary and a signed letter of gratitude from the president

Just You Wait

Democratic presidential contender Howard Dean, appearing on This Week, took credit, along with Al Gore, for President Bush’s current Iraq policy, then claimed the US would become a “second tier power” in 10-15 years if Bush’s policies are continued.

Oh, and Bye Al

Al Gore’s withdrawal from the ’04 campaign was barely mentioned. ABC’s Michele Martin noted on This Week that Senator Joe Lieberman, D, CT, went up 11 points in preference polls when Gore withdrew. Of course, she added, “no preference went up 10 points.” George Will suggested Florida Senator Bob Graham, D, might enter the race and This Week host George Stephanopolous said Connecticut’s other Senator, Chris Dodd, D, might run—if he doesn’t challenge Senator Tom Daschle, D-SD, for Senate Minority Leader.

Run, Joe, Run

David Brooks also saw Senator Lieberman benefiting from Al Gore's withdrawal, but saw a trouble spot:

A lot of Jews suddenly don't want Joe Lieberman at the top of the ticket because we're confronting Arab nations, there's a sense, well, maybe we don't want a Jew at the top. To me, you don't let anti-Semites determine how you run your country.

Sunday, December 15, 2002

Pundit Shows: Lott Jury and Flogging Post

A Bob Schieffer question on Face the Nation said everything anyone needed to know about the weekend talk shows.

Senator Joe Biden, D-Del, just back from a tour of the explosive Gulf States region, was greeted this way by host Schieffer: “Obviously, the first thing we have to ask about is Trent Lott.”

The shows were almost wall-to-wall jury verdicts on Senator Trent Lott, R-Miss, (guilty!) or opportunities for bipartisan flogging of his comments, his apologies, and his capacity to lead. Republicans and conservative pundits offered the harshest criticism, while most Democrats, possibly enjoying the meltdown, insisted that Lott’s fate was an internal Republican matter.

David Brooks of The Weekly Standard, on The News Hour, is the presumptive “Pundit of the Week. Brooks has the advantage of going first, on Friday night, but his analysis played out as the Sunday shows unfolded. Speaking of Senate Republicans, Brooks observed:

They're not waiting for the body to be cold, because there's a lot of maneuvering going on. And one of the things all the candidates are aware of is that the person who sticks the knife in is not the person who naturally [gets] the job. There is no interest [or] anybody's interest in being the first one to say, I'm against Trent Lott, because there are a lot of people who remain supportive of Trent Lott and you want to win the voters of those people if you are going to run for the Majority Leader. So you have got to seem somewhat supportive of Lott and then slip it.

Host George Stephanopolous offered “the person who sticks the knife” on This Week. In a ballyhooed exclusive that was picked up on other shows while in progress, Stephanopolous reported that Senator Don Nickles, R-Ok, had become the first Republican to express reservations about Lott’s capacity to lead. Stephanopolous called it a “cluster bomb,” while the Washington Post’s George Will said it was “a pebble, but it could start an avalanche.”

Meanwhile, Senator Mitch McConnell, R-Ky, a potential successor, appeared on Fox News Sunday and This Week to support Lott, while Senator Rick Santorum, R-Penn, another ambitious potential successor, did the same on Meet the Press. Both took great pains to stress that President Bush was the image of the Republican Party, not Trent Lott.

McConnell issued a “threat” to those who might want the Senate to censure Lott. A resolution of censure is “amendable,” McConnell observed, and amendments adding others, such as Senator Robert Byrd, D-WVA, could be introduced. Byrd used the “n” word on Fox News Sunday many months ago.

Somewhat surprisingly, Kweisi Mfume, leader of the NAACP, did not object to adding others to a resolution of censure during his appearance on This Week. He charged that there was “no diversity in the Senate.”

Senator Carl Levin, D-Mich, on Meet the Press, said he would only support a censure resolution that was “bipartisan.”

There were short segments on other topics, but the President’s new economic team, the resignations of George Mitchell and Henry Kissinger from the 9/11 Commission, North Korean nukes, and the UN weapons inspectors in Iraq got short shrift amidst the Trent Lott vortex.

Never Satisfied

Syndicated columnist Mark Shields, basking in the Republican crisis on The News Hour, still couldn’t help but speculate on what might have been if only Strom Thurmond’s had been born a few months earlier. The Trent Lott tribute would have impacted the November elections and possibly prevented Democratic losses.

Punishments for Lott

Congressman John Lewis, D-Ga, a veteran of the Civil Rights Movement, suggested on Meet the Press that the Mississippi Senator accompany him on a spring trip to visit historic sites in Montgomery, Selma, and Birmingham, Alabama.

Retiring Congressman J. C. Watts, R-Ok, under far more difficult questioning by host Tim Russert than Lewis received, suggested Lott meet with TV personality/journalist Tavis Smiley and the NAACP’s Kweisi Mfume.

Brit Hume of Fox, noting that Lott will continue his “apology tour” on Monday with an appearance on Black Entertainment Television, suggested additional events: “On Tuesday, crawl on broken glass; on Wednesday, lie on a bed of hot coals; on Thursday, submit to a public flogging.”

J. C. Watts said Lott could crawl across Mississippi on hands and knees and critics still wouldn’t think it was enough.

Be Like Thad

Mark Shields on The News Hour and the Wall Street Journal’s Al Hunt on Capital Gang sung the praises of Mississippi’s junior Senator, Thad Cochran, R-Miss, for succeeding in Lott’s state without "playing the race card. It was the first time Punditwatch recalls Cochran being praised by the pair except when he joins a Senator John McCain, R-Ariz, crusade.

Best Conservative Blasts at Lott

Kate O’Beirne, National Review, on Capital Gang: “Thoughtless and careless.”

Rich Lowry, National Review, on Face the Nation: “Ineffective and clumsy.”

George Will on This Week: “Inadequate mediocrity.”

What About Me?

Tom Friedman of the New York Times, appearing on Meet the Press, was the only pundit not asked for his take on Trent Lott.

Should Lott Stay On?

I don’t think he can, I don’t think he will, and I don’t think he should. –William Bennett, on Face the Nation

He should not, cannot, and will not. –Fareed Zakaria, Newsweek, on This Week

Sunday, December 08, 2002

Issues Overwhelm Pundits

So many issues, so little time.

The weekend pundit shows covered a wide range of issues that normally might individually consume an entire program.

Iraq’s declaration to the UN, which Senator Joseph Lieberman, D-Conn, called a “12,000 page, 100 pound lie” on Fox News Sunday.

The Friday resignation/firing of Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill and Economic Advisor Larry Lindsey that This Week host George Stephanoplous called “Black Friday.”

The victory of Senator Mary Landrieu, D-La, in the Louisiana run-off that Fox’s Brit Hume called a “significant win for Democrats” and host Tim Russert used to spark a discussion of race on Meet the Press.

And then there was Al Gore’s long-awaited return to Sunday television in an interview on This Week, plus tributes to the late ABC executive Roone Arledge.

On Iraq, pundits differed only on whether the documents would temporarily derail Bush Administration hardliners or would actually work to their advantage, allowing the US military more time to prepare. Pundits from The Weekly Standard, David Brooks on The News Hour and Bill Kristol on Fox, reported that bases in Turkey would be approved by January 15 so that engineering work could begin, meaning an attack could be launched in February.

George Will of the Washington Post, on This Week, also mentioned February. “[Iraqis] think they’re playing basketball without a shot clock. There is a shot clock. It’s February.”

The departure of O’Neill and Lindsey was variously seen as the failure to sell a flawed message or the flawed selling of a good message. Speculation on successors focused on Stephen Friedman of Goldman Sachs as Lindsey’s replacement. Friedman’s former colleague, Senator Jon Corzine, D-NJ, on Fox, called him “capable,” “intellectually disciplined,” and “a pragmatist more than an ideologue.”

While some criticized losing Republican Louisiana Senate candidate Suzanne Terrell, most credited Senator Mary Landrieu with running a smart campaign on local issues and turning out the African-American vote. Fox host Tony Snow even issued a mea culpa for pundits who had predicted a Terrell win: “The oracles were wrong. A lot of the chin-pulling prognosticators never set foot in Louisiana.”

Al Gore’s interview with George Stephanopolous on This Week was really two interviews. In the first, a discussion of Iraq, Gore kept Stephanopolous off-balance with tortured hedging and hairsplitting, while sprinkling his answers with criticism of the administration. Straight answers were hard to come by. Gore might or might not support military action to destroy weapons of mass destruction that he knows are there, depending on whether they are discovered.

In the second phase of the interview, on domestic issues, Gore became animated and expansive. He promised a tax plan and a healthcare plan to be revealed in January, even as he maintained he had not yet decided to run. His “single payer” healthcare plan is really a “single mechanism” that will squeeze out middlemen and waste. He denied such a plan a would increase taxes more often that he suggested it “might.” Gore would roll back planned upper bracket tax cuts, but he did not join wholeheartedly in the widespread Democratic call for a payroll tax cut or holdiday. He cautioned that Social Security should not be jeopordized, a possible criticism of fellow Democratic aspirant’s plans.

O’Neill Remembered

“He really was sort of the monk at the bachelor party.” --David Brooks on The News Hour

“ I’m going to miss somebody who’s blunt and speaks his mind. That was the rap: he wasn’t a ‘smoothie.’” --William Safire on Meet the Press

“He was a disaster. He was a lousy administrator.” --Bob Novak on Meet the Press

“[He and Lindsey] didn’t play well together.” --George Will on This Week

“[O’Neill and Lindsey] were smart doctors with no bedside manner.” --Fahreed Zakaria on This Week

“I’m still looking for a metaphor.” --Michele Martin on This Week

Louisiana Double Whammy

Fox's Bill Kristol said that losing to Landrieu was one thing, but that Republicans were “spooked” by the loss of a Louisiana GOP House seat in the same special election. Kristol suggested that announcing the economic team shake-up might better have been made on Monday, after the election.

Not a Lott of Defense

Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott, R-Miss, was roundly criticized for his praise of Strom Thurmond’s 1948 Dixiecrat Presidential campaign. It was host Mark Shields’ “Outrage of the Week” on Capital Gang, David Broder of the Washington Post, on Meet the Press, said it wasn’t the first time Lott had expressed such sentiments, and political writer Joe Klein, also on Meet the Press, called it “outrageous.” Only Bob Novak defended Lott. It was a mistake, said Novak, but Lott had “winged it” at a birthday party.

The Louisiana Senate race and the Lott comments led to a Meet the Press discussion of race in politics. Broder said “Race remains a factor in our national life and it’s decisive in the South.” William Safire said monolitic allegiance to the Democratic Party was bad for African Americans.

Roone Arledge, Fox

Bill Kristol paid tribute to Roone Arledge by attributing the rise of Fox to Arledge’s departure from day to day control of ABC in his later years. “Roone Arledge never would have let Brit Hume go to Fox,” gushed Kristol.

Pre-Emptive Quip

Speculating with Mark Shields on The News Hour as to who might replace Paul O’Neill as Secretary of the Treasury, David Brooks commented:

They are looking for somebody who agrees with the president and they are looking for somebody with political experience which I think rules out Charles Schwab. Ken Lay is available -- but I had to make that joke before Mark did.

The Bush Economy

Mara Liasson of NPR, on Fox, noted that “Bush owns the economy now.” Al Hunt of The Wall Street Journal, on Capital Gang, said that economy is “bad dog food.”

Sunday, December 01, 2002

Real News and Pundit News

Some shows see news as it is and ask, “Why?”

Other shows see news they’d rather cover and say, “Why not?”

Fox News Sunday and This Week covered the big news of the week—inspections in Iraq, new terror attacks, and the naming of former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger as Chairman and former Senator George Mitchell as Vice Chairman of the 9/11 Commission.

Meet the Press eschewed direct coverage of the news, devoting its entire show to host Tim Russert’s interview with Senator John Kerry, D-Mass. Kerry announced the totally expected formation of an official exploratory committee as a prelude to a future totally expected official declaration that he is running for president.

Face the Nation, in a “step back from the headlines,” took its annual Thanksgiving weekend look at the presidency. The discussion started as a “report card” on President Bush until author David Halberstam demurred on the timing.

In almost no time, author Garry Wills, journalist Bob Woodward and historian Michael Beschloss clamored to agree that it was too early to put out a report card on Bush. They spent the rest of the segment speculating on potential disasters that might appear on future report cards.

The Kerry interview showed the weakness of Russert’s tendency to stick his pre-scripted questions. Kerry offered a sweeping overall critique of the Bush Administration, saying there were “better choices” on almost every Bush position. Russert failed to pursue just what these “better choices” were in a systematic way. When he did, the results were mixed.

Kerry charged that the administration was not tough enough on Saudi Arabia. Asked what he would do differently, Kerry said the US had to “press” the Saudis. His criticism lost some of its sting when he acknowledged that “some things are best not done in public.” He called for more “back door diplomacy.” The possibility that the administration was already taking this route was not discussed.

When Kerry mentioned that he favored “major tax reform,” Russert did not ask what this might entail beyond the two items Kerry mentioned: “No new Bush tax cuts” and a “payroll tax refundable credit.” When Kerry tried to raise the environment as an issue by charging that 44% of US waters are “unfishable and unswimmable,” Russert did not pursue how Kerry would solve this problem.

Overall, Kerry's appearance was a positive for him, but Russert's largely pedestrian questioning left open the possibility that the Massachusetts Senator might have done much better--or might have been put on the defensive much more.

Breaking News from Meet the Press

On Fox News Sunday, host Tony Snow was in the middle of an interview with Henry Kissinger and George Mitchell when he announced that Senator Kerry, on “another program,” had called for Kissinger to “sever” ties with his clients while working on the 9/11 Commission. Snow asked Kissinger, then Mitchell, if they would comply. Both denied that their unknown clients would present any conflicts, but agreed to sever ties with any clients who might turn out to pose a conflict in the future.

Kissinger and Mitchell promised an aggressive inquiry, with Mitchell promising “we will do whatever is necessary” to get at the truth.


Tim Russert showed Kerry a quote decrying high tax rates and defending tax cuts. When Kerry disagreed with it, Russert revealed that the author was President John F. Kennedy. It appeared that Kerry did not recognize the author of the quote in advance as he scrambled to explain that "those were different times" when Kennedy was a tax-cutting Democrat.

When Al Qaeda Takes Up the Palestinian Cause

“The big loser will be the Palestinians. There will be no Palestinian state. This is the kiss of death.” --Fareed Zakaria, Newsweek, on This Week

Al Gore Criticizes Conservative Media Conspiracy

“I’m a psychiatrist. I don’t usually practice on camera, but this is the edge of looniness. He could use some help.” --Charles Krauthammer, Washington Post, on Fox News Sunday

No Quip of the Week

No “Quip of the Week” is being awarded this week. Syndicated columnist Mark Shields tried on Capital Gang, but he just tried too hard--twice:

1. “‘People’ magazine this week named Ben Affleck, the Hollywood star, the sexiest man alive. A recount that showed Richard Simmons, the diet guru, being the sexiest man alive would not have surprised me more than the appointment of Henry Kissinger to uncover government lapses and level with the public.”

2. I just say in conclusion that putting Henry Kissinger there, I think, is a pattern. We'll probably have Leona Helmsley in charge of IRS and Charlton Heston in charge of the Brady bill.

One George Helps Another

Usually President George W. Bush worries about being tied to television evangelist Pat Robertson, but This Week host George Stephanopolous did the President a favor by bringing the volatile Robertson on screen to disagree with Bush's position that Islam is a religion of peace.

Confession of the Week

During an argument with the Wall Street Journal’s Al Hunt on Capital Gang , Bob Novak of the Chicago Sun-Times was unable to recall the name of a historian who thought President Roosevelt knew about Pearl Harbor in advance. Later, Novak remembered a name, confessing:

“I had a senior moment. If I were a little younger, I would have remembered him.”

There’s No Hope

“Some systems are too complicated to be reformed and our tax system is one of them.” --George Will, Washington Post, on This Week