John Leo
Mr. Answer Man, why is it that many people don't like the idea of Katie Couric becoming the new Dan Rather? Is it because, after all those father figures, it's jarring to get the national kid sister? If we're going to bypass Dad, why can't we have a reassuring mother figure instead of turning immediately to one of the perky kids?

You have a point. Katie is almost 50, but people think of her as a kid and douse her in childlike rhetoric. Bob Schieffer of CBS said, "We're going to love Katie." Journalist Margaret Carlson compared her to Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm, and someone else called her a "sweetheart." It's hard to imagine Tom Brokaw saying he adores Brian Williams, or that Brian reminds him of "Winnie the Pooh." These comments probably should have been cleared with the casting director at CBS.

You're probably going to say this isn't a good question, but what is Katie's position on castration?

It seems to vary. When a man ran out on his bride-to-be, leaving her right at the altar, Katie suggested on the "Today" show that castration might be a good idea. But when the Runaway Bride of 2005 fled from her husband-to-be, Katie failed to prescribe any genital mangling at all. In her one-hour special on this gripping tale, Katie was very sweet to the fleeing fiancee. She said Ms. Runaway "hopes that when people learn her full story, they will come to see her as she sees herself, as a real person with real problems, not as a headline."

That's touching. But tell me, why wasn't the runaway husband, also a real person with real problems, entitled to keep his real genitals?

You would have to ask Katie. My feeling is that Les Moonves, her new boss, will probably tell Katie to stop calling for people to be surgically altered.

Here's another question about double standards. When Republican senator Jim Jeffords of Vermont switched parties and became a Democrat, Katie said, "His story is a classic of American politics." He agonized, but "knew he'd made the right decision. Today, Jeffords is a man at peace with himself."

My question is this: When Colorado senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell made the opposite switch, from Democrat to Republican, was his story a classic, too, and did Katie say he was at peace with himself and knew he had made the right decision? Or did Katie not interview him because he was traveling in the wrong direction?

You got it. He wasn't on the "Today" show.


John Leo

John Leo is editor of MindingTheCampus.com and a former contributing editor at U.S. News and World Report.

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