The News That Matters

I have a confession to make: I was part of that small group who watched "Anchorwoman," that "reality show" about Lauren Jones, the, uh, model, who became a news presenter down in Tyler, Texas. I can understand, though, why they canceled the program after one show. To use insider-technical language, the ratings sucked. And I can explain that. Why bother at 8 p.m. with the same thing you can see at 6 or 11 (or, actually, around the clock)?

And lest you conclude that this is a sour-grapes rant about television executives who believe that any fool can be an on-air reporter, particularly a low-paid, young, buxom blond fool with great legs, it is not.

No. This is about Sen. John Warner (R) of Virginia. The 80-year-old Warner is definitely none of the above, although he certainly has had contact over the years with some of the world's beauties. But I digress ...

Over his three terms in the Senate, and his public service as Navy secretary and one of Elizabeth Taylor's husbands (sorry, I couldn't resist), Warner has presented a statesmanlike, almost stern persona, which, by the way, masks a great sense of humor in private.

His careful, measured tones are a stark contrast to the usual bombastic sound bites we hear from so many politicians. He gives meaning to the old saw "If you want to be heard, speak softly."

We got another demonstration yesterday when his pronouncement about withdrawing the troops from Iraq made front-page news. Why? Because it came from him. Whether one disagrees with all or part of what he says, one must take it seriously. That's because everyone else does.

It's probably a decent bet that what he proposes this August will preview what happens in September. At the very least it becomes a starting point for debate, since it comes from someone regarded as one of the Senate's wisest members.

At the moment, Sen. Warner is deciding whether to run for reelection. If not, I have a terrific idea: He'd make a hell of an anchor man. Better yet, maybe Lauren Jones could become a senator.

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