Things Sen. George Mitchell Can't Do

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Satirist Brian Unger looks at the remarkable career of former Sen. George Mitchell, who was recently picked by Major League Baseball to investigate steroid use. Unger wonders: Is there anything this man can't do? Sadly, the list is pretty long...

MADELEINE BRAND, host:

And now, for the Unger Report today, Brian Unger asks can Former Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell save the world and baseball at the same time?

BRIAN UNGER reporting:

Wherever there is trouble, scandal, acrimony, corruption, war, office equipment, and Mickey Mouse, there is the 72-year-old former senator from Maine, George Mitchell. In fact, there are few hot spots where this man isn't.

He is the diplomatic superman of our time, a monster mediator, the man to call when no man will answer the call. Chairman of the Walt Disney Company, Director of the Boston Red Sox, peace negotiator in the Middle East and Northern Ireland, head of a commission to investigate bidding practices for Olympic games, board member to office supply retailer Staples, author of four books, lawyer, judge, and now, major league baseball's man to weed out alleged steroid use among players, a man who put Oliver North in his place and who will now cut Berry Bonds down to size.

What can't George Mitchell do? A lot. In fact, outside the beltway and boardrooms, the country would be surprised to learn just how unskilled George Mitchell really is, and the jobs he can't do right. George Mitchell can't replace Katie Couric on The Today Show. No matter how perky Mitchell continues to act, no matter how cute his haircut gets, he has way too much sex appeal for the job.

Mitchell can't cook, and his gravitas would be ratings poison. George Mitchell can't convince the Bush administration that global warming is real. He can't persuade Condoleezza Rice to run for president, and he can't make Bill and Hillary Clinton sleep in the same city. George Mitchell is just one more guy who can't fix FEMA, rebuild New Orleans, or host The Oscars.

George Mitchell can't stem the tide of opinion journalism, build a big enough wall across the southern U.S. border to keep gardeners and nannies from ruining the country, or prevent Lou Dobbs' head from exploding on live TV. George Mitchell can't find Natalee Holloway, catch Osama bin Laden, or kill 24's Jack Bauer.

What else can't George Mitchell do? He can't reduce our dependence on foreign oil, stop the number of references to broke-back anything, and can't shut my neighbor's dog up, or stop it from trying to kill me every time I walk to my car.

Can George Mitchell make Saddam's trial go faster? Can he make Tony Soprano's recovery speedier? There's so much George Mitchell can't do. Sure, he might be able to save the world, maybe baseball, but can he hit 73 homeruns in a single season?

And that is today' Unger Report. I'm Brian Unger.

BRAND: Well, there's one thing George Mitchell can do. It's take the Unger Report with him as a podcast. It's one of the many NPR features now available. Find out more at NPR.org.

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