Dear Dr. Bones,
Sir, this morning your colleague Baker writes,
|Insofar as Harshaw objects to ... questions being raised about Bowles and Simpson he is asking that they be granted special protection. That is a request that does not deserve to be treated seriously.|
This looks to me like a failure to understand the rôle of the blue-ribbon commission in American demoplutocracy. "To think structurally, please, gentlepersons!"
If such an extraordinary assembly of the Daughters of Virtue and Sons of Wisdom LLC as that presided over by the Freelord of Simpson and Citizen Bowles does not possess "special protection" -- special IMMUNITY might be the better wording -- there is no sound reason for it to happen at all. Why, one might as well let Congress handle our legislative requirements! 
I cannot tell whether Comrade Dr. Baker would endorse that dotty plan, or whether he merely dislikes the Concord Coalition snake oil recommended by B. ’n’ S.
His own pet notions are so far removed from all respectable Wisdom and Virtue that even a vivid imaginer might be at a loss to imagine any means, however ir- or neo-regular, of obtaining them. Under those circumstances, it is understandable, but not ideally admirable, for him to say nothing about institutional end-runnin’ as such.
We, however, as disciples of The Master, can allow ourselves no such informal laxity. We must begin by declaring against all blue-ribbonism (and equally, all referendumbmongerin’) formaliter, no matter what the DVSW (LLC) or Cleon may be up to materialiter. When the substantive results we crave are unobtainable by the mechanisms which Mr. Madison and the Gang of Eighty-Seven proposed, and to which our civic ancestors agreed on our behalf, we ought to do without them.  Period.
As simpson as that, it is, really.
Happy days (through affordable health care!)
 Perhaps not Congress utterly without extra- or superconstitutional run-arounds, though. That love for the plebescite or referendumb that flourishes in CA and MA and other dark corners of the realm is basically another scheme for getting irregular results via dubious processes. The matter of the irregularity is usually different, some folkish or neofolklike measure of which the DVSW (LLC) would gravely and ‘bipartisanly’ disapprove. Furthermore, referendumb groupies can count (usually) on nobody darin’ to be as disrespectful of THEMSELVES, THE PEOPLE as Comrade Dr. Baker is of E. B. Bowles and of his freelordship.
Nevertheless, it comes to much the same thing formally or structurally: a quest for irregular results via dubious processes. For "end runs," as the kiddies say about one of their kiddie games, I forget which.
 Or formally amend the mechanisms, of course. (But everybody knows how impossible that is!)
 Well maybe not quite. I am arguing, sir, that she who can swallow the whole camel of blue-ribbon-panel neoregularity is only being silly to object to so slender a straw as according a neoregular degree of respect and deference (naturally including utter noninvestigation by hirelings of the New York Times Company) to the Lords of the Ribbon.
As often, what is inadequate straight up would have been admirable if intended as spoof. If, that is, Comrade Dr. Baker had been trying to get rid of this quasi-institutional neoregularity (in all cases, not merely this one) by pointing out that superpartisan panels of DVSW (LLC) won’t work well unless everybody piously tugs our figurative forelocks to the likes of the Freelord of Simpson -- and even to the likes of E. B. Bowles, M.B.A., by golly! -- in a manner scarcely consistent with what used to be called "republican simplicity."
I can see no hint of that, however. Can you? Dr. Baker sounds to me like he is not kidding, and as to the man Harshaw, how many virtual peasants can show such a splendidly tuggable and well-tugged forelock nowadays?
(( Comrade Greenwald of Salon has written well on the modus operandi harshawensis and how it consists in always bein’ very solemn an’ upper-case-‘S’ Serious. Plus insinuatin’ relentlessly that if one disagrees, one ain’t Serious at all. ))