TV SoundOff: Sunday Talking Heads
Well, Good Morning, HuffPo readers and welcome to Sunday morning, the day where the babble of the teevee is offset, in part, by the babble of this live blog. Sit back, enjoy, and add your comments below or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
We begin with Fox News Sunday, because, at least, where I live, there's nothing else on. Karl Rove is in the house, doing battle with...uhm...Chris Van Hollen? Does this seem like a fair fight to you? Well, considering that Rove bases his confidence on esoteric polling theory and Van Hollen can point to the fact that the GOP re-elect effort is embarrassingly cash-poor.
What if Congress' low approval rating has to do with the people in Congress who are obstructing the things the people want? This is the point Van Hollen is making. This is twice now that Van Hollen has been making clear points, only to have Wallace interrupt him.
Karl Rove has the biggest coffee mug in the world! My God, you could stick a medium-sized dog in there!
Rove totally derails Van Hollen by pointing out how crazy handsy he's getting.
Wallace is making the same mistake the Politico made in reporting Murtha's comments.
Karl is, of course, lying: those troops are not coming home because they are succeeding. They are coming home because the Pentagon has no other choice than to bring them home.
Ugh. Fred Smith. FedEx Founder and CEO. Presented as an "American Leader." Hard for me to get past what an ineffective father he is.
Yeah. This is dull. Dull! Unfortunately, not much on other places. War on Christmas tiff on Fox News was fun forma few minutes. Then all the Fox anchors wished everyone "Happy Holidays." So let's talk about what we'll be liveblogging later. David Axelrod and Howard Wolfson will be on Face the Nation later. Ron Paul will be hanging with Wolf Blitzer.
Bring on the panel. Fred Barnes, Mara Liasson, Bill Kristol and Nina Easton. No Juan Williams.
Rudy Giuliani and the Shag Fund. Apparently, Tony Carbonetti called Wallace and offered the campaign's...what? SEVENTH explanation? Is that what we're up to? Is that their final answer?
Mara Liasson sounds sickypoo this morning. Fred Barnes is clearing his throat, too. Karl Rove probably got too near the coffeepot and made it rancid.
Bill Kristol is not impressed with Nina Easton's summation of the Clinton political partnership. But then, he's not impressed with anything -- except his girlfriend, the Surge. He thinks Clinton and Giuliani will BOTH lose the nomination.
Mara has cleared whatever raccoon is in her throat to say that the problem with Bill and Hillary is that they are "not new." Fred Barnes, still clogged with throat rodents, says something about a cartoon. Now Bill Kristol is offering to buy people dinner! Awesome panel!
Down in Venezuela, they're voting to decide whether Chavez will be able to be fully installed as a Latin American version of Pervez Musharraf today. Surprisingly, no one on the panel supports Chavez. Bill Kristol thinks we need to be tougher on Putin and that Russia poses a larger problem than Venezuela. Of course, Putin will MESS YOU UP if you get in his way.
Ok. Chris Wallace time is over. Chris Matthews time is beginning. I'm already getting eyestrain. I'm going to check in with our editor, Nico Pitney, and see if maybe he'd come over and let me dictate this to him. Maybe he can bring coffee and danish.
Is "Shag Fund Gate" a "clumsy attempt" to hide Rudy's shady tax money dealings? Or an awesome plan to get laid? Depend on how you look at it. For a gentleman of a certain age and a certain number of divorces and a certain number of instances that renders your position on the Kinsey scale "fluid," Judith Nathan is quite a catch! I mean, she's no Judith Regan, but I haven't seen her dressed up as "Slutty Boxer" for Halloween.
Andrew Sullivan suggests that Rudy might be a "little seedy." And he advances the pedophile priest story. WHY IS NO ONE INTERESTED IN THAT?
Chris Matthews wonders if this is an "inside job." But the oppo research fodder on Rudy is EVERYWHERE! You can't even do RESEARCH on Rudy without it turning into opposition research.
Nico responds to my request: "Hahahah." Great. I guess that means I'm on my own. Kids: if you are interested in the Huffington Post Internship Program, remember this liveblog. This is what you will be doing. On Sundays anyway.
Chris Matthews just cannot seem to accept the Huckabee candidacy as anything more than some weird outcome of a conspiratorial cabal. And he's going to keep bringing it up until some other mystery of the universe reveals itself to him. He spent two weeks wrestling with the fact that Hillary Clinton needs to sit down to pee.
We're going to talk about Condi Rice, now. GQ's Most Powerful Person in Washington. That survey, by the way, must have been taken on a day everyone else in DC was summering somewhere. Rumsfeld characterized her as "a glorified Russian studies graduate student that was not up to the job." Wow. I guess even a broken clock is right twice a day.
Bumiller talks about Rice being a "translator" of Bush's policy philosophies...that they have a "symbiotic relationship." Sorry, but you cannot weld two pieces of lead together and call it a "symbiotic relationship!"
Chris Matthews: "Is there any hope?" Give us some hope for the holidays! Chris has gone all fatalist on us. "Lie to the kids! Tell them they have a future!"
Tell me something I don't know? 1) Elisabeth Bumiller is a dumb purveyor of process stories. 2) The news on Giuliani is going to get worse and NEW YORK Magazine is going to publish it. WOW! Really? 3) Fred Thompson may not be running the smartest Presidential campaign! 4) Mike Huckabee is mulling a torture position similar to McCain's - one that would allow him to claim to be a decent human being.
Face The Nation with CBS News leprechaun Bob Schieffer. John McCain has not written off Iowa! He won't be going their until the 12th...or the 13th...he can't, you know, REMEMBER, the important ONE DAY he'll be in that ONE STATE.
McCain says Huckabee is a "force to the reckoned with" who has "won a few debates." He's "concise!" He's got a good line about Jesus!
McCain remembers the backlash against Irish immigration. "Irish need not apply," he reminds us, also reminding us that he's as old as dirt.
Oh, yes. I forgot. As much as Bill Kristol wants the Surge to be his girlfriend, I was totally wrong. John McCain and the Surge are totes dating. McCain has lavaliered the Surge. They are going to the Surge's sorority semi-formal. McCain is going to make an honest woman of the Surge. They'll settle down, have some kids, the Surge will develop a massive addiction to painkillers...
McCain shares Bob Schieffer's "frustration" and "tone of voice." Probably even the same prostate problems. McCain wants us all to "get on board" the Surge. I guess he and the Surge are having an open relationship! Maybe Bill Kristol will get to have his way with the Surge. Vote McCain, the candidate of Surge bukkake!
David Axelrod versus Howard Wolfson! Axelrod, who looks like a local magician who'll play your kid's birthday party, says Obama is up because he's "pushing for change." Wolfson, who looks like Cardinal Richelieu's sunken-eyed bag man, says the race is a dead heat, and warns Iowans that they are going to have a choice.
Axelrod: Let me haughtily read the Washington Post to you.
Wolfson: How about a yes or no answer?
Axelrod: Yes. We both have awesome plans.
Wolfson: Our plan is awesomer.
Schieffer: Will Obama do a better job uniting Republicans?
Wolfson: Our candidate is tested!
Axelrod's response is like that Fred Armisen character from Weekend Update: "Look, I think that you can see--I mean, the numbers are--even still--the trends--you know, I think that Americans are smart enough--look, these are both good candidates--America is a nation--America--America is place--A place with roads and chipmunks--Look, the conventional wisdom is--Okay, this is a widely held view--Okay? Yes. Okay, then."
Oooh. Wolfson calls that PAC a "slush fund!" That's tough talk coming from the guy who wouldn't properly identify himself to the L.A. Times on the whole Norman Hsu matter!
All right, people. Late Edition with the Blitz. Middle East Peace talks. Chris Dodd. And, Ron Paul, whose supporters have all had their senses of humor SURGICALLY REMOVED! Or so my experience has been. Paul supporters: please leave your cattiest knock-knock jokes in the comments.
Chris Dodd says the $64 question is whether the Surge will yield any political results. Didn't it used to be the $64,000 question? When did that question get devalued? Another victim of Bush's economic policies?
John Negroponte says that we only need to wait a few more Friedman units until Iraq is perfect and happy and Disneyworld opens in Baghdad.
You know, Dodd is a smart, forthright candidate. And his grasp on domestic issues is great as well, especially on education. In a perfect world, he'd be more of a contender. Of course, in that perfect world he'd probably be younger and better looking. If he could somehow make this a two-man race between him and Fred Thompson...
Wolf Blitzer talks about a "subprime market that seems to have collapsed." Could my eyes have rolled harder?
Oh, boy! Carl 'n' Arlen are up next! And it's snowing in New York City! Lucky ducks.
Carl Levin and his glasses hope that the peace process is going somewhere. Was it a "good idea" to exclude Hamas and Iran? Uhm, duh.
Clip of Bush "explaining" the peace process causes my wife to say: "You know, when I'm dealing with kids who whine, I always stop them and tell them that they need to use their regular voice. I find the need to tell this to the President all the time. Stop whining! Use your words!"
A commenter asks: "Why does the national media, not to mention the blogosphere, ignore and otherwise dismiss Senator Biden and, instead, appear to be so in love with mediocrity?"
A fair question. For my part, I think Biden's run a stronger campaign than I would have expected. He's been giving great, clear, answers at debates that show a command of fact, intellectual heft, and a good sense of humor. I think he's off the top tier mainly because he doesn't have the "celeb factor" of the Clinton-Obama-Edwards troika. I mean, let's be honest! But that's more to do with why America at large cannot get behind him. I, personally cannot get behind him because he says paralysingly stupid things from time to time, especially...oddly...on matters of race. He's great because he's unscripted, he's terrible because he's unscripted, and I have no idea what sort of diplomat or consensus builder he'd be. I suspect a very bad one. But I'm open to a defense of the man, and I'm willing to admit that he's exceeded my expectations.
In other news, I am totally coming down with whatever Mara Liasson had this morning. Karma...
Wolf Blitzer is allowing Lt. Gen. Ray Odierno present the modest troop withdrawals slated for 2008 as part of a well-thought out plan and the end result of military success, instead of the truth, which is that they have no choice in the matter, as we noted earlier. It's sad that none of these journalists seem capable of understanding this and calling people like Odierno on it. But then, what do you expect? Joe Klein, FISA, same old story.
Surprised that the hostage situation from this past week has garnered little mention? I am.
Oh, look! There. Wolf mentioned it. But only in connection with another interview with Pastor Rick Warren.
Didn't watch it myself, but a commenter noted that Mike Huckabee killed on ABC today: "Huckabee did a great job on This Week. Look at the interview and see why he's creeping ahead. I'm not talking about his stand on the issues, record,religion or shoe size. Look at his performance. It's Clintonian (Bill not Hillary Clintonian and in the good sense). Arkansas must have stole the Blarney Stone from Ireland. He can go far."
These are good days for everyone who thought Huckabee was a dark horse contender.
A countering opinion: "I can't hold down solid food when Huckabee speaks. As a native Southerner, I've seen his creepy, slicker-than-Crisco ilk all my life. He's says he's "authentic" then aw-shucksily spins the old yarn that "scientists say bumblebees can't fly." Google it and help to once and for all send this on the myth heap -- but maybe Huckster doesn't believe this science either, just as he doesn't buy evolution. That said, I hope he's the Republican candidate and I am certain the Republican machine is freaking out over that prospect. Any of the Dems will obliterate him."
Wolf on Bush! The Map Room!
Bush says that America won't impose our view on the Israelis and Palestinians. The Iraqis must be feeling that "oldest son syndrome" right about now.
Wolf suggests that maybe the President should visit the region, but the President doesn't like to travel. I see his point. I find myself hoping that a schism erupts among all the HuffPo "Off The Bus" people. I would be willing to help them patch up their differences. Next Sunday. If they bring refreshments to my apartment.
Bush: "Part of the way to solve a problem is for there to be clarity."
Syria--newly minted member of the "No Homers Club." Iran--Homer.
Bush thinks that Saudi Arabia even showing up in Annapolis is a good sign, and a "terrific opportunity for them." Even if they are going to be a bunch of no-hand-shaking dicks about it.
Bush on Pervez: "Taking off his uniform is a strong first step." Strong second steps might be lifting martial law and releasing a bunch of people from prison. I do love all the talk about "taking off the uniform." I would imagine that Bush calls up Musharraf and asks, "So, Perv...what are you wearing?" Except Bush won't call him on the phone, will he? Anyway--"no free elections" Pakistan and "no-hands-shaking, lash-the-victim-of-a-brutal-gang-rape" Saudi Arabia--our partners in peace.
YES! Ron Paul. Love that old-timey way he pronounces "Nazi." "Nassee." Still, he is probably the only candidate who is willing to recognize that only Congress has the authority to declare war. That's a plus. Also, he's read Niall Ferguson's COLOSSUS. But, really, how hard is it these days to be on the right side of the Iraq issue. That doesn't impress me. What leaves an impression is what they are getting into now--the magical sovereignty killing highway!
But OMGs. People will not stop giving money to this guy! You watch: he's going to clear $15 million this quarter. I no longer think the ONE Ron Paul Blimp is crazy--I think that if they do not have a fleet of blimps, it would be crazy. (Also crazy: Paul's tax reform plan. And that whole part where he says he'll defend the Constitution whilst simultaneously stripping the legal protections from people "born or naturalized in the United States," which are protections that you find...uhm...in the Constitution! Crazy!)
Anyway, Ron Paul! The candidate for people who think the policies of Sapurmurat Niyazov would be great for America!
Also getting praise from a commenter: "Jim Webb on Meet The Press this morning was amazing.He ran his segment and made clear his view on the so called surge success.We would be lucky to have this man as a V.P." Webb as Veep? Let the man have a term in the Senate for Virginia, first, people!
Fareed Zakaria: "McCain wears well." McCain! He will worm your way into your heart! Like a...a...uhm...heartworm!
Toobin says that the GOP Primary in Iowa is a "five-man" race. That's Rudy, Mitt, Huck, McCain and...who? Who am I forgetting?
New York City cops walked Judith Nathan's dog?? Wow. Why weren't they protecting Kathleen Willey's pets?
Oh! The fifth man! Must be Thompson! Okay, so, Mr. Toobin: Sorry. Wrong. It's so not a five man race.
A commenter says: "Vote McCain, the candidate of Surge bukkake!' This is the greatest line ever written about the current administration." Thank you, kind commenter! We will treat your words as a mandate to continue to debase the political discourse.
Why has Mike Huckabee topped out in Iowa? Toobin's right on Thompson: "he's laid a complete egg." He blames Romney's problems on his "moderate positions." I blame Romney's problems on the fact that he's a weak, unserious candidate. His "positions" are entirely secondary.
And, please, let's all have one more laugh at the sight of Rudy Giuliani calling SOMEONE ELSE "holier than thou," thus pressing the pot-kettle-black dialectic forward.
Hey, Biden fans! Joe is in fourth place now! He's like U.S. Men's Luge at the Winter Olympics!
All right everyone. That's Sunday morning. What have we learned today? McCain and the Surge are totally in love and are going to get married and have babies and they are registered for their wedding at Bed, Beth and Beyond (find a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian peace process in the "Beyond" section). We sided with Karl Rove for the first time today: specifically on the issue of Chris Val Hollen's creepy handsiness. And from all of us here in Washington, DC to everyone in New York City this morning--we are jealous of your snow! Have a great Sunday, and thanks to all of our commenters.