Good morning and welcome to another addition of your Sunday morning liveblog. Today is going to be a special Sunday, and by "special," I mean, "like a million billion poison-tipped daggers were plunged into my throat all at once." Wherefore? Because apparently, this Sunday is supposed to be a full-spectrum battle between Democratic surrogates. Smiling sycophants who a) can't stand one another and b) haven't come up with an original thing to say about their candidate in a month because they thought the nomination would be over by this point will do battle all over the TV dial this morning. So if there's a Sunday you should substitute watching that for reading this, IT IS TODAY. Frankly, you'd be best off reading a liveblog of my liveblogging ("10:30: Okay...he's starting to make pained sounds. 10:45: It looks like he's weeping. 10:55: Okay, Jason is totally despondent now. I'm getting a social worker.") just to keep yourself at a safe distance for the toxic inanity that's likely to occur.
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Fox News Sunday
See, here we go. Ted Strickland and Jim Doyle, who back Clinton and Obama, respectively, will yell at each other today. Wallace couldn't be happier that the GOP has wrapped up their nomination. Anyway, Doyle immediately goes out downplaying expectations. "My state is normally nuts for Hillary. She should be up by eleven million points. But I have BEEN A WITNESS TO THE HOPES. Obama will win!"
Meanwhile, Clinton is up gigantic in Ohio. Huge. And Wallace is like, "Wow, doesn't she HAVE TO WIN Ohio?" Isn't it really crucial." She's up by fifteen points! Wallace won't let go. "Isn't it a must win?" He's making it sound like Clinton is in trouble in Ohio. Strickland has apparently bee dispatched to tell us that Clinton will end the Iraq War, by the way.
Jim Doyle also throws down on the superdelegates. Remember Chicago '68! Obama will help us get past "old divisions." The superdelegates should honor the will of the people. So, Ted Kennedy should get behind Clinton to respect the will of the people of Massachusetts?
Wallace points out that Obama has a lead in the popular vote and in delegates. He asks Strickland if he thinks it would be bad if a bunch of white superdelegates all voted against biracial Obama. Strickland says that it's terrible that we're using words like "party bosses." What? Of all the stands to make! "We shouldn't change the rules in the middle of the election." So, Florida and Michigan are going to be out?
Wallace immediately goes there. Strickland says, "Uhm. That's a difficult issue that will get resolved." His answer is totes BS, and you can tell by the way he has to pause and beg his brain to spit out an answer that sounds like something that won't deeply shame him in an hour: "That's not changing the rules at all. That's...uhm...giving the authority to...uhhhhhhhhh...determine who is a valid delegate...ehrmmmmmm...to the credentials committee...bluuugggghh...and that's a part of our rules."
Doyle points out that Strickland is being inconsistent. Duh. Strickland just bought himself a nice quiet aneurysm. Of course, Doyle cannot define what he believes the superdelegates should do with consistency, either. Should Ted Kennedy back up the will of the people of Massachusetts?
Ted Strickland doesn't want to be vice-president! And hey! That makes two of us, I guess! He goes back to trying to explain his position on "the rules" - and...and....does Strickland have Parkinson's? I honestly don't know. But his head is shaking back and forth and I'm getting geniunely worried for his health.
So, Mike McConnell is on, now, talking about FISA. I'm really going to have refer you to Glenn Greenwald on these issues. Simply put, the wiretaps that the administration cannot, under the original FISA law, get a warrant for are...uhm...well the word is unwarranted, isn't it? And what happened to conservatives? This sort of bureaucratic invasion of law-abiding people is precisely the type of thing you used to be able to count on conservatives to stand against!
Panel time: Fred Barnes, Mara Liasson, Bill Kristol, and Juan Williams. It's a Weekly Standard vs. NPR nerd-off! Liasson: Obama is in the lead, but Clinton could get back into the lead. Or neither might win and superdelegates can decide. So thank you, Mara Liasson, for telling us all what we've known for weeks.
Kristol doesn't know why Clinton is pulling out of Wisconsin on Monday. Maybe her internal polls showed a collapse on Friday, he posits. Or maybe they showed she's cruising to a win? Or maybe having done enough to stave off a blowout, they're simply going to put their efforts behind selling Ohio and Texas as "important" states.
Fred Barnes points out that it seems as if the Clinton campaign was built around the premise that nothing was going to be happening after Super Tuesday.
What happens if Obama wins the delegates and the popular vote in June and the superdelegates have to decide things? Liasson doesn't think the supers will act to swing the election from one to the other at this point. She thinks that Florida and Michigan are bigger issues.
On FISA, Bill Kristol suggests that the telecom immunity isn't just about "terrorist surveillance" but necessary for their "across the board" support. Huh? What other laws are we letting telcos break? What else do they want immunity for?
Barnes: "This is the sort of thing that will bite the Democrats in the fall and McCain will do the biting."
Uhm, Chris: The Democrats have not denied anyone the right to listen to al Qaeda. They've denied the President the rights to listen to my phonecalls. Get it right.
Barnes says that the success in Iraq means that the withdrawal argument is tougher to make by Democrats. Huh? What? You'd thing it allows a STRONGER case for getting our troops the hell out of there? Is there ANYTHING that can happen in Iraq that will allow us to maybe withdraw troops and maybe get back on the long-delayed task of going after the people who caused 9-11?
Face The Nation
Against the advice of medical professionals, I'm going to watch Face The Nation, even though I'm long past the point of ever wanting to see Howard Wolfson and David Axelrod on TV again.
WOLFSON: This race is far from over. Ohio and Texas aare the most important states filled with the most important people that will ever live in the universe.
AXELROD: We never said the race was over. We've won more states though and we have brought the disaffected back to the polls with our hope!
WOLFEN: Superdelegates should vote their conscience, as long as their conscience supports us. And Congressman Clyburn can basically bite me.
AXEL FOLEY: We have a debate coming up and we've done this eighteen times and my candidate isn't really able to make CHANGE and touch people's lives in the debate format. Anyway, we're debating twice in five days.
TEEN WOLF: WE WANT TO DEBATE IN WISCONSIN! WE LOVE CHEESE AND ICE FISHING. WHERE DOES OBAMA STAND ON CHEESE AND ICE FISHING!!
ROD THROUGH THE CENTER OF MY SKULL: No one should moralize about public financing. We raise nickels from paupers.
HOWARD THE DUCK: Quack, quack!
AXE TO GRIND: REEERRRRRRERRRRRERRRRR!
Okay, well that's over. Now we're going to do the same thing, again, only ETHNIC. Doug Wilder and Anthony Villaraigosa.
BLACK GUY: There are two many people who act like the African-American voter is different! Bill Clinton has no mantle of authority to dismiss us.
HISPANIC GUY: Clinton has a long track record with the MINORITEAM. We're looking to the future. But not with HOPE! No, no, with old-school Clintonian FEAR. Anyway, Hispanics and blacks don't hate each other. We all voted for Ron Kirk.
BLACK GUY: And Hispanics and blacks voted for Obama in Virginia. Hope for everyone! It's so much better than someone, not saying who, who tries to sell us on experience. I've got some platitudes that will help me filibuster this conversation.
HISPANIC GUY: I couldn't agree more with Doug Wilder. Except for the "Obama" part! I'm coming to Texas tonight. Yay. Texas. God I wish this race was over. Please shoot me.
BLACK GUY: Chicago 1968! Never forget! Panic on the streets of Denver! Panic on the streets of Fort Collins! What does Hillary know? Osmosis!
HISPANIC GUY: She totally did things! She started conversations! Discussions, even!
Finally, Bob Schieffer stops it, which doesn't stop Doug Wilder from thanking everyone again and again and again and again.
Bob Schieffer: Beagles are awesome! I don't like eating flowers! And stop plating my food all fancy! Damn it! Damn all you people! I miss my beagles! BEAGLES UBER ALLES!
The Chris Matthews Show
Okay. Look. I'm not going to watch the pestiferous Chris Matthews show this week. This is my President's Day vacation. Besides, we all know what happened on the show. Chris Matthews came on, introduced his panel, told them how hard and pointy Barack Obama is making his nipples, and what does everyone think of that. Don't know who was on the panel, but you can probably imagine their reaction.
Maybe Dan Rather had a hilarious simile to share. Andrew Sullivan was probably droll and decadent. Katty Kay said some intelligent, refreshing things that made you wish she didn't have to make so many sacrifices collecting worthless U.S. coin when she could be getting drunk with Italian pornstars on some European political talk show. Joe Klein probably said something that pissed off liberal blog commenters - which is pretty easy to do. If Joe Klein were to write he wore a size eleven loafer, people would send him emails that read: "THAT'S JUST THE SORT OF BS WE EXPECT FROM A MOUTHPIECE OF TEH BUSH ADMINISTRATION! FASCIST!"
Then, Chris Matthews did that thing where he clunkily weaves some awkward pop cultural reference into the conversation. "HEH! You know, Roy Scheider died this week. We're gonna need a bigger bohwt! HEH! Jahnn MuhCain's old too. He could die! Maybe he'll die onna bowht! It reminds me of that moouh-vee! The Ol Manannasee. With Anthony Quinn! He died onna bohwt! Jahhn MuhCain's gonna die onna bohwt, too. We're ganna needa bigger one! We should get Anthony Quinn onna show. GOD I AM HILARIOUS."
Then the panel will get to "Tell Chris Something He Doesn't Know," and one of these weeks I so hope someone's like, "Bats use SONAR, Chris!" or "Plants respire through a process called photosynthesis" or "If you want to make your 7UP colder, Chris, you can put it in a REFRIGERATOR." And then Chris says, "REFRIGERATOR. You guys are great! HEH! I love politics. I hate Hillary Clinton." AND THEN JUST AS YOU FALL TO YOUR KNEES AND BEG FOR DEATH THE SHOW ENDS.
Meet The Press
More surrogate on surrogate action. Dick Durbin versus Chuck Schumer. And a reunion of the Capitol Gang - Al Hunt, Margart Carlson, Johnny Marr, Morrissey, Bob Novak, Satan, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Kate O'Beirne, Mark Shields, and the entire cast of The Days And Nights Of Molly Dodd!
But first, attack of the clones!
DURBIN: We feel good! Big turnouts! Obama has captured the imagination and his waterboarding it with hope. Suck on that hope! Tell us what we want to know, voter!
SCHUMER: We are winning Texas and Ohio, the "important states." Hillary can get from point A to point B. She has knowledge and experience and will drop it all on you like a bunch of anvils!
RUSSERT: What if Obama is winning in all categories (states won, pledged delegates, popular vote), should he be the nominee?
SCHUMER: Oh, probably not. What if all the "important" people voted for her, and Obama's majority is made up of "unimportant people?" Surely only Massachusetts, New York, California, and Texas, Ohio and Pennsylvania - should they demonstrate their "importance" by voting for the "important" candidate - really matter.
DURBIN: Superdelegates should define their job based upon whether it will help Obama or not, naturally. Kansas is better than New Jersey!
RUSSERT: Nancy Pelosi said that the party had better support the people.
SCHUMER: There are two really good arguments. My goal is that we should avoid an "internecine battle" that allows McCain to win. So, let's all come together, be "important" and vote for Clinton.
RUSSERT: What about Florida and Michigan? The "rules" say their delegation cannot be seated? Are you going to disenfranchise these beautiful scofflaws of democracy. The Clinton campaign wrote some contradictory letters.
DURBIN: Uhm...something about superdelegates. And anyway, we really have a pretty good point that our name wasn't even on the Michigan ballot. (Not gonna talk about Florida.)
SCHUMER: I'm going to admit something here: both candidates are taking whatever position now that benefits them at the moment. Obviously, we'll have to have a plan that everyone agrees to. But it's premature to decide now.
DURBIN: The elections that didn't count shouldn't count. But we shoudl go ahead, as Chuck says, and do something everyone agrees is fair. No backrooms, though.
OMG: These two are roommates. Schumer was lonely last night because he wasn't around to spoon.
Next: The vaunted "reunion" of a bunch of fusty pundits!
Bob Novak says that Hillary made an unattractive appeal. He should talk! Margaret Carlson says that Hillary is left with being "the scolding parent." She's without her own "lift you up" reason to vote for her.
Mark Shields finally makes some sense, "Don't get ahead of ourselves." His main point is that every declaration of momentum has been a matter of premature consensus. Clap, clap! Mark Shields believes that Clinton has to run the table to win.
Hunt and Shields both believe Wisconsin will be close..."not like Virginia."
Novak: Everything is bad for Democrats! The imaginary Democrats I allegedly talk to all agree with me. Their convention will be a disaster, and I will devour the soul of America.
O'Beirne says that the "merits" of the brokering are on Durbin/Obama's side, and she feels that the superdelegates, when all is said and done, will largely opt to "rubber stamp" the will of the people as the vote generally suggests. Carlson disagrees, says that Obama doesn't want to play by the rules and that superdelegates are supposed to unilaterally support candidates who aren't "insurgent."
Novak says that the superdelegates were all a part of Clinton's plan, and because it's Clinton's plan, it's an evil plan. Eeeeevil!
For a while, I lose track of the conversation because my wife thinks it's crazy that I never saw the movie WHITE NIGHTS. Our conversation on the matter was actually pretty hard-hitting and interesting, so you can see how this nonsense cannot compete.
Anyway, here's a quote from President Clinton: "After February 5th, we went through a dry-spell because the caucuses aren't good of rher. They disproportionately favor upper income voters who don't really need a President, but feel like they need a change."
That is the craziest s#!t I think I have ever heard.
"They all came in limos," mocks Carlson. Thank you. "Separately, they are a lot better than they are together."
Shields notes that Clinton has gotten "rusty" giving speeches to CEO's, who I guess don't need a President but feel like they need a change. Everyone's pretty much against Bill Clinton being out "on the scene." O'Beirne: "He may draw great crowds, but at enormous cost."
Russert quotes Joe Klein, who rates Obama as the best organizer because he hasn't gone broke. Al Hunt says this analysis is "dead on." But what if downplaying their chances and leaking some stories of internal dissent is part of Clinton's plan! When they're poised for a rather mundane, and likely close, win in Ohio and Texas, all the stories of Mark Penn yelling at Mandy Grunwald and running low on money makes it look like Clinton has "beaten the odds" again!
Bob Novak doesn't care about that. McCain will win. Then he repeats the words, "of a" about a million times.
O'Beirne says, in fairness, pundits are wrong all the time when they evaluate who's up and who's down. Novak objects, and once again he's wrong.
Novak points out policy differences between McCain and the Dems. Russert calls him out for playing up McCain's chances when he wrote a column saying that the GOP chances were gloomy. A vast amount of time is wasted attempting to parse Novak's words from one day to the next.
O'Beirne and Carlson say that Hillary winning the nomination is the best hope the GOP has at rallying their voters. O'Beirne admits, though, that the environment is such that even that theory isn't very plausible. Carlson notes how much Romney and McCain hate each other.
O'Beirne predicts that McCain's VP will be younger than McCain. Is there anyone older than McCain? Carlson believes America may be ready for Crist - a VP that's tanned himself into certain skin cell carcinoma.
This discussion will be continued on Meet The Press' website and will be titled Cocoon III: Ha-Ha, We're Still Not Dead.
Well, that wraps up a day of Democratic surrogates slyly trying to bury long knives in each other. Chances are, you've already had your mind made up or leave this Sunday even more confused than when you woke up.
I've heard from both sides now, all day, the sounds of their voices still throbbing in my skull, and it seems to me that the choice is clear. There is only one candidate in this race who both has the adequate experience to earn a vote, while at the same time, is capable of walking into the room and lifting us up with warm and fuzzy feelings. Naturally, I am talking about that beagle from the Westminster Kennel Club. I guess in the end, I just think you may as well listen to Bob Schieffer. See you next week, when absolutely none of this gets resolved!
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