TV SoundOff: Sunday Talking Heads
Good morning and once again we welcome you all to your Sunday Morning Live/TiVo Blog of the weekend-ending natterings of the pundit class. Our issues today probably include that ZANY meeting of the DNC yesterday! Did you read about that? The Rules and Bylaws Committee did some scritti politti while outside swarmed more lunatics than appear in the play The Persecution and Assassination of Jean-Paul Marat as Performed by the Inmates of the Asylum of Charenton Under the Direction of the Marquis de Sade. Lanny Davis stalked around making his mad face at everyone! Sam Stein couldn't eat a sandwich without being yelled at! And Harold Ickes is going to "reserve the right" to fight over four votes because he hates America or something, and will never stop fighting, never ever!
Also, Scott McClellan is no longer quellin' and he's a got a book he's sellin' that's got even Jessica Yellin smellin' felons! He's on Meet The Press today, in a gathering of the two roundest-headed mofeaux to ever appear on this show.
In the meantime of course, we have Puerto Rico and South Dakota and Montana. And panels. And the impending robot revolution! But here's something briefly celebratory: Sameer Mishra, who won this year's Scripps National Spelling Bee and was a total rockstar doing it. Here's a video of Mishra early in the competition getting briefly weirded out because he thinks he's gotten the word "numbnuts" to spell. Right here, you know this kid is going to win the whole thing. And I love the way he explains that "numbnuts" has many spellings. Like H-A-R-O-L-D I-C-K-E-S. You can look it up.
In the meanwhile, leave comments, send emails, bake cookies and enjoy whatever the hell is about to happen on these pages. STEPHANOPOULYPSE NOW!
This Week With George Stephanopoulos
Hey, Hillary is riding around on trucks! People are yelling at the DNC! And Obama is bailing on Trinity after the church announced their Summer Tour Of America's Craziest Preachers. That sets the stage for Robert Gibbs of the Obama campaign to explain that the Senator doesn't want the members of the church exploited and doesn't want every substitute preacher being thought of as his spiritual advisor.
What about other shoes dropping? Gibbs says no. It's just so politically convenient now to make a change. He will find the blandest, least controversial congregation in the world to join. Sunday, for Obama, will become just as boring as it is for the rest of America.
Meanwhile, Clinton is going to put the Credentials Committee on blast. You just know that the members of the DNC Confetti and Balloons Committee are all like, "Glad we joined THIS committee! Now, we have a lot of balloons to fill...Terry McAuliffe is still out there, exhaling, right?"
GSteph compares Obama to George McGovern, but no worries, Gibbs has got a bunch of platitudes to fight that back with. Gibbs won't predict whether or not Obama will have the 64-66 delegates he needs to clinch the nomination when he speaks in Minnesota.
Oh, great. Terry McAuliffe is here. He says that by every standard that does not count toward selecting a nominee, Clinton is doing well, and if the Democrats hadn't decided long ago on a set of rules that governs their process, Obama would be losing.
GS deflates T-Mac, saying, look, dude: she needs 85% of the remaining delegates to win. T-Mac ain't having it: "But I have arguments and stuff! And...things! HILLARY IS IN GREAT SPIRITS! How many superdelegates do you get for being in great spirits? She will be President of Puerto Rico."
GS spends a few minutes trying to get McAuliffe pinned down on whether or not she'll actually quit the election if Obama hits the new magic number. He won't say, because Hillary's in great spirits and he loves being the captain of the USS Lollipop-Destructor. He says that GS should ask Robert Gibbs what Obama is going to do once Hillary hits the magic number.
Oh, and just give HRC back those four votes, for Pete's sake. If that's the only thing keeping the DNC meeting from being complaint free, give them back!
Now Howard Dean and James Roosevelt are on explaining how everyone needs to calm down. Dean reminds that Florida and Michigan were supposed to get PENALIZED. Roosevelt says that Michigan's primary was an illegal event - like a car-theft spree or a serial killing. Dean is all, "Dude. What a great job we did. Hoo-ee boy, we did us some fine committeeing."
Are Dean, Reid, and Pelosi going to end this contest this week? Dean says sort of. But what about Geraldine Ferraro? Dean says Ferraro's "outside the mainstream" on race! Burn! And then he blames the media for sexism. This is Dean doing lightning rod strategy - pulling the charge away from the party's nominee and directing it somewhere else. "Present company excluded," Dean says.
Panel Time. But first, this show, The Mole: isn't it BONKERS that Anderson Cooper used to host this thing? Crazy.
George Will says that the big winner from the DNC meeting is the...U.S. Supreme Court? OH NOES. DO NOT WANT SCOTUS for President! Donna Brazile says that the committee did their job. David Brooks was hoping for a fight on the convention floor in Denver. KNOW HOPE, David Brooks, it could still happen.
What's next for HRC? Todd Purdum says her "options are dwindling" and Obama is the new version of Bill Clinton in 1992. Will says she has a "future in the Senate" and as a party leader. He also seems to think she might run for Governor of New York, but I doubt that job appeals to her much. I still wonder, sometimes, why Bill Clinton didn't run for Mayor of NYC. Donna Brazile says that Obama had the votes for a 50-50 split of Michigan, and passed on it.
Next up, Trinity. Brooks says it was a good decision for Obama to beat a path out of there because it demonstrated "political ruthlessness," which, I gather, impresses Brooks. Will says that it was a necessity to sever ties with people he could not control.
Anyway, McCain is still out there, saying STUPID things, and Obama keeps immediately pointing it out. Brooks decries this as "Blackberry politics," but I say this is the way you fight McCain. You dump a bag of ball peen hammers on his head every time he opens his mouth, even if it's on the little things. And you burn a mess of YouTubes and you pummel him again and again. WHy do you do this? Because four years ago, the Democratic candidate waited until AFTER THE ELECTION WAS OVER to parry the slander of the Swift Boat Numbnuts, and you need to send a message that that noise won't stand. And you hit back on everything, aggressively, immediately, in a hurry, with a flurry. So, UP WITH BLACKBERRY POLITICS.
I'm already hearing, by the way, that Russert is AWFUL today. Can't wait!
Meanwhile, this panel has started talking about McClellan and I missed most of it. Sorry. Brazile says McClellan's book gave Dems "a buncha good talking points" for the coming months. Will says that McClellan's book is "not an advertisement for competence," and insofar that it dovetails with Iraq, it hurts McCain.
Anyway, now we're up to the filler part of the show, so feel free to discuss the Lost finale or something.
OMG you guys really hate that picture we use on the front for the LiveBlog! Is it because Chris Wallace looks like he just bathed in SMUG? I'll see if we can get a new picture up for next week.
The Chris Matthews Show
This show is filmed before the weekend, so it's probably going to have this "frozen in amber" thing going on. How will Obama appeal to independents? How will McCain? And what about Scott McClellan? Today's guests are Kelly O'Donnell, Richard Stengel, Cynthia Tucker, and Howard Fineman - author of 13 American Arguments which our own Sam Stein did something for - I forget what. Let's ask:
jason: what did you do for 13 AMERICAN ARGUMENTS?
jason: Because Fineman is on teevee and I mentioned that you did something, but I forgot what.
samstein: i helped research the book
jason: How many Reubens did you eat whilst researching the book?
samstein: one a day
jason: this is all on the record, by the way. So if you really went around making sure that Fineman was kept knee-deep in strippers, I'd be cautious.
samstein: i don't even know what you mean by that
jason: there you go. that's that famous professionalism of yours.
samstein: i reject the premise of your question. Yaaaaahhh!
Nico Pitney: YOU ARE BOTH FIRED.
And that is basically how every single day at the HuffingtonPost's Washington Bureau goes. We ask questions, we eat samdwiches, we imitate Soulja Boy, and then Nico fires us.
Anyway, back to the Chris Matthews show. Obama is on the verge of winning? But can bring the change to the independents? Firm up the Dems' support? Win some independents? Paint McCain as a crazy warmongering dude with no plans?
Richard Stengel says "independents are not monolithic," and then discusses how they all vote the same way. Tucker says that McCain needs to be tied to the Bush administration because the independents hate them some Bush. So Obama needs to remind voters of that even as right-wing ideologues remind the base that McCain is not one of them.
Howard Fineman says Obama's got a great biography but now it will be put under attack because "he doesn't have that many specific proposals to point to." Oy. The media has got to figure out a third way of looking at Obama. When he's boring them with policy, they're all, "The American people DON'T KNOW HIM!! WE NEEDS TO HEAR MORE BIOGRAPHY!" And when they're bored with biography, they're all, "ME WANTY POLICY PROPOSALS!" And then people like Fineman come on and say, "He doesn't have any! He'd better get some!" Uhm...Howard? LOOK IT UP, BUCKO! I mean, dag! We should be debating Obama's policy proposals on whether or not they have merit, not dancing around, pretending he doesn't have any!
Finally, some Kelly O'Donnell. She says that he's going to remain "respectful" to the president but continue to level some "subtle digs" at the White House. Also, while he may not be "dynamic" or "interesting" or "gifted" as a politician, McCain loves to fight and fight and fight. So, enjoy that America!
Richard Stengel then says, "GLLLLLAAAAAAACCCCCCK!" and vomits conventional wisdom all over the floor. It's pretty gross.
Tucker says that Obama's lost luster has been due to the long primary campaign transforming him from a tabula rasa to a candidate with some negatives, and that he's got to push back. I'd just like to paraphrase something Yglesias said a few months ago: if all the independents know is that McCain is a maverick and that Obama is a secret Muslim who likes crazy preachers and hates flag lapel pins, and the two candidates are NEVERTHELESS TIED in June of 2008, then if you are Obama, you have to be feeling pretty good.
Howard Fineman doesn't think McCain will hold the support with indies, though, because Bush is the albatross. Stengel agrees and points out that McCain isn't that well known to the electorate, and that Obama will do some attack on his bio in the weeks to come.
Meanwhile, Scott McClellan and his "Flack Attack!" Kelly-O says that McCain is going to "hammer the President for mismanagement," which should deflect some of the McClellan blowback coming his way. Of course, the problem there is that Scott McClellan wasn't robotically papering over Bush's mismanagement of a good idea - he was polishing something that was a turd to it's very core. And if you really peel the McClellan onion, you are going to come face-to-face with the fact that the war in Iraq was bad strategy that stays bad no matter what innovative new management you attempt to force on it.
Stengel says that people will discount McClellan because they simply accept the fact that these books have to have some sort of scandal and that people accept it as de rigeur. Which sort of makes me look forward to the book that gets written about Stengel's tenure at TIME. But, with Matthews' prompting, Kelly-O says that what separates his book from the rest is that there remains this shred of fondness for the President and this idea that if Bush had to do it over again, McClellan believes he wouldn't go to war in Iraq. Fineman still notes that this is "no help to Bush in any way, shape, or form."
Tell Chris something he doesn't know? LET ME SHOW YOU THEM. Kelly-O says McCain is holding back launching a "thematic message" until the Democratic contest is over. (But then what was all that CRAZY year 2013 crap, then? IS MCCAIN BACKTRACKING FROM HIS CRAZY FUTURE FANTASIA ALREADY?)
Richard Stengel says, "Oh, my! I'm such a globetrotting gadfly! Let's see, I went to the Middle East to interview Tony Blair, met with the foreign minister of Israel - oh my, the life I lead! Anyway, if Obama needs to make things right with the Jews, he should do what I did, and visit Israel." Hey, Richard Stengel! Uhm, how about the next time YOU visit Israel, you pick up this newspaper they have there, called Haaretz where you'll read such things as:
Jewish voters have actually been more supportive of Obama than whites in general in seven out of eight primary states with significant Jewish populations - Florida included. (In New York, Clinton's home state, Obama's share of the Jewish vote lagged four percentage points behind his performance with white voters.) Moreover, a Gallup Poll released in May showed that 61% of Jewish voters nationwide prefer Obama versus 32% for McCain, compared with a margin in the general population of 45% to 43%.
Given this broader picture, some members of Florida's Jewish community worry that the focus on Jewish voters in recent weeks had created a false impression that Jewish voters are uniquely critical of the man overwhelmingly likely to be the country's first African American presidential nominee, when in reality Obama is reaching out to Jews in order to shore up a cornerstone of his base.
Yay! I just told Richard Stengel something he didn't know!
Cynthia Tucker says the GOP isn't worried about Bob Barr because Ron Paul is absorbing all of the libertarian energy, but Tucker's not so sure about that. Fineman says that as Obama plans the Democratic Convention, the Kennedy legacy is likely to be a huge part of it, and that Teddy Kennedy will get mad focus.
Anyway, the panel thinks that Hillary Clinton will bring her supporters to Obama. Fineman, interestingly, suggests that the best thing Obama can do is to reinstall Bill Clinton as the face at the forefront of the Democratic party.
Okay. Onto MEET THE PRESS. I have this dream of one day actually looking forward to watch this show.
Meet The Press
Okay, here we go! McClellan! Harold Ickes! Tom Daschle! Scott McClellan is up first, same quiet voice, same vaguely dazed expression. Russert james him up right off the bat with Bob Dole and his Angry Old Coot Sends An Email routine. "Don't you feel like an ingrate, Scott! Don't you wish your girlfriend was a freak, like me? Dontcha? OMFG! Scott McClellan, you are a LOLler Skating Jam Named Saturdays!"
Scotty says he respects Dole but he disagrees with him. "This book takes aim at Washington...an indictment of a culture of Washington...I knew that many people wouldn't be happy."
Russert's all: OH YEAH, GOTCHA! Because when Richard Clarke was writing books, McClellan was all, "Why didn't Clarke raise these points sooner?" The old Scott McClellan totally harshed on the Old Richard Clarke for the same reasons that everyone's harshing on the New Scott McClellan. Take that, McClellan! We will NOT be discussing your book on the merits!
McClellan says that he got caught up in the toxic Washington culture, and he actually apologized to Clarke a few days ago.
But Russert's all: OH YEAH, GOTCHA: Ari Fleischer said some stuff too! And you once said that your book was going to be one long sweet valentine to Bush. "That's not the book you wrote," Russert says. Scotty basicallyt says, Yeah, I decided to write a NON-FICTION book.
Of course, McClellan's still a bit out of his depth talking about Iraq and how the big problem is the administration's inability to "sustain bipartisan support" for the war and that the president couldn't "go back and admit some of the mistakes." "I think that hurts the troops the most," McClellan says. No, Scott, what hurts the troops the most is when the war they are fighting is founded on a bunch of incorrect, distinctly flawed premises. Ultimately, that's why "bipartisan support" wasn't sustainable.
Now I just don't understand what Russert is trying to do. He's reading huge portions of McClellan's book aloud, and then wheeling on McClellan, saying, "BUT YOU PARTICIPATED IN THIS CHICANERY." And McClellan sort of sits there, saying, uhm...yeah, I wrote a book about it? Maybe you've heard?
Now we get to the part of MEET THE PRESS, where Russert shows a clip about how goshdarn tenacious he is. "Why didn't you go to the President and say this is the fundamental issue confronting the American people?" Why didn't you fight back? Didn't you realize how supine we in the press corps were going to be on the matter of Iraq? Didn't you hear Jessica Yellin say that this very network was all, "Let's bust out the drums and lay down a phat pro-Iraq War beat?
Tim Russert's basic argument here is that Scott McClellan should have known that Tim Russert wasn't going to take his journalistic values seriously enough to ever question the run up to war, and so it was up to Scott McClellan to save us. So I hope Scott McClellan's next book is titled, WHAT HAPPENED 2: OH YEAH, TIM RUSSERT? IF YOU ARE SO SMART HOW COME YOU DIDN'T MANAGE TO PENETRATE ANY OF THESE FRAKKING MYSTERIES OF THE BUSH WHITE HOUSE AND SAVE US ALL FROM GOING TO WAR IN IRAQ? HUH? BECAUSE I HAVE PULLED ABOUT A KABILLION CLIPS OF YOU NOT SAVING THE WORLD, BLAAAHHHH, RUSSERT, BLAAAAHHHH!
Why didn't you just leave, Russert asks. Jeez! Just a minute ago, Russert's telling McClellan that he was the only bulwark that could save us from the Bush administration's lies!
My wife says, "You know, we have ALL been in situations where we've been in a job and we've got the sense that things are going wrong, and it's really easy for outsiders to say, 'Why didn't you say something? Why didn't you leave?' Well, it's hard! You don't automatically assume you know everything! And if you like the people you work with, you figure, 'I can fix this. I can do something about it myself.' And even if you don't like the people you work with, you realize that it's the ONLY JOB YOU HAVE and the rent is due at the same time next month whether you are standing up for principles or not! So it's really easy to say, 'You should have left, you should have done something' until it happens to you."
And she's totally right! I was a government contractor for eight years, knee deep in shady crap and bullcrap and sometimes outright grift and for nearly a decade I kept telling myself that I could fix things. THREE SEPARATE TIMES the company I worked for called on outside consultants named "process re-engineers" to fix things, and it wasn't until the third time that i realized, "OMG. No one in this line of work knows how to run their bloody businesses! I HAVE TO GET OUT OF HERE RIGHT NOW." So I started a blog about poop and tiger suits and then WHAMMO here I am today! Totally uninformed and getting paid to yell at professionals! AMERICA IS TEH AWESOMENESS.
Russert reads McClellan alongside Karl Rove and says, "One of you is not telling the truth." Let me tell you, if I had Wonder Woman's Golden Lasso of Truth and access to both men's torsos, I bet that none of you would bet on Rove here, and if any of you would, then please identify yourself because I don't ever want to be at the poker table with a guy willing to risk that much on pure conviction.
McClellan basically says, "Uhm, everyone totally knows that Rove is the one lying here!" There was this whole trial and stuff and Matt Cooper and noise. He also says that the President should have kept his word and fire the people involved with the leak instead of, you know, giving them jobs and commuting their prison sentences.
Russert then shows McClellan pictures of his last-day party. "Everything seems so happy, jolly!" Know what? My going away party at a LOT of old jobs looked happy and jolly. I've made a lot of promises to keep in touch with old bosses. In many cases, these were huge lies, mutually agreed to by all parties, so that some people could eat some freakin' cake.
Well. That was so pointless! I mean, the huge story here is the contents of this book. But Russert basically waged this campaign today called McClellan Gotcha! YOU USED TO SAY AND DO OTHER THINGS, SCOTT. Now it's like you've undergone some PERIOD OF REFLECTION or something, and have COME TO REALIZE that you MADE MISTAKES YOU NOW REGRET OR SOMETHING. How can we live this way? Surely we must follow the Russert Way of barrelling headlong into the dim future, armed with nothing but a few selected clips, pulled by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing!
Let's recall that one of the first things Rove did was compare McClellan's writing to that of a "left-wing blogger." It was an apt comparison! Because as McClellan's book demonstrates, THOSE LEFT-WING BLOGGERS GOT IT RIGHT.
And now a brief pause for Station identification: Got some great emails today, which I'll be sharing toward the end of the live blog. So stay tuned for that stuff!
And now we get Tom Daschle versus Harold Ickes, which is like watching Pat Boone battle a gargoyle from the side of the National Cathedral. First up, Harold Ickes, who made his Saddest Face Ever over four delegates. He's not impressed with the fact that the Obama camp backed off an advantageous 50/50 split he could have gotten a vote on. Ickes is all, "Why not take all the votes?"
My wife leaves the room at this. Part of what makes our marriage so strong is that we sacrifice for one another. In this case, I alone face Harold Ickes. In return, she scoops the kitty boxes. I think she's getting a better deal, but you don't see me getting all Icky-esque over it.
What about the whole thing where Hillary said that Michigan wasn't going to count? Ickes response is two-fold. First: admit that basically, yes, you are hypocritical Weasel Beast from Mordor, "Well, circumstances change." Then, say something nasty about your opponent that has no bearing on the question that was just asked: OBAMA TOOK NAME OFF BALLOT. HE WANTY UNCOMMITTED VOTES. PEANUTBUTTER PADDLEBOAT JEREMIAH WRIGHTBALLS!
Ickes throws in a new argument: Yes. Michigan wasn't going to count. But then we saw how awesome Hillary was going to do in an election we thought shouldn't count. And that's when we said, "Hey! Maybe there's some real merit in letting these pretend elections count! And then when we won ALL TWO pretend elections, we thought, "Yes! Pretend elections are the way to go!" And so they started saying, "Guys, guys, guys! Hold on a minute! What if we PRETENDED that caucuses don't count! What if we PRETENDED that the nominee was determined by adding up the electoral college points of the states people won!"
And it really is a good idea, because Mr. Ickes candidate has won the nomination by just about every non-existent standard one can think of. And she'll summon birds to clean our houses and sing songs in Central Park and marry Patrick Dempsey and that will bring our 4,000 dead soldiers back to life so thanks for playing a round of HAROLD ICKES AND THE DEATHLY PRETEND AMERICAN HALLOWS!
Russert then challenges Ickes on the campaign's statement that Clinton has won more votes than even Jesus did in his primary. BORED NOW. Russert basically says, you realize that after these primaries are over, Clinton will have to win, like, ALL BUT FIVE of the superdels to win the nomination. But Ickes is all, WE HAVE ARGUMENTS! WE ARE THE ONLY ONES WHO CAN BEAT MCCAIN AND THE TORNADOES AND THE WEREWOLVES! We just can't beat MAGICAL OBAMA and his accursed constituency of VOTERS. WE HAVE A POSSE OLD ELDERLY HISPANIC CATHOLICS.
Here's Ickes crazy plan: "She will be leading in the popular vote. He will be leading in delegates. Neither will have enough delegates to clinch the nomination...not since 1972 has our party nominated a candidate who's not leading in the popular vote...that was McGovern."
Some things to consider:
1. I'm willing to bet that every Democratic nominee since 1972 has also been leading in delegates, since it's LEADING IN DELEGATES THAT WINS YOU THE NOMINATION.
2. I'm willing to bet that, as far as this whole popular vote argument goes, that Ickes is glad that it's the South Dakota and Montana primaries Tuesday, and not the California.
3. 1972 was thirty-six years ago, and the McGovern campaign was being supported fervently in the state of Texas by a yound Democrat named Hillary Clinton, who has this year done a studious job of ever mentioning that she ever worked for the McGovern campaign, because painting her opponents as "McGovern-esque" was a key part of her own strategy.
Ickes: Superdelegates should heavily consider standards of measurement that are historically irrelevant in making their decision.
Will Clinton support an Obama nomination? "We do not accept the premise of your question!" Ickes says. So Russert rubs Karen Tumulty's article about how woefully unprepared the Clinton team was for the primary season because they were all totally unaware about how caucuses worked and completely enthralled with the fleet-fingered sorcery of Georgetown's Warlock Prince Mark Penn, in his face. I mean, really rubs it in there. He takes Karen Tumulty's article and sands down Harold's receding hairline by about three-quarters of an inch. "Did I miss a spot, Harold?" Russert says, "Because I could really do some deep-tissue stuff with this Karen Tumulty article. If you want, I could really exfoliate your pores with this."
Should Obama offer Clinton the vice-presidency? Ickes says, "We don't think that will be necessary because Ms. Clinton will be the nominee." But Ickes says that Obama would make a fine President, he just doesn't win an arbitrarily selected group of states as well as Clinton does. Russert, though, has his own arbitrary collection of states: Minnesota, Virginia, Colorado. Ickes then throws Virginia under the bus, "It's questionable whether Virginia will be there in the long run."
Questionable, sir? We won't be there in "the long run?" We Virginians have been here FROM THE BEGINNING, sir! We have sent ten Presidents of our own to the White House! So suck on THAT, Ohio. Sic semper Harold Ickes!
Now it's time for Tom Daschle, who's not likely to say anything controversial. But DAMN! He is pimped out in big fat brown and pinstripes with a coppery tie like he's about to go sing in GUYS AND DOLLS or something! He says we are going to have a nominee this week! An "overwhelming number of superdelegates will declare this week." What is an overwhelming number of superdelegates? And how should we speak of "an overwhelming number of superdelegates?" A flock of superdelegates? A gaggle of superdelegates? A sussuration of superdelegates? I prefer "A Murder of Superdelegates."
Daschle says that "the downside" of this process has been that the GOP nominee has been out in public, doing what he wants, without much pushback. Meh. I can assure you, Tom, you really haven't missed much! McCain sort of grumps around, yelling like a coot, getting basic facts about the world wrong, telling America that he's built a time Machine to the year 2013 and that everything is hunky-dory there, and no one believes him, so he goes home on the weekend to spend his afternoon with Mitt Romney and Charlie Crist, two men who no American believes have ever kissed a girl without visible discomfort and/or vomit plumes, but they all eat barbecue and bowls of jellied percocets and it's another blissed-out weekend at the McCain ranch!
Should Obama put Clinton on the ticket to connect with women? Daschle sort of steps around the topic. He says that his own demographic research says that Obama is trending upwards with key voter demos, and that may be true, but it's not as if you ever see these guys say otherwise, "Oh, yeah....we've really hit the skids with these huge cross-sections of the electorate. It's sad really."
Then Tom Daschle joins in the Great Throwing Under The Bus Of All Church People. And McCain has terrible preachermen, too. Basically, America will continue our rich tradition of politicians and clergy somehow making each other terribly uncomfortable.
Daschle has no interest in being Vice-President, which means he TOTALLY WANTS IT. He also says that John McCain came really close to caucusing with the Democrats, because he's Bullhead the Maverick! Watch out America! Vote McCain or he'll start caucusing with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and man-eating sharks and the aliens from the planet Tralfamadore! He's just so spiteful!
OK, so this liveblog has, like, gone on until Monday morning. I must end it. But first, some fun from emails:
Mark Miller shares this link: "a very interesting interview with former Senator David Boren (D-OK) where he describes getting a violent smackdown from GHWBush when he suggested it was time to go get Saddam at the close of Desert Storm." Miller notes: "In this interview he reports that GHWBush told him there was no exit strategy, that there would be a civil war, and that the sole beneficiary would be Iran. Don't you wish he talked to his son more often?"
Jim Salvas sees a special portent for this coming Wednesday: "Wednesday will be 153 days since the Iowa caucuses and there will be 153 days until the November election. Since Wednesday will also be the day Obama goes over the top, I thought it was worth mentioning." If you're interested in freaky coincidences, I'd encourage you to check out what day the Democratic nominee is scheduled to deliver their speech at the convention, and note the significant anniversaries!
And, of course, we nominate Friend To The Liveblog Christopher Blakely to take Steve Capus' job:
What is the purpose of Meet the Press? Is this show's objective to shed light on the inner workings and underlying motivations of Washington D. C. or is the purpose of the show to boost the ratings of MTP in general and boost the ego of Tim Russert in particular? For the second week in a row, Russert used a video tape of himself as fodder for one of his now, mundane "gotcha moments." Although Russert's efforts are a far cry from Gonzo journalsim, he certainly enjoys injecting himself into the story. One would hope that that the Plame scandal would have taught Russert to not cross that line again.
To me, the Bush Administration can be summed up as follows: When a White House administration surrounds itself with disgruntled former White House staffers from previously flawed Republican administrations (Nixon / Ford: Cheney, Rumsfeld, etc.) and compliments them with others whose sole qualification for service is blind loyalty (not competence for their particular assignment), this is what the country gets. We got a group of senior advisors whose primary objective was to restore the executive power lost in the Ford and Nixon administrations by involving this country in a war for the primary purpose of being able to seize executive authority without effectively being challenge by the other co-equal branches. At the same time, the White house assembled a cadre of incompetents (McClellan, Perino, Gonzales, Hughes, Card, etc.) who usually blindly followed their marching orders to the bitter end. With the latter group, if and when they do speak up and grow a conscience, they are easily marginalized through relentless character assassination.
And with that, we beat a hasty retreat from another Sunday morning, two and a half hours after it ended. Tonight, Puerto Rico, Tuesday - THE END OF ALL PRIMARIES. Wednesday - Nominee? Who can say? The only thing I know for certain is that peace has returned to Woodley Park, and that the Marriott is now accepting applicants for vacancies. Have a lovely week!