POLITICS

TV SoundOff: Sunday Talking Heads

07/14/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Happy Independence Day and welcome to your Sunday Morning Liveblog, almost none of which will actually be live, thanks to some annoying technical problems with my internet at home, which now seem to be resolved. So, if you want that "live" experience, please dare to imagine a brave new world where Fox News Sunday isn't on at nine, but rather, at some time between THIS WEEK and MEET THE PRESS (which ALSO isn't on this week, because of Wimbledon). Anyway, it's going to be a weird day. But! One thing won't change: strange men and women will say odd things on the teevee and I will record my reactions to them.

I hope everyone had a great Fourth of July. I spent mine bouncing around the Potomac on a boat for the second straight year. While I was out there, National Editor Nico Pitney finished editing the vlog we shot, which introduced a Bold New Initiative(TM) here at HuffPo, which I hope you will all support. To clear up some questions: no, the vlog will in no way take the place of any of my written content - that's adorable that people think I'd somehow have less work to do! Yes, we really do want your questions - otherwise my special surprise partner in crime and I will have to make them up, and pretend you did. Someone's already asked if your questions can come in the form of video - they don't have to, but we'll embed it if we choose to answer it! And no, THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH MY LEFT EYE. It's just that my Eye On the Right is always peeled.

Really, forthcoming vlogs will have marginally better production values.

Finally, before we begin, the Washington DC blogging community was hit hard this week when one of the area's truly great reporters, Brian Beutler, was hospitalized after being involved in a senseless shooting. Beutler, happily, is on the mend, and will hopefully be back producing this sort of enlightening and clarifying work. There are so many in the country who are un- or underinsured, who need short term help - and long-term solutions - but if you feel like you can spare any charity for the sort of reporter who fortifies the entire blogosphere with fearless truths, you can donate through Spencer Ackerman's blog at Firedoglake. Or, if you'd like to couple your charity with entertainment, watch this space for news of a benefit concert, featuring Spencer's band, The Surge, fellow blogger Kriston Capps' band Gestures, and others. At the very least, it will give you a chance to say, "Wow! The Surge is really effective!" without following it up with, "GAHHH! What is that taste of horseshit in my mouth?"

THIS WEEK WITH GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS

Right away: "As Barack Obama tries to squelch any rumor that he is shifting on the Iraq War." Rumors that are so far nothing more than air, but happily promoted through your media!

Anyway, Vinegar Joe and Jack Reed join in the battle of the surrogates, and Lieberman is out there spitting this dribble that Obama has, "moved toward McCain." "McCain has been right on Iraq and Obama has been wrong," Lieberman says, but the only thing McCain can lay claim to having gotten "right" is noting that the "Surge" has temporarily reduced violence in certain regions, under certain circumstances. However, McCain has been wrong on a big issue where the Iraq War is concerned - GOING TO WAR IN THE FIRST PLACE. You shouldn't be confused by the Surge talk. We didn't go to war to prove that the Bush administration could elevate the level of violence in the Middle East and then later curb it. We went to war on the issue of national security and later, an attempt to breed democracy. We aren't safer, and right now, the Iraqi parliamentarians deem the occupation to be the biggest impediment to democracy.

I could go on, but if you want evidence to everything I've said, go back over everything I've written on Iraq for this site. Really, Lieberman is a brilliant ally of your gravedigger.

GS pushes back somewhat on the idea that Obama has changed his mind on the matter. Reed does his best as well. But Lieberman is just making myths: "The Iraqi's are reconciled, this is all heading in the right direction, we are withdrawing from Iraq." Oh, I would love to see this man actually DEBATED on any of these points! Joe Lieberman is truly making a mockery of Independence Day. Any minute now, I expect Joe to suggest that we should start paying tribute to England again.

Obama should think about calling up Bill Delahunt, who's actually had these Iraqi parliamentarians testify before Congress.

Now Lieberman is saying that the Arab world wants us to bomb Iran, and that the Iranian people are all fully behind Ahmedinejad and hate America. Could someone please send Mr. Lieberman's office a copy of the Sunday Outlook article from two weeks ago that says just the opposite?

And, then more nonsense from Lieberman suggesting that al Qaeda's operational goals are to "test" the President. I cannot believe this guy was ever a Vice-Presidential candidate. Believing any of the drivel that leaked from his mouth this morning is one of the most dangerous things you can do right now.

Reed finally punctures all this silliness by noting that MAYBE WE SHOULD ACTUALLY GO FIGHT AL QAEDA in Afghanistan. Amazing that the most essential of truths only gets out at the end of this "debate."

Now, GS is joined by Bob Barr. You know, there was a time where I wouldn't have dared imagine being relieved to see Bob Barr replace Joe Lieberman on my teevee. This is how far we've fallen.

Barr's presence in the race really points up how John McCain is maybe the only person in America who can be standing at these particular crossroads and urge that we maybe experience another eight years of the same crap we've been bathing in all this time. Even Barr, for whom Obama is too much "status quo," talks the change game. That right track/wrong track poll is the backbone of his candidacy right now. Barr, like Nader, also wants to "open up the system" to a third party.

And now it's Panel Time, with Ted Koppel, Michelle Cottle, Jonathan Capeheart and Mark Halperin. Halperin says that Obama's "shift" is one of the "biggest things to happen in politics" - this despite the fact that it hasn't occurred yet. Koppel places the Iraq occupation in terms of energy policy - which is really the scariest thing I've heard all day. Remaining in Iraq AND cling to oil policy? Why not just recommend mass suicide. Cottle also suggests that Obama has shifted on Iraq, as well.

And Capeheart goes a little bit further, suggesting that any adjustment, even a sensible one, to Obama's Iraq policy necessarily equals a CRAZY FLIP-FLOP MOVE TO MCCAIN OMG WAKE UP AMERICA WE NEED TO STAY IN IRAQ BUSH'S SURGE WAS GENIUS! Why doesn't anyone - ANYONE!? - subject McCain's unchanging, unflinching, headstrong embrace of FAILED policy as a detriment? McCain gets credit for remaining steadfast - no matter how insane his steadfastness is, while Obama gets rooked for admitting that life is filled with changing circumstances.

Recall, that Obama has adjusted his position already: in September 2007, he was not in favor of withdrawal. None of the Democratic nominees were. Obama, Edwards, and Clinton all favored troops remaining in Iraq until 2013. They all gradually moved towards the opinion of the American people, which favors withdrawal in large margins (and sooner than anyone has proposed). Obama's stance is a gradual withdrawal over sixteen months. If he alters that stance for no good reason, trust me, it's going to cost him dearly. Favoring withdrawal from Iraq is, as of this moment, such a mainstream idea that one can consider it centrist.

Capeheart works hard to paint Obama as a flip-flopper. His examples, however, include maybe one: the DC gun ban. His FISA policy doesn't become a flip-flop until he starts backing telecom immunity, right? THAT'S a flip-flop that many on the left are hoping happens. Cottle and GS at least paint Obama's outreach to faith-based groups as something consistent with his record - I was wondering if THAT might be categorized as a "flip-flop," too.

Oh, Jonathan Capeheart...McCain has a plan for "energy independence?" He has a plan for "weaning us off foreign oil?" Really? Aren't you a reporter? Are you just too dense, too stupid, to realize that things like the "gas tax holiday" are just boondoggles? Also: while we're talking so fulsomely about flip-flops, can you not recognize that McCain's energy plan is built on so many pirouettes in position that I imagine we could harness the wind power to light our homes for the rest of the year?

That was just one long McCain infomercial. And I realize just how that sounds, but, wow! Except on those rare occasions where Jack Reed got a word in edgewise, no one had anything discouraging to say about a candidate who wants to extend the failed policies of the past eight years. Really. We all owe Bob Barr our thanks today.

If you're like me, and believe that the truth will out, and that reason can be brought to bear against the errors of our time, that edition of THIS WEEK probably left you feeling stressed out. Honestly. I am suffused with a creepy sense of unease, having watched that.

This isn't going to help:

FOX NEWS SUNDAY

Brit Hume is substituting for Chris Wallace today, and for some reason, he is BELLOWING. I guess that's what Hume imagines hosting to be. Or maybe rather, he imagines "punditing" to be cultivating an air of supreme indifference and mumbling. Either way, Chris Wallace probably comes off looking, on balance, good by comparison. This also means there will be a terrifying alteration to the panel, with Fred Barnes, joining Mara Liasson, Bill Kristol, and Juan Williams.

I'll give credit to Hume for one thing: in his intro, he at least makes it sound like McCain, also, could end up "shifting to the center." And let me define that personally, since "shifting to the center" obviously means something different to everyone. To my mind, just about everyone has a centrist position on something. I believe that a centrist position can be boldly taken. But when we hear about a candidate "moving toward the center," it's not about the exposing themselves through the taking of a position. At least, not to me. To me, the "shift to the center" is about obscuring a position. It's about triangulation, going subterranean. It's about appearing to take no position at all, or the most inoffensive position possible to avoid riling the swing voters.

It's a bad move, of course. If you want to reach swing voters, you do it with boldness. You try to get them to swing your way through well-reasoned arguments and your passionate belief in them. Sadly, most modern politicians' approach to swing voters is to do whatever it takes to keep them from swinging, hoping that they'll gently waft in whatever breeze is blowing. To me, that's what Obama's position on FISA is buying him. I say, you got to go get yourself some SWUNG voters, baby. And if you haven't got enough faith in yourself to stand up and say, my beliefs on this issue are the right ones and I am going to convince the American people through bold argument, then, dude...DON'T RUN FOR PRESIDENT I THINK.

Oy. It's all Panel, all the time. Figures. Who would come on this show on a holiday weekend dedicated to the glory of America?

Hume: "Is Obama on the verge of refining his position?"

Barnes says, naturally, that The Surge worked! And Obama's going to go to Iraq and see this for himself and become enthralled with the Surgey goodness! Let me state right now, if Obama comes back from Iraq talking about how another three years of occupation in Iraq is good for America, I WILL BE WAITING IN THE WEEDS FOR HIM. Metaphorically speaking, of course. We did not go to War with Iraq for the sake of demonstrating the military efficacy of adding reinforcements to a war theater. We went because the President felt that it was vital to improving our national security. It ended up undermining our national security by emboldening all of the bad regional actors - Iran, Hamas, Hezbollah - and appeasing the force that attacked us.

Barnes is saying that "Shia militias have been defeated" and that "Iran has suffered a defeat." In fact, the opposite is true! Muqtada al Sadr, just months ago, exposed al Maliki's forces as far from ready for prime-time, and Iran has a strong hand in Iraq right now - it was Iran that brokered the cease fire between Sadr and al Maliki.

Barnes says that McCain should attack Obama as an unrepentant liberal, and not as a flip-flopper. I have this weird feeling that I almost wish McCain would do this! But then again, every day where McCain is criticizing Obama is a day where he's not talking about his own terrible policies or getting basic facts wrong about Iraq and who lives there.

Mara Liasson works the tired old saw that people "don't know who Obama is" and "maybe he's a blank slate." Naturally, I'd note that this new phenommenon of "Obama will change his Iraq position" is the media attempting to get their eraser on the slate themselves. And here Liasson states again that Obama is looking to get out of the sixteen month withdrawal box.

Fifty-nine percent of Americans, according to the June 3rd Rasmussen Reports poll on the war, support a wtihdrawal that brings home our troops by the end of the year. So, Obama could get out of that box by coming more toward the mainstream and promising a withdrawal that's even faster, but based upon what I've read, I think that even a twelve-month withdrawal might be too quick.

Oh, but I digress. And really, I think Obama's been making much better sense on Iraq in 2008 than he has in 2007. I hate to suggest that never changing one's mind is a virtue. Obama should, really, have the leeway to do so. But I am amazed at all the pre-gaming that the media is doing right now. They have already forseen Obama's next move, and have pre-judged the outcome! And they get this nonsense, chapter and verse, from the McCain campaign.

Kristol says the Democrats position on Iraq is "radical," and that the "facts on the ground" are more important than the resources we need to rededicate to defeating actual terrorists. You know, god forbid another 2,000 Americans die in a terror attack on our soil. If they do, however, they'll have given their lives for FACTS ON THE GROUND. We can build a monument to FACTS ON THE GROUND in Baghdad, or we can do something about making us safer. YOUR CHOICE, AMERICA.

Barnes: "The war may already be won by Bush" by the time Obama takes office. And then, hey, why not withdraw?

We'll have to withdraw our troops then! Because we'll need them to fight all of the pigs that will be flying out of my ass!

Hume: "Everyone seems to agree that a shift on Iraq is at hand, or already made." EXTRAORDINARY. I am really stunned today. I mean, I predicted last week that this stuff would be coming, but the gale force power of the ignorance is astounding!

Barnes has a good point on Obama's "undivided Jerusalem" matter. I think that constituted one of the more embarrassing moments of Obama's campaign. Heck, I remember watching that speech, and hearing him say that, and feeling my jaw hit the floor. That's a big matter Obama was removing from the negotiating table!

Still, we're having a riveting discussion about Obama's flip-flops, which is, quite frankly, a subject that couldn't fill an average sized brochure, and here we have a candidate in McCain that's averaging a radical position shift every week, and who has basically stepped out of the Bizarro universe to replace the guy by the same name who ran for President in 2000! It's one thing to flip on an issue...it's another thing entirely to go out every day and act as if you were in the throes of dementia.

Hume runs down a bunch of RCP averages, which give Obama leads in Ohio and Michigan, McCain a lead in Florida. This presages a discussion on McCain's campaign shakeup. Juan Williams notes that it's hard to divine a consistent message from the McCain camp, and Kristol admits that this worries Republicans. It's not just about the McCain camp being behind in setting up their operation, it literally feels like the McCain camp begins each day rebuilding themselves from whole cloth. The fact that McCain is constantly reinventing the wheel should give you pause enough to distrust how he would lead the country.

Kristol doesn't think Steve Schmidt is "enough of a change" - which probably means it isn't yet Rovian enough.

Liasson backs up my contention with a quite from Black: "We do these things because that's what McCain wants to do." That is, McCain wakes up one day and wants to piss off to Colombia for some reason, that's what they do.

Hume is amazed by the fact that the polls shows McCain "only six back." I think that what's more extraordinary is that McCain has trouble getting off the plateaus his numbers hit. He was Mr. Forty-Five percent while Obama and Clinton were fighting it out, and I thought that was slightly worrisome to his prospects. I mean, contenders like to score the odd fifty now and then. They certainly don't want to get down to where they're blowing thirty-nines. But since Obama's won, McCain's been Mr. Forty-Two! He had a few good days there, the third week in June, but he didn't sustain them.

Kristol: Obama "is too liberal. He should not win." That's what, ten minutes after suggesting Obama wouldn't win because he was changing his positions toward McCain's?

FINALLY! Juan Williams says that maybe JOHN MCCAIN NEEDS TO 'RUN TO THE MIDDLE' TOO. That's the first I've heard of this suggestion - that maybe the crazy-ass policies that no one but the calcified rightward fringe supports anymore aren't where McCain should stand.

(And mind you: I used to believe that the "calcified right-wing fringe occupied about 30-35% of the country. The Bush policies have been so bad, that a significant portion of the right-fringe, done UNFRINGED THEMSELVES.)

But Barnes shoots back that McCain needs to cater to the fringe issues like fomenting gay panic. Williams shoots back, "Where's the right going to go?" To which Barnes says, "They'll stay home." Well, if that's the case, can we stop talking about these issues fringey issues as if they were important?

Kristol: "McCain seems a little less presidential each week."

Wow. Fox News Sunday, of all shows, managed to get to some criticism of McCain. I really expected something worse after that THIS WEEK.

Now the panel is deep into some Veep talk. Barnes and Liasson think McCain should pick Mitt "Dunder Mifflin Infinity" Romney. Kristol, after a joke about how he'd fit well on either ticket, an idea which gave my brain hives, says McCain needs a "reform Republican" - citing Bobby Jindal or Sarah Palin.

Funny thing about those two. Palin can actually lay claim to being something of a courageous reformer, she threw down on Frank Murkowski and her own party bigwigs after becoming aware of their rampant lack of ethics. No one should mistake her for being some sort of stealth centrist in the tradition of Olympia Snowe! But, right now, she's more like the John McCain we once knew than the John McCain we're stuck with today. Her being on the ticket would probably be a bad thing, because it would underscore just how far off the mark John McCain has moved from his own reformist credentials.

And Jindal ganked pretty awfully on the first test of his standing as a reformer. He finally decided to veto the legislative pay raises he said he would oppose as a candidate, and which the people of Louisiana opposed. But it came weeks after a long campaign of some of the most wussified whining you've ever heard from a politician, where Jindal practically begged anyone who would listen to pretty please relieve him of the responsibility he actively sought as a candidate. And for all the talk of Obama wanting to negotiate with people like the Iranians - and the criticism that has dogged him for advocating a robust diplomatic policy - it's really pathetic wimps like Jindal - who beg for someone to give him a break - that you don't want anywhere near a high-level negotiation with a foreign power. Could you imagine Jindal in the same room with a Putin type? He'd get worked like a speedbag!

Kristol: "I've only met Sarah Palin once, and was very impressed by [her]...a young, female Alaskan governor...McCain ought to go for it." OH, MY, THE OVERTONES. Anyway, McCain is into blondes, Bill.

Juan Williams puts the big negation down on Bobby Jindal, and says John McCain should pick Colin Powell...uhm...Juan? Why would Colin Powell agree to get back into that mess? He also says Palin or Kay Bailey Hutchison would be good choices.

Williams says Joe Biden or Jim Webb would be great choices, but that Hillary Clinton is the best choice. And now I am going to smash my head against one of the walls in my apartment. Won't you excuse me?

Kristol says Obama should pick the one-man fountain of white-hot excitement that is Evan Bayh.

Mara Liasson says Al Gore, who also wouldn't want to have anything to do with the U.S. Government and our horrible wars. And Barnes says Ed Rendell or Time Kaine or Kathleen Sebellius would be a good pick, but he adds that there's no really good reason why Obama needs to pick a Veep right now, making Barnes my new best friend until he says something stupid, probably three minutes from now.

Now they are talking about some report on Iraqi government benchmarks that they are refusing to source. Hume says that "an old report gave the Iraqi credit for eight benchmarks and now they have achieved fifteen" of the eighteen benchmarks. I doubt this. Why? Because I remember the last report from the GAO on benchmarks. Not only did the last report not give the Iraqis credit for as many of eight benchmarks, but someone in the government LEAKED IT to the Washington Post because they were concerned the White House was going to alter the report.

The GAO only recently said that our difficulties in Iraq were compounded by the fact that the Bush White House has NO PLAN for Iraq beyond the "Surge," which is now ending. And, as I've already mentioned once, those who are working at building a government in Iraq increasingly see the U.S. occupation as being the biggest obstacle in the way of reconciliation. This makes sense. The key argument against withdrawal has been this idea that the country would go to hell if we left. But as we've seen with the massive sectarian cleansing that has occurred and the internal displacement that remains, our presence in Iraq is not sufficient to prevent humanitarian disasters, either.

Kristol is right that the victory in Iraq will be significant. But it's shaping up to be a significant victory for the appeased al Qaeda. And wow...Juan Williams chokes up on the mic and gives a pretty fantastic run of pushback, throwing the wet blanket on all of Kristol's claims. Even Hume sort of comes to his rescue, setting Williams up for a second shot.

Fred Barnes just called Afghanistan - you know, WHERE THE PEOPLE THAT ATTACKED US ARE? - the middle of nowhere. Iraq, on the other hand is a crucial country. Yes. It's been crucial to the undoing of many a Western empire, Fred. And there's the stupid crap I knew you would say.

Barnes: "You know what's great about having U.S. troops in your country? It deters enemies." Except in this case! We aren't at war with a state that forestalls launching attacks because they have national interests and acceptable risks. Al Qaeda functions entirely differently. They do not have centralized, national ambitions. They do not have policy debates. And having U.S. troops in Iraq does not deter them. Whatever else you might think about our presence there, do not be so foolish as to believe the U.S. occupation of Iraq does not fuel and breed and grow the ranks of the enemy.

Barnes: "Don't you think a small presence of Americans in Iraq would deter the Iranians?" WHY WOULD I THINK THAT? A large force of Americans, sitting there now, hasn't deterred them! IDIOT!

Grown-ups are on teevee saying this nonsense! YOU MUST REMEMBER THAT.

I love how Bill Kristol is now saying that the challenge for the next President will not be Iraq "which George Bush will leave in pretty good shape," but Pakistan, which is where al Qaeda escaped. Sending U.S. troops into the mountainous regions of Pakistan will be a challenge, Kristol says. Uhm, Bill? You want to know how al Qaeda came to find themselves safely back in that region? President Bush went to war with Iraq.

Oh, and I'm just going to skip the Jesse Helms tribute. This is a man who conservatives should be only too pleased to be shot of. Juan Williams says that Helms represented small town America. Small towns that convulsed at the thought of having to ride the same bus as Juan Williams. I'm not even going to pretend that it's possible to remember Helms fondly.

FACE THE NATION

Oh, Bob Schieffer. Please talk some sense today! "What does [refine his position] really mean?" Plus John Kerry and Lindsay Graham! Great! This could get awful.

Let's begin with the battle between Treebeard and Jowly Dave Foley.

Obama once said he wanted an immediate withdrawal from Iraq, over sixteen months. Now he says that he'll use "new information" to "refine his policies." And, of course, because we all have to pretend to be VASTLY STUPID, we aren't allowed to suggest that when someone says that "new information" could "refine his policies" could simply mean "make those policies - those unchanging policies! - better."

Let me give you an example. A long time ago, someone invented toothpaste. They did so because prior to the invention of toothpaste, it was hard to fight cavities and plaque and all those things that make ones teeth fall out of their head. But here's the thing! Once toothpaste was invented, people kept learning NEW INFORMATION, and the kept REFINING TOOTHPASTE. But the mission of toothpaste has not changed. It's not as if the goal of toothpaste became to foment cavities and plaque.

Treebeard is just the guy you'd want defending you on flip-flopping, right? Well: he actually does a good job! "McCain has a plan for staying in Iraq, Obama has a plan for getting out of Iraq." Obama has a plan for "ending the war, John McCain has a plan for continuing the war." This is all stuff that can play on a bumpersticker and can be explained in twenty-five words or less. Would that Kerry was able to do the same for his Iraq War position four years ago! Tactics, Treebeard says, can be refined without altering the fundamental plan. And McCain has been wrong about a whole list of things. Wow. "[The McCain camp] is trying to make an issue where there isn't one." Just what I've been saying! All right, John Kerry! You earn the right to not have a belittling nickname today! (Just as well, "Kerry" is much fewer letters than "Treebeard.")

Let's see where Jowly Dave is today. Last time he did a Sunday show, he was in a Glass Case of Emotion, rending his garments operatically over how Obama, "was just another politician." It was like a scene from a nineteenth century stage melodrama, you know...the kind that used to enlivened by John Wilkes Booth assassinating somebody.

Jowly Dave seems to be in a smugger place today. But Schieffer does something great, asking Graham why, if Obama's only moved closer to McCain's position, is the McCain campaign criticizing Obama for it. AND THAT IS THE FOUNDATIONAL BIT OF REAL TRUTH HERE. The McCain camp simultaneously needs to paint Obama as being like McCain on Iraq, to drive a wedge between Obama and the majority of Americans that favor withdrawal. But, at the same time, the McCain camp knows that Obama's actual Iraq policy is oppositional to their own, and they cannot afford to stop criticizing it.

What you need to take away from this is that McCain's approach to the Iraq War is a pure thing of electoral politics. Nothing he has to say about the matter is geared toward making you safe, diminishing threats, defeating enemies or spreading democracy. His Iraq War policy is a policy designed to get him elected to office. That's all it does.

Well, Jowly Dave has to say he "hopes Obama changes position" and that McCain "came up with the Surge." Again, I'll point out that we did not go to war in Iraq to prove that a troop surge could work. Then Graham just starts lying, saying Obama's "aligned himself with MoveOn.org" - a week after repudiating that organization...two weeks after getting MoveOn to shutter their 527.

Jowly Dave reads a statement of Obama's where Obama says he will give the Joint Chiefs of Staff a new mission, and says, "I don't know what he's going to do. He's in a box."

Schieffer asks Kerry a very good question! Seeing how Kerry flirted with the idea of making McCain his running mate, what's changed to make him so hard on McCain today? Has McCain changed?

"John McCain has changed in profound and fundamental ways that I find personally surprising and frankly, upsetting...This is a different John McCain." And this is great, give Kerry credit: "John McCain has flip-flopped on more issues than I was ever accused of."

And then Kerry talks about his own recent trip to the Middle East, and guess what? The experience DID NOT MAKE KERRY TRANSFORM INTO SOME SURGE LOVING FOOL. So it is possible to travel there, and come back with the opinion that we need to withdraw from Iraq, and rededicate ourselves to going after al Qaeda.

Then Schieffer asks a very stupid question! "Are you challenging Senator McCain's integrity?" Oh, come on Bob! Kerry's said nothing of the sort! "I'm challenging McCain's judgement," Kerry says.

Wow. Folks, you'd be proud of Kerry's performance in the first ten minutes of the show. I mean, I came with doubts at the top of this, but Kerry done make me look like a fool for ever not believing. And, heck! I couldn't be happier about that!

Where does Jowly Dave have to fall back on? A repetition of McCain's love of the surge. "The biggest loser in Iraq is al Qaeda," Jowly says, ignorant of the fact that al Qaeda achieved the largest gains of anyone from the Iraq War - escape, appeasement, and a rallying point to swell their ranks. "The biggest loser in the future is going to be Iran," says Jowly Dave. The same Iran who's meeting on friendly terms with al-Maliki? That's brokering the cease fire that the Iraqi security forces cannot? All of this stuff Jowly Dave is saying is just wrong!

Kerry says that Iran has expanded it's influence and even the Israelis back this up. Then John Kerry comes hard:

"Republicans don't want to admit this, they hide behind the surge. The fact is that none of us doubted the ability of American troops in increased numbers to provide increased levels of security."

Just what I've been saying. But now, I don't agree that the Sunni Awakening has been all its cracked up to be, as Kerry does, and I don't yet think of Basra as a success, where forcing the Iraqi's to stand up has won the day. The U.S. still had to bail out al-Maliki in Basra.

Thankfully, no one seems to think we ought to let Israel start dumping nukes on Tehran. Jowly Dave is just clinging to the myopic belief that the Surge has circumscribed Iran's desires - when it clearly hasn't - like grim death.

I was looking over some of the highlights of Thomas Jefferson's life in letters this past weekend, and I cam across this: "Nothing gives one person so much advantage over another as to remain always cool and unruffled under all circumstances." That, in a nutshell, explains much of this good day Kerry is having over Graham, who's in his box - pun intended - shaking his head and nervously laughing even as Kerry stays solid and straight on.

Now, however, we're stuck in some sort of discussion over whether or not Bush should go to the Olympics. No one seems to want to boycott the Olympics, and no one is going to boycott the Olympics.

One last question on Guantanamo. What to do with all the prisoners? My opinion? Well, seeing as we have all of these gentlemen who have been incarcerated as prisoners of war, before we release them, we ought to thoroughly vet these prisoners to see if any of them have crashed five planes. I've been told that wartime incarceration, when combined with pilot incompetence, makes for the ideal GOP candidate.

And that's where I'll leave things. A reminder! We'll be answering your questions in vlog form, so feel free to send us your inquiries. Enjoy the rest of your Independence Day Holiday! This is a pretty wonderful country, that all of you have had a hand in making, so take a moment to celebrate this land as your own great work. Have a great week!

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