12/03/2008 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

TV SoundOff: Sunday Talking Heads

Good morning and welcome to November, which has spawned this monster, your latest in a series of liveblogs about the Sunday Morning Political Crap Parade, also known as Chris Wallace and George Stephanopoulos abd Bob Schieffer and Tom Brokaw Make A Porno. We have finally come to the end of the 2008 Presidential election. This Sunday's shows will all have a similar theme: "What's Going To Happen In The Election?" That will be followed by "What Happened In The Election?" a week later. A week after that it will be, "Wow, Now That The Election Is Over, What Are We Going To Talk About?" Finally, one Sunday later, it will be "Okay, I Know We Sounded Complainy, But Who Moved The 2012 Iowa Caucus To Next Week, Because, Man...That Just Doesn't Feel Right." And it won't feel right. Anyway, as usual, provide a comment, send and email, leave only footprints and take only memories.


Fox of course is presenting this as a race that is tightening, and McCain poised to mount another upset. That's why this year, instead of getting one extra hour to sleep at the end of Daylight Savings Time, Democrats got an extra hour to fitfully worry and camp out on Nate Silver's site. Anyway, Rick Davis says there's been a significant shift, Colorado and New Mexico are moving into the McCain column, and Pennsylvania is as well. You should know: none of that is actually true. Davis nevertheless says that there will be a "slam-bang" finish and that John McCain will tromp all over the country in the next forty-eight hours. Just like...Bob Dole.

Basically, John McCain is doing better in all the polls that the McCain campaign likes. Also, in all those polls, he's still losing.

What about early voting? Well, I was sort of pooh-poohing the dominance of Obama in early voting. After all, you're only really cannibalizing your Election Day voting, right? But then I thought about those long lines in 2004. It could be that early voting is clearing the way for additional turnout on Election Day.

Davis disputes the reports that GOTV monies have gone to television ads. Asked about voter suppression, Davis says that these accusations are just "playing politics," unless it's "liberal activist groups" who are involved, in which case it's evil. Davis says, "This will be a close election, no doubt about that." That said, they are prepared to get sue-crazy if they feel they need to.

Who's fault will it be if McCain loses? Davis says it's a "tough climate" for Republicans, and it's been the "worst financial crisis," which John McCain helped exacerbate. But McCain's got tenacity and will win.

Up now is David Plouffe, which is pronounced "pluff," not "ploof." I am getting tired of correcting you on that, America, so let's get it right. He's the "unsung star" of the Obama campaign! The reclusive, little-seen hobo-genius of the Obama campaign! Plouffe says Obama will win the West, Pennsylvania, and Virginia, but he's still in need of turnout.

Isn't it arrogant for Obama to be campaigning in North Dakota and Georgia, Wallace wants to know? Plouffe says it's arrogant for McCain to have assumed those states wouldn't be competitive. In fairness, he probably realized they could be, but was so skint that he sort of hoped nothing in those states would change.

You know, the interesting thing about this "The Race Is Actually Tightening" jujitsu that Matt Drudge is running, is that it's going a long way to ensuring that the Obama voters don't get over confident and assume that this election is a done deal. As Plouffe says, their campaign is making door contact at a time when their opponents are still up on the phones.

Plouffe dismisses the voter fraud question by noting that all these imaginary characters will not be voting on Election Day, so thay won't be jacking the results. I can't wait for the reports to come in about flyers that get stuck to cars and doors in poor neighborhoods that tell people that Election Day has been moved or that people with outstanding bills will be arrested and other nonsense. How come the people who distribute these flyers are never caught? People! Stay up late! Watch the streets, catch these mopes, duct-tape them to a tree and sweat their connections out of them. THIS STUFF HAS GOT TO STOP.

David Plouffe begs off as to whether he's going to serve in the White House. Also, his wife is about to go into labor with their second child. That's how confident and arrogant Plouffe was! He left the trail to impregnate his wife.

Now it's time for Karl Rove, who will "Bring the Snacks!" Yeah! Bring those snacks, Karl! Here's some of the snacks: the last poll that McCain led in was September 25. Since then, he's failed to win 250 polls. Rove says that the GOP is doing "a pretty good job" mobilizing their voters, but that the Obama camp did a better job on all the preliminary aspects of the campaign. Rove says a McCain win is "an uphill climb."

Panel time! With the usual crew of Brit Hume, Mara Liasson, Juan Williams, and Bill Kristol. Hume says that the race looks strong for Obama. Also, he's sat through "innumerable briefings" in his life. So many briefings. He's sick of them. Die, briefings, die. Quit burdening my life with your briefings. Just leave me alone! That said, David Plouffe's briefings are the best, and Obama is probably going to win. Mara Liasson says Gallup has had to catch up with the "Obama generated universe." OMG. He MADE a UNIVERSE. Barack Obama is your new Large Hadron Collider. Kristol says McCain still has a "narrow path to victory." It involves "snatching Pennsylvania." It would be a "poetic ending." That poem? "Thanatopsis." Or maybe "Red Wheelbarrow."

"Do the Democrats really want a sixty vote majority," asks Wallace, angling to win the award for the dumbest question of the 2008 season.

Liasson predicts the Elizabeth Dole will lose on Election Day. Kristol predicts Ted Stevens will win, as will John McCain. This means neither of these outcomes are going to happen. Williams predicts that Al Franken will beat Norm Coleman.

Why does Bill Kristol go on the Daily Show and say that his predictions of a McCain win should not be taken seriously, then turn around on Fox News Sunday and appear to seriously make these same predictions. I realize that the New York Times has basically hired him because his essential wrongness is such that it drives crazy-mad clicks to their website. What sort of life is this, where one's essential stupidity is incentivized like this?


AHHHH! Rick Davis again! This is like a recurring nightmare! Rick Davis is everywhere! I go to work, and Nico Pitney is Rick Davis. I run downstairs to get coffee, and the barista is Rick Davis. I stagger out of the coffee shop, and bump into an old lady, with Rick Davis' face. "We're up in Colorado," she sneers through those lips that look like they were crushed in an industrial accident. I run down Eye Street. Everywhere I look, it's Rick Davis. The bus pulls up, and everyone on board looks like Rick Davis. The world teeters on its axis, and I'm swept into an eddy in the fabric of reality. I SHALL NEVER ESCAPE RICK DAVIS! And then, WHOOMP. I wake up in my own bed. My cat is laying on my legs. My wife is next to me. "What's wrong?" she asks. I tell her about the horrible dream, spooning her, taking comfort in her familiar warmth. "My, what a silly dream!" she says. Then she turns over in bed. "But you know, honey, the race is tightening in New Mexico!" I remove my eye shade. She has Rick Davis' face! I AM SLEEPING WITH RICK DAVIS! OMG OMG GROSS! I feel dirtier than I ever have before in my life.

Still, that's no reason to not vote NO on PROPOSITION 8.

Rick Davis talks and talks and basically says John McCain is going to win somehow. I just thought you'd like my crazy dream better.

David Axelrod is doing the counter for Obama, still sounding vaguely like Eeyore. I guess the mysterious and reclusive David Plouffe can only do ONE show today! Did you notice that Plouffe used to work for Gephardt? Who'd have thought that anyone who worked on a Gephardt campaign would one day be called a genius?

You know, a lot of people insist that the Virginia result will be in early, and that if it goes late, that's an advantage to McCain. All that could be true, but that's not how Virginia was in 2006. Early in the night, it looked like George Allen was going to inch toward re-election. But the outstanding votes were coming from Democratic strongholds like Alexandria and Arlington. The result for Webb came in very late. Now, all this early voting has been hot in Virginia, especially up here in NoVA. But I'm not necessarily expecting the result in Virginia to come early.

The Panel today is George Will, Donna Brazile, Mark Halperin, and Matthew Dowd. Halperin makes a good point! The other aspect of early voting is that if it's true that people are now, suddenly starting to be won over my McCain, too many of them have already voted. Dowd casts a pitying glance toward Davis, who sort of echoes Hume from a few minutes ago. Axelrod gets to make the "understated" argument because things are going his way. Davis has to make the outsized argument, because they are not.

Dowd says McCain could get as many votes as Bush did in 2004, and still lose by ten million votes. He says that an Obama win in Virginia means a good night. George Will starts in on the Mississippi Senate race, prompting GSteph to cut him off because that's what they are going to talk about in the next section. Over the bumper, you hear GSteph apologizing for doing that.

ABC News, by the way, is "taking over Times Square" on Election Night. So, if you've always wanted to combine Election Night with overpriced steakhouses, packs of confused tourists, and slowly walking - like in the Bataan Death March - eight blocks for an uptown train, thank ABC News, and their horrible takeover of Times Square, the most horrible place on earth.

George Will says the election turning points were Obama's decision to fight for caucus votes, grab the white vote in Wisconsin, and got past Reverend Wright. For McCain, the shift to a financial crisis, took focus off of McCain's supposed national security advantages. GSteph notes that Obama's stance against the Iraq war gave him a leg up on Clinton. Dowd agrees, saying that it "created the opportunity" to give Obama some space between he and Bush, for whom Iraq was "a disaster." Donna Brazile throws props to Howard Dean and his Fifty State Strategy.

Will, on the Reverend Wright type issues, going into Tuesday: "Americans are not going to vote retrospectively, and they aren't going to vote on associations...when their 401Ks are shrinking."

Dowd on Bush: "Like Barack Obama, he said he was going to change the tone in Washington...but he never really did it."

Halperin says John Sununu is one of the safer Republicans in a fight to keep his seat? Halperin's crazy. Coleman, Dole, Chambliss, Wicker, McConnell are all safer than Sununu. Alaska's voters are so historically strange in their behavior, that STEVENS may be safer.

Predictions. Will says Obama wins with 378 EVs, Senate plus-8, House plus-21. Dowd says Obama wins with 338 EVs, Senate plus-8, House plus-17 (GOP gerrymandering is going to tamp it down). Halperin says Obama wins with 349 EVs, Senate plus-7, House plus-28. Brazile says Obama wins with 343 EVs, Senate plus-8, House plus-29. Will admits he's a little high in that EV count, but the rest of the panel all agree that Obama could go higher than their predictions.

Dowd says it's pretty amazing that four years after the GOP talk of perennial political dominance, the field's about to flip behind an African-American presidential candidate.

Is it possible that there will be a shocking result on Election Night? Halperin is willing to accede the possibility, Will and Dowd both say they are thoroughly confident in their predictions. Dowd, in particular, indicates that it's rare to have as much basis for confidence as he has. Brazile, I think, has just started praying for the end of this thing.

THIS WEEK's Sunday Funnies reminds me of how Arnold Schwarzenegger has been stumping for McCain lately. Isn't it sad? A few months ago, McCain was scoring palpable hits on Obama, accusing him of being a celebrity? Now, the celebrity endorsement is one of the few cards he has left to play. Also, this line from Arnold: "I am only an action hero in the movies! John McCain is a real live action hero!" Similarly, John McCain is the actual twin brother of Danny DeVito.


How much longer for the Chris Matthews Show? Will he run for office in Pennsylvania? I'm not sure which outcome to root for. Anyway, God knows I could use the rest, but I figured I might check in with this pretaped panel extravaganza, just to see where its weird pulse is right before the election. Today's panel consists of Katty Kay, whose hair looks, uhm...a smidge disheveled? I'm not going to get any more suggestive than that. Joe Klein, the world's tiniest blogger. Norah O'Donnell, who can have Matthews timeslot when he runs for office, or David Gregory's timeslot once the election is over and we can put Road For The White House out of its misery. And Eugene Robinson, who we're always glad to see on this show.

Have you noticed how he's gone back to his old, GOP Convention speech, where he concludes everything by shouting platitudes over rolling applause? You know: "Fight! Stand up! Stand up and fight! Fight to stand up! America is worth fighting for! Brush your teeth between meals! America is worth flossing for! Double know your shoe laces! Don't go out of the house without a hat! Examine your zipper, pretty damn quick! Call your mom more often! Finish your homework before you play video games! No dessert if you don't eat all your lima beans! America is worth standing on! Standing is worth American fighting, so fight, and stand." I think that this sort of indicates a general winding down of things. Also, the fact that McCain went on television and participated in a sketch with Tina Fey that slagged his running mate.

But, can McCain pull off the upset? He did it in New Hampshire! But, see, Obama has a whole timeline that Matthews lovingly made for social studies class. So what's the deal? Let's turn to tiny blogger Joe Klein! OMG! Did you know that Klein has covered NINE presidential campaigns? Thank God he reminded us! You know who's truly impressed with Joe Klein now? German fans of the show, who will marvel at his insight despite his lack of experience. Norah O'Donnell laughs, because even though she's covered fewer, she covered her elections while BIRTHING BABIES. Try that, Klein!

Katty Kay says Virginia has changed, and Latinos are swinging, for Obama. What about the ethnics? Better ask one! Eugene Robinson reports that long lines of "essentially black voters" have been afoot in South Carolina and Virginia. "Can you live with yourself if you are African-American and you don't vote this year?" Matthews asks. O'Donnell says that the Undecided Voter is white and female and lower educated. McCain thinks that they'll favor him HOWEVER they historically split HOWEVER they love Hillary HOWEVER nobody knows.

BUT! "In the states where Obama is favored by over fifty percent," O'Donnell says, "John McCain could get all the undecideds and still not win." Uhm...yeah. I'd have thought that would be obvious, because of second-grade math.

Matthews says that Election Night is going to be "very emotional for all of us." I can only imagine what liquid might secrete from his nipples if Barack wins. It will be some WORKING CLASS liquid, whatever it is. Everyone thinks that Obama is going to get a mandate, but O'Donnell warns against overreaching, since there will be another election in two years, which she'll start covering in about two weeks.

Matthews goes back to the archives of his shows, which you can all find in the Newseums, sub-basement behind the south loading dock underneath the vending machine, to see how prescient people were on Barack Obama. He shows a clip of Maureen Dowd, talking about Obama, which lasts about twenty-seconds, during which time she schooshes her hair out of her face four times, and looks like she's going in for a fifth just when the clip cuts. I swear, everything about that woman is hilarious to me, except, of course, her writing.

Katty Kay and Norah O'Donnell high-five each other over Joe Klein for getting Obama's candidacy right, and I hope someone will make me an animated GIF of that moment and send it to me.

[SORRY FOR THE DELAY, FOLKS. I was having trouble with Movable Type and it seems to be resolved, now. On with the liveblog!]

Let's take a spin through the feedback. One commenter, "newpotusplease," reports that "John Fund on Late Edition...has this ucky skin growth coming off of his eye lid and hitting his lashes as he talks and blinks." Do not send me an animated GIF of this, PLEASE. "YellerDawg," reminds that "Arnold Schwarzenegger's whole career is based on narcissism and steroids, not that there's anything wrong with that, I guess." I, myself, don't make fun, since I think Ana Marie Cox will tell you that much of my career is based upon a panda bear and a buttplug. "Jamesincalifornia" thinks I need to hire a proofreader, which is TRUE, but he needs to come to a basic understanding of what "liveblogging" is and the implicit risks of doing it.

Finally, Linda Tilsen says that she has officially switched from watching the Sunday Morning political shows to watching the live puppycam from last week's liveblog. THIS IS CHANGE YOU CAN BELIEVE IN.

Meanwhile, what about the Clintons? Everyone wants to know if she's going to run for president again, or join SCOTUS. I think the more interesting question is, if Hillary takes up the heavy lifting of drafting health care legislation, will the result resemble the plan she supported during the primaries? And if so, would a President Obama sign off on that? Ultimately, there's still a lot of potential legacy-making days ahead for HRC, and they maybe don't involve running for office or getting a promotion. If she put her stamped on univseral health care, she'd go down as a heroine to thousands of Americans. And from where I sit, this seems to me to be the likeliest scenario of her future.

Things Chris doesn't know? Katty Kay says Gates might stay at defense in an Obama administration, and so might Paulson. Klein says that the U.S. intelligence community has more or less decided that the central front in the War on Terror is now Pakistan, and you'll pardon me if this doesn't surprise me in the slightest. O'Donnell says that a Liddy Dole loss on Tuesday will make the government Bushless and Doleless for the first time since 1952. Eugene Robinson warns that Sarah Palin may run for the Senate. GOD HELP US ALL.

Finally, Chris Matthews says that the election has been historical, and stuff.


Sorry that I'm only now getting to MEET THE PRESS! Closing arguments from Fred Thompson and John, wow. Can I handle that much charisma and dynamism? UH-OH! David Broder, too? My god, that's way too much animal sexuality for one show.

Speaking of! It's Chuck Todd. Obama is up in Virginia (by only three points, but this is Mason Dixon, showing it's first lead for Obama). Obama up in Florida. Obama up in Colorado. McCain up in Ohio. Obama up in Nevada. McCain by one in Missouri, by three in North Carolina. On the electoral map, 286-157 Obama. McCain's got to pull every tossup and grab back two or three to win.

Fred Thompson insists that John McCain "has a shot" and is "closing" and that things "are going in John's direction." He's "in his element" and "feeling good." I don't believe any of that is true, but, well, Fred Thompson has to say that. Similarly, Charles Krauthammer has to say things like America is the "quitessential center-right" country, when it quite obviously isn't anything of the sort.

Thompson goes on to describe the "headwinds" McCain is facing, in a bunch of terms that make it sound like what's about to happen was somehow outside the control of the GOP. It's just a "pendulum swinging" and the economic collapse was just "fate" sending a message. In actuality, these problems came about because the president and his party made a series of poor decisions. America accepted the proposal: "Send us - the one's that effed everything up - back to work, and we'll fix it," already once in the past eight years. Know what? I believe in redemption! This was fair, I guess! But the SNAFUs and the TARFUs and the FUBARs - the sweet, nougaty, sticky FUBARs - just kept right on coming. Y'all realize that the Hurricane Katrina cock-up happened to an administration that was ALREADY ON NOTICE, right? So, all of this isn't happening because of "deviations from principles" that have landed the GOP in the mess they are in, as Thompson suggests: the country is REJECTING THE PRINCIPLES. The country is calling for MORE DEVIATIONS FROM FRED THOMPSON'S PRINCIPLES.

But yeah, McCain could still win, maybe.

Brokaw asks Thompson to respond to criticism of Palin from her various interviews, but Fred begs off, saying that he didn't watch any of the interviews and saw only excerpts. Uhm...Fred? If you saw the excerpts, you saw the stuff worth commenting on. There wasn't some unexcerpted highlight where Palin revealed herself to be brilliant, trust me.

Wow. The "assault" on Sarah Palin was "unprecedented" in American politics? You know, I seem to remember two Kennedys getting shot and killed!

Thompson says Joe Biden got a dozen things wrong in the debate. He names none specifically, and Brokaw doesn't ask. Thompson threatens that Barney Frank wants to reduce the size of the military, which means...what, exactly? Obama wants to increase it, so I guess Barney Frank's going to have to accept that, or get enough votes to override a veto, right? Whatever, Fred Thompson. You disliked McCain enough to run against him.

Well, earlier, I lumped John Kerry into the charisma-free category, but you know what? It should be mentioned that while serving as Obama's surrogate, he's shown more moxie than I'd ever given him credit. I guess eventually, even Treebeard "went rogue."

Kerry says that the Obama campaign is "practicing the cautionary lesson" from his campaign by working through the remaining hours (and, uhm...spending their money?). He points out that the McCain team is all about "scaring people." And, no, Fred Thompson never mentioned the words "middle class," let's trot out that line one more time. Obama="calm, steady," McCain="erratic, impulsive." Also, Kerry used to love John McCain, BUT HE CHANGED.

Brokaw insists that people are "concerned about one-party rule," by which he means it makes them nervous, I suppose. And yet, those same people are seemingly bent on making one-party rule a reality! I wonder if the operative source of concern isn't the "one" or the "rule" but the "party."

I didn't know that a Nixon was supporting Obama, and I'm not sure that's the news you want out there, but okay, it's probably better than having the support of a Cheney, though I promise you, if I ever have the need to learn how to extend my life using the salty tears of children frightened by clowns, I'll ask DIck Cheney, who will likely outlive us all anyway.

Kerry wants Lieberman to be a Democrat, but baby, I think that ship has sailed. We'll see.

And now, my last Sunday Morning panel discussion on the 2008 election! Chuck Todd, Michelle Norris, David Broder and David Gregory. What's going to happen to David Gregory's show on MSNBC - you know, the one that asks the same seven questions, over and over again, for months? - now that the election is ending? I hope they replace it with the Tucker Bounds Hour or something. Just small children and assorted houseplants and lichens, out-debating Tucker Bounds, until I finally die.

David Broder says this election has been the most exciting one yet! The issue of race has been muted and surpassed! Pay no attention to the weirdos at Palin rallies, I guess! Norris says that "we're not past it yet," and that racial issues are "like the sky," but there's also a "reverse Bradley effect," maybe. But it's hard to poll, Chuck Todd says, because you have to dance all around the topic. Todd says that the South has "dealt more openly" with race than the Northeast and industrial Midwest has, and, man, truer words were never spoken!

Broder LAYS the blame for losing the Philadelphia suburbs at the feet of Sarah Palin. Votes for McCain, may have been LYING there.

Kathleen Parker, apparently, has been playing too much clue. But I have no idea what you are if you are an undecided voter at this point, either. Maybe you are an idiot. Maybe you don't realize Election Day is Tuesday. I wouldn't put it past people.

Brokaw notes that McCain promised to campaign with the President, which Broder says isn't one expected to see Bush on the stump. Broder notes that the extent to which Bush has disappeared is unprecedented. Then Brokaw shows a clip from's like MEET THE PRESS has given up.

Man, that is it, saints be praised. And that does it for me, here. The last Sunday liveblog of the election. Not to worry, though! I'll be here next Sunday, with the post election Sunday. And then the one after that, chronicling the beginning of the Palin 2012 campaign. And then, all the many Sundays after that, I guess. Could I maybe have a Sunday off for Christmas or something? Oh well. Tomorrow will probably the last, craziest, throw all the kitchen sinks at Obama day, and then election day.

I realize that I haven't asked any of you readers to make election predictions! Do so in the comments, please, and help drive up our click-through rate. For my part, I'm predicting a 269-269 tie, because if there's only one thing I've learned about politics in my lifetime, it's this: POLITICS OBVIOUSLY HATES ME, TO DEATH. Good afternoon, and good luck!