POLITICS

TV SoundOff: Sunday Talking Heads

03/18/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Good morning everyone and welcome to your Sunday Morning Liveblog of the Sunday Morning chatfests. My name is Jason and I hope everyone out there in liveblog land had a lovely Christmas or whatever and have come through their various familial and office-party obligations unbroken and unbowed, because 2010 looms and if we're going to get our crap together and have that Space Odyssey we were promised, we'd better be well-rested and junk.

According to my memories, which are unreliable, today we're getting some high-test dose of Robert Gibbs, or something? Plus, we'll get all the news on Firecrotch The Terrorist, who sewed Semtex or something into his underwear? And maybe Joe Lieberman will get Charlie Sheen and his wife reconciled? It's so hard to keep track of the news when you are actively avoiding it, in order to have a good Christmas.

Anyhoo, you know you can totally leave a comment or send an email or follow me on Twitter, if you aren't already. All right! Let's get on with it, shall we?

FOX NEWS SUNDAY

Well...this is a bother! For some reason, TiVo has not recorded the first five minutes of this week's FNS. I'm going to get over this, quickly, seeing as how all I've missed is five minutes of Vinegar Joe Lieberman and --GAH! -- Pete Hoekstra talking about Firecrotch the Terrorist.

Hoekstra is precisely the sort of person that America needs to step away, slowly, from the National Security. In most modern societies, the Pete Hoekstra is outfitted with a Harlequin onesie, some shoes with bells on the toes, and is given a rattle to run around and shake, for the amusement of all. Only in America can this gibbering, balding, man-child ascend to the heights he has enjoyed. Which hasn't stopped the clown act, at all. Nor will it stop him from Tweeting away any state secret he might learn.

Anyway, we have Lieberman, talking about giving people "full body checks" in Amsterdam, which sounds like something most people do while they're in college. Pete Hoekstra says we have to "keep improving our game plan" to fight terrorists, but it seems to me that nowadays what happens is you try to light your pants on fire and the passengers beat the crap out of you. I feel sort of bad for the old-school highjackers, who used to just want to take your plane to Cuba and stuff. Can't do that anymore.

Anyway, Hoekstra says that this happened because Obama stopped using the word terrorism? And didn't "connect the dots?" Did he not watch the speech he gave at West Point? Where he talked about terrorism? And Yemen? Probably, Hoekstra was too busy furiously pleasuring himself to notice.

Lieberman thinks that "untold numbers of people" could have been killed in Michigan.

Hoekstra says "Yemen is a hot spot" and that no one from GITMO should ever go back there. Lieberman calls GITMO a "first class facility." I refer you to Spencer Ackerman's piece on the GITMO Gift Shop.

Lieberman goes on to say that "Yemen could be the next war." Which means Iran is off the hook! It also means Yemen is off the hook, because seriously, Yemen, WE DO NOT HAVE ENOUGH TROOPS LEFT TO FIGHT YOU, IN YEMEN. We might be able to fight you in the Winter Olympics, or in Guitar Hero, but seriously, Joe Lieberman should know that we have basically deployed all of our troops now.

Who else can Fox News Sunday get booked? Senators Shelby, Demint, Specter, and Menendez.

Specter grumbles about how we need to use full-body devices and pat downs and the "pre-emptive action...tossed out by Joe Lieberman," and I seriously, seriously hope none of you are getting aroused, listening to this. Menendez mentions that the Obama administration has been paying attention to Yemen, and says we need to "always be thinking ahead of the curve."

Shelby says that "this is a jolt for us," and that it's "more than a wake-up call." It's like a "blow to the head" or a "shovel, upside the face of a sleeping America." And Senator DeMint...MY GOD HOW DOES HIS HAIR DO WHAT IT DOES? Anyway, he blames UNIONS for the terror attack. Yes, what we need is to make airport security a LESS APPEALING JOB than it already is.

SEGUE! HEALTH CARE! Menendez says that the HCR bill is likely to look like the Senate version, not the House bill. But Wallace wants to know how the GOP "will exploit the differences" to stop the bill. DeMint won't vote for the bill either, but maybe the conference committee can get massive subsidies for Grecian Formula put in it, and get his vote.

Wallace calls Senator Specter the "legal expert," going on to say, "not to diminish the other Senators, here." GO ON AND DIMINISH THEM. Anyway, Specter says there is nothing in the bill that's unconstitutional. Then Specter calls out DeMint for his Waterloo comment, saying that "before the ink was dry on the Oath of Office" (and no, I don't know how "ink" plays into the Oath of Office, but then Specter is "the legal expert"), the GOP was plotting against Obama. "And I know that because I was in the caucus at the time." Specter then goes on to say that bipartisanship hasn't been possible because the GOP has basically been planning to be intransigent from the get-go.

Menendez brings up the debt-reducing powers of the Senate HCR Bill, and mounts the coming Democratic defense of the bill, asking his GOP colleagues if they were going to "run on" repealing health care for 30 million Americans.

Now Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) is here to talk about politics and the health care bill. He says the public option is not dead, but it's totally, totally dead. he shouldn't be saying stupid things like that.

What about negotiating the minefield laid down by Bart Stupak? Van Hollen says "it's not clear how this will be resolved," but that maybe pure momentum will make everyone feel so jolly about passing a health care bill that they'll just somehow surmount it.

Van Hollen also says that "things have begun to stabilize" in the economy. That's not good enough for Chris Wallace, who wants to know how the deficit gets cut. Val Hollen says, for the billionth time, that HCR pays for itself and saves money long-term. I sort of wish someone would just say: "IN THE CURRENT ECONOMIC CONDITIONS, YOU SHOULD DEFINITELY RUN A SHORT TERM DEFICIT." Van Hollen is trying to do this, but not being particularly convincing. It's like watching a third grader explain long division to a kindergartner.

As for the 2010 numbers, Van Hollen says "I've said from the beginning that this will be a challenging year." He does say, "We're not going to be surprised, like we were in 1994." "Is it going to be a tough year? Yes. But it won't be a 1994." Van Hollen also says he's confident that there will be no other party-switchers.

FACE THE NATION

John Dickerson is in for Bob Schieffer, to talk about Firecrotch the Terrorist with Robert Gibbs and Representative Peter King and Armen Keteyian, who, I'm sorry, I thought was a sports journalist?

Anyway, there are a few minutes of technical difficulties, as I cannot hear either JD or Gibbs. Now, apparently, they are talking about the watch list, and the fact that the White House wants to ensure that the procedures work, so the President has asked for a review of the watch list and the procedures for screening. Does the president think anyone dropped the ball? If he does, Gibbs doesn't say. So JD asks again. Gibbs says that the coming review will reveal that. "Is there a tiny little rip in the system, or is this a big hole." COMING REVIEW, Gibbs says, adding "The system has worked, it just needs to be refined."

"But the system is a little bit crazy," JD points out, mentioning the multiple lists and the fact that Firecrotch's dad was all: "UHM, HE SHOULD NOT BE ALLOWED IN AMERICA."

Is the president being too "antiseptic?" Should he have some crazy, cook-a-boo outburst of emotion? Gibbs basically says no: "The president was briefed...he's been involved...what's important is that...obviously, we need to learn" so that this doesn't happen again. Gibbs begs off straying into the areas of classified information.

Will we all be getting patted down by the TSA? Having our balls cupped? Subjected to pants removal? SHould travellers wear kilts? Should we have to bring our own planes, for flying? Gibbs doesn't say. We have apparently raised the threat level, but the official position of the president is that it is safe to fly. Also, the President is not complacent, we are sending all the troops to caves, in the Hindu Kush, to fight terror, which is not Nigerial, via Yemen.

Now, Peter King is here to talk about how this came within "seconds, or inches" from being the Christmas Day Massacre. "HE WAS ON THE ONE YARD LINE!" Luckily, Dick Jauron coaches the terrorists.

Peter King wants to scan your body, all of it. Every single each of it. Also: why doesn't Obama use the word "terrorism" more? JUST USING THE WORD STOPS TERRORISM, WE KNOW THIS.

Why won't you let Peter King examine your taint, for terror?

"I am confident that the President is doing all he can to keep us safe," King says, but he needs to stop talking about global warming and the health care bill, and get in front of the U.S. and say things like, "DON'T WORRY, WE ARE WINNING! IF I SAY IT, IT IS TRUE."

Peter King is what happens to your national security when your fontanelle doesn't completely close.

JD asks, "Isn't what you are suggesting," in terms of security, "going to cause delays and the financial ruin of airlines?" But that will stop the terrorists. On planes anyway! Then they will all shift to boats, and it will become T-Pain's problem. HE WILL AUTOTUNE THE JIHADISTS.

Chris Blakely is here, for Christmas!

If only we had more senators like former senator Larry Craig in the Senate, we might have mandatory, full-body pat downs at all airport security checkpoints. Unfortunately, as Senator Craig well knows, the only place you can get that full-body pat down in airports today is in the public rest rooms.

Now it's time for Congressman Jim Clyburn, who disagrees with Peter King on the President's response. King, he says, "is a bit given to hyperbole." Peter King would be the Ricky Gervais character in the movie, The Invention of Hyperbole. "I am very satisfied that everyone is doing what they ought to be doing, in this instance," Clyburn says, adding, "From what I've heard, this seems to be a very narrow incident." He also pronounces "flammable" as "phlegmable." JD asks, "Quickly...does that mean you want a full-body pat down?" This Sunday is brought to us by the image of everyone getting full-body pat downs. I have to imagine that on Christmas Eve, John Dickerson did not imagine he'd be saying "full body pat down" thirty times on the air.

Clyburn thinks that the health care reform process is going along nicely. He says Obama did not "let him down" in the way he didn't get behind the public option. He says he was never all that into the public option, he was more excited about a hybrid plan that expanded access.

Okay, more now, from Keteyian and Juan Zurate. Keteyian says that investigators are trying to figure out if he was a lone wolf, or if he was more like Edward Cullen, part of a network of gaudy vampires. Zurate says that the broader issue is an investigation into whether Firecrotch got trained in Yemen, which would be a "gamechanger," because hey! Maybe the terrorists aren't in Afghanistan!

But how should people think about Yemen? Zarate says, "You've got problematic theatre in Yemen." What? Too many Neil Labute plays? No: shit be, as they say, "bonkers" in Yemen. "Unstable government...Shia rebellion...secessionists" all flavored with a generous dollop of al Qaeda. Yemen is the new new thing in global terrorism. We will be fighting wars there, as soon as we invent robot troops.

Keteyian says that PETN is a readily available substance. And that we should know, because our fingers are soaking in it, right now! MMMmmmmMMM! Explosivey! PETN's history of getting though metal detectors is "becoming a concern to U.S. people." And, such.

I think we will all soon be walking nude, through the airlines, just like God intended us to.

MEET THE PRESS

Today, David Gregory comes to us live from Lexington, Kentucky, for some reason. Also, MEET THE PRESS is going to solve the ENTIRE NEXT DECADE for us, with Mike Bloomberg, Deval Patrick, Newt Gingrich, and Andrea Mitchell. WHAT THE WHAT?

Anyway, here is Janet Napolitano, to calm our fears and assuage our nerves over Firecrotch, the Terrorist. Was this a failure in security? Napolitano says, " I think the important point here is that once the incident occurred, everybody reacted the way they should. The passengers did, the flight crew did-- and literally-- within an hour-- additional measures had been instituted, not only on the ground here in the United States, but abroad. And indeed on the 128 flights that were already in the air from Europe."

David Gregory pauses, unsure of what to do with a substantive answer. Should he ask Napolitano if she's going to run for President, a million times? Instead, he asks if Firecrotch is al Qaeda. "Again, we don't know...it's under investigation." Napolitano says her concern is that adjustments to screening gets made, where appropriate. She does not indulge in any further speculation as to whether Firecrotch is al Qaeda.

What about the explosives? Did he have enough to touch of the Ancien Mayan Prophesy? "Oh, I think we're far from knowing that. The forensics as to what he actually had have yet to be complete. And stepping back from this case-- what it takes to actually bring down an airliner-- depends not only on the-- the chemical and the amount but where a person is on the plane. How it's detonated. All sorts of questions-- on that score."

Napolitano also suggests that the passengers were able to surmise something was amiss when Firecrotch started to set himself on fire. But what about the lists! Terror watch lists? Terror warning lists? Lists of the worst dressed terrorists? And are there listicles, or charticles, then can be deployed against the terror? Napolitano says, "Well, maybe-- in this day and age with-- the kind of-- environment we have, we should change some of those protocols."

Gregory asks, "What does it say about the nature of the threat, the terrorists generally, but more specifically Al Qaeda, if that's in fact the case, still poses to the United States?" To which Napolitano says, uhm...well, Al Qaeda is bad...but we don't know if Firecrotch was al Qaeda or a wannabe, and anyway, this is why we are fighting in Afghanistan, to stop terrorists in Yemen.

Seems like a good time to just go over some advice from the Department of Homeleand Security.

Terrorists are everywhere, and their tactics are surprising. You should be ready for terrorists to attack you with anything, including boring discussions on the periodic table of elements, attempts at plying you with extra organs to add to your alimentary canal, and even a well thrown handful of navy beans.

When planning your escape, the Office of Homeland Security definitely recommends you take the time to really overthink things.

If your wireless network goes down during a terrorist emergency, try cutting the cords off of your outdated appliances.

You may find yourself casually contemplating biological war when a terrorist disguised as a midget-sized can of Right Guard attacks. If this happens, haughtily turn on your heel and walk away.

Be sure to wash your hands thoroughly of the consequences before you inform on one of your neighbors or parents.

The sweet, delectable aroma of Homeland Security may be difficult to take in large doses. Please consume in moderation.

The floating, smoking bloodshot eye is a sign that you may be trapped inside a Blue Oyster Cult video. Turn off the lights, bathe in Pepto Bismol and don't fear the reaper. It will be over shortly.

Hillary Clinton has seriously degraded the structural integrity of that glass ceiling, but that doesn't mean you should cower like a little man-child.

There's no telling when your ass is gonna get served by an agent of al-Qaeda, so citizens should be constantly vigilant and prepared to break dance at the first sign of trouble.

When the terrorist threat is over, assist the economic recovery by heading to New York and taking in a performance of Mamma Mia! at the Winter Garden.

The fact that we have to tell you not to go into a burning building pretty much says it all, eh, losers?

Trapped under some debris? Now it's okay to have some powerful crotch-based explosives at the ready.

Remember, however, that even in a terrorist emergency, the Department of Justice maintains that he who "smelt it", in the eyes of the law, has "dealt it."

If you find yourself tied to a pole with the angry clown Peter Hoekstra, blow on your Homeland Security whistle to alert Janet Napolitano.

Do not answer the door for any stray radioactive materials, even if they say they totally have an extra pair of Arcade Fire tickets.

Austin's nightlife is radioliciously exciting!

When you're feeling blue, and feel the whole world is against you, rent your own personal rain cloud and crawl around on your hands and knees. It's the best way to elicit sympathy from your peers.



Disembody circle hand of God karate chop Evil Exit Man bad orange arrows! HiiiiYA!

Damn, bitch! Don't take no smack from yo' crown moldin' an' shit. Show that sucka tha hand and bust outcha mo' shnizzle.

Don't buy those file cabinets at Staples you idiot! Are you nuts?! They mark their prices up 150, sometimes 200%! Go to an Office Supply Warehouse, or get off your ass and do a little internet research to find a Wholesaler in the area. Jesus, what am I, made of money?!

The potent combo of crack cocaine and blaring death metal affects different people in remarkably different ways. Find out beforehand if you're more likely to curl up in a little ball and shiver or more likely to suddenly take off running somewhere. This will help you decide what shoes to wear to the crack den.

OH SHIT, SCIENTISTS CREATED A GIANT DAVID ARQUETTE AND HE'S JUST OVER THAT HILL!! TURN AROUND! TURN AROUND!

Jesus, nobody's gonna want to steal your POS car, okay, so you can take the No Radio sign out of your back windshield.

If a plane hits or a bomb goes off in the really tall building you are in, we'd like to remind you with this easy to solve maze puzzle that your life is worth about as much as the lab rat that solved it.

Hey, Red Cross employee! Why don't you get your jaunty ass to work and treat some of my open wounds?

Al-Qaeda may have already obtained weaponized nuclear families. Attend lacrosse practice at your own risk.

Thank you, Department of Homeland Security, for those images. And now, here's Robert Gibbs!

What "sort of accountability" does the President want? Gibbs says, "I'd say the two priorities that the President has right now-- first and foremost-- insuring the safety and security of the American people and doing everything that we can and continue to do everything that we can-- to make sure that that's happening." Also: REVIEWS WILL BE CONDUCTED. Maybe you heard of them, five minutes ago, when Napolitano said this! The problem is a "series of database universes," which are all being patrolled by Torchwood, maybe? Anyway, it's complicated!

But does it feel like it did on 9/11? YOU GOT THAT NINE-ELEVEN FEVER? No, no, reviews, priority reorientation, buzzwords, people in caves, American power, Yemeny goodness.

Gibbs says, "I would say lastly, David..." Do guests get to determine the length of interviews on Meet The Press now?

Was it part of a larger plot? Gibbs doesn't say, but we're planning for the worst, in order to keep the worst from happening.

OKAY, then! Let's talk about the health care? Is the President going to have a hand in reconciling the bills? Gibbs says that the president sees a lot of magical wonderment in each bill, and now health care reform is "now a matter of when." Unless they are the people who won't be helped by the bill!

Gregory and Gibbs exchange canned questions and answers about the economy. It goes like this:

GREGORY: YAAAGH. The economy?

GIBBS: The stimulus is working, calm down.

Now it's time for the BAD ASS IDEA PANEL to solve the entire next decade for us!

DAVID GREGORY: OMFGZ! There's a whole other decade about to begin? I don't think I can handle this! Deval Patrick? Are you ready, for this jelly?

GOVERNOR DEVAL PATRICK: We have many secret experiments going on in Massachusetts, with the health care, all powered by Mitt Romney's ROBOT BRAIN!

DAVID GREGORY: But OMFGZ, Newt Gingrich, y'all be hatin'!

NEWT GINGRICH: The country be hatin'! What's with all the bribes, of Ben Nelson? And the special deals! PLEASE DON'T REMEMBER HOW I GOT SERVICED, BY LOBBYISTS, IN A MANNER SIMILAR TO MY MANY MISTRESSES.

DAVID GREGORY: Andrea Mitchell! For some reason, you are on this panel?

ANDREA MITCHELL: "I think the politics are going to be very, very tough for a lot of Democrats, because the benefits are down the road." BUT NO I HAVE NO IDEAS ABOUT THE NEXT DECADE. Let's talk about the CBO!

DAVID GREGORY: Congressional Budget Office--

ANDREA MITCHELL: Congressional Budget Office--

DAVID GREGORY: That's what CBO stands for.

ANDREA MITCHELL: Yes, David.

DAVID GREGORY: Yeah.

ANDREA MITCHELL: Uh-huh.

DAVID GREGORY: Michael Bloomberg? I'm guessing you've thought a lot about the status quo? I'm not sure this question even makes sense? Just tell us some rich people stuff, okay?

MAYOR MICHAEL BLOOMBERG: We are spending a lot of money! "We will go bankrupt if we keep increasing medical costs at the rate we've been doing it." And why aren't people living longer? Why is Mitt Romney's ROBOT BRAIN the most immortal thing in America, other than our sense of entitlement?

DAVID GREGORY: Governor Patrick, we need to bend the cost curve. We really need to give that cost curve a full body pat down.

GOVERNOR DEVAL PATRICK: Uhm...here's some word soup, about liking Mayor Bloomberg, and the word "jargon."

NEWT GINGRICH: "Here's the great tragedy. The greatest health systems in the United States are cheaper than bad health care."

ME: The great tragedy is that we just let people die, in the streets, from easily treatable things.

MAYOR MICHAEL BLOOMBERG: No one can explain what is in this bill! What, do I have to read it myself? Also, "bending the cost curve" is a "flim flam euphemism," like Governor Patrick said.

GOVERNOR DEVAL PATRICK: I didn't say that.

MAYOR MICHAEL BLOOMBERG: Exactly.

GOVERNOR DEVAL PATRICK: Okay, whatever.

MAYOR MICHAEL BLOOMBERG: It's politically explosive, like Semtex sewn into the underwear of the economy.

DAVID GREGORY: But OMG, Newt, health care is going to be so awesome when it's passed, what are you going to do?

NEWT GINGRICH: Yammer about deficits and the length of bills, mostly. Really mature stuff.

DAVID GREGORY: Let's talk about sentiment!

ME: AGGGGHHHHH!

DAVID GREGORY: Think back, ten years ago. Partying like it's 1999, literally in 1999, this is what it looked like, the dawn of a new century.

ME: YAAAAAAGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHH!

DAVID GREGORY: And you know, revelers you see on Times Square and around the country, were-- were filled with this hope of, "What is the world going to be like? Where is America headed?" And yet there was also this sense of dread about Y2K computer problems or worse. And yet who could imagine that 9/11 was coming in 2001.

ME: [MY BRAIN MAKES THE SOUND OF A THOUSAND ANGELS, SCREAMING ALL AT ONCE. THIS SOUND CANNOT BE TYPED INTO A COMPUTER ACCURATELY. IT IS MOST COMMONLY RENDERED AS: "ASDFASDFADSFGADDFFSAD!"

ANDREA MITCHELL: I think 9/11 so transformed our sense of ourselves. It made us feel vulnerable. We lost privacy. We gave up a lot of privacy over the years. We don't even know to the extent how much our privacy was invaded by government. We can debate the merits of that. But we also lost a lot of the sense of American possibilities, and we were then wrapped in-- in a decade of war, two wars.

ME: [THE SOUND OF THE EXPLOSIONS IN MY BRAIN ALL EXPLODING.]

DAVID GREGORY: Governor Patrick, LOOK AT THIS COVER, OF TIME MAGAZINE.here was the-- the cover of Time Magazine earlier this month talking about the decade that's passed, the decade from hell and why the next one will be better. Talk about a decade of-- of broken dreams. Is that how you see--

GOVERNOR DEVAL PATRICK: Okay.

DAVID GREGORY: Are you looking at it?

GOVERNOR DEVAL PATRICK: Yes.

DAVID GREGORY: REALLY LOOK AT IT.

MAYOR MICHAEL BLOOMBERG: "Well, the economy has certainly turned around. It stopped going down and it's slowly coming back. And it will be a long time before we get back to where we were three years ago."

DAVID GREGORY: JUST TALK FOR TEN MINUTES, OR SO, MIKE. I WANT TO STARE AT INFINITY...

DAVID GREGORY: But, jobs?

ANDREA MITCHELL: Yes. Jobs. But not the same jobs!

DAVID GREGORY: Governor, jobs?

GOVERNOR DEVAL PATRICK: Jobs. Education. Massachusetts. Robot brains.

DAVID GREGORY: Will we continue to reward greedheads on Wall Street for destroying the world?

MAYOR MICHAEL BLOOMBERG: I am going to dodge that question, with a long tangential monologue.

DAVID GREGORY: AND I AM GOING TO LET YOU.

ANDREA MITCHELL: I'm an optimist as well! I am married to Alan Greenspan!

DAVID GREGORY: But OMGZ, TEH TERRORZ?

DEVAL PATRICK: WE NEED ROBOT BRAINS, because they are always vigilant and never fearful.

DAVID GREGORY: What is the mood of the country.

GOVERNOR DEVAL PATRICK: Sour! Angry! This will be cured with Massachusetts ROBOT BRAINS, which run on CHOWDAH.

DAVID GREGORY: It's all Obama's fault, though!

GOVERNOR DEVAL PATRICK: Well, I mean--

DAVID GREGORY: He had a year! I made him promise me things!

GOVERNOR DEVAL PATRICK: Cheer up, weirdo. I don't think it's his fault.

DAVID GREGORY: Speaker Gingrich, the sour mood is one that the

NEWT GINGRICH: I think that the president had an enormous opportunity. But now his presidency is totally over! LOOK TO JOE LIEBERMAN AND BEN NELSON, AMERICA.

DAVID GREGORY: Do you fear that's the GOP is being totally bitter, clinging to guns and religion?

NEWT GINGRICH: "It's a permanent danger because it's so much easier. I mean, all you have to do is yell no. Yelling no gets you 25 seats in the-- in 2010. Having an alternative, something like the contract with America, gets you 50 or 60 seats."

MAYOR MICHAEL BLOOMBERG: Everyone is right and we should all hug, plus I have some generic comments about the media!

ANDREA MITCHELL: But there's an anger out there. And I have not seen it since my very first campaign, which was 1968 and George Wallace. I AM OLD, REMEMBER THAT.

DAVID GREGORY: "What does the president do, as the head of the United States government-- again, a leader with so much promise but so much difficulty in sort of harnessing everyone together? What does he do now to lead, to really lead?"

DEVAL PATRICK: ROBOT BRAINS. FOR EVERYONE.

DAVID GREGORY: We will leave it there. Thanks to all of you. Happy New Year.

THIS WEEK

Let's look in at THIS WEEK, where, uhm...this week, Jake Tapper is interviewing the turtlish Senate Minority leader, Mitch McConnell.

Is the Obama administration doing enough to make the TSA the awesome force that we all imagined it to be? McConnell says that Susan Collins is asking questions, about lists, and Yemen. McConnell is just "amazed" that someone "giving out so many signals" can get on a plane, and attempt to ignite his crotch.

Is McConnell doing enough to stop health care? Because a bunch of conservatives are yelling at him. McConnell says that "every device that could have been deployed" to stop the bill was deployed. "Every single Democrat passed this 2,700 page monstrosity," he says. Tapper asks why he's all het up to keep Medicare from being cut when he was a big proponent of cutting Medicare before. McConnell says that way back then, he was killing Medicare in order to save it, as opposed to now, when Democrats are trying to expand it.

Will McConnell run on repealing the HCR? McConnell thinks he can frame it as the Dems jumping off the cliff together, but he doesn't come out and say that the GOP will run on repeal. Tapper tries again, and the second time out, McConnell says the HCR will be a "central issue."

McConnell thinks it's important to have a debate about debts, so long as no one attempts to maturely point out that the economy is tanking. Or, as Tapper points out, as long as no one talks about idiotic measures like the Medicare prescription bill. McConnell says, whatever, The Democrats have gone "far beyond" that, so they should get immunity for their own profligate spending.

Oh, hey, here's the panel with David Brooks, Matthew Dowd, Paul Krugman, and Ruth Marcus.

So, hey, there was this attack? David Brooks says that Napolitano and Gibbs aren't passing the "laugh test." Firecrotch, he says, was a total stereotype of a terrorist. Somehow, the terror-stereotype, to Brooks' estimation, includes the fact that he went to a "fancy school." SURELY THIS IS SOMETHING SCREENERS CAN TELL ON SIGHT.

Anyway, Marcus points out that someone should have listened to his Dad. Maybe we've all become inured to not believing anything Nigerians tell us in emails?

Paul Krugman says that the history of military surprises are filled with situations where there are ample warnings. He also says that well, if enough people just want to indiscriminately kill other people, enough of them will succeed, and that's life.

Matt Dowd hopes that we won't have to flash our underwear at TSA Screeners. SECONDED!

You know, why don't airlines just put everyone under general anesthetic in order to fly? I mean, if I'm not going to be able to listen to my iPod, PLEASE MAKE SURE I AM ASLEEP.

Brooks is now saying that you should be able to tell, on sight, whether or not people are "trapped between two worlds." This sounds like an episode of GOSSIP GIRL, or something.

Anyway, health care. Paul Krugman says that they are really trying to do everything they can, that this is the first attempt to control costs, and that this is the first step in being able to say, to the public: Okay, we are learning more and more about how to control costs and expand coverage, and it will take more of this, and less of that.

Brooks prefers single-payer or Wyden-Bennett, and he doesn't see what's so politically hard about doing either.

Krugman says that people will complain, in polls, that HCR isn't what they want, but that they'll all elect to keep it. Tapper asks Dowd if he thinks that's true and Dowd says no, and that running on repealing the bill is a political winner. He's sure that it will be "an albatross on every Democrat in a swing district."

Tapper brings out party-switching Parker Griffith. Is he a "canary in a coal mine?" Does the Democratic party need to tack back to the center? Marcus says no, Griffith is "going to be a very lonely canary." Marcus does say that health care needs to be "sold as a positive transformation" alongside a robust effort on jobs. And yeah, there are too many people who think that HCR is going to kick in in just a few weeks!

Krugman says that the Democrats can maybe sell it, and he's waiting to see how well repealing the bill polls. He doesn't anticipate that it will. He goes on to say that HCR is just "something the administration had to do," with the hit to approval being part of the cost of doing business. Brooks says that Democrats will still probably get "wiped out across the country." Dowd says that the GOP will do well in 2010, but that the GOP is likely to "misread the mandate" and do something that will end up benefitting Obama down the road. Brooks cosigns on that completely, and you know what? Dowd's probably going to end up looking right.

Tapper drops some Joe Stiglitz science on the panel, which is always a good way to get into my good graces! He asks Krugman is he agrees with Stiglitz that the economy is poised to contract. "It's a reasonably high chance," Krugman says, because the economy is fueled by a fading fiscal stimulus and inventory bounce. "The financial markets seem to think there's going to be a bigger recovery, I don't see where it's going to come from. So I would go with Joe Stiglitz."

AGAIN. WHY IS STIGLITZ NOT ON THE WH ECONOMIC TEAM. GAH.

And that will do it for another day. Also another year. We'll see you in 2010, when we can all be assured that Newt Gingrich will get us fitted for Robot Brains, and everyone's crotch will be sealed with flame retardant, courtesy of the TSA. ONWARD, TOWARD DYSTOPIA, FRIENDS!

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