TV SoundOff: Sunday Talking Heads
Hello, America! Welcome to today's edition of the Sunday Morning Liveblog, where I am sorry for cheating on you, with other liveblogs, repeatedly. Of course, my real apology will not come in the form of words, but in actions. Which is kind of tough, since liveblogging here is all about words. In fact, I'm regretting saying that, now, OF COURSE I'd rather my apology come in the form of words. SO MUCH EASIER. Oh, well, I guess I'll wash all of your cars or something.
Anyway, I know what I did was wrong. What can I say? I felt entitled. Also bored. There was this since of ennui, or something? The overall slide of modernity into decline? Also, I was drunk?
There are some people who blame you, the readers. STOP THAT. Don't do that! You guys never hit me or swore at me or stood on my driveway, drunkenly wailing about how things were going to be different, that I could change, that I just needed a little money to get my car wash franchise started, and then you'd see what I'm capable of.
The only issue here was my repeated irresponsible behavior. Excuse me...do you have to shoot me from that angle? From that camera, behind me? You do? You say the other camera has malfunctioned? You have to use this shot? Okay. It's a little weird, is all. Sort of unnecessarily arty? Can you move it? You can't? So, this is the way this is going to be remembered? Really? Okay.
FOX NEWS SUNDAY
So, today on FNS, we're going to talk to Mitch McConnell and Haley Barbour and Jennifer Granholm and the Bomb Iran crew with Stephen Hayes on the panel instead of Brit Hume, because he's still trying to convert Tiger Woods to Brit Humism.
Anyway, it's Mitch McConnell, who perpetually looks to me like a man in front of whom some sort of cartoon firecracker has exploded. He's going to come to the health care summit! How exciting! And the White House is going to post their own legislation on the internets. McConnell says, of the public option, that there is not support for it in the legislature, among the GOP, anyway. And he says that the public is against the House and Senate bills, but they are because those bills lack the insanely popular public option.
McConnell does have a lot of fun names for all the shady deals that were cut to get the Senate bill into the form it is. McConnell says that the American people don't want the bill to pass, but really, the American people will just toss the Dems out en masse if they don't prove themselves to be capable of passing health care reform. And seriously? As well they should be!
But McConnell is going to go to the summit in what he would call "good faith." And he cites the desire to do some health care things -- like tort reform and purchasing across state lines -- that as I continually point out are already in the bill, it's just that Mitch McConnell has to pretend like they aren't.
The bipartisan deficit commission did not pass, because people like MccConnell voted against it. Why didn't he vote for it? Because McConnell wants to lower taxes, not cut the deficit. McConnell doesn't care about the deficit. What's the last thing he did to seriously take on the deficit. Note: even talking about a commission is not serious enough.
Wallace asks why he wouldn't allow a bipartisan jobs package to be voted on, he basically says it was Harry Reid's fault. Wallace also asks why McConnell wouldn't support a payroll tax holiday, but never follows up, because McConnell gets pretty deep in the weeds on the first question, trying to do the Reid said/Mitch said thing. But there's a simple truth at the bottom here: McConnell is just opposed to doing anything to help out America, EVEN THINGS HE IS NORMALLY, NOMINALLY INCLINED TO DO, because he just doesn't want America to succeed during the Obama presidency's first two years. This isn't difficult stuff to figure out! The simplest explanation for his behavior is the correct one.
I wish I could pointlessly mystify politics for you like most media professionals!
I sort of think the White House is making a mistake if they believe they can thaw this out. They can't! If there's any sincerity to this summit, the summit will be a failure. If the whole point of the summit is to recreate the optics of that Q&A with the House GOP caucus as a prelude to ramming the whole health care bill through reconciliation, I say: GO FOR IT. I still think it's a pretty steep climb, but fortune favors the bold, and if you pull it off, well, then: November suddenly gets interesting, doesn't it?
Mitch McConnell says that the stimulus had a worse year than John Edwards and Tiger Woods, because the stimulus had sex with a lot of weird ladies? He then admits that the stimulus saved a lot of jobs, which can't be said for Woods or Edwards. At any rate, McConnell would have rather had a pro-cyclical economic policy and a lost decade, economically. I sort of disagree with that, but if that's the way a sizable portion of Americans wanted to live their lives, of course, I feel bad that our situation isn't worse.
Anyway, Wallace wants to know if regaining the majority in the Senate is possible and McConnell doesn't want to make a prediction. He surely doesn't want to jinx things. Reclaiming the Senate majority would be the worst thing for McConnell, anyway, because they would give up the super-minority.
There's Haley Barbour and Jennifer Granholm, posing for the Awkward Photos of White People tumblr!
What did the stimulus do for Michigan? Granholm says that the stimulus has provided long and short term investments into new products and new supply chains in the field of electric automotives -- 45,000 jobs in the short term, much more in the long term as the industry roots itself. She also says that actions taken to keep Chrysler and GM on life support prevented a liquidation (which is really sort of only meaningful if those companies one day build something that someone would buy without being forced to) and many more layoffs/people out of work.
"It hasn't fixed the problem, and nobody's going to say that, but it's slowed the trajectory of loss," says Granholm.
Wallace points out that the stimulus has been funding a lot of stuff on Mississippi. "The problem is, we need private sector jobs," says Barbour. The problem with attracting private sector jobs to Missisippi? Well, I couldn't POSSIBLY suggest why he's having a problem doing that!
This is sort of the precise debate you'd expect. Granholm says the stimulus slowed the trajectory of job loss. Barbour says it mostly benefitted state governments. Both are largely true. I think it depends on whether you feel we should have state governments or not.
The most interesting thing, always, about watching governors debate on these shows, is that it's rarely as acrimonious, and today is no different. I think it's because governors, in general, are a part of a fraternity that can often get, "Us Against The World"-esque.
It's also why I'm baffled why they'd be asked about Senate procedure. But Barbour is just wrong when he says that legislation always requires sixty votes to pass. He literally says, "We've never done that." Barbour must not have heard about the 2001 Bush tax cuts or the 2003 Bush tax cuts or the Tax Increase Prevention and Reconciliation Act of 2005 or the The Deficit Reduction Act of 2005.
I sort of love hearing about how the failure to create a bipartisan deficit commission is a sign that Washington is broken! "APOLLO ANTON OH NOES! We failed to create a commission that would have allowed lawmakers to take even more political cover then they already enjoy! Now we might have to make tough choices, on our own! And maybe people won't vote for us!" The failure of creating that commission is a good thing, or it was, because sadly, the White House is going to create it.
Haley Barbour won't say if he's running for President. Jennifer Granholm won't say whether she's running for the Prime Minister of Canada. Actually, as Granholm points out, she's a dual citizen, who's rooted for the United States in the Olympics since she was four.
Okay, panel time!
Iran is still working on a nuclear weapon! HOW SOON CAN WE BOMB THEM? Kristol says, THIS IS SERIOUS, SUPER-SERIOUS. "IS THE ADMINISTRATION GOING TO GET SERIOUS?" Will they put on their most SERIOUS faces? Kristol proposes "helping the Green movement to topple the regime:" and imposing a gas sanction that would help the regime topple the Green movement. It's a reminder that no matter how hard you hit you head against the ground, you can still write for Irving Kristol's "poor son" at the Weekly Standard.
"It's almost as if the Iranian regime wants to provoke a conflict with the West so that they can stamp out" their dissidents," Wallace points out, noting that they've actually made some of their nuclear program more vulnerable. Hayes mostly agrees.
Kristol thinks that the U.S. should play a larger role in helping the Iranian dissidents, but since he's got no idea what that help would look like -- other than gas sanctions that won't help the dissidents.
Meanwhile, CPAC, the conservative manga convention was in town this weekend, in Woodley Park. (Sorry, frequent customers of Open City, about that whole period in your lives. But it's over now!)
Hayes says that CPAC renews the voter intensity of Republicans, which by all accounts is true -- CPAC last year was a bit funereal, everyone clinging sadly to their Ronald Reagan body pillows. Not this year! Much more enthusiasm. Especially for Ron Paul! He totally stole the straw poll, this year, and now he is the KING OF STRAW.
Juan Williams seems aggrieved that people cheered for Obama being a one-term president, and they are totally angry! Uhm, it's CPAC! It's the sort of place where everyone hopes Obama will be a one-term President! I think Williams is being a little weirdly upset about how the conservative base behaves in the way you expect them to and espouses the beliefs that you knew going in that they would espouse.
The Democrats don't really have this sort of thing, unless you include Netroots Nation, and I totally don't! CPAC gets all teh big players, along with all the big weirdos, and then they shake off the aversion to the media for a weekend and open it up to everyone to come cover it.
Chris Wallace makes the mistake of referring to Ron Paul as a "not serious" candidate, which means he is going to get a kabillion emails now, and a visit from the Ron Paul blimp! OH GOD. REMEMBER THAT? Seriously, Ron Paul is the only person who could make the next presidential election interesting!
By the way, I hope you like our new image!
People got sick of seeing Stephanopoulos' mug on the picture every week, and frankly, I got sick of reading all of your emails, complaining about it! So, there you go.
Anyway, we've gotta go back, Kate...WE HAVE TO GO BACK!
Today, Terry Moran is the candidate whose name has been scrawled in Jacob's cave to host this show. We are going to get Schwarzenegger and Rendell on the show today, plus my boss is on, I totally forgot about that up until this minute. It's continental European dialect day, on THIS WEEK.
We'll start with Schwarzenegger and Rendell. THEY ARE HERE TO PUMP US UP, WITH STIMULUS. Schwarzenegger says that the worst is over. Nobody thinks sequels to PREDATOR will help anything. So they've not tied the economy to it. There are signs all over that things are getting better, in terms of employment. But it's not the time to get overly optimistic. JOBS JOBS JOBS.
Rendell's state is doing better than CARLYFORNIA, because they have successfully employed people to drive the demon sheep from Happy Valley. But they still face problems. The stimulus have helped, it's been a "helpful bridge" over troubled water. And he praises the White House for thinking ahead, on green tech and broadband.
Do we need another stimulus? Schwarzenegger says no. We need to rebuild America. Sounds totally easy! We need to build infrastructure, which will put people to work, like Eisenhower did. LET'S GET KEYNESIAN UP IN THIS PIECE. Rendell thinks that more stimulus money is needed...that the first bill was a "nice hunk of money," but the states need more. Like a shank of money, or a rib roast of money, or a filet mignon of money that Rendell can swallow whole without using a fork and knife.
"We need a ten year plan that will take us to a first class infrastructure," Rendell says. "Ten year plans are not something the United States does well," says Moran, which is astute.
Schwarzenegger basically says Mitt Romney is an ass for decrying the stimulus and he would totally punch him in the face if he told Schwarzenegger to put his seat up on a airplane. And then Romney would reveal himself to be one of the final five Cylons! And we would all say, "WE ALREADY KNOW YOU WERE ONE OF THE FINAL FIVE CYLONS!" I guess what I'm trying to say is that Schwarzenegger likes the stimulus and hates Mitt ROmney. And actually, I have to say, Schwarzenegger really seems like he understands what it's like to just need a job in this world. To be just be someone who wants to feel like they're a part of the social fabric of this country, which you can't do unless you're working.
Rendell points out that the new talking point is "no new NET jobs." The guy who came up with that talking point, by the way? He got laid off. Very sad.
The THIS WEEK table. Shouldn't it be like, three inches lower? It's like at bar height. I imagine Schwarzenegger and Rendell's legs, swinging under the table.
Mike Pence was at CPAC though, saying that the more you say "No," the more you can get people to chant the word "No." Schwarzenegger says, yes, the GOP has become the party of no, and the Tea Party's become an expression of anger, and that people in CARLYFORNIA are angry, because they do not have as much money to spend on CARLYFORNICATION anymore. And his answer, believe me, is even more rambling than I am making it out to be. He's talking about Lindsay Vonn, and slaloms, and redistricting, and open primaries, and now it looks like he's doing "This is the church" with his hands, and on and on and on.
Does President Obama need new blood in the White House, asks Moran. Rendell says no, and he says that Mike Pence is a dick, I think? He's talking about how important it is to invest in your future. "YOU WILL DIE!" Rendell says we will ALL DIE.
Now there is a graint video of Judy Woodruff and Alan Simpson, talking about how Simpson is not smoking the wacky tax cut tobacky. Rendell says that the olds have got to understand that they are living practically forever now, and so maybe the ages that various entitlements kick in should be moved back. "That's the dirty little secret," Rendell says.
Schwarzenegger says that the VALLEY NEEDS WATER, and that one day the entire West will be fighting over water in a post-apocalyptic world. And now he's talking about the ancient Phoenicians and Thracians and the fall of Scythian Empires, and MAKE IT STOP! MAKE IT STOP!
Schwarzenegger says that Michelle Obama has been smart to get into the obesity reduction business. IT WOULD HAVE SAVED THE MACEDONIANS!
Rendell and Schwarzenegger say that the GOP will have to compromise at the health care summit, because otherwise the ancient Celts will come over Hadrian's Wall and impose a single payer system on the Gauls, or something.
Panel time with George Will and Matt Dowd and Donna Brazile and my boss!
What is the deal with the Tea party people coming to the CPAC? Will says they are natural Republicans. He seems to think that a lot of them voted for Obama, though, which is weird. He also says that GOp popularity necessitated the move from the Omni Shoreham to the Marriott Wardman Park, but as someone who used to be an event planner and who had used both of those hotels I can tell you that CPAC 2010 would have had to have been booked well in advance of the renewed optimism on the GOP side. Also, the Marriott and the Omni are just both massive hotels, which easily fit CPAC comfortably, and I'm quite sure that CPACers have stayed at both hotels for years, since they are right across Calvert Street from one another and are accessible to each other underground...THAT'S RIGHT GEORGE WILL, DON'T FRONT LIKE YOU KNOW THIS CITY BETTER THAN I DO!
Will says that it was the "Hour of the Entertainer."
Arianna points out that Ron Paul was the winner of the convention's affections, not a mainstream candidate. She also cites the violent imagery of the Tim Pawlenty speech, but I don't worry about that so much. First of all, TIM PAWLENTY WIELDING A NINE-IRON? Please. Spare me that sad image. Also, I tend to think that Pawlenty was just trying to make a bad, SEO-friendly, current-events synergizing joke.
The Birchers are back, and Will says that it's a big tent, and so the circus comes with that, which is I think what Glenn Beck said? Only Will thinks it is neat. Arianna notes that conservatives have a really good test-case study of government failure in the form of bailouts, which Matt Dowd follows on astutely by noting that the lack of adult decisionmakers plays a big role in larger dissatisfaction.
Meanwhile, KTHXEVANBAYH is on the screen, quitting the Senate, despite the fact that he has successfully won every single major policy negotiation of the past year! I can only imagine that a strong sense of self-loathing is driving his decision. Or maybe he wants to spend more time with his family, and their argyle sweaters.
Will can't figure out what Bayh's complaint is. Arianna says that what's even dumber is complaints over partisanship. Will offers up, "Hear, hear." "What should we do, meet in the middle and free half of the slaves?" Arianna quips.
Dowd says that walking off the playing field isn't the solution to anything. BUt Evan Bayh wants to be the new, charisma-free version of Sarah Palin, maybe?
Dowd and Moran combine for an interesting comparison to LBJ, as far as risking political capitol to get things done.
George Will is sort of saying now that it's okay for the GOP to be the "party of No," because Lincoln said no to prolonging slavery. For the record, I hope that the GOP will ALWAYS BE THE PARTY OF SAYING NO TO PUTTING MEN IN CHAINS AND FORCING THEM TO WORK ON TOBACCO FARMS.
Arianna and Matt fall out over what's driving the unpopularity of the health care reform, with Arianna saying that it's become watered down and sold badly and Matt saying that the American people just don't want the underlying reform bill at all. I think that they should put the public option back in and, yes, pass it through reconciliation, because the public option is terrifically, insanely, popular and you'd much rather force the GOP to run on the platform of repealing something that starts insanely popular and eventually becomes unmoveable. So, Matt's wrong, and my boss is right and I'm even more correct on this issue, but watch as the President punks out on this.
I think Matt Yglesias makes a ton of sense as to how this revived public option should play out, if everyone in the White House puts on their thinking caps (and, most likely, disappears the thus-far useless sack of ass Rahm Emanuel to a distant island for a month or so to yell at pelicans). Here's how Matt calls the ball:
Here's how I, personally, see the public option:
-- Progressive activists tend to massively overstate the policy merits of the Schumer-style public option, but it's still a good idea.
-- It's also an idea that polls well.
-- It's also clear that Democrats are itching to characterize their bill as primarily about "taking on" the insurance industry, and the public option would put more meat on the bones of that story.
-- I think it's substantively important to make the House liberals eat an excise tax idea they don't like, and this will be a lot easier for them to swallow if they get their way on the public option.
-- Dropping the public option as the price you need to pay to get 60 votes makes sense, but if you only need 50 votes then you only need 50.
-- Offering to drop the public option to make the bill bipartisan also makes sense to me, and the White House should definitely make that offer, but it's obviously not an offer the GOP will accept.
So putting the public option back in seems like a no-brainer.
I mean, what more needs to be said about this? I think this summit could be useful as far as public-opinion shifting Kabuki theatre. But the worst thing the White House could do right now is imagine a future in which they garner even a single GOP vote. The whole idea that the GOP is going to vote for this, at all, is bogus.
Will thinks that there was "no underlying discontent" over health care, but that just sounds silly! It was a key issue in the campaign! And whether or not people were discontented with their own insurance is besides the point, there was underlying discontent with the rising cost of health care!
He also thinks reconciliation would be a ruinous tactic, but I'll point out once again: PASSING BILLS THROUGH RECONCILIATION HAS NEVER EVER PROVEN TO BE A RUINOUS TACTIC! Laws have been passed through reconciliation plenty of times. I made note of four in this here liveblog. The laws may have led to to someone's political ruin, but the reconciliation process did not. Know why? Because only Beltway wonks and media types take that point of view of reconciliation. Out in the real United States of America, if you tell a person that a bill passed 51 to 49, they say, "YEP. THAT'S EXACTLY HOW THE SENATE WORKS, LEARNED IT IN JUNIOR HIGH."
The only people who will tell you the reconciliation is somehow bad or illegitimate are the people who make their careers constantly mystifying the political process.
Terry Moran wants to bring up Tiger Woods, and you can practically hear the entire panel deflating, having to talk about this. Will says that if your problem is that you've been revealed as a fake, you shouldn't maybe apologize with a quarter-hour aria of pure, unadulterated fakery. (And he big ups Sally Jenkins! So me and George Will are gonna end this week all right with each other.)
Arianna says that Tiger doesn't owe her an apology. And seriously, why is Tiger Woods apologizing to me? I don't care if he wants to plow every IHOP waitress from here to Saskatoon! This is a free country! He can do what he likes. His wife should probably leave him, but if she doesn't want to, that's fine too. I guess what I am saying is that I have lived a full and rich life of not giving a tinned shit about what Tiger Woods and Elin Nordegren do in their homes and in their lives, and I think that Tiger Woods and Elin Nordegren should, with all deliberate haste, retreat to their previous state of not requiring me to have to confront their private lives.
Anyway, that discussion will continue in the Green Room!
MEET THE PRESS
So, today, we got General David Petraeus and Tim Pawlenty and round table with Dionne, Noonan, Pence and Van Hollen. That sounds like a tough thing to endure!
But David Petraeus is here, and I've actually started looking forward to hearing from people like Petraeus or Mullen on these shows because I know we'll hew to a serious topic and that the guest will, at the very least, take the matter serious enough to not act like an effing buffoon, like so many Sunday guests do.
Petraeus says that the Taliban are tough opponents but somewhat "disjointed" at the moment, and that "we've spent the last year getting the inputs right in Afghanistan." For Petraeus' purposes, that's the whole enchilada. Not just troops (5,400 already deployed) but also "the additional civilians, the additional money, the additional authorization of Afghan security forces."
Petraeus says that the "outputs" are turning in a significantly better direction but admits that U.S. casualties will be "tough." He tells David Gregory, "They were tough in Iraq. I have repeatedly said that these type of efforts are hard. And they're hard all the time. I don't use words like optimist or pessimist. I use realist. And the reality is that it's hard." Counter-insurgency exposes soldiers to greater risks in search of greater rewards, not the least of which is a touch-relationship with the residents of the host-nation.
Petraeus goes on to praise "our Pakistani partners" but declines to tell Gregory what's going on with intelligence operations, because that would sort of give things away. I guess reporters have to ask, though.
Oh, to remind you, Petraeus is against torture:
GREGORY: Presuming that both U.S. forces and Pakistani officials are doing the interrogation, do you wish you had the interrogation methods that were available to you during the Bush Administration? To get intelligence from a figure like this?
GENERAL DAVID PETRAEUS: I have always been on the record, in fact, since 2003 with the concept of living our values. And I think that whenever we have perhaps taken expedient measures, they have turned around and bitten us in the backside. We decided early on in the 101st Airborne Division, we're just gonna -- look, we just said we'd decide to obey the Geneva Convention to move forward with that. That has, I think, stood elements in good stead.
We have worked very hard over the years, indeed to ensure that elements like the International Committee of the Red Cross and others who see the conduct of our detainee operations and so forth approve of them. Because in the cases where that is not true we end up paying a price for it ultimately. Abu Ghraib and other situations like that are non-biodegradables. They don't go away. The enemy continues to beat you with them like a stick...Beyond that, frankly, we have found that the use of the interrogation methods in the Army Field Manual that was given the force of law by Congress -- that's what works.
Petraeus also reiterates his opinion that GITMO should be closed, though he is not necessarily in favor of doing it according to a deadline.
Petraeus doesn't seem to think that Dick Cheney has the right handle on al Qaeda's capabilities -- as far as WMD wielders. But he doesn't discount them, either. He says that CENTCOM's assessment is that al Qaeda has been vastly diminished, but that they remain flexible, adaptable, and "barbaric."
Here's how Petraeus sees the way we've dealt with Iran: "We have, over the course of the last year, of course, pursued the engagement track. I think that no one at the end of this time can say that the United States and the the rest of the world has have not given Iran every opportunity to resolve the issues diplomatically. That puts in a solid foundation now to go on what is termed 'the pressure track.' And that's the course on which we're embarked now."
But David Gregory really wants someone to strike Iran militarily. Petraeus does his best to calm him down. "We try to not be irresponsible."
Petraeus does try to drop-kick his way out of answering on "Don't Ask Don't Tell," saying only that a review is ongoing, and that the process should move forward, that a repeal would probably prove to be "uneventful" and that he's not "sure that" soldiers in the field give a shit about whether or not their fellow soldiers are gay or lesbian. "I know you'd like to make some news here, this morning," says Petraeus...but, um, he's not gonna tell, so you may as well not ask.
Now here's Tim Pawlenty, saying he hopes that Obama is a one-term president. I KNOW: OUTRAGE! SURELY THIS IS AN OUTRAGEOUS THING TO SAY. Pawlenty says he doesn't actually know, what's going to happen in the future, which must mean he does not have a psychic solar plexus.
He says that the GOP needs to become a party that has policy ideas, which is probably where the GOP's problems will begin, so hopefully they won't have to do that for a long time.
David Gregory doesn't seem to remember, by the way, that Pawlenty was at CPAC last year? The only new thing was that he didn't have an SEO-generating quip about Tiger Woods' wife. By the way, are we going to take a nine-iron to the health care reform bill and install Swedish health care? Because that would be okay. It sort of makes me wish Tiger Woods had cheated on Shania Twain or something, though.
Anyway, Gregory asks, "Do you expect to be taken seriously," and Pawlenty says, "Oh, people should be able to take a joke." But I guess, in the end, you always have to check with Sarah Palin's ghostwritten Facebook page to find out what humor is allowed and what isn't.
David Gregory is actually doing a pretty good job, here:
GOVERNOR TIM PAWLENTY: Well, you know, if-- definition of the stimulus program is we're gonna take a dollar from you in the private sector, bring it into government, spin it around, take five to 20 percent for overhead and redeploy it into the private economy and call that growth. Economists call that transfer effects. So, we need to be about real growth. We need to be growing the private economy.
The stimulus bill was outsourced by this President to the United States Congress. It came back in an incoherent fashion. We could have gotten much more bang for the buck for much-- less money if they would have focused on those things that would have targeted that growing small businesses and growing jobs. For example, cutting the payroll tax. It was an incoherent, large-- largely waste of money that is now sustaining government at a time when--
DAVID GREGORY: But my question is--
GOVERNOR TIM PAWLENTY: We need to be shrinking government.
DAVID GREGORY: Do you think it worked?
GOVERNOR TIM PAWLENTY: As measured by the Administration's own goals and objectives, no. You know, they said they were gonna--
DAVID GREGORY: What about the 12,000 jobs that were created in your state as a result of it?
GOVERNOR TIM PAWLENTY: Well, these are mostly government jobs. You know, so what we're doing--
DAVID GREGORY: So, you didn't need those?
Pawlenty could give that money back, if he wanted.
Pawlenty is sure that the entitlement math "won't work," but he says that anyone who a promise has been made to is entitled to that promise being kept, PLUS he's averse to tax increases that would raise revenue, so guess what, under promise-keeping, revenue-averse Tim Pawlenty, the deficits will continue to grow and entitlement reform will continue to be unnecessary.
Pawlenty is in favor of Don't Ask, Don't Tell, because he thinks a system where critical national security assets are cashiered because they prefer to sleep with men is a system that does not need to be repaired. He needs to have a long talk with Admiral Mike Mullen, I think.
Last panel of the day. So exciting! And Gregory has got some great magazine covers to show everyone, and, a quote from brain-dead Evan Bayh about "brain-dead" Congress and how he's going to open a doughnut shop and fight filibuster reform, with sprinkles. Speaking of sprinkles, Mike Pence is on this panel, he says that the American people are tired of wanting the things they said they wanted when they elected many, many Democrats to do those things.
Chris Van Hollen points out that the Democratcs passed a whole lot of things that mattered to a few people, and since then have been trying to get the GOP to add some votes to these measures, despite the fact that everyone knows they won't and might as well ram their stuff through and collect plaudits and accolades from the American people.
Dionne makes a good point that our politics doesn't mesh well with our political structure, but Peggy Noonan has a weird tone poem to wash this away.
NOONAN: It would have helped if the President, when he came in so strong, having won by 9.5 million votes just more than a year ago, if he had come forward with more centrist ideas and very bravely reached out to Republicans, even to the point of alienating or frightening or putting off a little bit of his base.
Extraordinary. Because that is PRECISELY WHAT OBAMA DID. Take health care: it was centrist (no single payer), he reached out bravely to Republicans (e.g. Enzi, Grassley, Snowe), to the point to alienating his base (who, until the most recent negotations revived the super-popular public option) were basically going to have to swallow the loss of the super-popular public option along with the excise tax.
That's not the only way this manifests itself. What Noonan claims did not happen, in America, in 2009, is ACTUALLY PRECISELY WHAT HAPPENED. To suggest otherwise requires you to a) LIE, b) be GOBSMACKINGLY IGNORANT OF THE WORLD AROUND YOU or c) be on a WHOLE DIFFERENT PLANE OF PSYCHOPHARMACOLOGICAL EXISTENCE THAN THE REST OF US.
Mike Pence says that this is a very serious time in the life of our nation, which only makes me wonder how it came to pass that Mike Pence gets to play such a big role in it. Even Gregory is pretty much mocking his contention that the stimulus didn't have any Republican ideas, "It had billions of dollars worth of tax cuts! Those were for you guys!"
The camera cuts show that Gregory and Dionne are basically laughing at Pence.
Van Hollen says that he's glad the GOP is putting their "ideas on the table" because, as it turns out, they are "warmed over Bush ideas." Van Hollen needs to effing check himself, though! As I've been pointing out, a lot of the GOP ideas are already in the health care bill in the House and in the Senate and if those ideas are "warmed over Bush ideas," then guess what? The Democrats passed two bills larded with a bunch of "warmed over Bush ideas!"
Noonan just objects to the idea that "omnibus, comprehensive bills" won't work. But you cannot pass health care piecemeal, if you want to address the long term costs of health care.
Pence demands that the Democrats "renounce the abuse of the system that is budget reconciliation." Okay. I wish someone in the room with Mike Pence and work him to a pulp on this issue. It's not an abuse of the system and if he was sitting there with fifty-one votes he wouldn't say that shit for one second.
Van Hollen says that the GOP is "high on their own hype," as far as November goes. Well, Chris, sack up and pass health care reform and prove yourselves, otherwise, I think you're going to have a frostier winter next year than we are now.
OKAY, I am done with this. Everyone have a nice weekend! Enjoy your Sunday! Have a great, great week. And free the lady ski jumpers!
[HI, yes. There's more liveblog to come as soon as I have typed it. Hit refresh in a few minutes.]