Oh, hello, good morning and welcome to this, you Sunday Morning recap of images that flicker on our teevees every Sunday, about politics. I have little to say in the way of preamble today, which is probably for the best. But I thought after a week of people yelling at each other and threatening one another and then yelling and threatening about the yelled threats -- all of which will pass, in time, and pass quickly if only we could fix the unemployment crisis -- it might be time for something that makes you feel good. So, New York Magazine's Vulture Blog says that this is "the most uplifting story you will read all day," and I think it pretty much is. So go read that! And then, maybe just go back to bed, or go have breakfast with some friends or something. Check back here later today if you want.
Also, yes, you can leave comments and send emails and follow me on twitter, but remember, the liveblog can't be written until: 1) events occur and 2) I witness them. Think of this liveblog as Schrodinger's Box, in which the cat is always dying, from the awfulness.
Stage one of our suicide cocktail begins!
FOX NEWS SUNDAY
Oh boy! Today we have Charlie Crist and Marco Rubio, giving each other dead eyed stares, under the tutelage of Chris Wallace. Wallace says that this is a "top matchup" of 2010. Who does Wallace like? Well: he shows Rubio's ad first, and talks about Crist's big deficit in the polls. But then he shows some Crist ad, with a chart or graph that proves Rubio is an insider. The battle is joined! I hope this is like that time Captain Kirk fought the Gorn and made rudimentary gunpowder on StreetCrime Planet and then, what? Did he ultimately spare the Gorn or something? I can't remember. My childhood, it seems so long ago!
Anyway, Rubio welcomes us to Palm Sunday and says America is a great nation, and that if it hadn't been great it would have been less than great and that he will stand up to the administration, who wants to make it bad and terrible. Crist says, "there is a clear and stark distinction" between the two people, for example: Crist is the color of a beet. Also: Rubio takes money he is given to run for office and spends it on himself, tricking out SUV's. Whereas Crist wants to pimp everyone in Florida's ride!
Rubio says, "BLEAH YOU LIE." The money was used to advance the politics. "You don't get it," he says, "This campaign is not about you or me...everybody knows you won't stand up to the Obama agenda."
Crist says, "If trust isn't relevant, then I don't know what is." And there's money in the slush fund that's "not been accounted for." I want a slush fund, from the state of Florida! They sound very useful.
Rubio says that all the money has been accounted for, and yes this election is about trust, and people should trust him, because Crist is a liberal who loves liberal things. At issue is a time Crist raised taxes and appointed a judge that Jeb Bush appointed before, and didn't immediately set all the stimulus money on fire. ALSO HE HUGGED BARACK OBAMA, THE MONSTER.
Of course, everyone TALKS about hating the stimulus, until they get that money and start spending it and then start taking credit for it and saying, "WOO YEAH, GET STIMULATED! THE STATE ECONOMY IS PITCHING A TENT!" So Rubio could very well indict most Republicans. But, Florida lost jobs, like everyone else.
Ugh! You want to know how crazy and terrible Florida is? My father had to move there, because his company moved its headquarters there, and they brought with them something called "middle-management positions" that were apparently unheard of in Florida, and some 75,000 people or some nonsense like that applied for 3,000 positions, and THIS WAS BACK IN A GOOD ECONOMY. I don't think Florida has ever done "employment" right. But they certainly do terrible chintzy amusement parks and the concentric orbits of terrible hotels and restaurants right.
Jeb Bush also hates Crist, for hugging the stimulus package. Crist is killing himself! He refuses to answer any question outside of "Rubio has a slush fund." Wallace forces him to get back on task, and Crist argues that the unemployment would have been worse. Wallace asks if he would have voted for the stimulus if he'd been in the Senate and Crist says he would have, because economic conditions would be even worse without it.
Rubio says "the stimulus was a failure" and that he would have voted against it, and he would have voted for something else, that would have done better, because of magic, I guess.
Rubio wipes some Blistex on his lips, and apparently he's a big fan of Jim DeMint. But he'd be happy to "work across the aisle" to do things that nobody on the other side of the aisle has ever wanted to do. Similarly, he's be glad to work with Obama if Obama would just meet him halfway by abandoning most of his deeply held beliefs.
Charlie Crist went to Florida State, and somehow, his skin is showing school spirit by being simultaneously garnet and gold. By the way, Rubio, have you heard? Has a slush fund. And a minivan, and an expensive haircut, and maybe he boned Rielle Hunter.
Rubio says, "We've yet to hear a serious public policy idea from my opponent." We haven't heard any from Rubio either. I do not think Rubio is using the words "public policy idea" correctly.
So, health care: Crist wants to repeal it and start over. Crist has a terrible health care plan that only 6,000 people have bought, but those people, are like, THE BEST FLORIDIANS and the most happiest, and they are "families." Rubio wants to repeal the bill, and repeal it even harder than Crist. Instead, he wants to destroy employer-based coverage, or, as he says, "move away" from it. Also: TORT REFORM. Which will save America tens of pennies!
COMMERCIAL! Back with more slush funds and stuff in a minute!
Chris Blakely writes in to suggest that he's happy I put John Locke back in the image box (one day Christiane Amanpour will be there, and sour-faced git Tom Shales will have to deal with it), but likes the new Fake Locke, who can transform himself into the Black Smoke Stompy Monster from La Isla Encanta even better:
I think Black Smoke Stompy Monster would be a great Sunday morning host. It could flow into the room, photograph the souls of the guests, and then the guests could beg for mercy. Stompy could assay whether or not they were telling the truth, and if they weren't, he could go all killer whales on them, by which I mean he could whale on them until they were kilt! And that would be Sunday morning!
Speaking of LOST, I am hopeful that in the end, the whole thing will hinge on something from way out in left field -- like, "ALL SEEMED LOST (HA HA!) UNTIL THEY REMEMBERED THAT HURLEY BUILT A GOLF COURSE!" Let's hope!
Gah, back to the Crist Rubio Fiasco. (You can have that as a band name.)
What about immigration? Crist likes to count illegals, and hearts McCain. Crist wants to seal the border, and enforce the law, and send illegal immigrants to "the back of the line." WHY IS CRIST NOT MENTIONING RUBIO'S TERRIBLE SLUSH FUND?
Wallace says Rubio is am illegal immigrant lover, especially the children of immigrants. Rubio says that his ideas didn't advance, and that Crist never sent Rubio a personal letter, supporting his idea. Rubio says that he thinks the McCain plan was wrong because it was AMNESTY -- even "back of the line" was AMNESTY. So, Rubio supports spending untold sums of money deporting people. Strangely, he also wants to "solve debt."
Rubio says that doing things like raising the retirement age and raising income caps for Social Security should be "on the table." PEOPLE OF THE MEDIA: You must stop people from using the term "on the table." "On the table" refers to the tough choices that politicians hope OTHER PEOPLE will make, that won't cost if they are unpopular, but can pay off if they prove to work. Rubio, who, let's face it, is as gutless a pol as they come, puts "raising the retirement age" on "the table." But he doesn't want it said, "MARCO RUBIO WANTS TO RAISE THE RETIREMENT AGE." He just wants to put it on a TABLE. Look at it. Maybe gesture to it, every once in a while:
"Huuunnngh?" Rubio said to the other legislators, gesturing to "raising the retirement age."
So all these mofeaux stand around a goddamned table, picking at their weepy ass cracks, saying "HUUUNNNGH?" and nodding at "raising the retirement age." And one day, someone gets tired of it and says, "Uhm, I will pick this up, off the table!" And then Rubio and the rest of his gutless ilk flee the room, "GOGGGIGGGGOOGGIGGGOOOGGLE!" And then that one dude has to eat "raising the retirement age." And everyone gets pissed! And that one dude has to face a tough election. But if "raising the retirement age" becomes policy, and it shows improvement, Rubio comes back and says, "MY IDEA, I PUT IT ON THE TABLE."
What Wallace needs to do is spring from his chair, grab Rubio by his lapels and say, "SHUT UP, MORON, ABOUT THE TABLE. THERE IS NO TABLE. DO YOU SUPPORT THIS OR NOT. I DON'T CARE ABOUT YOUR INTERIOR DECORATING PLANS." And then he should shake Rubio, violently, until he answers. Then Wallace should hurl Rubio to the ground, and stand over his whimpering body, and spit, "Yeah, you just got told. Now get up, take some Percocets or something." And that's how politicians would get treated in the Perfect World Of Journalism.
On the table. Man, that is some BULLSHIT.
Crist is talking about tax cuts and having the support of the Cato Institute, which will get you some spring rolls if you've also got six dollars in your pocket.
Now they are talking about raising fees at the DMV. I don't really get this sort of thing. Licenced drivers benefit the entire state. It costs X dollars to run a state DMV. That should be paid for. Ideally the burden should be covered by drivers. So raise fees on drivers' licences for crying out loud. Why pretend there's such a thing as a free lunch?
Rubio voted for tax increases when he was on the West Miami City Commission, and I'm sure those increases were all GAME CHANGERS.
Marco Rubio says that Tea Parties are not an "organization," they are just places that people go, and eat what appear to be the most disagreeable crumpets in the world.
Crist says he is running as a Republican, and not an Independent. He then answers that question two more times, because this is a Sunday Morning talk show.
Rubio says there have been record reductions in Florida property values. That's probably a good thing! I think the entire state is built on a dying coral reef, where massive sinkholes open every year and swallow homes, and then hurricanes come and batter everything.
The debate ends with the two men getting shirty with each other, and Crist creepily invading Rubio's personal space.
Now for a mercifully brief panel discussion with Hume, Liasson, Kristol, and Williams. Hume says people still hate health care reform, and this will never change! Health care will always be bad! Republicans need to stop talking about how unpopular the bill is and what they will do. Wallace notes that some businesses have done substantial write downs in the wake of the bill, which Liasson counters by pointing out that there's a larger share of the business community that could be rallied to support the bill.
She goes on to say that the distance between popular and unpopular has narrowed and that the intensity of support for the reform among Democrats.
Kristol says that going forward, financial reform will probably pass, and be bipartisan, which means financial reform is doomed. He also says that Democrats will not get a bump in the polls from health care, which means over the next two weeks, health care will become very popular and Obama's approval ratings will go up. So, the Unified Field Theorem Of Bill Kristol Being Wrong About Everything is sort of a mixed bag, today.
Hume says that the primary issue of the day is the economy, and that health care reform is not helping the economy, and there's no "pivot" in the direction of jobs, and WOO THE PANEL IS OVER, GOODBYE!
THE CHRIS MATTHEWS SHOW
Yeah, so, what the hell? The Chris Matthews Show, just because I feel like it?
Yes. So, Health Care Reform got passed because the Senate did budget reconciliation, which Matthews said wouldn't happen, that's a fact and he can suck it.
Today's panel featured Kelly O'Donnell and Howard Fineman and Gloria Borger and Andrew Sullivan, whose beard is straight up goin' wild! What is up, with that? Not that I'm some monument to grooming! Anyway, maybe Sully's just up to something "rustic," I don't know.
So, Obama has to sell health care to the middle class, which he's been doing this past week. "TAKE IT TO THE KITCHEN TABLE," Matthews says. TODAY IS ALL ABOUT TABLES. I wish it was about Eames Chairs or something? Man, I wish I had an Eames Chair, don't you? But they are crazy expensive, and this economy, yeesh. Oh, wait, the pundits are talking...blah blah "doughnut hole." Basically, the bill doesn't go into effect for a long time, and so it's hard to measure the effect. But meanwhile, will people keep dying? Yes! Is every death on Obama? Maybe!
Anyway, people are mad, and going crazy, and making death threats and sending noose-faxes. But Kelly O'Donnell assures us that this is a "tiny, tiny number of people." (All criminal activity, by the way, is committed by a tiny, tiny number of people!)
Sullivan says that the GOP knows that the reform bill is a carbon copy of Romneycare, so they made the debate about a zero-sum political fight and they lost. Fineman points out that Obama's stuck his opposition at the apocalyptic margins, as Obama works the details. "If this bill is socialism," Fineman says, "Then Warren Buffet is Karl Marx." I think Glenn Beck actually proved this, with SCIENCE!
Chris Matthews says that success has literally made the Democrats prettier. Nancy Pelosi looks great, and Obama is "debonair" and has never been more bone-able.
Whoa! Chris Matthews called Gloria Borger "Glow." Is that something that we're doing, now?
Sullivan says that health care reform is a winning issue for "the D's" and the GOP will struggle to suggest what a "repeal" will be "replaced" with.
Can the Democrats cut their off year election losses, now? O'Donnell says it can be blunted, but enthusiasm is on the Republicans' side. Fineman says the Dems will lose about 30 seats in the House, but hold on. Sullivan says that everything will be fine, and that people "like the Obama narrative," because it's comeback. And it proves that "Obama is not a magician, but a persistent politician." FIneman still thinks that Obama's in danger of straying back into "miracle worker" territory.
And now, Obama and Biden are being compared to the Odd Couple, which means he gets to show a clip from the show. THIS SHOW IS SO SUBSTANTIVE. They are putting substance on the table!
UGH. The only thing I like about these New York Times "Weekender" commercials is that it reminds me of this:
How to solve a problem like a "Tea Partier?" Fineman says that John McCain is appealing to them just as "hard and as fast as they can." I guess that's why Sarah Palin was dragged to Arizona to inadvertently remind America of the Presidential ticket they hated. Sullivan says that the GOP is all about the far-right entertainment complex. "There is no establishment that can possibly say no to Rush Limbaugh anymore," Sullivan says. I wonder if David Frum is going to come up? I forget when this show tapes. Earlier this week, I thought this article from Michael Brendan Dougherty had rebloomed with relevance.
Anyway, the Tea Party influence on the GOP primaries is deemed excruciating, and Borger and Sullivan both think their involvement on the right will backfire on Republicans.
Things that Matthews doesn't know, besides how budget reconciliation and parliamentary procedure works? O'Donnell says that Arkansas Democrats "are going to get a lot of attention very fast." Fineman says the Nancy Pelosi exhibits "behind the scenes confidence." (She also sort of exhibits confidence in front of the scenes?) Borger says that the White House says Biden is one of the "most on-target messagers ever." Andrew Sullivan says that the Pope is doomed, for that whole "misprision of felony" thing and the "letting child sex predators get aways with child sex predation forever."
The Big Question is will Obama hold a hard line on Israeli settlements as a part of the peace process? O'Donnell, Fineman, Borger, and Sullivan all say yes. Okay. That's done. Moving on!
MEET THE PRESS
Oh, hai, before we begin: my colleague Alex Leo, who knows 4,000 recipes for Brussels sprouts and who looks exactly like Rachelle Lefevre from TWILIGHT, sends me ONLY DELIGHTFUL THINGS TO READ, ALWAYS, and today she send around a column from screenwriter J.D. Shapiro, apologizing for penning the screenplay for Battlefield: Earth. FINALLY SOMEONE HAS COME CLEAN ABOUT THIS.
Crap. Lindsey Graham, again? WHY WHY WHY? Do no other Republicans want to wake up on Sunday? Ugh. He's with Chuck Schumer, for some reason. Anyway, they will now yell at each other.
Schumer says that bill will become "more and more popular" because the "lies have vanished." There won't be illegal immigrants sending their insurance plans to death panels. He assured some firefighter at the Saint Patrick Day parade that he wouldn't lose his insurance, and then the firefighter got drunk and was like, "We should be best, friends, Chuck Schumer...we should conquer the world!" Then, they both sang Dropkick Murphys songs. OKAY ONLY SOME OF THAT IS TRUE.
Graham hitches his larnyx to his Whine Center and starts a-wailing! Medicare is going to get cut! (Secretly, he wants to get rid of Medicare altogether, but just go with it!) Student loans will destroy the economy, apparently! And the bill was massive and sleazy, like the totality of Tiger Woods' sex life. Anyway, Graham says that some things will be replaced and repealed, and this will solve health care through magic.
David Gregory believes that now, he has "established the terrain." Now, he will wander out and declaim his concerns about how structural deficits are more important that keeping Americans from having to crawl off into the woods to die. Schumer says that the status quo involved even higher costs. And that the bill will limit the "waste and fraud and abuse." Gregory says, "But is it the right time to do this?" Gregory and his children are rich and can afford health care, after all, but deficits make him sad! Schumer says the "number one rationale" for this bill is to get a handle on the costs that are killing the economy.
Gregory, noting that Graham could not hear a word of that, because of technical issues, asks him to respond, because of the technical issues that he just cited, and which are ongoing. DO YOU KNOW HOW MANY SUNDAY MORNING TINKERBELLS WILL DIE WITHOUT THE SOUND OF GRAHAM'S VOICE ON THE TEEVEE? Gregory gives up. They are all professionals here!
They need Christan Bale over at NBC, to yell expletives at Meet The Press until they allow Graham to get to the "emotional center" of the debate, to save Tinkerbell:
Chuck Schumer wrote a book! SET KINDLES ON STUN!
Schumer repeats his firefighter story, and the whole thing about people lying about the bill. He feels "strongly and firmly" that people will learn to love the bill, and spoon with it. MEANWHILE, WE ARE LOSING OUT ON OUR VALUABLE TIME WITH JOWLY DAVE FOLEY.
Jowly Dave is back! He says that it's a "giant Ponzi Scheme." And he's lost again! This show is terrible today!
Schumer is talking about how salespersons are selling machines that doctors are using for fraud, and maybe also mechanized sex pillows?
Graham says that "no Republican voted for this thing," because...well, he doesn't say. But he says that the CBO is telling "flat out lies" when they say that health care reform will save money and reduce the deficit. The next time he likes the CBO's numbers, though, he'll be like, "OH, WELL, THE CBO IS AWESOME."
Graham also says that Obama "ran as a centrist" but is "governing from the left" in a "center-right nation." The hilarious thing is that none of those things are objectively true! He ran to the left in a nation that's been drifting in that direction from the center-right, and has been governing as a murky, bipartisanship-seeking centrist. (THE PRESIDENT GRAHAM DESCRIBES WOULD HAVE FOUGHT FOR A PUBLIC OPTION, DUH.)
Gregory asks about whether there will be any cooperation on issues that the two parties have already been working on. He brings up McCain talking about "poisoning the well." Graham himself said that he'd poison the well! (I think it was on this show, but I could be wrong.) Graham says that many Republicans would rather defenestrate themselves than work with the White House.
I wonder if we'll get into who might take over for Harry Reid as majority leader if he loses re-election. The two guys who have emerged are Schumer and Dick Durbin, and if I'm not mistaken, they are roommates.
Anyway, yes, immigration reform is never getting solved, ever.
Graham hates the recess appointments, especially Craig Becker, who is not sufficiently hostile to the interests of workers for Graham's tastes. Of course, Dawn Johnsen didn't get recess appointed, because the White House are basically wimping out on that.
BY THE WAY: if Obama was "governing from the left," he'd have recess appointed Dawn Johnsen, Lindsey! Bye, Lindsey! See you next Sunday, probably!
Panel time with Doris Goodwin, Jon Meacham, Mike Murphy, and Bob Shrum. Do panels come any more current?
They are talking about history, and health care, and Ted Kennedy, whose ghost apparently reads Post-It notes from heaven? Or something? Meacham says that the reform bill is "to the right" of Nixon's own reform bill, but that can't be true because I just heard that Obama governs as a columnist from LEFT TURN magazine in a world where Ayn Rand reigns supreme and Alex Cockburn is cloned and hunted for sport.
Mike Murphy thinks that the Congress that's coming wouldn't be able to pass this bill, which is I guess why they worked so hard to pass it now, I guess?
Gregory says that because history was made this week, he was thinking of her, because she is the only historian he knows, so hey, look at this grainy, black and white clip, from HISTORY. Goodwin says that everytime they pass a major bill, people lie about it, like crazy, and teabaggers emerge to break windows and try to kill the family of Tom Perriello. Goodwin says that the Democrats need to reverse their losses on "public sentiment" to succeed. And then she says the name "Lincoln," and I am CRUSHING in both Doris Kearns Goodwin BINGO and the Doris Kearns Goodwin Drinking Game, which I should not be a) playing so early in the day and b) not at the same time as Doris Kearns Goodwin Bingo.
Shrum says that the Obama presidency will be a historic presidency that leads us into a new era. Mike Murphy says that's not true. Shrum says Murphy is wrong. Kearns mentions Reagan. DRINK, and getting close to Bingo!
Now there's a lingering shot of David Gregory, looking like he maybe doesn't know how to contain this quartet of radical thinkers!
Meacham says that all the craziness that's happened after the passage of health care reform is just crazy! But I guess what he's trying to say is that while these crazies are enthusiastic, so are the people who fought for the bill. Goodwin mentions the 1850s. DRINK. COVER THE SQUARE.
Now the panel is just straight up talking about newspaper articles they read this week. Why is this show called "Meet The Press?" It should be called, "Read Some Interesting Newspaper Articles And Talk About Them." This show is like "Law And Order: SVU," except that once they've ripped the story from the headlines, they don't turn it into an interesting sex-crime.
Shrum says the "Scott Brown era" was the shortest era in American politics. That's a pretty good one. Murphy disagrees, Shrum disagrees with the disagreement. Murphy says he's worried what happens the "day after" the 2010 elections, and whether the GOP will actually have a plan. He sounds like Matt Dowd, who figured the GOP would be overconfident in victory.
Goodwin mentions Vietnam! DRINK! Getting so close now! But no: I fell short of Bingo this time, because she did not use the phrase "Team of Rivals." DRAT!
Is that seriously the end of this show? Yes. MEET THE PRESS has some terrible iPhone app, I think? And now they are doing that thing where they show a segment from the early years of the show so that people remember how good it once was.
So, that's that! I hope everyone has a good rest of the week. You know, next Sunday is Easter Sunday, and it comes perilously close to April Fool's Day, so I'm likely to do something very stupid here next week that none of you will like! Look forward to that, maybe? Okay? Have a nice Sunday!
[Seriously! If you don't see words here, you will have to wait.]
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