Good morning, everyone, my name is Jason, and welcome to your Sunday morning chronicling of America's political chit-chat. We begin this, with a question, to America, and specifically a question to the Americans who read this, whether out of passion, frustration, or self-immolation. This week, we liveblogged that time in our lives that Stephen Colbert came to Washington to talk about immigration and the AgJobs bill. And for that liveblog, we used our super-neat liveblogging tool. On that occasion, it made the liveblog look like this, (scroll down a tetch).
So, the question is: would you like this liveblog to stick to its old format, or instead change to the new one? I can't speak too fully on the pros and cons. Mostly, it would change the look and feel of it rather substantially, with the oldest parts sinking to the bottom and the latest bits topping it out. It is much easier to update, and I think a little easier to come back in after the fact and make fixes to misspellings and what have you. But it's probably better suited to people reading it as close to live as possible, and not to those who swing by in the afternoon or evening.
Anyway, if you have some strong feelings about it, send me an email titled: "I HAVE SOME STRONG FEELINGS ABOUT THE RATE AT WHICH THE WORLD SEEMS TO BE CHANGING." I'll try to take everyone's feelings into advisement (it would be really helpful if all of you could coordinate it so that you have the same feelings). And I'll make what seems to be the best decision. Or we can wait for my editor to make the decision for me, and then I can blame him for the change.
Additionally, feel free to comment away, or send emails pertaining to anything else, or check me out on Twitter. Let's get this commenced.
FOX NEWS SUNDAY
This week, the GOP released their super new PDF file, The Pledge To America, which is like MOCKINGJAY to the good people at FOX NEWS SUNDAY, who stayed up all night in their footie pajamas reading it to each other and not listening to Christine O'Donnell's most well-known admonitions. (About, casting spells, guys! Jesus, your mind is in the gutter!) So what's his name...the McCarthy one?...Andrew McCarthy?...I forget. The "Young Gun" with the gray hair and the yearly prostate exam? He's here to talk about it. Plus "Boehner and Hoyer" -- which sounds like a TNT series about forensic accountants.
So, okay! Pledge for America. They are going to basically be the years 2002-2006 over again. At least that's what the President says. But Boehner says that the document rejects spending! Except for the four trillion they'll spend to extend the Bush tax cuts. Erick Erickson, of RedState, he hates it, because of brussels sprouts, WHICH I GUESS NOT EVERYONE LIKES but I do, especially those cooked by my Huffington Post BFF Alex Leo -- who has got like a million ways to cook them, bring it back, double your brussels sprouts and make a stack.
McCarthy says, well, the National Review REALLY LOVED it! And that's because they got together with the National Review in advance and helped them write an editorial attesting to its awesomeness, and now, frankly, they look pretty dumb because there's actually a lot of discontent over this thing on the right.
McCarthy says that this is not a party platform, but a bunch of legislation that could be enacted right now and make everything better. Why no earmark reform? Boehner says that this is "about now" and there's a earmark moratorium, until March. But Wallace doesn't think that makes sense. He asks Boehner to pledge to eliminate earmarks, and he won't: he'll only say, "it will not be business as usual" and "I have never taken an earmark." This basically means there will be earmarks, like crazy. (And for what it's worth, eliminating earmarks is not a serious spending cut.)
Wallace is pretty skeptical that they can cut $100 billion in cuts. McCarthy finds a way to cut one billion. Wallace says, yeah, big whoop, where's the other $99 billion. McCarthy doesn't know and he won't say, but he promises to go back to "pre-bailout" numbers: "We can live on that." But that was really, really, crazy spending!
Boehner wants to have an adult conversation with the American people, maybe someday? Wallace says, "Why not now?" Boehner says that it leads to problems -- like not getting elected as hard as you think you are getting elected.
McCarthy says that the Democrats have failed to lead on what to do with the Bush tax cuts, and on that, he and I agree, though for different reasons. Boehner, for his part, wants them extended in such a way that it costs us four trillion dollars. But he wants a "fair and open debate" -- and why not? His Senate colleagues will filibuster anything they don't like.
Boehner and McCarthy are doing a good job framing this as Democrat-bred uncertainty that will cloud voters' minds during the election. They are also pretty mad that Stephen Colbert came to Washington, to make jokes and shame everyone with a very good elocution of Christian charity.
What would Boehner do to "shake up Washington?" He will make it a fair and open process, where every member will have the opportunity to represent his constituents. So, he'll shake it up by asking everyone to be members of the House of Representatives. Wallace is doing his best to ask virtually the same question over and over again without releasing the arched sigh he so clearly wants to.
Here's Steny Hoyer, to yammer about Steny Hoyer stuff. Wallace asks: "Why have you ruined everything?" Hoyer says that they've actually improved upon what they got from the Bush years. But what about the deficits? Hoyer calls them a "terrific problem," and then explains in words what this graph says:
The teevee camera is a visible learner, so people should be more prepared to bust out case-making visuals. I'd load up my iPad and hit these shows with charts and graphs, just like that Postal Service song, "Nothing Better." Of course, I'd have to get an iPad first.
Hoyer points out that they managed to pass a small biz bill this week, and tried to put a dent in outsourcing, which the GOP blocked.
Hoyer says the pledge to America is basically to insubstantial to get upset about. It's spendy and stupid and the Club for Growth thinks it is "milquetoast."
Will the House hold a vote on tax cut extension this week? Hoyer says no, and it's because of the Senate. But he says that the "Republican plan to raise taxes on the middle class" will not happen, they will fight it, after the election, I guess? Wallace points out that the Dems have huge majorities now, isn't it a failure? Hoyer says no, it's all about GOP obstruction. He says that if the House took up the bill and passed it while the Senate is punting, it would be a "specious act." But the House, then, has committed all sorts of specious acts this year!
You House Dems are vulnerable! You should probably take a stand on this issue, and nuts to your Senate colleagues, who are straight up getting you guys killed, this election year. The Senate could very well stay in Democratic hands, owing to the fact that all the looney-tune candidates are Senate candidates. House Dems! Protect yo' neck!
Hoyer says that the leadership has made it clear where they stand on the matter. In 2006, they made it clear that they wanted to end the Iraq War, too!
Hoyer insists that the ethics process is working, but it's not looking like it will result in hearings for Rangel and Waters before the election.
Wallace asks Hoyer if Stephen Colbert was terrible and Hoyer says he was an embarrassment and he should not have been called, and what he said was terrible.
Okay! For the record, let's say it! Steny Hoyer finds this to be inappropriate and embarrassing:
"Maybe we can offer more visas to the immigrants who, lets face it, will probably be doing those jobs anyway. And this improved legal status, might allow immigrants recourse if they are abused. And it just stands to reason to me that if your co-worker can't be exploited, you're less likely to be exploited yourself, and that itself might improve pay and working conditions on these farms, so that eventually, Americans may consider taking these jobs again."
Steny Hoyer says Congress is not the place for this kind of rhetoric:
"I like talking about people who don't have any power. And this seems like some of the least powerful people in the United States are migrant workers who come and do our work but don't have any rights as a result. And yet we still invite them to come here, and at the same time ask them to leave. And, you know, whatsoever you do for the least of my brothers, these seem like the least of our brothers, right now. And I know that a lot of people are the least of my brothers because the economy is so hard, and I don't want to take anyone's hardship away from them or diminish it or anything like that, but migrant workers suffer, and they have no rights."
I've said it before: I think that there's a lot of space available to some political party who will advocate on behalf of lower and middle class Americans. Someone should maybe think about starting one!
Panel time, with the standard Fox panel of Hume and Liasson and Kristol and Williams!
Ahmadinejad thinks 9/11 was an inside job, so why would we still pursue diplomacy with Iran? Hume says it's sad that Obama doesn't see that Ahmadinejad isn't terrible. I think it's sad that people think that the Iranian people aren't worth engaging or that Ahmadinejad is the guy who needs to get negotiated with (I thought that the president of Iran doesn't play a role in those talks, anyway, that it goes through the theocratic leadership...let me know if I'm wrong or it that's changed, please).
Kristol is "open to the notion that a year from now, Obama will use force against Iran," but that it seems like we will not be bombing the country, anytime soon, and that makes him very sad. After all, the bodies of Iranians aren't going to become twisted, burnt-up crisps by themselves, will they?
Now, Hume says that Obama should have done more to intercede heavy-handedly on behalf of the Iranian people, which would have instantly de-legitimized their nascent protest movement.
Liasson says that Bob Woodward's book depicted Obama as ambivalent toward getting into a long war in Afghanistan, but ultimately thoughtful in his decision-making process. Kristol says he doesn't "begrudge" Obama his ambivalence, but he should have committed more troops and not have end dates for wars that he feels have tremendous potential to succeed.
What does Juan Williams think about the Pledge To America? He says the the GOP pledge is "Everyone have lollipops for breakfast!" Meaning it's not serious.
Is the Pledge bold? "It's a step on the way to boldness," Kristol says. Wow, why didn't they just call it "A PLEDGE TO TAKE A STEP ON THE WAY TO BOLDNESS?"
Kristol also says that Paul Ryan is going to get the budget clicking. Let's remember: this is the Ryan Plan.
STEP ONE: Raise your taxes, unless you are rich as Croesus:
STEP TWO: Don't curb the deficit, ever.
Wallace asks if the Pledge is serious about cutting deficits (IT ISN'T) at a time when the American people are really concerned about the deficits (THEY AREN'T). Hume says it isn't (THIS IS TRUE) but it needs to be addressed because it could bring the economy to its knees (THE ECONOMY IS ALREADY ON IT'S KNEES BECAUSE ALL THE TOO BIG TO FAIL BANKS WENT KABLOOEY AND SENT MONEY AND JOBS TO MONEY AND JOBS HEAVEN.)
Williams dings Obama for not "responding with energy" to Velma Hart, and her "legitimate" concerns. Hume says that the agenda was wrong, because the stimulus was ineffective and promiscuous and health care reform was "no one's priority." (Uhm, voters in 2008 would beg to differ! Also, doing something about the stratospheric long term health care costs is most definitely "doing something about the economy!")
THIS WEEK, WITH CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR
Hey, I forgot! The recession is over, apparently! WHOO RECOVERY SUMMER (ON THE PAPERS THAT ECONOMISTS PUSH AROUND THE TABLE TO EACH OTHER)!
But David Axelrod is here, to talk about the Middle East Peace Process, or MEPP. Can a compromise be reached on the settlement moratorium (SM) that could help the MEPP. Axelrod says that the parties in the MEPP are in serious discussions at the table (SD@TT) to work a compromise on the SM. He doesn't want to prejudge oru predict what could result at the SD@TT that may or may not prevent the abrogation of the SM and derail the MEPP. But the King of Jordan worries that there could be war if the SM expires. Axelrod says everyone understands that the SD@TT are critical and that they are trying to move forward on the MEPP. TARFU, OK?
What about Velma Hart? How will David Axelrod "jazz your electorate," asks Amanpour. Axelrod says he understands that the middle class has been battered since 2001, but the "key" is to keep moving forward and make things better. BUT WHAT ABOUT THE JAZZ? IS THIS A FAILURE OF THE JAZZ? Axelrod says, that the economy is and was terrible and it will take time to deal with the remnants of the terribleness.
The Pledge for America: what does Axelrod think, and what does Axelrod think of Bill Clinton's suggestion, that they just admit that what needs to be done couldn't get done in 21 months, could we have two more years, please, to try to fix things, and if we can't, you can vote all of us out. Axelrod basically says, UHM, WELL, BILL CLINTON IS GREAT AND ALL...but we're seriously not going to suggest that people put us on the hook like that. He called the Pledge, "a prescription for surrender."
He goes on to say that the GOP are presently "holding middle class tax cuts hostage." He imagines that GOP candidates will have to answer for this to their constituents in the coming weeks. We'll see if that happens! (And why won't Democrats have to answer for punting on the matter, until a lame duck session where it's likely they'll have a harder slog in the Senate, getting what they want enacted?)
On to the Bob Woodward book! Does the White House really not know who they are "fucking with," when they are "fucking with" David Petraeus? Axelrod says that Petraeus has "always been so impressive on teevee that I just assumed he meant that as a compliment." I'm not sure what that even means. (I would have answered, "No, we were all very cognizant of who we were fucking with, we strive at all times to do the most informed job of fucking with people we can. In fact, Christiane, I'm sort of fucking with you, right now."
Will there be a confrontation between the White House and Petraeus over the 2011 Drawdown? Axelrod says that everyone's on board with the drawdown, so there shouldn't be a conflict. (In the end, there is probably something to this. Let's remember: the "end of the Iraq War" means "50,000 troops remain in Iraq." So, actual words have enormous elasticity, don't they?)
Will Rahm leave before the midterms to run for Mayor of Chicago? (Actually, he had better. His competition would have a month headstart on campaigning, otherwise -- and the election for Mayor would be in March, I believe.) Axelrod says that he's "still working through it." He says that he "loves the city of Chicago and thinks that job is the best job there is," but there are family considerations to work through. So, as soon as he confronts his family in the shower while naked and works all that out, we'll know more.
Oh my, it is Mitch McConnell! What does he think about the $4 trillion he's going to add to the debt? McConnell says that you just don't raise taxes in a recession. (Isn't the recession over? But nevermind, I forget, this is MITCH MCCONNELL, and so you also don't raise taxes in a not-recession. I want to point out however, that the Democrat's plan -- were they to not be punting on it and thus making their plan something else, that is -- would be a net tax cut.)
Will he hold the middle-class tax cuts hostage? McConnell points out, rightly, that he hasn't really had the chance to hold anything hostage because the Democrats punted on it.
But what about the $4 trillion McConnell wants to add to the deficit. Will McConnell do, as Howard Gleckman suggested he must, in order to balance the budget by 2020, "abolish" the entirety of government. DON'T TEMPT HIM, GLECKMAN!
McConnell says you reduce the deficit by "getting spending down" and "getting the economy going." Of course, coming out of the recession, the economy wasn't going because no one was spending. McCain proposed a pro-cyclical spending freeze. Obama proposed a counter-cyclical stimulus package. The American people very sensibly opted for the counter-cyclical proposal. Unfortunately, everything ended up heading into the Nexus Of Suck where the Ben Nelsons and Susan Collinses of the world gambol and play in plushie costumes, limiting the effectiveness of bills. And voila, here we are, with McConnell pledging to simultaneously freeze spending and add $4 trillion to the deficit.
Amanpour points out that Erick Erickson hates the Pledge, and McConnell laughs. But how will he satisfy the Tea Party base? McConnell says, whatever, we have so much energy, and it's going to be awesome!
"We know that none of [the Tea Party movement] are going to go out and vote Democrat on November 2nd," McConnell says. That is very true. But it's amazing to me that once again, we have a leadership member of a political party, he's got a group of constituents with heat, they are going to vote in a bloc, and all he can say is, "Well, ha. They've got nowhere else to go." McConnell sees the Tea Party as another captive constituency. It's amazing how often you see leaders, of both political parties, shrink their arguments to "Where else are you going to go?" Today, McConnell has put the Tea Party pretty squarely on the path to disillusionment, and all I can say is, "I feel for y'all. Join me in the Loser's Lounge, we'll drink some Old Overholt and talk about it."
Amanpour is really going at McConnell with the Tea Party stuff, playing him the clip of Tom Ross saying that Mike Castle really should have won that race in Delaware. McConnell has an uneasy perch with these insurgent voters, since he's really not of the DeMint school. McConnell says that he's got favorable races set up on twelve Senate races, and that's all the matters to him. The O'Donnell candidacy, he says, is interesting, and he thinks she has a good chance of winning. He says people like O'Donnell and Angle are "qualified" because they won primaries.
Amanpour tries to draw out McConnell on some of Angle's most extreme statements, but he begs off and turns the conversation to generalities. "I don't think the people of Nevada should be attacked" because of their choices. He says "the candidate" is running even with "the majority leader," so the voters "must think she's a good candidate." That's about all McConnell is likely to say about the Nevada race. He and Harry Reid are actually really close friends and have agreed to not campaign against one another. Note he doesn't use their names.
Now here's Queen Rania Al-Abdullah of Jordan, to talk about the MEPP and the SM and the SD@TT. Rania says that the MEPP is critical, and that the parties involved should stay at it, and that the difficulty shouldn't be a discouragement, because "if it were easy it would have been done by now."
RANIA: "I'm not saying that the Middle East problem, the Israeli-Palestinian issue is the one that created religious extremism. Religious extremism would have existed anyway. But extremists have done a damn good job of using this cause to amplify their message, to try to reach the masses. And we need to realize that when there is a population that is living under occupation where there's no justice, where they can't send their children to school, where mothers have to deliver on checkpoints, and on the other side where Israelis feel they have to build a bubble and have to build a wall in order to exist safely because they live in such a hostile environment, that is an explosive situation that has repercussions not only in our region, but in our entire world."
She says we all have a "high stake" and a "vested interest" in the MEPP and the SD@TT continuing.
What about the downtick in Obama's popularity in the Islamic world, and in places like Jordan. Rania says, "Let's check his popularity after the peace talks" are over.
How does she assess the Islamophobia that's on the increase in the United States, and the Park51 issue? It just really surprised me how enflamed this issue became. What really should be driving this debate is what is the road to reconciliation? At the end of the day, this is a center that is about religious harmony. It's about tolerance," she says, adding that the center is not something that "plays into the hands" of the "bin Ladens of the world," but rather "undermines" radical terrorists. My position is and will always be that America is the best place to worship in the world, and we should be proud of that, and that we should recognize that it's actually a needle in the eye of every radical cultist mullah in the world.
But not everyone agrees with me obviously! Some people prefer to get some reality teevee time by burning a book, like grown-ups.
How can the Muslim world allay fears? Rania says that moderate Muslims need to "speak up more." "And also when they speak, there needs to be people listening on the other side. Because this is the debate that effects how the future generations think and feel."
Okay, Panel Time. Today it's George Will and Donna Brazile and Matt Dowd and Ron Brownstein.
Pledge To America! THE GOP IS COMING TO DUST YOUR FURNITURE.
Will says it's all about "spending." But is it more than talking about spending? Dowd says the Pledge is not going to affect the election at all, and the larger problem is that the country doesn't trust either party on spending, with good reason. People will get kicked out in 2010, like they got kicked out in 2006 and 2008. Brownstein says that trust has cratered! The Obama administration, Congress, corporations, everyone! No one trusts anybody. How will we learn to love each other.
Donna Brazile says that the Pledge is "recycled ideas" and it includes a LOT of spending. (But recycled is good, right? It's green? It hits LEED standards?)
Dowd and Brownstein essentially boils all of the Dems woes down to the fact that voters do not perceive that things have gotten better. And Brownstein says that what's coming to the Senate, is some Alabama Hi-Test Tea Party Cray-Cray. (This is good news, for the writers of Sunday liveblogs, actually, but some of you may feel differently.)
Brazile says that there's still a "internal civil war" going on with the GOP, but, well, we'll see. I think that there's been a cease-fire. When you've thrown Karl Rove under the bus for taking the perfectly reasonable position that Mike Castle is more electable than Christine O'Donnell, where is the civil war? Ron Brownstein says he's got Ken Buck quoted in his article, saying that he won't be following along with the GOp leadership, but brother, Ken Buck hasn't got here yet. When he gets to Washington and sees all the dollar bills dancing in front of him and the hand-jobs available from lobbyists, his desire to make internal war is going to go right the hell away. The people who resist that are really, really rare.
George Will says that Woodward's book sort of ignored the fact that Afghanistan's in a stink-swamp of government corruption, but just as the convo is getting good, Amanpour's got to toss it to the green room.
FACE THE NATION
Nation, I shall face you. And today, I shall face you in the form of the aforementioned Ken Buck and Marco Rubio -- who is here depicted as a "tea party" type even though he's been running away from them for some time now.
Bobby Sheef is talkin' Tea Party stuff, today, but we'll start it off light and sweet with Marco Rubio, who when asked if he thinks of himself as a Tea Party candidate, says that one cannot call oneself that, because of a very illogical set of maxims and rules that essentially allows Rubio the option of not signing on to a movement of eliminationist extremists, if he could, please. (Because far from not being able to appropriate the label for oneself, most "tea party" candidates do it every five minutes.)
What have the Republicans done wrong? Rubio says that when they were in the majority, they didn't keep promises like balancing budgets and term limits. Term limits? Or, Marco, sweetie, you can't seriously be thinking you are going to lead a movement to impose term limits!
What about privatizing Social Security? Rubio says it should not be privatized and it should be saved, GOT THAT ALL YOU OLDS, LAYING UP IN THE CUT IN BOCA RATON? From there, it gets confusing. No changes in benefits to the people now receiving them, but maybe changes to younger workers. Of course, its the younger workers who are paying for those receiving the benefit. But maybe we'll change the way it's indexed or raise the retirement age, Rubio says (while strangely implying that we're always tweaking the retirement age).
What about the Arizona immigration law? Does Rubio want that or not? Rubio contends that the law was changed to prohibit ethnic profiling (what it did was strand law enforcement on a weird legal island where they had to pursue the law in a way that didn't evidence any ethnic profiling, while simultaneously demanding results that can't be achieved through any other means). He also says that states like Arizona are in a "unique situation," in that they border Mexico, and hey, who's trying to cross a border into Florida, ha ha! Does Florida even have a border? Ha ha. What are these footprints on the beaches of Sanibel Island? HEAR ME, TRADITIONAL FLORIDA GOP CONSTITUENTS?
So, the Arizona law should not be a model, but a "wake up call." (As in, WAKE UP, Arizona is kind of crazy.)
Rubio has two homes, bought with a mortgage, so he is well-short of "the full McCain."
Ken Buck is here, now. And he says he is not an extremist. He's going to be the non-extremist, who controls spending, with a Constitutional balanced-budget amendment.
What about the tax cuts for the wealthy, then, that will add $4 trillion to the deficit. Buck doesn't really have an answer for that! Because he wants to give the rich that money. So Buck says that "he does not see" cutting taxes for the rich "as tax cuts." Interesting! How does he see it? He sees it as a means by which "families" don't have to "give up" things. We're talking about families of millionaires, mind you. He wants to extend all the tax cuts, and blow up the budget deficit.
Buck said he wouldn't vote to confirm anyone who supported abortion to any government office, what does he say now? Something hilarious, actually! "I won't use abortion as a litmus test, but if someone is pro-abortion, not just pro-choice, not just believing that abortion should be rare and limited, but if someone is promoting abortion, I think that goes beyond the pale, outside the boundaries of normal politics, and I will not support a candidate who is pro-abortion.
I guess for the zero Americans who are blocking off maternity wards and obstetrics clinics with posters, trying to convince women to terminate their pregnancies, because, what -- babyproofing one's house is a real drag? -- this is terrible news!
Scheiffer points out that this is a litmus test. Buck says that he wouldn't apply a litmus test to someone who is pro-choice, but would apply it to an activist. So, what about pro-choice activists? Because pro-abortion activists? I've never met one! In fact, I once considered forming a joke, "pro-abortion" organization to demonstrate this point, but didn't because I thought it was rather obvious. And along comes Ken Buck, a magical brand of stupidity, that I am facing in this nation!
Will he privatize veteran's hospitals? He says that if the quality of veteran's care could be augmented by outsourcing, he'd be in favor of it, but that the government should cover the cost, so that's not really outsourcing? It's so hard to tell if Buck is trying to temporarily moderate his positions for the benefit of the FACE THE NATION audience, or if he is actually, genuinely this misinformed about public policy.
Now we'll talk to Sal Russo, who is some sort of Tea Party strategist. (This is more like an episode of FACE THE CARRY NATION, today. I am getting HATCHETATED!)
Anyway, Sal Russo is out in Sacto, California, cold raisin' scrilla for the Tea Party candidates. He's given money to people like Sharron Angle, who are probably TP4LIFE, and guys like Scott Brown, who abandoned the Tea Party just as quickly as he could. "We're the purest form of democracy in the Tea Party movement," he says, because he can only help people as much as the people want to help them.
What about Bill Clinton, who criticized the Tea Party from being bankrolled by rich donors? Russo says that his organization doesn't have rich donors, and he resents being called astroturfers.
What about the fact that the Tea Party is helping Democrats by getting hard-to-elect candidates nominated to office? Russo basically points out that the political system has been turned on its head and has been a boost for conservatives, if not Republicans. He doesn't see them as helping Democrats at all. Rather, his candidates are "independent cusses." He sees this as a repeat of the Reagan revolution. He offers no prediction on whether the GOP will take either the House or the Senate, instead saying that there will be more people on hand to vote for conservative fiscal policies.
Bob Schieffer signs off by saying that he was recently staring at a sad lady in an airport lounge who had a flag from a military funeral, and it moved him to wonder about the mothers of soldiers who aren't coming home from our wars. "The real cost of war is not what we pay in dollars and cents," Schieffer says, "the real cost is what we take from a mother who is just left with a memory in the form of a neatly folded flag in a clear plastic case."
Oh, Schieffer! There you go, classing things up with your touching, eminently sensible reminders of the way that decisions made in Washington have an impact on actual people that doesn't show up in the news often enough!
Okay, well, I have received many an email from people with STRONG FEELINGS (as well as some people who have just got normal-sized feelings) and the going desire is to keep this liveblog in standard top-to-bottom chronological order, so that's where we'll leave things for the time being. Thanks for letting me know! I'll keep reading those emails from those of you who send them on later today, though, so don't consider the "polls closed" or anything! Have a great Sunday, and a fantastic week (which I sure hope actually has some autumnal temperatures).