iOS app Android app More

TV SoundOff: Sunday Talking Heads

First Posted: 09/18/2011 9:36 am Updated: 11/18/2011 5:12 am

Five Box

Good morning everyone and welcome once again to your Sunday morning semi-live blog of one man attempting to make sense of the disconcerting lights and noises he sees on the teevee as our political system slides into dysfunction. My name is Jason. I enjoy this colder weather we've been having lately. I like having a quiet afternoon to relax and read. I don't think I'm as ready as some people are to share how my life and the lives of those close to me have been affected by the human papillomavirus. I hope you are cool with that, and we can still be friends.

As always, you should feel free but not compelled to leave a comment, or drop me a line, or follow me on Twitter. I also invite any of you with an e-book reader to please check out my colleague Arthur Delaney's new e-book, A People's History Of The Great Recession. You see, he had this idea that maybe all the negative trends in the economy and the government's flailing attempts at promoting recovery might be impacting actual human beings out there in America. And so he went ahead and actually met some of those actual human beings and talked to them, and they told him stories that then made the impact of the down economy apparent and real, instead of just some abstract concept that may or may not hurt politicians get re-elected. It's quite good! But of course, I'd tell you that. Luckily, it's less than five dollars. There are surely things I've suggested you do that were far more costly to you when they turned out to be a huge disappointment.

Speaking of! Let's start this week's liveblog!

FOX NEWS SUNDAY

Paul Ryan is here to soothe us with his haircut, and Herman Cain -- who seems to have peaked as a candidate -- gets to have a one-on-one interview with Chris Wallace. Plus did you know there's another debate this week?! It's obviously good for America that we have debate every week until we die.

Basically, Paul Ryan is here to say that the House GOP is not likely to vote for anything the White House suggests, even if it's just, "Hey, let's all go visit our families at Christmas and hug them!" Ryan says he's "keeping an open mind" but is especially concerned about Obama's proposal to set a new marginal tax rate on millionaires and billionaires. Ryan is concerned with "raising taxes on job creators" during a recession. He's actually quite concerned with raising taxes on job creators at any time in life. That's because he's using "job creators" as a synonym for "millionaires and billionaires." But is it a title they deserve? The answer is no!

“Two less obvious factors predated the recession. The first is the steepness of the rise in job scarcity during the previous recession in 2001, which rivaled that during the deep downturn of the early 1980s. The second is the failure between 2003 and 2007 of jobs per jobseeker to recover from the 2001 recession...Unemployment increased during the 2001 recession, but it subsequently fell almost to its previous low. In contrast, job openings plummeted—much more sharply than unemployment rose—and then failed to recover. In previous recoveries, openings eventually outnumbered job seekers (where a rising blue line crosses a falling green line), but during the last recovery a labor shortage never emerged.”

Did we not have terribly rich people in America during this, the 21st Century? I seem to recall that the answer is "yes." I also recall that they took a big hit in 2008, along with the rest of us, but that they've still come out the other side of the crisis in better shape, with corporate profits at an all-time high and the income gap continuing to widen. And yet, in good times and in bad, one thing you can't say that millionaires and billionaires were particularly good at -- indeed, it seems they were terrible at this -- was "job creation." Here is a chart that makes it clear. Calling rich people "job creators" is like calling me an "X-wing pilot for the Rebel fleet."

Ryan also does not seem to understand, or doesn't care to inform, that only a tiny percentage of small businesses would be impacted by this restoration of these tax rates.

Ryan says that it is nice that Obama has acknowledged that entitlement programs need to be reformed. He restates his own point of view on the matter, which is that the House GOP will ensure the elderly that their current benefits won't go away, please do not stop voting, for Paul Ryan, it will be the youngs who will end up with programs that won't cost the government as much, because, in Paul Ryan's plan, the government will stop paying for it.

Ryan stipulates once again that taxing the rich would be a terrible idea because they create jobs. Or they will, in theory, create jobs. Someday! Give them more money! Turn America into Saipan!

Wallace points out that Obama's inspiration for this move comes from Warren Buffett, who doesn't think it's right that he pays less in taxes proportionally than his secretary. Ryan says, "It looks to me like the President wants to move down the class warfare path." Keep in mind, Ryan is from Wisconsin, where his party plays a good game of class warfare, pitting one group of have-nots against another group of have-slightly-less-than-than, in a battle to decide who gets to keep health care and the right to bargain for decent work conditions.

Obama wants to increase revenue, what does Ryan think about that? The answer is no. Why Wallace even needs to ask the question is beyond me! "We need to cut spending," Ryan says, making no news about the contemporary state of play in the legislature.

Wallace points out that if they can't compromise, the Super-Committee's triggers will go into effect. Ryan essentially says that he's willing to compromise, as long as by 'compromise' you mean, 'the Democrats do not aspire to contribute any of their ideas to the discussion.'

Will Ryan spend money to build road and bridges? No. ("We believe infrastructure is good, and we're going to fix this," he says, but he is going to fix it by magic, it seems.) Payroll tax cuts? No. This tax cuts benefits too many middle class people. Retraining for the unemployed? No. Relief for state governments? No. So, look forward to more unemployment coming to your state, because paying for firefighters is "class warfare."

Wallace points out that if the GOP blocks his plan, he will blame the GOP on the campaign trail. Ryan says that the House has passed a lot of bills but the Senate has hung them up. (This is the same as it ever was, except that for a period of time, Ryan was amenable to the Senate's awfulness.)

Ryan says that Solyndra is just the tip of the iceberg, in terms of what stimulus spending and "picking winners and losers" gets you. There is no evidence of that, of course! But Solyndra has turned into something with the very real stench of chagrin, so why not blame it for war fatigue and the end of the space shuttle program, too? It is, after all, an election year.

Now Herman Cain is here. He has plans to plan about planning and one is his "9-9-9 plan," which Germans aren't crazy about. Herman, though, is not crazy about Obama's plan to tax millionaires, because of CLASS WARFARE and "whatever it was that Paul Ryan just said." Cain also says that the jobs speech and the jobs plan were neither, and he suggests that it will be paid for "by what I call sneaker taxes." Now that's a pretty "fetch" term, Herman! But just so you know, he's asked the Super Committee to raise their spending cuts goal to offset the cost of the jobs bill.

Herman Cain is upset that the president keeps the business sector in a state of "uncertainty." Barry Ritholtz has dealt with this at length, as have I.

Cain is against the payroll tax cut because it's "too little, too late." He thinks that Solyndra was about helping political supporters and an investment made in bad faith, and then he again says, "What Paul Ryan said," and you have to wonder if they put Ryan on before this guy just so he could blandly agree and look good doing it.

Cain's "9-9-9 plan" is revenue-neutral tax reform, and you know how we feel about that endeavor! "Like cake-neutral baking." Wallace expresses some disappointment that he went out to Cain's website, only to discover that there's no way of determining how the plan will produce the results it claims to produce, because Cain doesn't demonstrate how he arrived at this magical plan with its magical numbers. Cain says, essentially, don't worry, he had experts working on it, and he specializes in math, and they did a "simple regression analysis." A simple regression analysis. A simple regression analysis. A simple regression analysis! He says that, like, over and over again.

Wallace points out that his claims as far as the "leading economic experts" who helped him could not be verified because there was no one listed on the Cain website. Cain says, "No, I haven't put them on there. The most important thing was to put the plan on there." Uhm...does Herman Cain not realize that a website gives him infinite space? The "most important thing" for me to do today is put this liveblog on here. But look! I can also put a bunch of YouTube clips of Replacements' songs here:

Look at me! Crediting a list of experts!

Music by Paul Westerberg, Tommy Stinson, Chris Mars, Bob Stinson, Slim Dunlap, Steve Foley

Cain says his plan was "so simple" that he didn't think it was a priority to explain it. IT DEFIES EXPLANATION. It's just so simple! Pressed to name the people who assisted him, Cain says, "Rich Lowry out of Cleveland, Ohio." OH, THAT RICH LOWRY, of course. Dude is well known in Cleveland, and in other parts of Ohio for being a guy you can count on cold produce simple regression analyses. Cain discovered this kid in a back alley, straight up regressin' and analysin' like a mofeaux, and he was like, "Rich Lowry, how would you like to get on the Cain Train? (By the way, you're not gay are you?)"

Cain says he's "not at liberty" to name the other "frankly, well known" people involved, maybe because he can't risk revealing their identities to super-villains? (BREAKING: Herman Cain's economic advisor is Aquaman.)

Wallace says that Fox's analysis suggests that the "9-9-9 plan" lowers taxes on the rich and on corporations and that taxes on people who pay no taxes will go up. Cain insists that isn't true. It's hard when the plan isn't explained and you can't talk to the Mystery Men who came up with the plan!

Now it's Panel time with Paul Gigot and Bill Kristol and Evan "Hollow Man" Bayh and Juan Williams.

Gigot says that Rick Perry "came out strong" because "has the potential" to unite the GOP field but has failed in the debates to prove himself electable because of calling social security a Ponzi scheme. That's Gigot, Cliff Noting two weeks of media conversation about Rick Perry! Bayh notes that the GOP field has been violating Reagan's 11th commandment and attacking each other. "There seems to be some emnity" between Perry and Romney, says this genius. Kristol says that he favors Perry, but he must improve, and he still thinks Chris Christie will get into the race. HE WILL LEAVE PAUL RYAN ALONE, NOW. Williams says that Perry "hasn't been on the national stage" and that Perry's "kind of talk" turns voters off.

There was no reason to wake up this morning to get this analysis. You have probably already heard all of this, through osmosis. But let's talk about Mitt Romney some.

Romney's campaign actually sent reporters an email, with questions that they should ask Rick Perry. Wallace says he's never seen anything like it before! Really, really!

Gigot says that Romney is "playing a conventional political game" and it may not work in 2012. (On the other hand, it could, considering that "conventionality" is really effective in politics.) Bayh thinks that Romney's best moments are those when he haughtily gets huffy at voters who want to argue with him, because Bayh is a haughty man who likes to get huffy. Bayh is basically Mitt Romney without the accomplishments.

On to Solyndra, and frankly, Fox has gone easy on this issue. Gigot says that this is all about how you can't "politically allocate capitol" and create jobs. Bayh says the problem is that the Chinese government is making these sorts of direct investments and they're leaving the United States in the dust, so we can't "unilaterally disarm" in the face of that. Solyndra, he says, "was an honest mistake."

This is all kind of weird, because we are talking about the free market here, and it's like there was a business and people took a risk in the business and the risk didn't pan out and that's the story of capitalism, right? So, maybe we should not invest tax money in the market at all, but then you really can't walk around saying, "I ran a business, and I think the government should be run like a business." Well, businesses make investments, with risk, and sometimes they don't pan out. With Solyndra, what matters is: did we press on vainly, after it was clear this was a non-starter? Because that's a feature of investing, too, constant re-evaluation and the study of information.

THE CHRIS MATTHEWS SHOW

Today's Chris Matthews panel-gasm will center on Rick Perry's Texas-sized everything, Obama's need to reclaim the bully pulpit, and...Jackie Kennedy? She has "come back" apparently, to talk about the days of yesteryear. Wouldn't it be awesome if she literally came back as a zombie? "I brought Billie Holliday with me, Chris! BRAAAAAAAAINS!!" Paneling on this topics will be Katty Kay, Michael Duffy, Kelly O'Donnell, and Major Garrett.

So, Rick Perry! He could be the new Reagan, if you listen to actual Republican voters. But if you listen to elites, he isn't, because Reagan wasn't "divisive" and used to say things like, "Well, there you go again." Perry, says that the GOPers in the "cocktail circuit" may not like him, but the people like his rhetoric. Speaking of the cocktail circuit, did you hear that Perry went to New York Fashion Week with Donald Trump this week? True story! Man of the people! Down with the cocktail circuit.

Duffy says that he was surprised that Perry amped up his rhetoric in the Time Magazine interview, because he expected him to tone it down for a magazine that's mostly read by people in dentists' offices. He points out, however, that the Tea Party wasn't too happy about Perry's immigration policy. O'Donnell says that even those folks appreciate the fact that Perry doesn't apologize for his decisions. Garrett points out that the Reagan comparison is inapt, because Reagan ran for president and failed before getting it right, and that Reagan actually helped build a conservative political movement, while Perry is trying to fit in with a movement that was built before he decided to get into the Presidential race. Kay says that Perry's "anger and viciousness" is "almost Sarah Palin-esque," and not Reagany.

O'Donnell says that the fact that Perry suggested his wife would make a "fine First Lady" indicates that Perry is already looking past the nominating contest. Okay, I guess! But Romney has done a much better job of looking past. And the fact that Perry couldn't get out of the debate without getting clawed on by Bachmann and Paul and Santorum indicates that he can be pulled into the mire of the nominating contest perfectly easily.

Duffy says that there's a divide in the GOP right now: a faction that wants to beat Obama "rationally," and a faction that wants to beat Obama just because it would end an emotional crisis of some kind. Garrett says that practically speaking, the GOP needs a nominee who can fuel enthusiasm downticket, because the GOP has to get that 60-vote majority in the Senate. "Don't forget," he says, "The Democrats were incredibly active [during the first two years of Obama's presidency]. They got things they really wanted." Garrett's totally correct about the way the spread of enthusiasm led to a lot of downticket success.

Duffy says that another difference between Perry and Reagan is that Reagan didn't have tent-revival meetings. "Reagan had a milder public tone," says O'Donnell. Kay points out that Reagan wouldn't say something like, you know, "Social Security is a monstrous lie."

Now we're going to talk about Jackie Kennedy's oral history. It's great synergy with the book that Chris Matthews wrote! About Jack Kennedy. Buy it for the Kindle, I guess. Duffy says that the tapes are a "gift for history." Katty Kay says they are fascinating, and interesting, and that they "don't always allow her to come out in a pleasing light."

Chris Matthews tells Katty, "She comes off catty." So, that happened.

"They were truly married, and this was great proof of it," says Matthews. (For the record, we all basically thought they were married, but okay, I guess this "proves" it.

Things that Chris Matthews doesn't know include: the SuperPACs are expected to raise two-to-three times the amount of money that the campaigns will raise, so every reform of the election system you grew up hoping would make the system something other than a complete shitshow of money and influence is dead (Duffy). Geithner has been "uncharacteristically tough" on Europe, (because if the Eurozone becomes an economic hell-pit, unemployment will spike again and blah blah 2012 chances blah blah) (Kay). John Boehner says that he does not have any problem with House Freshmen, because he can just lock them in a room and watch him smoke cigarettes until they develop Stockholm Syndrome or emphysema and capitulate to his demands -- his rich, tarry demands (O'Donnell). Boehner also knows Perry very well and they've played poker together and they both love them some deregulatin' (Garrett).

Has Obama "permanently lost the power of the bully pulpit?" Duffy says Obama can still move people, through speeches. Kay says that he'll be giving more speeches. O'Donnell says that Obama can be too ubiquitous, but that when he is in candidate mode, he is always more compelling. Garrett says that in the internal Democratic polling in that NY09 special election, his jobs speech accelerated his lack of popularity -- what he has going for him is a lot of time and some opportunities to wage a good fight with the GOP. (Political science teaches us that presidential orations do not move the needle on public support.)

MEET THE PRESS

How can Washington help people in poverty? Meet the Press will ask Mitch McConnell. I feel dumb now, because as I queue this show up on the TiVo, I know that the show is already over, and so you guys are all now out in the streets, talking with each other in stunned amazement, I'm sure, about the way Mitch McConnell solved the problem of poverty on the show. PLEASE DON'T SPOIL IT FOR ME, by sending me emails with the subject line, "MITCH McCONNELL AND HIS MAGICAL _________[FILL IN THE BLANK]__________ SOLVED POVERTY, ON MEET THE PRESS TODAY."

Bill Clinton is also here, so maybe he will solve poverty, with magic, too!

Anyway, McConnell is not a fan of the "Buffett Rule" because you can't raise taxes on the rich in the "middle of an economic downturn." In McConnell's opinion, you have to wait until the economy is healthy again to also not raise taxes on the rich. He says that Warren Buffett should instead just give the government some of "his benefit." Sweetie, Warren Buffett, you know, did help bail out Goldman Sachs, and hey, you know maybe the next time to take taxpayer money to do the same thing, you get the kind of deal that Buffett got. Then we'd have an idea of what it's like to have that sort of benefit.

Because of a handful of recalcitrant Democrats, McConnell can come here this morning and tell the world that there is "bipartisan opposition" to the American Jobs Act.

But is there room for compromise? Gregory points out that just this week, at the same speech, in the course of just a few minutes, John Boehner went from decrying the "my way or the highway" brand of politics, to insisting that it was going to be his way or the highway on raising revenue. Is that hypocritical? McConnell doesn't answer the question, instead saying hey, we agreed on some stuff, like the easy stuff and the stuff that the President already agreed with us on. What about the hard stuff? McConnell says that he, like the President, is ready to get into tax reform, and as long as the President doesn't try to suggest something that McConnell doesn't like, everything is going to be fine.

McConnell says that the "window is not closed" and he thinks there's going to be a "major bipartisan accomplishment" to come out of the Super Committee (where, per Boehner, no revenue increases will be considered).

Who is the frontrunner in the GOP race? McConnell doesn't know. He'll support whoever emerges. Gregory moves on the ask about whether the GOP is still the party of life when audiences clap for executions, and/or a few people in another audience cheer about poor people dying. McConnell says he "doesn't have a particular reaction" to it, and goes on the yammer about the stimulus and Solyndra. You know, Meet The Press worked hard on their question. They pulled clips! They gave it time and space and care! Then they just let the interviewee feint and dribble around it and spit talking points for an uninterrupted 120 seconds. Don't you guys at Meet The Press have some effing pride in your work? Do you actually not have the balls to stop a man, mid-dodge, and say, "Sorry, sir, but you need to answer my question?" That's a serious question, people at Meet The Press! Have you any spine at all, or is this "news program" just a day spa for political elites?

"We'll have to leave it there," says Gregory, who didn't have to leave it there, if he'd just sack up!

Now Bill Clinton is here. Gregory asks him about what is possible in Washington, after hearing McConnell. He says he doesn't know, but he says the economic consensus is that the president's plan offers an increase in GDP growth and a lowering of the unemployment rate. More money in the pockets of Americans would lead to consumption and hiring. Clinton's not sure the GOP wants those things "in 2012," but maintains "it's the right thing to do."

One of my "project a future Romney administration economic plan" scenarios is that Romney, with Congressional majorities, just go ahead and enact all of Obama's stimulate-aggregate-demand and close-the-output-gap-with-public-works-projects plans, saves the economy, and rides off into the sunset with credit. But most of my "project the future" scenarios involved massive government dysfunction and doom. A few of them involve us finding the lost city of Atlantis. One very weird scenario projects that Tupac isn't dead. (That scenario doesn't feature much economic improvement, though.)

Clinton says that right now we need to put Americans back to work, "get growth going," and then "tackle debts." Presumably in that order?

Gregory asks is Clinton sees that globalization hasn't been the tide that lifts all boats, and Clinton says yes, he can see that. They key to fixing it, is to get "cooperation between the government and the private sector" to ensure that everyone shares in the reward. Whatever that means!

Clinton says that McConnell can scoff at Solyndra all he wants, but that green jobs have "grown twice as fast" as the rest of the job market. I don't know what he sources that too. I can tell you that back when I was working on magazines that dealt with the housing industry and the construction industry, it sure seemed to me like the field of "high-performance" environmental construction innovations were the last sector in that field to contract as the housing market went south. Though so many people are out of work in the overall industry that I'm sure "green construction" has succumbed to the pull of gravity by now.

It would be considered journalistic malpractice, Gregory says, if he didn't take the time to ask Bill Clinton a bunch of questions about horse race politics. No it wouldn't, David! You are literally NOT OBLIGED to ask Clinton ANY questions about the horse race.

But James Carville wrote a column that was just too, too shiny. It must be asked about, so that Clinton will think of Gregory as an all-around savvy guy! So Gregory asks Clinton about James Carville's column, in which he encouraged Obama to panic, fire people, and make a slew of politically motivated indictments. As in, "I am going to indict these people as a ploy to get re-elected." Which sound like the sort of thing Carville would decry if a Republican president did it!

Clinton dodges the question and says that the problem Obama faced is the fact that he became President just after the financial crash and the economy had not been adding jobs for many years since then and it turned out that we learned last month that the recession was worse than everyone originall projected, and then people don't have much experience with living in a recession and it scares them. But Obama's plan is good and is on the right track, Clinton says. What's this answer about? Is Carville right or wrong or whatever? Hard to say.

I guess Gregory cares something about this question, as opposed to the "Party of life" question he asked McConnell, so he asks again if Obama should follow Carville's advice. Clinton says no, that the President doesn't accomplish much through panicking. I was hoping he would say something like that!

Clinton: "Jobs first. Then we can bring the debt down."

Clinton very diplomatically answers the question of whether Hillary Clinton's popularity redeems those who believe we'd be better off if she was president, saying that the further you are from the line of fire, the more popular you are. (The best way of answering the question, by the way, would be the qualitatively determine the answer to certain questions, like: "How much more stimulus spending would Hillary Clinton gotten Senator Ben Nelson to agree to?" If the objective answer is, "Two times as much," then we'd have been better off under Clinton.)

Clinton won't stipulate who the GOP nominee will be, saying only that Perry and Romney seem to be doing well and that there's a lot of time and it's a weird time for American politics.

The last question is the hard question that we should have talked about from the outset, but it would have been terrible journalistic malpractice to not ask Bill Clinton about a column James Carville wrote for a news competitor -- Palestinian statehood, which will soon come up at the United Nations. "How counterproductive will it be [to ask for statehood] toward eventually getting a state, given that the U.S. already plans to block it in the Security Council?" Ha, what a way of asking that question. "The Palestinians: don't they realize that they won't get a state of their own until everyone's convinced they've given up on wanting one?"

Clinton says that everyone knows what's going to happen, so this is a move borne out of frustration because they've done many things that they agreed to do, and yet it seems like they don't have a partner in negotiations that want to honor their end of negotiations. It will be up to America, Clinton says, "to contain the fallout."

Okay, let's play panel pattycake with Alex Castellanos and Jennifer Granholm and Mark Halperin and Helene Cooper.

Gregory, I think, begins by asking Mark Halperin to respond to how well his interview with Bill Clinton went? "I asked that question about electability! Didja hear it? Wasn't it awesome of me, the way I did that?" Halperin agrees and then offers us some stone cold, never-before-considered, artisanal punditry: THE ECONOMY IS BAD AND THAT'S BAD FOR OBAMA AND REPUBLICANS ARE IN ANOTHER PARTY AND THEY "OPPOSE" OBAMA AND THEY WILL OPPOSE HIM ON TEEVEE IN INTERVIEWS.

You are going to need to take a minute to absorb that, I know.

Anyway, Castellanos, serving up a meal of depressives for those liberals who think that the President can change the world by dint of being president and that the office comes with magic says that Obama is testifying to his own weakness when he says he can't get anything done in Congress.

Gregory suspects that this Jobs bill may be about politics! Got a whiff of the possibility that there's a politician in America who proposes things that are popular sounding because it helps get elected! Cooper says, yes, this is kind of what the White House was hoping: if they can't pass this bill, they can run on it.

Jennifer Granholm is asked...nothing. "Pretty tough to run for re-election in this kind of economy." Yes, says Granholm. She says that Obama needs to do "stuff that works." Brilliant!

Castellanos says, "There's a problem, Americans have televisions and the internet and they can see what's going on." Yes! We can see that House is returning for another exciting season, and also porn exists.

Gregory asks Halperin about the Ron Suskind book, and how it makes Washington out to be not a kind place for women. I surely hope we're not going to get some lesson in feminism from one of the misogynist cretins who wrote "GAME CHANGE: THE STORY OF HOW WOMEN ARE UNFAILINGLY AWFUL AND HYSTERICAL."

Thankfully, no. We instead get a quote from Larry Summers bitching about how Clinton would have done things differently. And so Halperin says, "GRANHOLM IS RIGHT THAT GOOD ECONOMIES ARE GOODER THAN ECONOMIES THAT ARE NO GOOD. AND CLINTON WAS PRESIDENT IN A GOOD ECONOMY. SO IF OBAMA CAN BE MORE LIKE CLINTON AND TALK PRETTY WITH EXPLANATIONS, THAN THINGS WILL ENGOODEN THEMSELVES BY CONSIDERABLE AMOUNTANCES."

I agree that Clinton is better -- much better! -- at "economic storytelling." At hanging out at a town hall and explaining complicated concepts to ordinary people. Clinton knew that you could fudge the margins some and give a big picture. Obama thinks he's not being fully honest if he doesn't account for every nuance. You can appreciate what he's trying to do, but it doesn't work. But come on Mark Halperin! Surely you understand that the obstacle isn't better public explanations! Surely you understand that the Jobs Act's passage is primarily endangered by the fact that the House GOP won't vote for it! You MUST know that. We're talking about how it's all a political gambit, at this very moment, on this very panel!

Helene Cooper: "[Obama] is very much hampered by the political reality at the moment." THANK YOU, HELENE COOPER. "President Obama seems supremely confident that he's got this," she says. Well...don't get too supremely confident!

There's a lot of analysis now about the NY09 race, but since none of it includes political science terms like, "JESUS H. IT IS SEPTEMBER 2011" or "HERE'S A HINT: MINIMIZE YOUR PARTY'S EXPOSURE TO DONG-TWITTERING IDIOTS," I have no time for it.

Granholm says that we need to worry about a "Global War on Jobs." Don't call it that! We will try to launch a military occupation of "jobs" and then "jobs" will learn to hate America!

David Gregory, as usual, ends the show by pulling a highlight from the show that just aired. You know, this would be time you could use to hold Mitch McConnell to answer the question for which you went to a lot of trouble to prepare.

Anyway, Alex Castellanos doesn't like Rick Perry, Helene Cooper confirms that the Israel-Palestine situation is thorny, and Granholm has a book coming out. And the last five minutes is used to celebrate Betsy Fischer, who changed the game as far as what sort of furnishings could be used on the set of a chat show goes.

Hooray! Sunday Morning is now Sunday Afternoon, so we can all watch football and spend the day with friends. We'll see you next week. Happy Birthday to Elyse Siegel!

FOLLOW HUFFPOST MEDIA