POLITICS

TV SoundOff: Sunday Talking Heads

04/28/2013 08:56 am ET | Updated Jun 28, 2013

Well, good morning everybody, and once again, welcome to your Sunday morning liveblog, a quickly typed and hastily imagined recap of whatever it was that went on during the Sunday morning political blather telenovelas. My name is Jason. It would appear that White House Correspondents Dinner revelers were unable to carry out the mission I gave them, which was to impair the hosts and producers of these shows from making their appointments today. Impair using funtimes, I mean, of course! Or at least strategic use of MDMA. But only a little! Nevertheless, it looks as if the shows are still happening and that I cannot go back to bed.

Anyway, you guys know the drill. Discuss the week or your lives or trade recipes or whatever in the comments as I treat my laptop with impunity. If you need to drop me a line, feel free to do so. You can follow me on Twitter if that is something that feels like it could be worth your time. And, as always, while waiting for more of this liveblog to appear, I've collected some of my favorite stories from the internet this week, and put them on my Rebel Mouse's Sunday Reads page.

Okay, the sooner this is done than the sooner I have nothing to do today, so, allons-y!

FOX NEWS SUNDAY

Hey, great. Today's Fox News Sunday will be dedicated to "preventing another attack on the homeland," so that's just terrific. Joining us will be Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Representative Mike McCaul (R-Tex.) whose names are just synonymous for safety and security. Basically, "these are the best people we could book this weekend and so they will just have to do their best." Israel's Ambassador to the United States Michael Oren is also here, to tell us about the exciting opportunities now available to die in a ground war in Syria.

Also there will probably be a panel, I'm guessing.

But first, Boston stuff, with McCaul and Manchin. Things are happening and they have opinions.

Oh, actually, we are going to begin with a discussion of this recent ricin case. You know, the one where they first arrested the Elvis impersonator as a suspect but then realized that he probably wasn't to blame and so they picked up the taekwondo instructor? As I've quipped already, this whole thing feels like a viral marketing campaign for an EASTBOUND AND DOWN spin-off. McCaul says that "this is unrelated to the Boston bombing case." Ha, ha, we know, Mike, but thanks! I guess your mouth was required to make some noises there, wasn't it?

McCaul believes that there is a foreign connection involved in these attacks, because they apparently have a "sophistication" that far exceeds what anyone in America could possibly do on our own without help from foreign terrorists, because we are becoming dumber and dumber with every passing decade, I guess? "Whoa, guys, these bonbs required some rudimentary electrical engineering, so they must have had some help!" Actually, I think that's probably about right.

I can't help but think that McCaul just wants to throw around words like "tradecraft," because he saw it on "Homeland." He is upset that the "narrative" is saying that there's no foreign connection when the FBI has just began their all-expenses paid trip to Dagestan. Sunny Dagestan in the springtime, where every young man's thoughts turn to making a bomb in the kitchen of their mom.

I think that McCaul needs to find a way to see the FBI's activities as an extension of the administration's official response to Boston, and not the fuzzy stuff he thinks he's pulled out of the sky and called "the narrative." That's sort of an aftereffect of living in the Beltway's toxic brine -- you start to disregard actual actions and deeds and treat whatever mummery you detect as reality.

McCaul believes that there is a connection between the Tsarnaev brothers and their mother, and I don't know guys, but I think I'm going to go out on a limb and suggest that it is a "maternal" one.

Wallace turns to Manchin to ask some more random questions. Manchin thinks that they Mirandized the brother too soon, which is what you are supposed to say when you are scared of saying the wrong thing. As always, the right thing to say is, "This is way beyond my expertise," but you don't get to come on the teevee if your honest answer is that you can't answer.

Manchin is not arguing that there is not a foreign connection, he is not arguing that it is a foreign connection. He also thinks that the bombs show "sophistication," because they were slightly more complicated than the bombs depicted in al Qaeda's English language magazine, "Inspire." It really seems to me that the whole appeal, and worry, about these bombs is that they aren't sophisticated? And I really think that you could probably give the task of creating a remote control trigger-switch out of a toy car to most high school students and they would be able to figure it out. That's the worrisome part of this: the easy-to-make IEDs of Iraq and Afghanistan have followed us home.

Ah, now Manchin is saying that he doesn't have the expertise to say whether the Justice Department is handling the case as optimally as it could, it's just his opinion that he'd have like to have seen the interrogation of the one loser Tsarnaev brother go farther than it did.

Now he's getting weird. "As an American citizen, you want those rights to protect you, but, on the other hand, this is a terrorist act, it has been identified as a terrorist act, and he's a terrorist. We should extract all the information we can before we give him rights that American citizens are entitled to."

No, no, no. You cannot have things both ways. So sorry! It's just, you know...Constitution and all that? Don't hate America, Joe Manchin, participate in America!

McCaul says that the bombers were talking about going to Manhattan, and I mean, EVERYONE talks about going to Manhattan, and then they find out that the rents are high and everyone's a hedge fund manager and the New York of Patti Smith and Tom Verlaine is over and it's never coming back.

I can tell you something about the "narrative" surrounding the Boston bombers. A few weeks ago, these two were nothing but a pair of complete loser jagoffs who got lucky, sadly, and killed people. Now they are an all but certain pair of sophisticated criminal masterminds who had astounding operational tradecraft and were totally going to rain death down on New York City. Perspective is the latest casualty in the Boston bombing. Not that I don't find this stuff worrisome. I just think we need to get a grip, and remember that their Uncle Ruslan was first, right, and best, to call these kids "losers."

As for their sophisticated "tradecraft," well, just remember that the Tsarnaevs tradecraft was TERRIBLE.

I really think a key component to being safe and secure involves us NOT presenting the Tsarnaevs as something that every other angry loser jag-off could ASPIRE to being one day. They were dangerous, and they pulled off some real mayhem, but they weren't supervillains, and we should not lower the standard for supervillainy to include them. The one dude nearly bled out, alone and scared and sad in someone's boat. Okay? He was not Magneto.

Wallace points out that once upon a time, Obama cited the use of chemical weapons as a "red line" that Syria couldn't cross without us doing some war stuff. Syria crossed that red line, it looks like, and now Obama is having to finesse things, probably because we really cannot get into another weird foreign entanglement where we end up fighting on the side of some ragtag force of rebels that -- SURPRISE -- includes many of the people who also want to kill us, by doing things like getting their al Qaeda magazine and its bomb-making tips in front of angry loser jagoffs.

Manchin says that he believes the Assad regime has used these weapons, and then he runs down a list of choices that are being mulled, before stopping short and saying that he's not willing to put "boots on the ground" in Syria, but he believes that some aid needs to be rendered. Wallace asks for specifics (trending toward the military intervention) and Manchin is basically all, "You know coordinate with allies and whatnot."

Wallace asks after Manchin's hope of revising the Manchin-Toomey bill, and he says that he still firmly believes that their bill can pass. He's lost Toomey, but is pressing ahead. I have to say, Manchin had not previously struck me as a particularly courageous individual prior to this, but he is really putting his sack on the line with this. He also says that he does not believe that Toomey will abandon the effort.

"Absolutely," he says when asked about if he seriously intends to revive this effort. "I'm willing to go anywhere in this country and debate anyone," who disagrees, he says.

Okay, let's hear more about the exciting opportunities we have now to die in Syria.

Wallace asks Michael Oren if Assad has used chemical weapons. He says that the Israeli military's assessment is that there is a "high probability" that they have. Which is a bit hedgey, but this is Sunday Morning Blatherskite, so that's what you get.

Remember! If you work in national security, never ever use the Sunday shows as a vehicle of disseminating serious information! That should be the first rule of you job.

So Oren says that this is only an assessment, based on limited access and intelligence. "We are not making any calls for the United States here," Oren says, by which he means, "I am not here to obligate the United States to make some kind of half-baked intervention."

But is he troubled? He must be troubled! Because red line! Oren says his red line is whether the Assad regime transfers "game-changing weapons" to Hezbollah in Lebanon. (The use of the word "game-changing" is really regrettable there.) "The chemical weapon situation is complex," he says.

Wallace says okay, but IRAN IS WATCHING, and what if Iran sees the United States backing off from their chemical weapon "Red Line?" I sort of think that if the U.S. backs off their "red line" and doesn't attack Syria, Iran will totally continue to try to build a nuke. I sort of think that if the U.S. doesn't back off their red line and does intervene in Syria, Iran will totally continue to try to build a nuke, only a LOT FASTER, because they will be thinking, "Holy cow, we better finish that right now!"

Oren does his best to explain the difference between Syrian Sarin gas and the Iranian nuclear ambition. He reminds that the U.S. supports Israel's right to exist and right to defend itself, against whoever. He's not sure about -- or he's not willing to say -- how Syria changes Iran's calculus.

Wallace asks him, sort of incredulously, if he doesn't see a downside to the United States backing off the red line and not intervening in Syria. You know what some "upsides" to not intervening are? We don't spend kabillions of dollars and a bunch of Americans don't die. These are the upsides to getting the f--k up out of the war we're not winning in Afghanistan, too, though, so I'd expect my simple "save money and don't die" policy to be deemed "unserious."

Oren says that this is totally an "American decision" and he doesn't recommend any policy other than to say that if the United States arms the Syrian rebels with "lethal weaponry" (as opposed to "defensive weaponry," which, trust me, is still lethal), that the weapons and rebels be "carefully vetted."

Ha, so, yeah, could the Syrian rebels please send your resumes/cover letters to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington DC, and word to the wise -- wipe the castor bean residue off your hands before mailing!

"What can the U.S. or Israel do militarily," asks Wallace. Oren LOLs, and says, "Okay, we can't get into tactical details on national television." Needless to say, he says, stuff is "complex."

Wallace wants to know what to do in this "Choose your own (mis)adventure" scenario: "If you bomb the [chemical weapons] stockpiles, you could end up dispersing them, then you become complicit in the use of chemical weapons. If you secure them, then you've got boots on the ground in the middle of a violent civil war in that country, and as you had just pointed out, if you arm the rebels opposing Assad, there's a good chance they fall into the hands of the more radical forces linked to al-Qaeda."

So what do you do? The answer: get in a time machine and go back about a century and then don't make the myriad terrible, interlocking foreign policy decisions that led to this point.

Michael Oren points out a bunch more times that he's not actually going to discuss tactical details. He reiterates that yes, Israel will act on its own "chemical weapons to Hezbollah" red line if need be.

Oh, we are going to talk about Boston? Fine, why not. Does Oren have any idea about the Tsarnaev brothers having a connection to foreign elements? No, he does not. Can he discuss the "Chechen element" and it's "link to radical Islamic groups." Yes, he can, and he does a Wikipedia monologue. Does he suspect a foreign link to the Boston Marathon attacks? "I don't know," he says. Does he not know, or is he just being coy? He insists he does not know.

Luckily there is a panel of pundits coming up and they will pretend to "know" things, just fine.

Today's panel will be Brit Hume and Amy Walter and and Bill Kristol and Charles Lane. Let's get us into Syria, guys!

Hume says that the White House will look for "iron-clad proof" of Syrian chemical weapon use, which is not unreasonable, given the fact that we blew a bunch of billions on George W. Bush's "Al Capone's Vault" misadventure in Iraq. Hume says that things might have been different if we'd gone in earlier. I guess one thing that would have happened is we would have gotten to forget all about Deficit Panic.

Walter says the question here is "where is the cost," in terms of doing something or nothing, and she suspects that since most Americans have a negative view of the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan, there's not going to be a lot of public outrage if we fail to get into another quagmire.

Kristol says that it's "irresponsible" for a President to not want to start a war if need be, even if the American people are totally against it. Basically, every lever of our democracy is irrelevant if there's a hole in the world into which Kristol wants to pour blood and money.

Lane seems to proceed from the standpoint that Assad beating back this rebellion is the unexpected outcome here. He also says that "what we have here is a situation where Iran could see itself, if Assad succeeds in surviving at least, as having intimidated or frightened the United States into staying out of the area."

Wallace points out that the rebels are swelling with al Qaeda members, and Kristol is like, "Do something anyway," and Hume is all, "Do something do something do something, maybe a 'no fly zone.'"

"It's just a costly military enterprise," says Hume. No big deal! Someone else will pay for it and/or die in it.

In other news, a library opened in Texas this week. The panel has opinions on the library that opened.

FACE THE NATION

Today's Schieffer smorgasbord includes Boston and Syria and ESPLOSIONS OF THINGS ASPLODING and Lindsey Graham whining and red lines and Claire McCaskill and Saxby "Sexbee" Chambliss and Peggy Noonan and David Gergen and Clarissa Ward and John Dickerson and Norah O'Donnell.

First we have Senator Lindsey "Jowly Dave Foley" Graham, who is super upset about the lack of information sharing and that the Tsarnaevs had a really sophisticated understanding of the YouTubes on the interwebs. He is also upset about Syria. He is not satisfied with the lack of hot war being made in Syria right now. Oddly, he says that he worries that Syria will become a "failed state," but it is, right now, a failed state and was probably really a failed state way before any of the current uprising happened. My big clue: THE UPRISING THAT HAPPENED.

He also predicts that if we do nothing, al Qaeda will end up with chemical weapons and a safe haven in Syria, which is also what will happen if we do something, based upon the fact that this anti-Assad rebellion is flush with al Qaeda death-cultists. It is almost as if things don't break down into "black hat" and "white hat" categories -- which is actually one of the few sophisticated things about modern life that we can learn from the Tsarnaev losers.

But Graham, who by day is all, "TEH DEFICITZ, TEH DEFICITZ OMGZ!" is pretty insistent that we should "do stuff" in Syria with magic goblin money and everything will just work out.

Graham also reckons that by not doing a military misadventure with Syria, we will definitely have a war with Iran instead. This is all somehow predicated on the notion that the closer we get to Iran with missiles and guns and planes and soldiers, it becomes less likely that Iran will do something crazy.

Schieffer points out that a "no fly zone" would be "very dangerous," by which he means "the Syrians will shoot down planes and kill people and also destroy planes and it will all cost the United States a few billion dollars a day." Graham says, well, you have to take a risk, because what if chemical weapons fall into the hands of radicals? Graham is thus imagining GREATER RISKS and MORE DANGER and LARGER EXPENSES for the United States, because you cannot prevent chemical weapons from "falling into the hands of radicals" without American soldiers surrounding those chemical weapons and saying, "No you can't have those." Also, the fact that your "no fly zone" is there ON BEHALF of the side that includes said radicals, this all sort of sends a bunch of mixed messages.

Graham says there are two wars we need to get involved in. First we need to get Assad out of power, and then we need to turn out attention to making sure that the people who want to get Assad out of power also stay out of power, which all sounds like something you want to rush out and get involved in right now.

Meanwhile, America is not allowed to have a government agency that helps people avoid the tricks and traps in the fine print of credit card agreements.

But hey, Graham can say what he likes. It's not like he's going to lose cash or loved ones in a war in Syria. Dude is gambling with house money!

"You don't need boots on the ground," insists Graham, who I guess thinks that the weapons he worries about falling into the wrong hands can be secured with happy thoughts.

Let's talk to Saxby Chambliss and Claire McCaskill, for whatever reason. McCaskill says that the White House is "working hard to keep Syria from becoming a fragmented state," which: LOL. We're sort of long past the post on that one, I think! She says that we need to do something "surgically" that "gets the result we want" without "making things worse," which, yes, would be ideal, wouldn't it?

Chambliss is pro-don't let the wrong people get chemical weapons, which means he is either on the side of "boots on the ground" or the side of "I don't understand how war works." He also insists that in terms of the Assad regime murdering his citizens, it's not something that the United States has ever countenanced before, and I can only hope that Chambliss' retirement is plagued with the poltergeists of dead Rwandans, if Bill Clinton can spare any to make the trip to Georgia.

"The world is watching," says Chambliss. "The use of chemical weapons is a game-changer," he adds. We are really playing a hard, fast game of "empty statement bingo" today. Can I get an "all options are on the table," please?

Chambliss notes that the "situation in Syria is deteriorating," and the "situation is in chaos." "This is out and out war," he says, keenly aware that if she stops saying patently obvious things at all times, there's a risk that his brain might start working. (R.I.P. Douglas Adams.)

McCaskill says that we can "help by providing things" to "the good guys," whoever they are.

Schieffer asks if there's a chance that we might have to put boots on the ground. Chambliss has already insisted that we need to keep weapons from falling into the wrong hands, so unless he's got some witchcraft at his disposal, Schieffer already has his answer. McCaskill says that you cannot "rule it out." Chambliss says that we can use cruise missiles, so no. Our missiles are, he says, very sophisticated. I've yet to see a missile stand guard over a chemical weapons munitions dump, but whatever.

"The world is watching," Chambliss says again, because he is running out of things to say about this matter.

Schieffer says that people came on his show after Osama bin Laden was killed to say that the war on terror was over, but he doesn't explain why he didn't say, "Really? That sounds kind of idiotic!" in response.

Now Bob Orr and John Miller of CBS News are here, and I hope that's how you spell their names. They will do some further Boston reportage.

Do they know anything about whether the Tsarnaev's received training? Miller says that one made a trip to Russia for six months, but no one has found any indication that training was involved. Orr says that the bombs were super sophisticated (again, it REALLY doesn't seem like they were) and so, where did the Tsarnaev's practice? (I'd be happy to bet a sawbuck that the answer to "where did the Tsarnaevs practive" is "Hanover, Massachusetts.")

The Russians, however, say that they were wiretapping Mama Tsarnaev and that they caught some hot bomber talk between her and the older brother, but they did not share it with the United States.

Anything new? Apparently, the investigators went through a landfill because they think that maybe the younger brother discarded some computer thingy that they need as evidence. Mind you, the same brother did not discard ammunition and guns and bomb-making materiel, but I'm sure there is a super-sophisticate master criminal reason for that.

What about the OMG ATTACK ON MANHATTAN? Orr points out that at the same time the bomb-bros were talking about going to New York City, their plan was coming apart at the seams and the whole city was looking for them and "they didn't make it out of Watertown." Remember: all of their genius plans for further bomb-mayhem hit a bit of a snag because THEY DECIDED TO STOP FOR SOME SNACKS and the hostage they were holding RAN AWAY.

The Tsarnaev's were the terrorist version of the criminals from Coen Brothers movies, basically.

Anyway, that was some, "Everyone take a chill pill" stuff from Orr and Miller.

Bob Schieffer does a monologue where he says that saying the Democratic Party is a greater threat to America than North Korea is roughly the same level of meanness as holding a party fundraiser in Dallas. It's not his best work.

If anyone can explain the decision-making that led General Electric to use the villain from the THE MATRIX as a pitchman, I am all ears, people.

More nation-facing, with the aformentioned panelists Ward and Noonan and Gergen and O'Donnell and Dickerson.

First, Clarissa is going to explain Syria for you. (I bet she gets that a lot!)

SCHIEFFER: You were the first one to get in there. You went in under cover, got pictures and got this story and got it out and brought us the first really eyewitness reports and photos of what was going on there. So what do you make of these reports now that the Syrians did use this nerve gas on their own people? The president says it's a game changer. What does that mean?

WARD: Well, if you ask ordinary Syrians they're not surprised at all. They have absolutely no doubt that the regime has been using chemical weapons against them. But I think they're very skeptical about whether this revelation, or whether the intelligence that we're seeing come out will impact America's policy with regards to Syria. They have a very strong sense that in fact the US doesn't really have an actual policy on Syria, that there is a lot of rhetoric about "Assad must go, he must step aside," but there's very little muscle behind that rhetoric in terms of actually implementing something that would force Assad out of power. And what they would say is that, you know, President Assad is watching very closely here as we talk about red lines, and Iran is watching very closely as well. So I think if anything, there's a hope that maybe this red line, game-changer rhetoric will actually force the administration to really, you know, say exactly what our Syria policy is once and for all.

But what to do? Ward says that we could aid the rebels, for example. There is a "kind of rebel that we can trust." Ward says though that our rebel pal, "General Madris" has got no money and no weapons and so the rest of the rebellion doesn't respect him.

O'Donnell says that it's totally clear that the Obama administration doesn't want to drag us all into another war, and so the "red line" was a set of crossed fingers that are now a big "distraction."

"This is not like Libya. There is no advancing army to take out by putting jets there. There is nowhere to put boots on the ground. There is a whole series of bad options," O'Donnell says. Dickerson adds that there's a lot of armchair generals ramping up the talk of "no fly zones," and points out "you have to take out anti-aircraft batteries you when you do that. What happens if something goes wrong? The administration owns a civil war they don't want to engage in and the American people don't want to engage in."

Gergen adds some mystical bullshit that amounts to 'once the red line is drawn it changes the narrative' and then I guess we have terrible narrative problems. WHAT TO DO ABOUT THE NARRATIVE. O'Donnell sort of tries to point out that war exists in the practical realm of things that break and bleed, but Gergen is all, "NO NO FUZZY NARRATIVE BULLSHIT REALLY MATTERS."

Noonan points out that nobody has a "Syria policy." Ward says that maybe our policy is "This is a hot potato, we don't want to get involved." She says that she "respects" that, but we should state that outright.

Now the conversation is getting sort of swampy and redundant.

Gergen asks, "Aren't there things that we could do surgically that won't draw us in?" Ha, you mean like help the mujahadeen on Afghanistan many decades ago? Ward suggests that we can use airpower to stop Assad's planes from killing people. She nevertheless regards the whole situation as a Catch-22.

"We may have created a moral hazard with Libya," says Ward. HA YES, MAYBE SO.

Schieffer wants to talk about what's ahead for Congress. Mostly, erectile dysfunction, in the literal and figurative sense. O'Donnell thinks there's still "some momentum" behind a background checks bill. Dickerson says that the President is "hoping to get a big deal on the budget." Noonan is talking about something now, too. But I can't hear what it is because my wife is having a conversation right now and I don't feel compelled to tell her to be quiet so I can hear Peggy Noonan. My wife's conversation spares me from whatever David Gergen is saying now too. Something about hourglasses.

Now she's left the room, leaving me no distraction.

Dickerson notes that what's going on with the sequestration is that the whole strategy has failed. "The people who wait on line" at airports have better access to Congress "than the people who get Meals on Wheels." So, basically, affluent people will have the effects of sequestration ameliorated by Congress, and poor people will lose their homes and they'll get sick and hungry and die.

Here's Norah O'Donnell, appropriately attempting to shame Congress: "Congress acted quickly when some members of Congress were forced to wait a couple hours on a runway, as opposed to the paycuts the men and women serving in the military -- where they won't get a 3% raise, they'll get a 1% raise -- where at bases across this country, the coordinators that are hired to take care of families when their loved ones go overseas, that those jobs have been cut and those people have been furloughed. These kinds of stories that are happening in small communities among the people who need the help the most...when those jobs are cut, there isn't immediate action on that. But when it saves your own behind, waiting on the runway, I think it adds to the cynicism of government."

Ward says that she's given up trying to explain America to people overseas, because how could you? Our system is broken and you wouldn't want it.

In other news, a library opened in Texas this week. The panel has opinions on the library that opened.

MEET THE PRESS

Gregory apologizes for everyone being bleary-eyed today. Last night, the press and the politicians they cover were out whoring it up with one another. I really should just turn this show off, right now, shouldn't I? Instead, I am just going to put the TiVo remote in the other room, so I can't pause it.

Naturally, John McCain was available this morning, because life is just one crap sandwich that you have to swallow over and over again.

Soooooo. John McCain, what should we do about Syria? He says that "our actions should not be dictated by whether or not Assad uses chemical weapons," and that what the White House's redlines have done was give Assad permission to conduct war against his own people. McCain is very sad that we didn't just go to war in Syria two years ago, with goblin money and military personnel plucked from the magic tree, from which we pluck the means to wage infinite, cost-free war forever.

Gregory points out that the Iraq War, at the very least, should make us skeptical that "Unlimited McCainism" works, or is a policy that should be followed? "What is the limit that the United States should do?" McCain says we need to establish a no-fly zone, arm the rebels, put soldiers on the ground in order to prevent the rebels we just armed from getting the weapons we don't want them to have.

Gregory asks if the whole, "Help the rich people get their sequester problems fixed piece by piece," and McCain says, no, these are skewed priorities. McCain, however, represents part of the sequestration's miscalculation -- Obama gambled that the defense hawks still held a lot of clout in the GOP. Turns out they don't, and now things are what they are.

Gregory asks a pretty dumb question about electoral politics, because he was up late last night.

Gregory apologizes for everyone being bleary-eyed today. Last night, the press and the politicians they cover were out whoring it up with one another. I really should just turn this show off, right now, shouldn't I? Instead, I am just going to put the TiVo remote in the other room, so I can't pause it.

Naturally, John McCain was available this morning, because life is just one crap sandwich that you have to swallow over and over again.

Soooooo. John McCain, what should we do about Syria? He says that "our actions should not be dictated by whether or not Assad uses chemical weapons," and that what the White House's redlines have done was give Assad permission to conduct war against his own people. McCain is very sad that we didn't just go to war in Syria two years ago, with goblin money and military personnel plucked from the magic tree, from which we pluck the means to wage infinite, cost-free war forever.

Gregory points out that the Iraq War, at the very least, should make us skeptical that "Unlimited McCainism" works, or is a policy that should be followed? "What is the limit that the United States should do?" McCain says we need to establish a no-fly zone, arm the rebels, put soldiers on the ground in order to prevent the rebels we just armed from getting the weapons we don't want them to have.

Gregory asks if the whole, "Help the rich people get their sequester problems fixed piece by piece," and McCain says, no, these are skewed priorities. McCain, however, represents part of the sequestration's miscalculation -- Obama gambled that the defense hawks still held a lot of clout in the GOP. Turns out they don't, and now things are what they are.

Gregory asks a pretty dumb question about 2012 electoral politics and dumb hypotheticals, because he was up late last night and isn't that well prepared this morning.

Okay, now Representatives Peter King (R-N.Y.) and Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) will answer random questions about national security, I guess? Or something. Maybe everyone will just play Pictionary.

Ellison says that terrorist acts, like the one in Boston, are despicable and that we should rally together, around our dedicated law enforcement professionals, and not turn on one another. He also says that the United States should play a role, if nothing else, in the humanitarian crisis in Syria, by which he means the refugees on the Jordanian border.

King says that he is really concerned that the "rebels" in Syria as flush with al-Qaeda members, but that once you define a red line, you have to do something. Ellison says, "Red line does not mean boots on the ground," but that doesn't mean we should do nothing. He again says that we could play a role in the "humanitarian crisis," again he means the refugee crisis, which I'm pretty sure can't be aided without boots on the ground, and it also means that we're picking and choosing between "humanitarian crises." "Let us intervene in the less inconvenient one!" I guess.

The two men have vague opinions on Boston. King wants to surveill the Muslim community, even though he is of the opinion that most Muslims are fine people. He cites a Thomas Friedman article, of course. Friedman especially loves the sight of Muslims being greeted at the door by soldiers with guns, and being instructed to "Suck on this." Ellison says that if you've evidence that someone like Tamerlan Tsarnaev poses a threat, law enforcement should take appropriate steps, but why surveil an entire law-abiding community of people as one of those steps?

King disagrees. Ellison tries to point out the extent to which the Islamic community has decried terrorism. Nothing is going to be resolved here. This whole segment was basically set up to sow dissent, because the world really, really needed one more awkward and tendentious argument.

I am penalizing MEET THE PRESS five minutes of show, if they bring up the White House Correspondents Dinner, which they unfortunately do within seconds of going to their panel (which includes Amy Klobuchar, Karen Hughes, Joaquin Castro, Mike Murphy, and Chuck Todd.)

After the five minute penalty is enforced, we are talking about the Syrian red line. Todd says that the White House would have preferred to not talk about the chemical weapons being used, but the information was going to trickle out anyway and they had no choice. Unfortunately, there is also no solution to the problem. Murphy readily points out, for example, that there are no really "good guy rebels" that are both viable and identifiable.

Castro, says that he's confident in Congress passing immigration reform, and eventually brining the background checks bill back. I think that is sort of overconfident.

Castro, who gave a big speech at Obama's convention, thinks Obama will have a great legacy. Karen Hughes, who doesn't like Obama, thinks Obama will have a terrible legacy. Meet The Press has really spared no effort, bringing us some amazing teevee today, filled with surprising takes on a variety of matters.

Klobuchar thinks that a "Grand Bargain" will also be part of Obama's legacy, but I sure hope it isn't!

David Gregory went to a library opening, and he talked to Tony Blair, who used to run England. He told Blair that his legacy is associated with Bill Clinton's politics. He also says that his legacy is associated with George W. Bush's wars. He says, "This is interesting." Blair agrees that this is interesting. Blair uses the word "game-changer."

If you think that David Gregory is man enough to confront Blair for being Muammar Gaddafi's enabler, and thanks for that because look at the bloody mess we're now quagmired in there, well, the answer is no.

Most of this conversation can be summarized thusly:

GREGORY: War, huh? Boy. Tough, right.

BLAIR: Sure is.

GREGORY: Wow.

Now the conversation is this:

GREGORY: Boston, huh?

BLAIR: I know, right?

GREGORY: [meaningful pause]

Blair has opinions on the library that just opened. Does the panel has opinions on the library that opened? Yes they do. They do, indeed.

Okay! We are finished. Go have a Sunday afternoon or morning or evening depending on your time zone and whenever you started reading this. Next week, maybe someone on one of these shows will mention the whole Reinhart/Rogoff debunking or something, but I sort of doubt it! In the meanwhile, have a fantastic day and an enjoyable week.

[The Sunday morning liveblog shall return on May 5, 2013. While you wait, feel free to stop by, my Rebel Mouse page, which is periodically updated with great reads from around the web.]

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