TV SoundOff: Sunday Talking Heads

Oh, hello everyone, and welcome to your Sunday Morning Semi-Live, Hastily-typed, Somewhat Recap of your political chat shows. My name is Jason, my internet seems to be behaving now, so let's commence with what I hope is the nadir of my labor day weekend and yours! As always, please feel free to kick back in the comments with one another, drop me a line if that's your bag, and, as always, you are invited to follow me on twitter.

Just as a programming note, there will be no Sunday morning liveblog next Sunday. So sleep in, or something!


Oh, hooray, Dick Cheney is here, to terrify children, and America. He is, right off the bat, pointing out that in a room full of neocons, he was the only person who wanted to attack a Syrian nuclear reactor, so in case you were wondering where "The Line Where We Won't Cross Alongside Dick Cheney," there it is. Israel would later destroy said reactor, so that's some good "leading from behind" from Cheney.

Cheney is also really mad at Condi Rice, because she and the State Department made too many concessions to North Korea. "We never did get on top of the North Korean problem," Cheney says, as if he was part of an administration that got on top of any problems. They were mostly steamrolled, powerslammed by problems. I can think of many that have since become Somebody Else's Problem. By somebody else, I mean, like, say, "your children."

Condi Rice is naturally upset by the book. Zero is the number of craps that Dick Cheney gives about Condi Rice's feelings.

Wallace points out that Bush eventually agreed with Rice to take North Korea off the "state sponsor of terrorism" list. Cheney says that he obviously "got conflicting advice" and made the call, and Cheney disagrees with the decision, but he won't discuss why Bush was ultimately convinced or what specifically he found so convincing that it was worth throwing Condi Rice under a bus for in his book.

We're about four minutes into the interview, and Wallace has already had to say, "I guess what I'm getting at..." twice to set up a follow up question. Is Cheney implying that many of the people in the Bush administration, come the second term, go "soft?" "I didn't use those words," Cheney says. Wallace makes it clear he understands that he didn't say, "go soft." Cheney allows, "I believe we were not as effective."

Cheney is leaning very delicately on the "Bush administration as a force against non-proliferation," argument today. This makes sense, as the Bush administration was not much of a force against terrorism.

Cheney says that Steven Hadley was one of the people who leaked stories to the press that the President was prepared to draw troops down -- leaks that Cheney tried to stop. Hadley told Cheney that he'd leaked because the President asked him to make those leaks. Cheney gives Hadley credit for sticking with the surge publicly, and finally coming around to supporting it. Remember, always, that not every leak you hear is something that the White House doesn't want you to hear. And remember, always, that there was a lot of, "For eff's sake, don't tell Dick Cheney we had this conversation!" going on in the Bush White House.

Wallace asks if Cheney advised Bush to take out Iran's nuclear infrastructure. Cheney, who also gives zero craps about anyone saying, "Wow. That was not even a subtle dodge of my question!" replies by saying, "I didn't write about that in my book." Wallace sort of stares the question back. "Oh, that's why you're asking."

Cheney says that he never got to the point where he was in support of launching a strike, but was always in favor of "leaving the military option on the table." That's what he advised. Have it on the table, next to the yams. Don't ever exercise it. Sounds so utterly mainstream that one wonders why he didn't put it in the book. (Probably because "bombing Iran" was the main fantasy used in Dick Cheney's man-sized Masturbatorium.

"Let's go back to 9/11." As you might expect, it is like "it happened yesterday." Then a Secret Service agent grabbed him by the belt and made him leave. That Secret Service agent probably still lives in fear of when vengeance shall finally arrive at his doorstep. Probably four or five times since then, he's woken up and found a belt coiled up in bed next to him.

What was it like, giving the order to shoot down a plane? "It was necessary, and frankly, I didn't pause to think about it very much...the airplace was hijacked, it was a weapon." You know 9/11 did change everything for hijackers of planes. Remember when hijackers, a lot of the time, just wanted to be flown places? Growing up, the joke was the hijackers always wanted to go to Cuba. Take us to Cuba! We were dumb kids, in an era where dumb kids could still make jokes about hijacking planes.

Now, you try to hijack a plane just because you really want to fly somewhere other than where the plane is originally going (everyone flying into the airport in Orlando, Florida has that pang, mid-route) and the passengers rise up and kill you. You won't be able to convince them otherwise. "Hey, seriously, I don't want to kill you! Please remain calm and watch the in-flight movie. You will want to tell your loved ones about this! I promise you that you will, because I don't want to kill you. I just can't bear the thought of returning to Orlando! GOOD GOD PEOPLE I AM SURPRISED MORE OF YOU AREN'T WITH ME ON THIS! Oh, now. Now, now. There's no need to be advancing on me like that! Come on, guys! The seatbelt sign is on and everything! Great, now I am being repeated clouted on the head."

Cheney also really didn't like Colin Powell very much. And vice versa. Wallace says that Powell and he had a positive relationship while they were both at the Pentagon, so maybe General Powell only read the part of the book where they are at odds, because Powell, in the end, didn't want to be part of a long series of flabbergasting foreign policy cock-ups.

Anyway, everyone else gets to write a book, so that's why Cheney wrote him. He's not going to take any of the things he said back.

Is Dick Cheney afraid about being tried as a war criminal? Hahahaha. No. The answer is no. Come on!

BREAKING: Cheney is not a supporter of Barack Obama! Because of the "debt problem!"

Cheney doesn't think that infrastructue spending will save the economy. "Sounds like more of the same," he says, of the upcoming jobs speech Obama plans to deliver. What does Cheney support? Tax cuts, de-regulation, bromides. Sounds like more of get the idea. Cheney is asked if Hillary Clinton might have been a better President? Cheney says it's interesting to speculate about and that she "seems to be one of the more competent members of the current administration." Asked if the Dems would be better off with her as a nominee, he quips, "I certainly wouldn't want to discourage a good primary contest...but I don't want to be in the position where I am endorsing Hillary Clinton, it would be the kiss of death for her." (Going back to 2008, one of the greatest lies that conservatives have told has been the suggestion that they are all big Hillary Clinton fans. Trust me, if she'd been the nominee, they would have thrown everything, including the kitchen sink at her, and they'd have set fire to the kitchen sink beforehand. If you lived through the Clinton administration, then you remember these things.)

Cheney will support the eventual GOP nominee. But, he did, at one point, support Kay Bailey Hutchison over Rick Perry in the Texas gubernatorial race, saying that she was "the real deal." Wallace asks, "If Perry wasn't fit to be governor of Texas, why should he be President?" "I haven't endorsed anyone for President, yet," he answers, and says that his support for Hutchison is because they were friends and she asked him for his support. "It's not a commentary on Perry." (Though it was. When you call KBH the "real deal," you imply that Perry is the "unreal non-deal" or the "Surreal un-deal." (I have arrived at the opinion that a Perry Presidency would be like living inside a David Lynch movie.)

Cheney says he likes Mitt, and all his Olympic stuff. That Olympic stuff is neat.

Does he worry that the Tea Party will nominate someone unelectable? Cheney says that the Tea Party have had a positive effect, pointing out the deficit problems, that the administration he worked for caused. (So maybe a little, but whatever, he's out, and writing books.)

Does Cheney hate the media? It's more, he says, like he gave all of zero craps about what they had to say about him or the controversial policies he's endorsed. Wallace shows him how after his Today show ended, the cameras panning back and outside the studio caught someone with an "investigate Cheney" sign, who waved it in front of the camera. "Investigate Cheney, LOL," is his reponse.

Wallace, I guess, thinks that it wasn't an accident, and asks if there is a liberal bias in the media. Cheney says, probably but whatever, there's a lot of places where conservatives can get their ideas out.

Suddenly it's panel time, with Bill Kristol and Mara Liasson and Ed Gillespie and Kirsten Powers. Juan Williams gets another week off, of getting constantly belittled.

So, is the upcoming speech on jobs a speech about economic policy, or a curtain-raiser on the political campaign season from the White House. Kristol says it's obviously a political speech, because the Republicans in Congress won't pass anything he proposes, because they are against the unemployment rate moving in a positive direction, also because of politics.

Liasson says that the speech is nevertheless important, because Obama has to be able to say that he had a plan and fought for it, even though it won't get enacted.

Wallace points out that Fox's polling still reveal that most Americans, when pinning the blame for the terrible economy on somebody, don't tend to blame the Obama administration -- instead blaming the currect Congress, "fatcats," and, the Bush administration. Gillespie says in the end it's the President's approval number that matters, and that he doesn't anticipate a lot of split-ticket voting in 2012. (It is almost unheard of for voters to toss out the President of one party and send members of that same party to the House of Representatives, and I can't vouch for any good political science that says it's coming, because it's too damn early to be evaluating it, but there is some discussion out there about how this may happen. I have strong doubts myself, but you'll start reading editorials about it soon enough.)

Powers says that the White House does not want to muddy the waters between jobs and deficit reduction (too late!) but he will, after the jobs presentation, do another speech about entitlement reform and deficit reduction. I'm sure it won't muddy the waters!

Liasson and Kristol believe that long-term deficit reduction plans are the solution for everything. Why "certainty" is gained from believing things will be so unchanging over the next two decades that we can set a path today and then kick back and stop worrying is beyond me. But it's still beside the point -- no one has a job, there's a negative interest rate for borrowing right now, it's a funny old time to be trying to pay down long term deficits. If you spend productively in the short term, and put people in jobs, instead of having all this output potential sitting idle, we'll be fine!

But let me point out that the problem isn't that the GOP in Congress disagree with that assessment. The problem is that President Obama doesn't agree with that either! I think Obama believes in making banks whole, and restarting the Wall Street casino, and hoping for a bit of the "old normal" to kickstart the economy. "We'll get bubble inflation right this time!" I think the only reason the Wall Street sector is mad at him is because he won't personally come down to Louise Nevelson Plaza and give Jamie Dimon a tongue bath under a "Mission Accomplished" banner.

Now we'll talk about the horsey race! Gillespie says Rick Perry will have the chance to convince voters of his electability in debates. There are, like, a million of them. One day, politics will be nothing but debates, on teevee, with twitter and YouTube and a programmable hologram of Ron Paul.

Powers says, in terms of Perry is that "we see all the time" that people with extreme views on both the right and the left become the nominee and then have to temper their extremes for the general election audience. Powers will have to tell me what "extreme" candidate won the Democratic nomination lately. She does know that Dennis Kucinich was never the Democratic nominee, right? And that our last nominee is the guy who passed a national version of a center right health care policy package?

Bill Kristol thinks the "Republican nominee will be like Reagan" in that they will be a critic of the past Republican administration as well as the Obama administration. He is no longer pimping a Ryan-Rubio ticket, so maybe he's gotten some closure.

Liasson says it will be a stretch for Mitt Romney to take on an "anti-establishment persona." She's wrong. It will be a LAUGH, not merely a stretch. (But I could use a laugh!)

Sarah Palin gave a speech at some place this weekend. Gillespie gives a hilarious sentence about crony capitalism being a bad thing, and how the Obama administration has made capitalism more about who you it's up to Mitt Romney's SuperPAC to put an end to crony capitalism!

Kristol, at least, says that crony capitalism is the issue you want to bring up if you want to criticize both the Obama and the Bush administration. And Perry can "be attacked on the same grounds" but can tout a record of success and thus suggest "he can do it differently that Bush and Obama." Do "crony capitalism" differently?

Now we are back to Cheney, for some reason. Cheney talks about his emergency surgery that had him unconscious for weeks. He had a surgery to install a pretty amazing device that's basically a few steps to a functioning artificial heart. Medical technology is amazing! If you are titanically rich. (If it makes you feel better, though, poor people, what the meek are said to be poised to inherit is substantially better than a month long coma where you drink coffee in Tuscany. And that's your cold comfort of the week!)


Today, Bob Schieffer is going to be talking to Michele Bachmann and Jon Huntsman, "two candidates who surprised the pundits." I can't recall a time when Huntsman did more than "bemuse" the pundits. It that a mild form of surprise? I guess maybe. Reeeeeally mild. Like Miracle Whip mild. This show is actually a casualty of last week's hurricane, becauase I think CBS is keeping their previous dates with these two. As a result, they have to spend a half-hour with two candidates who aren't particularly relevant anymore. (Which is why the promo for the show featured Palin and Perry.)

Schieffer points out that Sarah Palin is proposing the elimination of all corporate income tax, along with eliminating "corporate welfare and loopholes and bailouts." There's something to that -- everyone who ever touted a foreign country's corporate tax rate did so because the rate itself was lower than ours. They probably didn't much intend for anyone to notice the fact that their larger rate captured a greater portion of revenue. My thought is, however, that you really can't trust someone like Sarah Palin to deliver on that promise. Nor can you trust anyone whose political campaign is underwritten by corporate lobbyists to do the same otherwise. I suspect President Bachmann would lower the rates, or happily eliminate them entirely, but find a reason to keep the loopholes.

If you want the correct conservative approach to the interplay between the federal government and corporate money, you should go with Buddy Roemer, who wants to start by dismantling the influence machine.

Bachmann says that she would "bring about the repatriation of income from overseas," and a reduction in the corporate tax rate. See! No discussion of capturing revenue through loopholes, rather than a one time repatriation. (The whole repatriation thing is designed to sound like a very righteous and just thing to do for ordinary Americans -- you should actually think of it as an amnesty program for money, where instead of being subjected to a 35% tax rate, they get a one-time deal at 5%, and the ability to wrap themselves in the flag.)

Bachmann says that she's open to having a debate on restructuring the tax code, and thus eliminating corporate taxes altogether. It could not be done immediately.

Schieffer asks if she can get more specific about her economic plans other than "repeal Obamacare" and "vote for me," and the answer is no. She will have "permanent fixes" and "private sector solutions" and "permanency" and "destroy the EPA" (translation: "Let pollution reign!") and no she can't really get specific about it. (IT'S GOING TO BE ACHIEVED THROUGH MAGIC.)

Speaking of magic! Schieffer asks how she will manage to get gas under $2 a gallon. She will, stop "strangling the energy sector" like Obama is doing. I would personally love to be strangled by Obama if the end result is that I enjoy record profits, but whatever! Clap your hands and get $2 gas, somehow! (The "somehow" is drill everywhere.)

It's interesting to hear Bachmann speak of the presidency as a place where you can exert command on commodity prices. That's all very "Iron Curtain." Schieffer asks about this: if the market can't deliver the $2/gallon prices (and again, the geological scientists have a different point of view than the magicians in terms of how much yield a place like ANWR is supposed to deliver, making the question about what to do WHEN the market fails to deliver the magic price reduction pretty relevant), would she do some sort of price controls? She says that the last thing she would do is price controls. She just basically believes that Tinkerbell will deliver her the oil.

Schieffer brings up the whole, "Let's drill the Everglades plan" she had, and she now says that she never brought that up, so everyone needs to stop yelling at her about that. "We need to open up drilling, but do it responsibly, without degradation of habitat or hurt air quality." (At least in the State of Florida, a battleground state.)'

She very pointedly avoids making this promise about Alaska. "The good news is we can do this, we have the technology available in the United States to responsibly access resources." (On the other hand, if we go with corner-cutting, oil companies can make greater profits. Remember that under the Bachmann presidency, there will be no "cop on the beat" ensuring that anyone is using the technology she touts.)

"Even in the Everglades?" asks Schieffer? "Anywhere in the United States! Iowa or Minnesota or Washington, DC." So enjoy getting drilled, Washington!

Schieffer asks about that time she said that God was punishing the East Coast because the government spent too much money. "Do you believe that God does use the weather to send people messages here on Earth?" he asks. Bachmann dodges the answer, saying that she was "speaking metaphorically." (I thought that she was telling a joke!) Schieffer repeats the question. Bachmann says that she believes in God, but the comment was a metaphor. So, absent a denial, we'll just go on believing that Bachmann thinks that God sends messages to human beings using the weather.

Why should someone vote for Bachmann instead of Rick Perry? Bachmann says that she is the "tip of the spear" and she's spent her career fighting while others, you know, just ran Texas. (This is the same argument she made against Pawlenty, and it worked because Pawlenty was a milquetoast who couldn't parry the attack.)

Okay, now here's Jon Huntsman.

Schieffer asks how Huntsman is different from Bachmann. He'd clearly like Huntsman to do that thing where he says, "OH LOL YOU KNOW I'M NOT CRAZY." But Huntsman keeps it on the level, instead telling Schieffer that the economy is "sucking wind" and we need to "come together as a country" and that it's "unnatural" for the United States to be divided. Damn! Someone better go back in time 200 years and tell the United States that! We were pretty much at each other's throats from jump, Jon! In 1798, mofeaux were all, "Damn, cuz! We gots to have a Sedition Act up in this piece, or something!"

Huntsman says he's put forward a comprehensive list of economic proposals that's different from anyone else in the race. Allow me to pull from this week's Speculatron slideshow, in which we people criticized the Huntsman plan:

Now, let's leave aside the critical aspect, so we don't lose any of the people who like the sound of this stuff. THIS ISN'T DIFFERENT FROM THE REST OF THE GOP FIELD. This is the same stuff that everyone else is proposing. The only difference is that it's coming from a guy who thinks scientists are cool and that gay people shouldn't be hounded into exile. And that's swell! But outside of the window dressing, it's not different.


"I do believe the next president of the United States will be a former Governor," Huntsman says, comfortably eliminating Bachmann, Paul, Gingrich, Karger, Santorum, Cain, and McCotter from consideration.

Huntsman has pledged to "drop his plan on the steps of the White House." And that plan would eliminate "all tax expenditures, all loopholes, all deductions, all subsidies, all corporate welfare," and...I know this is sounding SO EXCITING but here's the kicker, "and do it in a revenue-neutral fashion." UGH. As I've been saying, there's no point if it's revenue neutral! When I go to a bar, and order a drink, I don't want to find out that I've walked into a "Sazerac-neutral" establishment, where the guy takes glass, muddles the simple syrup and bitters, then adds chilled sazerac rye before transferring it to another chilled glass rinsed with absinthe, which he then rims with a twist of lemon, only to dump it out behind the bar, and when I complain, reply, "But sir, we didn't charge you for the drink, and I'm sure you're impressed by how streamlined our system has become."

Does this mean that social security recipients have to pay taxes on their checks, or that veterans have to pay taxes on their disability payments? Good question, Bob! Jon Huntsman will answer it on some other occasion, if that's okay with you! (Though the dog whistle I'm hearing is, "I'm not saying no!")

Schieffer asks about Palin's "CORPORATE ROCK TAXES STILL SUCK" plan. Would he go that far? Eliminate corporate taxes entirely? He calls it a "political bromide." "Everybody would love to go down to zero in terms of corporate taxes," Huntsman says. Really? EVERYBODY? "How do you do it? How do you make the numbers work? All I'm telling you is I have been there and I have done that. I have worked on tax reform, the most sweeping tax reform we ever saw in the history of our state.... effectively creating a flat tax. I know how difficult it is to make the numbers work. You have got to find the revenue somewhere that you can reinvest back in the tax code to bring down the rate for everybody." Right. Because revenue neutral.

Huntsman says his plan is "based on the real world." Again, that's coming from the guy who would reject a ten-to-one cuts-to-revenue deficit deal.

Schieffer asks if he's going to be able to keep up this moderate act, at single-digits in the polls. (We're talking about "the Huntsman act that does not pertain to his economic plan," mind you.) Huntsman says that, well, everyone gets a label slapped on their forehead, he's just going to run on his record. (No one was slapping a label on Huntsman's forehead until Huntsman tweeted that he liked scientists.)

Schieffer closes out by talking about how this is the 49th anniversary of his discharge from the Air Force -- and thus the 52nd day since his enlistment. He learned a lot in the Air Force! "Maybe it's unfair," he says, "But as I watch the mess we've made of our politics, I find myself asking, do you think these people were every really on a team, every set down and really listened to what someone else was saying?" I think most people are on the same team, and it's coached by lobbyists.

Send Bob Schieffer some more relevant presidential candidates to interview, CBS, KTHXBAI.


What exquisite torture does Meet The Press have in store for us? Oh, no. Thomas Friedman. He wrote a book! Now he wants to have "a special discussion."

I've always wanted to drop Thomas Friedman into some zombie movie, where he wins the day by boring the zombies to death with long lectures about how they've lost all connection to the cultural values that the people who provided the meatsacks their brain-ravenous undead spirits now animate. "It used to not be about a wonton, neverending quest to sate yourself on cerebral tissue, guys. Think about how amazing social media is!" Then, all the zombies jump into an active volcano.

Meet The Press kicks off with a Montage of Feelings About The Horse Race that's basically here as a hilariously awkward shill-job for the upcoming NBC News debate. I guess Thomas Friedman won't be the only product pimped on this morning's show.

Today's panel includes Friedman, Paul Gigot, Doris Kearns Goodwin, Maxine Waters, and No Labels style maven Mark McKinnon. It's pretty hilarious, to hear Gregory about the "challenges that face us" when the panel is basically filled mostly with people who a) aren't facing challenges and b) mainly respond to challenges by issuing bromides.

This is going to hurt like hell, watching this.

Unemployment! It's a line on a graph that in the world of Meet The Press means bad things for the president. How many jobs were created by Thomas Friedman's new book? Hopefully a few! But here's the upshot. Friedman has written a book in which he notices that there was a "subprime crisis" and it seems to have been bad. And, uhm...the problem is that we "misinterpreted our Cold war victory" and "threw a party in the 90's" and it was awesome because of the internet. The super internet was awesome and it was the victory prize we gained from defeating the Russians, somehow! But we spent the "last decade chasing the losers of globalization rather than the winners." That's interesting, because Steve Jobs, who manufactures iPads in Chinese sweatshops where people get time off from work by committing suicide, seems to qualify as a "globalization winner" that everyone is chasing.

"We injected ourselves with credit steroids," Friedman has finally noticed!

We are also so connected! HYPER-CONNECTED! Social media! "Facebook was not in the index of my old book!" Wow! Thomas Friedman failed to mention Facebook in 2008, and that is somehow a reflection on everyone and everything else in the world, and not a reflection of the fact that Thomas Friedman notices things years after they've become apparent and then acts like they've only gotten real once he starts writing about them.

"Jay-Z and Kanye collaborated on 'Watch The Throne,' which is extraordinary, because I did NOT see that coming when I wrote 'The Lexus and the Olive Tree.' When you think about it, this means this record should not have happened at all. IT SHOULD NOT EXIST!"


Anyway, Friedman likes the "Greatest Generation" better than the "Baby Boom Generation", but the fact that they existed at the same time "accounts for a lot of the hole we're in structurally."

(I was sort of waiting for the part where actually having banking reform -- like reinstating the Glass Steagall act -- gets America back to where "THAT USED TO BE US" ("US" used to be "living in a strong regulatory environment, where the commingling of different forms of banking was concerned) but as always, with Friedman -- it is the "US" that's to blame for everything. Never people in power, never the uniquely corrupt, it was literally you and me and the people we know who said, "Absolutely, let's let corporate lobbyists have the run of the place." That was all our idea, and what's more important is that we have some feelings and re-align our national chakras in a Thomas Friedman-led national encounter session.

Paul Gigot says that if Obama wants "an election issue" he'll try to do something "big" about jobs, but if he wants to "get something done" he'll...uhm...propose a tax reform package that aligns squarely with GOP orthodoxy. Ha, ha, yes! That's exactly what the smart move is, here! If Obama tries to solve unemployment, it's just a cynical ploy to get re-elected! But if he actually adopts the GOP point of view on tax reform as his own, the GOP will be "back on their heels" and it will "change the debate."

"Woah!" John Boehner will say, "Why are we passing this? I'm so confused! President Obama, you've defeated us again! What a master of the game you are!"

Meanwhile unemployment spikes to, you know, 10.2%. But yeah! That's such a solid plan for the president to follow.

MAXINE WATERS...AGREES...THAT THE PRESIDENT...SHOULD BE BOLD. She means he should use bold cadences, I think? Oh, no. She wants him to put a "big program out" and "fight for it." Exactly what Gigot said not to do, because helping people is a cynical ploy to get them to vote for you.

(I think we all know that Obama's plan will fall well short of WPA-style work programs, and will nonetheless make sure than he's called a socialist by all the GOP's presidential candidates.)

Mark McKinnon says the No Labels position is that everything would be different if people had just been nicer to each other, and that the consumer confidence index is entirely based upon the fact that there has been a lot of partisan polarity of late. It has nothing at all to do with insolvent banks and foreclosures and unemployment.

Goodwin says the Obama needs to "persuade people that government can work." How does that work? "America! Trust me! The pointless obstruction I face every day just making generic judicial appointments should not be read as a sign that this system isn't working!"

(I am, maybe going to go brush my teeth again, or something? To see if I can pluck a nugget of actual wisdom from between my molars?)

Thomas Friedman actually just performed a monologue of pure blather. Hyper-connectivity! Imagination! The spark of an idea! We need to invent our way out of a crisis!

I have to tell you, I have, on two occasions in my previous work life, been made to sit through two presentations from "process re-engineering consultants." The second time was the best, because I knew that their arrival presaged the business flopping, and that the preview of coming attractions involved bromides followed by shady hires followed by wealth extraction followed by redundancies, and this time, I was going to be way ahead of the curve in getting my resume in front of different employers. Friedman does not sound any different than any two-bit consultant hustler that bad companies hire when they've given up on trying to run their own business.

I believe Thomas Friedman's solutions for unemployed America can be summarized in thirty seconds:

My eyes glaze until I hear Mark McKinnon say he's worried that no one has any "big bold ideas" and that we're "just nibbling at the edges," which is funny considering that No Labels has no bold ideas, and won't even nibble at the edges, instead standing on the sidelines yelling, "Be nicer! Do excellent things! Strive harder! Be more perfect!"

Friedman is now talking about how we need to get back to a nation that attracts talented people, has strong infrastructure, creates the right rules for the financial sector (no more recklessness), and lots of government funded R&D. I'll remind you that he's fond of writing columns in which he depicts Washington's problems as equally meeting out by Obama and the Republicans. But what has Thomas Friedman been failing to understand, here? Obama's not been all that keen to police Wall Street's recklessness, but he is ABOSULTELY the guy who believes in infrastructure and government R&D! Does Thomas Friedman really believe that Obama is equally culpable for the fact that we aren't, say, well into a long-term investment in high-speed rail, for instance?

He will figure this out in a book he'll write in eight years, and say that everyone in America was to blame.

"Competent and confident, I think that is a huge issue," says David Gregory, who I guess was feeling like he'd been missing out on massaging the oxygen in the Meet The Press studio with his tongue and gums.

Bless. A commercial.

Okay, I'm taking the TiVo remote and giving it to my wife and telling her, "DO NOT LET ME PRESS PAUSE ON THIS," because I want to get on with my life, now.

I think we're into the horserace stuff now? David Gregory assures us that the debate NBC news is hosting -- that they originally scheduled for May 2 -- is going to be super-important! Why? Uhm...well...Rick Perry will be there. He then talks about how some child asked Rick Perry what his "favorite superhero" was. Yes. Sunday news shows consider this to be a matter of national import. Anyway, Perry said that his favorite superhero was "Superman." Probably because neither DC nor Marvel comics came up with a superhero whose powers were "ignoring evidence that he was about to put an innocent man to death" and "subsequently sandbagging the investigation into that innocent man he put to death."

Thomas Friedman is astonished that Mark McKinnon just read something off his iPhone because it means he didn't have a secretary help him get those notes and "those jobs are not coming back." (Neither are the jobs that contitute, "manufacturing iPhones.")

Maxine Waters suggests that maybe we make it too expensive or too difficult for corporations to take their jobs elsewhere, and Gregory cuts her off, saying, "sounds like you're fighting the last war." (Surely we can save money by having a Taiwanese animation of a loaf of bread host Meet The Press. Maybe that would drive this point home.)

Doris Kearns Goodwin comes out strongly against a return to the robber-barons era. That's actually a relief! Most Sundays, I worry if the negatives associated with that era are actually lost on people.

Thomas Friedman is now comparing everything to the Space Shuttle, suggesting that working together is the "booster rocket" that's "cracked and leaking" and also the "pilots are disagreeing" and everyone has to have some feelings and do some stuff if we want to reach "escape velocity" and "reach the next level." And BLESS HER, Maxine Waters actually INTERRUPTS THAT FOOL to say, "before we talk about the next level" we need to consider all the people who have been left behind, in foreclosed homes and bankrupt communities.

And that's how they finally got around to talking about ordinary Americans, in the last minute of today's Meet The Press.

Okay, we're going to "leave it there." Like I said, we will not be liveblogging Sunday morning, so, you know, please enjoy that day in whatever manner you deem fit. We will return September 18th. In the meanwhile, have a great Labor Day weekend, I hope that it means cooler temperatures, football Sundays, kids back in school...anything autumn-related that brings you and yours happiness and joy.