TV SoundOff: Sunday Talking Heads

Hello, good morning, welcome, to nothing much. This is your liveblog of the Sunday Morning Political Loud Sucking Sounds. My name is Jason. Some thoroughly shameless plugs before we begin! My colleague, Ryan Grim, has written a book! About getting high! Actually, it's a serious enterprise called This Is Your Country On Drugs and I can tell you personally, it was just too hot for those nellies at the Cato Institute. WAY TOO HOT. So you want to pre-order this from Amazon, today, if only to prove the cultural strength of this Sunday Morning Liveblog Book Club of ours. THAT'S RIGHT WE JUST STARTED A BOOK CLUB, I GUESS, SO WHAT? Anyway, buy it, and attend the book party Saturday, June 20th at 8:00 p.m. at the American Legion Post 8 at D and 3rd Sts. SE (224 D St SE). Do this!

Also, if you like sexy love stories about magical realism and terrorism and the policy of the Two-State Solution, then you need to come see Jason Grote's 1001, which the theatre company I work for, Rorschach Theatre, is staging, starting tonight in the Devine Theatre of Georgetown University. Details are here!

Anyway, YOU HAVE BEEN SHAMELESSLY PLUGGED ON A SUNDAY. You should want to go to both these places, so do it if you want and hold nothing back! Today, feel free to leave comments, or send emails. Also, you can follow me on the Tweeting thing, for fun. And so this dread liveblog COMMENCES!


Ooh, wow. Jowly Dave Foley and The Specter shall discuss Sonia Sotomayor, and La Raza! How about all this "wise Latina judge" stuff? Ahh, well, I remember a day, not long ago, where my wife came home very pleased that a longstanding problem they'd faced at her school had finally been handed to her supervisor, who'd long lobbied to deal with it. I can't remember the specifics of it! But I do remember reflecting on the fact that Caroline's immediate supervisor was of Caribbean extraction, and I remarked: "This is a good thing. It proves something I've always believed, some problems are too tough to keep throwing the same old white people at them." Now, I'm not getting confirmed for a post on the Supreme Court -- thank god for everyone! -- but I feel that what Sotomayor said in her "wise Latina lady" quip was about as honestly racist as what I said. Maybe I'm wrong! Maybe Sotomayor was whipping a small white child in the small of the back when she said that.

Anyway, I think that if I was ever asked to apologize for my remark, above, my response would be, "Uhm, let's do I put this into words...uhm....well, HOW ABOUT YOU TRY A BIG OL' SACK OF NO ON FOR SIZE?"

For real. It's pretty pathetic to be part of clear and decisive ruling class on one day, only to reveal oneself to have tissue-thin skin the next day. SACK UP, WHITE PEOPLE.

Anyway, WHOOP-DEE-DOO, Obama and Sotomayor are all WALKIN' IT BACK, which is so post-racial, I guess. Jowly Dave Foley needs Sotomayor to come into court and prove to him that she won't subject him or other caucasians to LATINA JUSTICE, which honestly, Jowly Dave should try.

Wallace is befuddled that anyone in the world might think they are smarter than a white person! And arguing for diversity, is Arlen Specter, who is wearing his rainbow colored tie.

BUT IDENTITY POLITICS are on display on the Ricci case, where Sotomayor, along with two other justices, sided with the City of New Haven. New Haven is a city in Connecticut, a hotbed of Latino identity politics. She was totally siding with La Raza. Connecticut is one big barrio, where white people are roundly mocked for their terrible firefighting abilities.

Jowly Dave Foley says that if he used the "Obama standard" of voting, he could never vote for Sotomayor. Obama, if you recall, didn't vote for Roberts or Alito.

The word "nunchucks" is not up on the teevee screen. I don't know what Jowly Dave Foley is talking about, but I wish he would talk about nunchucks.

Now Jowly Dave says Sotomayor will get "firmly treated," which is weird. I didn't think the confirmation process had a "sexcapade" part. But Specter also says he will be "probing" a "snatch here and a snatch there," affirming that he will "discharge it" so WOW I AM WATCHING THESE HEARINGS. I sure hope I am not taking

Jowly Dave compares Sotomayor to Miguel Estrada. Of that, Matt Yglesias opined:

The argument against Estrada, as I recall it, was that he's very conservative. The argument about Sonia Sotomayor consists of the idea that we should discount her career and her degrees because those are just the results of the kind of "preferential treatment" that poor Puerto Rican girls from the projects get. We've also heard that she has a troubling fondness for Puerto Rican food. That it's unreasonable that she pronounces her name as if it's a Spanish word. We've heard that she's a soft-hearted woman who wants to set aside the law in favor of empathetic victims, and also heard complaints that she's failed to set aside the law in order to help out empathetic white people. These kind of criticisms are going to drive Hispanics away from the conservative cause not because conservatives are criticizing a Latina, but because they're criticizing her in terms that imply a generalized skepticism about the qualifications of all American Hispanics, a loathing of Latin culture, and a monomaniacal obsession with defending the interests of white people. And while not all conservatives have gone in for the full Goldfarb/Krikorian madman treatment, no prominent voices on the right seem interested in checking the tide of borderline bigotry from their camp. It's a reminder that checking prejudice against non-whites isn't something conservatives are interested in.

"She has accomplished a lot as an American, but I wonder if she realizes what America is all about," says Jowly Dave Foley, who I guess is going to appoint himself the sole arbiter of what America is all about. Could you imagine actually meeting such a condescending man? Well, he's on the teevee, right now.

Wallace plays the Joe Sestak card all over sad Arlen Specter, who now says he's "ready to take on all comers." Wallace then makes fun of him, saying that he'll be questioning Sotomayor at one in the morning because he lost all his status. HAHAHA it's like Arlen Specter is three-fifths of a person, now!

So, apparently, FOX NEWS SUNDAY is starting a new segment dedicated to promoting the Republican Party exclusively, and kicking it off today is Mitt "Fraudbot" Romney. Somehow, Romney is now magically transformed into a national security expert and worse, a "missile defense" expert. He's really upset that Obama and Gates have cut funding to missile defense because they recognize that the priority of defense expenditures are going to fighting the War On Terror. Mitt Romney seems to believe that vital COIN needs depend on funding nuclear missile interceptors in Alaska, and that any competing view means that Obama does not want to "modernize the military."

Anyway, FOX is really going to run a weekly infomercial for the Republican Party? If so, I hope they get some more credible "future GOP thinkers" than Romney, who believes, for example, that Obama ASPIRED TO TAKE OVER THE AUTO INDUSTRY.

Is the GOP in danger, Wallace asks. Romney says that it happens from time to time that a party comes to power and overreaches and voters offer a course-correction. "Don't you have to have new answers," Wallace asks. Romney SAYS yes, but really, what he sees as "new" is the changing times. The ideas that were rejected, as part of the overreach that drummed his party out of power are not things Romney is interested in changing. I don't think the GOP is coming back to prominence on the back of smooth talkers like Romney. I also think that rumors of the GOP's demise are close to being exaggerated. They'll return with people who have quietly built up policy portfolios, and who have tested innovative ideas in local districts, and who have an eye on building middle-class wealth and opportunity. But, the Pie-tanza Brigade needs to have their last spasm, I guess.

Panel Time! And it's the classic Panel configuration today.

Brit Hume says that the criticism of Sotomayor is "not nonsense" but that she'll likely handle herself "ably" and that she'll be confirmed. Hume hopes that now "racial preferences" will be at the center of the debate. Wallace and Liasson, though, point out that from a case-by-case basis, you can't pigeonhole Sotomayor as having a racial preference. And yet, Liasson still believes that there will be a debate over "racial preferences!" Presumably, Sotomayor will not be required to attend this debate.

Liasson, bafflingly, asserts that if the "wise Latina woman" was nonsense, then the White House wouldn't feel the need to respond to it. But this is a willful misrepresentation of the way the relationship between the press and the White House, where the press works to find something completely and perfectly nonsensical, which they then turn and batter the White House with again and again until they are forced to respond. Had the White House not responded, Liasson wouldn't be on teevee saying that their non-response proved that it was a trivial matter, she'd be saying, "Obviously, the White House is too scared to respond to this, it's serious."

Hume says that Hispanic voters will not be offended if Sotomayor is treated to a serious debate on her views on these issues, and I think that's right.

Meanwhile! North Korea! Kristol thinks that Gates will back down on missile defense funds, and "thinks it might be worth doing some targeted air strikes" against North Korea. You know, ON A LARK, let's do some TARGETED AIR STRIKES! Next Saturday, maybe? Two in the afternoon? I'll bring a picnic lunch, we'll have some half-assed acts of war, play some badminton, and there probably won't be any negative ramifications.

Hume says, hey, there's this diplomacy stuff? With China and what not? Wallace asks him if he is averse to dropping the bomb on the Kim Jong Il crew and Hume's all, "Duh, sure, I can heft my penis for weight and girth! Hey ho! But the Obama administration, they LOVE THE DIPLOMACY, because they are Belgian vagina-faces." Mara Liasson points out that you can't just piss off to drop bombs on North Korea any time you want because when you do, you put South Korea at risk for reprisals.

Anyway, Bill Kristol says some more stuff, probably about other people he'd like to drop bombs on next Saturday, if we're not doing anything, and then, hey, maybe we grab gelatos later? Whatever, it's just another ad hoc, neo-con bombing party!


It's been a long time since I've watched Chris Matthews pre-taped chit-chat extravaganza, so why not today? I'm sure this will be some quality talk from the top minds in politics. On tap today, Helene Cooper, Mark Whitaker, Ann Kornblut, and John Heileman. OKAY, TALK ABOUT STUFF!

Sonia Sotomayor! She's Hispanic, and angers Sean Hannity who says she's the most DIVISIVE POSSIBLE PERSON he could appoint to the Supreme Court. What? You mean you'd be slightly less incensed if Jeremiah Wright had been appointed? Probably not!

Actually! We are going to return to the Chris Matthews show in a minute, because Ana Marie Cox - who many of you want as a guest blogger, wants to watch MEET THE PRESS with us today. So, we skip ahead:


Ana Marie Cox: i promise it'll be fun


Ana Marie Cox: so fun!

Jason Linkins: By Angry Leprechaun, you mean Sessions, right? Because Brian Williams is the happy leprechaun.

Ana Marie Cox: yes

Ana Marie Cox: "where's me gold?"

Jason Linkins: OMG! LEAHY AND SESSIONS on MEET THE PRESS? This is History in the making!

Ana Marie Cox: "moralist moral authority!"

Ana Marie Cox: countdown until someone tells someone else to go fuck themselves... in one, two....

Ana Marie Cox: (and, for the record, i think it'll be the two senators who say it to gregory.)

Jason Linkins: Jeff Sessions thinks that it "goes against the great tradition of American law" for Hispanic ladies to speak their minds about the historically abused white people.

Ana Marie Cox: Oh, read the Tweet!


Ana Marie Cox: NEWTEEET

Ana Marie Cox: Rush appears to be doing the hula hoop

Ana Marie Cox: bouncing around in excitement

Ana Marie Cox: she's david duke?

Ana Marie Cox: AWESOME

Jason Linkins: Gregory says Gingrich says "new racism is no better than old racism." I don't know! As the "new racism" is mostly about saying BAD ASS ZINGERS aloud, and not actually doing MATERIAL HARM to other races, I am going to have to come down in favor of the NEW RACISM.

Ana Marie Cox: new racism lynching all in all MUCH preferable to ACTUAL LYNCHING

Jason Linkins: I mean, I think John Brown and Harriet Tubman would have been okay with the NEW RACISM.

Ana Marie Cox: you know it's bad when Sessions is backing down from Rush rhetoric, btw

Ana Marie Cox: "my friend Jeff sessions!" drink!

Jason Linkins: David Gregory asks Sessions eight times, "DO YOU THINK SHE'S A RACIST." He should throw in an "Are you running for President?" for fun.

Ana Marie Cox: "yes yy eys yes yes i mean, no! yes! wait!"

Jason Linkins: Leahy says "COMPELLING STORY" so drink!

Ana Marie Cox: "leaders of the republican party like rush and newt" DRINK!

Ana Marie Cox: "more time than anyone in the last hundred years!" drink!

Ana Marie Cox: Gregory: "but this is not about qualification!" truly, because how else did Gregory get his job!?!

Jason Linkins: And now he filibusters the show, with that compelling story. "Sonia Sotomayor was the longest and the best and the coolest. She commanded a starship for twelve minutes and saved 800 lives. I DARE YOU TO DO BETTER, Samuel Alito!"

Jason Linkins: David Gregory has built his entire career on racial preferences.

Ana Marie Cox: Alito would totally have to travel back in time.

Ana Marie Cox: To be fair, Sessions could also be a younger, shorter, angrier Spock.

Jason Linkins: I think that we need someone to do one of those BLINGEE things with Sessions. Dress him in green, give him a pipe and a pot of gold.

Ana Marie Cox: "'sensitives to other human beings" VERY DIFFERENT from EMPATHY.

Ana Marie Cox: apparently

Jason Linkins: SESSIONS: "All human beings should have feelings and be sensitive to other people."

Ana Marie Cox: sessions, btw, was never able to overcome his own compelling lifestory of being an old-fashioned racist.

Jason Linkins: It's okay, Mitt Romney! LEARN FROM JEFF SESSIONS.

Jason Linkins: By the way, is this JEFF SESSIONS or PETE SESSIONS. And is there a difference?

Ana Marie Cox: it's the Peel Sessions

Ana Marie Cox: cue bizarre love triangle FTW

Jason Linkins: Pat Leahy would also look good decked out in Irish blingee.

Ana Marie Cox: but Jeff would look more like an actual leprechaun.

Jason Linkins: I like Echo And The Bunnymen's Peel Sessions, myself. "Villier's Terrace!" What happened there? (ANSWER: They all got high and played with drum machines.)

Ana Marie Cox: How many times has DG asked about being "troubled"?

Ana Marie Cox: "getting high and playing with drum machines" = also what senate dem interview with sonia will be like.

Jason Linkins: I don't know. David Gregory really did his homework. He really memorized the hell out of that one question.

Jason Linkins: Oh! David Gregory is nailing Obama for filibustering Alito!

Ana Marie Cox: asking it with the same variation of intonation as "are you running for president"

Ana Marie Cox: "ARE you troubled?"

Ana Marie Cox: "Are YOU troubled?"

Ana Marie Cox: "Are you TROUBLED?"

Jason Linkins: AWW. Ya burnt, Barack! Straight up filibusterin' Bush nominees and what not! How ya gonna reconcile these two positions?

Jason Linkins: DAVID GREGORY: "Is he trying to have it both ways?" Hmmm. I guess to be intellectually consistent, Obama should oppose his own nominee. THAT WOULD BE SOME POLITICAL JUJITSU.

Ana Marie Cox: Leaders of the Repub party like Rush Limbaugh. DRINK

Ana Marie Cox: Obama opposing his own nominee would make sense in the whole time-travel scenario you laided out earlier

Ana Marie Cox: CROSSING THE STREAMS or something?

Ana Marie Cox: Let's make random scifi geek references until SOMETHING MAKES SENSE

Jason Linkins: Pat Leahy is all about filibustering MEET THE PRESS today. He's describing the process of hearings, now. Pat Leahy is destined to be a part of the next "Auto Tune The News" YouTube.

Ana Marie Cox: and yet "are you troubled?" could be awesome

Jason Linkins: Patrick Leahy is now lengthily expounding upon the lost culture of the planet Vulcan.

Jason Linkins: National Public Radio presents David Gregory in "Are You Troubled?"

Ana Marie Cox: david g's variations intonations of are you troubled is kind of like a lo-fi auto-tune.

Ana Marie Cox: fwiw: I like session's clear blue tie. i think it might mean that he's pregnant tho.

Jason Linkins: Yeah, sartorially speaking, Sessions game was TIGHT today. Straight stylin'. He should be one of THE HILL's FIFTY MOST BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE.

Jason Linkins: "Is there political peril for the GOP in opposing the nominee?" I have to say, no. I agree with Alex Balk. This is an occasion where the GOP should just let all their weird racism hang out. It should be an identity politics party par excellence!

Ana Marie Cox: this is the "lord of the flies" period for the party that Steve Schmidt referenced.


Jason Linkins: Word.

The conversation on MTP shifts, to the New York Stock Exchange, for some reason:

Ana Marie Cox: gregory's hair suddenly v different

Ana Marie Cox: this segment actually taped last year

Ana Marie Cox: schmidt is kind of awesome btw


Jason Linkins: I could take Eric Schmidt or leave him. He'd better singlehandedly save print media or something!

Ana Marie Cox: he also loves journalism

Ana Marie Cox: i do predict that Google starts it's own original journalism outlet at some point

Jason Linkins: Okay, is it just me, or should CATERPILLAR totally file for Chapter Whatever, restructure itself, and return to the world as BUTTERFLY? THIS WOULD BE AN AWESOME MOVE, DO NOT DENY IT.

Ana Marie Cox: CHRYSALIS first?

Ana Marie Cox: Or should Chrysler be CHRYSALIS?

Ana Marie Cox: And then they merge?


Jason Linkins: "The American people want an American car industry." We want FLYING cars, that perform oral sex on us while driving.

Ana Marie Cox: while making beer

Ana Marie Cox: I think Gregory is about to ask if Google is running for president.

Jason Linkins: You cannot tell me that if General Motors put out a car tomorrow that menually stimulated the genitals of Americans, that Americans would not buy this car, and then NEVER DRIVE IT, thus saving the environment as well.

Jason Linkins: This whole set up makes it look like Meet The Press shot this live from the Borg Starship. I keep expecting those emo-punk Borg robots to shamble out onto the set and start plugging these people into toasters.

Ana Marie Cox: that of course has already happened with Gregory.

Ana Marie Cox: It's also possible that Google is the Borg

Ana Marie Cox: I think if you look closely at Schmidt's glasses, you'll see they're scrolling bio-data and research on the lifeforms around him

Jason Linkins: Eric Schmidt wisely notes that these are incentives when it comes to government involvement. Spurs one to try to get the Federal Government out of the boardroom. Of course, last time I checked, it was the Congresscritters who had actual GOOD MARKETING PLANS for American cars. And the CEOs, in those hearings, were all: "Wow, that's a good idea! I'm going to watch this rerun on C-SPAN, and write what you just said down."

Jason Linkins: I keep hoping that they will get bumrushed by the Wolfram Alpha people.

Ana Marie Cox: To be fair, I think you stole that "cars that give blow jobs" idea from David Vitter.

Jason Linkins: Do you think Wolfram Alpha is a shout out to ANGEL? And yes, I think the first blowjob car will be called the 2010 David Vitter LE.

Ana Marie Cox: Shouldn't we just ask Wolfram Alpha what to do about the economy? Oh, a thought: Is there a search engine in the world that would not pass the Turning Test if David Gregory was asking the questions?

Ana Marie Cox: Gregory: "One of my favorite questions to ask you is... ARE YOU RUNNING FOR PRESIDENT? Oh, wait..."

Jason Linkins: We probably aren't doing this actual conversation justice. Let's just agree that here are three white people who don't seem that worried about Sonia Sotomayor's choice of cuisine.

Ana Marie Cox: But apparently people are searching for guacamole recipes on Google.

Jason Linkins: HAHA. You know, I get extra geek points whenever I mention Turing Tests.

Ana Marie Cox: I think searching for guac recipes on Google suggests we're all becoming Marxists.

Jason Linkins: Ryan Grim IM's me to report that mentioning his book today has driven it up a few thousand spots on Amazon! KEEP IT UP, HUFFPO READERSHIP!

Ana Marie Cox: YAY!

Jason Linkins: RYAN GRIM: "I'm #31 in "Drug Dependency!" YOU CAN MAKE HIM NUMBER ONE, HUFFPO!

Ana Marie Cox: Also why are on the floor of the stock exchange? Is that an obvious q?

Ana Marie Cox: Is it to keep DG from asking if they'll run for president?

Jason Linkins: MEET THE PRESS wanted to flex it's awesome muscles. They will set up cameras wherever they like.

Ana Marie Cox: I think this ladyperson from Xerox is clearly using her uterus to care about the economy. Get her out of there.


Jason Linkins: She really is empathizing, way too much.

Jason Linkins: She doesn't strike me as the sort of person who'd drop a bomb on North Korea. By which I mean, "a dumb person."

Jason Linkins: Schmidt says "It's too early to tell if we need more stimulus."

Ana Marie Cox: "What is the new normal?" Asks DG, with the same tone of voice of a child asking where, exactly, is the farm they took Rover to...

Jason Linkins: GREGORY: "Is wealth going to return?" WEALTH IS DAVID GREGORY'S PUPPY.

Ana Marie Cox: He is in some serious need of EMPATHY.

Jason Linkins: "Don't shoot my rabid puppy, OLD WEALTH!"

Jason Linkins: Has David Gregory asked about tax cuts? Usually, when he gets going on how important wealth is, tax cut questions aren't far behind.

Ana Marie Cox: Wait, the CA political system is broken?

Ana Marie Cox: I thought they were KEEPING the gays from cavorting in the streets

Jason Linkins: Of course, David Gregory is a working-class celebrity infotainer. He totally lives in a Sears house in Del Ray and grows his own beans, on which he subsists.

Ana Marie Cox: GREGORY: "Women, as I don't have to tell you, make up 60% of the workforce."

Ana Marie Cox: Uhm, whaa?

Ana Marie Cox: I guess he just needed to remind himself!

Jason Linkins: I guess he's assuming that this is one of Ann Mulcahy's talking points.

Jason Linkins: "Why can't you ladies just get it together?"

Ana Marie Cox: "Why can't you ladies just keep your uteruses IN ONE PLACE? WHY DO YOU STILL KEEP MOVING FORWARD?"

Jason Linkins: David Gregory shouts out the New York Stock Exchange. And, you know, that conversation could not have happened anywhere else!

And now we are back, in the MEET THE PRESS studio:

Ana Marie Cox: Apparently Brian Williams got to have burgers with Obama

Ana Marie Cox: And there's a dog there

Ana Marie Cox: Truly this will be a shocking expose of what happens in the White House

Jason Linkins: I think that today's MEET THE PRESS has basically been an infomercial for NBC and the Scheinhardt Wig Company.

Jason Linkins: So powerful! This National Broadcasting Company! They have many cameras, and boom mikes. And now the awesome power of the TONIGHT SHOW has been transferred to Conan O'Brien!


Jason Linkins: Brian Williams is floored by the fact that Obama "went back" to make a point. "HE DIDN'T GET ENOUGH!" This would impress me if he hadn't famously called back the New York Times a month ago, because, BAFFLINGLY, there was a need to clarify that he wasn't a socialist. The NYT wasn't sure!

Jason Linkins: I think that one of MEET THE PRESS's big accomplishments is lighting Katty Kay well. The Chris Matthews show doesn't do a good job!

Ana Marie Cox: "Look guys, I let Obama say what he wanted to say about Sotomayor, AND THEN I LET HIM SAY IT AGAIN."

Jason Linkins: Wolff manages to drop his BOOK TITLE into conversation! Which proves THE SYSTEM WORKS!

Ana Marie Cox: Katty Kay: Apparently women tried to be men! "We wore big shoulder pads!" "We peed standing up."

Jason Linkins: Katty Kay: Women have shucked off their oppressive shoulder pads! Now, they are just cold making the mad green.

Ana Marie Cox: Gender essentialism turns out to be the FUTURE as well as the past.

Jason Linkins: MEET THE PRESS goes back to Brian Williams for a final thought - JUST LIKE BRIAN WILLIAMS DID FOR BARACK OBAMA!

Ana Marie Cox: And that final thought is Rahm slamming a door in his face.

Ana Marie Cox: And scene.

Jason Linkins: "The President has changed the center of gravity, by ridding the Oval Office of paperweights!" GOD, THESE ARE GREAT SCOOPS! GO BRIAN WILLIAMS!

Ana Marie Cox: Chris, however, wonders WHO IS WATCHING THE TCHOTCHKES?

Ana Marie Cox: Is he doing too much, what with the ignoring the paperweights?


Jason Linkins: Obama is wandering from office to office, eating M&Ms!

Jason Linkins: Buying hamburgers, and whatnot!

Jason Linkins: WHY HASN'T OBAMA BEEN TO WHITE CASTLE YET? EFFING KUMAR IS SITTING RIGHT THERE!! Is it because they do not have Dijon sliders? HIE THEE TO 2237 Jericho Turnpike in Commack, Long Island!

Okay. Now, back to...


FUN FACT: Our blog software has four alternate suggestions for the word "tchotchkes," which it does not recognize. They are:


I should very much like to see if anyone can write a bracing poem or epigram using these four words, in any context. Send your submissions to me, via email, with the subject line: "THE GREAT HUFFPO LATCHKEYS HOPSCOTCHES CROTCHLESS HOTCAKES LITERARY CONTEST IS AFOOT!" I will, in turn, nominate your offerings for prestigious literary awards, like the Man Booker Prize.

Anyway, we now return to the CHRIS MATTHEWS SHOW, already technically in progress.

Sonia Sotomayor, she's an agent of change! She's a fight that the White House will relish fighting! Whitaker says that Sotomayor is the package the White House wanted: liberal, pragmatic, compelling story, energize, caliente, and the rest! Matthews is excited by the fight: "He's not trying to sneak someone by the Republicans." Can you do that? Seems to me like someone might notice the President attempting to nominate someone for the Supreme Court.

Heileman says that Sotomayor is being positioned as a centrist nominee, and that this is "brilliant hardball politics." Working in the name of your host's other show? GOLDEN. The system works! Then, Heileman uses the phrase Hobson's Choice, which is like a Fielder's Choice, except extra Hobsony.

The GOP must choose! Support the base, or expand the party! There's another choice, of course: reflect upon what has happened to your base, over time. One of these political parties ought to think about doing this!

"Let me talk about Rush Limbaugh," says Matthews. Yes, lets. Matthews credits Rush with finding the "red meat" that is the Ricci case. Heilemann points out that "we don't really know what Sotomayor's views on the subject are" but that it's an "explosive question from the past" that the GOP likes to focus on. One thing that gets lost is that it sort of was the City of New Haven, if anyone, who jacked these firefighters. I think all the courts have done, on the appellate level, is assert the city's legal right to make the decision they made. What people like Charles Krauthammer want from Sotomayor is some judicial activism and some empathy - but only in the narrow circumstance. White firefighters should be empathized with, and should benefit from judicial activism, but after that, Justices of all stripes should stow it.

Matthews notes that Obama MIGHT get to pick other Justices, so what does it mean for these hypothetical picks that haven't happened yet. Whitaker says that Obama has "checked the Hispanic box and the woman box." Maybe people will start calling her Justice Two-Fer, or something? We could get really belittling here!

Heilemann suggests that a good next pick would be a politically savvy coalition builder.

The panel suggests that there will be a fight over this, and that Sotomayor will be eventually confirmed. It will probably be covered as if there is something suspenseful at work, though.

Matthews then rattles off a series of clips of American Presidents and their dumb mistakes, like Clinton forgetting to take the lenscaps off of the binoculars or Bush rubbing Angela Merkel's back. Will Obama's upcoming trip feature his first international screw up? (Besides the DVDs that didn't work, I guess?) Maybe so! We should have a contest, like: "Where In The World Will Barack Obama Be When He Falls Down the Stairs Or Whatever." I guess Belgium!

Can Obama do it! Can he go to a concentration camp and look dignified? Heilemann thinks Obama will "rise to the occasion." I don't know! This sounds like the hardest thing a man has ever done! And did you know, Barack Obama will be the first biracial American president to visit a concentration camp? THE WEIGHT OF HISTORY.

Anyway, there is apparently "substance" to this trip, as well. A "much anticipated" outreach to the Muslim world. Will Obama strive to forge diplomatic ties with the Muslim world? Or will he instead unleash farts in Mecca and slice off the heads of Egyptians with scimitars? It's JUST TOO EARLY TO TELL. But Obama will stop in Riyadh, to give a speech. It will be a very important speech! Now, more than ever, it's important for the loyal opposition to burnish only their finest Teleprompter jokes!

Mark Whitaker says that Obama will have to demonstrate that he can empathize with the points of view of Israelis and Palestinians. He'll have to convince Arab leaders that he wants to make the Middle East safer.

Is he reaching "the Islamic street?" Heilemann says...uhm, stuff about transformative optics, but that nobody knows. Scimitars, maybe! Obama should totally come to Rorschach Theatre to see Jason Grote's 1001 before his trip. I will lure him with Dijon mustard, like he likes!

Stuff Chris Matthews doesn't know: Helene Cooper says Hamid Karzai has been co-opting warlords in order to lessen opposition to his Presidency. Mark Whitaker tells Chris that the White House has a slim hope that Ahmadinejad will be defeated in the coming elections, and that if he is re-elected, the diplomatic road will be strewn with obstacles. Ann Kornblut says California is "the best political story in the country," because WOOO STATEWIDE DYSFUNCTION. And John Heileman says Cali's gonna put a gay marriage initiative on the ballot for 2010. Heilemann's totally correct that the pro-gay marriage faction needs to campaign in a far less complacent manner if they wish to court success.

Chris Matthews goes back to Ye News Bicycles OF Olde to ask if Obama is winning or losing the GITMO debate. Helene Cooper says Obama is winning, but close to "being sort of fifty-fifty." Whitaker says "GITMO will go eventually" and that Obama will have to come up with a "new prison." (HE HAS, IT'S CALLED BAGRAM AFB.) Kornblut says, "It may be GITMO purgatory for a while," to which the Uighurs, through their translator, replies, "You seriously want to talk about GITMO purgatory?" Heilemann says, "On the substance side the administration is winning because they are right, but on the politics side, the conservatives are winning" because their NIMBY argument is made of media-attracing bullshit of the highest shininess.

Anyway, that is it for us today. Remember: RYAN GRIM HAS A BOOK ABOUT DRUGS YOU SHOULD BUY. And if you do so now, you can make him the #1 drug dependent author on Amazon. DO THIS, FOR AMERICA.

And remember, next Sunday: NO MEET THE PRESS. Should we liveblog the French Open, instead? Probably not! People yell at me when they think I am belittling clay court specialists. But I'm really not! In fact, The Clay Court Specialists is an excellent band name. Have a nice week!

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