TV SoundOff: Sunday Talking Heads

Is President Barack Obama over exposed? In the sense that anyone selling magazines or newspapers or collectible plates needs to prominently feature his visage in order to maybe turn a profit in 2009, then, yes, very much so. But what about all the media appearances he's been making? Haven't we heard prominent media types inveigh against this? Yes. Yes we have. This is because nobody wants to book Obama for an interview and then watch him give that same interview again and again and again and again. And no one wants to plow through a day of coverage, watching him give the same speech to six different audiences.

But it's likely the American people don't feel the same way about this as critics and pundits in the media. Part of the reason is that they're not as stupid, and part of the reason is that they do not wake up in the morning and watch 10 hours of cable news, then cap it off Sunday by watching three hours of this Sunday morning garbage. Nor should they. That's crazy. Tune in for the precise dose you want, and I'll assure you, you'll get precisely the right amount of your president. You have choices. I do not. Today, Obama is doing what is known as the Full Ginsburg or the Lindy Hop or the Dirty Sanchez or whatever it's called and going on Meet The Press and This Week and Grey's Anatomy and Ace of Cakes and Mad Men to promote, JESUS--probably health care reform. And, yes, I will get bored and want to start crying, probably. But you don't have to do what I have to do and I recommend you don't. Go to brunch or something!

Anyway, overexposure of Obama is only happening to those of us who have jobs that require us to get overexposed. I really can't abide all those commemorative plates, however. Come on, people. Get a grip.

Anyway, my name is Jason and this is your Sunday Morning Liveblog of OBAMA ON ALL SHOWS EXCEPT FOX NEWS SUNDAY -- and you know they'll be bitching about that! Please feel free to leave comments and send emails and follow me on Twitter as we watch Obama promote health care reform and, you know, probably, I'm sure end racism by the time David Gregory's hair is asking him if he's "gonnarunforPresident?-gonnarunforPresident?-gonnarunforPresident?-gonnarunforPresident?" half a million times.


HAHA. Fox is like: "We're the only people who won't be showing Barack Obama! Instead we'll have Darrell Issa and the lady from ACORN yelling at each other for a million hours! And then: the GUY WHO RUNS OFFICE DEPOT WILL GENEROUSLY ALLOW YOU TO THROW YOUR UNDERWEAR AT THE TEEVEE. Finally the same panel! And the HOPE DIAMOND? WOO. I'm glad I didn't get sleep in today!

Anyway, ACORN! They have some employees that tried to set up sex traffickers, with tax shelters and what not. ACORN's Bertha Lewis insists that she will continue to "terminate" any employees who are "too stupid" to hew to professional standards. But Darrell Issa says they are history's greatest gangsters! They embezzled money, says Issa, who is bought and paid for by lobbyists who give him money that he, like all his colleagues, will never be fully honest about. Issa is calling for "fund accounting" of ACORN, which is a great idea--IF HE WOULD APPLY IT TO TARP, AND NOT ACORN. You do realize that Goldman Sachs received many many many many more money than ACORN.

Lewis promises to ensure her corporate structure stays "above board" and will make "internal reform." She is attempting to make clear that her organization competes for service contracts that the government issues via RFP and which many organizations compete for --- this is the second edition of this show where FNS has willfully distorted the government contracting process in three weeks.

Anyway, this whole thing is hilarious. SHOW ME YOUR FIREWALLS! OPEN YOUR BOOKS! STOP FRATERNIZING WITH WHORES! The TARP recipient parallel is OBVIOUS and SAD and HILARIOUS and -- also! -- cost America BILLIONS of dollars.

Darrell Issa is still of the mind that Barack Obama was ACORN's personal attorney! This is like a Campaign 2008 flashback!

Now Chris Wallace is yelling at Bertha Lewis for not posting information on her website on Sunday that she promised to on Monday. And now it's over. Maybe Bertha Lewis and Darrell Issa will have FIGHT CLUB in the green room or something.

BUT, TO REVIEW: It's really important that organization that receive money from the government be open, honest, disclose where the money goes, reveal their connections to politicians, refrain from overt political activity that advantages their bottom line, and not assist whores in any way, unless they are giant banking institutions, in which case TAKE THE MONEY GO AHEAD NEED MORE MONEY JUST TAKE IT GIANT HANDFULS!!!

Oh, boy! Now we have a meeting of the Plutocrats, including John Chambers of Cisco, Fred "My Son Likes To Go Wilding On The Campus Of UVA" Smith, and Steve Odland of Office Depot.

Fred Smith says that the recession has bottomed out and that Federal Express is committed to being the incompetent boobs who repeatedly deliver packages across the street instead of to my apartment building. The guy from Cisco also says the his business is doing fine. Steve Odland says he has some great deals on toner cartridges. And also small businesses have been hurt, because everyone's mortgaging their homes to sell crap, and buy pens and stapler removers.

"We won't see a recovery until we see small businesses get liquidity," says Odland. Someone maybe should $700 billion dollars to banks, or something, so that they can start lending! WHY HASN'T BERTHA LEWIS LED US OUT OF THE RECESSION BY LENDING TO ALL THE SMALL BUSINESSES, WITH THE $2.5 million she received last year? STEVE ODLAND HAS DESK SETS TO SELL.

Fred Smith says that also the Federal Goverment needs to write a check, PAY TO THE ORDER OF "The Industrial Sector" in the amount of "ALL THE MONEY, ALL OF IT, RIGHT NOW, PLEASE."

The guy from Cisco says health care reform is a great idea, as long as it uses Cisco Systems. The guy from Home Depot is worried that health care reform might "mess up the best health care in the world," which is like saying that Barack Obama's next barbecue might "mess up the tasting menu at Per Se." Also, many Americans are choosing to not get health insurance or see doctors, and this is a brave choice, for freedom.

Fred Smith says everything's going to be awesome, Cisco Kid says it will be okay, and the guy with the huge inventory of Dry-Erase boards that are priced to move says that someone -- maybe SPACE MONKEYS FROM THE DARK SIDE OF THE MOON! -- should start lending to small businesses. Chris Wallace says that it's good to hear from "three people who have to meet a payroll every week" but I guarantee that none of these guys even knows the name of the payroll company they use.


OKAY, let's allow Fox to bitch about how Obama wouldn't go on their channel and give an interview. For the record, I think that the White House has proved their point about the Fox News Channel and really is not going to lose him anything, and there's no reason in the world to be afraid of going on and getting interviewed.

Brit Hume says that he's overexposed and not persuasive. Mara Liasson says that it's okay that he's going in front of the people. Wallace says the White House are the biggest crybabies he's ever dealt with in thirty years, which must be of great relief to Juan Williams. Juan says that Obama could only make news by coming on the Fox network.

Now Brit Hume is just imagining what it would be like for Obama to come on right now to be interviewed by Chris Wallace. It's like he's writing Fox News Sunday fan-fiction! Chris Wallace would ask tough questions and be searching and probing and the two men would would caress each other with their strong hands and also Mara Liasson would be there, maybe, with a gaggle of last weekends Tea Baggers, painting Hitler mustaches on one another and being "populist!" Then Juan Williams would deliver a pizza and fix the copy machine and say, "Oh! Things are getting awfully hot in here! With this exclusive Fox News Sunday interview with Barack Obama!" And Obama and Wallace would spank Bertha Lewis and then they'd all help Goldman Sachs set up tax shelters for "happy ending" massage parlors. Then the guy from Office Depot would come on screen, dressed as a baby, and would cry that he's having a liquidity crisis in his pants and needs stimulus. And then they'd all lend money to small businesses, who would buy filing cabinets and save the economy, the end.

But what about the plan to scrap the useless and obsolete missile defense system in Poland and the Czech Republic. Hume says he "won't gainsay" Gates and the Pentagon for the military soundness of the move. But it has the perceptions of weakness, Hume says! BETTER TO ACTUALLY BE WEAK, and SEEM STRONG, then do something smart and sensible and strategically purposeful.

Paul Gigot thinks that keeping weapons out of the hands of the Eygptians is dependent on having an arcane missile defense system in Prague. I love all the talk of caving in to the Russians. TOO MANY PEOPLE HAVE WATCHED RED DAWN IN THE WAKE OF PATRICK SWAYZE'S DEATH. Russia's not marching on Prague, anytime soon. Their slight incursion into Georgia's about as good as it gets from them, and even that came off only because Georgia's run by Central Europe's version of Representative Joe Wilson.

Oh, and the panel, to varying degrees, thinks it would be best if no one who broke the law and tortured anyone should have to be punished for it. Mara Liasson is specifically off her nut on this regard, saying that hopefully, they will investigate the matter and then "DECIDE THERE'S NOTHING TO PROSECUTE."

I'll also offer my condolences to the absent Bill Kristol, who this week lost his father, Irving.


Anyway, now it's time for President Barack Obama to sell commemorative issues of newspapers and talk about health care. He and George Stephanopoulos had a "spirited conversation!" But not as spirited as the one Brit Hume imagined.

Okay, so, what about raising taxes on the middle class? Because Baucuscare as major suxxors and will raise taxes on the middle class. Obama "shares the concerns" of some of those critical Democrats, but notes that increasing insurance premiums may as well be thought of as a tax increase, and that the government should do something. Does that leave a door open to Baucus' plan? Obama restates his restatement of principles, but it's unclear if Baucuscare represents an acceptable "something" over the alternative of "nothing." Obama uses the same 80% versus 20% that all of the bills share, and that the Senate Finance Committeee is a "legitimate effort" that might even garner Olympia Snowe's approval.

Obama disputes that requiring people to pay a fee if they can afford insurance and don't get it constitutes a "tax increase." GSteph busts out the dictionary! Obama makes fun of him for being such a poindexter. GSteph says you critics say it's a tax increase. Obama's riposte, "My critics say I'm trying to take over every sector of the economy!"

Obama doesn't sound like he wants to negotiate with Ben Nelson, or endorse his ideas, which is actually a smart move, because Ben Nelson is a very dumb man.

BUT WHAT ABOUT TEH RACISMZ? Is it frustrating when Obama's friends talk about racism, when Obama just wants everyone to be quiet about it? "Are there some people who don't like me because of their race? I'm sure there are," Obama says. But, he says, most people following the health care debate are tuned in to the issue itself, the issues it raises, the change involves, the cost, and not racism. "I think what I'm doing is a very modest attempt to help hard-working families get a measure of security," he says, adding that his critics who believe it represents a massive government takeover of the economy are wrong.

"Sometimes, I think that frankly, the media encourages some of the outliers in behavior because, let's face it, the easiest way to get on television right now is to be really rude." Obama continues, "If you're just being sensible, and giving people the benefit of the doubt--" but then is interrupted out of the blue by Kanye West, who charges onto the set saying, "PRESIDENT OBAMA I'M HAPPY FOR YOU AND I'MMA LET YOU FINISH BUT CANADA'S SINGLE PAYER SYSTEM IS THE BEST UNIVERSAL HEALTH CARE SYSTEM OF ALL TIME!"

Obama says that he didn't know ACORN received a "whole lot of Federal money?" Well, again, COMPARED TO TARP RECIPIENTS, they haven't!

Obama says that he asked for a refocusing in Afghanistan, that stands fast to why we went there in the first place -- fighting al Qaeda. He notes an earlier uptick in troop levels, and the relative recency of General McChrystal's arrival. I wonder if he's setting up a situation where he's sowing seeds to sell no troop increase.

Obama says that there hasn't been a moment where he's lost control of the health care debate, just moments where it's been complicated and lots of moving parts and not breaking through and he's humbled, and YEAH, DUDE, HATE TO SAY IT, but it's like that part of Kill Bill:

"You didn't think it was gonna be that easy, did you?"

"You know, for a second there, yeah, I kinda did."

ANYWAY, PANEL TIME! Please save us, Kanye!

Will says that this media blitz will not be a big help, because the plan is terrible, not the packaging. Ed Gillespie says he's "dissipated the impact" and that talking about it is making things worse. So, two Republicans have now made BOTH arguments, just for good measure. Anyway, the real problem is that scumbag lobbyists are working hard to make the reform package less effective, and the more the voters recognize that they aren't getting the robust reform they voted for, the more the numbers plummet.

Peggy Noonan, ASTOUNDINGLY, thinks that the "modern media environment" makes politicians like Obama look "boorish." YES. NOT THE CRAZY PEOPLE WITH THE SIGNS WARNING OF "NAZI SOCIALISTS" and PROMISING TO BRING GUNS NEXT TIME. No, no. Not the guy yelling in the middle of the joint session, "You Lie." Of course not. Your public servant, the President, talking to those he serves, who agree and who disagree, as if they were adults and deserved to hear from their public servants on a regular basis...THAT'S BOORISH. JESUS, PEGGY NOONAN.

Hey, kids! Jimmy Carter is now history's greatest devil for being concerned about racism! GSteph shows the cover of TIME magazine, where Fox's Glenn Beck somehow willingly allowed TIME to use a photographer he hates and who's gotten in dutch in the past for intentionally making subjects she despises look bad -- and she delivered with a shot that looks for all the world that Glenn Beck is eating a penis.

George Will says that the liberals are being "McCarthyist." "Is there any evidence that these people are racist? I think not." Well, there's ample evidence that they are ELIMINATIONIST. And when a bunch of eliminationists -- people who believe they are entitled to live in a world where they encounter no opinions or personalities different from their own, and who will not suffer themselves for even a second to participate in any other world in which their own desires and opinions and viewpoints hold sway -- get together, they attract a grab bag of folks from all the various eliminationist strains: racists, this-and-that-aphobes, the low rungers who exist to screech at the people on the adjacent rungs. They form one large eliminationist family, and they all sort of cover for one another: George Will can say that there's no racists there, and they can pretend it's populist, and they can say, "Well, these times are legitimately hard, and people should have legitimate concerns about the actions their government is taking." And that elides over the more important point, which is this: BE THAT AS IT MAY, NO ONE WHO CAME TO DC LAST WEEKEND SUCCEEDED IN MAKING A LICK OF GODDAMN SENSE.

I mean, people. I think that there needs to be accountability, too. I want to get your $700 billion back from Wall Street, too! I just rather think painting a Hitler mustache on the President is NOT GOING TO WORK.

Anyway, blah blah, bipartisanship. Max Baucus sucks, out loud, always, and he is the only person in Washington who thinks he could have ever gotten Chuck Grassley to support health care reform. I'm pretty sure that someone needs to sit Max Baucus down, read him "HE'S JUST NOT THAT INTO YOU" to him, and then tell him: "Chuck Grassley is never going to cuddle with you, never going to roast marshmallows by the fire, never hold you, late at night, when you need comfort, and never, uhm...'bend your cost curve' by the light of the moon."

Now they are talking about weeds and twigs. And Peggy Noonan launches into another monologue, about the common people! "Do I want these government programs, now, when the economy is bad?" Noonan says people should not want that. And when the economy is in better shape, they should also, not want it. Donna Brazile says that what's coming will be incremental horse manure. Noonan doesn't understand why they don't make the bill even more Republican for the sake of maybe winning Olympia Snowe's vote.

George Will hates Afghan elections and winters in the Hindu Kush and wants all manner of cutting and running! Only Ed Gillespie thinks that we should send all the troops in the universe to Afghanistan. Everyone else has grave concerns. Gillespie also thinks the "surge" worked in Iraq, when what really worked was signing a new Status Of Forces Agreement that established a firm timetable for withdrawal.


David Gregory also met Obama in the Roosevelt Room, like before. Is everyone interviewing him there? If so, the only thing that detracts is that the interviewer's chair wasn't designed by Sweeney Todd.

Gregory asks where the minimum threshold for reform is. Will Obama veto something that doesn't hew exactly to his ideas? Obama says that he is looking for a Few Core Principles. It must reduce costs on working families, create an insurance exchange, eliminate pre-existing conditions, cap out-of-pocket costs, be deficit neutral, and drive down health care inflation. I CAN HAZ PUBLIC OPTION? Not necessarily! And that's why this bill won't achieve its cost reduction and why independent voters are not giving this plan their support. "We shouldn't think it's the silver bullet to solve healthcare." And lycanthropy can be fought with bipartisanship!

Obama again makes the comparison to auto insurance, required in many states with residents subject to penalties. I can't wait to see the health insurance version of GEBCO!

David Gregory is SUPER SERIOUS that the Left really needs to buckle down and start thinking of getting the American people the sort of health care that the health care industry deserves. WHICH IS INANE. The "left" made a deal to support the public option over the single payer system they preferred. For Gregory to assert that it's their instransigence that's held up this debate is idiotic. The "left" has given a lot of ground, for the sake of a strong bill.

And just as I'm thinking that, he basically asks: MR. PRESIDENT, DIDN'T YOU PROMISE THAT IF YOU WERE ELECTED NO ONE WOULD TALK ABOUT RACISM ANYMORE? David Gregory is literally holding Obama responsible for Jimmy Carter's opinions. Anyway, Obama plays it safe by saying that most people are conducting the debate in a civil and sensible way. He goes out on a little bit of limb by suggesting that health care for all is a mainstream topic, which is anathema to the media.

Sure enough, Gregory is bitching about how the black caucus is also saying that people are racist. WHY WON'T OBAMA'S BLACK HALF use its POWERFUL MIND BEAMS to make the BLACK PEOPLE say nice things and stop pitching such a ruckus?

GREGORY attempts to implant his words in Obama's mouth: "Are you saying that if the former President, and others, to speak this way, is counter-productive?"

Obama notes that if you "look at the news cycle over the past week," it's not the sensible people who have won the lion's share of coverage. I think that's true most weeks.

Afghanistan. There will be many reviews! With the intention of "destroying and disrupting" al Qaeda. But, yes, the election in Afghanistan "did not go as smoothly as we had hoped." I CAN HAZ MORE TROOPS? Obama hedges, saying that he's responsible for all the troops that are there, and his generals are responsible for outlining a strategy that can be advanced. But if they cannot advance a strategy, he doesn't want to just stick around for the sake of "saving face."

David Gregory concludes by asking about baseball. I CAN'T WAIT UNTIL HE ASKS LINDSEY GRAHAM THE SAME QUESTION, for balance. (Graham will root for whatever team McCain is rooting for.) Obama does shout out the Saint Louis Cardinals, like any sensible baseball fan would.

Boehner says that the bill in the House is a giant takeover of the health care system, and that they can fix it with magicks and unicorns and stuff. If we'd just all be willing to stop suing bad doctors for killing us, everything would be fine! He doesn't think the tone of the debate has gotten out of control, so I think I will buy a gun, just for the purpose of shadowing John Boehner around, to various tanning salons.

Lindsey Graham also says that Obama was just MEAN MEAN MEAN during the joint session of Congress. "I've always wanted to sit down and talk!" he says. Graham also indulges in the pretense that America hates the public option when it's really hotter than flapjacks. Anyway, it's like Graham didn't just watch the interview, or listen to the joint address: OBAMA IS CLEARLY MOVING AWAY FROM THE PUBLIC OPTION, and that is why Americans are souring on this health care reform.

I hope this is the last time we talk about Joe Wilson until the inevitable moment he does Dancing With The Stars or knocks up a Kardashian on the Appalachian Trail.

John Boehner is "not concerned about violence," so I hope he'll wave to me and my gun when he leaves the tanning salon. (NOTE TO POLICE: I'm not really going to buy a gun and stalk John Boehner. It's a JOKE. And also, I know John Boehner would screech about it, I don't need the grief.)

What hard choice is Boehner prepared to make? Boehner basically says: UHM, HOW ABOUT A SERIES OF EASY CHOICES, and a physical challenge like a really tough obstacle course or something?

Boehner thinks that House plan is dead. Lindsey Graham also says that everybody hates the Baucus bill, except Ron Brownstein and Max Baucus. Graham wants Wyden-Bennett or bust.

Graham basically supports the uptick in resources in Afghanistan, and thinks 40,000 more troops are needed. Then Boehner says something weird. REALLY WEIRD!

"I supported [Obama's] strategy in Iraq, and I supported his strategy in Afghanistan. But it's pretty clear, based on what I heard this morning that the president's changing the goals here."

Oh, really? How so?

"All he talked about is going after al Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan."

Right, yes?

"What happened to the statement earlier this year where the president said we can not allow the Taliban and al Qaeda from which to train, operate, and organize to go after Americans."

Uhm. it?

"That is a very big change...I'm really concerned."

Uhm, it's no change. There's no daylight between the two things you think are a big change. I think maybe you aren't minimally competent to talk about foreign policy, John Boehner. I'm sorry.

Graham says that scrapping the useless missile defense system made the Poles and Czechs unhappy. The Poles disagree, darling! As do the Czechs!

Panel Time, with Eugene Robinson and Roger Simon. Robinson wrote a sensible and even handed and honest editorial about racism, and, naturally, David Gregory doesn't understand it. Anyway, Robinson points out that there's a core group on the far right that are especially nutbar and who keep having cameras pointed at them. Gregory's response is that people questioned the legitimacy of Bush and Clinton. ALWAYS ROOM FOR A FALSE OR SUPERFLUOUS COMPARISON with David Gregory. Can you imagine having lunch with this guy? "You're having roast beef? But some say turkey clubs are the best! Could you comb my hair, so my brain doesn't hurt?"

I love how Roger Simon thinks that Tea Party crowd contains multitudes: people who can never be won over, and people who can be. The truth is, every single one of those people represents a sunk cost to Obama, in electoral terms, and it's a sunk cost he's already surmounted in one election. What he needs to worry about is not building inroad to Teabaggers who just want him to resign, immediately. He needs to insist on a bold health care reform bill so that independent voters -- who value guts over ideology -- will come back and support him. And the more he waters down that bill, or at least appears to be wholly unconcerned about the bill's crappiness, the more independent voters start to voice their disapproval.

Roger Simon is talking about catnip. Robinson weirdly suggests that a President who makes so many media appearances has no right to criticize what the media covers.


Well, America, you probably survived Obama's media blitz today by hopefully watching as little of it as possible. Hopefully, now racism will end, people will stop getting sick and ACORN will pull us all out of the economic downturn, so that banks will lend to small business again, for Joe Wilson. Or something. I'm going to watch football now! Have a great week!