Hello there and welcome to your Sunday Morning Liveblog of the weekly political chatfests, which, like midnight basketball, occupies the time of pundits and newspeople who would inevitably be off doing something dangerous to us or to one another. My name is Jason. Today we begin with a programming note: there will be no liveblog next Sunday. EVERYONE PANIC, I GUESS!
No, seriously, I will be spending my morning staring at a bleak landscape where everyone is an amoral, hellbound jerk and where something bleak and irrational lurks around every turn, but I am referring to the New Jersey Turnpike, which is kind of like MEET THE PRESS if MEET THE PRESS offered you occasional opportunities to stop and have Cinnabon.
What should you do while I am speeding my way...to DELAWARE, LAND OF TOLL BOOTHS? Well, you might consider reconnecting with loved ones, or reconnecting with sleep, or reconnecting with Dilaudid...anything that's not watching Bill Kristol reflect on the true meaning of Thanksgiving. Don't do it. Stay in bed, and be satisfied for once. You followed this recipe to cook your turkey, didn't you? Good. Then you are an American hero.
Anyway, as always, you should feel free to leave a comment, or send an email. You can also take the opportunity to involve yourself somehow in whatever useless stuff I put up on Twitter, because why not!
Okay. Let's get on with it.
FOX NEWS SUNDAY
Today! Woo! Health care! I think I heard something about this. Lamar Alexander and Kit Bond and Debbie Stabenow AND Arlen Specter? Glad this is not a stag film!
Anyway, the Senate voted to allow themselves to talk about the health care bill. Lamar Alexander says he'll "beat the bill" by scaring people with talk of "medical ghettos." He's counting on everyone staying medically gentrified. It is apparently "arrogance" to think we can fix health care "all at once" says Lamar Alexander, who probably wants a LOLSURGE in Afghanistan. Anyway, Stabenow says that "doing nothing is not an option," and that "at the end of the day, we will be together." OH MAYBE THIS IS A STAG FILM. "AARP is with us." LEMON PARTY!
Mammograms! Will people not be allowed to have them? Kit Bond says people should be worried. But they shouldn't! This panel isn't "playing around with excessive government control," they just made recommendations based on scientific findings. Bond continues to say that seniors will die as well.
Wallace wants to bring Arlen Specter into the conversation, to talk about his mammogram, apparently? He points out that the legislation provides for mammograms and pap smears and all sorts of fun tests, none of which a woman ever wants to be in the middle of, look up, and see that Arlen Specter is performing, at that very moment. Specter says, "the one option we don't have is the option of doing nothing." But that's the most public option of all!
Wallace wants Specter to name another Congress that has cut Medicare by such a significant amount. He can't! BURN! Specter says there will be commissions and crap set up so that some other entity will have to face to choice of reining in Medicare costs -- which must be done, anyway.
Wallace kicks it back to Bond, pointing out that the CBO scoring does indicate that the Senate bill will reduce the deficit, to which Bond rattles off two big calls in the game of Beltway Blather Bingo. "I don't think one out of ten Americans believe that" -- which has no bearing on the facts of the matter. Then: "David Broder wrote a great column." Wrong. David Broder never writes great columns. A David Broder column about a Quinnipiac poll is the most awful piece of writing that anyone can imagine. David Broder is long past the day where he should have been shipped off to some lonely tundra to be eaten by ice wolves. Seriously, anyone who respects Broder needs to be trepanned.
Debbie Stabenow is now saying something, about mammograms, and the Stupak amendment, which she wants to see changed. Kit Bond says "Bernie Madoff would envy the fact" that the health care legislation would collect taxes in advance of paying out services. You'll forgive me if I don't find that unusual. People start businesses with lines of credit and take time to start earning a profit all the time. Anyway, I think Bernie Madoff would envy just about anything right now.
Kit Bond and Debbie Stabenow just had a spat over tax credits for small businesses, which Stabenow says are great, and Bond says are a scam. There's something depressing about watching the elderly pretend to get bellicose.
Bond also is mad about Obama for "dithering" on Afghanistan, but he has clearly never read Stanley McChrystal's report, because he thinks it "laid out a strategy" when really what it did was ask for a new strategy to be created. Bond straight up doesn't know what he's talking about. He and his staff of apparent dumbasses should read it. It's not 2,000 pages long.
Ohh, Specter is a little pissed about not getting to talk. "Why Chris, I guess you forgot I was on the program." Then he talks for about a million boring years.
Apparently, Fox is going to talk about the BREAST CANCER DEATH PANELS or something. Dr. Bernadine Healy is here to talk about it, and she says that ladies should start getting screened at age 40 and have it done every year. Ignore the new guidelines! As for the pap smears, the new guidelines are "responsible and reasonable." So, there you have it! NOT AFRAID TO BE SERVICEY!
Shall we commence with the demagoguery? Healy sort of begs off, saying only that the task force involved does public policy modeling and has no experience with "hands on patient care." She says that THIS WILL BE CODIFIED INTO LAW!! Experts! Making guidelines! Like Stalin did! Anyway, you should watch out for the HIDDEN GOVERNMENT RATIONING. It's apparently far more nefarious than the current OUT IN THE OPEN GOVERNMENT HEALTH CARE RATIONING, where millions of Americans don't get a ration at all and millions more get a ration until they get sick and really need it.
Panel time, with Ann Kornblut and her Eyes Of Pure Need filling in for Juan Williams. Hume says that Congress is caterwauling about Geithner. He also talks about "calls to audit the Fed." Has he not heard that the Grayson-Paul Amendment passed? Anyway, the panel is very sad, now, that everyone is being mean to Tim Geithner. Liasson says that everyone will be talking about jobs, now. Forever. And the deficits. Kristol reminds us again that health care reform will destroy jobs, forever, and turn the world into a bleak place, like the New Jersey turnpike.
Kornblut says that "we're going to hear nothing but this Jobs Summit for the next few weeks." I guess that's because the Jobs Summit will be releasing it's new book, GOING ROGUE, by the JOBS SUMMIT.
Now Brit Hume is mad about something! That guy!
Mara Liasson is impressed with the fact that health care keeps moving forward, but will eventually have to force women to be pregnant, at all times, and the public option will have to be turned into a memory. In the end, the conference committee will pass a get well card, and insurance companies will make more money, and every single one of these turds will get re-elected, forever.
Ann Kornblut is staring at Bill Kristol, thinking, "I can fix him!" YOU CAN'T, ANN! Hold out for someone who loves you for you.
Now, they will yammer about foreign policy. The trip to Asia? TOTAL FAIL, APPARENTLY. There's this terrible "diminished role of the U.S." because, as Hume believes, Obama is solely responsible for the economic straits we're in, and is too polite. Hume says that we need to be a lot more unreasonable and bellicose so that we can threaten foreign powers into accepting a position of burden on our behalf for nothing in return. Kristol, of course, is apoplectic, and doesn't know why Obama didn't destroy Chinese Communism singlehandedly.
Anyway, Iran, they are intransigent? And that's because Obama wanted to maybe have diplomatic talks with all sorts of nations? But really, we should be dropping our awesome new bunker busting bombs on Iranian dissidents. Hume repeats that we need to be a lot more unreasonable and bellicose to make Iran heel. Liasson says that "at some point you need to move to Plan B."
Anyway, I guess we should be bombing more people? It's hard to say what policy solutions just got advocated. But obviously, the White House should have been able to terraform China into democracy on their first trip.
HA! So, the Club For Growth is the "Power Player of the Week," because they failed to win an election in the 23rd District of New York. It's worth mentioning that they lost for many reasons, not the least of which is they sat around the final week of the election congratulating each other while Bill Owens was running a traditional Get Out The Vote operation. Anyway: POWER PLAYERS.
THIS WEEK, WITH GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS
What a great montage of Senators gesticulating! You would almost believe that actual adult democracy happens in this country!
Tom Coburn is on, today? The Senate is literally mounting a Sunday morning charisma offensive. This panel is Marsha Blackburn, Ben "Ralph Wiggum" Nelson, Tom Coburn, and Debbie Wasserman-Schultz. So, that makes ONE person who thinks all Americans should have health care. Great!
Nelson leads things off: "FIRE IS BURNY AND IT MAKES ME SAD." GS asks about filibustering, and Nelson replies: "SOMETIMES KITTY IS BITEY!"
Tom Coburn decided not to have some poor Senate page read the bill out loud because that would have required the GOP to sit in the chamber all weekend long, reading to each other, while the Democrats retreated to coke-and-masturbation domes to eat kalamata olives off one anothers backs, which is some REAL EYES WIDE SHUT NONSENSE, I can tell you. Your eyes will never unsee that shizz.
Did you know that Coburn is a close personal friend of Obama, for some reason? That friendship sure paid dividends!
Debbie W-S says that the House bill and the Senate bill are similar enough that they will find a way to reconcile themselves to each other, if not make out in the rain for seven consecutive minutes, like Ryan Gosling and Rachael McAdams. Coburn looks on thoughtfully, wondering why he's never even invited to his own party's coke-and-masturbation dome. Marsha Blackburn is blonde and pretty and has a voice that sounds like sloe gin fizz as she lies and fearmongers. She touts the GOP health bill, which is a great great bill if you figure out a way to never get sick or never get old.
And now: LADY FIGHT! Debbie W-S and Blackburn are cold talking over each other. WHERE IS BART STUPAK WHEN YOU NEED SOMEONE TO CALM THIS FEMININE HYSTERIA, WITH INVASIVE LAWS.
Ben Nelson adds: "I HEAR BABIES COME FROM CLOUDS!"
Debbie W-S says, "I don't want to speak for Senator Nelson." And that's good, but it would be nice if she could, after the discussion was over, help the Senator get out of the Newseum. I hear that Nelson has been working very hard at mastering stairs, but he's like, ON THE FOURTH FLOOR!
Coburn says that there are "eleven studies out" that say the health care reform bill will raise premiums, Debbie W-S says, uhm, "Differences of opinion exist." Also: insurance company bureaucrats are getting between patients and doctors, to beat the band.
This discussion is going about as well as I suspected, with everyone yelling at Debbie W-S for daring to suggest that insurance companies aren't awesome.
Marsha Blackburn has actually read the part of the bill that makes her scared about the mammograms. Debbie W-S says, uhm: no, that does not provide for the BOSOMPOCALYPSE, and "for the first time, you are politicizing breast cancer." It does make you wonder why we haven't politicized breast cancer before! Coburn says: these guidelines make sense from a cost standpoint, but not for a patient standpoint, BLAH GOVERNMENT HEALTH CARE. I wonder if he thinks the War in Afghanistan makes sense from a "cost standpoint."
Nelson adds: "NOW THE TREES ARE SAD, BECAUSE IT'S WINTER!"
George Stephanopoulos needs to ask Tom Coburn about John Ensign and his sex scandals because they are both roommates in the C Street House for Christian Sexytime, where everyone is having an affair and pleasuring themselves to various Psalms, at all hours, drenching their domicile in the heady scent of musk and desperation. But because George is such an awesome reporter, he APOLOGIZES for having to ask the question. OHH, SORRY SENATOR COBURN, IF THE JOURNALISM CAUSES YOU ANY BOTHER, BUT I HAVE TO ASK YOU A HARD QUESTION NOW, GOD I WISH I DIDN'T! If I were the host of the show, my first question to Coburn would be: "You smell very fresh this morning! What soap do you use, Senator Coburn, to get rid of the stench of Astroglide?"
Anyway, let's panel! With George Will and Robert Reich and Walter Isaacson and Liz Cheney! GS correctly identifies Keep America Safe as a "Republican advocacy organization," which makes Cheney pout that it's a "national security advocacy" organization that wouldn't actually secure anybody.
Tim Geithner is making everyone personally unemployed, with his crapulence. George Will says Geithner "ran into a buzzstorm." WHAT IS A BUZZSTORM? Will touts Ron Paul for getting a bill passed to audit the Fed.
Robert Reich says that Washington is filled with the Men Who Stare At Scapegoats. They, then, get caught in the BUZZSTORM. I get the feeling that no one is bringing their A-Game, the week before Thanksgiving.
Isaacson says Geithner is getting a bad rap, and also that his wife was taking money out of their bank last year, because of bank runs? Liz Cheney, of course, says that the stimulus package emboldened terrorists, and we will all soon die when KSM unleashes his hypnobeams upon New York City. Reich says that the stimulus should have been bigger, better, and not stuffed with useless tax breaks. Will says it's ironic that the White House is touting the success of the stimulus while suggesting that a third one is needed. Reich totally disagrees with Will on the net effect of the stimulus, and GS pulls out some graphic analysis that indicates that there has, at least been a net positive impact. Liz Cheney says we need a "private sector driven stimulus."
Robert Reich attempts to build the case for running high short term deficits, while reforming entitlement programs when the economy is healthy, but now we have to talk about China! Will says that if Bush had gone to China and gotten nothing, "this town would be incandescent." But this town is incadescent over this China trip! And anyway, China owns our ass because of a ton of terrible economic policies. Cheney says that "it's another foreign trip that's style over substance," where, again, "substance" equals "the naive insistence that everyone should do what we want, or else!"
Cheney thrusts her teeny fists vainly heavenward and says, "We are more powerful than China!" This causes my wife to nearly snork scrambled egg through her nasal passages, with laughter. Can we just have George Will and Robert Reich debate things, please? And Walter Isaacson? You are snoozeville! Yes, Liz Cheney! Interrupt Walter Isaacson. I approve of you doing that! KEEP AMERICA SAFE FROM WALTER ISAACSON AND HIS BORING STORIES ABOUT ANDREW JACKSON, GAH.
George Will and Liz Cheney are battling over Afghanistan. Will says, "The danger is that the president is going to be seen as escalating this war, he'll do it half-heartedly, with his heart not in it, he will lose his party, and he'll be supported by Republicans of the stripe of Liz Cheney, and that's not a sustainable path.
Cheney insists that Obama needs to "follow the strategy laid out be General McChrystal." BUT THAT STRATEGY WAS THIS: "Hey! Things are all shithouse here! Could you guys maybe come up with a new strategy? Because DAMN THIS COUNTRY IS BONKERS." General McChrystal is getting precisely what he asked for! Liz Cheney's objection is simply that Obama hasn't sent 80,000 magical troops, ginned out of the ether, and dropped them on the Hindu Kush, to bomb terrorists who all live in Pakistan now.
GOOD NEWS EVERYONE!
FIRST SARAH PALIN MENTION OF SUNDAY! DRINK. Walter Isaacson is all: I HAVE A BOOK, TOO. A SERIOUS ONE. Why won't anyone buy his dull book? He's such a scintillating raconteur!
MEET THE PRESS
Fun fact! Last night, I led a discussion about what "pony play" is, over drinks, and you really cannot convince me that it would not have garnered higher network ratings than this show, which is now the only thing standing in the way between me having a Thanksgiving break from David Gregory.
The president may be back from the actual Asia, but there's no escaping the awesomeness of this Asia:
I'd rather just pull awesome YouTube videos than subject anyone to this show! You know that Joe Lieberman is on today? JOE LIEBERMAN! Gah. Heaven knows I'm miserable now.
Dr. Nancy is on? OH YOU HAVE TO BE KIDDING ME.
Ugh, so, anyway, MEET THE PRESS.
Senator Durbin calls yesterday's vote "an amazing victory for the president." WOO YEAH, THE SENATE WILL DELIBERATE FOR WEEKS, MITT ROMNEY CAN SUCK IT, OBAMA FOREVS! Huh, what? Anyway, Kay Bailey Hutchison says, NO THIS IS A DISASTER FOR THE COUNTRY! The Mayans predicted that there would not be enough GOP input in the health care bill and then GOD WOULD SMITE YOU.
God, you know? It's so hard to imagine this country could have been founded had David Gregory been a prominent American, centuries ago.
Anyway, Dianne Feinstein is a big fan of the bill, and voting for the bill, and debating the bill, and reconciling the bill, and most of all getting re-elected.
Joe Lieberman said he wants to "begin debating health care reform" but that he "doesn't think that anybody thinks this bill will pass." Anyway, he will destroy the public option that Americans want. He doesn't really understand what the public option does. He calls it out, on one hand, for not doing more to insure people or get them health care, BUT HE DOESN'T WANT TO DO THOSE THINGS EITHER! He's also worried about costs, but what he wants done with the bill isn't to control costs.
It's also worth emphasizing that while only the House-style public option will save a lot of money, even the relatively weak public option from the Reid draft would save money relative to doing what Lieberman wants. He's talking about filibustering a deficit-reducing bill in order to try to remove a cost-reducing provision, and doing so on grounds of fiscal probity. It's ludicrous, and the political reporters covering him need to point this out.
I'd ask Lieberman that question! And then my follow-up would be to smash a grapefruit on his face, Jimmy Cagney style! I'd have grapefruit for everyone on this damned show. The show would be called, MEET THE GRAPEFRUIT HURTLING TOWARD YOUR DUMB FACE, YOU USELESS NINNY.
Gregory asks, "WHAT ABOUT WARS?" Lieberman says, oh well, I wanted to have tax programs to pay for it. Gregory responds, so you think the wars should be paid for? And Lieberman says, absolutely, and somehow it doesn't occur to David Gregory to ask BY WHAT MAGIC WE INTEND TO DO THAT.
This panel is filibustering my life! David Gregory thinks it is significant that Americans think it won't cut costs than the fact that experts in the field say it will. Someone, somewhere, in the world is always gathering together to say something dumb or uninformed or half-assed...it isn't always "an interesting point of view." SOMETIMES IT IS JUST STUPID.
Lieberman says that the CBO says that the public option will charge more than private insurers. And that's true! But people who don't have access to the private insurance will suddenly have access to insurance. What's the point of a more affordable product that you aren't allowed to purchase? WOW, FREEDOM WOULD BE AWESOME IF THE PREVAILING AUTHORITY WOULD LET ME HAVE SOME.
Meanwhile, everyone be hatin' on Tim Geithner! Here's a long video of Geithner hate porn! REMIND ME WHAT POST YOU WERE HOLDING, says the Congressman who probably sat their, with his junk in his hand, as the government passed all sorts of laws that made the economic collapse possible! I LOVE WHEN SELF-RIGHTEOUSNESS AND VAPIDITY FORM IN THE LARNYX OF A CONGRESSCRITTER!
If this panel died in a plane crash, Don McLean would write a seven minute song about how rock music was awesome again! LOOK AT THE LEVEE, IT'S SO WET, AND YET IT'S NOT FAILING.
Kay Bailey Hutchison thinks it's CRAZY to try to pass a health care bill when the economy is bad and people are unemployed. We should obviously wait until the economy is healthier and people are back at work, at which point it will still be crazy to pass a health care reform bill.
Gregory wants to know if Geithner should resign, but what's Hutchison supposed to say? She's been selling out to Wall Street, he's been selling out to Wall Street. She needs people to be mad at the Obama administration, but not so angry that it will endganger the longstanding relationship between people in Congress and people in Wall Street. Gregory presses, though: "Do you think he should keep his job?" KBH replies, "Well, look, we shouldn't keep our jobs, either." Actually, that's exactly right!
Before KBH and DiFi can have an interesting debate on costs that might be clarifying, Gregory changes topics to Afghanistan. "Let's all keep to this study in happy dilettantism!"
ARGH. Joe Lieberman! The "surge" in Afghanistan will NOT BE THE SAME AS THE ONE IN IRAQ.
A critical point: Afghanistan's "surge" won't be like the one in Iraq. As Ackerman points out: "Unlike Iraq, Afghanistan's escalation is being talked about in terms of not being a one-time surge, where when the initial brigades used for escalation go home, the whole thing goes back to where it was before, but a sustained escalation whereby new brigades have to come in and relieve the ones that go home initially."
Now they are all talking about a Charles Krauthammer column? FAST FOWARD.
KBH says that the mammogram guidelines are "the beginning of rationing," which is weird, because health care rationing is EVERYWHERE in America, especially if you are poor, and can only go to CVS for their health care.
Did you know that somehow, more people are watching this show than any other Sunday Morning talk show? It's true. And I am one of them, and for that, I am very sorry. The Nielsen people really should have a calculation for "conscientious objectors," like me, who have to watch the show, but wish the Vogons would come and destroy it to build an interstellar highway.
One thing that will be great about the health care bill getting either passed, or watered down into nothingness, is that MSNBC will hopefully cancel the Dr. Nancy show, where lately she's been goin' crazy over the way tweens are way into vampires.
I wonder when someone is going to point out that for all her alarmism over how these new non-binding guidelines about mammograms are rationing, Marsha Blackburn doesn't want to actually help make mammography more widely available or more affordable.
Boy, looking at Nancy Brinker, I wonder what she has to say about the "Botox tax!" Her face has literally been frozen into a plasticine rictus. She is fascinating to look at. I think their might be a series of Nancy Brinker nesting dolls inside Nancy Brinker!
Anyway, Dr. Nancy says that the task force was given an assignment to examine the issue as "scientists," and they came back with results and opinions, like scientists often do. "This week, I believe we through the scientists under the bus," and then goes on to suggest that maybe the media shouldn't take a quick glance at scientific findings and always move to their default position, which is to set buildings on fire and arrange high-stakes political demolition derbies between demogogues.
"We are on the verge of becoming a scientifically illiterate country," Snyderman says. ON THE VERGE? We teach SORCERY as an equivalent scientific alternative to evolution! We make fun of volcano monitoring!
Oh,. and Robert Byrd is still in Congress! No one sees that as a problem: that a bunch of old men who are scared of the noises that microwave ovens make and who pee their own pants everytime there's a voice vote are in charge of every important committee in Washington.
Wait, is that it? I'm already to the part where MEET THE PRESS celebrates the show it used to be in lieu of proffering any vital content, relevant to our lives right now. What's the point of this?
MEET THE PRESS: 57 YEARS AGO, WE SOMEHOW MANAGED TO POINT A TEEVEE CAMERA AT ROBERT BYRD. THIS WAS A TREMENDOUS ACCOMPLISHMENT, FOR WHICH NBC NEWS DESERVES HANDJOBS, ALWAYS.
Anyway, STOP, CLICK, DELETE FROM TIVO. The one thing I will give this Sunday props for is for making scant mention of Sarah Palin, this is as it should be, because she remains terrified to come on these shows and submit to questions, even though it's painfully clear they will coddle her like a quail egg.
OK, WOW. That's that We'll return in two weeks for more of these long, dark Sunday mornings of the soul. I hope everyone has safe travels and a great Thanksgiving this weekend.