Hello, good morning, and welcome to this Sunday Morning Liveblog. Sorry, folks, I wrote a whole preamble a few minutes ago and it got devoured by the internet when I tried to save this, only to discover that I had become quietly disconnected from the internet. So, it's gone and I am not going to rewrite it.
CNN's State of the Union
"Seniority is power on Capitol Hill," says Candy Crowley, reminding us all how old and decrepit and easily electable most people in Congress are. Out with the olds, right? If you really want to know why nothing changes and policy is always tentative, it's because everyone who chairs a committee is 85 years old and is terrified of clouds and iPhones. But things are different now! ANTI-INCUMBENT FEVER!
This will last a while longer before going back to the way it was -- and it will, trust me. Plus, all those new people will get subsumed into the corporate lobbyist superstructure within a few hours of arriving in Washington, so you won't even notice the difference.
But, okay: Arlen Specter and Joe Sestak are in a crazy fight over the Pennsylvania Senate seat. As Crowley points out, Sestak is the "outsider," DEPSITE HAVING BEEN IN THE HOUSE FOR FOUR YEARS!
"Washington is broken," says Sestak, WHO HAS BEEN IN WASHINGTON FOR FOUR YEARS. "It's time for a different generation," says Sestak, WHO IS NEARLY SIXTY YEARS OLD.
"We are tired of the old, retread, politics of old," says Sestak, trying to say the word "old" about seventy times. He goes on to say that while he's standing up against the Democratic establishment, he's not pitching himself as running against Obama or as an icon of the spurned left. "I'm pragmatic," Sestak says.
Is he in sync with his party but out of sync with an America that is crazy upset about government spending? Sestak points out that he is a "pay as you go" voter. I'd point out to Crowley that outside of the tiny Tea Party rump, no one in America is all that concerned with government spending -- they are desirous of jobs, they are concerned with their household debts.
Sestak is pretty angry about the way in which Specter has cast his retirement from the military, and that he won't release his military records. Sestak calls Specter a party-switching coward, that he retired because his daughter had a brain tumor, and basically says that the Specter camp has made a bunch of false assertions. He basically goes on to tar Specter as a Swiftboater, "You and those right wing Republicans did it to John Kerry, you did it to Max Cleland, not again."
I sort of never realized that Joe Sestak and comedian Dave Attell sort of have the same dialect. I keep expecting Sestak to start extolling alcohol and strippers.
Okay, now it's Arlen Specter's turn. He was a firm ally to George W. Bush! He will fight for President Obama! He wants to get re-elected. He knows a lot of obscure Scottish law. His staff are probably the most masochistic people on Capitol Hill. He is America's best known Arlen...sorry, Arlen Gargagliano!
Specter says that he switched parties because he had tried to moderate the Republican party, and he thought backing the stimulus would stave off a recession. He goes on to say that if he'd wanted to get re-elected easily, he would have stayed in the "obstructionist GOP caucus" and not become a Democrat. "But you were facing a stiff challenge in your own party, from the right," suggests Crowley. Not until I voted for the stimulus, Specter says.
Specter then runs down all of the obscure newspaper endorsements he's received. He's earned a few!
Does incumbency work against you, Crowley asks. Specter says that he's tried to cross party lines throughout his career. He's pro-choice and anti-wiretapping and even voted against Bork, he says! Specter says that Obama says that he saved the country from going "off the brink." ONLY ARLEN SPECTER HAS SAVED AMERICA, EXCEPT FOR DAWN JOHNSEN.
"I'm the only guy who can beat Toomey," Specter says. He also fought a Tea Party guy, with his BATTLE WORDS, while Sestak cowered in his office. (NO IDEA WHEN THIS HAPPENED, BUT OKAY.) Sestak, he says, "ducks and dodges and weaves," and is generally, I guess, more agile.
Specter says he'll support whoever wins the nomination about Toomey, and points out that was a question that Sestak dodged. "One thing I've always been is cannnnnndid. I'll always be cannnndid," Specter says, drawing out the word "candid."
Basically, Specter's case is that he "put his job at risk," and "cast the critical sixtieth vote for health care."
How about Elena Kagan? Specter voted against her as the Solicitor General and is going to support her for the Supreme Court. Specter says that he will go to the hearings, and not rush to judgment. He says he voted against her as SG, because she wouldn't answer questions about what cases she'd take to the Supreme Court. Since then, she's been more forthcoming, and he hopes more will come out in the hearings. "I think I'm making some progress, by being tough about it."
Now we're going to watch sad, old, Bob Bennett of Utah, who lost out in Utah's nomination process, whose only crime was basically being a nice guy, who wanted to do some pro-active things on health care and whatnot, who really never surrendered any of his conservative principles, as near as I can tell, but got swept up in a wave of Tea Party eliminationism.
Anyway, Bennett says that you shouldn't "extrapolate" from his race to draw conclusions about the rest of the country. And Utah has a weird nominating process, okay! Bennett says that Utah's voters would treat him differently than the convention delegates. Will he mount a write-in? "I have made a very firm decision to not make any firm decisions."
Bennett says that voters right now are making little distinction between their representative and an "entity called 'the federal government,'" and that the driving force of the Utah delegates was that attitude. He points out that he was also attacked because he was happy to work with Democrats. Would he continue to work across the aisle? "I would continue doing what I did because I thought it was the right thing to do."
Bennett won't comment on the Specter race, other that to say that they are friends, that he's gotten himself into real trouble -- some outside his control, some based on his actions -- and that he could lose to Sestak. So, that's a lot of comment for a guy who didn't want to comment.
All right, the show was getting almost substantive, so now a segment on the "politics of oil." Someday, I hope we get to interview some oil and see if it will run for president.
There's like a panel thing, with two people I've never heard of, John Mercurio and Julie-or-Julia Mason. They both look as if they exude pure Washington smug from the pores, and I hate them both instantly! It's still early in the morning, and I am full of snap judgements, sorry! Still, these look like two people I would regret spending time with.
Ha! Crowley: "The administration seems to have been caught a little flat-footed by the politics of the oil spill." I KNOW! Suddenly, there was all this POLITICS everywhere! It was coming ashore, getting politics on birds and beaches!
The panel basically says, "Ha, ha, ha. Oh, my! First they had the bankers come to Congress and now the oil people! Oh, ha, ha! So amusing! Ha, ha! I couldn't speak for even a minute about the underlying issues in either case and the impact they have on the lives of real Americans. Ha, ha! But the pageantry is so grand and so amusing!"
Blanche Lincoln may win! Arlen Specter may lose! There's an anti-incumbency movement afoot! There's an "undertow." No! It's an "overlay." You cant "extract" anything from it, and yet these races are a "great laboratory." BUT YOU ARE SUPPOSED TO USE LABORATORIES TO EXTRACT THINGS!
And now, Elena Kagan. Candy Crowley really sticks it to Staten Island for failing to produce a Supreme Court justice. She seems to be also upset about how there are no Protestants on the bench, like Pat Buchanan is.
And now, commercials. Is that how this show works? Cram as many factoids into a sixty second segment and then kick out to commercial?
Oh, we're back with these two awful people on the panel. Does Specter's take on Kagan hurt his primary chances? It does, unless it doesn't. The panel says that the Kagan pick will lead to a bigger battle than the Sotomayor pick. But why didn't Obama pick someone who'd lead to an even bigger fight? The conservative base is as motivated as they'll ever be! So why not wake up the liberals! Oh, and the success of Sestak doesn't count as that?
That's followed by four minutes of two panelists doing little more than show that they can vibrate their vocal chords and then shape the sounds with their lips and teeth and tongue and palate to form utterances. It is really, really, not good. "You all need to come back, and take up half the show next time," says Crowley to these two vapid, smug dicks who really just set a new standard for Sunday uselessness. Honestly, I am shocked at how bad that was! I sort of miss Brit Hume!
Run, run! Far away from Mercurio-whatsit and Julie or Julia Whatever!
It's Leprechaun Day! Pat Leahy and Jeff Sessions, aka, "Faith and Begorrah," will be here to laugh about their pots of gold and torment Jennifer Aniston, or something. Plus, panel time!
But first, there was a dream and it was Elena Kagan, America's Next Top Supreme Court nominee and Super Seducer of Anthony Kennedy! She's meeting with lawmakers! Making new friends and enemies. Here's Leahy and Sessions, representing these groups!
When will the hearing begin? Leahy is going to work it out with Sessions, and hopefully it will be "done in the summer," in a manner akin to the process of confirming Roberts and Sotomayor.
Kagan, as Jake Tapper points out, is no fan of the confirmation hearings, calling them "vapid" and useless. Leahy says that Kagan has remarked that she's expecting to hear that quoted back to her. Sessions says that "we want to know in a real honest sense whether he interpretation to the Constitution is faithful."
I'd like to point out that Tapper is probably the first person I've heard go on teevee and get this exactly right:
TAPPER: You've expressed concern about a step she took when she was Dean at Harvard Law School, and she continued the policy at Harvard Law School of keeping military recruiters from using the Office of Career Services, although she did change that policy later in her tenure there.
Most people shorthand this: "Kagan banned military recruiters." Sessions attempts to assert that she reversed a policy when she became Dean, and makes being denied access to the OCS a bigger deal than it really was. (Harvard students, I think, were pretty capable of figuring out how to join the armed forces!)
Of course, Sessions says it was not a small matter and that it was unacceptable that this occured, but you know what was even a bigger matter? And even more unacceptable? THE UNDERLYING ISSUE AT THE HEART OF KAGAN'S DECISION TO MAINTAIN THAT POLICY: the military's "Don't Ask Don't Tell" practice. That had a larger and more significant effect on the country -- and the military -- than Harvard's approach to military recruiters. Seriously, can you even measure the impact of Harvard on the military in a relevant, statistical fashion? I think this is basically all just BLEAT BLEAT BLEAT.
Anyway, Leahy disagrees, and says sexy trucker Senator Scott Brown does too, and his son was able to find a recruiter that could get him into the Marine Corps.
Looking forward to what Politifact does with this section of the show.
But, when Kagan was Dean she filed an amicus brief on the matter that got rejected by the SCOTUS in a unanimous verdict. Tapper asks, "Isn't that a reflection of her political beliefs, and not one of law?" Leahy basically says that if participation in amicus briefs were an impediment to serving on the Supreme Court, there'd be no one on the Supreme Court. Indeed, John Roberts, for example, "coauthored the government's amicus brief supporting the group's right to target clinics, under the First Amendment, arguing that Operation Rescue was not engaged in a conspiracy to deny women equal protection."
Similarly, Sonia Sotomayor's pro-choice credentials were established, in part by an amicus brief. And Samuel Alito enjoys relaxing around the house wearing Hane's "Learned Hand" brand of amicus briefs.
Let's all reminisce about the Bork hearings! And the "Secret lesbian" thing! "How far is too far," asks Tapper. Sessions says that you can go too far, and that one ought to keep an eye on fundamentals, not "secret lesbian" stuff.
What about the plan to roll back Miranda rights? Leahy says that the SCOTUS, having established the rules of Miranda, would have to make changes based on precedents. He points out that Miranda hasn't inhibited the investigations of terrorist suspects, and that you can't just "pass a statute to overturn a Supreme Court decision." So, it would seem that he's skeptical on this whole, "Let's be able to deny people rights whenever we feel like it," thing.
I wish this had been more leprechauny! Jake does this funny, eyebrow-raise/finger-tappy pause, as if to say, "SOMEDAY I WILL FIND THE LUCKY CHARMS FOR AMERICA!"
And now it's panel time with George Will, Greg Craig, Glenn Greenwald, Ed Gillespie, and Helene Cooper, who's on hand to add diversity beyond "white dudes with G's in their names."
Cooper's hair, by the way, is sending a message, and that message is, "It's humid outside in Washington, DC."
Is it safer to pick a SCOTUS nominee that doesn't have a big paper trail? Will says yes, and that became the case since the Bork hearings. He adds that the Clinton White House notes will now add to that paper trail, but Kagan will probably do as Roberts did and just offer that she had a client, then, as judge she won't have a client.
Greg Craig used to work with Kagan. What advice would he give her? Craig says that she'll do her best to answer questions, but suggests that it's a good thing that nominees don't indicate how they'll treat a litigant in advance. Greenwald disagrees: "The troublesome aspect is that this is a nominee about whom nothing is known...she's spent decades hiding her beliefs and philosophies are." Craig disagrees, but not very substantively! The shorter version: She's a trailblazer and a lady and she's held a bunch of jobs and is great!
Gillespie says, OH HARRIET MIERS WAS OKAY, WE SAW HER DO SOME LAW STUFF. Why haven't we seen Kagan do some law stuff! Craig says, NO SHE'S A SUPER DUPER LAW PERSON! Gillespie says, SHE WILL TRY TO MAKE POLICY FROM THE BENCH, and that it's just the President looking to put an ally on the bench. That's what all Presidents do, though!
Helene Cooper finally gets in on this! She says that we should be bracing for a big, dumb, melodramatic shitshow, HOORAY! Still the White House is confident, because once the shitshow is over and everyone has had the chance to belch nonsense from their cakeholes, SHE WILL JUST GET CONFIRMED. It's like the opposite of LOST, in that we know the ending already.
Will allows that it's unfair of people to say that Kagan single-handedly kicked military recruiters off of Harvard's campus, but then goes on and says that it's not right for Kagan to say that it was the military's "Don't Ask Don't Tell" policy that was her objection -- because that is the law of the land, and actual Democrats supported it! I don't know why one cannot OBJECT to a law just because it's a law, and the fact that this military policy is underpinned by legislation seems like a superfluous point.
I also have no idea why Will thinks it's significant that a Democratic COngress upheld "Don't Ask Don't Tell" and that people like John Kerry voted for it. I mean, all this means to me is that the Democratic Congress and John Kerry, et al. were ASSES. Will lives in this world, I guess, where everyone is a member of a tribe and therefore must accept the bad decisions of the tribe and you are weird if you don't. And maybe Kagan has tried to pawn off DADT onto Republicans, I don't know.
Greenwald does say that Kagan's abilities and accomplishments vastly outshine Harriet Miers, and that the DADT/campus recruiter matter is a sideshow. He goes at Craig, "Can you point to anything that [Kagan] has said or written," that would render he beliefs on key Constitutional issues scrutable? Craig dodges it by saying that Greenwald is arguing that only judges should be on the SCOTUS (he really, totally, WAS NOT DOING ANYTHING OF THE KIND, GREG CRAIG), which is the way he gets to his "Kagan doesn't have that sort of body of legal writing" argument.
Greenwald asks if there's a way of knowing Kagan's beliefs. Craig says sure! Greenwald asks, Okay, where are these things that tell us? Craig basically says that she wrote some law review articles and like, totally lived her life, man! Training up law students and being an administrator. Greenwald laughs at this, and asks, "So what do we know about Elena Kagan." Craig: "Uhhhhh...duhhhh...uhhhhmmm, she's a progressive in the mold of Obama." HA THAT SENTENCE HAS NO MEANING, ZERO. That's kind of like saying that this liveblog is a bicycle in the mold of red velvet cake."
So, wow! What have I learned today? Greg Craig is kind of an asshole!
Has Kagan been cautious, in preparing for this day? Will says that it's the job of the Senate to chip away at the caution. He goes on to say that she should be challenged on the Constitutionality of the health care bill and that a Senator could ask if the Commerce Clause affords the Federal government the right to take calisthenics. So look forward to that being asked!
I hope the rest of this panel is, "A private conversation with Helene Cooper!" She's got to say, like, one thing!
Okay! Let's talk about the oil! Can we maybe put Greg Craig in a cannon and shoot him at the oil spill? I'd be okay if that failed.
Oh, good, Helene Cooper is talking! She points out that on Miranda, it's hard to do much to the existing law before you tread up on the Supreme Court. What Obama is seeking, she says, is more time. On the political side, she says that the administration is worried now about something happening in the United States, and it looking like they haven't done enough to protect the public. So, adjusting Miranda is sold as a "WE DID SOMETHING!" measure.
Gillespie says that the administration is recognizing that the way Abdulmutallab was handled was not well done, which is weird, because it was really well handled! But, he says, the Obama administration has got to outcompete the Bush administration on terror-toughness without torturing people. Greenwald points out that in all but the most cosmetic ways, the Obama administration has taken Bush's crazy national security ambitions and added steroids in the form of targeted assassinations and rolling back civil liberties.
Tapper makes TPM's day by airing their funny Specter mashup video!
Why would any Democrat vote for Arlen Specter? Will says, "That's a good question," and that it's a bad year to be someone who is an "incumbent, an oppotunist, and without conviction."
Greenwald points out how this race really demonstrates the ridiculous way the whole inside-the-Beltway system is designed to keep incumbents in power.
I think it's hilarious that Trey Grayson is running these belittling ads about Rand Paul after spending months pretending that Paul wasn't the clear frontrunner in the race. (Which, as Dave Weigel would surely point out, is an illusion the media helped abet.) Tapper is totally reading my mind, by the way: "I'd think that Paul's Democratic opponent could just run Grayson's ads."
Will says that there is a question of whether it's possible to poll a Republican primary in Kentucky. ALL OF THE PEOPLE WHO SUPPORT GRAYSON WILL TELL YOU THE SAME. HMMMMM.
Greenwald says that while Washington hates primaries, they are the best way for citizens to hand a defeat to the political caste system. Will agrees that primaries are wholesome and healthy.
My favorite part of the whole Blanche Lincoln thing is the way the Democratic party is waiting to water down the derivatives bill until the Arkansas primary is resolved, so that Blanche Lincoln can pretend to be a fan of derivatives reform when she's actually taken a lot of money from all the relevant scumbags.
Helene Cooper! Gets to offer substance on Afghanistan and Karzai. The tensions between the U.S. and Karzai were not "overstated," and were coming from our diplomatic corps, who though Karzai was not providing adequate leadership. She says that there's a redoubled effort to be nice, but on the outskirts of Afghanistan'society, there just isn't any governance at all.
Friend of the liveblog Chris Blakeley (where have you bee, sir?) points out that a good way of pushing back on the whole Kagan/military recruiters is to cite this op-ed from Rupert Murdoch's Wall Street Journal, from Robert C. Clark.
Meet The Press...On A Spaceship!
Okay, so, MEET THE PRESS will cover all the same ground as everyone else today, hooray. Only they'll do it with 150% more Chuck Schumer, woo.
Anyway, Obama is mad at the BP who are mad at Halliburton who are mad at TransOcean who are mad at the ocean itself who is angry with humanity and being battled by robots. Schumer says, "There ought to be a failsafe mechanism, and there ought to be a backup failsafe mechanism!" BRILLIANT. I say there ought to be two more failsafes! MAKE ME YOUR SENATOR, NEW YORK! Schumer basically goes on the say that people want to keep drilling the crap out of the ocean, but they need guarantees that it will be safe. Hey, I'd like a cat that poops fresh guacamole, but I have my doubts that such a thing is possible!
Anyway, what about Elena Kagan, who will participate in the vacuous farce that she once described as same. "Obviously, you can't pin someone down on how she'll come down on a specific case," Schumer says, but he'll want Kagan to reveal her philosophies. He likes the way she seems to understand the impact of the law on actual Americans. She's a "practical person" that will "bring the Court down to Earth." She will be a coalition builder, Schumer says. "Maybe a Kagan on the Court could have persuaded a Kennedy" to take a different stand on, say, the Citizens United ruling, Schumer says.
What about unitary executive power? Will she uphold it? Schumer says "that's a concern," and then proceeds to entirely dismiss that concern with platitudes. That was actually a good question from Gregory, but it shouldn't have been put to Schumer. Tapper should have asked that to Greenwald and Greg Craig.
What about slashing terror funding to New York? Schumer got all shirty about it, but Napolitano says New York is just sitting on funds they haven't used. Schumer basically says that New York is the "number one target of terrorists" and that the Pakistani Taliban has proven that...well, I guess that they can maybe get someone to do something incompetent in Times Square...BESIDES FRANK WILDHORN I MEAN! [RIMSHOT!]
Anyway, New York City deserves more money for terror and also the services of LeBron James. SO GET IT TOGETHER, "BEAN COUNTERS AT THE OMB," says Schumer. That will make "the mayor, myself, and Peter King" happy. HA NOTHING WILL MAKE THAT IDIOT PETER KING HAPPY.
OMG SHOCK POLL! 44% of people polled like the GOP! 44% of people like the Democrats! The American people don't know what they want and they want it immediately or else they will do something that won't in any way affect Schumer's seat.
Schumer says that Specter will "win by a little."
Here comes Mitch McConnell, who loved him some Harriet Miers, even though she was terrible. But McConnell turns around and says that he's learned about all the red flags that Miers showed: friend of the President, no paper trail, etc. McConnell goes on to call Citizens United a "blow for the first amendment" (it was actually a blow TO the first amendment) and then some stuff about Kagan saying it would be okay to "ban books" and "ban pamphlets" and I have to pause the TiVo to try to figure out what he is talking about because I know David Gregory will just sit there, grinning like a doofus, and saying nothing, because he thinks factchecking is something I need to do on my own time.
Okay here's that, then. Essentially, McConnell is full of shit, I'm sure that will surprise you:
Kagan actually argued that federal campaign finance law likely could not ban books
The argument that campaign books paid for by corporate funds could be banned was made by a deputy solicitor general five days after Kagan was confirmed. Bossie's group was the plaintiff in Citizens United v. FEC, a Supreme Court case dealing with the constitutionality of the Federal Elections Commission's decision that Citizens United could not air a movie advocating against Hillary Clinton's presidential candidacy if that movie was paid for by federal funds. On March 24, 2009 -- five days after the Senate confirmed Kagan -- the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the case. Deputy Solicitor General Malcolm Stewart stated during the oral argument that, in addition to a movie, the federal government could "prohibit the publication of [a] book using the corporate treasury funds" if that book ended by saying "vote for X."
When the case was reargued, Kagan specifically argued that federal law had never banned books and likely could not do so. In June 2009, the Supreme Court decided to postpone its decision in Citizens United, asked the litigants to brief additional issues, and ordered the lawyers to reargue the case in September 2009. Kagan argued on behalf of the federal government. She stated that if the government tried to ban books under campaign finance laws, "there would be quite good as-applied challenge" to the law, meaning that the corporation attempting to publish the book would have a good constitutional case that the book couldn't be banned. Kagan later added: "[W]hat we're saying is that there has never been an enforcement action for books. Nobody has ever suggested -- nobody in Congress, nobody in the administrative apparatus has ever suggested that books pose any kind of corruption problem, so I think that there would be a good as-applied challenge with respect to that."
So there you go. Now, I'll press play to watch David Gregory sit there like a dull sack of ass, saying nothing.
McConnell gets the whole military recruitment thing wrong, too. Gregory of course, treats this as if he's heard just another vibrant point of view on the matter. He'd rather talk about the soap opera politics of the way Miers was treated versus the way they plan on Kagan. It's just terrible and beyond the pale that a GOP nominee or law was ever, ever filibustered! How dare that happen!
Gregory's idea of "unpacking" on Kagan and military recruiters isn't to elucidate the truth of the matter, but do ask McConnell if her view on the matter "makes her a radical." JESUS CHRIST. Hey, David, do you think that the "Don't Ask Don't Tell" policy is fringey and radical? Because it is!
Really. This is just crap:
DAVID GREGORY: Let's go to this-- the-- the other concern that you raised about her position about the military. So, she's Dean of Harvard Law School. She opposes military recruitment on campus-- because of the anti-discrimination policy that-- that she was supporting-- with regard to the prohibition against gays and lesbians serving--
SENATOR MITCHELL MCCONNELL: Uh-huh.
DAVID GREGORY: --in the military. Do you think that position makes her a radical, with regards to her views of the military?
SENATOR MITCHELL MCCONNELL: Well, you left out the most important point. And that was that the law, the Solomon Amendment required that military recruiters be allowed on campus or the university give up their federal funding. So, I think a more appropriate response might have been to follow the law. I think it's something we're gonna-- look into, the committee-- because the decision was apparently made. We'll take our chances on federal funding by not allowing those recruiters at Harvard Law School.
DAVID GREGORY: Right. But they did, of course, have access to students through other military groups and veterans groups associated with campus. But my question is do you think, and some Republicans have suggested that she's got radical views about the military. Or do you think that's an overstatement and unfair?
SENATOR MITCHELL MCCONNELL: I -- look, I don't know. All we know is the issue with regard to the Solomon Amendment. And I think the committee oughta look into it. I-- I-- this-- the record has yet to be developed.
If Gregory understands that recruiters had "access to students through other military groups and veterans groups associated with campus," then how is anything "radical" happening? What was the point of this line of questioning? Did he think he could trick McConnell into saying that Kagan was a "radical?" And, even if he had, what's that got to do with the price of tea in China?
Amazing. Meet The Press basically misinformed its viewers about this whole dumb Harvard recruitment thing (and, I'm sorry, the way you inform a person about this is to know what happened, cold, and take the time to specifically say what happened and not take any shorthands or shortcuts -- like Tapper did on THIS WEEK), and injected this idea that someone who opposes "Don't Ask Don't Tell" is somehow "radical." Can we nuke this show from space?
Now they're talking about the oil spill...we should stop the spill, and blame BP, and blame the Mineral Management Agency. But we shouldn't raise the cap in damages too high or there will be fewer competition. (But also, BP should pay it all, which doesn't make sense if you cap it? AGGGHHH.)
Hey, how about Rand Paul? Is he a black eye for McConnell? McConnell doesn't really answer, "BLAH BLAH SCOTT BROWN...BLAH BLAH INCUMBENTS." He says, "I don't know who is going to win," meaning that McConnell is maybe the only person in the world who doesn't know this.
What does McConnell think about the whole "car in the ditch" metaphor that Obama used the other day. "Sounds like he wants to run against George Bush one more time, doesn't it?" And then he goes on to blather a bunch of crap about how they've nationalized private industry and that keeping the internet free and open through net neutrality is somehow "taking over the internet." McConnell will literally be the last person in America to acknowledge that that Wall Street banks actually OPPOSE FinReg. Gregory sits there like a dumbass, absorbing this interesting point of view as if he were a flower following the sunlight.
Oh, I don't know if I can handle this panel! Jonathan Alter, whose got a new insidery chronicling of Beltway grabassery that will probably be about as substantive as a fart wrapped in a doily. Dactylic hexametress Peggy Noonan! And ancient Sumerian political vaudeville act Mike Murphy and Bob Shrum!
Mike Murphy's opening act is the "OBAMA RAN AS A MODERATE AND GOVERNED AS A LIBERAL DUMBSHOW." To which my wife replies, "Just the opposite, actually." Anyway, if the election were held today...well, it would be illegal, since elections aren't held in May.
Shrum agrees with Mike, except that he doesn't! "Jobs are everything," he adds. ALSO OBVIOUSNESS. SO MUCH DEPENDS UPON A RED WHEELBARROW GLAZED WITH RAINWATER BESIDE SCOTT BROWN'S PICK UP TRUCK.
Gregory just straight up starts reading Alter's book out loud, while Alter masturbates all over the new set. He says that we've added jobs! Except not enough! Americans will have to decide what they think!
Noonan is "struck" by people who "kind of like Obama" who don't like his policies, which basically means Peggy Noonan has basically not ventured outside her peer group. Also, he's "gotten off health care," which is helpful. Shrum believes that 2012 will not be a good year for Republicans but that 2010 might be. Real limb walking!
Now Gregory is going to read Shrum's recent article to him, out loud, on the teevee?
Mike Murphy and Jonathan Alter bravely suggest that the whole Harvard recruiter thing "is going to come up" at the hearings. And then Alter spends five minutes talking about his book, for some reason.
Peggy Noonan has some feelings about the Bork! The Bork has prevented young lawyers from being "colorful!" And yet, the Senate should also be more respective of letting people say what they like. So: basically, the Senate should appreciate the "colorful" things nominees have to say, and just not have any opinion on the matter. Shrum points out that Bork's problem were that his opinions were repellent. "That is one way of putting it," Noonan says.
"We're not going to relitigate Bork," Gregory says, after several sustained minutes in which Bork was relitigated."
Mike Murphy says there's an anti-incumbent thing happening in the country, or so the side of his box of Frosted Flakes is telling him.
Everyone loves that Sestak ad in which he makes Specter look like a guy who will change parties just to get re-elected, as if it's only now, THANKS TO A SESTAK AD, that we can divine this truth.
No, David Gregory: Blanche Lincoln needs fifty percent of the vote to AVOID a runoff. Not to get one.
Maybe Blanche Lincoln is in trouble because her policy ideas -- not have decent health care, let Wall Street banks destroy the economy whenever they like -- are bad and people hate them? One day, it would be interesting to have a discussion on that!
Now, here's the McCain ad! "The 'danged' was the worst part of that," says Noonan, WHO HATES THE PROFANITY. At least while the microphone is on.
Okay, well! Another Sunday has left me with another little sack of regret and resentment to bury deep in the well of my soul where it will forever fester. Seems like a good time to do some laundry! Have a nice week!
[Hey, the liveblog takes time to write, because I like to pause the TiVo and give myself time to make observations. Also, I get up every now and then to make coffee --or, on particularly bad days, cocktails -- to get me through it. So be patient. Why not go to brunch or something and check when you get back. GOD I MISS GOING TO BRUNCH. You people are so lucky!]