MEDIA

TV SoundOff: Sunday Talking Heads

Good morning and happy "This is the Last Day of Lost" Day, America! My name is Jason and I am here to sort of semi-live-chronicle selections from today's Sunday Morning Political Gabfests, because while La Isla Encanta may not be Purgatory (and you promised that it wasn't, Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse), this room in this apartment on this day and time each week definitely is for me. Flagellants rejoice at the cleansing sights I will soon witness!

Funny old world, right? Because last week, the hottest thing in politics was also one of the oldest things in politics -- the carbon dateable Arlen Specter. But since then, the people of Pennsylvania have sent America their sexy Sestak sexts and now Joe Sestak is the new King of Chris Matthews' Heart. Last week, of Arlen Specter, I wrote:

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!

Since then, I have received this awesome email:

Now that Arlen Specter's been moved aside, do I have a shot at being this country's best-known Arlen?!


Warm regards,
Arlen Gargagliano

ZOMGZ, right? To which I say: ARLEN GARGAGLIANO: Like the LOLCats say, You CAN haz! Please, everyone, do what it takes to make Arlen Gargagliano America's most beloved and famous Arlen.

You can visit Arlen's website, here. She is really all sorts of awesome! She is a teacher of English and a chef who's popularly known for teaching a class called "ESL Through Cooking." She's got recipes and writing skills in abundance, and is just a great candidate for America's Next Top Arlen. So, make it so, America!

Meanwhile, while you are off learning how to make delicious Latin American themed cocktails from your new Arlen, I will be doing my appointed duties. But a reminder! Next week I am pulling a Rand Paul and bailing from my Sunday duties because of Memorial Day, a time when I traditionally cite exhaustion. Stay in bed that day, I guess? Just letting you know. In the meanwhile feel free to send an email or leave a comment or follow me on Twitter.

FOX NEWS SUNDAY

Hooray! The 2010 Election is INTENSIFYING, so we'll get election analysis from, uhm....Sarah Palin? Plus Time Kaine and Michael Steele. And panels. But first, Sarah Palin will be live-tweeting her brain, for Chris Wallace, because she is a "key player" in the 2010 elections, in that more and more people in the GOP are frantically trying to avoid her endorsement.

Anyway, what does she think about Rand Paul? Palin basically says that Rand Paul is "right in his clarifications" on his opinion of the Civil Rights Act, so why not dismiss all the rest of the things he said? It's not like Rand Paul is a Democrat or something! And because of that, per Palin, you can just choose the most electable things he said, call that his position, and dismiss the rest. "He will oppose any effort to diminish the civil rights act," Palin says, seemingly unaware that this is true only because the rest of Congress would basically say, "YES, RAND, WE HAVE MADE THAT CHOICE FOR YOU."

Anyway, this is, per Palin, a "double standard." Because he should be able "to engage in a discussion" with a "media person" without being asked questions. Being asked questions is a double standard. Palin says the idea is "Don't assume you can engage in a hypothetical discussion," without people, you know, extracting your weird ideas and saying they are weird. (Honestly, Sarah Palin makes Rand Paul sound a lot weirder than he really is.)

"They are looking for that gotcha moment!" warns Palin, who went to journalism school and was apparently taught to smile pretty and passively write down whatever people said to her.

"No candidate is going to be a perfect candidate," Palin says, or at least that's what I extracted from the center of some word soup.

Now, we are going to talk about the terrible oil spill. Palin wants to drill the hell out of our oil, forever, and now she wants to hold the oil companies accountable (she and Rand Paul will have to discuss her "un-American" stance on that issue), and says she knows what it takes to do so, whatever that means. I AM GOING TO ACCOMODATE YOUR INDUSTRY SO HARD!

Palin says that the media needs to ask if there are connections between the oil industry and the White House -- which is a good suggestion! Yay, Sarah Palin. I think that's worth exploring in terms of how long we've lingered, following BP's plan on containing the disaster. Palin is, of course, wrong to suggest that the disaster wasn't met with an immediate response.

Then there is this comical moment when Palin suggests that the oil industry had less influence with the Bush White House: "If this were President Bush, or if this were a Republican in office, who hadn't received as much support even as President Obama has from BP and other oil companies--" AND I AM GOING TO STOP YOU RIGHT THERE, SARAH PALIN. Lindsay Renick Mayer? Will you take the microphone?

During his first month in office, President George W. Bush appointed Vice President Dick Cheney to head a task force charged with developing the country's energy policy. The group, which conducted its meetings in secret, relied on the recommendations of Big Oil behemoths Exxon Mobil, Conoco, Shell Oil, BP America and Chevron. It would be the first of many moves to come during the Bush administration that would position oil and gas companies well ahead of other energy interests with billions of dollars in subsidies and tax cuts--payback for an industry with strong ties to the administration and plenty of money to contribute to congressional and presidential campaigns.

During the time that Bush and Cheney, both of whom are former oil executives, have been in the White House, the oil and gas industry has spent $393.2 million on lobbying the federal government. This places the industry among the top nine in lobbying expenditures. The industry has also contributed a substantial $82.1 million to federal candidates, parties and political action committees, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. 80 percent of the industry's contributions have gone to Republicans.

[...]

This support has not gone unrewarded. In 2005, Bush, who has received more from the oil and gas industry than any other politician, signed an energy bill from the Republican-controlled Congress that gave $14.5 billion in tax breaks for oil, gas, nuclear power and coal companies. The Energy Policy Act of 2005, which was based on recommendations by Cheney's energy task force, also rolled back regulations the oil industry considered burdensome, including exemptions from some clean water laws. All of this transpired only one year after Congress passed a bill that included a tax cut for domestic manufacturing that was expected to save energy companies at least $3.6 billion over a decade.

"Political action committees, lobbyists and executives do not give money to politicians or parties out of an altruistic support of the principles of democracy," says Tyson Slocum, director of Public Citizen's Energy Program. "They are savvy investors expecting a return on their investments. Politicians routinely deliver on campaign contributions that are provided to them... [by] giving goodies to the industry." And the size of those contributions matters.

Sarah Palin makes me laugh, so much!

Brace yourself! Palin is going to try to divine the Big Election Picture! Palin picks up on the fact that Mark Critz ran and won going away from health care reform, but she misses the point that the Republican in that race ran on the very platform (Fire Reid! Fire Pelosi!) that Palin thinks will be successful. It wasn't. Palin also emphasized the voter registration distribution in that district, which skewed heavily Democratic, and asks "Why wouldn't this District vote for a Republican?" Well...because the last time they voted, they voted for a John McCain and Sarah Palin!

That said, Palin's probably not any worse at divining big pictures than anyone else in the media, because the task forces analysts to ignore local fundamentals that truly dictate the election results. (Media touts hate fundamentals, because they are people-driven factors, and political journo types dislike actual people).

Will Sarah Palin run for president? She basically says no. People should really learn to accept that's she's not going to take a pay cut OR a boatload of new responsibilities when she doesn't have to, ever. She can rake millions parasitically living off of politics for life, without having to put herself on the hook for doing anything. It's the perfect job! (Plus, having burned Nicolle Wallace and Steve Schmidt so publicly, you'd really have to possessed of no talent or self-respect at all to serve as an advisor on her campaign.)

Oh boy, what did I do to deserve Michael Steele and Tim Kaine!

Richard Blumenthal! This has been a hard and fascinating story for me, in that a good journalistic end was achieved thanks to some bad journalism from the New York Times (which in turn allowed a slew of good journalists from Connecticut papers to do all the real work). Blumenthal's statements, sorry, it's just weird for a guy to say something accurately hundreds of times and not get it right the rest of the times! Who does that? And is it bad seasoning? Or just a guy who gets a little ahead of himself? Who knows! The good news for the Democrats is that if it gets weird for them, they have a lot of options to replace him on the ticket.

Was Joe Sestak offered a job by the White House, to stay out of the race? Probably! It's a thing that happens in Washington, all the time. But it's sexy in this case, because of Arlen Specter's tortured courtship with the White House.

Steele says that Rand Paul's Civil Rights opinions were out of place and out of keeping with the times in which we live now. Kaine, of course, feels differently.

Political hack minute!

Kaine: We were in a ditch! Now we are not! (Ditch is filling with oil, now?) We win special elections, and people like Obama fine. And the GOP has no ideas or anything positive about themselves.

Steele: No more blaming Buch! Everyone hates Obama and Pelosi now. We sort of like the Tea Party, if they'll play by our rules. Obama has short coattails, ha ha! Trust me, a GOP wave is coming.

Kaine points out that the Republicans keep chasing people out of their party. Steele says that Kaine's forgetting about "the member from Alabama" who switched parties. THAT POINT WOULD HAVE BEEN MADE A LOT STRONGER IF STEELE HAD REMEMBERED THAT GUY'S NAME. (Parker Griffith.)

Panel time, with Kirsten Powers filling in for Juan Williams.

Everyone was "offended" by President Calderon! So many people with easily hurt feelings! Hume is amazed because everybody "knows" that the Arizona law doesn't racially profile (WINK WINK!) and, in fact, the way Hume makes it sound, NOTHING EVER GETS STOPPED EVER. Wallace says, I've read it, Brit's right, and then ONCE AGAIN PROVES THAT'S NOT TRUE because he (like almost everyone in the media) glosses over the fact that the law allows for immigration enforcement contact over CITY ORDINANCE VIOLATIONS.

You have to ask yourself, why do they keep glossing this over!

Hume and Powers are actually getting into this now, and Powers is doing a really good job with the Real Talk, about the way police behave. But she, too, really needs to avail herself of the fact that the law was expanded after it's passage to allow for this intervention in cases of city ordinance violations. But other than that, good job Kirsten!

And now, woo, Dennis Blair. "It would have been an entirely different political atmosphere today," says Hume, if the Christmas Crotchfire or Times Square bomb went off. Not sure, Brit! I remember when a bunch of buildings exploded a few years ago the political atmosphere changed to "let's blindly devote ourselves to the President and do whatever he wants." And we went shopping, I think?

Bill Kristol, of course, wants to bomb all threats at all times.

Powers says that maybe the Director of National Security is a position that "even makes sense," seeing as how the CIA Director is more powerful and the post seems to be cosmetic. Kristol sees Blair's dismissal as a "defeat for the intelligence services" because it strengthens the notion that Eric Holder is going to investigate the Bush-era CIA for crimes. And I am just like: WOW THAT IS A STRETCH, considering a) Obama steadfastly refuses to do anything about the crimes committed in the previous administration (We must look forward! And learn nothing! And never have to ask anyone to take responsibility!), AND the fact that Blair's dismissal is good for Leon Panetta, who ALSO doesn't want the CIA investigated.

Ha! Everyone on the panel is basically like, "GAH THAT IS SOME HORSESHIT, BILL KRISTOL."

Meanwhile, the Iranian sanctions -- they said it couldn't be done! By which I mean bringing on Russia and China! But, as Liasson says, the reason it could be done: ALL THE LOOPHOLES, for China. Bill Kristol thinks it's crazy that Brazil and Turkey wouldn't totally be on board with whatever the United States wanted to do. BOMB THEM, MAYBE!

THE CHRIS MATTHEWS SHOW

Since I'm feeling frivolous, I'm going to watch the Chris Matthews show, today? But for lovers of THIS WEEK, here's George Will on Rand Paul: "Frivolous."

"How does the president ride the tiger?" That is a question that Chris Matthews will be asking! And he'll be riding that tiger with Norah O'Donnell and Howard Fineman and Kathleen Parker and Jonathan Alter, White House insidery-grab-ass book writer!

So, Chris wants to know how Obama will run on change while being the President? Or something? Howard Fineman says that Obama needs to stop saying the word "I" and admit that he hasn't changed Washington as much as he wanted to and stop talking about history because "history scares people." Instead, say we, forget history, and buy Jonathan Alter's book! Parker says that Obama's popularity has not proven to be beneficial for some Democratic candidates, but suggests that things like Rand Paul craziness may lead to a swing in sympathy.

Jonathan later thinks his book is great, by the way!

Matthews says that Obama gets slammed on the debt but gets no credit for job creation. Fineman says it's a struggle to "brag about" preventing something from happening, like a further economic crisis. Can he attack the other side, though? O'Donnell says "OH YOU BET," and that the White House will make it a referendum on everyone else. Parker, however, says that there's an anti-incumbent wave coming! Alter disagrees! And so do I! This anti-incumbent wave, how bad will it be? Only 75% of incumbents get returned to their seats? OH NOES! THAT WILL TEACH INCUMBENTS A LESSON!

Can Obama run against Washington? O'Donnell says yes, and then says a bunch of other stuff way too hidebound and conventional to reprint. Obama will be a "change-agent!" What a novel concept. Fineman is still bitching about pronouns! Alter and Parker say, "He can still go to the center," as if he was somewhere else! That's like saying I could "go to Arlington" right now.

Chris Matthews has a Top Ten list of Stupid Political Statements! They are:

10. Arlen Specter will change parties "to get re-ellllllllllllecteddd."
9. Kerry voted for it before he voted against it.
8. George Romney was brainwashed in Vietnam
7. Bill Frist is the Doctor Gregory House of Terri Schiavo's Netflix queue.
6. Obama! Bittergate! Must credit the Huffington Post!
5. Gerald Ford says the Soviets are not in Eastern Europe.
4. George Bush the First and his lip reading statement.
3. George Allen said "Macaca," because he is a racist.
2. John McCain the fundamentals of our economy are totall maverick.
1. Walter Mondale will raise taxes!
Honorable mention: "WAAARRRGLLE! USE DIFFERENT PRONOUNS, OR SOMETHING." --Howard Fineman

How did Dubya not make that list? (How did Chris Matthews not?)

ANYWAY HOORAY FOR LISTICLES.

Now everyone gets to talk about the Rand Paul! By the way, this show was shot before he pulled out on Meet The Press. Howard Fineman points out that Paul's position on the Civil Rights Act is not going to affect Paul in Kentucky, but it could influence races outside of Kentucky. Parker basically says that Paul should have just said nothing about the Civil Rights Act other than it was a good law that passed many years ago, and we're on to the next one. Somewhere, out there, someone will point out that Parker is basically advocating for people to hide their beliefs in order to present the best political face possible.

She goes on to say that Paul is indicative of the "woeful inexperience" of the Tea Party movement. For a lot of reasons, I'm a bit hesitant to call Paul a "Tea Party" candidate. For sure, he finds common cause with them and does nothing to discourage the linkage. But Paul is the beneficiary of an insurgent political movement that predated the Tea Party, that has a lot of divergent views with the Tea Party, that had invested a lot of sweat equity in Rand Paul before the "Tea Party" joined up, and will be out there, backing Rand and Ron Paul long after the "Tea Party" has been successfully reabsorbed into the GOP establishment. The Paulites are a permanent insurgency. (They also differ substantially from the Tea Party on important foreign policy points, in that they are anti-Cheney.)

Norah O'Donnell says that the establishment GOp does not want to get "screwed" by Paul's tendency to launch into long academic debates about Constituitional law. I think what hurts Paul isn't that he engages on these subjects -- it's that he sounds so stupid when he does! His solution to the Americans With Disabilities Act facility mandates was to just stick handicapped people in offices on the first floor. One only has to have two or three days of experience, working in offices, or understanding what a "building" is, to know that the world just does not order itself in a way where Paul's solution makes a lick a damned sense.

Meanwhile, things Chris doesn't know! O'Donnell says that knowing that Richard Blumenthal possibly getting replaced by Rosa DeLauro or Ted Kennedy, Jr. will make Matthews' "head explode," but sadly it remains intact. Fineman says California is America's Greece -- and that term limits exacerbate the problem.

HA HA KATHLEEN PARKER refers to Sarah Palin as someone who "sprinkled Bubba dust" on South Caroline gubernatorial hopeful Nikki Haley. It's a good think that Norah O'Donnell wasn't drinking milk because she laughs to hard she would have horked it everywhere. GIVE PARKER ALL THE PULITZERS FOR FUNNINESS.

Jonathan Alter says there was a "secret showdown" between Obama and the Pentagon over McChrystal boxing the White House in on Afghanistan policy READ MORE ABOUT IT IN HIS BOOK (or wait for us to report the anecdote).

Chris Matthews says Ted Kennedy, Jr. was "very impressive," and fails to mention how easily impressed he is.

Matthews asks if Obama will get blamed for the oil spill? O'Donnell says "not personally, no." Fineman says "Yes." Parker says yes but it won't be personal. (She also thinks that the blame is earned for a delayed response, but there really wasn't a "delayed response." I'd say that criticism is mounting in this current stage of the crisis, because there's no alternative on the table other than BP's flailings. That's a different thing from a slow response.) Alter says it happened on his watch but he'll share blame with BP. That's probably right to a certain extent, but it will be BP's name that is dragged through the muck and trashed beyond repair.

MEET THE PRESS

It is Meet The Press time, but before we start did you all remember to read The Awl this week, and learn about the bros who are cold ICING OTHER BROS? Because this is happening, maybe because of a stealth marketing campaign? Or maybe modern life has just reached the point where we have no other choice but to Ice each other. Hopefully this leads to bros Klonopinning bros, but let's just keep our fingers crossed on that, and see where the days take us.

Anyway, the ICING of BROS. I am prepared to call this a good thing, in that maybe one of you would be willing to ICE David Gregory and put that on the YouTubes? PLEASE SOMEONE DO THIS. Make David Gregory quaff an entire Smirnoff Ice on camera, while down on one knee. Please, please! I will find some way of rewarding you.

Okay, let's watch the show and live in hope that David Gregory is not prepared to pull an ICE BLOCK.

Of course, Rand Paul totally ICED Meet The Press this weekend, leaving us with Jon Cornyn and Robert Menendez and Joe Sestak and a panel of people who worship Centrism and the way it helps to water down legislation so that no Americans are ever helped by their government.

The show is happy to talk about Rand Paul in absentia, because some NBC news producer assembled this brief video package about What Happened This Week In Rand Paul News (which everyone already knows, but let's pretend that this show is actually breaking news to people, okay?).

Anyway, you will not get to see David Gregory and Rand Paul going at each other with Nerf Cats-of-Nine-Tails today. Instead, we get Cornyn and Menendez, to excite us. Cornyn says that Paul is a total NOOB and he should stay in Kentucky instead of coming on Meet The Press. Cornyn points out that Paul is winning the election right now and he thinks that the rest of the career politicians will have a watered-down and insincere conversation about the role of government during the election season.

Cornyn applauds Paul for "clarifying his view," like Palin. Sliding scale for earning applause in modern life, isn't there?

Menendez says that Rand Paul is a sign of the mainstream losing to the extreme in GOP circles, and thinks Jack Conway is going to do just fine against Paul in the election this year.

But this is David Gregory, so, of course: OMGZ THE DEFICITZ!! THEY ARE SO GRECIAN, like the formula everyone on this panel should think about using. Menendez says, "BLAH WHATEVER THE GOP LOVED DEFICITS AND SENT DEFICITS FLOWERS AND WE ARE TURNING IT AROUND." Cornyn says, YEAH WELL YOU ARE STILL SPENDING MONEY AND ARE LIKE GREECE. That's going to be a fashionable thing this year! So much Greece Too that it should revive the career of Adrian Zmed.

Cornyn seems to think that the Tea Party are newcomers to politics when they are really a rump portion of the traditional, affluent GOP that the Dems have always been able to safely marginalize because they represent a sunk cost electorally, but could get bitten in the ass by if they cannot subsequently motivate their own voters to come to the polls in November.

Now Joe Sestak is here, all of the sudden, in our lives. MAYBE HE WILL ICE DAVID GREGORY! But David Gregory asks him a good question: how can Sestak claim to be an anti=extablishment candidate when he was a Congressman that basically hearted the Democratic establishment's agenda! Sestak, who has said his campaign message would not shift to emphasizing accountablility, says...wait for it...that he represents an outsider wave of accountability of the sort that he learned in the U.S. Navy. And that is VERY OUTSIDERY because all we previously knew about Congresspersons in the Navy we learned from Eric Massa, who was very INSIDERY in the way he was always trying to get INSIDE people's pants, for the tickling!

So Sestak is a new breed of seafarer, David Gregory. THE ERA OF BIG GOVERNMENT TICKLEPARTIES ARE OVER.

(Also the economy was "torpedoed" and was "sinking." SO WE HAVE A LONG PERIOD OF NAUTICAL METAPHORS TO LOOK FORWARD TO. (Or maybe not: now there are referees and roulette tables?))

Sestak has a little trouble, though, defining how he stood up the the Obama agenda, settling on some vague, "UHH, SMALL BUSINESSES AND STUFF?" position that's presaged by him saying, "I think the White House has done some great good things." Gregory wants to know if he's an Obama man, Sestak refers to himself as "pragmatic" and "independent." It's, at bottom, a stupid zero-sum discussion: Gregory's premise is that basically that if you are in favor of the stimulus package or health care reform you give up claims to independence, even if you independently believe that the stimulus or health care is good. The only "free thought" that counts is to oppose it.

Meanwhile, Sestak's independent critique is basically, "we can always do better." So how? And why is that important? It would be helpful to be able to say!

Was Sestak offered a job by the administration to stay out of the race? Sestak basically won't answer the question, because he is WAY INTO ACCOUNTABILITY, but only in holding himself accountable? Very hard to understand!

BUT OMGZ THE DEBTS! DAVID GREGORY WANT TO KNOW THE PAINFUL CHOICE HE WILL MAKE! Eventually, Sestak says he will close tax loopholes and help Robert Gates cut fat from the military budget. Those are the two things you can do to the debts that make David Gregory sad, though!

And now, for some reason, we're going to talk to Cornyn and Menendez again? Menendez says that Sestak will win in Pennsylvania and Toomey is a big, bad derivatives trader-lover. He also says that Mark Critz is the new Democratic Scott Brown because he won in McCain-land for the Democrats. Cornyn says everything is the opposite of what Menendez just said. Such surprising positions!

Meanwhile, how does Menendez solve a problem like Richard Blumenthal? Menendez doesn't really want to answer that question! Ultimately, he says he'll take Blumenthal over Linda McMahon. But the good news for Dems is that in this case, they actually have options. Per Alex Pareene:

What happens if Blumenthal leaves the race? The convention is this weekend. [Ed. note: It was yesterday, and Blumenthal won.] Anyone who gets 15 percent of the vote will make it onto the primary ballot. After the convention, anyone who can get the signatures of 2 percent of the enrolled membership of the Connecticut Democratic party (approximately 15,000 people) by June 8 can also qualify for the ballot. That's a tall order for anyone hoping to replace Blumenthal, should he turn out to be unelectable.

But after that petition deadline, and before the August primary, should a qualifying candidate remove himself from the race, the Democratic Party can select literally anyone it wants to replace him. So Blumenthal and Connecticut Democrats have months to figure out whether they need to find a new candidate.

In a lot of other states, a party doesn't have these open-ended options, so that's probably why Dems are happy for the time being to see how this all plays out. I often wonder why political parties don't make it easier to switch candidates when one gets too much personal taint attached to them.

And now, today's Panel will perform a piece about CENTRISM, in a one-act play entitled "Will No One Shoot Me In the Goddamned Face, Please? Because This Is A Living Nightmare, Watching This!"

"Will No One Shoot Me In the Goddamned Face, Please? Because This Is A Living Nightmare, Watching This!"

A Play in One, short, sharp act (of rape (to the soul)).

STARRING:
DAVID GREGORY: ICE HIM, Bros!
THOMAS FRIEDMAN: Mustachioed myth-maker, funk-faker, mis-taker
PAUL GIGOT: of the "Djee-Gough" Gigots
ANDREA MITCHELL: Concubine of Alan Greenspan
BOB WOODWARD: the PICAYUNIEST
ME: will no one shoot me in the goddamned face?

---------------

GREGORY: OMGZ! THE RAND PAULZ? IS HE STRANGE OR WHAT?

FRIEDMAN: He sure seems weakened by his stance against Civil Rights. It shows somehow that everyone needs to be pressed on what government spending we should cut!

ME: HOW DID YOU GET THERE FROM RAND PAUL??

FRIEDMAN: We need to cut taxes and raise them! We need to cut programs and have new programs!

ME: I guess there's no way you can be wrong, then.

GREGORY: OMGZ! YES! THAT IS EXACTLY THE LESSON RAND PAUL TEACHES US. IT IS A LARGER QUESTION ON THE TURRIBLE DEBTS AND HOW TO MAKE THEM GO AWAY.

GIGOT: I know! Rand Paul, though, is willing to be specific about what he'll cut! He just made the mistake of bringing up the Civil Rights Act.

ME: I mean...ha...ha...it's not at all about how a major party after years of associating themselves with the worst insticts of identity politics ends up nominating someone who critically forces them to look in the mirror about what they've become, at all!

GREGORY: OMGZ, DIDN'T RAND PAUL DO WHAT JOURNALISTS LIKE, THOUGH? AND SAID WHAT HE TRULY BELIEVES?

ME: Journalists should like prying the truth from people, not sitting back and letting inconsequential people implode on television. I mean, props to everyone going hard at Rand Paul, right? But it's not a very high-stakes encounter!

MITCHELL: Why does Rand Paul presume to be able to pass laws in the Senate if he thinks that the government should not meddle in the affairs of private business.

ME: Uhm...Andrea, perhaps you should familiarize yourself with "libertarianism?"

WOODWARD: Ronald Reagan ran on an anti-government message. Then he didn't cut government.

ME: ...(jesus!)...

MITCHELL: I don't agree.

WOODWARD: He refused to come on this show.

GREGORY: HAHAHAHAHAA. HERE'S SOME CARTOONS!

GIGOT: Obama has governed so far to the left.

ME: Have you read the health care bill? Have you seen what FinReg amounts to? Noticed the retention of any number of Bush-era executive policies? Seriously. Now is where I would seriously like that gunshot to the face, people.

WIFE: Do people honestly believe that?

ME: On this terrible show, yes.

GREGORY: LARF LARF LARF CARTOONZ! AND YET TARP IS A GOP IDEA!

GIGOT: Even the Democrats are turning on their moderates who won't support the President.

ME: YES! SO LONG AS WE PRETEND MARK CRITZ DOESN'T EXIST.

WOODWARD: The oil spill in the Gulf, where is that going?

ME: WTF? Is this an Insane Clown Posse song, now?

GREGORY: I'll get to the oil spill in a minute.

ME: Right! HORSERACE POLITICS FIRST, and then maybe, actual things that affect the lives of actual Americans.

GREGORY: WHO WILL SAVE THE HEROIC CENTRISTS?

FRIEDMAN: It's been decimated! Through gerrymandering! And the internet and it's "digital lynch mobs."

ME: TERRIBLE, all these DIGITAL LYNCHINGS.

FRIEDMAN: What if we could just be China, for a day?

ME: A GUNSHOT. TO. MY. FACE.

MITCHELL: There is so much punishment for people who work across party lines.

ME: ON ONE SIDE, ANDREA! On one side! Blanche Lincoln is taking heat not because the Democratic base is upset with her propensity to "work across the aisle," but because she TAKES MONEY FROM THE MOST CRAVEN FINANCIAL INTERESTS AND THEN WRITE LAWS THAT BENEFIT THEM AT OUR EXPENSE. That's what she was doing, until she got primaried, and had to pretend she had principles for a brief period of time. But she wouldn't even cast a vote for the very derivatives reform measure that she wrote for the sole purpose of appealing to the voters that were abandoning her because she's a sell-out. Meanwhile, Bob Bennett is on the outs in Utah SOLELY BECAUSE HE WAS NOT AT ALL TIMES OPENLY HOSTILE TO HIS DEMOCRATIC COLLEAGUES. There's no "both sides are doing it."

FRIEDMAN: I WANT THE SYSTEM TO WORK!

WOODWARD: No one is going to enact your fantasies.

GIGOT: These things go in cycles.

ME: What, should be all just start mindlessly repeating platitudes? I actually prefer this. Can we just leave it here, David Gregory.

GREGORY: I WANT TO TALK ABOUT THE OIL SPILL, OMGZ?

ME: With Thomas Friedman and Bob Woodward? Why? Why on earth? This panel is barely hanging on with the topic they're best suited for: pointless political minutiae.

GREGORY: THE OIL IS GUSHING. AND JAMES CARVILLE IS CRITICAL OF THE RESPONSE.

ME: Seriously, this has been happening for over a month, and you mean to tell me that now that James Carville has finally gotten around to giving a tinned shit about it all, we've finally reached some critical milestone? OH MY GOD, THIS SHIT FINALLY GOT TO BE TOO MUCH FOR JAMES CARVILLE, SO LOOK OUT, GAME CHANGE.

FRIEDMAN: The Obama response is problematic because it's "think small and carry a big stick."

ME: As opposed to Friedman's "Think Big And Fap Myself To My Image In A Mirror."

WOODWARD: "It is potentially a giant disaster."

ME: Potentially? WHAT THE FUCK BOB WOODWARD, DOES THE OIL SPILL HAVE TO MEET YOU IN A ROSSLYN PARKING GARAGE TO CONVINCE YOU THAT IT IS A SERIOUS THING?

WOODWARD: Disasters come and go. 9/11 for example. came and went.

ME: Oh, sure! It hasn't had any everlasting policy implications at all! Here's a true goddamned story from my life this week. My sister had her wallet stolen. And she went to the DMV to get a new ID. She brought her passport, her social security card, her lease, her paystubs, her utility bills, academic transcripts from three institutions, and a FRAMED CERTIFICATE ATTESTING TO HER STATUS AS A NOTARY PUBLIC IN GOOD STANDING SIGNED BY THE GOVERNOR OF VIRGINIA, and the guy at the DMV was all: "I'm not sure this is sufficient proof of identity," forcing my sister to have to make her very best WTF FACES at everyone there until they relented. So, ha ha! 9/11 didn't "come and go," if you are a normal person who knows normal people.

WOODWARD: Why don't they call in Google?

ME: WHAT? TO FIX AN OIL SPILL? WHAT ARE THEY GOING TO DO? BOOLEAN SEARCH THAT HOLE CLOSED?

MITCHELL: Why haven't the scientists fixed this?

ME: Because SUPER-SCIENCE IS NOT SOMETHING YOU FLICK ON AND OFF WITH A SWITCH? Because we do not live in the world of THE VENTURE BROTHERS?

GREGORY: WHAT DO WE DO?

WOODWARD: "The one thing we've learned about oil is -- and it's kind of answered the question of why the oil companies have been making so much money -- is that you don't have to go down there and pump it. It just comes to you once you pierce the shell of the bottom and all of this is coming...you know...no pumps."

ME: Wow. Just wow. Just, for real, put a gun to my face, pull the trigger a million times. That was a sentence said in America. WOW THE OIL JUST COMES RIGHT UP, WHO KNEW? You know, everyone was really disappointed that Rand Paul's cancellation was going to diminish the chances that someone would say something exceedingly stupid on MEET THE PRESS today, but man, Bob Woodward. He has really stepped up and delivered.

WOODWARD: This could come up the East Coast! This could come here and destroy your set.

ME: Oh, don't make me say: "Go OIL!"

GREGORY: We have an oil spill that continues and a debt that continues to go up.

ME: We have a problem that impacts actual people and something that political elites obsess over!

GREGORY: We're going to leave it there.

ME: Go jump in the Gulf of Mexico.

Okay, well, that's it. As previously alleged, I will not be here next week, liveblogging this misery, because of Memorial Day. So I demand you have a great holiday in advance. Remember to make Arlen Gargagliano America's Greatest Arlen, in your copious free time. Someone, please, "ice David Gregory," and get it on video.

And, above all, either enjoy the end of LOST, or, if your prefer, enjoy the end of that period of time where everyone talks about LOST and totally annoyed you. (And Twitterers of America, tonight, please remember there are such things as time zones! Don't ruin it for California!)

Have a lovely week and we will return on June something-or-other.