The Sunday Morning Talk Shows: The Review

ImageSunday, August 10, 2008


Well, on FNS, McCain campaign manager Rick Davis pointed out that McCain was the biggest maverick around, bucking his party and irritating the President. He said that McCain will not change his stripes just to win an election.

Next on FNS, Obama surrogate Dick Durbin complained: “I can tell you, I think that Bill Clinton is hurting.”

On TW, Bill Richardson insisted that we cannot end the Russian invasion of Georgia because President Bush has not built a strong relationship with Russia.

Next on TW, guest host Jake Tapper tried to play gotcha with Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal. I probably don’t have to tell you how that one turned out.

On MTP, temporary moderator Tom Brokaw and Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson agreed that there had to be more regulation of the credit markets. Brokaw sneered that it must be difficult for a Republican to admit this.

Bob Schieffer’s first guest on FTN was Virginia’s Dem Governor Time Kaine, who said that Obama is doing very well in Virginia and that the “Paris Hilton ad” shows that McCain is out-of-touch with America.

His next guest was Karl Rove, who wants McCain to stop responding to Obama’s “third term” attacks by denying that he’s George Bush. McCain has to highlight who he is and what he offers.

On CNN’s LE, Carl Levin posited that the Iraqis were stealing from us by charging us $4/gallon for oil and that their government was doing no work toward political reconciliation. John Cornyn lifted Levin’s rock.

The complete show-by-show review is beneath the fold. …

RICK DAVIS ON FNS. On FOX News Sunday, host Chris Wallace’s first guest was John McCain’s campaign manager, Rick Davis. Davis explained that there “is no bigger maverick” in this year’s presidential race than is John McCain, who has bucked his party and been a major “irritant to this Administration.”

Davis agrees with McCain, that this country is worse off than it was four years ago, and he blames everyone in government for this.

Wallace wanted to know why McCain was inviting Vice President Dick Cheney to speak at the convention, after McCain had badmouthed the man so. Davis explained that Cheney was invited as a sop for conservatives, “because we have to get everyone on board to make progress for this country.”

In what surely was a reference to Barack Obama’s constant alteration of personal policy positions, Davis averred that “you’ll never find John McCain changing is stripes just for an election.”

DURBIN ON FNS. Speaking for Obama, Wallace’s next guest on FNS was Senator Dick Durbin, currently Illinois’ other Dem. Durbin complained that oil companies were making huge profits and distributing them to stock buybacks, huge dividends, and exorbitant executive salaries. These things, Durbin argued, were “killing the economy.” Wallace pointed out that Obama’s proposed corporate tax cuts would reduce taxes to oil companies, and Durbin insisted that Obama wants to give back to working families.

Wallace mentioned the generic polls which show Democrats leading Republicans by a dozen points, while the specific polls show Obama leading McCain by only four. Durbin responded that most Americans aren’t paying attention. He then said that more of these Americans who are not paying attention are excited by and committed to Obama than are excited by and committed to McCain. Wallace asked why Obama was faring much more poorly than the generic Dem, and Durbin answered that there were still unanswered questions about both candidates.

Wallace asked about Hillary’s Denver roll call vote, and Durbin refused to answer because he doesn’t know what the convention has decided. He said that Hillary and Bill “are integral parts of our convention in Denver,” and that Hillary’s supporters and Hillary herself will eventually support Obama.

Complained Durbin: “I can tell you, I think Bill Clinton is hurting.” He and his wife were vanquished, the senator explained, but he’ll grow up and come ’round.

Durbin does not think that John Edwards’s bout with lust will hurt the Democrats, pointing out that both campaigns have their problems. (This was a reference to that substanceless New York Times hit piece of earlier this year, the one in which McCain was alleged to be thought by someone to maybe possibly be doing more than talking to… etc.) He said that there was no comparison to Congressman Mark Foley’s victimization of Congressional pages back in ’06.

GOVERNOR RICHARDSON ON ABC’s TW. The most intelligent governor in America, by media accounts, is Dem Governor Bill Richardson of New Mexico. Jake Tapper was in for George Stephanopoulos, and Richardson was the first guest.

Richardson blamed the Russia-Georgia crisis on President George Bush. “If we had a stronger relationship with Russia,” Richardson explained, we solve everything with the U.N. and diplomacy. He added that Bush’s failure was to build such a relationship with Russia. (NOTE: Bush and Putin were as best friends until the man in the Kremlin caved to his dictatorial urges.)

Tapper asked Richardson about McCain’s position on Russia, that we have to be tougher on them, that the Russians are not the right kind of country to be in the G8. Richardson responds that Russia is a superpower. We should end this crisis through the U.N., not by isolating the Russians. Tapper pointed out the obvious: the UNSC cannot pass a resolution against Russian actions when Russia can just veto it. Richardson countered that they might not veto it, and besides, the Iraqi’s agree with Barry’s timeline for troop withdrawal.

Richardson asserted that we have had four years of policy advocating $4/gallon gasoline, and McCain would continue this policy. We cannot drill for more oil domestically, Richardson alleged, since there are “valuable ecosystems” in the ocean.

Richardson hopes that Hillary doesn’t get her roll call at the convention in Denver, but he insists that Hilary is both a “huge leader” and a “major player” of and in the Dem Party.

GOVERNOR JINDAL ON TW. Tapper’s next guest was the most intelligent governor in America, Republican Governor Bobby Jindal of Louisiana. Tapper thinks McCain is picking on young Barry, so he asked Jindal about a McCain campaign statement accusing Obama of offering “nothing more than cheap and petty political attacks that are echoed only by the Kremlin.” (Tapper ignored that this was in response to a scurrilous Obama attack on a McCain advisor and that Obama was echoing the Kremlin.) Tapper thought this was over the top and seemed to seek a condemnation from Jindal. The governor did not budge.

Tapper insisted that McCain had “attacked” Obama for his vote in favor of the 2005 Energy Bill, a bill for which Jindal had voted as a Congressman. Jindal explained that his was a good vote for a member of the Louisiana delegation, but that Tapper was ignoring McCain’s point: that Obama was attacking McCain for toeing the Bush/Cheney line on “Big Oil,” when Obama had voted in favor of Big Oil while McCain opposed the bill.

Tapper insisted that McCain’s energy policy was not really “All of the Above” because McCain opposed drilling in ANWR. (What the…?) Jindal explained that “All of the Above” meant that McCain favored oil exploration, nuclear, solar, wind, etc. It had nothing to do with wanting to drill in every single place on the continent.

PAULSON AND BROKAW ON MTP. On NBC’s Meet the Press, Tom Brokaw interviewed Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson seated at this low and tiny neo-art deco table in front of a separated crowd of gawkers in sunglasses and t-shirts and, further back, that monstrosity the ChiComs call a sports stadium. The interview was taped, as it was done in daylight and it was 9p in Beijing.

Brokaw accused Paulson of being out-of-touch with the latest economic news and confronted him with his own recent (July 20) statement, when he told Bob Schieffer on FTN that it would take months to work through our current period because the long-term fundamentals of our economy were strong. What with the news last week that Fannie&Freddie™ had lost so much money, Brokaw asked, did Paulson wish to retract his foolish statement? Paulson said he still believes now what he said then. He reminded Brokaw that he had told Schieffer that it would take us “well beyond the end of the year” to work through the housing problems, and that the housing problem was at the heart of our economic situation.

Paulson talked about “backup facilities” for Fannie&Freddie™ because they are so important to our economy, and how difficult it was for him to ask Congress for said backup facilities, but that it was better than the alternative. In addition to the “backup authority” and the “backup power,” he’s asking for some re-regulation ability.

The crowd of gawkers, I noted from a wide shot, had thinned to a few stragglers.

We’ll now be able to look ahead at the systemic risk.

Brokaw argued that we should nationalize Fannie&Freddie™, dropping this “semi-private” nonsense. Paulson said we should focus on the problem at hand, but when they have the new regulator, there will be such discussions.

Now that we have the new regulator, Secretary Paulson maintained, its naught but win & roses in the future.

Brokaw asked why “so many smart people” were so stupid about the current situation. Paulson answered that hindsight is 20/20. Paulson said that he was preparing to deal with problems in the capital markets from the time he got to Washington.

Paulson said he’s dealing the hand he’s been dealt. This problem has been developing for years, and he was put in place to deal with it.

Brokaw and Paulson agreed that there had to be more modern regulation “across the board.” Paulson added that there should be more authority, as well. Brokaw sneered that it must be tough for a Republican to admit this but Paulson said he understands the importance of regulation and market discipline.

Brokaw asked Paulson if he would serve under the next Administration, and Paulson said that he would continue his job to the end of this Administration and do his best to assure that the transition is smooth. Brokaw tried to pull a Russert, asking if this were a “firm denial.” Yes, Tom, how’s Jane?

TIM KAINE ON CBS’ FTN. Virginia’s Dem Governor Tim Kaine was Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer’s first guest.

Schieffer promised he’d skip the veep talk and go straight to the news, which he did. He asked Tim Kaine about Russia, asking Kaine if this bolstered McCain’s argument that we need experience in the White House. Kaine replied that we need “judgment” instead.

Schieffer asked why Obama was not winning big, what with “the Republican Party being the shape it’s in right now.” Kaine said that Obama was ahead in the polls. Period. And Obama was leading McCain in Virginia where the Republicans have always won in a walk. (So says the Dem Governor of Virginia.)

Schieffer cited Chuckie Schumer as complaining that Obama has to hit back harder. Kaine complained about McCain’s Paris Hilton ad, saying that it was funny but so was a clown juggling. He hoped that McCain ran more of those ads. They show that McCain is “out of touch with what the Americans want to talk about right now.”

Schieffer played that clip of Clinton (Bill) saying that “nobodies prepared to be President” – “tepid,” according to the talking heads – but Kaine argued that Bill Clinton would campaign for Obama in Virginia.

Schieffer posited that the Dem convention might become “a kind of nostalgic look back at what might have been,” i.e. – nominee Hillary. Kaine argues that it’s important to acknowledge the contributions of the Clintons, just as the convention will lionize the Kennedys. (Meaning: the Clintons are old news.)

KARL ROVE ON FTN. After being universally vilified this morning, Karl Rove was Schieffer’s next guest on Face the Nation. Schieffer explained that Rove is “for the McCain campaign, but he is not of the McCain campaign.” Schieffer asked him about only 17% of Republicans being excited about the McCain campaign. Rove cited the Pew poll which showed only 24% of Dems excited by Obama and pointed out that McCain should be way ahead at this point.

Rove pointed out that Obama is running an ad attacking McCain as “being in the pocket of big oil,” when even the New York Times has editorial qualms about Obama’s energy policy. Rove pointed out that Obama was negative throughout, even back to when he was frightening his supporters by indicating that McCain would attack his race.

Schieffer thinks the Paris Hilton comparison is over-the-top. Rove explained that the add addresses “judgment questions” which are in the minds of the public.

McCain needs to lay out a bold agenda and talk about his character, Rove thinks, contrasting these things with Obama.

Schieffer asked if McCain needs to separate himself from Bush. Rove said that when Obama attacks McCain as George Bush, McCain needs to stop arguing that he is not and begin explaining who he is.

Rove thinks Virginia will be in play. He said that Obama will probably pick a red State candidate for veep, not thinking of who would be a good President should it come to that. Rove thinks that if Obama picked Kaine, “it would be an intensely political choice.” He thinks that at the end of the day, McCain will win Virginia.

LEVIN AND CORNYN ON LE. On Late Edition, host Wolf Blitzer’s first guests

Blitzer spoke first to Levin, who felt we should be firm and Russia was disproportionate and “out-of-line.” We need to stand with the Europeans, not go-it-alone. He said that this could be international if the Russians ships leave “those ports” and the Ukraine decides not to let them back in.

Cornyn agreed, this should be put “at the feet of the Russians.” He pointed out that Georgia and the Ukraine were democracies, while Putin was making Russia seem not so much.

Levin said we will not get involved militarily, though we might allow Georgia to take her troops from Iraq.

Cornyn doesn’t think we’re at the point yet of kicking Russia out of the G8. He noted that Russia is a superpower and has concomitant responsibilities. They cannot claim to be in danger militarily.

Levin thinks McCain’s threat to kick Russia out of the G8 is “dangerous.” He wants McCain to withdraw that idea.

Wolf complained about Iraq’s “enormous budget surplus,” which they should be spending on reconstruction and not making the U.S. foot the bill. Levin said that this is an “outrage” and that the President should call “his good friend the Iraqi prime minister” and have him reimburse us.

Cornyn agreed that there should be a “limitation” on U.S. funds being used for Iraqi reconstruction, and he called on Harry Reid to allow the bill doing just that to receive a vote on the Senate floor. Levin laughed out loud. He said that the Republicans had filibustered a bill to support our troops.

Blitzer asked if the Iraqis should be selling us cheap oil. Cornyn said that Iraq was a sovereign country and we didn’t spend our blood and treasure so that we could “steal what is theirs.” Levin countered that Iraq was taking from us with the high price of oil. He said that Americans are “offended” that we’re spending $4/gallon for Iraqi oil when we’re building hotels for their government.

Blitzer asked Cornyn if the Iraqis were playing us for fools. Cornyn pointed out that we would not even be talking about this if Levin and his friends had had their way and we had fled Iraq. Levin countered that the Dems only wanted a reasonable withdrawal to force the Iraqis to fend for themselves. He said that the though the surge had reduced the violence, the Iraqis had done nothing to reach political consensus and reconciliation.

Cornyn explained that al Sadr had stood down and the Iraqis had cleared Basra mainly by themselves. There is progress.

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And that’s that. ‘T is the summertime.