The Sunday Morning Talk Shows: The Review


On FNS, Karl Rove shewed his new electoral map: 317 for Obama, 157 for McCain. He has Ohio, Indiana, Colorado, and Virginia turning blue on the 4th.

Next on FNS, Virginia Governor Time Kaine said that he does not think McCain can win the Presidency if he loses Virginia. Early on the evening of the 4th, if we note that McCain has lost Mountain State, we know the election is Obama’s.

On TW, Lindsey Graham attacked Obama and Rahm Emanuel offered that he does not want to be Obama’s chief of staff.

Next up, former GE boss Jack Welch said that there is an economic light at the end of the economic tunnel, and that things should begin to get better by the end of 2009.

Tom Brokaw’s interview of John McCain on MTP could not by any stretch be characterized as hostile, or even spirited, but the Tomster spent much of the interview trying to trick McCain into endorsing socialism and thus Obama.

On FTN, Bob Rubin declared that we will emerge from the current financial crisis because of the “power of public policy.” Government will save us. Douglas Holtz-Eakin talked of getting the bad “mortgages off of people’s backs” so they could themselves stimulate the economy.

Next on FTN, Tim Pawlenty, asked about Tom Ridge’s insistence that McCain should have selected him as veep, pointed out that Sarah Palin’s appeal transcends a single State. Ed Rendell said that he doesn’t believe that Obama has a ten point lead in Pennsylvania and he needs Obama to get to the Commonwealth quickly. Rendell jokingly threatened to begin charging Sarah Palin the State income tax, as she spends a lot of time here.

On LE, Jon Kyl pointed out hiking jacking taxes on corporations, like Obama seeks to do, will drive them out of the country. Evan Bayh complained about the deficit, claiming that if we had a surplus, Obama would cut taxes for everyone.

Next on LE, pushing his plan to have the government purchased “bad mortgages,” John McCain compared homeowners to “innocent bystanders” in a “drive-by shooting.”

ROVE ON FNS. Leading off this week’s FOX News Sunday, host Chris Wallace spoke to Karl Rove, who had his latest edition of the Rove Electoral Map: 317 for Obama, 157 for McCain. He sees Ohio, Indiana, Colorado, and Virginia all turning blue this year.

McCain can pull it out, he predicts, if he can convince the public that he’s right on the issues while Obama is wrong, and that he is the only one with enough experience for the job. Then, if he can pull it close, McCain has to count on his “ground game.”

Rove is disgusted by the treatment of Sarah Palin by the media, and he reacted to the rumors of dissension in the Palin ranks as staffers throwing in the towel. He said that McCain and Palin have not done this.

KAINE ON FNS. Next up, Wallace talked to Virginia Governor Tim Kaine for the Obama campaign. (Tom Ridge was supposed to be there for McCain, but he wasn’t. (Though he has backed off from his remarks and has been campaigning for McCain in Pennsylvania, perhaps the pro-abortion Ridge’s sour grapes have pulled him from the national stage.)

Wallace displayed the RCP average of polls which shows Obama leading in Virginia, 52% to 45%. Kaine said that the Democrats are the underdogs no matter what the polls say, but he sees Obama in Virginia with advantages in poll numbers, energy, and organization.

Kaine said that he can see a path to victory for Obama if he loses Virginia; for McCain, not so much. McCain, he said, has to win Virginia, which could be decided early in the evening. Kaine, then, sees a short night on the 4th.

Asked about the crisis which Joe Biden predicted for a young Obama Administration, Kaine argued that “there will be major tests on inauguration day” for any President. Wallace pointed out that Biden was referring specifically to Obama, and Kaine argued that Obama has the right judgment to get the economy back on track.

Wallace asked if “race” were a hidden factor in this race, and Kaine does not think so. He said that he hopes this country has grown out of that by now; after all, he said, Virginia elected Doug Wilder, who is black. He said that the matter of race was still out there in spots, but “it’s a very minor factor.”

GRAHAM AND EMANUEL ON TW. First up on ABC’s This Week with George Stephanopoulos were Lindsey Graham and Rahm Emanuel. Graham argued that Obama wants to create new taxes on the job creators and erect protectionist walls much like those of Herbert Hoover. Rahm argued that the Dems want to cut taxes.

Arguing about governor Palin, Graham pointed out the she has energized the GOP and adds independent voters. Palin, he said, has in Alaska done what McCain wants to do in Washington, and that is remove the ossified structures of corruption both on the other side of the aisle and within their own party. On Biden predicted doom on Day One for Obama, Rahm explained that he’d worked with a President and knows that a President will be “challenged every day, 24-7.”

Rahm called McCain “impulsive and erratic,” citing both his reaction to the economic crisis and his selection of Sarah Palin to be his running mate; Obama, he declared, had a “spine of steel.” Graham pointed out that Obama is still taking his “surge hasn’t word” lines from MoveOn.org, whom he’s afraid to anger.

Rahm asked: “Which candidate represents change and which represents more of the same?”

Wallace asked, and Rahm said that he wants to keep representing the north side of Chicago, not serve as Obama’s chief of staff.

JACK WELCH ON TW. Next up on TW was former GE boss Jack Welch. Welch said that our highly leveraged world was now de-leveraging, and “we are going to have some very tough times.” He sees a light at the end of the tunnel, and he said we should start to emerge by late next year.

JOHN MCCAIN ON MTP. On NBC’s Meet the Press, moderator Tom Brokaw sat down with John McCain. Brokaw said that this was a live interview from Waterloo, Iowa. The two exchange pleasantries then Brokaw pulled out the latest NBC News/Mason-Dixon poll, showing Obama with an eleven point lead in Iowa, 51-40. Brokaw asked him if he felt more like Kevin Costner in Field of Dreams or George Clooney in A Perfect Storm? (Yes, that was his first question.) McCain answered that he feels like “Knute Rockne at halftime when he said we’ll go out there and get one for the Gipper” [Knute Rockne All American (1940)]. He said that the polls show him further behind than he actually is, and this depends on turnout. He predicted that “we’ll be up very late on election night.”

Brokaw asked McCain about his relationship with President Bush. McCain pointed out that he has been saying for the past eight years that spending has been out of control; that he fought against the “failed strategy in Iraq”; that he’s supported actions to fight “climate change.” He said that he understands shows like MTP having to use brief clips of comments, but he stressed that he is “not George Bush.” He reminded us that he “was not popular within my own party.” (He mentioned BCRA and working on immigration with Teddy Kennedy.) He said he likes and respects President Bush but that he has been telling him that “we’re on the wrong track” for years.

Brokaw pointed out that McCain talks about Obama’s lack of experience then showed an NBC/WSJ poll which showed that those surveyed like Obama on every issue they polled except Iraq. McCain said that he disagrees with the poll; there are others which show him faring much better.

Brokaw pointed out that such economic experts as Paul Volcker, Robert Rubin, and Christopher Buckley (!) endorse Obama and his economic policies. McCain countered that Obama’s record is his own, not Rubin’s or anyone else’s: “He has started out in the left hand lane of American politics and has remained there.” The most liberal United States Senator, just ahead of Bernie Sanders.

Brokaw asked him about the government buying the shares in banks and his own “bad mortgage” buying program: Isn’t that rewarding people who have done the wrong thing? McCain explained that we are in a financial crisis. The role of a government, McCain said, “is to intervene when a nation is in crisis.” (In fairness here, Brokaw’s trick was to counter the contention that Obama has socialist tendencies by describing the reaction to the recent crisis as McCain’s own socialism.) McCain argued that his plan for purchasing mortgages would allow a turnaround.

“You have to have different roles of government in different times.”

He described himself as a “strong conservative” and argued that at times like these, government has to help.

McCain argued that in the Great Depression, some of the things government did worked and some didn’t. The government, he argued, could not sit back on do nothing.

Brokaw argued that if we don’t give them another $15-billion, the U.S. automotive industry will cease to be. McCain argued that we should give them the $25-billion already promised to them first.

Brokaw accused McCain of defending Sarah Palin. McCain shot back: “I don’t defend her. I praise her. She needs no defense.” So Brokaw displayed another poll. Brokaw asked about the RNC buying her wardrobe. McCain said that she’s lived a frugal life and she and her family are not wealthy. Americans now care about staying in their homes, their jobs, and their health insurance. “She is a role model for millions of Americans.”

Brokaw read from the Arizona Republic’s endorsement of John McCain, published today, and read from the Associated Press account of John McCain being shot down over North Vietnam 41-years-ago today. To my surprise, Brokaw did not retrieve an NBC News/Mason-Dixon poll describing this is something or the other.

RUBIN AND HOLTZ-EAKIN ON FTN. On CBS’ Face the Nation, host Bob Schieffer talked to two economic surrogates: Bob Rubin for Obama and Douglas Holtz-Eakin for McCain. Starting with Rubin, Schieffer asked about the bailout plan so far not doing what was promised. Rubin argued that the credit market has been recovering but that we need to do more. He thinks it “imperative” that we have another huge stimulus package and we should fix the foreclosure problem. All in all, RUBIN said, give it time. We will be saved by “the power of public policy.” (The government.) Rubin advocates Obama’s tax rebates and thinks the government can stem the “crisis of confidence” if government acts. He thinks “it can be stemmed in a matter of months.”

Schieffer then switched to Douglas Holtz-Eakin. Holtz-Eakin asked where we place our faith, Washington and Wall Street, which have failed us, or in small business. He said McCain wants to help small businesses and homeowners, adding that “getting mortgages off people’s backs” would be the greatest stimulus off all. Schieffer talked about unemployment at 6% with some saying it will rise as high as 10%. Holtz-Eakin said that McCain could most quickly create jobs with real, comprehensive policies. He said that Rubin had mentioned the credit markets loosening, which Holtz-Eakin said that this was positive. Holtz-Eakin hopes that “by this time next year,” he and Schieffer can talk about the recovery.

PAWLENTY AND RENDELL ON FTN. Schieffer then talked quickie politics with Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty (for McCain) and Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell (for Hillary Obama). Schieffer asked Ed why he was nervous when Obama had a ten point lead in PA. Ed said that he doesn’t believe the polls and he needs Obama and Biden in Pennsylvania. Ed joked that he’d have to start charging Governor Palin the confiscatory State income tax, she’s been here so long. He described the excitement generated by Obama as “off the charts.”

Turning to Tim Pawlenty, Schieffer questioned the Palin choice, citing Tom Ridge’s sour grapes. Pawlenty argued that Palin “has brought a lot of strength to the ticket,” pointing out that her appeal “transcends any one State.” Schieffer accused McCain of “trying to run against his own party,” and Pawlenty said that McCain has been pointing out that he is “not just a continuation of President Bush’s term.”

KYL AND BAYH ON LE. On CNN’s Late Edition, host Wolf Blitzer opened by playing a clip of Barack Obama claiming that John McCain wants to cut taxes on corporations, accepted it as truth, and asked Senator Jon Kyl if he thought we should cut taxes on corporations. Kyl pointed out that McCain wanted to cut taxes on small business, and that high corporate taxes make corporations flee.

Senator Evan Bayh said that Obama wants to cut taxes on individuals. He said that John McCain wants to continue the policies of Bush when “the American people want change.”

Blitzer argued that tax cuts were wrong in an “economic crisis.” Kyl said that Obama’s tax increase on the wealthy would create the largest debt In this country’s history. We have to keep the tax rates, he argued, “right where they are.”

Blitzer played a clip of McCain making the same argument as had Kyl, and Bayh argued that Obama’s tax plan would be the best for the deficit. He said that if we had a surplus, Obama would cut taxes for everyone.

Bayh argued that McCain had to embrace the Bush policies to win the Republican nomination. Kyl said that no George Bush policy caused the current crisis, as it was caused by Congress and the Democrats’ treatments of Fannie and Freddie.

MCCAIN ON LE. Wolf Blitzer interviews John McCain about the economy last week and aired part of it this morning on LE. McCain talked about how we wouldn’t be discussing this crisis if Congress had done what he proposed and regulated Fannie and Freddie.

McCain compared homeowners to “innocent bystanders” in a “drive-by shooting.” Blitzer asked him if having the government purchase these “bad loans” were not more government intervention in the economy, and McCain said that difficult times require drastic measures. He said that the “first role of government is to help people.”


I’ve heard the term “uncurious” thrown around a lot in the past month, even more in the subsequent seven years, and those using it often seem not to understand its meaning in a thoughtful context. I can say this, however: the absence of what is not asked often leads those who substitute wildness for curiosity to construct parallel universes in which the “truth” is directly related to so much that just isn’t so.

Forgive me. It has been a long morning.

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