The Sunday Morning Talk Shows: The Review

Sunday, November 23, 2008Image


On FNS, David Axelrod said that his role in the Obama Administration will be working with the President on the communications end of it, not policy formation. Next on FNS, House Republican leader John Boehner refused any blame for the House Republicans’ 50-seat losses in the last two elections. He said that the GOP has to again become a party of solutions based on “our principles.” Sitting next to him, House Dem leader Steny Hoyer argued that Obama will cut taxes for 95% of Americans and that tax cuts have given us the worse economy “since Herbert Hoover.” Go figure.

On TW, Axelrod said that Obama won’t give an answer on Hillary as Sec of State until after the holidays. Next up, Senator Richard Shelby said that the government should not bail out Citibank. Senator Schumer argued that the government should have bailed out Lehman Brothers.

On MTP’s first segment, James Baker said that the Republicans could support what moderator Tom Brokaw described as a “massive public stimulation program that is directed by the government,” suggested by Obama for the start of his term, depending on what is in it. Obama advisor Bill Daley said that it was more likely that Obama let the Bush tax cuts expire in 2010 than repeal them next year.

Next segment, Joe Lieberman smacked Brokaw’s derisive tones around on whether or not he insulted Barack Obama at the RNC. Lieberman also seemed to tacitly accept the Tina Fey-David Frum notion of Governor Sarah Palin.

On FTN, Austen Goolsby suggested that the government could provide “bridge financing” to the auto industry while credit was tight, provided it was not a “bridge to nowhere.” Next on FTN, Nancy said that federal government wanted to be a “partner” to the auto industry but that at some point, Congress might have to fire the Big Three auto execs.

On LE, Mitt Romney favored a bailout package for the auto industry provided they detail a plan for success. (This was contrary to his NYT op/ed and in line with the Pelosi plan.) Next, Michigan Governor Jenn Granholm seemed caught off guard by Romney’s sudden reversal, prepared as she was to attack his op/ed.AXELROD ON FNS. Obama advisor David Axelrod was host Christ Wallace’s first guest on FOX News Sunday, and he was goaded into warning of the “dramatic crisis facing this country.” Obama wants to have us “start climbing out of the hole we’re in.” (NOTE: On TW, he phrased it “start digging ourselves out of this hole – climbing, not digging.” It seems “climbing” was chosen over “digging” at some high level, behind-the-scenes Obama strategy meeting.) For this crisis, Obama is bringing in the “best minds in our country.” To that end, he would not confirm that Bill Richardson is on the short list for much of anything.

Axelrod said that Obama hopes the new Congress starts working on this when they take office in early January. Wallace asked Axelrod if Obama would hold off on his tax hikes while the recession is ongoing, and Axelrod deadpanned that Obama would have an “aggregate tax cut.” As for the “Bush tax cuts,” Axelrod is undecided on whether to repeal them next year or to let them expire in 2010.

Wallace asked Axelrod, after all the fur and feathers flying in the primaries, “why on Earth would Barack Obama want to bring a Clinton into his White House?” Axelrod replied flatly: “Hillary Clinton is a demonstrably tough, able person who would be able” to further the agenda of the administration.

Axelrod rejected the comparison with Karl Rove, for which Wallace was adequately apologetic even as he made it, saying that he will work with Obama on the communications end of it, not policy. He insisted that he is “not trying to rebuild the [Dem] Party.”

BOEHNER AND HOYER ON FNS. Next on FNS, Wallace talked to House Republican Leader John Boehner and House Dem Leader Steny Hoyer. Boehner suggested the way to stimulate the economy is to eliminate capital gains taxes for the next two years and to reduce corporate income taxes, rather than to “empower government and employ bureaucrats.” He called on Obama to announce a two year moratorium on tax hikes.

Hoyer said that Obama will cut taxes for 95% of Americans and that tax cuts have put us in the worse economic situation “since Herbert Hoover.”

On the infamous Employee Free Choice Act (card check bill), Steny argued that it is the best way to allow for union elections. He conceded that there could be some “modifications” before the thing is actually passed. Boehner countered that if half the employees sign, there would be an automatic election anyway. Hoyer complained that it might be delayed. Boehner identified the card check will as a “payback” for union leaders for all their support of Dems during the past election. He said that the Republican minority “will do everything we can to stop it.”

Wallace asked Boehner why he is staying as leader when the House GOP has lost 50 seats in the past two elections under his leadership. Boehner rejected the blame for the losses and staid that the Republicans have to be about solutions built on our principles. They conference once again has to be an “idea machine.” They have to be the “party of ideas.”

AXELROD ON TW. David Axelrod repeated the exact same things to host George Stephanopoulos on ABC’s This Week as he had uttered to Chris Wallace on FNS. Almost word-for-word, and I don’t know which interview was conducted first.

Axelrod promised that Obama would offer a big stimulus package, but he would not say how much he would spend.

Axelrod said that everyone has a stake in the auto industry but the auto industry must “retool” and “come back with a plan.”

Axelrod uttered: “We’ve not made any announcement on [Hillary] and probably won’t until after the holidays.” Either way, Obama himself would set the direction of foreign policy and assemble talented people to do what he tells them to do.

SHELBY AND SCHUMER ON TW. Senators Richard Shelby (R-Alabama) and Chuckie Schumer (D-New York) were Steph’s next guests on TW. Shelby said that Federal Reserve Bank Tim Geithner was a “good appointment” by Obama to be Treasury Secretary. He is a “breath of fresh air,” Obama said. Schumer declared that Geithner and Larry Summers (for director of the National Economic Council) are “brilliant people” and “non-ideological.”

Schumer touted a major stimulus package “by inauguration day,” warning: “We’re at the edge of deflation.” He promised a $700-billion “new New Deal,” except that unlike the old New Deal, this one will be passed before the crisis hits.

Shelby, for his part, wants to see the details of the package. He stipulated that $700-billion is “a lot of money,” and he warned not to “destroy money.” Shelby said that Citibank has “got to save itself,” adding that the “government shouldn’t do this.” Schumer warned that we must learn the lessons of Lehman Brothers. Letting Lehman fail, he said, was a huge mistake which has affected millions of people.

BAKER AND DALEY ON MTP. Tom Brokaw is clinging to his role of moderator at NBC’s Meet the Press, and this morning, he spoke to former Reagan Secretary of the Treasury James Baker and Clinton (Bill) Commerce Secretary Bill Daley, who is now an “agent of change” with Obama.

Brokaw played a clip from Obama’s Saturday YouTube address, in which the President-elect plans to have ready a two-year plan to make work, which he will sign after he takes office. Brokaw asked Daley if this was an FDR-like make work plan, with infrastructure and whatnot. Daley said that there will be a combination of infrastructure projects and a “host of other things.” (We don’t know what.) He said that once Obama has the economy on track short term, he will begin to work on the longer term in “Ten or Eleven.” (The integers signify the years 2010 and 2011, I assume.)

Brokaw asked Baker, in Texas, if the GOP was ready to go along with a “massive public stimulation program that is directed by the government.” Baker answered that it depends on what is in it. He said that he didn’t think Congressional Republicans would accept a plan with the infrastructure improvements as its centerpiece.

Daley said that it was “more likely than not” that Obama lets the Bush tax cuts expire in 2010 rather than repeal them next year.

Baker advised Bush and Obama to sit down together and address the “stability of our financial system.” Is there something they can do together? This, he said, would do a lot to restore confidence. Brokaw allowed that Team Obama does not want to get anywhere near to the failed Bush policies, but he asked Daley if Baker’s proposal wouldn’t be a good idea. Daley praised the transition efforts of President Bush, calling them “the best we’ve seen.”

Daley forecast that as Obama assembles his economic team, we will begin to see a return of confidence in our financial markets. Baker agreed that naming the team worked “for a day or two,” but he is concerned that it will not do so in the longer term.

LIEBERMAN ON MTP. Independent Democrat Senator Joe Lieberman of Connecticut was Brokaw’s next guest on MTP. Lieberman is encouraged by what Senator Obama had to say on YouTube yesterday. He’s concerned that we are “between Presidents” as the economy continues to “cycle down.” He wants Bush, Obama, and the leadership; of Congress to agree on a short-term stimulus to be enacted “just after the first of the year.” He called on President Bush to “take the lead.” Lieberman also figures that Bush and Paulson have enough authority to handle the financial institutions.

Brokaw then turned to Lieberman’s apostasy. He played a clip from Lieberman stating on MTP in August that he would not use his RNC speech to attack Obama. Then, with a haughty air about him which we never saw in Tim Russert, Brokaw played a clip form that speech in which Lieberman called Obama a “talented and gifted man” who could do great things in the future, adding that “eloquence is no substitute for a record.” Brokaw declared that Lieberman had there proclaimed that Obama was not qualified to be President. (He didn’t.) Lieberman replied that he had said that Obama was “less qualified than John McCain,” but he’d complimented him. Lieberman said that speech was for independents and Democrats. Brokaw sneered: “Oh, but come on, Senator, with all due respect, you were speaking at the Republican National Convention.” The derision in his voice permeated his demeanor. Lieberman corrected him, explaining that the Republicans there had already made up their minds. He was explaining to the others why he had made his choice.

Brokaw played a clip of Lieberman complimenting Governor Sarah Palin in his convention speech, and asked, with disrespect and derision again dripping from his aging lips: “Do you honestly believe that she was more qualified that you… or your friend Joe Biden?” Lieberman responded by sarcastically thanking Brokaw for playing the clip and pointing out that he supported McCain back in December of ’07. This is a tacit way of saying that he was trapped into supporting Governor Palin. Lieberman seems to buy into the childish Tina Fey-David Frum school of thought on Governor Palin.

Lieberman said that all that is the past (He didn’t mean it?) and he’s looking forward to the future.

GOOLSBY ON FTN. On CBS’ Face the Nation, host Bob Schieffer’s first guest was Obama economic advisor Austen Goolsby.

Goolsby said that he doesn’t know if he’d be a part of the Obama Administration, but Geithner and Summers are big names. He said that the stimulus package must be huge enough to “startle the thing into submission,” though he wouldn’t give a figure. He accused the Bush Administration of “dithering.”

Goolsby said that the stimulus would be bigger than the $175-billion Obama had promised while campaigning.

Goolsby said that the goal of this is an economic recovery package which will take effect in the next two year period, not per se building roads and infrastructure.

Goolsby said that he doesn’t know if the Bush tax cuts will be repealed in ’09 or left to die in ’10.

Goolsby said that “an overall tax cut strikes me as important.”

Goolsby took Schieffer’s bait and characterized this as “a dangerous time.” He complained of this “awkward Constitutional phase” between the lame duck Bush and the promise of Obama.

Schieffer suggested that Bush and Obama do something together, but Goolsby said that Bush wasn’t interested.

Schieffer asked if anything the Bush Administration has worked. Goolsby laughed and asked if he meant on the economy or anything . The economy. Goolsby said that the tax cuts helped the middle class somewhat but not enough.

Goolsby complained that companies couldn’t restructure because there was no credit. Goolsby said that the government could serve as “bridge financing” for the restructuring, but that they can’t give corporations an “allowance.”

NANCY ON FTN. Schieffer’s next guest was Nancy. Schieffer asked her if the Big Three automakers “deserved to be saved.” In a taped interview, Nancy expressed dissatisfaction with the execs of the Big Three and demanded a plan from them. Schieffer compared CEO compensation for the automakers, and Nancy demanded “accountability.” This is the sort of thing she expects to see in this plan she wants, as well as what they are doing to innovate.

She says of Detroit, “We want to be their partners going forward.” At some point, she said, Congress may have to fire the execs of the Big Three. She was upset that some auto execs earn more money in one year than some people make in a lifetime.

ROMNEY ON LE. Mitt Romney was host Wolf Blitzer’s guest on CNN’s Late Edition. Romney said that he would support a bailout check only if the Big Three submitted a plan which shows that they can succeed long term. (Nancy’s position.) Romney demanded new management, jettisoning unprofitable divisions, and reasonable wages and benefits for labor, including pensioners. He predicted that the auto industry could survive, but only if the government forced it to restructure.

Besides Chapter 11, Romney suggested an out of court settlement to force restructuring or a government entity which would force them to restructure.

Romney is not willing to let the auto industry die if they do not restructure. He praised their new cars, like the Chevy Malibu and the Ford Mustang. He criticized executive dining rooms.

Blitzer labeled Romney, a “product of the auto industry.” He asked Romney if there were a contradiction between what he said on the campaign and what he’s saying now. Romney said no. He does not, he said, support a “bailout”; rather, he insisted, he supports a “workout.”

Romney is “encouraged” by Geithner and Summers on Obama’s economic team. He is going to let them have some time to put together their own plan.

Wolf quoted Mike Huckabee’s book about the “attitude of disrespect” from Romney and his campaign, and Romney laughed that with the economy failing, no one cares about Huckabee’s complaints. He wants to restore the Republican Party.

GRANHOLM ON LE. Michigan Governor Jenn Granholm, an Obama transition economic advisor, was next up for Blitzer. (Conservative columnist George Will has recommended amending the U.S. Constitution so that the Canadian-born Granholm could serve as President of the United States.)

Granholm pointed out that Romney had back away from the “let them go bankrupt” line he gave to the New York Times last week, but she spent the interview trying to link Romney to what he wrote for the NYT last week. Romney outsmarted her, catching her off guard by flipping at the last minute.

Granholm promised that the Big Three execs will fly commercial next time. Granholm said that we need an auto industry to produce batteries for our electric cars because, right now, all of our batteries are made in Asia.

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That’s the Sunday Morning talking bit.