Diary

The Sunday Morning Talk Shows - The Review

December 7, 2008.Image

PREFACE:

On FOX News Sunday, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice told host Chris Wallace that she thinks the Mumbai attacks plot might have originated “on Pakistani soil,” but she believes that the government of Pak was not involved. The two countries but now work together in concert with the United States.

Next on FNS, Carl Levin demanded that the execs of the financial corporations be subjected to the same humiliation as is now being doled out onto the bosses of the Big Three. Richard Shelby would have none of that, saying that the Big Three should work to save themselves. But they both agreed that Eric Shinseki was a great choice for the Veterans Affairs post in Obama’s administration, saying that he “spoke truth to power” and “we should have listened to him.”

Over on ABC’s This Week, Rice wouldn’t play a hypothetical game with host George Stephanopoulos involving Saddam, no WMD, better intelligence, and a do-over. UAW President Ron Gettelfinger then told Steph that the UAW was willing to talk.

On NBC’s Meet the Press, moderator Tom Brokaw asked President-elect Obama (PEBHO) to raise lots of taxes, but PEHBO resisted until we’re out of this economic crisis. But he added: “Our economy grows best when the benefits of the economy are more widely spread.”

On CBS’ Face the Nation, Chris Dodd blamed the problems of the Big Three on a “foreclosure crisis” in America, with people losing their homes. He said that if this we about only the Big Three, he would “let them fail in a New York minute.” Jeff Sessions wants the Big Three to go the Chapter 11 Reorganization route, but the two agreed that the leadership of the Big Three ought to be replaced.

And on CNN’s Late Edition, Governor Tim Pawlenty described each of the Big Three auto makers as being in different conditions and in need of different solutions. Ed Rendell reiterated that Janet Napolitano has no life and added that Tim Pawlenty has no life.

(The complete, show-by-show review is beneath the fold.)

RICE ON FNS. On FOX News Sunday, host Chris Wallace’s first guest was Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. They first discussed the Mumbai terrorist attack, and Rice acknowledged that the plans for it might have originated on Pakistani soul. She said that she believed, however, that the Pakistani government was not involved (“no state actors”).

Wallace asked about war imminent war between India and Pak, and Rice pointed out that the two countries have better relations than they did during their last rise in tensions, 2001-2002, and that they United States have better relations with both countries. Wallace wanted to know, however, if we would allow India to retaliate. Rice said that it was important not to take steps to make the situation worse.

Wallace played the clip of President Bush saying that we would not allow Iran to have nuclear weapons. He asked if Iran is not already closer to a nuke, “despite the rhetoric.” Rice answered that we’ve worked with the International Community™ to see that Iran does not get the technology to build one and that we’ve used diplomacy.

Wallace asked her about the Middle East, and she brought up the Annapolis Process and that Hamas is now isolated from the major Arab states.

Dr. Rice told Wallace that we had believed that Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction, and that the overthrow of the dictator was a “great strategic achievement” for the United States.

She spoke of America as an “extraordinary country,” where we can now have African Americans serve as Secretary of State and be elected President.

“What we claim to be,” she intoned, “we are.”

LEVIN AND SHELBY ON FNS. Wallace’s next guests were Dem Senator Carl Levin, who represents the interests of the failed U.S. auto industry, and Republican Senator Richard Shelby, whom Levin claims represents the interests of foreign auto makers, with plants in Alabama, who would profit from the failure of the Big Three.

Levin told Wallace that the Senate was “close to a deal,” and he predicted one within 24 hours. He said the deal would be bipartisan. On deeper questioning, he conceded that he was saying only that the deal would exist, not that he’d have the votes to pass it.

Shelby said that he would “absolutely not” support Levin’s bailout, calling it “a bridge loan to nowhere.” He said that this would be the first installment of billions more for which the auto industry would ask in the future. They have to restructure, he said, and “save themselves.” He said that he would try a filibuster in order to “extend debate.” He does not know if he has the votes to sustain it, though.

Levin angrily decried the “double-standard.” He averred that the financial industry should be treated as the auto industry is now being treated: made to come before Congress and offer plans, etc.

On the appointment of General Eric Shinseki to run Obama’s veterans affairs office, Levin called it a great choice, enthusing that Shinseki “spoke truth to power.” For his part, Shelby said that the pick was “superb,” adding that “we should have listened to him.”

RICE ON TW. Host George Stephanopoulos opened ABC’s This Week with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. Steph also wanted to know if we would allow India to retaliate against Pakistan for Mumbai. Rice argued that Pakistan must act “in concert with India, with the United States. Great Britain is also helping.” (MI5, but not a word to the Eskimos.) She pointed out that “this is also Pakistan’s fight.” She acknowledged, though, that the frustration in India is a lot like that in the United States after 9-11.

Secretary Rice said that because of the flawed intelligence he received prior to invading Iraq, President Bush has restructured the gathering and presentation of intelligence. Steph pointed out that Karl Rove told him that we would not have invaded Iraq if we had known at the time that there were no WMD. Dr. Rice did not address Rove specifically, but she insisted that “there were plenty of reasons he had to go.” But Steph wanted to push the hypothetical, get some sort of admission that it was all one big, nasty mistake. Rice said, “George, you don’t have that luxury. You don’t. That’s not the world we live in.”

UAW GUY ON TW. Steph’s next guest was Ron Gettelfinger, president of the United Auto Workers. Gettelfinger said that “everyone must come together” and solve this crisis. The UAW is willing to talk, he said. The UAW is satisfied with the process. The auto industry is important to our economy, the “backbone.”

OBAMA ON BROKAW. Tom Brokaw was again moderating NBC’s Meet the Press, and he was allowed to interview President-elect Barack Obama (PEBHO). Brokaw told PEBHO that the world had gotten much worse since he was elected. PEBHO laughed. Brokaw intoned that 67 years today, FDR faced Pearl Harbor. What is different between what FDR faced, Brokaw asks, from what PEBHO faces today? (Um, the Empire of Japan has not attacked, Tom, but…) PEBHO said that times right now are “nothing like… what the Greatest Generation went through,” because unemployment was higher we didn’t have a “social safety net” back then.

PEBHO called his YouTube Address, “my radio address,” and he told us that he talked about putting people to work improving infrastructure. He said that the governors have projects “ready for shovel,” this will not be old fashioned pork, and he has no idea how much it will cost but it will be “substantial.” He did not address how he will pay for it.

PEBHO said that the Federal government is more qualified to oversee bankrupt companies than are the bankruptcy courts.

When asked if he will fire the CEOs of the Big Three, Obama complimented them for making progress with “green technology” but said that they lacked a sense of urgency. He thinks that the executives are earning more money than they should and will mandate that they make less. He said that this “is not unique to the auto industry.” He said that as President, he will “introduce… a new ethic of responsibility.” (He did not specify if this will be legally binding or will magically come into being because he is a magic man.)

Brokaw suggested a new gas tax – “bump it back to $4 a gallon, where people were prepared to pay for that” – because consumers became “irresponsible” in their auto purchases when the gas prices decreased. This would be, in Brokaw’s view, a way to pay for research into alternative energies and “a signal to the consumers, ‘those days are gone,’ they’re not going to have gasoline that you can just fill up your tank for twenty bucks anymore.” (YIKES!) PEBHO pointed out that where gas prices have gone down, families face losses elsewhere, so they cannot burden them right now. For the long term, though, he will increase taxes to force cars to be more fuel efficient. PEBHO said that the same applies to buildings. He will force companies to do such things as weatherization. PEBHO also wants to force consumers to use different automobiles “over the next several years.”

PEHBO promised that his economic team “is looking” at what he will do about the Bush tax cuts.

“Our economy grows best when the benefits of the economy are more widely spread [by force]. And that has been true historically.”

DODD AND SESSIONS ON FTN. On CBS’ Face the Nation, host Bob Schieffer spoke to Chris Dodd and Jeff Sessions. Sessions told him that things have improved, as the auto industry has said that it needs less money and it will be coming from what has already been allotted. That being said, he thinks that “the best way to save jobs” is to have them restructure in Chapter 11. Chris Dodd ominously intoned that the first loan would be a “bridge” to help the auto industry pay the bills, lest they go bankrupt in a few weeks. Dodd said that they will consider the Chapter 11 route, but they need the bridge loan to buy them time to consider it. Dodd thinks that the votes will be there to pass the smaller bailout bill because no one wants to wake up to the new year without an auto industry. He said that this was about more than “a few companies in Detroit” which he “would let fail in a New York minute.”

Sessions is uneasy about a “Car Czar,” and he’s troubled by the federal government telling the companies what they have to do to be successful. “Bankruptcy reorganization… will protect jobs.” Dodd said that the cost of pensions would “fall on the American taxpayer” if the Big Three went Chapter 11. He said that “this is a credit problem.”

Dodd thinks some of what Paulson has done has worked – we’d be much worse if we hadn’t – but he’s disappointed that Paulson has not addressed the foreclosure industry. He said that a request for the rest of the bailout money would fail. Session agrees, and said that it was “breathtaking” that Paulson was given as much money as he has been without oversight.

Dodd demanded an answer to the foreclosure problem. “Foreclosure, foreclosure, foreclosure,” he stated.

Sessions and Dodd agreed that we need new leadership for these companies if we are to bail them out. As politicians, they know to steer the anger of the American public by focusing blame on individuals.

RENDELL AND PAWLENTY ON LE. On CNN, Late Edition host Wolf Blitzer had Pennsylvania’s Dem Governor Ed Rendell and Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty on to talk about the economy. He played the Barney Frank clip saying that Obama should take over because Bush isn’t doing anything. Rendell said that Obama is doing things, outlining things. Blitzer played a clip of Obama’s proposal from his Saturday YouTube Address, putting people to work fixing bridges. Pawlenty said that the problem with Obama’s proposal is that “the federal government is broke.” He asked that if Obama wants to pay for infrastructure, don’t tie their hands into doing pork; let the States decide how to spend it.

Rendell started talking about patients with gunshot wounds who need transfusions

Wolf quoted Clinton (Bill) that economists are concerned about deflation and contraction and are urging President-elect Obama to take the country more deeply into debt. Pawlenty explained that we will have the equivalent of the subprime crisis with our federal government if we keep this level of debt. Blitzer asked him about the Big Three, and Pawlenty explained that each of the Three were in a different condition.

Rendell started talking about why he said Janet Napolitano had no family and thus no life, and he said that it was true. He added that Tim Pawlenty had no life.

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Interesting stuff. Have at it!