Every Sunday, I watch NBC’s Meet The Press and ABC’s This Week. Occasionally, I also watch either CBS’ Face The Nation or FOX News’ Fox News Sunday.
Every Monday, I’ll post my personal highlights from the shows I’ve watched. This Monday: Meet The Press and This Week.
On Meet The Press, it was the response to the following question from host David Gregory that stood out:
MR. GREGORY: Evan Bayh, senator from Indiana, surprisingly decided he would not run for re-election this week. And here’s what he said during one of his interviews. … “The extremes of both parties have to be willing to accept compromises from time to time to make some progress because some progress for the American people is better than nothing. And all too often, recently, we’ve been getting nothing.” Congressmen, a little constructive engagement here, beyond the partisanship. What is going on?
REP. MIKE PENCE (R-IN): Well, I think what Evan Bayh was talking about was a Democratic Congress, and I agree with him very strongly that, under Democratic leadership in the House and the Senate, Congress has been failing the American people. The American people are tired of the borrowing, the spending, the bailouts, the takeovers. But they’re also, David, I think tired of the, of the, the really “take-it-or-leave-it” approach the Democrats have taken. I mean, it’s unthinkable that a massive healthcare bill, a massive energy bill was actually brought to the floor and the minority party was allowed one amendment on those bills. I think people are tired of the backroom deals, I think they’re tired of the leadership the Democrats have brought to Capitol Hill, and I think that’s why, as Tim Pawlenty said, “I honestly believe the American people are going to take back the American Congress and put Republicans back in control this fall.”
REP. CHRIS VAN HOLLEN (D-MD): David, let’s just flash back for a moment. The first nine months of the Obama administration, one of the most productive periods in recent legislative history, according to all independent outside observers, we passed an expansive children’s health care, paid for; we provided the opportunity for women to have their day in court on equal pay; we gave the FDA authority to protect our kids from tobacco use; we passed a very important public lands protection bill. We passed a credit card billholders bill of rights. We passed a whole lot of things. Then we came to the healthcare debate. Senator DeMint famously said, “We’re going to use this to break the president. It’s going to be his Waterloo.” Just last week we had seven Republican senators, who had their names on a bill to create a deficit reduction commission, vote against it for purely partisan reasons. There’s been a calculation by the Republican leadership that getting nothing done, to try and prevent the majority from working its will, as it did for the first nine months, is to their political advantage. And there’s no other explanation for that vote we saw.
REP. PENCE: There’s…
MR. GREGORY: And here’s, here’s part of the problem, though.
REP. PENCE: …been no calculation like that.
Message: Politics as usual.
On This Week, the Roundtable’s discussion about the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) stood out:
MORAN: And let me begin, George, with what we just saw, Glenn Beck, there, taking aim at the Republican Party, CPAC embracing the tea party movement, in a way. What does — what does it mean, this libertarian tea party streak coming into the movement conservatives, coming into the Republican Party?
WILL: … the energy, the intensity in American politics, right now, is on the right. And this is partly because a lot of the people who come to CPAC are college students. They’re young. And so there’s a bit of over-the-top rhetoric, as you would expect. And when you’re a year after a party has just lost the presidency, and you don’t have — the faces of the next generation aren’t clear, it’s the hour of the entertainer. And they had a lot of entertainers there.
Democratic strategist Donna Brazile had a different view:
BRAZILE: … I didn’t watch too much of the CPAC. I didn’t want to get infected with the virus anger… (LAUGHTER) … given the blues that I’ve had over the past year.
Still on the topic of CPAC, Moran asked Will:
MORAN: … George, does it bother you at all that the John Birch Society is back inside the tent after Bill Buckley spent decades trying to run that wing of the party out?
WILL: It’s a big tent. And the tent is a circus imagery. And so you have a freak show side of it. But this is a trivial, infinitesimal, not-noticeable thing, other than by people eager to discredit the Republican Party.
During his CPAC speech this Saturday, Glenn Beck presented quite a different view of the big tent:
“We need a big tent. We need a big tent. Can we get a bigger tent? How can we get a big tent?” What is this the circus? America is not a clown show. America is not a circus. America is an idea. America is an idea that sets people free.
Before I end this short recap, who had the most memorable line this Sunday? Tip of the Hat to George Will:
With metronomic regularity, we go through these moments in Washington where we complain about the government being broken.
If it’s Monday, it’s Sunday talk show highlight time.