Posts Tagged ‘Donna Brazile’

Sunday talk show highlights, April 18, 2010

April 19, 2010

This Monday, Meet The Press, This Week, and State of the Union.

On Meet The Press, host David Gregory interviewed United States Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner, and Geithner had the following to say about President Obama’s governing style:

The President governs this way: You focus on doing the right thing. You let the politics take care of themselves. Now it’s not always gonna be popular. People are gonna fight you on these kind of things. But we’re gonna focus on doing the right thing.

Sure, President Obama – being the savvy politician that he is – isn’t really worried about the politics as long as he does the right thing in a midterm election year. More likely, Obama is focusing on doing what’s right in the eyes of the voters – and Wall Street reform is certainly such an issue.

Focusing on the raw politics, Gregory asked National Journal’s Ron Brownstein:

Who is winning? Politically? On the economy? Whether its regulation, whether it’s jobs, whether it’s stimulus, who’s winning? Republicans or Democrats in this election year?

And Brownstein answered:

Well, by and large, it feels as though Republicans are driving the argument. And, the construct that Republicans have made, is that what is impeding recovery is primarily big government. And to a large extent, they have succeeded in it.

You look at all the trend lines, Democratic advantage over Republicans on the economy, Obama approval on the economy, those are all declining. And this is rather striking after the largest failure of the market economy in 2008, probably since the Great Depression. Democrats I think have been losing control of the macro argument here, … and this financial regulation is a place where these two contending visions collide.

I think the Republican argument primarily is that more government intervention is the problem. And Democrats, I think, want to make the case that what led to this disaster was the hands off approach that the Republican Administration took, the Bush Administration, the low tax, low regulation approach that their agenda was built around, led to this. And I think you’re gonna see these contending both policy and political visions very clearly on display – if this bill comes to the Senate floor next week.

Turning to Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Gregory prompted Blackburn to “make the case for why, as Ron suggests, the Republican Party is on the right side of this economic debate in this election year”, and Blackburn answered:

The reason the Republican Party is on the right side of this economic debate is simply this. The election is going to be about freedom, and the American People know that being dependent on the federal government for home loans, for your health care, for your education, for your jobs, even for the kind of light bulb that you want to put in the fixture, is not the aspirations of a free people. And because of that, we are on the right side of this argument.

The following exchange followed:

DAVID GREGORY: What did– hold on, Congresswoman. … What did freedom get the American People during … the financial collapse? Is that not a fair question about the limits of the free, capitalist system?

REP. MARSHA BLACKBURN: We know that if you let free markets work, there is no expiration date on the free market. There is no expiration date on the American economy. What the American People do not like is the overreach of government–

DAVID GREGORY:  I’m sorry, Congresswoman, my question was what did the free market get us, what did freedom get us in the economic collapse? You had an absence of government regulation, and you had the free market running wild. Look what the result was.

REP. MARSHA BLACKBURN: And you need more oversight. We all agree with that. And the financial bill that Senator Corker and them are working on would lead to more oversight. The Goldman charges that have come forward now, David, they have come forward under existing SEC rules. More oversight, which I have always been a proponent of–

DAVID GREGORY: Well, let me just move on for a sec….

Later in the discussion, Ron Brownstein focused on Blackburn’s statement that the midterm election “is going to be about freedom”:

When the Congresswoman said this election is going to be about liberty, there is probably about 40 percent of the electorate for whom this election is about liberty. And one of the things we know is that there is going to be a big turnout of conservatives, who are antagonized and animated by what the Obama Administration has been doing. But for most of the electorate, this election is going to be about results.

And that’s why even though I said that the Republicans have won the economic debate, I think over the past year there are more rounds left in this fight. What the Administration is hoping is that there will be enough good news of the sort that Secretary Geithner was talking about that by November they can make the case that, “Look, things have been tough, but we are beginning to move the economy in the right direction and do you want to go back?”

Because there is a tremendous amount of overlap between the policies that Republicans are advocating now and those that were implemented by George W. Bush, during his two terms that produced, you know, one quarter as many jobs as over the eight years as Clinton, and a decline in the median income over two terms of a President, which we haven’t seen for any other two-term President in modern times.

So, even though I think Republicans have … had the upper hand, the argument isn’t over. And there are beginning to be some positive economic signs that I think Obama is going to be able to marshal to argue that even if times are still tough, at least he has begun to turn the corner.

Focusing on the Tea Party movement, Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell (D) had the following to say:

[The] first thing that we have to define is what’s the Tea Party itself? If you say it’s the anger that people feel about the economy, et cetera, that’s giving the Tea Party too much credit. We had two recent Tea Party demonstrations in Washington. One a week before a health care vote, drew about 1,000 people. The tax day rally by the organizer’s own estimate was 1,500 people. If I organized a rally for stronger laws to protect puppies, I would get 100,000 people to Washington. So, I think the media has blown the Tea Party themselves out of proportion.

Has Governor Rendell been watching “Legally Blonde 2” lately?

On This Week, host Jake Tapper interviewed former President Bill Clinton, and large segments of the interview came across as an infomercial for the Clinton Global Initiative.

During the Roundtable, Tapper focused on a memo written in January by Republican message strategist Frank Luntz:

Republican pollster and message guru, Frank Luntz, wrote a memo in January in which he advised Republicans on how to tackle financial regulatory reform by saying, quote, “Public outrage about the bailout of the banks and Wall Street is a simmering time bomb set to go off on election day. To put it mildly, the public dislikes taxpayer bailouts of private companies. Actually, they hate it. Frankly, the single best way to kill any legislation is to link it to the big bank bailout.”

And here’s a montage of Republican Senate Leader Mitch McConnell.

MCCONNELL: Endless taxpayer-funded bailouts… Bailout… Bailout… Bailout… Bailout… … endless taxpayer bailouts… Bailouts… Bailout Wall Street… Bailout… Bailout… Endless bailouts… Bailouts… Backdoor bailouts… Bailouts… Bailouts… Potential future bailouts…

Picking up the sword of truth – so to speak – Tapper stated that the $50 billion fund would not be funded by the taxpayers, but by the big banks, and Bloomberg News’ Al Hunt took it from there:

I’m amused by Mitch McConnell being this great anti-Wall Street populist. He was just up shaking the Wall Street money trees last week. You know, Mitch McConnell as an anti-Wall Street populist is about as credible as John Edwards heading a family values conference. I mean, this is a guy who’s voted with Wall Street every step of the way. This is just a Frank Luntz memo talking point.

On the same issue, Democratic strategist Donna Brazile had the following to say about Wall Street:

Wall Street is as popular as a root canal. And I think the Democrats can go out there and fight for transparency, accountability, and they can win this debate and pass this bill. And if the Republicans decide once again to delay and to put up more tactics to cherry-pick through the bill like health care, they will find themselves on the wrong side of history.

Turning to foreign policy, Tapper paraphrased Secretary Robert Gates – saying the United States does not have a long-term strategy for how to deal with Iran, and George Will had the following to say:

Our strategy is to hope that something that does not exist will do something unprecedented. What does not exist is the international community about which we talk, which is fiction, a rhetorical bewitcher of our intelligence. What it is supposed to do, this non-existent thing, is come up with sanctions that bite, that are going to change history and make nations come to heel. I don’t know when that has ever happened before. Furthermore, as you point out, it’s not even clear what we are saying is unacceptable. Is it unacceptable for them to test a nuclear weapon? What if they come a screwdriver turn away from assembling a weapon, as some other nations in the world probably are? So there’s a complete lack of clarity and realism.

Lastly, on State of the Union, host Candy Crowley interviewed Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). Talking about reforming Wall Street, McConnell turned to a phrase he’s been using a lot lately:

What we ought to do is get back to the table and have a bipartisan bill, which is what we don’t have at the moment. … I think we need to get back to the table and get it fixed.

On the same topic, Crowley played a video clip of President Obama attacking McConnell:

The leader of the Senate Republicans and the chair of the Republican Senate Campaign Committee met with two dozen top Wall Street executives to talk about how to block progress on this issue. Lo and behold, when he returned to Washington, the Senate Republican leader came out against common-sense reforms that we have proposed.

In the exchange that followed, Crowley wanted to know about McConnell’s meeting with Wall Street executives, and why McConnell had been accompanied by Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) – chair of the Republican Senate Campaign Committee. McConnell, however, didn’t feel like answering the question, and so he consistently talked about small Kentucky bankers and main street instead:

I also met recently with the Kentucky bankers who are also opposed to this bill. The community banks, the little guys on main street. We’re all meeting with a lot of people.

Crowley tried to cut through:

Well, if the president is playing politics, you have to admit that it raises suspicions when you are meeting with Wall Street executives, as I take it you did, with Senator Cornyn, who raises money for Republican races. Doesn’t that sort of set you up for this sort of accusation? That you went in there with the fund-raiser to talk about, you know, we’ve got to fight this bill.

McConnell answered:

Candy, Candy, he is the one who is trying to politicize this issue. We are the ones who are trying to get it right. When the Kentucky bankers tell that this bill is a long way from being what we ought to pass, then it raises some concerns with me. And I think it does with all of our colleagues across the country who are hearing the same thing.

Evade, evade, evade.

In the end, who had the most memorable phrase this Sunday? Rendell’s ridicule of the number of people showing up at tea party rallies was good, and so was Hunt’s statement that “Mitch McConnell as an anti-Wall Street populist is about as credible as John Edwards heading a family values conference”, but once again, George Will had the best one:

Our strategy is to hope that something that does not exist will do something unprecedented. What does not exist is the international community about which we talk, which is fiction, a rhetorical bewitcher of our intelligence.

If it’s Monday, it’s Sunday talk show highlight time.

Sunday talk show highlights, March 7, 2010

March 8, 2010

This Monday, once again, Meet The Press and This Week.

Health & Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius was the headliner on both shows, and once again, when the White House wants a certain message out there, one of their representatives headline Meet The Press and This Week. The only difference in the two interviews of Sebelius was the angle from which she was filmed. Right to left on Meet The Press, and left to right on This Week.

On Meet The Press, host David Gregory once again tried to cut through the partisan pre-packaging by posing the following question to Senator Orrin Hatch (UT-R):

OK, Senator Hatch, you just heard Secretary Sebelius. So what’s going to happen here? Don’t just be partisan, be analytical. Is this victory, defeat on health care or something in between?

It didn’t really work, as the first line of Hatch’s answer was the following:

Well, it may be, it may be any one of those three, and it depends on whether they continue to abuse the rules.

The most memorable back-and-forth took place between Senator Hatch and Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne Jr. (pictured above).

SEN. HATCH: In every case except two they were–they, they had bipartisan votes. In two of them–in 1993, Clinton’s bill, yeah, they got a reconciliation bill on a purely partisan vote that Congress changed to Republicans. The Republicans did the same thing in I think it was 2005, got a bill through just on a totally partisan vote, and it changed to Democrats. The fact of the matter is you can’t…

MR. DIONNE: Are you talking about bipartisanship or you talking about reconciliation?

SEN. HATCH: You can’t–no, wait, wait, wait.  You can’t…

MR. DIONNE: These were reconciliation bills…

SEN. HATCH: That was reconciliation.

MR. DIONNE: …that picked up one or two Democrats.

SEN. HATCH: You cannot ignore the fact that we’re talking about the first time in history, sweeping social legislation will be passed, if they get their way, by a totally partisan vote.  One-sixth of the American economy.  If we do that, Katy bar the door, I got to tell you.

MR. DIONNE: If the Republican Party were not sitting there being obstructionist–what Senator Hatch is saying is, if Republicans unite and say, “We won’t vote for this,” and you need bipartisanship, he’s saying Democrats can’t govern.  And if $1.7 trillion…

SEN. HATCH: Well, they can’t.

MR. DIONNE: …in tax cuts isn’t significant, I don’t know what is.

MR. GREGORY: All right, let, let me…

SEN. HATCH: One very…

MR. GREGORY: Hold on, hold on.

In short: catnip for political junkies like myself.

Former Tennessee Representative Harold Ford Jr. (D), who recently announced that he’s not challenging Senator Kirsten Gillibrand in the Democratic primary for the New York Senate spot, also appeared on the show. Gregory asked him the following question:

Harold, final, final point on this piece of it, which is doesn’t the president have a bigger problem if he doesn’t get the reform he’s after than on taking a hit politically for the process?

The second line of Ford’s response turned out to be the phrase of the show:

You’re right, results are more important than process. The only ideology a majority of Americans are concerned about right now is the result. Two, reconciliation is a rule that can be used and invoked in the Senate. If Democrats have the votes, they should move forward with it. What Senator Hatch is saying is very simple, that if you do that you run the risk of political backlash. When Democrats did it in ’93–it actually was the right thing when Clinton passed that ’93 budget, because it helped us grow. Republicans did it in 2005, and there are other examples. There might be a political switch. But what I hear E.J. saying is that that’s a risk that they’re going to have to take.

Later in the show, Senator Hatch said the following about Ford:

You know, I, I think if more Democrats were like Harold Ford, we wouldn’t have half the problems that we have today.

When Dionne got the word, he commented on Hatch’s endorsement by saying:

First of all, I think when Harold Ford goes back to Tennessee and runs for the Senate, he’s going to use that endorsement from Senator Hatch.

Ford felt the need to clarify, and stated that:

E.J., I’ll, I’ll–when I run again, it’ll be from New York, which is where I live.

On This Week, yet another guest host tried out George Stephanopoulos’ old seat. Matthew Dowd did an OK job, but he’s not my favorite among the ones who’ve given it a try (in addition to Matthew Dowd; Jake Tapper, Terry Moran, Barbara Walters, Jonathan Karl and Elizabeth Vargas). I must say I prefer the way Meet The Press handled the replacement of the late Tim Russert. Basically, Tom Brokaw hosted the show in the interim, and when the new host was announced, it was permanent.

In an interview following Dowd’s interview with Sebelius, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (KT-R) revealed that he hears what he wants to hear from the American people:

The American people have been deeply involved in this debate. What did they see? They see a bill that cuts Medicare by half a trillion dollars, that raises taxes about half a trillion dollars, and that almost certainly will raise the cost of insurance for those on the individual market. They also see the way it was passe, the cornhusker kickback, the Louisiana purchase, the gator-aid behind closed doors. They look at this whole package, both in terms of the policy and the process, and they say they don’t want it.

This Sunday’s biggest mischaracterization? George Will claiming that Robert Reich views the American people as “dopes.”

As far as laughable moments go, the Roundtable erupted during a video of Senator Blanche Lincoln’s (AR-D) latest commercial. In the spot, the slogan “One Tough Lady” is shown on the screen while Senator Lincoln sits on the floor among kids tossing money around – while a voice-over touts her “no” votes in the Senate. If nothing else, I’ve finally seen the much talked about money that Republicans are talking about when they say the Democrats are “borrowing/stealing money from our grandchildren.”

In the end, who had the most memorable phrase this Sunday?

I’ve already mentioned Ford’s “ideology of results,”  but there were a couple of memorable ones on This Week as well:

Donna Brazile:

Corruption is a bipartisan problem.

George Will:

Cognitive dissonance on a grand scale.

The winner: Harold Ford Jr. and his “ideology of results”:

The only ideology a majority of Americans are concerned about right now is the result.

If it’s Monday, it’s Sunday talk show highlight time.

Sunday talk show highlights, Feb. 21, 2010

February 22, 2010

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.


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