Head of Household
This post is appearing later than I intended because Blogger (where I draft it) was down for a while this afternoon, and U.S. Open Golf preempted Meet the Press so I had to wait for the 7 p.m. replay on MSGOP. And I hit the Refresh button halfway through the final draft. Don’t do that. My apologies.
It’s Father’s Day every Sunday — the patriarchy is alive and indisputably in control of the Sunday Head Shows. Every host and every guest was male, and all were whiter than the drivellings of Tony Snow, except for Iraq Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari, who appeared on Late Edition. (Wan Juilliams and Mara Liasson were generously allowed to sit next to Brit Hume and Bill Kristol on the Fox News Sunday panel.) "Happy Father’s Day"s were exchanged all around.
Meet the Press The star of this Sunday’s Heads was U.S. Representative John Murtha (D-PA), whom the Meet the Press website describes as "the 37-year veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps who has become the Democrat’s [sic] leading critic of the Iraq war." Tim Russert lobbed a fistful of clips and quotes from Karl Rove and Joe Klein toward the stalwart Murtha, who ably returned Tim’s fire (often so rapidly it was impossible to summarize).
Murtha characterized the Bush Administration’s stay the course rhetoric as "stay and pay." In response to Rove’s "cut’n’run" smear, Murtha said Rove was sitting in an air conditioned office, on his "big fat … backside," making a political statement. Rove’ statement is not a plan. "What is their plan? They have no plan." There comes a time when you have to change direction, and realize that you can’t resolve a situation militarily. The Vice President and President of Iraq and 80 percent of Iraqis want us out of the country. It’s time to redeploy out of Iraq; only the Iraqis can solve their own problems. We can redeploy to Kuwait, Qatar and Bahrain. Zarkawi was taken out in a mission launched outside Iraq, based on Iraqi intelligence. Every single measurement of progress in Iraq is either below prewar levels or is going backward.
Murtha agrees with John Kerry that voting for the war was wrong. He also pointed out that if his position could be characterized as cut’n’run, two-thirds of the American people can also be characterized as cut’n’run.
Russert asked Murtha whether he was premature in announcing his intention to run for the post of House Majority Leader following the 2006 elections. It wasn’t premature, you have to announce early to get your foot in the door. Murtha also acknowledged he is more conservative than most Dems on many issues.
Russert also exclusively welcomed the "top executives from three of the nation’s big oil companies." They’re hard to tell apart, except that one’s bald and one has a name that rhymes with a female body part. But since they’re all talking from the same page, it didn’t much matter.
The oil execs. stated: Demand has outstripped supply; we’re investing in more capital than ever before; crude prices are up, that translates into high profits; retail gasoline is struggling to make a profit; crude prices are paying for all our capital investments; over the long-term we haven’t been that profitable; we’re investing 15 billion in capital investigating; if we lower the prices, demand goes up, we run the risk of running out of supply; in Europe gas is 5 to 7 dollars a gallon; the U.S. uses 25 percent of the world’s oil supply; what we pay Chief Executives isn’t going to solve the problem; we’re investing in bio diesel; the message of energy security; coal gasification; there’s plenty of oil out there; we’re more dependent on foreign oil; open up access to more oil in gas in the U.S. (outer continental shelf); we need to develop all sources of energy, including nuclear; second-generation ethanol.
Uh, what about Iraq? Did I fall asleep during that discussion? (Or was that just Tim?)
Fox News Sunday Mike Wallace’s ungrateful son debriefed Fox News Sunday’s erstwhile host, White House spokesman Tony Snow. Snow had no new news on the two American soldiers reportedly abducted in Iraq. What do you say to those holding the soldiers, asked Wallace. "Give ’em back," smirked Tony in a self-satisfied, half-querying tone that suggested he was delivering a clever answer to a riddle. Wallace told Snow he was hearing news about the discovery of the weapons of mass destruction in Iraq (!) , but Snow knew nothing about the subject.
After Snow avoided making news on Iraq and North Korea, Wallace was reduced to insider flattery. It seems to Wallace that Snow’s only flaw as Bush spokesman is that he’s "too interesting" and "too provocative." Snow feigned humility and enthused about the "fun" and "camaraderie" among Bush’s toadies. Snow further claimed that Bush "likes to hear people who disagree" and that debate behind the scenes at 1600 Penn. Ave. is "pretty vigorous." Wallace dutifully kept a straight face.
Wallace also hosted John Podesta of the Center for American Progress and Simon Rosenberg of the New Democratic Network on the division among Dems re: Iraq. Rosenberg agrees with Senator Clinton and Bush on the evils of timetables, while Podesta says we must tell the Iraqis they must provide for their own security and must redeploy our forces elsewhere in the Global War on Terror.
In the roundtable, Brit Hume engaged in his usual sneering. (Hune seemed extra cranky today, for some reason.) We’re fighting al-Qaeda in Iraq, said Brit for the edification of cut-‘n’-run Dems. Juan Williams surprisingly stood up to Hume, noting that the vast majority of combatants in Iraq aren’t foreign fighters and most of the violence is sectarian. Williams also stated that the House of Representatives’ resolution on Iraq was typical Republican b.s., framed in terms of whether you love the troops or hate the troops.
Bill Kristol, the second embarrasing offspring on the program, demanded that Bush pardon Scooter Libby, saying once again that the Plame investigation is a "disgrace." According to Kristol, Ashcroft was wrong to recuse himself and name a special prosecutor, and the CIA was "out to get" someone in the White House.
Face the Nation In his second of three Sunday appearances, Tony Snow tried to buffalo Bob Schieffer about the situation in Iraq. Snow recounted how impressed Bush was with the leadership skills of Iraq Prime Minister Malaki. (That’s hardly encouraging.) On his trip to a Baghdad helipad, Snow learned that Iraqis "to a person, Sunni, Shia and Kurd, say ‘don’t leave.’" (And you thought CNN’s viewer polls were unscientific.) And Bush’s low poll numbers are simply a natural reaction to war. (Yes, an unpopular war.)
Snow wouldn’t confirm or deny the Time Magazine report of planned al-Qaeda attack on New York subways in 2003. He likewise refused to comment on Karl Rove’s "cut and run" comments, stating that his job was to speak for the President and not to speak for those who spoke for the President.
Schieffer also interviewed Joe Biden (D-DE) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) on Iraq. Biden said not once, but three times, that his error was not his vote for the war against Iraq, but his assumption that Bush would know how to prosecute the war. "No one contemplated how incompetent this administration would be." This idiotic defense should asphyxiate Biden’s presidential aspirations once and for all.
Lindsy Graham pessimistically stated he was "resolved to see it [the war] through." What other strategy is there besides standing by the moderates in Iraq, he asked, adding "There’s no viable alternative to Bush’s plan [sic]." Graham also drawled that "Ah’m willing to stay there as long as it takes" and "my Democratic friends cain’t see success when it’s right in front of them."
Sadly, Bob didn’t close the program with a poem about Dad, as he did for Mom on Mother’s Day. Rather, he chose to warn Dad to stay on good terms with us kids, since we’re the ones who are going to put him in the nursing home.
Late Edition With Wolf Blitzer (Second Hour) Wolf welcomed Iraq Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari and, on behalf of his viewers, demanded assurances from him that national reconciliation in Iraq doesn’t equal amnesty for Iraqis who killed or attacked American troops. Zebari seemed opposed to amnesty for those who killed Iraqis or committed atrocities against Iraqis (who Wolf’s viewers don’t seem to care about) or coalition forces, but would only state that amnesty will be defined by very clear rules.
Zebari is also timelinephobic.
Wolf’s other guests in hour two were Bush I Secretary of State Larry Eagleburger and Carter National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski, who said, in regards to Iraq and North Korea, pretty much what you’d expect them to.
81 percent of respondents to Wolf’s poll question think the United States should close Gitmo. Wolf, as ever, assured his viewers that the poll, like a Bush Administration appointee on global warming or women’s health issues, isn’t scientific.