Real Time Thoughts on Meet the Press (November 28, 2010)

Today’s Meet the Press will focus on both international relations and domestic affairs.  Richard Engel is here to talk about politics in North and South Korea.  Will war in the region resume?  The U.S and South Korea are engaged in joint military exercises, war games.  What will happen now?

Engel is saying (and I agree, that the international politics between North and South Korea has more to do with domestic politics. Kim Jong Il’s son has to prove himself, now that he is the heir apparent.  Kim Jong Il is ill and Jong Un needs to show that he can run the show.

The upcoming Wikileaks document dumps will be devastating to American foreign affairs.  Now its time for the Dick Durbin and Jon Kyl show.

China might well try to be spoiler in the way the U.S. deals with North Korea.  China can play a valuable role, Dick Durbin is saying.  (But will the U.S. let China have the lead, here?)

Kyl and New Start.  What is going on here?  (Kyl is refusing to allow ratification of Start on the ground that there is no time to pass it?  He is passing the buck, to himself and a larger GOP minority in the Senate.)  If Durbin and Reid cannot pass New Start, an easy, peasy treaty that resembles Bush’s move with Putin on just such a treaty.  It really doesn’t have teeth; its only thing is inspections without serious reductions of either country’s arsenal.  The Republicans have gotten everything they need.  Why stand back now?  Kyl is saying that Reid cannot pass everything, including his political commitments, so he cannot support debate and ratification on New Start.

Durbin is saying that the Senate can pass everything that Kyl demands.  Now given all this talk about North Korea and new talk from Iran, waiting by on Start does not help U.S. strategy on nonproliferation.

Kyl to this is saying that New Start isn’t something that NEEDS to be passed right now in the lame duck.

Dick Durbin is defending the Obama administration and TSA’s moves to secure airline passengers.  (This is the question of finding the bomb or the bomber.) Kyl is saying that TSA should adopt strategies that Israel has chosen to use.  Now this is the question of racial profiling.  Kyl to his credit says that there are other ways of securing airline passengers and committing to their civil rights. Draw up code that shows the items on a passenger’s body on a mannequin, instead of a picture of the passenger herself.

Durbin is mum on the adminstration’s agreement to extend the Bush era tax cuts across the board.  Durbin is saying that if the administration agrees with the GOP then all the spending cuts that the deficit commission is talking about will fade as the tax cuts on the wealthy are extended.  (This is because even if the administration agrees to a temporary extension, it will be next to impossible to roll back those tax rates in some other Congress, two or 3 years out.)  But he is offering some thoughts: lets pass an extension on unemployment benefits to the long-term unemployed.

Ed Gillespie, Mayor of Philadelphia Michael Nutter, Peggy Noonan and E.J. Dionne are here for the roundtable.

What do we want to say about drawing down and managing expectations.  So far, not much more than we already know.  The left, including Nutter are saying that this is a tough economy and so, its not surprising that people defected on Obama. Peggy Noonan is saying that Obama should not pretend as if the 2010 election didn’t happen. So the should moderate.

E.J. Dionne is saying that its unfair that people should be saying Obama hasn’t done anything.  That he has not given the left things they want.  He says that Obama needs to call the GOP for what they are. If the GOP will not move to work with the administration, then President Obama should fight the fights he needs to fight. He should tell his base and moderate Democrats and independents what those fights are.

E.J. Dionne is saying that Obama has made the claim that Obama has been premature in giving up too much to the GOP in terms of tax cuts. How can the adminstration extend the Bush cuts without first passing unemployment benefits extensions to teh long term unemployed (thereby increasing consumption for those who need and want to consume, thereby increasing demand, helping in the economy.)

So now-who will be the next GOP candidate for president in 2012.  But then, how vulnerable is Obama?

E.J. Dionne is saying that if the economy grows at a better rate, he might be okay.  But if not, then he might have some real vulnerablities. (This implies that there might be a tradeoff between raising economic growth or lowering the unemployment rate: they need not go up and down together.)  But much depends on who his opponent in 2012 will be.

Peggy Noonan is saying that the GOP could make Obama “look” moderate.  For her, he lost the middle because the middle thought him to be “not moderate.”  (Sure, perception is reality–but c’mon, this is ridiculous.)

The interesting politics going forward will be in teh GOP.  How will the mainstream GOP deal with all the new harder line Tea Party elected Congressmen, who think they have a mandate to not cave in and compromise.

~ by Faheem Haider on November 28, 2010.

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