Real Time Thoughts on Meet the Press (December 26, 2010)

Happy Holidays.  Meet the Press today features Valerie Jarrett, Senior White House Advisor.  The big guns, Woodward, Noonan, Brokaw, and Kearns Goodwin make up the roundtable.

Valerie Jarrett is here to speak to the Obama Administrations victories in the lame-duck session.  She is speaking to all those things that most casual readers of American politics would know.

David Gregory is fruitlessly, uninterestingly, asking why Obama compromised from his–perhaps, first, foundational–principles. (This is nothing if not pandering to the “independent/ left” voter watching this: why should they come out to vote when the man who promised change in Washington compromised?  It would depend on whether compromise, itself, were change in Washington D.C.)

Jarret is essentially saying that Obama has gone to the mat and in a few years will go back to make sure that the estate tax goes up in 2 years. That, the high income tax rate goes up just before the 2012 election. (Barring a consensus view that those tax cuts are not feasible, which will involve busting the bank, as it were, the current tax brackets will remain.)  But the Administration will work with businesses to push trade and other efficiency increasing moves.

Jarret is dismissing Palin by saying well, Obama is too busy to worry about the nations economy and security to worry about Sarah Palin.

Interestingly, when Gregory asks what she can tell the American people about President Obama, she speaks in a way that suggests that yes, contrary to her assertions, we live in a constant election cycle.

The roundtable is up next.  This means that the whole show is the roundtable.

Tom Brokaw is suggesting that people not overdo the whole Obama-King Victor-Compromise quite yet. (After all this is still a Democratic Congress.  Lets see what happens when the GOP owns the House, with a smaller Democratic majority in the Senate.)

Doris Kearns Goodwin makes a good point: repealing Don’t Ask Don’t Tell is a policy move whose time had come.  Moreover it is a politically winning move: Obama can say, hey we compromised on the Bush tax cuts, but that he also got a platform pledge for the left.

Interesting: Woodward is saying that he needs to connect with the American voter, the average voter.  To that, Kearns Goodwin is saying…well, it is precisely Obama’s stolid cool that allowed him to overcome Scott Brown’s victory last January and pass healthcare reform.  Similarly, his cool might have helped him move beyond the so-called November shellacking.

Now that DADT has been repealed, will the military go back into the Ivy League schools, that they had long left.  Brokaw is saying, well…it depends on whether the military thinks it needs to go back to those schools.  Are they well off just working with the schools where students will be more responsive to a commissioned role in the military.

On the healthcare reform: the bill is a complex thing.  Doris Kearns Goodwin is saying that it is a messaging problem.  Not surprisingly, Noonan is saying that it was the wrong move.  Woodward is saying that irrespective of the messaging issue, versus substance, implementing these new laws will be a very big problem.

Americans are a short-sighted, their memory is ill-equipped to deal with hazy facts. An NBC poll says 54% of Americans think this is the worst decade in history.  Brokaw and Kearns Goodwin suggest this is because Americans are living through this time, and that perhaps they might want to revist 1938 when FDR’s economic recovery wasn’t working well, going to war was a looming sight and there were bread lines in most major American cities.

Doris Kearns Goodwin is saying that Obama can marshal business leaders to help him reboot the economy in a big way.  Maybe we might talk about a green economy, and tax breaks to make that happen.  But this is surely a conversation worth having.

Austerity: Okay how ya gonna do that?  There are real ways to save money in the budget, but try to shut down a military base and watch Republicans come out and try to push back on that.  Sure we have to cut spending and raise taxes, but how will we actually do that?

Doris Kearns Goodwin is saying that austerity is the wrong word here.  Austerity is self-discipline.  During WWII everyone went into a mode of sacrifice for a higher cause.  That’s what we need to do.  Its more important that we look into that view than simply talk about cutting spending.

Talk about cutting spending: the GOP will own the House.  But the GOP needs to marshal votes to fund the country.  They will need to marshal the votes to increase the debt ceiling of the U.S sovereign debt.  John Boehner will have a difficult time dealing with his new populist Tea Party caucus.

On Afghanistan.  How will the transition from July 2011 to 2014 work?  How can progress be fragile and reversible, for instance?

Brokaw is saying that we have been in war for nearly 10 years.  But no one talks about it because only 1% of Americans fight in the War, but the rest of us, aren’t being asked to any sacrifice whatsoever.

But yes, we might do well to think about Afghanistan on a longer term basis: for over 2000 years invaders have left the region and have redefined victory to suit their purposes, just like we have done and will soon be doing.

Noonan has come out to say that Palin will not run and if she does run she will have made a mistake.  (But she can be a king-maker.)

Doris Kearns Goodwin is saying that Chris Christie, Governor of NJ would be a good leader to run for the top of the GOP ticket. But he has come out to insist on Meet the Press that he will not run for the presidency.  (After 2016, perhaps?)

Brokaw is saying that Obama might do well with a defeat of the sort that he experienced last November.  Both Clinton and Reagan suffered electoral defeats.  Obama has never lost.  So lets see if his shellacking motivates him to politick in some other fashion.

~ by Faheem Haider on December 26, 2010.

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