Real Time Thoughts on Meet the Press (April 03, 2010)


Today we’re talking about the horrendous events in Afghanistan, due in large part to Pastor Terry Jone’s intolerant, hateful burning of the Koran, this past March.  We’re talking about Libya, and we’re talking about a possible government shutdown come next Friday.

Assistant Senate Majority Leader Dick Durbin is here to talk about the Democratic line.  He thinks that though Americans are afforded speech rights, this hateful and terrible man, Terry Jones, is using the rights given him to promote himself and his racist, offensive line against good Americans, against good people the world over.

Senator Durbin wants a clear line in the sand, (funny those lines in the sand) about when we will draw down in Afghanistan and how that will be.  We cannot stay in Afghanistan forever, nor should we do anything to endanger our over 100,000 troops in Afghanistan.  So we need to approach that line of compromise in and on Afghanistan carefully even though we must approach it.

Senator Durbin thinks that the House GOP is using the budget appropriations process to relitigate politics and ideology; some of the cuts that the GOP is offering is simply not acceptable, and moreover are entirely ideological.  Yet we cannot shutdown the government, for that would hurt American and our nascent economic recovery.  We need to work for Americans, not for ideological points.  (Indeed, this past weeks, jobs numbers gives Democrats a huge boost to bargain for their arguments, arguments that Senator Durbin thinks the American people will support.)

He is saying that at the end of day contrary to critics like E.J. Dionne who argue that President Obama is standing back on the budget cuts, Congress, and particularly the Congressional GOP would argue that this is President Obamacuts.  That there are separation of powers, and so on and on.  But, don’t worry the President is working for a sensible budget compromise for this year.

Senator Durbin is saying that many things are up for compromise and bargaining.  But what is not up for compromise is any cuts in education and long-term investments in human capital and infrastructure. (Think about Head Start. Senator Durbin, correctly refuses to cut spending on that policy.)

On Libya, Senator Durbin is saying that though rebels have been pushed back, Qaddafi’s coalition of support with Libya has eroded.  His foreign minister has defected to the rebels.  (But now, where do you stand.  What is Plan B?)

Indeed, David Gregory has brought up exactly that point.  Senator Durbin supports President Obama’s argument that Qaddafi will fall politically, not because of military might.

Is Senator Durbin interested in running the DNC before the 2012 election.

The House Intelligence Chair Congressman Mike Rogers is up now. In office since 2000, he is here to speak to CIA involvement in Libya.  What is the CIA doing there? Also what are the rebels doing and who are they?

Congressman Rogers is saying that we know what the rebels stand against-Qaddafi, but we do not know what they stand for.  Now we now that there is wide support for al Qaeda in many countries in the Middle East, and we know that even if that were the case, most Arabs and Muslims do not support violence tactical or political, but we simply need to know more about who the rebels in fact are.

It would be good if more Arab countries came into the anti-Qaddafi coalition.  But so far the pressure against Qaddafi is quite strong.  Congressman Rogers is saying that having Qaddafi stay in power is not an option, even though the U.S, should not put boots on the ground in Libya.  (So far his argument is exactly that of President Obama’s.  This means that the GOP really doesn’t have the traction to attack President Obama on this one issue.)

David Gregory is asking Congressman Rogers whether Libya is part of our national interest.  If as Sec. Def. Gates said that Libya is part of our interest in the region, part of the argument for intervention is humanitarian, why have we not intervened into Cote d’Ivoire?

Congressman Rogers is saying that we know that Qaddafi has chemical weapons; we cannot afford to have Qaddafis weapons used on Americans or on American soil.

Congressman Rogers is using strong words against Pastor Jones.  It is a question of moral and national responsibility that we should help our soldiers and our policies.  To use strong ideological moves for ideological, propaganda uses is not part of what we expect Americans to do for our interests and policies abroad. (This is a very strong argument, but I still don’t understand why no one has called Pastor Jones a bad American, un-American!)

Mike Murphy, E.J. Dionne, Daniel Yergin, Doris Kearns Goodwin and Marc Moriale are here.  They make up the roundtable.

Mike Murphy thinks the House leadership will avoid a government shutdown with the idea that they will use that energy to argue against next years budget, Paul Ryan’s budget.

E.J. Dionne’s argument is that Obama’s real test is next years budget.  He has allowed the GOP the narrative start on this year’s budget.

Kearns Goodwin is arguing that President Obama needs to draw clear cut lines and then needs to mount a P.R. campaign just like President Clinton did.

Japan, Libya, conflict in teh Middle East.  Where is our energy independence?  President Obama said that we can cut our oil import by a third.  We can do this, Daniel Yergin thinks.  We must.  High oil prices is the top antagonist to our growing economy.

Yergin is surely right when he says that a lot of the rise in oil prices is simply speculation. Now that speculation is real issue in the sense that we are worried about Saudi Arabia; and lets not forget that Saudi Arabia shares a border with Yemen.

E.J. Dionne is saying that we need to figure out some combination of conservation and production.  Sure, cap and trade won’t work politically, but over time we probably need something along those lines.  Mike Murphy is arguing that in the long run higher prices is a good thing because this way we can move to other technologies but for now we know that higher oil prices means lower approval ratings for politicians.

Now, the OBAMA DOCTRINE!!! (What Obama doctrine???!!!) He has simpy said on a pragmatic note that we know we have to invoke our military might on certain circumstances, but that we cannot afford to be, nor should we be, the global police force.

As David Gregory pointed out, Slate’s John Dickerson pointed out this is not an Obama Doctrine; it is rather a Libya Doctrine.

Mike Murphy is coming out to support Obama’s plan on Libya.  He is saying that the U.S. needs to align our policy with the home-grown call for democracy in the Middle East.

E.J. Dionne: “Just because we can’t act everywhere doesn’t mean we shouldn’t act anywhere!” (Do we seek perfectionism here, or pragmatism?  And here, unfortunately, pragmatism argues against intervention in Cote d’Ivoire.)

Marc Moriale is sayng that if what we want is to lower unemployment and gets jobs going into economy we can’t cut those policies that actually serve to raise skill sets that actually go into a growing economy.

Mike Murphy points out a basic fact that even if the economy is recovering it will take a while until it feels like the economy is recovering.  And the political fight is to work though that lag to the advantage of the opposing political parties.

The new RNC Chair Reince Priebus thinks that teh GOP can win the next election using Reagan’s “Are you better off now, than X years ago?”

Kearns Goodwin thinks that (as does everyone else) that the argument is too simple.  If the jobs trends continue for the next year and more, Americans will turn to President Obama and his party again.

Mike Murphy along with David Gregory is pointing out that the nativist strategy will not work for the GOP in the coming election cycles.  This, especially if Texas is a important part of the GOP electoral strategy. Why? Because immigration and the mixing of the American demographic, the fact that through immigration the American electorate is getting younger, all that argues for the Democrats.  The GOP needs to figure out what their position is against their electoral oblivion.

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~ by Faheem Haider on April 3, 2011.

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