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apj.us / correntewire.com
Pundit Pap
for Sunday, February 5, 2006
How Weak? THIS Weak! Glittering Georgie's Gasbag Gaggle
by Xan

Feb. 5, 2006 (correntewire.com / apj.us) -- In a collaborative project with Gene at the American Politics Journal we’re going to be doing some analysis of the Sabbath Gasbag news shows.

Today’s inaugural dissertation is on This Week with George “Smiley” Stephanopoulos, first broadcast this morning, 2-5-06.

This was originally a much longer piece, but some technical problems caused that one to go “poof” so this is very short. Bear with me.

[Okay, after rereading and some revisions, it ain’t all that short any more. Bear with me anyway.]

First guest up was Closeted Ken Mehlman, chairman of the RNC. GeorgeS played some clips from the SOTU, then noted that it was a tad short on Great Initiatives. Ken disagreed—the initiatives were great, which point he proved by reiterating some of them. GeorgeS: unconvinced, noted that the only striking one was the “addicted to oil” line which Dear Leader’s surrogates had to scurry out and disavow almost before the words were out of his mouth.

Ken switched to HSAs, which were going to be just as swell as IRAs and allow the evisceration of employer-provided health care just as IRAs had done to employer-provided pensions. Ken did not phrase it exactly that way, mind you.

GeorgeS then pounded Ken about the head and shoulders with the Domestic Spying Scandal, even noting with a display of fangs that the Preznit preferred it to be called Terrorism Surveillance. Ken became unamused and his smile failed him at this point, but came back hard, albeit with a higher and somewhat girlish voice, to gush his points: Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi, although no doubt lovers of their country, were proving that they were completely unable to defend it because they refused to get behind the Magic Snooperscope. 9-11 resulted from limitations on the CIA. Everything changed on 9-11. 911, 911, 911. (There were some mumbled words in between these iterations, but I could not take notes fast enough by hand to note them.)

Did we mention he mentioned 911? I think we can safely guess this is going to be a Major Theme this coming week.

Rep. Boner was lauded as a Great Reformer, with particular note paid to the great work he had done in education, with VERY particular note to the fact that this was a collaboration with Sen. Kennedy (actually that was No Child’s Behind Left, so beloved of educators everywhere).

The “works well with Democrats” was a major if subtle theme throughout Mehlman’s piece. They are desperately looking for cover. We should smile sweetly and mouth platitudes and hang together fiercely to Safeguard the Liberties of Americans, a slogan I just made up but will sell for a reasonable fee. Dr. Dean can contact me via Corrente.

The second interview of the show was with Gen. Michael Hayden, head of NSA. George S. made a tactical mistake going to the General’s house to play, although the big screens and Spy Stuff made a very flashy background.

Most of George’s questions got answers of the “I could tell you but then I’d have to kill you” sort. The only noteworthy event was Hayden’s claim that “the 72 hours after the fact to get a warrant business” was an “urban legend.” The NSA does not ask for warrants, the general said; only the Department of Justice can do that. It takes more than 72 hours to do that. He as much as said that that’s why the don’t bother FISA’s little head with asking.

Anything that they can do, technically speaking, is something that Hayden claims, they must do, and do do, and will continue doing. This seems noteworthy to me.

George’s only follow-up question to this was to ask if they needed more legislation to correct this problem. Hayden replied, basically, that to get the legislation they would have to Reveal the Program to Congress. The program, it seems, is delicate, like a soufflé. To open the oven door on it, so to speak, will cause it to fall. The Great Soufflé. protects us all, so preserving it is more important than preserving the Constitution. Like Mehlman earlier, Hayden did not exactly phrase it this way, but I am always willing to help a servant of our country out with a good metaphor.

The rest of the show was fluff and the Round Table. Interesting points there were:

Cokie Roberts: The House is a dreadful swamp of corruption but years of gerrymandering have rendered it impossible to defeat an incumbent, so tsk tsk, we’re stuck with the crooks. However people might decide we were better off with Congress of a different party from the President, completely ignoring the fact that people don’t vote for House candidates on the basis of national affairs but local ones. Cokie knows better, so one Fib Point awarded to her.

Sam Donaldson said Democrats can win on Iraq in foreign affairs and Reform on the domestic. Of course earlier he had said that Blunt would have been a better choice for House Reformer than Boehner, since as a DeLay protégé Blunt “got it” on how important reform was, so we might want to dock Sam a couple of points for Drinking So Early On the Sabbath.

George Will said that Republicans can lose if conservatives stay home on election day. Grim George’s general attitude suggested he was thinking about being one of them. We award him one extra bottle of Purple Pills for Dyspepsia, cuz he’s about had it with these folks. The torment between his dedication to conservative principles and his dedication to his massive paycheck is getting worse all the time. Poor baby.

-- Xan

Universally acclaimed as boldly shrill members of the reality-based community, the bloggers of Corrente can be reached off the record, on the Q.T., and very hush hush at their highly fortified headquarters, The Mighty Corrente Building.

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