On FNS, CJCS Admiral Mike Mullen supported a conditions-based assessment of Iraq rather than a concrete timeline, and pointed out that we would not have a horizon about which to speak if there had been no Surge.
Next segment, Evan Bayh argued that Obama’s judgment on Iraq has been flawless. Joe Lieberman pointed out that Obama had rejected the Surge and that Obama had wanted to lose the war.
On MTP, Al Gore said that his job was to condition the American people to accept that we have to do things his way. Tom Brokaw, the moderator, wanted government to tell the American people that we had to endure a painful transition and that this was something we had to do regardless of the pain.
I think some guy in pink pants was winning the British Open on ABC.
On CBS’ FTN, Lara Logan interviewed Barack Obama in hushed, reverential tones. It was a cute. She concluded the interview by asking Obama if he ever had any doubts. Obama answered: “Never.” Logan giggled.
Next, Schieffer interviewed Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson who said that we could be dealing with the housing markets’ trouble, the main concern with the economy, for months. He stressed that the fundamentals of the US economy were still sound.
On LE, Paulson argued that 99% of our banks were having no problems. Next on LE, Nancy went off on a bizarre rant for twenty minutes then Roy Blunt came in and dismissed her in five.
The show-by-show review is beneath the fold.ADMIRAL MIKE MULLEN ON FNS. Appearing on FOX News Sunday with Chris Wallace, CJCOS Mike Mullen said that the situation in Iraq did not call for a concrete timeline; rather, he said, our actions must be based on the conditions on the ground. The President’s term, “Time Horizon,” does not speak to timetables or time lines, he said. He posited, though, that there was a Time Horizon, an end in sight. His job, he said, was based on withdrawal according to conditions on the ground; however, he said, he would be able to alter that at the direction of a new Commander in Chief.
Regardless, Admiral Mullen stated that “conditions-based assessment is the way to go.” A concrete timeline (Barry’s plan) could lead to “very dangerous consequences.”
Iran is a concern to him: “I’m fighting two wars. I don’t need a third one.” He feels that Iran is “heading in the direction of building nuclear weapons.”
Wallace asked the admiral how conditions in Iraq would be now if there had been no surge. Mullen would not deal with the hypothetical. He said that security in Iraq currently was “much better” than he had expected, in Sadr City, in Mosul, and throughout. In answer to Wallace’s question, Mullen said he does not think that this could have happened without the surge. He repeatedly pointed out that there are things happening in Iraq which would not have been possible “a few weeks ago.”
Wallace asked Admiral Mullen if we were winning the war in Iraq but losing it in Afghanistan. The admiral answered that we are doing much better in Iraq but we were not “in any way, shape, or form” losing in Afghanistan, though our progress has been “mixed.”
LIEBERMAN AND BAYH ON FNS. The surrogates – Joe Lieberman for McCain and Evan Bayh for Obama – were up next for Wallace on FNS. Lieberman argued that we all want to leave Iraq, but we want to leave when conditions on the ground dictate that we can leave with a victory.
Host Chris Wallace brought up Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s seeming endorsement of the 16-month time frame, inaccurately relating that Maliki did not mention Obama by name. Bayh said that Obama’s judgment has been sterling throughout, and that even President Bush was now adopting Obama’s plans. He said that even General David Petraeus did not call Obama’s 16-month time frame “unreasonable.” He ridiculed John McCain for suggesting that in hindsight, it was right to invade Iraq even if Saddam did not have weapons of mass destruction. Bayh then said, hey; let’s try to end this thing in 16-months. What the heck, gang, let’s go for it!
Lieberman countered by pointing out that if we had trusted Obama’s judgment on Iraq, Barry could not be visiting Iraq as he is today. Obama, he said, was prepared to lose in Iraq. Bayh countered that Obama did not want to lose in Iraq; rather, Obama did not want to go to Iraq in the first place. Lieberman repeated that once we were in Iraq, Obama wanted to lose.
Wallace asked why Obama was giving a big rally in Germany. Bayh stammered that “Barack Obama is for success in Iraq.” Wallace kept him on the question he had just asked, and Bayh explained that Obama had to repair our country’s relationship with Germany. He said that it is very important to rally global opinion to our side.
Bayh went out of his way to refuse to answer Veepstakes questions, like if a vetting process had begun for him: “They’ve established a process. It’s their process.”
As for his veep chances, Lieberman said: “It’s not going to happen.” His role, he said, is to show Indies and Dems that they should also vote for McCain. He does not know if he’ll speak to the Republican National Convention.
AL GORE ON MTP. “Moderator” Tom Brokaw’s guest on NBC’s Meet the Press was Al Gore. Al Gore’s duty, as Al Gore sees it, is to mold the American mind, shape American opinion, and craft the American mindset in such a way as program Americans to demand new and exciting forms of energy.
“We need to make a big, strategic shift to renewable,” declared Al Gore. (Where was the applause track?) Brokaw asked him where we were going to get the money, and Al Gore answered that it would be a public-private partnership. Al Gore pointed out that some economist has said that the overall cost of the Iraq war will be even greater than the price of his great, strategic shift. Al Gore said that we will eventually pay the equivalent of $1/gallon of gasoline if we follow his plan.
The relationship between Brokaw and Al Gore in this chat reminded me if the paid “host” and the salesman on a late-night infomercial. (“How can the super-gizmo do all that at once, Ron? I don’t know, it seems a bit much to me.” “It’s not, Sally! The super-gizmo can do all this and much, much more!”)
Al Gore said that we were past President Bush on this issue, saying that Congress ought to do more: “And that’s why the upcoming elections are so important!” Al Gore said that once this nation can summon the political will to act, we should have the plan in place and ready to implement.
He refused to refer to Hillary’s gasoline holiday as “irresponsible,” because he would not say such things about “friends of mine.”
Brokaw wanted to know if it were time for our government to tell the American people that “we have to go through some pain… and you have to live with that.” Government won’t bail us out. Al Gore likened the price of gasoline to a tax we pay to Saudi Arabia and to Venezuela.
You will believe!
OBAMA AND LOGAN ON FTN. CBS reporter Lara Logan spoke to Barack Obama in Afghanistan, and that was first up for host Bob Schieffer on CBS’ Face the Nation. Obama said that conditions in Afghanistan were urgent and precarious, and that he wants more troops there. He also wants the Afghan government to do more.
Barry complained that the global network of terrorists was growing in Afghanistan and that we made a mistake by being distracted by Iraq and not finishing the job in Afghanistan. He said that it is important for us to start planning to send two or three more American brigades to Afghanistan. He called for a “regional approach to the problem.” He wants “to engage the Pakistan government.” To send a message to them, we have to bribe them with our substantial age.
If we had actionable evidence against high-value targets and the Pak government refuses to act, we should do it ourselves.
Logan asked her questions in a reverent half-whisper.
Obama said that the terrorist training camps in Pakistan were “growing and multiplying.”
Obama said that Afghanistan was becoming “the central front” in the war against terrorism.
Logan argued that Osama bin Laden and “all his lieutenants” were still in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Obama stressed that Maliki and a majority of the Iraqis want a timetable for withdrawal. He said that this would force the Iraqis “to get their act together” because of the urgency caused by our troops leaving. He called for cutting aid to Iraq and diverting it to Afghanistan and Pakistan (as per his bribery scheme). Logan said, “Losing is not an option.” Barry agreed and said that it never has been an option.
Barry doesn’t think killing OBL will be sufficient to stop the terrorists, though Obama, he argues, is a “rallying point.”
Obama stated that neither people who understand foreign policy nor our troops have doubts that he will be prepared to run American foreign policy. Obama wants to change America’s style of leadership so that it is “less unilateral.”
Lara Logan asked Obama if he ever had any doubts. Obama answered: “Never.” Logan giggled.
PAULSON ON FTN. Schieffer’s in-studio guest was Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson. Housing problems, unemployment, “these banks,” etc.
“Are we in a recession? How long will these bad economic times go on?”
Paulson argued that we are going through tough economic times, but our economy has “very strong long-term fundamentals.” He said that the housing situation was at the heart of our problems.
Paulson argued that our period of slow growth will go on for months (not years).
Paulson hinted that the media footage of people standing in lines outside of IndyMac were misleading, as no average depositor had lost money. The deposits were insured to $100,000. He called the banking crisis: “a very manageable situation.” (Yeah, crisis is the media term.)
Schieffer quoted what he said was the lead from a Saturday New York Times article and asked how things had gotten so bad? “What happened, here?” (NOTE: Schieffer actually quoted the start of the second paragraph: “Something has clearly gone wrong with the economy. But how bad are things, really? And how bad might they get before better days return?”)
Paulson answered that there had been “excesses building for some time.” Home prices had risen ridiculously fast. But he again stressed that the fundamentals of the United States economy would compare favorably with those of any other industrial economy.
Paulson said that our gas prices were a result of supply and demand. He said that the solution was to open energy supplies and to reduce the demand.
PAULSON ON LE. On CNN’s Late Edition, host Wolf Blitzer first spoke to… Secretary Paulson. Blitzer cited bank failures as a sure sign that the economy was in “serious trouble.”
Paulson argued that there would be “bumps in the road” as we went through this “housing correction.” Blitzer argued that it seemed worse now than it did in June or May, when Paulson had suggested that the worst might be behind us.
Paulson said that our number one concern was stability in the capital market. Wolf asked him how stable were Freddie and Fannie, and Paulson said that their regulator said that they had adequate capital.
Wolf brought up the long lines outside IndyMac, showing footage of the same, and Paulson stressed the FDIC and insurance. He said that the regulators tell him that 99% of the banks are having no problem: “Our banking system is sound.”
Wolf talked about the high rate of inflation and brought up Chuck Schumer’s stated concern about “stagflation.” Paulson argued that the core inflation in our economy was relatively stable.
Paulson said that he was not caught by surprise by the Fannie and Freddie problems and that he had been working with Congress on reform.
PELOSI ON LE. Blitzer next spoke with Nancy, giving her a venue to rant in front of however many people are in his television audience. She argued that she had passed all sorts of economic initiatives in the Congress of the United States, but they “ran into a brick wall” with Republican Senators and the President.
Wolf showed her a CNN poll with 73% of those surveyed favoring renewed offshore drilling. She argued that the White House was giving Americans the impression that drilling in protected areas will lower the gas prices. She argued that we should drill in non-protected area. She argued that 33-million offshore acres were currently available for leasing.
Nancy argued that it will take “at least ten years” for any of this oil to reach the pumps and even then it would reduce the cost of gasoline by only two or three cents. She declared that we are in a dire emergency and should open our petroleum reserves for consumer use, that way we could “buy back the oil when the price goes down.”
She said that fear does not enter her vocabulary. She said “use it or lose it.” She said that the President needs a “decoy” for a “faltering economy.” She said that she is not going to allow offshore drilling to come up for a vote in the House.
Blitzer shifted to Congress’s 14% approval rating for Congress, and Nancy argued that she disapproves of the Congress not ending the war. The 14% is so low because they have not ended the war, she said. And “the economy, the economy, the economy, the economy.” She said that Congress will be able to work with the next President, who will be Barack Obama.
After a commercial break, Blitzer played a clip of President Bush challenging Congress, and she responded by calling the President a “total failure” who has “lost all credibility with the American people.”
She promised that we would go in a “new direction” if we elected Obama.
Then Blitzer did a YouTube thing with strange and angry people asking questions on vid. Nancy blamed Senate Republicans and the POTUS for the failures of Nancy and Harry. She thinks a “Democratic president” will cause some of the Republicans in the Senate to stop “guarding the gate.”
Nancy sat forward in her chair and announced: “We are in a recession!”
She still thinks a Barry/Hillary ticket was “never going to happen.”
ROY BLUNT ON LE. House Republican whip Roy Blunt was next on LE, responding to Nancy’s ongoing neurosis. Congressman Blunt argued that “use it or lose it” is just a canard. Just because land is leased does not mean that the oil is there. We are the only country who can drill in the ocean and do not.
Blunt pointed out that the same people who are saying that drilling is not the answer are now saying that taking oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve is. Using that oil, Blunt argued, is an admission that supply matters and that we should be doing greater things to increase the supply.
Congressman Blunt said that the ban on offshore drilling goes back to the ’60s, when offshore drilling might be environmentally problematic. He said that Governor Arnold of California was being “unrealistic” when he refused to allow offshore drilling.
Blunt said he is open=minded on the second stimulus package. He wants to see what they bring to the table and if it is just an election-year political stunt.
Blitzer quoted Maliki as agreeing with Obama on the 16 months, arguing that it “pulled the rug” out from under McCain, now that Maliki agreed with Obama. Blunt pointed out that it is the progress in Iraq which has made Maliki’s statements meaningful.
Congressman pointed out that Barry had announced his latest position before he even went to Iraq, turning his tour of the region into a “prove I’m right” event.
It says something important, and not per se about Congressman Blunt, when it takes him less than five minutes to shoot down what Nancy spent her fifteen-minute interview trying to build.
That was our Sunday Morning talk. Have at it.