Sunday, May 31, 2015

Most Ridiculous Moment - May 31, 2015

It was a very busy day on the Sunday talks shows, with the death of Beau Biden, John Kerry breaking his leg biking in France, and Dennis Hastert arrested for money laundering, caught by laws he pushed through Congress. On ABC, Dan Abrams pronounced Hastert's arrest “a gotcha prosecution,” saying “this isn't about drugs, this isn't about terrorism, this isn't about money laundering” and “does the underlying allegations of misconduct on his part weigh in to the 
prosecutor's decisions? It shouldn't.” 

Abrams is worried that wealthy, famous, politically powerful white men, being blackmailed, just can't get a break in the U.S. legal system, complaining that the charge may really be about his celebrity or his underlying misconduct, “neither of which the federal authorities should be taking into consideration,” and concluding “I mean, he's probably guilty of the crimes, but that doesn't mean he would have been charged if he was someone else.” Chuck Todd is just upset
because he can't defend Beltway culture to outsiders anymore.
But this Sunday was all about the Presidential candidates. Meet The Press had three – 
Bernie Sanders, Rick Santorum, and Jon Kasich. Chuck Todd tried to get Sanders to bash Hillary Clinton, to no avail, while Santorum confirmed he still hates gay people and immigrants. Kasich 
said he doesn't want to be President, but he's going to have to run, because frankly, he's just that wonderful.

On ABC, Martin O'Malley defended his tenure as Mayor of Baltimore, and talking about recent protests, said “the anger that erupted in our 
city happened in some of the poorest, hardest 
hit neighborhoods where unemployment's actually higher now than it was seven years ago. I'd be angry too.”
George Stephanopoulos did not ask him about Iraq, Syria, ISIS, terrorism, Russia, Ukraine, climate change, or even what O'Malley's economic plan is. To be fair, he did ask 
O'Malley about the two most important issue facing America, Hillary, Clinton's e-mails and the Clinton foundation.
Stephanopoulos also got to talk to Dr. Ben Carson, who said about ISIS, “I believe that, you know, we kind of stirred things up when we went in there. But we stirred them up even worse when we left there and left an unstable situation.”

Carson said that like Rick Santorum, he “would not hesitate” to put in 10,000 U.S. troops, if he thought it was necessary, noting “what's going 
on now as being in our interest because as ISIS is growing and some of the other radical jihadists, their intention is to destroy us and our way of life.” A rather skeptical Stephanopoulos asked “you're starting to believe you can be president?” to which Carson replied “I certainly believe that 
is a possibility.”

George also interviewed Bobby Jindal, who went all in against Rand Paul and President Obama, proclaiming “ISIS is evil. ISIS exists because of radical Islam, radical Islam. It's radical Islamic terrorism,” and “We've got a president who, for some reason, doesn’t even want to say the words 'radical Islamic terrorism.' And we need to identify the enemy. We need to do everything we can to hunt them down and kill them.”

Of course, like all Republicans, his biggest complaint is the famous red line, that Obama didn't bomb ISIS's enemy Bashar Assad. Using the word “weakness” four times in one minute, 
he exclaimed “We need peace through strength,” and “We're not going to defeat evil through weakness,” and promised to “rescue the American dream from becoming the 
European nightmare.”

But the most absurd moments came in Bob Schieffer's final show as host of Face the Nation, who is apparently retiring because he is so worried about terrorism.

He asked CIA Director John Brennan “before 9/11, there were all kind of red lights blinking and we kind of missed that. Are you worried we may be seeing another kind of situation like that here?” and “what do you see as the main threat to our security?” and “Is ISIS actively planning an attack on the American homeland?”

Amazingly, Schieffer told Brennan that in his opinion, President Obama “seems to be just trying to buy time here, that he's not ready to make a full commitment here in this war on terrorism and basically is just trying to keep things together well enough so that he can 
leave it to the next President to resolve it.”

Schieffer, good friend to the Bush family, asked Jeb Bush “What do you think is the greatest threat to our national security right now?” Bush declared ISIS a threat to Western civilization, but rejected putting U.S. troops in harm's way, suggesting using special forces, noting “The president is using that, and that's a good thing,” and said “We need to encourage the Iraqi government to provide support to the Sunni tribes, as we did during the surge.”

Bush said that when Obama came into office "the Iraqi military was not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but it was it was battle-tested and Iraq was a far more secure place.” So of course we couldn't leave. When Schieffer asked what lessons he learned from his brother's Presidency, he said, “We were under attack, and he unified the country and he showed dogged determination. And he kept us safe,” and 
“when you're confronted with that kind of event, to respond the way he did is admirable.”

So, ISIS is an evil threat to civilization, and Obama is weak, but we don't need ground troops, we just have to encourage the Iraqis to try harder, and use the right words to describe the enemy. The Iraqi army is battle-tested, but keeps fleeing from ISIS; President Obama won't commit to the war on terror; and we should listen to Jeb Bush, whose brother kept us safe. And that's the 
most ridiculous thing that this Sunday.

Link to audio podcast