Sep 18 2010

Punting the Pundits: Sunday Preview Edition

Punting the Punditsis an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from around the news medium and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.

The Sunday Talking Heads:

This Week with Christiane Amanpour: “This Week with Christiane Amanpour” goes to Jerusalem and New York for two big exclusive interviews. As Secretary of State Hillary Clinton goes to Jerusalem for a second round of Mideast peace talks, she sits down with “This Week” anchor Christiane Amanpour for an exclusive interview. Can a breakthrough be achieved? Is a lasting peace within reach? And what can be done to keep Iran from destabilizing the region?

Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad takes the world stage at the U.N. General Assembly in New York and he comes to “This Week” for a Sunday exclusive interview.

The Roundtable will include Delaware State Republican Chairman Tom Ross, George Will, David Sanger of the New York Times, and Peter Beinart of the Daily Beast to discuss what impact the Tea Party will have on the midterms.

Face the Nation with Bob Schieffer: Mr. SChieffer’s guests will be Former President Bill Clinton and

Delaware Republican Senate Candidate Christine O’Donnell

The Chris Matthews Show: Mr. Matthews guests this Sunday are Gloria Borger, CNN

Senior Political Analyst, Chuck Todd, NBC News Chief White House Correspondent, Clarence Page, Chicago Tribune Columnist, and Kelly O’Donnell, NBC News Capitol Hill Correspondent.The questions under discussion are will Tea Partiers control the GOP and the 2012 Presidential Nomination? and could a Republican Congress repeal Health Care and stall the Government?

Meet the Press with David Gregory: Joining Mr, Gregory this week will be former Pres. Bill Clinton and a live interview with Ret. Gen. Colin Powell

State of the Union with Candy Crowley: Coming up on State of the Union… Is it “Tea” time in America?  The Tea Party claims another victory over “establishment Washington” with Christine O’Donnell’s primary win over favorite Rep. Mike Castle (R) in Delaware. Will the momentum carry over to the general election? What does it mean for Republican chances at a majority in Congress? And how will it shape the future of the party? We’ll sit down with a darling of the tea party movement, Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC).

Then Democrats fight to regain their message. The President accuses Republicans of holding tax cuts hostage and sidesteps a Senate battle by appointing Elizabeth Warren; all that with Democratic National Committee Chairman Tim Kaine.

Finally, as the battle for Congress heats up our panel takes a closer look at the home stretch to Election Day with Fmr. Rep. Tom Davis (R-VA) and Fmr. W.H. Communications Director Anita Dunn.

Fareed Zakaris: GPS: Fareed looks at how the U.S. government’s bank bailout worked and managed to do something maybe even more incredible than save Wall St.: it got democrats and republicans in Washington to actually work together.

This week, an incredible GPS exclusive: we bring you face-to-face with one of Osama bin Laden’s comrade-in-arms — a man who says he said “No” to Bin Laden, not once but twice. He takes us inside the meeting in 2000 in Bin Laden’s hut in Kandahar when he told his host NOT to attack the U.S. And he tells us why just this week he wrote a letter to tell the Al Qaeda leader to lay down his arms once and for all.

Then, a look at all of the hot topics at home and abroad with an all-star panel featuring CNN’s newest prime time co-host, Kathleen Parker, French philosopher Bernard-Henri Levy, Reuters’ Chrystia Freeland and Dan Senor of the Council on Foreign Relations. They tackle everything from the squeeze on the U.S. middle class to the potential of the Middle East peace talks.

Also, what in the world is going on in Cuba? Are we seeing the end of “la revolucion”? What one man has the power to change the Cuban economic system? It might not be who you think.

And finally, a last look at perhaps the most unlikely person to be tapped with fighting poverty. She’s taking it one step at a time.

Bob Herbert: Two Different Worlds

While working people are suffering the torments of joblessness, underemployment and dwindling compensation, corporate profits have rebounded and the financial sector is once again living the high life. This helps to keep the people at the top comfortably in denial about the extent of the carnage.

Millions of struggling voters have no idea which way to turn. They are suffering under the status quo, but those with any memory at all are afraid of a rerun of the catastrophic George W. Bush era. An Associated Press article, based on recent polling, summed the matter up: “Glum and distrusting, a majority of Americans today are very confident in – nobody.”

What is desperately needed is leadership that recognizes the depth and intensity of the economic crisis facing so many ordinary Americans. It’s time for the movers and shakers to lift the shroud of oblivion and reach out to those many millions of Americans trapped in a world of hurt.

Gail Collins: A State of Two Minds

(Since) Alaska depends on the federal government for about a third of its budget, it’s reasonable to wonder why voters are attracted to Miller, who is pretty much opposed to federal spending on anything that doesn’t have to do with national defense. The answer is that he and McAdams represent the two sides to Alaska, which simultaneously regards itself as a land of free-spirited adventurers as well as an infrastructure-poor newbie in need of government help before it can walk on its own. “By and large, we’re a schizophrenic state,” said Andrew Halcro, the Republican who once ran against Palin on an independent line.

And the Palin spirit lives on in the Alaska Senate race. For most of their history, Alaskan officials regarded their state as needy and wheedling money out of the federal government as a sacred crusade. When Sarah teamed up with John McCain, she added on the anti-earmark campaign line. The state didn’t get rid of its dependency on federal cash. It just learned how to entertain two opposing views in the head at the same time.

Dana Milbank: What ‘Republican establishment’ is the Tea Party rattling?

The Republican establishment, we are told, has suffered quite a beating at the hands of a 41-year-old Delaware woman by the name of Christine O’Donnell

The Time magazine cover  says the Tea Party’s “conservative rebels are rattling the Republican establishment.” ABC News says the Tea Party landed “a huge blow to the GOP establishment,” and CNN says it sent “shockwaves to the Republican establishment.” George W. Bush ad man Mark McKinnon tells USA Today “there is now a civil war within the Republican Party,” pitting the Tea Party against “the Republican establishment.”

Similar claims had been made earlier about the Tea Party bucking, beating, striking, shocking and delivering blow after blow to the establishment in New York, Florida, Colorado, Alaska, Kentucky and elsewhere.

Sorry to interrupt the anti-establishment violence, but could we pause long enough to ask a question: What is this “Republican establishment” of which you speak?

Though it has become a stock storyline to describe besieged party bosses, those peddling this account have largely created a straw man. The Republican establishment of popular imagination, like the Georgetown salon, no longer exists. If there is a Republican establishment, the Tea Party is it.

Les Leopold:Poverty Rises as Wall Street Billionaires Whine


The ranks of the working-age poor in the United States climbed to the highest level since the 1960s as the recession threw millions of people out of work last year, leaving one in seven Americans in poverty. The overall poverty rate climbed to 14.3 per cent, or 43.6 million people, the Census Bureau said yesterday in its annual report on the economic well-being of US households. Gulfnews.com

While 43.6 million Americans live in poverty, the richest men of finance sure are getting pissy. First Steve Schwartzman, head of the Blackrock private equity company, compares the Obama administration’s effort to close billionaires’ tax loopholes to “the Nazi invasion of Poland.” Then hedge fund mogul David Loeb announces that he’s abandoning the Democrats because they’re violating “this country’s core founding principles” — including “non-punitive taxation, Constitutionally-guaranteed protections against persecution of the minority, and an inexorable right of self-determination.” Instead of showing their outrage about the spread of poverty in the richest nation on Earth, the super-rich want us to pity them?

David Sirota: Synthetic Novelty vs. the Occupation of Two Islamic Countries

A week removed from the ninth anniversary of 9/11, after all the sound and fury has temporarily subsided, we can look back and know that we have just witnessed the realization of historian Daniel J. Boorstin’s most renowned prophecy.

In his 1961 classic, “The Image,” Boorstin famously predicted that real news and serious discourse would eventually be replaced by a “new kind of synthetic novelty” called “pseudo-events” – synthetic for their media-manufactured artificiality, pseudo for their lack of authenticity. Though these contrivances attract attention, Boorstin correctly pointed out that they typically represent no deeper ethos than vainglory.

That, of course, perfectly describes the hullabaloo surrounding Florida pastor Terry Jones and his much-hyped plans to burn the Quran. This hateful act, we were told, would have inflamed anti-Americanism in the Islamic world, potentially provoking a terrorist backlash. So grave was this supposed threat that the major media devoted 24-7 coverage to the controversy; President Obama publicly appealed to the pastor to abstain from creating “a recruitment bonanza for al-Qaida,” and Defense Secretary Robert Gates personally intervened – as if it were a Defcon-1-worthy emergency.

Jon Walker: Where Have All the “Deficit Hawks” Gone?

I noticed that earlier this year we were overwhelmed by a wave of anti-deficit grandstanding throughout the Democratic Party while the Catfood Commission was sending up trial balloons about cutting Social Security benefits, raising the retirement age (which is just a sleight-of-hand way of cutting benefits) or cutting the health care benefits for military service personnel.

Interestingly, since we have started the public debate about whether or not to extend Bush’s massive, deficit-ballooning tax cuts to millionaires, those same deficit hawks have been very quiet. That, or they have been very noisy about pushing to greatly increase the deficit by demanding Bush’s tax cut for millionaires be allowed to continue. Senators such as Ben Nelson (D-NE), Kent Conrad (D-ND), Evan Bayh (D-IN), and Joe Lieberman (I-CT), and 31 House Democrats have squawked about letting those tax cuts for the rich expire as Bush’s law had originally intended. Almost all of those 31 Representatives are self-proclaimed “fiscal conservatives” who pretend to be worried about the deficit even as they fight to greatly increase it.

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