Watched George Stephanopoulos, an island of civility in a sea of chaos. Choosing between Russert & Stephanopoulos in the past was tough; choosing between Stephanopoulos and Gregory and the others is a no-brainer. I also appreciate the humilty and guts it takes for a beltway denizen like George to go on a show like O'Reilly. Not cool in the Georgetown set, though admittedly Washington doyen Sally Quinn has already broke that barrier. Cynically you can say that he's going where the numbers are, since O'Reilly leads the cable race, but I consider it a holy ambition for the former Clinton staffer to reach out to the conservatives and moderates who watch FOX News.
Sunday's panel was almost perfect, a murderer's row of great pundits: George Will, Peggy Noonan, Robert Reich and Donna Brazille. Doesn't get any better than that and I wasn't disappointed. Reich was a paragon of honesty, saying that if he were grading the Baucus Senate bill he would've given it "somewhere between a 'D' and an 'F'". It's a Sunday pleasure, and one of the last places to find only limited bias, at least small enough bias that I can normally watch it without irritation.
Stephanopoulos's interview with the President was not softball, he called him out on the ludicrous Clintonian-sounding debate about "it depends what you mean by tax", going so far as to read Obama Merriam-Webster's definition of the word "tax".
Methinks the President protests too much. If you have to explain it as not being a tax, for all intents and purposes that means it's a tax. I like his creative math though - Obama saying that you're premiums would go up 5-6% anyway so let's just make sure they go up by adding a new tax.
Peggy Noonan shot and scored by saying that most Americans are more worried about the economy and the wars than health care, but the thing Obama can't say but is true is that this is the only time in this term he'll be able to do health care since most Presidents lose Congressional seats in their first off-year election, and if he's gonna ram it on through he needs every Democrat vote he can get.
With Afghanistan, I've never quite understood why Al Qaeda needs that godforsaken country when it already has Pakistan and Sudan and Somalia in which to plan attacks against the U.S.. If there were no failed states in the world then maybe it would be risky for Afghanistan to become another one but.. For us to think we can pacify a country that broke the Russians and others strikes me as naked hubris.