Each Sunday, political satirist Culture of Truth tracks the Sunday Morning ‘News’ Shows, particularly Meet the Press. In The Bobblespeak Translations he gives us a laugh-out-loud, perceptive rundown, capturing “What They’re Really Saying When They’re Saying What They’re Saying.” Then, for Virtually Speaking Sundays, CoT crafts a short audio commentary, read aloud by one of several readers and capturing the most most ridiculous moment from Meet the Press. We run them as a bottom-of-the-hour segment during our Sunday shows and then at midnight eastern, I post them as stand-alone audio.
Today on Meet The Press, David Gregory actually got to meet his idols, Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles. Gregory watchers were expecting a scene reminiscent of the fan reaction to the Beatles performance at the Ed Sullivan theater, but while Gregory was was clearly excited, he did manage to restrain himself from screaming when they appeared via remote locations. But first, Gregory introduced Senator Mitch McConnell by cryptically informing him quote “As you know, I spent the holidays in Kentucky, in your home state” unquote.
McConnell complained that we have a debt crisis, which threatens to America into Greece, so quote “We were able to get permanent tax relief for 99% of American taxpayers and therefore quote “We’ve resolved the tax issue now. It’s over. It’s behind us.” unquote
McConnell threatened to default on the country’s debts in order to force the President to agree to spending cuts. “It’s a shame” McConnell said, “that we have to use whatever leverage we have in Congress to get the president to deal with the biggest problem confronting our future. And that’s our excessive spending.” unquote
But of course McConnell is really still trying to achieve the old Republican dream from 1930s, finally admitting that by spending cuts he means raising the eligibility age for Medicare and Social Security, and means-testing Medicare.
Gregory introduced Simpson and Bowles by comparing the national debt to a family with a large credit card balance, and describing his guests as quote: “two of the nation’s leading voices on fiscal responsibility,” unquote
Bowles got the ball rolling by first announcing quote: “We have got to reform the tax code to make it more globally competitive. We have got to reduce this entitlement spending, particularly as it relates to healthcare.” unquote
Gregory impressed his heroes by bragging that he had asked the President quote “specifically about what he would do on Medicare” and the President defended the value of social programs to seniors and students, prompting Gregory to ask Bowles quote: “what would you specifically call on the president to do on Medicare that he’s been unwilling to do heretofore?”
Bowles responded that we need simplify the tax code, broaden the base, and quote “reduce healthcare spending on Medicare by about $500 to $600 billion over the next 10 years. You’re going to have to do it in some of the ways that Mitch McConnell talked about.” unquote
On Social Security, Alan Simpson said quote “For god’s sake, there were 16 people paying into that and one taking out when I was a freshman at the University of Wyoming. Now there are three people paying into that baby and one taking out and the life expectancy is 78 instead of 60. What the hell? Who’s kidding who.” unquote
So David Gregory finally got his dream guests, who like all people deeply concerned about the debt – which is of course much more important than unemployment – are deeply eager to lower corporate taxes, broaden the tax base, raise the retirement age, and mean-test Medicare. Because they are fiscal conservatives. And that’s the most ridiculous thing that happened this Sunday.
On Virtually Speaking Sundays tonight, political & social analysts Joan McCarter and Cliff Schecter discussed guns and public safety, Social Security and the Presidential Legacy. Listen here. Follow @JoanMcCarter @CliffSchecter @Bobblespeak @JayAckroyd
The VS Media Panel: Avedon Carol, Cliff Schecter, Dave Dayen, Dave Johnson, Dave Waldman, Digby, Gaius Publius, Joan McCarter, Marcy Wheeler and Stuart Zechman.