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Notes on the March 14, 2010 broadcast

March 14, 2010

No annotated transcript from me this week, just a few random thoughts. The full transcript will be here.

  1. Tom Brokaw was back in the host chair this morning, and he does a nice job of laying out the process likely to be used is passing healthcare reform over the next several days. First guest David Axelrod is smart to get the conversation away from process and talk instead about the real problems people currently have with health coverage.
  2. Brokaw plays a clip of Senator Scott Brown. Axelrod deftly notes that Brown represents a state with a reformed healthcare system… and 70% of citizens like it.
  3. Brokaw asks about the political anxiety of House Democrats if this bill passes. Will they be vulnerable at home in the midterm elections? Axelrod says the opposite is true. The political fall out will be worse if they don’t pass the bill.
  4. Overall, Brokaw seems much better at hosting Meet The Press than I remember from a couple of years ago. He seems relaxed yet confident. He was more Zen today. Maybe Washington needs that.
  5. At the end of the interview with Axelrod, Brokaw slips in a question about the other big story of the week, the new Israeli settlements. And Axelrod was prepared.
  6. Congressman Clyburn and Senator Durbin (joining via satellite from their home districts) were a very good guest choice… these are the men in the real political hot seat this coming week. Hearing them talk, it becomes clear that this is going to be an exciting week in Congress… especially if you love (or hate) the legislative process and parliamentary procedure.
  7. Karl Rove starts off his segment with an odd statement. He says, “The president looks aloof and disengaged.” I don’t think that rings true with the left or the right. Does Karl watch cable news… or just appear on it?
  8. Up until a few minutes into the Rove interview, the morning’s broadcast has been a fairly comprehensive look at healthcare status and process. But then we really grind the gears and switch to a discussion of Rove’s new book. This feels odd. Although there is a purpose served: Rove’s answers remind us that no matter how screwed up Washington seems right now, things were much worse a few years ago when we had a deeply unpopular president (much lower numbers than Obama now) and no chance to fix big problems.
  9. David Brooks and Tom Friedman are next. This is a big change from the five person mega-panel of two weeks ago. Note, however, that Meet The Press has been criticized recently for a lack of diversity. Today we had six guest plus the host. Of them, all were male and five were white. Last week’s first guest, Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius, was the last female to appear on the show.
  10. Tom Brokaw compares the current healthcare bill to the convoluted legislation creating the Department of Homeland Security. David Brooks gives a pretty sober assessment of the bill’s impact.
  11. Brokaw is right that the Israeli settlement story is not getting the attention it deserves. And Friedman is a great guest for this topic. He explains the current context very well… and he lays out how much the United States is doing for Israel right now. This all highlights just what a slap Israel has delivered to its chief ally.

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