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Notes on the May 9, 2010 broadcast

May 9, 2010

My random thoughts on this week’s broadcast. The full transcript will be here.

  1. Attorney General Eric Holder says the White house will announce its Supreme Court nominee “very soon.” His answers strongly imply the job will go to Solicitor General Elena Kagan.
  2. Even before I turned on the TV this morning, I knew Eric Holder had made news. My Twitter feed was telling me Holder confirmed US suspicions that the Pakistani Taliban was behind the Times Square bombing.
  3. David Gregory’s best question of the day was when he asked Holder how the suspected bomber Faisal Shahzad “flew under the radar” even though he was regularly flying back and forth to Pakistan and carrying large sums of money. Holder did not have a specific answer.
  4. Gregory reads a quote from former Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff about emerging patterns of terrorist recruitment techniques… focusing on those with access to the US and clean records. Holder agrees.
  5. Gregory pushes the issue of racial profiling. Holder says good law enforcement depends on watching what people actually do.
  6. On the Miranda issue, Holder points out that giving Miranda warnings has not stopped terror suspects from talking… and it did not stop the Times Square suspect from talking.
  7. However, Holder does make a case for more flexibility in the “public safety” exception in Mirandizing a suspect.
  8. I should have seen this coming. Gregory digs into one of his favorite topics… how can we promise people like Khalid Sheik Mohammed (KSM) a fair trial while also saying that failure is not possible and we will never release him. Gregory always gets a little worked up on this topic… but only on this quixotic topic. I wish he could bring this same passion to something else.
  9. With all that is happening in the country (and the news Holder is making), it seems strange that Gregory would spend so much time on the location of the KSM trial.
  10. Speaking of other topics, Gregory finally asks about the new Arizona immigration law. In his response, I am glad Holder makes the point that the Arizona law is the manifestation of a very real and understandable frustration people feel about immigration. Even if the law is not the right move, we have to understand the motives behind it.
  11. On to the roundtable discussion… This was author Wes Moore’s first time on Meet The Press, and he seems like a good addition. And because I have been tough on MTP for relying too much on the same faces, I applaud them for reaching out to someone new.
  12. My stance in watching the roundtable is to be alert for someone who expresses an original thought, explains something in novel way, or says something beyond what I would expect given the person’s political leaning. None of this happens very often.
  13. Moore, a former Army captain who fought in Afghanistan, said that when America fails to live up to its ideals at home, it makes things tougher for our soldiers in the field.
  14. EJ Dionne lights things up by objecting to the term “lawyering up.” I don’t think any of the others really responded to Dionne’s concerns.
  15. Moving on to the likely nomination of Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court, if this roundtable is any kind of snapshot of official DC, there won’t be much controversy surrounding this pick.
  16. Senator Bob Bennet, a conservative from Utah was ousted by a party convention this weekend. Even the conservative David Brooks said this move was a “damn outrage.” I think this topic of the roiling inside the Republican Party needs more attention.
  17. Gregory says the bigger issue is really the role of government in American life. This may be true, but the action on the issue is taking place in the friction between the tea partiers and the traditional GOP. So we should talk more about that.
  18. On the United Kingdom elections, Gregory says this might say something about the potential rise of a third party in the US. But Katty Kay (of the BBC) points out that the third party in the UK (the Liberal-Democrats) actually lost seats in this election.
  19. The show ended (as I always like) with a “Meet The Press Minute.” This came from 1989 where EPA Administrator William Rielly was critical of the clean-up effort following the giant Exxon Valdez oil spill disaster in Alaska. I thought the clip seemed a little bureaucratic. Wasn’t there a clip of someone ringing the alarm bell about the potential for future oil accidents? Or someone lauding the safety record of the oil industry?
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