Christmas is just around the corner, America is teetering on the edge of the fiscal cliff, and the debate on the Bush tax cuts is intensifying. This Sunday, see all your favorite talking heads, wingnuts, liberal loonies and press-hungry politicos debate the issues on the major political talk shows:
1. NBC’s Meet the Press: Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.); Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.); Roundtable on the fiscal cliff: Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, Julianna Goldman of Bloomberg News, Helene Cooper of the New York Times, Bob Woodward of the Washington Post, and Lawrence O’Donnell of MSNBC.
Highlights: Gingrich says it would be “virtually impossible” for Hillary Clinton to lose the Democratic nomination for president in 2016; pretty much everyone concurs. Goldman predicts Hillary will “clear the field,” which is a polite way of saying it will be a cold day in Hell before another Democrat beats a Clinton.
2. CBS’ Face the Nation: Co-Chairs of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform Alan Simpson (R) and Erskine Bowles (D); Newark, NJ Mayor Cory Booker (D); Roundtable on the fiscal cliff: Major Garrett of CBS News, Time Magazine’s Joe Klein, Washington Post’s Michael Gerson, and Norah O’Donnell of CBS News.
Highlights: Cory Booker says he’s still considering a run against Chris Christie, despite a skyrocketing approval rating of 69% due to Christie’s excellent handling of Hurricane Sandy. Poor Booker. He might as well beat his head against a brick wall.
3. ABC’s This Week: Two roundtables- debating the fiscal cliff are Senator Tom Coburn (R-Okla.); Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.); Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas); Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.). General politics roundtable includes George Stephanopoulos, James Carville, Mary Matalin, Nobel-Prize winning economist Paul Krugman and George Will and Matthew Dowd of ABC News.
Highlights: Well, that’s no surprise: Tom Coburn is ready to consider tax increases as part of a balanced spending plan. A red-letter day for those opposed to keeping the tax cuts for the wealthy — an overwhelming 61% of Americans, according to a recent AP-GfK Poll.
4. Fox’s Fox News Sunday: A chat between Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) on the fiscal cliff, Israeli Ambassador to the United States Michael Oren, and a politics roundtable of Bill Kristol of the Weekly Standard, Mara Liasson of NPR, Former Sen. Evan Bayh (D-Ind.) and Republican strategist and campaign consultant Ed Rollins.
Highlights: Corker officially jumped on board ending tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans to strengthen the GOP’s bargaining position on the debt ceiling; Schumer sharply rebuked him, saying Corker’s position “is politically untenable and it will not last. You will not be able to hold it.” Here’s the truth Grover Norquist still refuses to admit: Republicans are fleeing his anti-tax pledge faster than rats from a sinking ship.
Ambassador Oren calls Syria’s worrying preparation of chemical weapons including deadly sarin gas a “game changer,” and warns that Syria could accidentally or purposefully transfer these weapons to militant groups such as Hezbollah. Israeli Vice Prime Minister Moshe Yaalon, however, says Israelis “see no sign this weaponry is being pointed at us,” which makes sense, because starting a conflagration with Israel is probably the last thing the crumbling Syrian government needs right now.
5. CNN’s State of the Union with Candy Crowley: Christine Lagarde, Managing Director of the IMF; Rep. Martha Blackburn (R-Tenn.); Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.); Stephen Moore of the New York Times and Mark Zandi from Moody’s Analytics.
Highlights: Nothing really groundbreaking other than another confirmation that the IMF is still beating the austerity drum, with another appeal to Paul Krugman’s imaginary confidence fairy and the need for a ‘balanced’ approach. This right after an IMF study confirms that further budget cuts would be a massive drag on growth. Oh well.
6. CNN’s GPS with Fareed Zakaria: Former Secretary of State James Baker and President of the Anderson Cancer Center Ronald DePinho.
Highlights: Baker insists that Republicans need to guarantee that if they agree to raise taxes, the insisted-upon spending cuts will actually materialize. Good update on the search for a cure for cancer.
7. CNN’s Reliable Sources with Howard Kurtz: Mike Wise of the Washington Post; Kelly O’Donnell of NBC News; Christine Brennan of USA Today; Callie Crossley of WGBH; Erik Wemple of the Washington Post; Jake Tapper from ABC News; and The National Journal’s Ron Fournier.
Highlights: Great break from fiscal cliff news: Kurtz, Wemple, and Crossley debate whether the New York Post’s infamous subway photo was appropriate; Wemple says he can’t bring himself to judge it because it’s “newsworthy,” while Crossley takes the unique position of claiming that printing it on the cover was inappropriate. Unintentional laughter: Howard Kurtz repeatedly saying “I’ve talked about this on television!”
8. NBC’s The Chris Matthews Show: Washington Post’s David Ignatius; the apparently extremely busy Kelly O’Donnell of NBC News again; Politico’s John Harris; CNBC’s Michelle Caruso-Cabrera.
Highlights: Nothing yet, but Matthews was pretty blunt in his description of ongoing GOP efforts against the president as “dog whistles” on Hardball Thursday.
9. Univision’s Al Punto: In case you forgot about the whole ordeal, Gladys and Robert Zimmerman, Jr., mother and brother of Trayvon Martin shooter George Zimmerman; Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs Mike Hammer; Resident Commissioner of Puerto Rico Pedro Pierluisi; “United We Dream” director Cristina Jimenez; and Univision’s Don Francisco.
Highlights: Robert Zimmerman insists that alleging racism is big business in the U.S., and that the photo of George was a photocopy that made him look whiter. Gladys Zimmerman chose to conduct the interview with a blacked-out face, fearing reprisal for her son's actions. The Zimmerman family is fighting back with a defamation lawsuit against NBC, claiming that the network selectively edited audio footage to paint Zimmerman as a racist.