Editor’s note: Each Sunday, the chattering class fills American airwaves with the thoughts and opinions of Washington’s most powerful Swamp-dwellers. Often these interviews make headlines and inform the public about what to expect in the coming week. If you want to stay informed but don’t have the time to devote to all the political punditry, there is hope. Liberty Nation author Kelli Ballard sifts through the shows for you and presents the high and lowlights in this weekly column.
This week was all about the assassination of Iranian general Qassem Soleimani and the Dems fearing an inevitable war with Iran; however, we were also treated to a few tidbits about the impeachment process and even a suggestion that the Democratic presidential debate standards make it difficult for minorities to qualify.
This Week With George Stephanopoulos – ABC
The episode started off with George Stephanopoulos’ bold statement that “Donald Trump made his most fateful decision yet as president,” obviously in response to Trump’s decision to order the strike on Soleimani. He continued to question guests as to whether they felt the action made the world a safer place, as Trump has claimed.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo agreed, saying, “It’s very clear the world’s a safer place today.” Still, with the left’s concern that war is now imminent, the host asked if Americans should be braced for a counterattack. Pompeo argued that tensions have been high for a very long time:
“Remember, Iran’s been at war with us for 40 years. In the previous administration they had Navy soldiers on their knees. They launched missile attacks throughout the region. This is a regime that has been acting against America for an awfully long time and we are suffering from eight years of neglect and we’re trying to push it back. We’re trying to contain them.
“We’re trying to correct for what was the Obama administration’s appeasement for Iran and we have to do that, we have to continue to do that, or Americans will be less safe.”
Admiral James Stavridis took a more neutral stance, stating, “I think tactically it’s correct to say the world is safer because Soleimani is dead … I think strategically, however, we are entering a period in which almost certainly, George, we’re going to see a continuing ladder of escalations.”
Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY), of course, was the naysayer of the group. “Let’s face it, this president has made a mess out of foreign policy,” he said, not in agreement that the world is now a better place without the terrorist leader running amok. “North Korea, they’re much stronger than when he started. In Syria he messed up. Every encounter he has with Putin he loses … We do not need this president either bumbling or getting us into a major war.”
There was a little hilarity when a clip aired of Joe Biden bashing the president for not getting approval from Congress before taking action, and Pompeo reacted to his statement.
Biden: President Trump has no authority to take us to a military conflict with Iran, period. The bottom line is any further action against Iran requires congressional authorization.
Pompeo: Boy, it’s really something to hear the vice president from the previous administration be critical of this administration’s policy of Iran. We’re having to clean up their mess, George. We’ll do everything required under the law to bring us into compliance with all the relevant constitutional legal provisions with respect to our duties to the legislative branch.
Meet the Press – NBC
Although there were different players on this show, the narrative was mostly still the same. A lot of talk about how the president was wrong to endanger the United States and without getting approval from Congress first. NBC News Chief Foreign Correspondent Richard Engel said the assassination has only united Iran, stronger than ever before. He opined it was almost deja vu for him, reporting on growing conflicts between Iraq and Iran and the looming war.
The pending impeachment hearing was briefly mentioned, mostly in a question on what should be the focus: the impeachment or the war. The answer, of course, was that leaders have a duty to focus on both of these important issues facing our country.
Face the Nation – CBS
While host Margaret Brennan did provide a segment on Iran issues, a couple other bits at least were not repetitive. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) briefly discussed China trade deals and how they may be interrupted because of human rights violations. Rubio said the country should be sanctioned but that:
“The trade issues with China are not going to be the subject of one deal. This is a major reordering of our relationship to try and bring some balance symmetry to it. I think the human rights issue and the geopolitical issues are separate from those. They’re not intermingled here. I will never accept the notion that somehow in order to sell them more things we have to look the other way on some of the grotesque human rights violations that we’re seeing systemized on their part.”
Democratic National Committee Chair Tom Perez was put on the spot by Brennan, who wanted to lead the conversation into a race discussion. She didn’t have much luck, but her intent was obvious. She started off listing the Democratic nominees in the lead in battleground states, according to a tracker poll. In Iowa, there’s a three-way tie among Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Mayor Pete Buttigieg, and Biden with 23%, and Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) trails fourth at 16%. In New Hampshire, Sanders was on top with 27%, Biden at 25%, Warren in third at 18%, and Buttigieg falling behind at 13%.
The host then asked why minority candidates haven’t gotten more traction, noting that “the next debate stage is all white.” Perez rallied with, “We don’t know yet because we still have a number of days left and so we’ll see who makes the debate stage.”
Still not satisfied that she hadn’t been able to get the DNC chair to admit to some kind of discrimination, Brennan took it even further and asked if Perez would consider altering the standards to allow more diversity. “The debate threshold right now is quite low. It’s quite fair,” Perez argued. “Nobody who has been at below 5% a month before the caucus or primary has ever won a caucus or primary.”
Read more from Kelli Ballard.