This week, two scary and seemingly unstoppable viruses dominated the Mouse Circus: Ebola and Beltway Media dumbfuckery.
Since I know nothing about the former other than I respect enormously those people who work on the front lines to keep the rest of us safe in the fight against infectious diseases, I will confine my remarks to the latter...
On the extended wake for "Meet the Press", it was Chuck!Todd!Reads!Poll!Numbers!At!You! Day, which differs from from the regular weekday fare on Chucknado's "Guess That Soup!" show in that he did not tell you what soup they were serving in the White House today..
I'm not sure if anyone has ever done a poll of how many people like having Chuck Todd excitedly rattle off random poll numbers at them, but I'm sure there are shut-ins out there for whom the sound of any human voice is comforting, and there is no more unassailably beige-neutral way of "discussing" a subject that cries out for context than to have Chucknado reel off a bunch of meaningless, snapshot statics as if he were reading the morning farm report or regional high school baseball scores.
So this is what we got, piping hot and, as always, served up with a generous side of "Both Sides Do It" (emphasis added):
DAVID GREGORY:We are back with our roundtable. But first, just how angry are Americans at Washington? Shall we count the ways? Our political director Chuck Todd has some exclusive new poll numbers.(BEGIN TAPE)CHUCK TODD:More bad news for a Congress already blistered by a bad reputation. New polling from NBC News, The Wall Street Journal, and Marist, that we're revealing exclusively today shows that three out of four voters agree that Congress hasn't done much this year. This includes 50% who say they've been very unproductive. And guess what? The public's right.Congress hasn't been productive. In fact, this Congress, with Republicans in charge of the House and Democrats in charge of the Senate is on track to be the least productive in history. 142 bills passed into law so far. That's fewer than even the last Congress at this same point. And they have set a record for inaction themselves. And it's a lot less productive than the most famous do-nothing Congress of all time, the one Harry Truman ran against in 1948.HARRY TRUMAN:This country can't afford another Republican Congress.CHUCK TODD:That do-nothing Congress actually pushed through more than 900 bills into law. So what does it mean for the midterm this year? Well, Americans are divided on who should control Congress. Our polling shows that in both the House and the Senate, there is a virtual tie over which party they want in charge, with Republicans holding a slight edge.The Democrats are starting to feel like they have something to run on, or run against. Take the House Republicans and their own struggle to pass even small bills, like one to deal with the emergency at the border.PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA:So that's not a disagreement between me and the House Republicans, that's a disagreement between the House Republicans and the House Republicans.CHUCK TODD:Now it's a sprint to November with both parties pointing the finger at the other for Washington's dysfunction, which itself was on full display this week. With the House voting to sue the president, senators not even showing up to do their job to confirm a new ambassador to Russia. And now Congress leaves town for a five-week vacation, unable to address a slew of major issues.
And here is how David Gregory frame the debate over why the United States Congress is fucked in the head:
DAVID GREGORY:We are back. I mentioned a flashpoint on the House floor this week, a display of anger in the House on Friday. Democratic Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi actually crossed the floor of the House chamber, considered kind of a break with protocol to confront Pennsylvania Republican Tom Marino. He accused Pelosi and Democrats of not doing anything about the immigration crisis when the Democrats controlled the House just a few years ago.The theme was sadly representative of why this is one of the least productive congressional sessions of all time.
It was, in short, another useless, bankrupt waste of the scant few minutes each week when the major broadcast networks are required to offer programs in the public interest. So I leave you instead with 56 seconds of film from 75 years ago in which John Ford very efficiently lays bare the essence of modern Conservative mindset (Important contextual note: Unbeknownst to his fellow passengers, the banker making this indignant speech has just looted his own bank and is making his escape from the territory with a valise full of other people's money.)