How could we ever get through another week of Sunday bobble head shows without Peggy Noonan around to let all of you people know what Very Serious People the Republicans are. On this week's edition of Meet the Press, it was Paul Ryan's turn for Nooners to fawn all over him, but at least she got some push back this time from Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed.
So-called "tea partier" and Senate candidate Ted Cruz did his best to help Noonan out and Reed did a nice job shooting down his talking points as well. The best Cruz could come back with is their nonsense about the Senate not passing President Obama's budget when what they voted on was a Republican parody of his budget and a cheap political stunt.
You can read the entire exchange here but I've left out some of E.J. Dionne and Chuck Todd's remarks for the sake of brevity:
MR. KASIM REED (D-Mayor of Atlanta, GA): Well, you know, the bottom line is I think that the Republicans made a decision to run for the second time a right-right election. And my dad said, you know, Republicans do well when they do dog leg left. If you go out to the Senate and you come-- you go out to the right and back to the center. Democrats go out to the left, come back to the center. This is the second time they’ve gone right-right, which means they’re going to go in the woods. I mean, the fact of the matter is McCain picked Palin, right-right. And now Mitt Romney who is a moderate is picking a person who is right-right. He’s just a better salesman at it.
GREGORY: Well, E.J. and Peggy, here’s the Weekly Standard cover story this week. It’s got Paul Ryan on the cover, the assault on Paul Ryan. E.J., have they landed any real blows?
GREGORY: Peggy, initial thoughts here on-- on the assault on Paul Ryan?
MS. PEGGY NOONAN (Columnist, Wall Street Journal): Uh, look, I think the choice of Ryan was admirable, you know. And I think Ryan himself is an admirable and accomplished person, and a serious man. He talks about serious issues. He does focus things on the budget, and on entitlement spending. But I also think this is a little bit delicate for Republicans. This is a stressed nation. This is a tough context in which to talk about things that people will hear as cuts. I respect the road the Republicans are going down. I think so far in the past week the real news has been they’ve been talking Medicare, and they’ve been winning on it. But long-term I think the Republican issues are growth, jobs, the economy, those are the things people trust the Republican Party on. So this is all very delicate. It’s strong, but it’s delicate.
GREGORY: Peggy, I come back to this tone though, because it does-- this polarization does matter. It does seem even more polarized and it’s got to have some impact on A, you know, are there moderates who actually show up and vote, and who do they vote for, and then how you govern after this kind of condition?
MS. NOONAN: Yeah, that’s a problem. Oddly enough, the-- while it’s so good in so many ways to focus on Medicare, by making people over the next 60 days take very definite points of view, you may make it harder to make a Medicare deal down the road. But overall, it seems to me, I’m not sure the American people themselves are so polarized. I, sort of, have a sense that they know-- they tell pollsters, I think I’m going this way for the president, I think I’m going this way for Mr. Romney, there’re so few undecided. But lately I have a feeling, the un-- there’s a sort of feeling of dissatisfaction among a lot of voters with the choices that they have. They are open to persuasion, they are open to listening for the next 70-80 days to a point of view that is serious and not low. They want hope. It’s a big group of Americans who are feeling cynical and disaffected. If somebody could reach in to them and say I can help, that would be very powerful.
MR. REED: I want to push back on this notion of Paul Ryan as a serious man. He b-- he voted for every budget b-- busting measure under President Bush. He voted for TARP. He asked for money under the American Recovery and Investment Act. He voted for both wars. He put Medicare on a credit card, and then all of a sudden in last 24 months, he’s developing the stature as a serious guy, so I want to push back on that…
GREGORY: Well, so why…
MR. REED: …and then in terms of this week-- and then in terms of this week, he has underperformed Sarah Palin. He’s contributed about a one percent bump, and according to Gallup, the Republican pick for Vice President typically performs at about five points.
GREGORY: So should that be-- Mr. Cruz, should that be part of the record here? I mean, why is the Tea Party so supportive of a guy who is part of, what the Tea Party thinks, was profligate spending under his predecessor, under-- under President Bush?
MR. CRUZ: Look I think the reason is simple. It’s because Paul Ryan has been serious about talking about these issues, about getting serious about solutions. You know, it’s ironic…
GREGORY: But votes-- but votes matter.
MR. CRUZ: And-- and I don’t-- and I don’t agree with all of his votes. But-- but…
GREGORY: Do we have…
MR. CRUZ: …let’s be-- let’s be clear. Let’s contrast the leadership Paul Ryan has shown…
MR. CRUZ: …with President Obama’s lack of leadership. The Senate for three years hasn’t had a budget. And so it’s very difficult for Democrats to complain, how dare the other side actually get serious about fixing these-- these problems when they don’t even pretend to fix the problems.
MR. REED: He wasn’t serious under President Bush. Why wasn’t he serious when we were funding the war in Iraq? Why didn’t he say America should pay for the war in Afghanistan? Why didn’t he-- why didn’t he say that when we have a TARP program, it needs to be available to folks on Main Street? He was for the automotive bailout.
MR. CRUZ: And, you know, I’m curious, did-- did Barack Obama say any of that?
MR. REED: He-- he was for that. No, no.
MR. CRUZ: Did the Democrats say any of that?
MR. REED: The Democrats did not. But I tell you what, we’re not walking around talking about a guy who has a career doing something completely different. He has a budget that doesn’t balance, and he’s-- he claims that he’s a budget balancer. He’s using supply-side economics. They have a 20 percent tax policy that’s a five-trillion-dollar tax cut.
MR. CRUZ: And I agree with you.
MR. REED: That doesn’t make any sense.
MR. CRUZ: I agree with you but…
MR. REED: Doesn’t make any sense.
MR. CRUZ: …that Republicans spent too much…
MR. REED: And we’re sitting around here, acting and being polite and it doesn’t make sense.
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