I have tried to be kind to Meet The Press as Tim Russert has invited the candidates for six of the Senate seats to debate the issues but this morning’s show featuring Ben Cardin and Michael Steele was really disappointing on several levels. Those in Maryland who have seen suggestions that Michael Steele is the Democrat, don’t be confused as it’s Cardin who is the Democratic nominee. One indication that Mr. Steele is the Republican is how he answered this question:
MR. RUSSERT: You said it’s a mess. Did the Bush administration help create this mess?
LT. GOV. STEELE: I think that the Defense Department did not give the president the kind of strategy that he needed to prosecute this war.
Mr. Steele was trying to have it both ways. While he wants you to believe he is not a “Stay the Course” type, he has supported Bush to date. Maybe he doesn’t get how this works. The generals have offered all sorts of recommendations to improve our situations – as have many Democrats even as Mr. Steele tries to blame Mr. Cardin for our failures in Iraq. But Steele will not blame the President.
Steele was trying to have it both ways on many issues. Is he for or against affirmative action? Both.
Mr. Steele was asked where he would cut government spending and his answer was that we should but he could not give a specific answer. Russert did try by reminding Steele that he had supported President Bush’s call to slash Social Security benefits. But today he said he was against such cuts. And of course, Russert tried to spin it to suggest that Cardin was the one who wanted to cut Social Security benefits.
Steele apparently was for overturning Roe v. Wade before he was against it. Russert pressed by asking Steele about who he would have voted to place on the Supreme Court with Alito’s name being specifically mentioned during the discussion. Mr. Steele seemed surprised that a Senator actually had to deal with such issues.
While Cardin was more willing to give straight answer to the questions asked, quite frankly I wished he would have called Steele on his incessant misrepresentations of issues. And then we came to this line of questioning from Russert:
MR. RUSSERT: Mr. Cardin, you support abortion rights, also late-term abortions, or partial-birth abortions. Also, you voted against parental consent for abortion. Why shouldn’t a parent know that his or her daughter is having an abortion?
REP. CARDIN: First let me say that I am in favor of what is commonly known as pro-choice, to give a woman a right of choice and for government not interfering and there’s a — I don’t get comfort in listening to Mr. Steele’s response. And let me also point out, when he was asked specifically about the abortion issue, he said, “What does that have anything to do with the United States Senate? We don’t take that issue up.” And there have been many votes in the United States Senate that deal with a woman’s right of choice. Parental notification, to me, is something that should be — parents should be involved in their children. Absolutely. The problem is, you don’t want it to become an obstacle, particularly where there has been family abuse issues or where there’s been neglect in a family. You don’t want it used as a way of preventing a child from getting the necessary medical attention.
MR. RUSSERT: So a parent should not be notified?
Only a village idiot would honestly phrase the question this way. There is no law preventing parents and their kids from discussing this issue. The question at hand, which everyone likely knows is whether the government can insert its will over individual decisions. Assuming Tim Russert is not a village idiot, could someone tell me who within Karl Rove’s political machine put him up to this question? But look, how can we blame Tim Russert for being such a twit given we have known this for a long time. I blame the producers of Meet the Press for not finding a host for the show that could restore the integrity and news value it used to command.