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Who Should Run Congress?

The big stage-setter for the mid-term elections. Democrats on why they should be rehired. Republicans on why Dems should be fired.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif. with House Minority Leader John Boehner of Ohio, Jan. 6, 2009. (AP)

Midterm elections are now just eight weeks away: November 2. Control of Congress is on the table – and very much in play. 

Top pollsters say the GOP has a strong chance of winning back the House. But we’re not looking at polls this hour.  We’re looking at arguments — fundamental arguments — with top players from each party, and savvy cultural and political observers. Norm Ornstein is with us. Dick Cavett. And more. 

We look at Congress and the midterms. Whose vision wins?  Whose record? Should the Democrats be fired?  Should the GOP be hired?

-Tom Ashbrook


Rep. John Carter (R-TX). He’s served Texas’ 31th District since 2002. He’s the House Republican Conference Secretary and sits on the House Appropriations Committee.

Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD). He’s serverd Maryland’s 8th District since 2002. He’s chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and sits on the House Committee on Ways and Means.

Norman Ornstein, longtime Congressional observer and resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. His books include “The Broken Branch: How Congress is Failing America and How to Get It Back on Track.”

Dick Cavett, New York Times “Opinionator” columnist and longtime televsion personality and host of “The Dick Cavett Show.”

Andrew Klavan, conservative author and Hollywood screenwriter of psychological thrillers. Two of his books have been adapted into motion pictures: “True Crime” (directed by and starring Clint Eastwood) and “Don’t Say A Word” (starring Michael Douglas). He is also author of “Empire of Lies” and the forthcoming novel, “The Identity Man.”

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  • cory

    We need to swerve right as hard as possible. Democrats should be replaced by Republicans, conservatives, Libertarians, and Tea-Bagging Palinites.

    These last two years have proven to me conclusively that things in America MUST get worse before they can get any better. The health care passed is a great example. Not single payer, not price contolled, not non-profit but a giveaway to insurers.

    We are neither smart enough, savy enough, nor oppressed enough to figure it out yet. So I say let’s take this thing “right” off the rails! Bring on the extreme right wing-nuts and give the American people the education that we so desperately need.

  • http://www.richardsnotes.org Richard

    The problem Cory, is that we seem to learn from experience that we in fact do not learn from experience.

    I’m old enough so if we enacted your idea (and I understand the frustration leading to it) my (our) old age would be a living hell because social security and medicare would be eliminated and class divisions would widen even more than they are already.

    How about:

    1. Serious campaign finance reform

    2. Term limits

    I’d love to clean house in Congress, especially the Senate.

    After reading Jane Mayer’s piece on the Koch brothers in The New Yorker I’m afraid we’re screwed no matter what we do. They are a vertically and laterally integrated propaganda machine.



  • Zeno

    Replace all state representatives with nothing and watch your life improve day by day. Even random voting would provide a better service to the people.

  • pw

    “Swerve right” in a mode of self-punishment is just another symptom of the bipolarity we’ve allowed ourselves for far too long. It reminds me of the tradition of the penitentes. Sin and then lash your own back until it’s bloody.

    Too many people get hurt in the process of those quasi-intellectual, quasi-religious cultural politics. Both sides need to simmer down, get real, grow up, hold steady, get some education, take some responsibility on a daily, not on a capricious,intermittent basis. Screwing around with our political system — whichever extreme we play with at any given time — tends to decimate the lives of the least fortunate.

  • jeffe

    Croy be careful for what you wish for. There is a large contingent on the right who want to go back to the McKinley era or the Gilded age. In my view we are already pretty much there.

    We are a center right country that is moving towards the right. The reactionary right (Palin, Beck and Limbaugh) has taken over the agenda even though they are a minority. The media has helped them because they make a lot of noise and last summer with all the screaming and Tea Party nonsense it gave them a voice. The tea party reminds me of the Know-Nothing movement or “American party” which was also driven by nationalism and fear of foreigners and change. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Know_Nothing

    It’s pretty clear to me that the republicans will take the house and Nancy Pelosi will be out of a job in November. It’s a reaction to the democrats and the economy. The reality is the republicans most likely will make things worse and the deficit will not see any change even though they will be running on lowering it. In fact I bet it will go up as it did when the Bush tax cuts were enacted.

    My worse fear is we slide into a quasi religious military state and start to lose rights and people on the left start to feel as if they do not have a voice. The worse case scenario would be we become like Argentina in the 70′s. It could happen. As I said be careful for what you wish for.

  • Mark

    Both “sides” present problems for the American people, however, only one side drove the economy into the ground.

  • Chris

    And which side would that be Mark?


    The absolute worst thing that could happen is that Republicans take control of Congress. Do we have such short memories that we can’t remember the mess they caused last time!?! Unless you like to help rich people become even richer, I cannot see the appeal, because that is their goal. Regular Americans mean nothing to them except to use them as a means to their ends. And those people play right into their hands. So sad!

  • cory

    Many Americans have no ideology beyond self interest. These are the folks who got Obama elected, and are the same folks who are about to sweep the conservatives back into power. Carl Rove was a master at manipulating these people with shallow, hot-button issues. My guess is that we are talking about a third of the population.

    The “independent” American voter; fickle, feckless, and permanently in search of instant gratification.

  • jeffe

    Who Should Run Congress? Why I always thought the special interest did.

    “Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies.” Groucho Marx

    “The political and commercial morals of the United States are not merely food for laughter, they are an entire banquet.”
    - Mark Twain in Eruption

  • cory

    Jeffe, I absolutely love the Twain quote!

  • michael

    Anytime you hear someone from AEI or CATO you know there going to spin things as much as possiable.

    What happens if Republicans do not take back the house or senate or actually loses seats?

    The Stimulus consisted of 1/3 tax cuts, the New hyped up the throw the bums out, yet 90% of incumbents are still there, than they went with the Jet Blue anger. The Media hyped up the astro turf tea party, let them claim there were grass roots(turns out hardly the case) than most of thos tea party canidates loss,the idol Scott Brown distance himself from them and it’s looking more and more likely people do not like the tea party and still don’t like the republicans.

  • http://toonstoonstoons.net Michael Shapiro

    I’ve never fully synced in as a human being. The other day, I was slithering along the street as an octopus when an old friend recognized me.
    “Shapiro! What are you doing as an invertebrate?”
    “I sent my spine to the Democrats.”
    “Don’t worry. It won’t be long now.”
    Sure enough, he was right. When I got home, there it was on the front porch marked “Return To Sender.”

    You can read the whole sad story at


    Business creates jobs and they don’t feel like creating them right now. They have a strangle hold on their current employees (lucky you have a job!), can afford to be choosy with new employees (force them to take low pay & no benefits because they are desperate) and are looking forward to getting more “friendly” corporate shills with increased Republican representatives in Congress this Fall.

  • R. Sokol

    Nice job, Tom, inviting another knucklehead like this guy Carter and hand him the megaphone!

  • michael

    Just listen to this hack on right now? Waiting for him to start calling obama a socialist or Kenyan. He spews the same failed policy and spin John Carter is such a example of failure in government.

  • AFS

    Want to see a bad thing get worse overnight? Vote for the Right, and watch the bottom fall out of Wall St., especially because of overseas investors.

    I believe their stranglehold on the economy (thru the national business organization you-know-who) is holding US employment hostage until the election. Then, mark my words, you’ll see jobs open up everywhere and righties will claim credit.

  • http://www.factcheck.org/ James

    On Point is one of my favorite programs, but this hour exemplifies what I am finding to be an incredibly deep flaw in all forms of media. That flaw is the inability to question anything that ANY politician says regardless of their party affiliation. All I want are claims of “fact” to be challenged. What is a better way to educate the public then to challenge everybody equally. please.

  • John

    The Democrats should be fired. Unfortunately, there is no better alternative. Anyone who votes for the Republicans to fix the economy is a fool.

  • confused

    My question; if complete obstruction is proved to be winning strategy should the democrats use the same strategy prior to next election? And how will this effect governing?
    Thank You

  • Jim

    republicans cry foul for not listening to constituents when democrats say “so what, we are still going to do it our way”…

    well, can the republicans explain why they did NOT listen to many of their constituents when most of the public do not want an invasion of iraq??? they are probably thinking,… what a liberal as they almost always love to label people. guess what? i am quite conservative.

  • Cady May

    In amongst all the rhetoric, I still have NOT heard one republican proposal for creating jobs. It was republican greed based policy and actions that sent all of our jobs overseas, so HOW do they plan on bringing them back? or creating new ones? Reducing taxes won’t stop corporations from being greedy. What are there plans and proposals?

  • michael

    He just said a slam door in democrats outreach, yet remember the gang of six? remember the committee (both republicans and democrats), dropping certain taxes on banks to get Scott Browns vote.

    What republicans do is throw in some of there ideas into a bill than rail against it claiming they didn’t have any input into such.

    Check the republican voting record about the deficit in regards to Military spending or unpaid tax cuts and your find how much there really care about the debt.

    Oh yea,

    another example republican double talk,

    When George W. Bush was sworn into office as president in January 2001, he inherited a record budget surplus. Five weeks later, he addressed a joint session of Congress, urging lawmakers to act swiftly on his signature campaign promise: $1.6 trillion in tax cuts.

    “I hope you’ll join me in standing firmly on the side of the people,” the president said. “See, the growing surplus exists because taxes are too high and government is charging more than it needs. The people of America have been overcharged, and on their behalf, I’m here asking for a refund.”

    Republicans cheered. But Democrats were deeply skeptical of a tax cut based on projections of a $5.6 trillion surplus over 10 years that, in fact, never came about. At the time, North Dakota’s Kent Conrad was the ranking Democrat on the Senate Budget Committee.


  • Gina

    I could just scream when I hear Republicans say that “American’s don’t want health care reform”!!!! I am American and I WANT HEALTH CARE REFORM! I am so grateful that it prevented my premium from going up another $200/month this year. I am self employed and pay my own premiums. It’s the second biggest item after my mortgage. My income has been going down.
    Republicans haven’ got a clue about what more than half of this country’s citizens need. They are only working on behalf of the top 5%.
    Don’t take us back to the days of the vanishing middle class.

  • Nancy

    Republicans and Tea Partiers are all bought and sold by Big Business. The same Big Business/Monopolies that brought our economy to it’s knees and put a gun to taxpayers heads. Now real reform is in sight and they will “pull out all the stops” to keep that from happening!
    I’m tired of hearing “the American people want…(insert LIE)”!
    Follow the Money and you will see clearly who the Good Guys are and who the Bad Guys are!

  • blueshift

    Neither party deserves to be in party, but alas, these are the only parties we have. The Obama administration has been deaf to an escalating number of messages it has been sent, even the ‘Scott Brown message’ wan’t heard. Undortunately, this means this unresponsive, tone deaf administration is about to hear from the Americans they have ignored.

    What’s the logic? Even those of us on the left would agree: if increased spending is aimed only at the undeserving interests that have *always* benefitted from government vote-buying, then there is no point in giving them any more money, or power. So smaller government is the only rational response

    The democrats had 60 senate votes… and only generated more giveways, including taxes that will be collected directly by the health insurance companies, who will in turn, provide no services. As a victim of Romneycare, I know how this scam works.

    As someone who has almost always voted moderate or left, I will simply stay home in November. Nothing Obama says now will change my mind, because he promised change two years ago. And change is something he never attempted. He won’t start now. And the continued of existence of a tax cheat as treasury secretary is proof that it’s just talk.

    The naysayers are right.

  • BHA

    I don’t think the Republican party is all that different from 6 years ago. Still: “Do it my way or I’m not playing”. And which Republicans do we hear from? The far right wing nuts like Rush, Newt and Palin.

    Wall Street reform hasn’t gone far enough. There is ZERO monetary value to companies when their stock is traded by others. They only gain at the point the stock is originally sold BY THEM.

  • http://Williston,VT Andy Duback

    Upon what issues can the two parties agree? The reason I ask is that the two parties theoretically will have to “work” together. I would rather see more cooperation and less bickering. It’s irritating that we send these people to Washington for results; seemingly the only net result is a lot of rancor.

  • Oma Janet

    The Republicans will continue to appeal to FEAR and ANGER – great motivators of Americans with adolescent, short-term-fix mindsets, especially when there is racism and ignorance. The heresy of Glenn Beck “Christian” Nationalism just enflames that STUPID part of the American populace. While this motivation is effective (?), never will it bring about any sustainable solutions to our nation’s problems.

  • Nancy

    I’m a Independent!
    I’m mad as hell.
    I’ll be voting to support Obahma and his agenda 2010 and again in 2012!

  • http://www.toonstoonstoons.net Michael Shapiro

    This is what I said four years ago:

    Methinks the Elephant doth protest too much.

  • miro

    The Republicans are complete obstructionists — they will do everything they possibly can to ensure that NO measures are taken to get us out of this economic hole.

    These new Republicans are against unemployment benefits, Social Security, and Medicare. They would abolish these programs if they had half the chance.

    If they gain control of one or both houses, we know exactly what to expect — more of this evil, partisan scheming and lying.

    What is different now is that the Republicans are extreme right wing radicals who believe that they have nothing to lose by driving the government into the ground.

    One of your respondents mentioned how he is putting off investing in his business because of politics. An undergraound CAPITAL STRIKE is essentially in effect now — businesses are sitting on piles of cash and are not investing it.

    Woe to all!

  • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

    The GOP, (and to a lesser extent their neolib Democratic allies) have never acknowledged their responsibility for the disaster THEY created.

    Over the past 30 years the wealthy and corporations got just about EVERYTHING they wanted… they got We The People deep into debt to fund irresponsible tax cuts for the rich. They passed so-called free trade laws which sabotaged our industrial base. They deregulated the media and commodities markets allowing toxic instruments which no one understood to replace sound investing. While Bush2 ran on protecting the Clinton surplus the GOP pushed through round after round of irresponsible tax cuts getting We The People FURTHER into debt. In real dollars there was virtually NO growth in revenue in Bush’s EIGHT years. Bush2 tried to fight two credit card wars, and the GOP spent like drunken sailors.

    And when it all came crashing down… their Orwellian Right propagandists did everything they can to cover their tracks and blame others. In reality it was the LIBERALS who were against all of the above yet they get NO credit.

    The GOP has NEVER acknowledged responsibility and NEVER atoned for it sins. If that wasn’t bad enough there’s is now a Tea Party movement that maintains the real problem with the US was that the GOP needs to to pursue even NUTTIER and more dangerous policies.

    If allowed back in power they’ll just drive the US further into the ditch.

    they passed more irresp

  • Chris

    Although my disapointment in Obama is growing (he wasn’t my 1st choice), I would consider myself a great fool if I voted for anyone other than a Democrat at this point in time. Republicans can only rule through fear and scare tactics against “others”. They want the “haves” to have it all and the “have-nots” to rot and die (well, except the ones who care for their gardens, pools, cars, & houses).

  • John

    Why should the Democrats compromise? The Democrats won the presidency and both houses. Obviously they had a mandate. Unfortunately Obama was timid, the Blue Dogs are clueless, and the Senate is a broken institution after Kennedy died. The Republicans have been blocking everything. During the healthcare bill, the Democrats offered concessions to Sen. Grassley and then he said he wouldn’t vote for it.

  • dan

    Other than fearmongering and obstructionism, what have the republican and business funded tea party offered the american people? A return to the good old days of creating an economic 9/11 by beginning massive deficit spending, idiotic tax breaks, and involvement in two optional wars. NO THANKS! The democrat approach leaves a lot to be desired as well, but the sad fact is jobs will not return to the USA until the cost of production in this country is lowered to be globally competative. Look forward to at least a decade of high unemployment.

  • Les Wetmore

    Neight side of this arruement makes sense. We need a shift in thinking. Green has become a marketing sceme. Deep water horizon,decoster eggs, The Michingan oil spill, that last one in the gulf… Our enivronmental ship is sniking fast. When are we going to start talking about some real solutions and not the standard blame game?

  • Charles Maldonado

    Notice how cagey Carter got when Ashbrook notes the fact that the repeals for the tax cuts will only apply to people making over $250,000. 30 seconds of nonsense followed that point. Meanwhile, Republicans, not necessarily him but like him, are going home to their districts and telling (or implying to) their rural, largely poor constituents that their taxes are going to go up.

  • Brandstad


    Has everyone forgot that the democrats had control of the congress for the last two years of the Bush administration (2006)and thus had control of the purse strings? This is when Bushes overspending kicked into overdrive. If you look at a chart showing government spending under democrat verses repubican senate control, the chart is amazing. There is about a 90% coralation and spending is always up under the democrats.

  • M. Hyun

    Andrew Klavan is completely off the mark. Name calling and disrespect as far as I see is the strategy that the Repulicans use over and over.

  • les Wetmore

    If the tea party is mainstream. Shoot me now!

  • Jim Gehrer

    I find it incomprehensible that anyone would vote for the republicans after the devastation of their last tenure. Still think they may have a shred of credibility? Here is their latest tactic:

    Republican Runs Street People on Green Ticket



    Has everyone forgot that the democrats had control of the congress for the last two years of the Bush administration (2006)and thus had control of the purse strings?”Posted by Brandstad

    Hahaha you are so funnny!! Bush & Co had already done the damage by then. Get a clue!!

  • BHA

    Please ask Mr. Klavan EXACTLY WHICH PROGRAMS he will cut to limit government?

  • Howard Reiter

    Mr. Klavan mentions elites. What about big business elites? Don’t they count as elites, or is elite only a word for people whom Klaven dislikes?

  • Patti

    Regarding the proposed Koran burning, our whole country is based on the fact we are religiously and racially tolerant. That is what our country was founded on.

    Do unto others as you would have them do unto you = Christian
    Do unto others as they have done unto you = gang mentality

  • Brandstad


    The democrats don’t need to be bypartisin, but they shouldn’t blame Republicans for voting no to bills they disagree with.

    Also, All republicans can go home and the dems would still do the same thing as they are doing now, so the claim they are obstructionists is rediculous!

  • Chris Mills

    I’d love to have smaller gov’t but each time we “experiment” with this a group of rich Americans show up and try to squeeze every last cent out of us. We need gov’t to act as an umpire to protect us from them. An America with a tiny gov’t would lead us right back to the times of the Robber Barons.

    Too bad we don’t have more fellow Americans in control with a sense of honesty and fairness.

  • Steve

    The answer to the question A or B can be not A and not B.

    Opt out, downsize.
    Starve all the the ruling classes (banks, corportists, oligarchies, government…) AND
    be very generous with whatever wealth you possess.

  • Ron

    Mr Klavan is full of it. He thinks this is HIS talk show. I’m sick of the fright wing (he has his labels too)leaders or apologists giving bonus IQ points to the idiots. People wanted health care reform and the fright wing media and zombie GOP lied and clouded the whole process. They drag their feet and screech like children, hoping to get their way while contributing NOTHING constructive.

  • BHA

    I agree that mandating people buy health care is not a great idea. Because what we NEED is SINGLE PAYER health care.

    Time for a new plan: If you don’t have health care, you don’t get treated. That would be VERY popular with the people who are benefiting from the Bush tax cuts wouldn’t it? After all, THEY can afford health care. And what do they do with that ‘saved’ tax money? The are NOT creating jobs and they are NOT buying more consumer products. They are buying more stocks from other people with a lot of money.

  • mary elizabeth

    Until the jobs situation improves significantly, the Dems are at risk despite some real gains for the middle class having been made in the past few years. The far left opts to castigate President Obama for not resolving issues, neglected for generations, in a mere two years, throwing him overboard. the Repubs do all they can to destroy his Presidency, the country be damned.
    Returning the Repubs to power will reverse the slow, incremental process of financial reform, health care,etc
    return of unions that protect workers and lessen outsourcing,
    long-term gains for the middle and lower classes.

  • M. Hyun

    Patti, you are right on! That is what it means to be “American”. People on the ultra-conservative side seem to be very confused about the meaning these days.

  • John

    Name calling, demonizing and fear-mongering have worked for decades for them: Nixon’s Southern Strategy, Reagan’s welfare queens, Willie Horton, Al Quida link with Saddam, gay marriage, Obama is a Muslim, death panels . . .

  • Jesse Woellhof

    Can somebody admit that Obama’s stimulus program has done the following?
    -cut taxes for 95% of working Americans,
    -bailed out every state,
    -hustled record amounts of unemployment benefits and other aid to struggling families
    -funded more than 100,000 projects to upgrade roads, subways, schools, airports, military bases

    “And about one-sixth of the total cost, is an all-out effort to exploit the crisis to make green energy, green building and green transportation real; launch green manufacturing industries; computerize a pen-and-paper health system; promote data-driven school reforms; and ramp up the research of the future.”

    ^From Times Article: http://www.time.com/time/printout/0,8816,2013683,00.html?dbk

    Thank you

  • http://catholicsensibility.wordpress.com/ Todd

    Third choice, and preferably a fourth, please!

    Dick Cavett was right: the Republicans are not qualified, and the Dems might not be. He should have ended his comments there.

    The real problem is not with Congress, but with the two-party system. If we had three or more viable national parties, they would be forced to work together out of fear of having any single party left out.

  • Brandstad

    Stitistics show devided government is always better for buisness than single party rule of either party.

  • http://firefox steve

    Obama did not fight for the single payer or the public option./
    Obama did not fight for real electoral reform
    Obama and the Ds renewed the Patriot Act.

    And now the Ds are talking about keeping the Bush tyax cuts – for the rich – in place.

    I am disappointed and cannot get “fired up.”

  • Dan Wacker

    Mr. Cavett, I have always respected you for your unbiased opinions and forthright reporting. However, I have lost that respect totally this morning. Your have done nothing but make fun of and riducule anyone who doesn’t share your opinion. Too bad.

  • Nancy

    Thanks Jesse!
    You got it right!

  • Mary F.

    Please, no Dick Cavett ever again on OnPoint! This subject –and the liberal side of the argument–require more than arrogant quips.

  • Annie

    One point about the constant conservative complaint (voiced today by Mr Klavan) about forcing people to buy health care insurance (he called it a tax on living?) what about the tax on all of us working people, who end up paying for the health care of those who can afford to pay for their own but refuse to? The fact of the matter is if everyone buys insurance health care costs will go down for all.

  • Valerie

    I wish the Democrats and the President would educate the electorate about what they’ve been up against since the elction – educate people about the financial disaster they were left with and be clear about exactly where it came from. They need to speak up!

  • John

    If On Point needs a liberal commentator to offset the right wing talking point spouter of the day, use Jack Beatty more. His analysis is always thoughtful and informed. Once a week isn’t enough. Dick Cavett added little.

  • dave from cumb farms

    Dan, I completely agree. His speech was as disillusioning ans anything coming from the opposite right. No matter which way the nit is threaded, we don’t need wingnuts.

  • C.M.Steele

    I must support the sentiment that though we all love Dick Cavett and his body of work, he must never again appear on a serious political radio talkshow. It’s like he was working for the Right trying to look as completely sardonic, sarcastic and elitist as he could. He did no service to the cause of social justice, environmental responsibility or true democracy for which the left wing stands proudly.

  • Cornelia Carrier

    As I’m sure you realize too late, Dick Cavett added nothing to that segment. He was a poor representative for the Democratic side with his lame jokes.
    The Republican’s great plan to sell health insurance across state lines, does not take into account the varying health care costs from state to state and the fact that insurance is regulated by the state. So a New Yorker buys insurance from a state with low health care costs that don’t cover costs in his home state, then what does he do? Go to that state and try to get that insurance commissioner to represent him in New York? Someone not so interested in being funny (which he was not) might have made that point.

  • jeffe

    I hate to say this but Dick Cavett was the wrong person to have on. I would have had Robert Reich or Paul Krugman.
    I like Mr. Cavett but he was not in a good mood, and his sorrow for what was going on in this country was over taken by his snide remarks.

    However he is right that that the Republicans do not deserve to be in power. The Democrats are proving to be inept as well. Here we are being driven over the cliff by two drunken power hungry ideologies when we need real leadership who has the guts to make some real changes.

    Unfortunately we have a reactionary Supreme Court and a Congress ruled by special interest. We elected a president who seems on the verge of having a spine but then backs off. We have no real leadership in this country and the demigods have filled the void. Media has given them a very large voice and has amplified the extreme rights message. Case in point, ABC said there were over 250 thousand people at the Glenn Beck day of absurdity when the real number was more in the range of 80 thousand. Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin? Are we as a nation really going to use these two as examples of leadership?
    Can we be taken seriously on the world stage with two bit hucksters calling the shots on the right? If the Republicans don’t get their act together and they let the narrative of Palin and Beck rule their agenda we, as a nation are in for a world of pain.

    “Those are my principles, and if you don’t like them… well, I have others.”
    Groucho Marx

  • William

    It is disappointing to see the failure of the left since 2006 under Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid. They cannot blame this mess on President Bush, Tea Party etc…it is their show and they failed.

  • John

    If the economy is the fault of Obama, why did the Republicans not blame Bush for 9/11 which happened a year into his presidency?

  • ulTRAX

    I have to agree with the others who observed Dick Cavet was a TERRIBLE choice to represent the what I assume was the Democratic perspective. Of all the capable POLITICAL commentators out there… why was a former talk show host brought on?

  • Mark

    We either can have corporate socialism or gov’t socialism! Both are bad! Period! So who do we really need to vote for?!

  • Mark Smith

    Andrew Klavan and many other Republicans continue to tell us there are free market solutions to our problems. I have yet to hear any free market solution for someone like the young lady who couldn’t get health insurance because of her brain surgery. Maybe that is their solution – nothing!

  • ThresherK

    One R congresscritter, one D. Two rightwing boilerplaters. And Dick Cavett.

    Dick Cavett? I like him enough, but is this his role? Why him instead of a real, modern liberal? Who is going in guns ablaze screaming about the right-wing obstructionists on everything Obama’s done? Did anyone say that the stimulus was too small, or counter how many people wanted HCR to be more left-wing? Are the last two years an example of anything except how much the GOP can $hit all over everything, then stand back and whine “Government doesn’t work”?

    Again, where is William Greider, Paul Krugman, Brad DeLong, Anthony Weiner? Where is the genuine left-winger who will fight to be heard and not put up with crap?

    And it’s nice to know I can depend on Branstad for his regular cut’n’paste talking points. I’ll hold my breath while he explains how Republican-created ideas on HCR, immigration reform and tax rates, which were Bush I, Bush II, Reagan and McCain approved are now all of a sudden too socialistic for Republicans to vote for.

  • jeffe

    ThresherK how right you are. What most people don’t realize is the so called Obama Democrat health care bill is mostly taken from the Republican counter bill from the 90′s.

    The danger here is how far the Republicans are willing to go. This aspect, the extremism of the right is what I find this quite frightening.

  • Catherine

    Do you think Dick Cavett was drunk? I can find no other possible cause for his childish, unprofessional comments. I wonder if the show screens the guests so that this type of thing doesn’t occur. I am glad that the gentleman representing my views was articulate and proposed cogent positions. I feel those whose views were supposed to be represented by Mr. Cavett were not dealt a fair hand.

  • Brandstad

    Obama is responsable for the economy because he is making things worse. He is following the failed policies of the great depression and not the successfull policies of Reagan in the early 1980′s.

    I am not surprised that Obama can not even bring himself to mention the severe recession of the early 1980′s that was the worst recession since the great depression. Reagan’s policies got us out of it in no time and we once again had a stable economy.

  • mary elizabeth

    Good work, Jesse.


    Socialism is ok for Republicans, but only if it is Corporate Socialism.

    For the rest: “If [the poor] would rather die, they had better do it, and decrease the surplus population.” (Scrooge)

    Rebuttal: “There are some upon this earth of yours,” returned the Spirit, “who lay claim to know us, and who do their deeds of passion, pride, ill-will, hatred, envy, bigotry, and selfishness in our name, who are as strange to us and all out kith and kin, as if they had never lived. Remember that, and charge their doings on themselves, not us.”
    - A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens

  • eb

    I’m sick to death of politics in the United States. I’m sick to death of the trivial, puerile jingoism and lack of original ideas for solving what are real problems. I’m sick to death of turkeys who complain that government is too big and always propose cutting programs that benefit middle class and poor people, because they’re too expensive, yet curiously seem to think nothing is amiss when military expenditures balloon (except of course when it comes to taking care of veterans).

    I’m sick to death of hearing the cynical claims about how efficient business is, how everything should be run “like a business” and how profit is the ultimate measure of everything. It’s a soul crushing vision that works very well for the very rich, but I would say does not serve the rest of us well at all.

    The cozy relationship between government agencies (that are supposed to protect us) and big business is appalling and unworthy of a world class country. To the contrary of this scary libertarianish vision that is being pushed down our throats as normal, I wish that government would reclaim its role as a regulating force and to actually have the capacity to punish those who pollute our water and air, harm consumers with shoddy products, endanger our workers by non-compliance with safety regulations, and ship our jobs overseas if we dare raise our voices to complain about conditions.

    I am so fed up, and truth be told I am displeased with the Democrats, but the Republicans with their tea parties are way too extreme. I do not care for libertarianism, anarchy for right-wingers, so I’ll probably just hold my nose and vote for the Democrats, who are awful, but such is the sorry state of affairs in a society where it’s become profits before people, always.

  • Steve V

    For those of you who are being critical of Dick Cavett I suggest you listen closer to not just his remarks but the the message behind them. In his remarks I heard a person trying to make sense of what is happening to our country and finding instead he had entered the “Theatre of the Absurd”. I also sense Mr. Cavett would like to see politicans engaging in mature, respectful, reasoned debates about the issues of the day; however, what he finds are idiots and fools talking nonsense. And to make matters worse, the public is accepting this trash and not demanding better from their representatives (and the media). Perhaps he sees better than we do where this is leading and realizes that no matter what anyone says, or how they say it, the majority of our country will not be pleased and nothing will change.
    P.S. Please remember, no insane person ever thought himself to be so. Perhaps someone should write a book and title it “Living in the Theatre of the Absurd”. Mr. Cavett?

  • Ron

    More fright wing talking points…
    “Pelosi has been in charge since 2006″ Why does no one challenge this nonsense? We had a simple majority then and the president came out of his cage to veto anything the dems did as well as put signing statements on anything that WAS passed. Does anyone remember the Christmas recess? first the repugs filibustered bills, then they went on Fox to say Pelosi was going to make them work the holidays to keep them from their constituents. When she did not hold them back, they held a press conference, all the keystone kops with Boehner in front complaining that she ‘turned out the lights and turned the microphones off’. I remember they were standing in front of a cluster of mics in a brightly lit room, including their appearances on Fox? Dems in charge since 2006? You’re supposed to drink the tea, not smoke it.

  • Jamie Dansie

    Do the Tea Party and Republican supporters agree that government should back off when it comes to tax breaks and incentives for high-income workers and corporations? Or do they just want government to back off from supporting those who are dependent and at the mercy of those same companies?

  • john smith

    what a joke.

    As far as I’m concerned a vote for either a rep or dem is a wasted vote. But your program was a joke. You covered from right of center to extreme right wing. Having a cultural elitist such as cavett as a commentator an analyst is a joke. Why couldn’t you bother to find ssomeone who could give a reasoned, progessive opinion instead of cavett’s cultural elitism? Not to mention that he constantly let klaven interrupt him and go on and on.
    As for klaven, after he went on ad nausem with the claim that the left simply name calls you asked him about the right wing name calling towards obama. When he didn’t answer you didn’t bother to call him on his none answer.
    In sum, you present a professional right wing spin dude on the one hand and on the other hand you present an embittered, culturally elite, sour ex-comedy show m.c.

    Oh, and by the way, why do we have to accept that everyone who opposes the cultural center being built is a reasonable person with a thoughtful point of view? Does that mean that everyone who advocates for the right to have deed convenants thatprohibit Jewish people from moving into a community is a reasonable person with a thoughtful point of view? How about segregationists?

  • Ryno

    Caller Carl was epic. Hang in there, my friend.

  • jeffe

    With apologies to Mr.Reich, I think this sums up the frustration that some of us on the left are having with President Obama. He’s playing games with the lives of Americans for political gains. They all are, period.

    Why Obama Is Proposing Whopping Corporate Tax Cuts, and Why He’s Wrong

    By Robert Reich

    Tuesday, September 7, 2010

    President Obama reportedly will propose two big corporate tax cuts this week.

    One would expand and make permanent the research and experimentation tax credit, at a cost of about $100 billion over the next ten years. The other would allow companies to write off 100 percent of their new investments in plant and equipment between now and the end of 2011 at a cost next year of substantially more than $100 billion (but a ten-year cost of about $30 billion since those write-offs wouldn’t be taken over the longer-term).

    The economy needs two whopping corporate tax cuts right now as much as someone with a serious heart condition needs Botox.

    The reason businesses aren’t investing in new plant and equipment has nothing to do with the cost of capital. It’s because they don’t need the additional capacity. There isn’t enough demand for their goods and services to justify it. Consumers aren’t buying because they’re trying to come out from under a huge debt load, including mortgage debt; they have to start saving because their nest eggs are worth substantially less; and they’ve lost or are worried about losing jobs and pay.

    In any event, small businesses don’t have enough profits against which to use these tax credits and deductions, and large corporations are sitting on over a trillion dollars of profits and don’t need them.

    Republicans and corporate lobbyists have been demanding tax cuts on corporate investments for one reason: Big corporations are investing in automated equipment, robotics, numerically-controlled machine tools, and software. These investments are designed to boost profits by permanently replacing workers and cutting payrolls. The tax breaks Obama is proposing would make such investments all the more profitable.

    In sum, Obama’s proposed corporate tax cuts (1) won’t generate more jobs because they don’t put any cash in worker’s pockets (as would, for example, exempting the first $20,000 of income from the payroll tax and making up the difference by applying the payroll tax to incomes over $250,000); (2) will subsidize companies to cut even more jobs; and (3) will cost $130 billion — money that could better be spent helping states and locales avoid laying off thousands of teachers, fire fighters, and police.

    So why is Obama proposing them? To put Republicans in a bind. If they refuse to go along he can justifiably say they have no agenda other than obstruction. After all, the only thing they’ve been arguing for is lower taxes. On the other hand, if Republicans agree to support these corporate tax cuts, Obama can claim a legislative victory that will help Democrats neutralize their opponents in the upcoming elections.

    The proposals also make it harder for Republicans to argue the Bush income tax cuts should be extended for the richest 3 percent of taxpayers because small businesses need it. Obama’s corporate tax cuts would appear to do the trick.

    The White House probably figures even if Republicans agree to the proposed tax cuts, nothing will come of it. Congress will be in session for only about two weeks between now and the midterm elections so it’s doubtful these proposals would be enacted in any event.

    But this cynical exercise could backfire if Republicans call Obama’s bluff and demand the corporate tax cuts be put on a fast track and get signed into legislation before the midterms.

    More troubling, Obama’s whopping proposed corporate tax cuts help legitimize the supply-side dogma that the economy’s biggest obstacle to growth is the cost of capital, rather than the plight of ordinary working people.


  • sidney arndt

    Dick Cavett voiced my outlook on America – completely.
    I know you were frustrated with him – I’m assuming because he wasn’t conforming to the program’s flow.

    He offered people like me – a voice. Thanks, Mr. Cavett!
    As pessimisitic as Mr. Cavett sounded at the time, he shared how many are generalizing – not being specific (how can we understand what’s going on w/o specifics, how looking back in the years to come – will we find any “good times” to talk about, how can burning a Koran help people understand one another? That’s an emotional response from frustrated people and from a very uninformed “man of the cloth” – what would Jesus do?

    As you can hear – hopefully, I’m very conercned about what the future holds for ALL of us, as well – “legal” immigrants (my grandparents emigrated from Sweden in the 1900′s), & born on American soil “Americans”, ALL OF US!

    Thank you for offering up many guests with differing accounts of where we are as a country. Let’s look at the voting records of those we will be voting for – informed voting – taking personal responsibility for shaping our nation is vital – especially now.

    Democracy is alive – let’s keep it that way.

  • Beverly

    FYI, Texas has already received $7,439,690,398 through the ARRA SO FAR. They are due to receive more than $1 BILLION ADDITIONAL funding. I’m currently working in TX, & see things happening all over the state, including new roads being built, old ones being improved, & more than 28,000 jobs in Education.

    Pollsters will tell you that it’s impossible to get accurate polls these days, as if we didn’t know, because they use landline phones to question people. People who still have landlines, & are home to answer them, are almost exclusively old, retired, white Republicans. Polls only reflect Republican views.

    I will be voting straight Democratic, so will all my relatives, my husband’s relatives, & our many friends. Democrats are the reason that President Obama was able to acheive so many monumental improvements, no thanks to the Party of “HELL NO!!!!!”

    We already have almost everything we voted for, LESS THAN 2 YEARS after the election! Unprecidented! We don’t lnow anyone who doesn’t want health care, which will be even better with a bit of fine tuning, & the addition of the public option, which isn’t far off. At last, we have peace of mind, because we are no longer at the mercy of insurance companies. Our children can finally be insured, & treated, UNTIL THEY ARE 26 YEARS OLD, even if they have cancer! It’s an enormous relief that no one who is sick, or has had a serious accident can no longer be discriminated against, can’t have their insurance cancelled, & will receive all treatments, surgeries, & care that they need. We will have the same health plan enjoyed by JOHN BOEHNER, MITCH McCONNELL, NEWT GINGRICH, SARAH PALIN, CHUCH GRASSLEY, DICK CHENEY, JOHN McCAIN, RUDY GIULIANI, & the rest. Who wouldn’t be thrilled to have that? I can’t think of anyone, especially the aforementioned Republicans.

    President Obama has made it possible for countless people to go to college, by cutting out the middle man in student loans, making it much less expensive to get a good education. Women now must receive the same salary as a man who is doing the same job. Almost every one of us got a tax cut, as soon as President Obama moved into the White House. He has done many things to help small business owners. He saved many jobs, including those of fire fighters, police, teachers, auto dealers, & others on the auto industry. He resurrected our auto industry, which is now healthy, & thriving. He has prevented economic collapse, & protected middle class Americans, by putting restrictions on Wall St.. He turned our economy around, saving us from a devastating depression, & possible global economic collapse.

    Republican’ts say that we should stop blaming Bush for our predicament. He is the guilty party, so it is Bush who is to blame. He always will be. He’s the perp. Would we ever stop blaming a criminal for his crime? If he murdered someone, would we suddenly stop blaming him? No, we wouldn’t. It will always be he fault. We wouldn’t suddenly shift the blame to an innocent person, especially someone who has done only good, noble things. President Obama can never be blamed for this mess, because Bush did it. We must never forget that, or stop blaming the one who is responsible. He will always be guilty, NOT the President.

    Republican’ts vow to undo all the good that has been done. They swear that they will take health care away from us & from our children with cancer, or any other illness. They promise to deregulate BIG BUSINESS, & let Wall Street run amock once again. In fact, they want us to give them the chance to restore America to exactly the way it was in the bad old days, when they ruled. They haven’t given a solution to even 1 problem that Bush caused. All they do is tell us what they want, what we need, etc. They never say what they would do to change the situation. They say vague things like “we need more jobs”. DUH! We must have details as to how they will provide them, but they can’t provide any. They’re clueless. They say that they want to do things exactly as they did before the 2008 election – with the same catastrophic results. With them back in the driver’s seat, instead of recovering from a recession right now, with so many jobs being created, we would all be out of work, being controlled by them. The wealthy will carry on as usual, still not paying a penny in taxes. Unemployment benefits would be abolished, for the rest of us. We won’t get any government aid, no Social Security, Medicare, (effectively PULLING THE PLUG ON GRANNY), food stamps, or help after a storm, or flood. I shudder to think what the Country would be like with the ROBBIN’ GOODS back in control, robbing the good, hard-working middle class, to give to the rich. It would be so much worse than the Bush years, because they have already had a head start. We all said “GOOD RIDDANCE!” to them, when we voted in 2008, & a new day dawned. We heaved an enormous sigh of relief, deleriously happy to be rid of those millstones. Who in their right mind would ever vote for them again? I can’t think of anybody, can you? (Except for their sponsors, Big Business & special interest lobbyists, that is.) So don’t trust the polls. . . or the Republican’ts. We have the change we needed, & overwhelmingly voted for. We have an enthusiastic, caring, thoughtful, BRILLIANT dynamo of a President, with INTEGRITY, good sense, & the perfect disposition. He’s the exact opposite of a Republican’t, which is why he is so successful at getting the job done.

    He also increased the number of guards at the Border, as soon as he got into office, making it more heavily guarded than it has been in many decades, & recently sent even more National Guard troops there, & Arizona’s crime rate is now lower than it has ever been, in recent memory; certainly one of the lowest rates in America. In his very short time as President, he has already deported many, many more illegal aliens than Bush did in 8 years, & if not for the Party of “HELL NO”, we would have had immigration reform by now. (They aren’t afraid to admit that in 2009, they said that they wouldn’t even READ the bill until after the 2010 election, much less discuss it. WHY NOT? Even more proof that they put Politics, & their unethical Party first. They choose do do what they believe will be best for their Party, instead what is best for America.

    The Democratic Party is the Party of the People. They have the courage to do what is necessary for the good of the Country. No matter how the Republican’ts protest, they will always do the right thing . . . unless they’re “blue dogs”, who don’t count, since they’re really Republican’ts in sheeps/dogs clothing. Blue dogs don’t share the Democratic values, principals & ideals that this Nation was founded on. Democrats believe in our rights, & in the Constitution. Republican’ts want to take away our rights, they confuse patriotism with religion, they’re extremely narrow-minded, & they want to change the Constitution! (They would love to integrate Church & State, for example, & interfere in women’s lives, by forcing them to do what Republican’ts tell them to do . . . the list is long.)

    So, polls aren’t reliable, unless you just want to know how Republican voters feel. Republican’ts are getting big bucks from Big Biz, to “swiftboat” Democratic candidates, and run sleazy smear campaigns, but they’re wasting their money. In the end, honesty & real solutions will triumph over deceit & ineptitude.

    Americans will overwhelmingly say, “No thanks”, to the Party of NO!


    Beverly, you go girl!!!!

  • Marc

    I used to listen to Dick Cavett. Best I can remember, he did a good job back then and just looks like he’s lost something off his fast ball. Or maybe it’s just not his area of expertise. I don’t fault him as much as the On Point people for bringing him in on this. Usually, they’re pretty good with those representing the progressive side.

    Those who blame just Bush or blame just Obama drive me nuts – I’m with John Smith on this. I think they’re both very guilty. Don’t you remember who created the mess of a health care bill – the one that was signed, not the one Obama probably wanted. Remember all the special deals for different states. And the financial meltdown trigger was as much the result of Fannie and Freddie loaning to people who shouldn’t have gotten these loans as it was of greedy bankers or evil republicans. And let’s not forget the roles of all the federal and state legislatures on both sides who helped extend this mess through influence selling to companies and unions and just basic incompetence in controlling their budgets.

    A large part of the problem, at least at the federal level, is the Congress and the effect of money on their decisions. The more we pick on republicans or democrats as the sole sources of evil, the more we lock ourselves into voting automatically for the other guy and thereby extending the incumbents power.

  • jeffe

    Beverly I agree with a lot of what you are saying.
    However blaming Bush all the time is not a good way to move forward politically. Politics is not the same as reality. Obama has done some good things along with the Democrats but not enough. Health care is a case in point.
    As far as student loans well it remains to be seen if they have done any good in this arena. So far the results are not so good. The infrastructure projects you mention in Texas is one of the things that the Democrats should be taking ever Red state to task on. Everyone of these Red states have Senators and Governors who have been very critical of Obama’s stimulus package but they have all taken money. Hypocrisy, nothing more or less and the Democrats should be pointing this out to all the people who think that the Republicans would do anything different. Well they would deregulate again, that’s for sure.

    The bottom line for me is that both parties are run by the special interest and this was constantly being pointed out by Bill Moyers. Come to think of it he would have been a good guest for today’s show.

  • Irene Moore

    Yep. It sounded like Dick Cavett had had one too many pulls on the hash pipe and too much brandy in his coffee. But I have to say I thought he brought a very serious point of view to the table. He seemed to be asking America to stop and look around at what passes for discourse: Burning of books defended by the well spoken screenwriter. And how far in left field is it to actually feel for the folks looking for work rather than having a glib discussion of the merits of putting an end to government. The screenwriter called for government to get out of the way and let private industry solve the countries woes. What has private industry done for us lately?

  • Joshua Hendrickson

    It’s time for a new constitutional convention.

    To those who say the reactionaries will take that opportunity to destroy our rights, I say let them: better to have them use the guillotine than to suffer the death of a thousand cuts.

    Of course, if we liberals were to organize, we could be the ones to reaffirm real rights and protections, enshrine true democracy and a social safety net, and regulate the role of money in society.

    It’s all or nothing … but then, our situation already is just that.

  • Joshua Hendrickson

    I wonder how those koran burners would react if I showed up to their party and tossed a few bibles into the conflagration?

    It is not a very long step from burning books to burning people, as the Nazis proved.

  • MordecaiCarroll

    Robert Reich (via Jeffe):

    “The reason businesses aren’t investing in new plant and equipment has nothing to do with the cost of capital. It’s because they don’t need the additional capacity. There isn’t enough demand for their goods and services to justify it. Consumers aren’t buying because they’re trying to come out from under a huge debt load, including mortgage debt; they have to start saving because their nest eggs are worth substantially less; and they’ve lost or are worried about losing jobs and pay.”

    Exactly. The problem with the economy right now is demand. The middle class has been getting clobbered for going on 30 years now, and has watched its standard of living plummet while the wealthiest two percent gobbled up ever greater shares of all American income generated.

    What with this and the fact that middle class wages haven’t kept up with increases in the cost of living, there’s no wonder there’s less demand for goods and services in America. People just don’t have the money right now. For a while (during the housing bubble), many used their houses as ATM’s to offset the fact that their wages weren’t increasing enough to cover all their expenses. But with the end of the housing bubble, the curtain has been pulled back. Now we can all see how profoundly screwed up the US economy is.

    The only way to bring this economy back is to strengthen the middle class. Only with a strengthened middle class will demand increase.

    Trickle down won’t work. Tax cuts for the rich won’t work. The failed economic policies of Greenspan and Friedman (enacted by Reagan 30 or so years ago and continued to some extent by every president since) have been revealed to be a sham and a lie.

    I’m frustrated with Obama and the Democrats too, incredibly frustrated in fact, but Republicans don’t have any new ideas when it comes to the economy. They want to continue down the same dead end road that they started us on back during Reagan’s presidency.

  • John

    Religious morons like to burn things: Korans, cartoons, Rushdie books.

  • MordecaiCarroll

    From Slate, a comparison between 1915 and now:

    “This was the era in which the accumulated wealth of America’s richest families—the Rockefellers, the Vanderbilts, the Carnegies—helped prompt creation of the modern income tax, lest disparities in wealth turn the United States into a European-style aristocracy. The socialist movement was at its historic peak, a wave of anarchist bombings was terrorizing the nation’s industrialists, and President Woodrow Wilson’s attorney general, Alexander Palmer, would soon stage brutal raids on radicals of every stripe. In American history, there has never been a time when class warfare seemed more imminent.

    That was when the richest 1 percent accounted for 18 percent of the nation’s income. Today, the richest 1 percent account for 24 percent of the nation’s income.”

    “Income inequality in the United States has not worsened steadily since 1915. It dropped a bit in the late teens, then started climbing again in the 1920s, reaching its peak just before the 1929 crash. The trend then reversed itself. Incomes started to become more equal in the 1930s and then became dramatically more equal in the 1940s. Income distribution remained roughly stable through the postwar economic boom of the 1950s and 1960s. Economic historians Claudia Goldin and Robert Margo have termed this midcentury era the “Great Compression.” The deep nostalgia for that period felt by the World War II generation—the era of Life magazine and the bowling league—reflects something more than mere sentimentality. Assuming you were white, not of draft age, and Christian, there probably was no better time to belong to America’s middle class.

    The Great Compression ended in the 1970s. Wages stagnated, inflation raged, and by the decade’s end, income inequality had started to rise. Income inequality grew through the 1980s, slackened briefly at the end of the 1990s, and then resumed with a vengeance in the aughts. In his 2007 book The Conscience of a Liberal, the Nobel laureate, Princeton economist and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman labeled the post-1979 epoch the ‘Great Divergence.’”

    the entire piece is here:


  • informed American

    Thank you President Obama and the Democratic party for two straight years of 9% plus unemployment. This country hasn’t experienced that kind of negative growth since the Great Depression.

  • MordecaiCarroll

    informed american seems to have conveniently forgotten that the economy was in an epic tailspin at the end of Bush’s 2nd term. Do you remember in fall of 2008, when the entire world economy was on the brink of ruin?

    He seems eager to pin the entire blame on Obama, when in fact the meltdown began under Bush’s watch, and was largely precipitated by policies of deregulation of the economic sector favored by Republicans.

    Thank you George W. Bush, for getting the country involved in an unjustified war in Iraq which was based on false premises and sold to the public using manipulated intelligence, which cost billions of dollars, and which unnecessarily claimed the lives of thousands of American soldiers and who knows how many thousand Iraqi’s.

    Thank you, George W. Bush for turning a budget surplus at the beginning of your term into a record deficit 8 years later.

  • Liberal Missing Buckley

    Cavett is always a joy to listen to, but was probably misplaced in this setting. Still, his underlying complaint is a valid one–just who is there to do the intellectual heavy-lifting of conservatism these days? Even quality shows like this and the Diane Rehm Show often seem hard pressed to find a spokesperson capable of articulating a conservative position beyond a bland and incurious regurgitation of RNC talking points.

  • Liz

    Was Dick Cavett drunk? I totally agree with other listeners: ban the man from serious on-air debate. The stakes are too high.

  • Julie

    I miss Cavett. It was nice to hear from him again, even if, as he mentioned, he’s not exactly qualified, as an English Major, to opine on politics. (Not that that held him back in past.) He’s always entertaining and makes serious observations in a light way:”…no one is going to look back on this time as “the good old days”.

    Well, at my age, the future might not include much looking back, but my kids and grandkids will have plenty of time to reflect. I just hope that, in the coming years, the Right doesn’t succeed in making this nation a member of the Third World. That when the younger generation reflex, it won’t, in honesty, refer to this decade as part of “the good old days”.

  • Mario

    I believe the Democrats use too many words and are afraid to go straight to the point.

    It took the Republicans 8 years to spend all the surplus money as well sell good chunk of it to China and sink two countries into a make believe war because Saddam offended someone’s Daddy….

    Now the fake Tea Party among others are selling to the Media the idea that Obama has to fix everything in less than 3 years.

    Explain to people in a way they understand…as if they were 5 years old so they can understand

    “Isn’t easier to bring down a building than it is to build one?”

    The last 20 years

    Republicans: Wars and and recession

    Democrats: Fix wars and recession so the next Republican can write war history.

    When was the last time in the last 2 decades that a Democrat declared war or delivered the White House in a recession?

  • KC in Charlotte

    Dick Cavett drunk? I thought he was hilarious. If he WAS drunk one can hardly blame him for the condition. Any thinking individual would have to ponder some sort of escape mechanism when pondering the state of things in the good old USA… alcohol, drugs or immigration…

  • darma2u

    If Gop argument of trickle has not work. The Gop squandered in the past rewarded the rich upper 2%, supports Wall Street and Big Oil. Wants to kill the jobs bill has been the party of Hell no. While lobbyist line their pockets.

  • Vincent Puleo

    I like the summary heard some time ago: Once again 3% of the voters will convince the other 97% that what is good for the three per cent will somehow help the other 97%.

  • darma2u

    best argument- 1. Obama stopped the hemorrage of jobs, it will take a long time to bring them back, under Bush we lost how many jobs.
    2. How much was lost in everyones retirement funds under Bush, under the new Wall Street bill there is accountability, The GOP will repeat this
    3.Big oil was given a free ride under Bush, they are now being held accountable.
    4. No Child left behind, left every child behind.
    5. Prices of homes were inflated under Bush and now how many home owners are under water.
    6.Started 2 wars and gave the top 2% tax breaks? while the middle income have lost buying power. He also used funds from SS to pay for these war and still left us in debt.
    7 how many more arguments? Bush let the infrastructure decay, Katrina, bridges in Minnasota etc water and sewer lines failing?

  • Bush’s fault

    Welp…another day of right-bashing with the usual talking points, distortions, and untruth. Whatever…I’ve said before that the hyper partisan impasse we find ourselves in is a good thing until cooler heads prevail. Don’t plan on anything major out of DC for the foreseeable future.

  • darma2u

    under Bush my cost for health insurance continued to rise at a crazy rate yearly

  • J.D. Allinder

    Dick Cavett was an embarrassment. Tom handled him beautifully.

  • Chris Barkenquast

    I feel that congress should be more willing to work with Obama. For instance the economic recovery plan improving infrastructure in my opinion is good. Not only would it put people to work, but it would also be investing in Americas future. Better roads, rails, and runways would make us more appealing to business’s willing to come to our country. A better use of our tax dollars than a war that has been far too long drawn out. It is time for congress to see beyond political party’s and start working together as a group and put us on the road to a better stronger America. I am 23 and the future is what I care about, my future. The future of my generation. When the men making the choices right now are gone we will have to deal with the long term effects, not them

  • Tom

    If Republicans are really against a health insurance mandate, there is a simple solution. Get rid of the insurance company parasites. We’d save 30% off the top. Of course, they’re not really against mandates because the people who pay (own) people like Rep. John Carter of Texas to dissemintae their propaganda and do their bidding don’t want that either. They want 100% corporate control. I can’t figure out how tea-baggers think they will actualy benefit if the people they support are put into power. Do they really believe Republicans are looking out for them?

  • jeffe

    My question for the Republicans who think the market is the solution to everything then why did the economy collapse? If the market is supposed to take care of the health care issues than why has it not done so?

    Is this going to happen all of a sudden after the Republicans allegedly take back the house? I think not as all the evidence, and there are years worth, do not point to the market based system sorting out anything except dividends.

  • ulTRAX

    Someone wanting to be taken seriously, yet laughingly dubbing themselves the “informed American” wrote the following:

    “Thank you President Obama and the Democratic party for two straight years of 9% plus unemployment.”

    Let me guess… the GOP is innocent in the collapse of our economic system and innocent of sabotaging revenues so the government could handle such emergencies?

    “This country hasn’t experienced that kind of negative growth since the Great Depression.”

    Gee… can that be because the mess the GOP and their few neolib allies made such a mess that it was worst than even the great Reagan Depression of ’82-83. He then was dealing with a recession caused by high oil prices and tight Fed dollars… not a collapse of the financial system. Nor did Reagan have to deal with companies had the freedom to flee to cheap labor nations and import their goods back to the US with little of any tariffs.

    Yet the peak unemployment was actually LOWER under Obama, 10.5%, compared to the peak under Reagan when it reached 10.8%. I wonder if then the Democrats were wishing for the economy to fail as the GOP is today?

  • Matt

    Its amazing that the Republicans are know ready to save this country from the last 20 months of Democratic leadership. Just listen to how they will fix health care of all its ills, improve employment by giving business more tax breaks, and fix the financial industry by letting them do as they will.

    Who was in charge of this country’s legislative bodies in Washington throughout the eight years of the Bush presidency and the last four to six years of the Clinton presidential term. Where were these new and improved Republicans when regulations were relaxed on the banking industry, health care industry was allowed to control run-away costs, tax breaks were given to businesses to offshore their manufacturing, a massive tax cut was given to the wealthiest Americans, and this country was taken into a War of Mass Delusion.

    Now that there are no more of those old time Republicans in Washington, we can vote in the “New and Improved” Republicans to lead our country in eliminate the teeth from all environmental regulations, give poor billionaires their much needed tax breaks, eliminate Social Security and Medicare. And if you need a ride to your next job, the Koch brother will let you hitch a ride on the Tea Party express bus on its way to Shanghai.

  • http://challenginglachesis.blogspot.com Dave Eger

    Perhaps it’s time to actually elect third parties. No one trusts either of the old parties, so lets get some fresh ideas into the government. If we don’t soon, I can’t see it lasting much longer as we know it now.

  • John

    Forget about driving us into a ditch. The Republicans nearly drove our economy over a cliff.

    You can cut taxes and cut spending. Or you can tax and spend. But you CAN’T cut taxes and increase deficit spending the way the Republicans did. It’s just irresponsible.

    With a handful of Republicans holding the country hostage by obstructing meaningful reform and sensible regulation the voters are disgusted with congress and naturally want to flush the toilet.

    But it was the Republicans who got us into this mess with their deficit spending and blind deregulation. We should give the Democrats a fair chance to clean it up!

  • Adam

    That will be a pretty large tax increase being pushed by President Obama. It would help if he downsized the Federal government work force and encouraged state and local governments to do the same thing.

  • joshua

    Tom–why do ask if Republicans should get the job as if thats the only alternative. What about all the other more honest, intelligent, ethical parties out there? Is a two party system a democracy–especially when they have the same policy controlled by corporations?–i dont think so. Get both of these fascist parties out of office and put in American people.

  • joshua

    The bailout and stimulus WAS NOT–NOT a success and was a crime by “miscreants” It did nothing. If not worsened the problem–this guest is a stooge. What should of happend was the gov. should have put money into labor unions, revolutionary work programs and turned the biog three into cooperatives with an green agenda. Money should have went to mainstreet, bankers should have went to jail witht he criminal-terrorists cheney and Bush

  • David

    Tom – Why do you ( and the hosts who fill in for you from time to time ) allow your guests to ramble on about the history behind how many Dems were elected in such and such an election year and how many Reps, blah, blah, blah………..
    Does it really matter ???
    This year’s election is this year’s election and not “like” the election of twenty / thirty / fifty years ago !!!!
    Please stop allowing guests to waste time on this historical blather.
    “All politics are local”

  • joshua

    what about all the violence of christians in the world smart guy–these republicans live in a completey spaced out world–not reality. Christains have killed and tortured done abominable things in the name of their insanity. christopher columbus mimed people and mutilated them and forced children to eat their parents. And Americans worship him–christians mostly. Teabaggers and reublicans are racist–i know you are stop saying you are not. Everybody i know including family in america is republican–and racist. So stop lying. We dont want your hateful agenda. This stooge republican refuses to answer any challenges. he just talks nonsense.

  • http://mofyc.blogspot.com Brian

    Who should run Congress? The Greens. It’s clear that the two major parties have shed all pretense of ideology and are only representing their corporate paymasters. Give someone else a chance.

  • Mark

    Socialism vs. corrupt capitalism! What we have today! Neither is good for our society! Period! Which side do you want?

  • Greg

    I typically enjoy listening to On Point, however Dick Cavett was a huge disappointment. Please do not have him on again. He is part of the reason why people call liberals as elitist and I was offended by his comments. As a liberal myself I was offended by his comments.

  • http://bendingtowardsjustice67.blogspot.com/ Jabril

    I can not express how extremely disappointed I was by Dick Cavett. His cavalier attitude, unwillingness to engage in a mere semblance of a debate, and his overall diagnosis that a certain part of the population (i.e., those who think differently than him) are complete idiots. Shame on him.

    It is exactly this attitude, on both the right and left (as if there are only two options and you must be entirely one or the other…), that I think has created such an impasse. But, while I disagree with Andrew Klavan’s perspective on how to deal with the economy, I think he is exactly right to point out that it is exactly the kind of snotty and childish demeanor that Mr. Cavett displayed, that has furthered the divide b/w right and left while at the same time giving the right (tea party in particular) reason to become politically active. I commend them for that.

    Who should control congress? I say they are all bums, dems and repubs, so I don’t know the answer. But I do know that if this country can’t figure out how to start having healthy debates about difficult issues, and if instead people continue to hurl empty invectives at each other from partisan corners we are headed for a seriously dark time.

  • Check Your Numbers

    That will be a pretty large tax increase being pushed by President Obama.

    Wow. Uh, try again.

    On the other hand, I guess it’s nice that someone in the top 2% earners’ bracket listens to the show. You made out pretty damn well with Bush’s tax giveaway, and didn’t whine when, back then, you were told it was temporary, and it would sunset in 9 years.

    It’s not a tax hike. Obama wants everyone under $250k/yr to get a tax cut. Unless you’re lying about your income, that means you.

  • Mark

    Both “sides” present problems for the American people, however, only one side drove the economy into the ground.

    Chris asked “and which side would that be Mark?”

    The right, that’s which side. This mess was started in 1998 with Graham-Leach-Bliley, signed by the great Triangulator, and has resulted in our current mess, starting with housing, of which industry I live and breath every day. In 2005 we were sitting around asking ourselves (in product development meetings – mortgages), what in the hell are we doing? We couldn’t do this stuff before 1998. Nosedive. And if we didn’t offer these wall street created (not the CRA stuff, which is <1% of all originations), we would have lost ALL of our sales people. We got high on our own supply (pun intended).

  • Mark

    If you need any more reasoning as to why the Republicans should not assume power, it can be clearly (or not so clearly) articulated by Rep. John Carter. Who elected this guy? What a nimwhit. Did he actually present anything that the Republicans are planning to do?

    Tom, I love you, but you did a lousy job by letting this moron spew non-truths. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.

Sep 18, 2014
Flickr/Steve Rhodes

After a summer of deadly clashes between Gaza and Israel, we talk to Jews on the left and right about the future of liberal Zionism. Some say it’s over.

Sep 18, 2014

Billionaires. We’ll look at the super super rich, and their global shaping of our world.

Sep 17, 2014
Bob Dylan and Victor Maymudes at "The Castle" in LA before the 1965 world tour. Lisa Law/The Archive Agency)

A new take on the life and music of Bob Dylan, from way inside the Dylan story. “Another Side of Bob Dylan.”

Sep 17, 2014
Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson watches from the sidelines against the Oakland Raiders during the second half of a preseason NFL football game at TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Friday, Aug. 8, 2014. (AP/Ann Heisenfelt)

The NFL’s Adrian Peterson and the emotional debate underway about how far is too far to go when it comes to disciplining children.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Talking Through The Issue Of Corporal Punishment For Kids
Wednesday, Sep 17, 2014

On Point dove into the debate over corporal punishment on Wednesday — as Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson faces charges in Texas after he allegedly hit his four-year-old son with a switch.

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Our Week In The Web: September 12, 2014
Friday, Sep 12, 2014

In which you had varied reactions to the prospect of a robotic spouse.

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Beverly Gooden on #WhyIStayed
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Beverly Gooden — who originated the #WhyIStayed hashtag that has taken off across Twitter — joined us today for our discussion on domestic violence.

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