Sunday shows: What you missed

Punditry experts this week ended racism, fomented homophobia and grew mustaches

Published June 30, 2013 5:43PM (EDT)

Today on the Sunday Shows: recapping the biggest news week ever. Have the gays successfully destroyed America by this point? Will John Boehner commit political suicide on immigration reform? What about the gays, again? And how about that Wendy Davis. Also, too, Julian Assange and Nancy Pelosi. And maybe, if there's time, a quickie segment about the gutting of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. All this and more on ABC's This Week, NBC's "Meet the Press," and CBS' "Face the Nation. "

First, on "This Week": "TRAITOR OR HERO?" This is, what, a month into the Snowden saga, and these are still the first words to appear on a news show? "TRAITOR OR HERO?" You're on a troll, Stephanopoulos.

And here is Julian Assange, from his safe room in London, tie knot loosened. An ABC News correspondent gives us some background: "Who is Julian Assange?" Is he destroying the world? Or is he just a dude in the Ecuadorian Embassy.

What can you tell us about Edward Snowden, Assange? For example: where is the little shit hiding? "I wish I could answer your question in more detail." Red eyes and a cough, he sounds like he has a nasty cold, the poor guy. Now he is making Edward Snowden's story all about himself. The two face very similar investigations, he says, both from the same court in Alexandria, Virginia, where you've got a low chance of receiving "justice."

Onto the program: "We now have a state within a state, we have a transnational spying apparatus." Stephanopoulos counters with a video of Secretary of State John Kerry saying peoples' lives are being put at risk by these leaks. What about that? Assange, who likes to talk about Julian Assange, says the authorities said the same thing about him two years ago, and no one ever died because of what he did.

As for whether Snowden has a "dead man's switch," as Glenn Greenwald claims: "There is no stopping the publishing process at this stage," Assange says. Mwahahaha. "He is a hero." Hero, not Traitor, according to Julian Assange.

Now Jesselyn Radack of the Government Accountability Project (and a former whistleblower herself) is being interviewed about Snowden's chances in the U.S. legal system. Is there some sort of deal that could be cut in order for him to return? No, Radack says. There's basically nothing stopping the U.S. government from throwing him in jail forever by this point, no matter what they may say to coax him back.

Back to Julian Assange: Do you wish for the "annihilation" of the American "regime," as you once told Time magazine? "I never said that!" Assange responds. BUT IT WAS IN TIME MAGAZINE, MR. ASSANGE. "Yeah, well, I mean ... Time magazine," Assange concludes. Hehe, stupid Time.

It's time to talk about THE GAYS. Pretty good week for gay marriage… in California. Chad Griffin of the Human Rights Campaign is being interviewed. He plans to bring the issue back to state courts and legislatures to win rights for gay people in all states, now. He is feeling rather confident.

Counterpoint: Brian Brown, President of NOM. Who is harmed by same-sex marriage? "The rule of law is harmed," he says. Stop punching the rule of law, the rule of law has a heart condition! He discusses the "absolute tragedy" of Justice Kennedy's ruling, as described by Justice Scalia. The implication that everyone who supports "traditional marriage" is motivated by "animus" is juvenile. Brian Brown has a tough job.

Let's check out "Meet the Press." How will David Gregory embarrass himself this week? First an update on Nelson Mandela: he's still alive. Moving on: what a panel we have! Rachel Maddow, freaking Ralph Reed, professor Michael Eric Dyson, friggin' Jim DeMint, and, uhh, Pete Williams, NBC legal analyst. Rachel Maddow, you're gay, what do you think about all these gay decisions this week? She goes back to Justice Scalia's decision in Lawrence v. Texas as a justification for this week's rulings.

"I hate to throw cold water on the celebration," Ralph Reed, who is on television again, chimes in. He notes that the court "rejected" a 14th Amendment equal-protection right for same-sex marriage. (As Pete Williams says later on, the court didn't -- it sidestepped the question.) And 32 states still have constitutional bans on same-sex marriage. What now, gays? Whatcha got?

(Ha ha the chyron right now: "CASE CLOSED ON SAME-SEX MARRIAGE? REP. HUELSKAMP SAYS NO." We'll probably skip the next segment.) 

JIM DEMINT, HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT GAY MARRIAGE. "It's really about the best environment for children," and that's why these 30-some states only allow marriage between a man and a woman. It's about the kids. Maddow counters with the obvious rejoinder, about how Justice Kennedy addressed the issue of children in his DOMA opinion: that DOMA effectively "humiliates" the children of same-sex couples. 

She adds that arguments like Reed's and DeMint's just make gay people suffer, not go away. Ralph Reed does not take kindly to this implication that he's a bigot. Were all those Democrats who voted for DOMA in the 90s bigots? (They were certainly pandering to bigotry, yes.)

Back to the panel on ABC. The topic is immigration reform. Matthew Dowd has a mustache?? It looks bad. Bill Kristol's Weekly Standard "advice" for House Republicans to kill off immigration reform by not going to conference is read. Dowd opts for one of the approximately 10 trillion ways of telling Bill Kristol to fuck off, noting that it was his advice that led to Sarah Palin being nominated for vice president. 

ABC's Terry Moran tries to point out, without laughing, that in some quarters of the GOP, the idea is building that Hispanic voters aren't needed in their coalition after all. Everyone on the panel laughs.


On NBC, David Gregory is interviewing Nancy Pelosi. They're talking about the Texas abortion bill that state Sen. Wendy Davis, bless her heart, filibustered this week. She notes that these are women's health measures, and there is an "assault on this, ongoing," in Congress and across the country. It's an "important part of what women are, their reproductive health."

Now onto when she was booed at Netroots Nation last week while discussing Edward Snowden. It was a "smattering" of boos, Pelosi clarifies. A mere smattering. Edward Snowden is no "hero," she says, because David Gregory actually asked her if he was a hero. Those who say President's Obama's second term is the "fourth term" of George W. Bush "couldn't be farther from the truth… I would love to show you the chart" of differences between what was happening under President Bush and what's happening now. 

How important is it for America to "track Edward Snowden down and bring him to justice?" It's "fine with me" that he's "stuck in a Moscow airport" right now, she says. How aggressive should we be in tracking him down. Pelosi doesn't "know" that he has all that much dangerous information, so that's what she'd like to determine first. (This doesn't really jibe well with Secretary Kerry et al. saying he has enough information to kill all Americans everywhere.)

Ha, David Gregory is asking Nancy Pelosi if she would like to endorse Hillary Clinton for president right now. She does not, although she is excited by the prospect of a "woman president." We've got to "get through 2014 first." 

Wendy Davis is on "Face the Nation." (She is on all of the shows.) Bob Schieffer asks her about Gov. Rick Perry's chances of passing the abortion bill during the special session that begins on Monday. Davis predicts that the bill's proponents will be "smarter" about process this time, instead of running "roughshod" to move it through. But, she says, the eyes of the nation will be on the Texas legislature this time. Is the Texas legislature capable of feeling shame? (That was a joke question.)

Holy moly, "Meet the Press" is finally talking about the gutting of the Voting Rights Act. Is racism over, Michael Eric Dyson? No, he believes, it is not. "Senator" DeMint, as Gregory still calls him, you voted to reauthorize the act in 2006. What's the deal here? It was only a teensy bit that was thrown out, says DeMint, and he agrees with that. Then why did you vote for it? Maddow asks. Ehh, it was a good bill overall, DeMint says. Just that one part.

Ralph Reed is telling us that he lives in Georgia, a Section 5 state, and so he takes this very seriously. But the issue here is that this now-thrown-out portion of the law "uses an old formula," and besides, racism is over.

Happy death to racism, and have fun lighting yourself on fire with firecrackers this week, America!

By Jim Newell

Jim Newell covers politics and media for Salon.

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