The Chatter: Sunday talk shows, race in politics, and other news

07/18/2010 08:45 PM

U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell, the top-ranking Senate Republican, was among several GOP leaders on Sunday morning to call for making tax cuts permanent regardless of how to offset the cost. At the same time, most Senate Republicans say Congress shouldn’t extend unemployment benefits unless there is a corresponding way to cover the $33 billion in extra cost.

“The question is not cutting taxes. The question is raising taxes,” McConnell told CNN’s Candy Crowley on “State of the Union” Sunday. “What they’re trying to do, Candy, is to argue that at this juncture, with this kind of economic environment, we ought to have a significant tax increase. I don’t know the economists you’re talking to, but the ones I’m talking to are saying raising taxes in the middle of a recession is not a good idea.”

Texas Sen. John Cornyn, chairman of the National Senatorial Campaign Committee, made a similar point on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

McConnell expressed his support for extending the unemployment benefits — if its cost is offset.

“Somewhere in the course of spending a trillion dollars, we ought to be able to find enough to pay for a program for the unemployed,” he said. “We’re — we’re all for extending unemployment insurance.”

The tea party and race — the debate continues

“Meet the Press” moderator David Gregory mentioned Kentucky Republican U.S. Senate candidate Rand Paul, along with Nevada and Florida candidates Sharron Angle and Marco Rubio, as “ones to watch” this fall.

“Yet, there are some real debates going on about the role of the tea party and whether there are some racist elements in the party itself,” Gregory said before bringing up last week’s story about the NAACP’s resolution condemning the racist signs and slogans a minority of tea party supporters brought to rallies.

Cornyn called it “slanderous to suggest the vast movement of citizens who have gotten off the couch and showed up at town hall events and tea party rallies.”

But the question has again come under the media microscope.

The New York Times’ Matt Bai wrote a piece this week that looked at it from a different angle. His take was that the tea party movement isn’t attracting racists, it’s attracting older Americans whose attitudes toward race are old-fashioned.

And the Herald-Leader’s John Cheves examined how race fits into the Kentucky political conversation in his article Sunday, “The white world of politics in Kentucky.”

Courier-Journal columnist, Al Cross, meanwhile, opined about the difficulty Paul could have this fall squaring his small-government message with issues some Kentucky voters care deeply about: farm subsidies and federal funding for the drug enforcement and treatment program Operation UNITE, for example.

- Ryan Alessi

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