'This Week' Transcript: Economic Panel

DOWD: Well, it's interesting. ABC, I think over the last couple of months, has done a great job of sort of gauging the frustration that exists in this country, and it's high as it was in 1992, as high as it's been in 2008. It's not just limited to Republicans. It's independents and some Democrats in this.

I think these primaries have shown that there are some places where it's real anger that's related to frustration and then it's other places which a majority (ph) which is related to frustration.

I think the Republican Party right now, it is the comparison between a bonfire there and a campfire in the Democratic primary. So you can handle the campfire, but the bonfire, which is what helped elect Tea Party people and what's gone on across just headed into November.

I think this is perilous for both parties, actually. I think it's perilous for the Republicans if they become the Tea Party folks, which are sort of out of the mainstream and are going to have a hard time winning November elections, but it's also perilous, I think, for the Democrats if they ignore this level of frustration and they don't deal with it.

ROBERTS: That's right. They -- now, they've had plenty of time to learn about it, and they've had town meetings and heard about it and all that, so they're not going to be taken by surprise. But they think that they can just go back to the old playbook, so they're pulling out Social Security, and they're running against George Bush, and they're doing things that have worked for them in the past that I'm not at all sure will work for them this year, and that could be a real problem, because they're not understanding the level of frustration.

IGNATIUS: The Democrats sound this year with this president like the party of the establishment. And we have a political firestorm out in the country. People are really angry. They're angry at Washington. They're angry about the economy. The Tea Party is an expression of that, but what Robert Gibbs, the president's press secretary, was calling the professional left is another example of that, people who just are angry at the mainstream, centrist views the president often has been espousing.

And I think that's a real problem for them. They don't have the energy. They're not tapping into this energy source as they head towards the elections.

FREELAND: Well, doesn't it just all come down to the economy?

ROBERTS: Well, sure. Sure.

FREELAND: I mean, you know, I don't want to be too simplistic, but with unemployment at nearly 10 percent, I thought the comments that Jon Corzine made earlier were right on, that this is a double whammy, this is a recession following a financial crisis, and this is also the final act of America's structural adjustment to globalization and the technology revolution.

That's a really big deal. And I think the real problem is not -- you know, we're going to be focused a lot on messaging and cosmetics ahead of the midterms. The real question is, can an American political party or political movement come up with a powerful economic plan, and one that is maybe really different?

And we're seeing that happen in other countries. Look at Britain. David Cameron's Tories won with a really radical plan, and they got actually...


IGNATIUS: ... just doesn't work. I mean, it's not like they didn't have a plan.

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