SEN. CHRISTOPHER S. BOND, R-MO.: 'Twas the week before Christmas, when all through the Hill, not a creature was stirring, not even a bill.
SEN. ROLAND BURRIS, D-ILL.: People had voted; they mandated reform, but Republicans blew off the gathering storm.
BOND: How far away from common sense we've been led. Our kids and grandkids have their futures to dread.
BURRIS: Democrats explained, as they drove out of sight, better coverage for all, even our friends on the right.
TAPPER: Ah, the Christmas stylings of Senators Kit Bond and Roland Burris. And joining us now to talk about health care reform, which their poems were about, and also other issues, are David Brooks and Matt Dowd, Paul Krugman and Ruth Marcus.
Thank you so much for joining us.
We're going to start with, obviously, the alarming Christmas attack that almost happened. David, you heard Secretary Napolitano and Robert Gibbs give their answers about why this guy was allowed on the plane.
Did it -- pardon the pun. Did it fly with you?
BROOKS: Yes, I actually don't think it passed the laugh test with me.
Listen, we all go through the airport. We all go through the TSA screening procedures. And at least I and I think a lot of people have the sense that it's a jobs program, not a security program, that it's all a joke; people can sneak stuff through.
And that, sort of, reconfirms that. It was the passengers, not the official program that does this.
And the second thing is, the guy was actually fitting every single stereotype of a terrorist you could possibly imagine. He was a rich guy; he went to fancy schools; he was a mechanic; he gets radicalized; and then he's on the watch list. So it's like a perfect bit of stereotypical profiling would catch this guy, and even in this case, they couldn't seem to do it.
TAPPER: Matt, when -- when Richard Reid, the shoe bomber, did the same thing, or failed in his attempt to blow up a plane, President Bush -- then-President Bush did not come out, did not say anything to the nation. President Obama followed that playbook. Is that the right thing?
DOWD: Well, yes, part of the problem here is that all the facts that you think are true at the beginning turn out not to be true as the days go on. Some of that stuff we've learned in the process of this, as, actually, we're learning some of the things we first heard, we didn't catch.
But how are -- the real question is, it's, what are we doing -- what are we spending the billions of dollars on, as David says, that are really doing the job?
Is it a jobs program or is it a government employee program or is it a terrorist-catching program? And I think that's the question.
MARCUS: And I think one of the really -- there's two really alarming things that happened here. The first was, this suspect's father went to the U.S. authorities and said, you may have a problem here. He's not a U.S. citizen. He's a Nigerian national. He's got a multiple-entry visa to the United States. He has no entitlement to that. Why wasn't he -- why wasn't that visa yanked? Why wasn't he, at the very least, moved to the top of a real watch list, not the 550,000.
I don't think that this is the Obama administration's fault. This is the way that bureaucracies work or don't work.