Sunday Soup

In case you missed it, having had better things to do, or if you want to relive the excitement all over again, Big Tent presents Sunday Soup, a rundown of highlights from the day's political talk shows:

The budget showdown – and possible shutdown – and Libya dominated the gabfests this week.

On Fox News Sunday, House Budget Committee Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan (R.,Wisc.) told host Chris Wallace to expect more than $4 trillion in spending cuts in the 2012 budget plan he will unveil next week.

The proposal is so serious that Ryan predicted Republicans will be bludgeoned with it during the 2012 elections.

“We are giving them a political weapon to go against us,” Ryan said of the Democrats. “But they will have to lie and demagogue to make it a weapon against us.”

"Republicans want to kill granny” is on the first page of the Democrat playbook, sort of like an off-tackle run. GOP plans to tackle entitlement spending on Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid are bound to make voters nervous, hyperbole or not.

Ryan elaborated a little on how his plan will deal with Medicare, telling Wallace that it won’t involve vouchers but rather a “premium support system” – with the feds subsidizing premiums for health-insurance companies that will compete for seniors’ business. The plan will not change Medicare for those 55 and older heading toward retirement, Ryan said.

The 2012 proposal will be revealed Tuesday, even as congressional Republicans and Democrats struggled to close a deal on a permanent budget for the rest of fiscal 2011 (ending in September). If they can’t agree on the size of spending cuts and pass something by next Friday, the government will shut down.

Over on ABC’s “This Week,” Sen. Chuck Schumer (D.,N.Y.), blamed the tea party-backed GOP freshman class in the House, pushing Speaker John Boehner of Ohio to blow up a deal and cut more than $33 billion from federal spending over the next seven months (after $20 billion in cuts already in temporary funding measures called continuing resolutions).

Sen. Schumer, speaking with host Christiane Amanapour, stood by his use of the word “extreme” to describe the tea party, caught by reporters when he was telling other senators what to do in the moments before a telephone news conference was to begin last week.

“Any group that says you don't cut oil subsidies to companies making billions and billions of dollars, subsidies that were passed when the price of oil was $17 to encourage production, and now the price is over $100, and at the same time, says, cut student aid to help qualified students go to college, yes, I believe they're extreme,” Schumer said. “And I have no problem with that...”

Fellow guest Sen. Jeff Sessions (R.,Ala.) spoke up for the tea party folks.

“It's absolutely false” to call the fiscal conservatives extreme, Sessions said. “Millions of Americans participated in the tea parties.  Tens of millions of Americans support and believe what they're saying.  And they are right fundamentally.  Maybe they don't understand all the realities of Washington politics.  But fundamentally they know this country is on a path to fiscal disaster.”

On CNN’s “State of the Union” with Candy Crowley, the big guest was Gen. Jim Jones, Obama’s former national security adviser – and the topic was Libya. Jones said the “end state”  is not clear, and the mission is more vital to our European allies than to us.

“The vital interests of the United States are not at risk here,” Jones said. Later on in the talk he said, “most people want perfect clarity”nited states are not at risk here…Europeans have more of a vital interest than we do.”

The real scary thing in the region, Jones told Crowley, is Yemen. President Saleh has been a stalwart U.S. ally in the fight against al Qaeda.