The lineup on Libya

THE LINEUP ON LIBYA…. I have been known, from time to time, to raise concerns about the guests lists on the Sunday morning public affairs shows. But when lineups like these are common, I can’t help myself.

A trio of U.S. senators redoubled calls Sunday for the Obama administration to step up U.S. support for Libyan rebels in their battle against the regime of Moammar Kadafi, even targeting Kadafi directly if necessary.

“I think the focus should now be to cut the head of the snake off. That’s the quickest way to end this,” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “Let’s get this guy gone.”

Graham was joined by Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who just completed a visit to Libya, and Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) in urging the U.S. to resume a leadership role in the air campaign against Kadafi’s forces.

As diversity of thought goes, this is pretty embarrassing. Viewers were treated to interviews with three like-minded senators who agree with one another on U.S. policy towards Libya — and saw no guests on any of the shows who disagreed with them.

What’s more, the fact that two of these three — Graham and McCain — had cozied up to Gadhafi just 18 months ago, with the latter even bowing to the dictator, went unmentioned.

Now, whenever I bring observations like these up, I’m reminded that the Sunday shows aren’t terribly important. The ratings aren’t that imposing, and much of the country doesn’t know these programs even exist. Perhaps.

But these shows also help dictate much of the political establishment’s discourse — Joe Six Pack isn’t watching the Sunday shows, but the “Gang of 500” is — and shape the larger debate.

In this case, the “debate” over U.S. policy in Libya was limited to McCain, Graham, and Lieberman, all of whom share a foreign policy worldview, and all of whom are touting the same vision.

The more conservatives dominate these Sunday show guest slots, the more the conventional wisdom tilts to the right.