Liberal Bill Scher and conservative Matt Lewis meet in the rancor-free DMZ to hash out the week’s political events.
On The DMZ: Has Mitt Romney been proven right about Russia? Has the Ukraine crisis exposed Obama’s weakness? Have conservatives rediscovered interventionism—or are they attracted to Putin? Does the crisis rekindle Rubio’s 2016 hopes, or does Rand Paul’s isolationism hold sway with primary voters? Did the GOP establishment strike back against Tea Partiers in the Texas primaries? Plus: How CPAC is like show business.
On The DMZ: McKay Coppins’s caustic profile of Donald Trump causes a stir. Matt is impressed that Coppins didn’t allow himself to be seduced by Trump. Bill argues that Bridgegate proves that MSNBC is now better than Fox News at pushing scandal narratives, but Matt wonders whether this is about anything beyond ratings. Matt makes the conservative case against a higher minimum wage, and Bill wonders whether the CBO report means that a deal to raise the minimum wage is now impossible.
On The DMZ, post-game analysis of the boring Super Bowl leads Bill to wonder why we watch sports at all. Bill suggests that Mike Huckabee’s lead in 2016 GOP polls shows that conservatives are obsessed with fighting political correctness. Why are Democrats better at keeping internal discipline? Matt and Bill review the risks and rewards for Hillary Clinton in riding the recent wave of ’90s nostalgia. Could Republicans succeed by using economic populism against Clinton? Plus: Matt thinks the CBO’s new findings on Obamacare and employment are more of a mixed bag than either side will admit.
On The DMZ, Bill and Matt make their Super Bowl predictions and discuss the Richard Sherman phenomenon. They then turn to new 2016 polling showing Christie down and Ryan and Walker up. Should the GOP take the lead on issues like immigration reform, or is doing nothing a viable strategy? Would legalization alone settle the immigration question, or are Democrats right to press for citizenship? Matt praises Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, who gave the GOP response to the State of the Union. Plus: Is Reince Priebus‘s proposed boycott of MSNBC over an offensive tweet justified?
On The DMZ: Can Ezra Klein create an independent, high-brow news site that succeeds financially? Bill and Matt analyze Glenn Beck’s apology for “helping tear the country apart.” Should Beck be welcomed back into polite society? Why did former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, indicted this week, throw away his career? Bill notes that President Obama managed to rise through Chicago politics untainted by corruption. Was McDonnell’s sin striving to rise from humble beginnings?
On The DMZ: How the Super Bowl could affect Chris Christie’s fortunes. What happens to the 2016 field if Christie is toast? Matt and Bill discuss why political tribalism is often rational—and how that fact exposes Christie’s weakness. Bill argues that Obama has shown the value of combining virtue and toughness. Matt warns young political operatives against the seductive pull of the dark side. Plus: Has Obama taken advice from Patrick Swayze in Road House?
On The DMZ, Matt explains why the right isn’t rallying to defend Chris Christie during the bridge scandal. Bill thinks the story highlights that electability is a thin reed on which to base a presidential candidacy. They note that ruthlessness is often rewarded in politics, but only if you get away with it. Next, Matt argues that the right has something important to learn from MSNBC. Do conservatives have a soft spot for monarchies? Plus: On Bob Gates’s new memoir, Bill says we should consider history’s long view.
On The DMZ, Bill and Matt consider a recent poll stating that fewer Republicans believe in evolution. Matt argues that Christians should not reject evolution. Could this culture war issue have political implications in 2016? Next, Bill describes the Democrats’ push to renew extended unemployment insurance, and Matt encourages the GOP to pursue new conservative ideas to fight unemployment.
On The DMZ Year-End Holiday Spectacular, Bill and Matt discuss what they got wrong in the past year. Was President Obama a winner or a loser in 2013? What about the GOP presidential contenders? They discuss the journalists who had a great year (Robert Costa, Glenn Greenwald), and those who did not (Martin Bashir, Megyn Kelly). Taking a bold stand, Matt maintains that Die Hard is not a Christmas movie. Plus: What are the best Christmas movies to watch with young kids?
On The DMZ: Duck Dynasty vs. Pajama Boy: a false choice? Matt sees a chilling effect on speech in the suspension of a reality TV star. Bill argues that defending political incorrectness is not a wise battle for the conservative movement to undertake. Next, why Pajama Boy infuriated the online right. Bill thinks it’s just advertising, while Matt thinks it’s the downfall of Western civilization. Plus: Analyzing the new delay of Obamacare’s individual mandate for those with canceled insurance plans.
On The DMZ: Should conservatives support the Ryan-Murray budget deal? Should progressives? And can it pass the House? What’s Paul Ryan’s ultimate goal? Why has conservative Sen. John Cornyn attracted a primary challenger—and what do hipster glasses have to do with it? Finally, Bill and Matt tackle the real issue: The Great Love Actually Debate.