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 the modern political convention outlived its usefulness? Matt and Bill have a contrarian take on Ann Romney’s speech. Was Chris Christie truth-telling or self-promoting? Matt explains what is a “dog-whistle” and what isn’t. Can our political debate ever be color-blind? Plus: Race and Obama’s campaign strategy.
Matt returns to the DMZ from vacation, and relates his adventures traveling with children. Turning to politics, Matt has a theory on why ThinkProgress attacked him for thinking out loud about Todd Akin. Bill sees irony in Rush Limbaugh‘s warning against epistemic closure. Did Republicans turn on Akin just to attract women voters? Bill wants to know why the GOP is so much worse at abortion politics than it was two decades ago.
Kristen makes a triumphant return to Bloggingheads and learns the rules of The DMZ. She and Bill size up the Paul Ryan pick. Who now has the edge on Medicare? Does Ryan give Romney a chance to win the youth vote? Was Biden’s “chains” comment a meaningless ad-lib or the sign of an increasingly divisive campaign? And should we blame the media for this frivolous political climate?
On a special vice-presidential edition of The DMZ: Are conservatives squeezing Romney by lobbying for Rep. Paul Ryan? Is Marco Rubio’s star fading? Will the GOP ticket make history by not having a Protestant—and does that matter? Matt and Bill offer their shocking VP predictions. Matt makes the case that conservatism will survive if Romney loses. If Obama loses, will he be remembered as a failed president?
On a special sleep-deprived edition of The DMZ, Bill and Matt share their parenting strategies, and consider whether liberals and conservatives parent differently. Was Romney’s foreign trip a disaster, or merely a missed opportunity? Matt thinks Romney’s press team could learn something from Patrick Swayze’s character in Road House. Is Obama smart to feature Bill Clinton and Elizabeth Warren at the Democratic convention? Plus: Jonah Lehrer—when do plagiarists get a second chance?
On The DMZ, Matt and Bill try to figure out why Mitt Romney is taking a foreign trip. Matt reveals the one thing that could convince him to travel to the GOP convention in Tampa. They ponder whether “you didn’t build that” will sink Obama, and why a rope-a-dope strategy won’t work for Romney. They analyze why party conventions now happen so late in the summer, and who it helps. Plus: Has the culture changed so that it’s now cool for teens to care?
On The DMZ: Obama’s “you didn’t build that”—major gaffe or out-of-context quote? Is this the start of a real debate about the direction of the country? Matt and Bill consider whether promoting the “rugged individualist” theme is a political winner. Matt argue that liberalism is like going to visit your grandparents. But while he thinks conservatism is more exciting, he admits that Bill’s vision of a liberal utopia sounds appealing.
On The DMZ, Matt and Bill discuss the Boston Globe‘s scoop that Mitt Romney stayed at Bain Capital three years longer than previously claimed. Why can’t presidential debates be more like Bloggingheads? Matt ranks the six most likely VP picks for Romney. Bill is skeptical of Matt’s picks, especially New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. They consider the different pressures Romney faces in picking a running mate. Plus, Matt’s big idea: Has government taken hip-hop sampling away from the 99%?
On The DMZ, Matt and Bill discuss Bill’s recent New York Times op-ed, “How Liberals Win.” Does it make Bill a corporate shill, a liberal fascist, or both?! Bill responds to Tim Carney’s critique of his piece, delving into the history of FDR’s National Recovery Act. Are liberals more optimistic about America than conservatives? They conclude by discussing what it’s like these days to publish an op-ed in the Times.
It’s a historic day in The DMZ: For the first time, the right is furious at Chief Justice John Roberts. But in upholding Obamacare, was Roberts just sticking to his famous claim that judges should be umpires? Matt and Bill consider whether this ruling will define Roberts’s legacy. With the individual mandate construed as a tax, could the GOP use the filibuster-proof budget reconciliation tactic to repeal it? Matt argues that the ruling will be a political boon for Romney. But if conservatives can’t count on John Roberts to keep the faith, how important are potential Romney appointments to the Supreme Court anyway?
On The DMZ, Matt and Bill reconnect after a magical night on the town in Washington. Matt defends his colleague Neil Munro’s interruption of President Obama. Should journalists follow protocol when asking questions of the president? Matt argues that Obama “poisoned the well” for bipartisan immigration reform, while Bill defends the president. Finally, is Politico right that the 2012 presidential race is boring? Or does the political media just not know how to take policy ideas seriously?
On The DMZ, the topic of salad bar etiquette leads Bill and Matt to discuss David Brooks’s latest column. Does Brooks have a point about respecting authority, or is he just annoyed at sharing the media stage with bloggers? Do we even have real authority figures anymore? And are bloggers too sensitive about their status? Why isn’t America debating drones? Is the end of John King’s and Dylan Ratigan’s TV shows more evidence of the demise of cable news?