Liberal Bill Scher and conservative Matt Lewis meet in the rancor-free DMZ to hash out the week’s political events.
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.
On The DMZ: Did Mary Cheney betray her family by attacking sister Liz over same-sex marriage? Has opposing gay marriage become an unacceptable position? Matt explains why Rush Limbaugh is wrong about Pope Francis’s comments on capitalism. Bill defends the first year of Obama’s second term, which Matt says has been horrible. Is this the second-term curse? And is John Boehner poised to revive immigration reform—conservative base be damned?
On a special Thanksgivukkah episode of The DMZ, Bill and Matt discuss this bizarre, once-in-a-lifetime holiday convergence. Bill praises John Kerry for achieving an agreement with Iran and suggests he may be a better Secretary of State than Hillary Clinton. Turning to immigration, they consider how Obama and Boehner responded to pro-reform hecklers. Is immigration reform still a live option? Plus: Matt cautions conservatives not to get carried away about Obamacare‘s troubles.
On The DMZ, Matt discusses his un-DMZ-like appearance on MSNBC, where Michael Eric Dyson accused him of displaying “white privilege.” Does the cable news format make encounters like this inevitable? Bill and Matt discuss the role that racism has played (and continues to play) in American politics, but Matt says liberals can’t keep pointing the finger at racism to explain away their troubles. Have Senate Democrats hurt themselves in the long run by limiting the filibuster? Matt says the “nuclear option” makes repealing Obamacare more likely, but other unintended consequences may occur as well. Plus: Why some liberals fear a Hillary Clinton presidential juggernaut.
On The DMZ, Matt and guest-host Michael discuss a possible Elizabeth Warren presidential run in 2016. Michael thinks that Warren’s outsider status and anti–Wall Street populism could appeal to the zeitgeist on both left and right. But what are the odds of Warren running, let alone being able to defeat Hillary Clinton? Moving to foreign affairs, Michael makes the case for nuclear negotiations with Iran. Can America and Iran put aside their problematic history? Why did France oppose the deal? Plus: Why does Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen still have a job?
On The DMZ, Bill and Matt discuss the fallout of various elections, starting with game-changing political news out of Bill’s home of Northampton, MA. Moving on to the Democratic victory in Virginia, they debate whether running against Obamacare helped or hurt Ken Cuccinelli‘s chances. Bill suggests Republicans should quit whining, leading Matt to make the case for Chris Christie in 2016. Is Christie the GOP’s only hope, or is he a risky bet? Bill asks Matt whether Republicans still have a deeper presidential bench than the Democrats, and how the conservative civil war is likely to play out.
On The DMZ: Matt says Obama lied by saying, “If you like your plan, you can keep it.” Will he and/or the Affordable Care Act suffer politically? Matt sees Obamacare as a vindication of conservative epistemological modesty over liberal paternalism. Have shutdown cheerleaders Ted Cruz and Mike Lee changed their tune? Bill recalls Calvin Coolidge as an example of a temperamental conservative. Matt reviews the downs and ups of the recent crop of GOP politicians. Plus: Does the likely Democratic gubernatorial win in Virginia have national significance?