Liberal Bill Scher and conservative Matt Lewis meet in the rancor-free DMZ to hash out the week’s political events.
On The DMZ, Matt says that the Obamacare website failures give the GOP a chance to make a larger argument about big government. Bill and Matt take different sides in the debate between Joan Walsh and Ezra Klein over how liberal pundits should react to healthcare.gov’s glitches. Matt wants conservatives to realize that a Reagan-like savior will be not coming to rescue the movement. Will Republicans leave Reagan nostalgia behind in 2016? They ponder whether immigration reform is coming back from the dead. Plus: The meaning of Ohio Gov. John Kasich’s embrace of Medicaid expansion.
On The DMZ: The federal government is back in action! Matt grudgingly respects how Boehner played a tough hand to end the shutdown. Noting the Shelbyville-Springfield–style split among Republicans, Bill wonders if the Tea Party will launch more primary challenges against RINOs. Then they applaud Robert Costa for covering the shutdown negotiations, and list the three game-changing reporters of 2013. Matt worries that political dysfunction is driving some mentally ill people over the edge, and Bill disagrees with cynics on the left who think Obama got a raw deal.
On The DMZ: By embracing radical tactics, is the GOP in danger of losing young Christians? Bill argues that conservatives are misreading Saul Alinsky, and Matt warns that the right is becoming too obsessed with the soul-crushing aspect of politics. Turning to the government shutdown, Matt accuses Obama of taking an indefensible position by refusing to negotiate, but Bill retorts that the president must hold the line to neutralize the Tea Party. Would Boehner allow a debt default? Bill uses an anecdote about the co-ed dorm showers at Oberlin to elucidate Obama’s position. Plus: How will history judge Obama’s legacy?
On The DMZ: Happy Obamacare/Government Shutdown Day! Will Chris Christie be the shutdown’s big political winner? Could the shutdown jolt the GOP into getting its act together? Matt notes that the shutdown stems from our society’s devaluation of leadership. Are conservative activists correct that the new media landscape means they can win the PR battle? Plus: Why Democrats are unified and Republicans are not.
On The DMZ, Bill and Matt discuss the intra-conservative battle over Ted Cruz’s attempt to defund Obamacare. Matt says the conservative rank and file is being manipulated and misled. Is a government shutdown imminent? Matt argues that the GOP is stuck with a message that appeals to its base, but not to the media or the larger public. Bill explains how John Boehner could make an unorthodox play for greatness. Turning to foreign policy, Bill touts the importance of Obama’s address to the UN. Has the president pursued a consistent foreign policy vision? Plus: Why “taking the fight to Obama” may be a poor political strategy for Republicans.
On The DMZ: Matt says it’s time for the GOP to engage in some creative self-destruction. Are House Republicans crazy to threaten a government shutdown to defund Obamacare? Matt says many Republicans have embraced a revolutionary mindset, and he expects to see the party follow a doomed mission. Bill and Matt debate whether Obama botched his response to the Navy Yard mass shooting. Is the president’s second term shaping up to be a failure? Plus: Evaluating Peter Beinart’s argument that Millennials are poised to move the country sharply to the left.
On The DMZ, Matt says that Obama’s Syria address failed utterly, while Bill defends the speech. Does Obama truly want intervention? Matt argues that Obama’s rhetoric of a moral crusade against chemical weapons doesn’t match the logic of his actions. Bill explains Obama’s tactical thinking, but Matt says the president isn’t showing leadership. Matt says Bill is showing the kind of overconfidence that conservatives had in the Bush administration pre-Iraq. Turning to 2016, Matt touts Indiana Gov. Mike Pence as a possible dark horse contender. Plus: The return of CNN’s Crossfire.
On The DMZ, Matt explains why he opposes bombing Syria, while Bill makes the case for military intervention. Matt hears uncomfortable echoes of the run up to the Iraq war. By taking his case to Congress, is Obama being calculating or capricious? Reviewing the political ramifications of the Syria vote, they discuss Rand Paul vs. Marco Rubio, the Arkansas Senate race, and why no 2016 Democratic contenders are opposing the president. Finally, Matt challenges Bill on whether he supports intervention just because he likes Obama.
On The DMZ: On Syria, is Obama emulating George Bush or Woodrow Wilson? Is the media beating the war drums? What happens if limited military strikes don’t work? Is Obama taking a page from Reagan’s foreign policy playbook? Plus, the real issue: Does the backlash to Miley Cyrus’s VMAs performance indicate that American culture is turning against vulgarity? And how should parents handle the rawness of popular culture?
On The DMZ, Matt and guest host Justin discuss Ted Cruz: The College Years (and the prequel Ted Cruz: The Canadian Years.) Matt argues that Cruz’s abrasive political style could hurt him—politicians are wise to placate their foes. Justin makes the case for Chris Christie in 2016. Is Christie to Obama as Clinton was to Reagan? They discuss the political prospects of libertarian populism. Do Republicans secretly fear that Obamacare will succeed? Plus: Is Al Jazeera America doomed?
On The DMZ, Bill and guest-host Justin discuss Republican attempts to defund Obamacare. Justin thinks large parts of the GOP base exist in a misinformation bubble. Justin critiques the Affordable Care Act, but wants conservatives to accept that the law will be enacted. Bill and Justin debate whether the Justice Department erred by suing to block the US Airways–American Airlines merger. Reviewing the recent economic growth in Europe, Justin comes out as a conservative Keynesian. Plus: Should Larry Summers be the next Fed Chief?
On The DMZ: Matt argues that libertarian populism is not the right path for conservatism. Is the concept itself oxymoronic? What are the alternatives for the future of conservatism? Bill and Matt debate debates—should the GOP have fewer 2016 presidential debates with more ideologically friendly moderators? They read the tea leaves on Marco Rubio’s latest maneuverings. Plus: Should we be happy that Jeff Bezos bought The Washington Post?