Politics and policy with Michael Brendan Dougherty and guests
On Washington Squares, Michael and Adam begin by debating Chris Hayes’s controversial remarks about calling veterans “heroes.” Michael talks about the danger in the fact that the military is the most trusted institution in American society, which Adam suggests has to do with its apolitical nature. They consider whether the process of dissent and conscientious objection in the military can lead to a slippery slope. Michael and Adam discuss the Obama administration’s “kill list” and whether America will ever have peace again. Michael asks Adam whether Romney is the most conservative GOP nominee ever, and Adam explains why that is a dumb question. Finally, Michael and Adam lampoon Mayor Bloomberg’s soda ban, while urging viewers to put down their Dr. Pepper anyway.
On Washington Squares, Michael and Daniel discuss the dilemma that same-sex marriage presents to conservatives. Daniel lays out how civil equality has replaced religious virtue as the basis for marriage. Has gay marriage exposed a philosophical conflict between liberalism and democracy? Daniel counsels Christians to focus on preserving their way of life rather than seeking political power. The discussion then turns to the presidential election and the choice facing anti-war conservatives. Finally, the two discuss how to build effective conservative institutions in Washington.
On Washington Squares, Michael talks to Daniel about politics and baseball. They begin by analyzing Obama’s varieties of coolness, and discussing whether Romney is underrated by the media. Daniel reviews Marco Rubio’s recent foreign policy speech and what it means for the veepstakes. Will Rubio be the Sarah Palin of 2012? Michael and Daniel next turn to the political writers’ pastime, baseball. They conclude by examining whether sports can elevate culture.
On Washington Squares, Michael Brendan Dougherty brings on Michael Bull, author of the Bible Matrix books. Dougherty begins by admitting that the Bible can seem like a confused jumble, even to believers. Bull explains the hidden themes and patterns in the Creation account in Genesis and how they repeat themselves throughout the entire Bible. Dougherty relates an example of hidden meaning that moves him personally, and talks about how these patterns in the Bible seem to be reflected even in history now. What is the Book of Revelation really about? And what are the hidden symbols in the physical elements of worship? Finally, Bull previews his next book, God’s Kitchen.
On Washington Squares, Michael and Adam discuss John Derbyshire’s firing from National Review. Adam contends that much “race realism” is just a set of assertions to confirm already existing prejudices, and Michael searches for where to draw the line between intellectual inquiry about racial differences and racism. Michael worries that intellectual racism is likely to grow in the future, but Adam is more optimistic. The conversation then turns to the flap about Hilary Rosen and Ann Romney, where Michael defends political nonsense as a way for non-political junkies to engage in a debate and probe candidates. Finally, Michael launches an epic rant against the Catholic League for their attack on Rosen and their strategy of playing a victim.
On Washington Squares, Michael Brendan Dougherty and Jamelle Bouie begin by asking whether the Trayvon Martin case can be separated from the larger arguments liberals and conservatives want to make about the country. Michael thinks Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law is fine on paper but bad in practice. Jamelle is surprised at the amount of open racism on the Internet, and Michael and Jamelle discuss whether racism is actually growing in the digital age. They next discuss why social progress should never be taken for granted. Jamelle argues that America will never really be a minority-majority country, and Michael finishes by asking whether “blackness” will always be America’s most prominent social divide.
On Washington Squares, Michael is joined by Corey Robin, author of The Reactionary Mind, a new book about conservative thought. They discuss Michael’s unusual brand of conservatism and whether violence is an integral part of the conservative mind. Do reactionaries in America today defend entrenched power hierarchies, or are they a counter-cultural force? What ever happened to the old conservative WASP elite? They close with a discussion of the role that the idea of struggle plays in conservatism.
Michael and Freddy talk about the “new” Tory party and David Cameron’s (almost embarrassing) love for Barack Obama. They move on to discussing the appeal of the Big Society, and whether it is a revolutionary idea or an empty slogan. Is the “special relationship” between the US and the UK more like a dysfunctional one? Michael admires the British style of journalism that lacks America’s pieties about the powerful. They close with Michael asking Freddy about Britain’s stance toward the now faltering European project, and whether the future of Toryism is articulating what it means for Britain to remain independent.
On Washington Squares, Michael asks Peter about the place of video games in our culture in light of the release of Mass Effect 3. Are video games art? The conversation then moves on to the weird emptiness of the HBO film Game Change and whether political consultants are now the primary vehicle through which we get our history. Next, Peter and Michael discuss Mitt Romney’s strange lack of policy substance. Michael finishes by finding the brighter side of Romney’s soulless consultant-style approach to governance.
On the debut episode of Washington Squares, host Michael Brendan Dougherty and guest Adam Serwer talk about whether Obama’s re-election is a sure thing, and why Romney seems so uncomfortable talking about his wealth. In their own all-male panel on contraception, Adam defends the HHS mandate as normal employee compensation, while Michael explains the Catholic Church’s radical critique of the culture around sex and family planning. Lastly, they discuss how the Emergency Committee for Israel has thinned the ranks of liberal Zionists and criticize Israel’s occupation of the West Bank.