Looking back on their last diavlog, Glenn apologizes for having been rude and Harold apologizes for calling Barry Goldwater bigoted. Glenn reports on his recent trip to Nepal and the intense debate there over affirmative action. They discuss the difficulty in moving from a caste-based system towards equality and national reconciliation, and recall when whites were the sole recipients of political patronage and racial preferences in America. Harold criticizes Romney’s remarks in Israel about Palestinian backwardness. If the Supreme Court strikes down affirmative action, how will elite liberal universities respond? Harold closes by talking about the policy implications of the massacre in Aurora, Colorado.
Conor talks to John Tabin about the 2012 presidential race. Was it fair that the British press tore into Romney? Conor wants to know how Romney’s foreign policy would differ from Obama’s. John explains what he didn’t like about the intervention in Libya. Why do so many strict constructionists support unconstitutional wars? Shifting to domestic issues, Conor and John applaud liberal journalists for their principled stance on Chick-fil-A. They close by discussing the prospects of third parties.
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 a special Olympics edition of Foreign Entanglements, Rob speaks with Nick about the 1980 US Olympic boycott, and how Reagan cleverly used the boycott against Carter. Rob explains why the Cold War-era Olympics were so much better than they are now. Rob and Nick next talk “Medalball,” where national teams try to game the medal system. Is China soon to be the dominant Olympic power? Given the impetus toward national glory, Rob wonders why some nations limit women’s participation. They chastely examine the free-for-all sex orgy known as the Olympic Village. Finally, Nick and Rob advocate for some recognition of the Israeli athletes slain during the 1972 Olympics.
Guest-hosting on The Posner Show, Gabriel talks with Sarah Senk, a professor who studies trauma, about the shooting in Colorado and the immediate calls to not “politicize” the massacre. Gabriel and Sarah compare the shooting’s aftermath with the reaction to another “national collective trauma,” 9/11. They next discuss technology in the classroom: Has it improved pedagogy and the learning experience, or is it all hype? Gabriel gets sentimental for a pre-technologized education, but concedes that technology has its educational uses as well.
On Friedersdorf, the conversation kicks off with Mark discussing his column on purity balls, where fathers pledge to protect the chastity of their daughters. They next talk about Mark’s profile of David Frum—are Frum’s politics a psychological reaction to his famous mother? Conor disagrees with Frum’s dismissal of libertarianism, but thinks he deserves credit for publicly changing his mind at some cost to his financial well-being. The two go on to consider what the goal of parenting is, and the thing that parents in Mark’s neighborhood fear most. They discuss the good and the bad (but mainly the good) of the sexual revolution, and Conor argues that society should stigmatize absent fathers.
On Foreign Entanglements, Matt and Jamie discuss the assassinations in Syria, and whether Obama should have done more. Matt points out that “safe zones” sound nice and easy, but they entail military intervention. Matt and Jamie discuss Assad’s relationship with Hezbollah, and how their fortunes have changed since 2006. Does the bombing in Bulgaria indicate a new phase of “shadow war” with Iran? And is it “within international norms” to assassinate Iranian scientists? Finally, Matt and Jamie debate the best way to change Iranian behavior.
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.