Liberal Bill Scher and conservative Matt Lewis meet in the rancor-free DMZ to hash out the week’s political events.
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?
On The DMZ, Bill and Matt discuss the failed attempt to recall Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. What lessons should Democrats, Republicans, and the labor movement draw? Why didn’t President Obama come out more strongly in favor of the Democratic candidate? Speaking of Obama’s reelection campaign, why is Bill Clinton suddenly off-message? Should Obama be on Clinton’s message? And Matt’s big idea: cable news as we know it won’t survive.
On a very special episode of The DMZ, Matt explains why he’s happy that he’s making fewer TV appearances, and offers some practical advice for young writers. Responding to a commenter’s question, Bill and Matt discuss whether they would have the same politics if they lived in a different historical era—would Matt have voted for JFK? Matt weighs the tension between his epistemological modesty and his impulse to seek the good. Bill explains why his temperament leads him toward practical liberalism—and made him a college conservative. They close by discussing Cory Booker, Chris Matthews, and what it means to be a political surrogate.