Liberal Bill Scher and conservative Matt Lewis meet in the rancor-free DMZ to hash out the week’s political events.
On The DMZ, Bill and Matt consider whether CPAC is helping the conservative movement by featuring Sarah Palin and Donald Trump. Can Rand Paul win over younger voters to the GOP? Bill asks what conservatism stands for, and Matt acknowledges that the movement is at a crossroads. Is Obama’s charm offensive aimed at congressional Republicans for real or just for show? Matt explores the testy relationship between newer conservative media outlets and the mainstream media, and Bill draws a distinction between problems specific to conservative media and problems afflicting all new media.
On The DMZ: Can Republicans beat Obama on the sequester? Or has the president broken their will? What will it take for conservatism to make a comeback? Were Republicans smart to put so much effort into the failed attempt to block Chuck Hagel’s nomination? Plus: CPAC and the conservative movement’s identity crisis.
On The DMZ: Was Calvin Coolidge a better conservative than Herbert Hoover? Is S.E. Cupp a better conservative than Rush Limbaugh? Has the decline of Catholicism hurt conservatism? Matt and Bill revisit Rand Paul vs. Marco Rubio, and consider whether Rubio and Obama secretly want immigration reform to fail. Plus: Why does the White House press corps care about covering a golf game?
On The DMZ: Did Marco Rubio’s gulp of water endear him even more to the conservative base? Does Rand Paul’s Tea Party response make him the man to beat in the 2016 GOP primary? What would a Rubio-Paul foreign policy debate look like? And will Obama’s State of the Union cement the liberal trajectory for America beyond his presidency, or are the Democrats burdened by a weak bench for 2016?
On The DMZ: Drone strikes—have liberals been looking the other way? Bill argues that drone warfare is less lethal than the alternatives, but Matt wants to see a formalized process to prevent abuse. Are drone strikes the kind of warfare that Americans want? Turning to domestic politics, Matt decries Karl Rove’s new effort to meddle in GOP Senate primaries, while Bill thinks that absolutism and unwillingness to compromise have hurt GOP candidates the most.
On The DMZ, Matt and Bill review the inaugural. How can Obama avoid the “second-term curse“? Are liberals being too hubristic? Did liberalism triumph in 2012, or is Obama a unique figure? They next look at 2016—if Hillary runs, would Biden challenge her? Matt argues that Marco Rubio is the GOP’s best shot at retaking the presidency, and Bill thinks Chris Christie wouldn’t play nationally. Plus: Wildly speculative Super Bowl predictions!
On The DMZ, Bill makes the case that banning assault weapons isn’t the best way to stop gun violence. Matt approves of expanded background checks. But is it even possible to pass any kind of gun control bill through Congress? Matt looks at mental health and America’s culture of violence—and argues that we should be shaming Quentin Tarantino.
On The DMZ: What does RG3’s knee have to do politics? Do journalists just not get what it means to be a professional athlete? Matt and Bill remember Richard Ben Cramer and the legacy of What It Takes, and recommend some other great books about politics. Has George Will become a libertarian? Plus: Dick Armey gets hilariously confused.
On The DMZ: Why both sides think they lost the fiscal cliff battle. Matt asks Bill whether Obama truly wants entitlement reform. Who has the upper hand on the coming fight over the debt limit? Next, Bill and Matt analyze Andrew Sullivan’s move from The Daily Beast to an ad-free metered paywall. Will Sullivan lose his relevance? And are paywalls killing the promise of online media?
It’s the year-end DMZ holiday spectacular, with a pundit accountability review! Bill was wrong about Romney losing the nomination. Matt was wrong about the election being very close. Bill was right about the importance of Obama’s 2010 tax/stimulus deal and the lack of importance of the first presidential debate. Matt was right about Romney suffering by being out of touch with average Americans. Plus: Where do liberals and conservatives get their Christmas trees?
On The DMZ: Bill doesn’t understand why everyone is freaking out about the fiscal cliff—this is how it was supposed to go! Does Obama have the GOP in a lose-lose position, between getting blame for the cliff or sacrificing its low-tax brand? Should we pity poor John Boehner? Can Obama keep the left in line once the deal-making begins? And is Marco Rubio doing the right things to prepare for a presidential run?