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 discusses his un-DMZ-like appearance on MSNBC, where Michael Eric Dyson accused him of displaying “white privilege.” Does the cable news format make encounters like this inevitable? Bill and Matt discuss the role that racism has played (and continues to play) in American politics, but Matt says liberals can’t keep pointing the finger at racism to explain away their troubles. Have Senate Democrats hurt themselves in the long run by limiting the filibuster? Matt says the “nuclear option” makes repealing Obamacare more likely, but other unintended consequences may occur as well. Plus: Why some liberals fear a Hillary Clinton presidential juggernaut.
On The DMZ, Matt and guest-host Michael discuss a possible Elizabeth Warren presidential run in 2016. Michael thinks that Warren’s outsider status and anti–Wall Street populism could appeal to the zeitgeist on both left and right. But what are the odds of Warren running, let alone being able to defeat Hillary Clinton? Moving to foreign affairs, Michael makes the case for nuclear negotiations with Iran. Can America and Iran put aside their problematic history? Why did France oppose the deal? Plus: Why does Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen still have a job?
On The DMZ, Bill and Matt discuss the fallout of various elections, starting with game-changing political news out of Bill’s home of Northampton, MA. Moving on to the Democratic victory in Virginia, they debate whether running against Obamacare helped or hurt Ken Cuccinelli‘s chances. Bill suggests Republicans should quit whining, leading Matt to make the case for Chris Christie in 2016. Is Christie the GOP’s only hope, or is he a risky bet? Bill asks Matt whether Republicans still have a deeper presidential bench than the Democrats, and how the conservative civil war is likely to play out.
On The DMZ: Matt says Obama lied by saying, “If you like your plan, you can keep it.” Will he and/or the Affordable Care Act suffer politically? Matt sees Obamacare as a vindication of conservative epistemological modesty over liberal paternalism. Have shutdown cheerleaders Ted Cruz and Mike Lee changed their tune? Bill recalls Calvin Coolidge as an example of a temperamental conservative. Matt reviews the downs and ups of the recent crop of GOP politicians. Plus: Does the likely Democratic gubernatorial win in Virginia have national significance?
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.