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 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.
On The DMZ: Why did Indiana Republican voters go all 2010 on Sen. Dick Lugar? And was Lugar all that good at bipartisanship anyway? Why don’t old politicians just retire? How important is Obama’s position on same-sex marriage? Plus, Matt and Bill size up the potential third-party presidential candidates.
On The DMZ, Matt and Bill scratch their heads at the unnecessary departure of Richard Grenell from the Romney campaign, but Matt has a theory about what really happened. By using Bin Laden’s death in a campaign ad, has Obama sullied what should be a unifying moment? Bill defends Obama’s political strategy on Bin Laden, but Matt sees evidence of cynical politics. Plus, Matt explains how Ayn Rand is conservatism’s “gateway drug.”