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.”
On Fireside Chats, Mark and Tevi think about think tanks. Tevi argues that think tanks have become too politicized. Do the think tanks that claim ideological diversity actually hew to a partisan line? They discuss the battle for the control of Cato, and Mark argues that the right has sought to discredit expertise. How much influence do funders have over what think tanks produce? They debate whether the liberal Center for American Progress has become merely a mouthpiece for the Obama administration and take a closer look at Cato’s claims of ideological independence.
On The Posner Show, Sarah speaks with Anthea about the controversy over Mona Eltahawy’s “Why Do They Hate Us?” piece in Foreign Policy, and whether her broad-brush approach, which provoked much criticism, could contribute to a more robust discussion of international women’s rights. Turning to the domestic “war on women,” Sarah wonders whether the term is politically useful, and argues that the fight over contraception coverage raises a much bigger issue—a long-term goal of redefining the First Amendment. While the Vatican investigates and “reforms” American nuns, Anthea contends that the American bishops are completely out of touch. Plus: Anthea lays out a harsh critique of Ross Douthat’s new book, Bad Religion.