By Mark Green
All sides agree that this week feels like a sequel to Groundhog Day, with Boehner and Murdoch playing
Bill Murray's role. Is Warren prevailing in her fights? Has Murdoch stopped losing? Is all this giving Michele
Bachmann a headache? (Listen to entire show below.)
*On Creation of the CFPB and Warren's 'Fighting' Stance. This week is the official start of the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau. Though Liberal heroine Elizabeth Warren
thinks it up and organizes it, President Obama passes her over for the top appointment. Why? And could this slight mean that she will now run for Senate instead back in Massachusetts against Scott Brown? Mary Matalin acknowledges that "capitalism becomes cannibalism" without some moral baseline but stresses Sen. Shelby's argument that it's too big and unaccountable. Ron Reagan pushes the Barney Frank point that it's needed to avoid lending fraud and Republicans are afraid not that it'll fail but that it'll work, adding that "they, and some Democrats, are in the hip pocket of the banking industry."
Can she be an effective Senate candidate? They agree that she has the personality and drive but might not be enough of a politician to prevail.
*On "Debt Ceiling" Non-Agreement... If the NFL lockout and Greece bailout are being resolved, can Washington get by its impasse without ruining American Exceptionalism? And with polls showing that congressional Republicans are being blamed far more than Obama, does the GOP risk not only economic homicide but political suicide? We first listen to the President -- President Reagan -- explain how dangerous and dishonorable it is for any political party to threaten America's full faith and credit.
Ron Reagan calls the Tea Party wing "childish" in the negotiations. "Nothing is stopping Congress from raising the debt ceiling and avoiding the disaster my father talked about," as has repeatedly happened in past decades when it came to paying our past bills.
Mary agrees that the ceiling has to be raised but concludes that "there's no appetite for for lifting it without spending limits... The issue is not the deficit but runaway government and record expenditures that have risen under this President." Is the Gang of Six a fix? Is the GOP a "cult fringe" on revenues and deficits, as Sen. Harkin asserts, or crazy like a fox since they have pulled the entire debate over to their obsession with red ink? In the House-Obama stare-down, who flinches first? They discuss the facets, with Ms. Matalin ominously adding that if Congress doesn't adequately reduce the deficit, "it could lead to a third party."
*On Murdoch before Parliament. To quote media columnist David Carr, Murdoch was apologetic but not responsible. Did he stop the hemorrhaging? And how can he appear to have
been the ruthless, hands-on Wizard of Oz for 50 years... and then the somewhat hapless man behind the curtain that day in Parliament?
While Mary and Ron agree that someone at the company condoned awful misconduct, they then part ways. Mary notes that other tabloids had engaged in bad conduct and liberals were complaining more than if MSNBC had similarly sinned. We listen to Jon Stewart tease Fox for being sensitive about "piling on," as he airs a montage of its commentators piling on NPR after it fired Juan Williams ("Is NPR an agent of jihadist inquisition?" asks one host). Mr. Reagan doubles down: "As he approaches 80, Murdoch can look back from his perch now squatting atop a giant pile of crap."
*Quick Takes: Obesity, Light Bulbs, Kucinich, Bachmann. Consensus alert -- three times left and right concur here: they disagree with an obesity doctor who recommends that, in extreme cases, it's ok to take a morbidly obese child away from a parent; they concur that it should be up to Washington State voters (Ron's one) if congressman Dennis Kucinich tries to switch seats and states if redistricted out of his Ohio districts; and neither thinks that Rep. Michele Bachmann's migraines should be a presidential primary issue. They agree that this seems like more of a "right-wing hit job" than a serious issue, with Ron adding, "there are millions of reasons to vote against Michele Bachmann but migraines are not among them."
They clash, however, about the House vote to repeal a Bush 43 bill to encourage more energy-efficient light bulbs -- more big brother or more energy independence? After agreeing that each looks awful under the fluorescent bulbs, we change the question to -- can Mary and Ron look pretty while America reduces its energy dependence on oil-producing Arab states?
Mark Green is the creator and host of Both Sides Now, which is powered by the American Federation of Teachers.
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