By Mark Green
BOTH SIDES NOW w/ HUFFINGTON & MATALIN: Ryan vs. Medicare, Barbour's "Belly", Birth-gate.
Given poor polling for Rep. Ryan's plan to cut taxes on the rich and health care for seniors, has he walked into Obama's trap? Did Barbour lack "fire in the belly" or just have too much belly? And is Trump the new Sheen? Sitting in for a traveling Arianna, Wayne Barrett finds consensus with Mary on The Donald and Bradley Manning but not Obama vs. Ryan. (To listen to entire show, click below.)
*On the Emerging Medicare Debate. Mary argues that the worst approach to Medicare is continuing a program that will go bankrupt by 2020; she likes how Ryan's plan will encourage "market forces" to keep health care costs down and doesn't like Obama's plan which "is all politics all the time." Wayne gags on believing that "market forces" will temper health care costs for seniors, since they haven't, and asks how Ryan will pay for his continued generosity to the rich -- "Mary, would you tax capital gains at the same rate as hard labor?" (No.)
As for Obama's health care law that provides an expert panel to impose cost reductions on providers, Mary argues that such "central planning and pricing doesn't work without rationing."
*On Barbour's Exit and the GOP Lineup. Since "the press was poised to tear him limb from limb and now are canonizing him," Mary thinks Gov. Haley Barbour of Mississippi was smart to opt out of a presidential run. After we listen to Larry Sabato cite Barbour's looks, state and links, Wayne wonders "why he ever thought he could be president. Can you imagine a lobbyist being President when they already run so much of the country?" He adds that while the GOP field is weak, "so is Obama" -- who seems poised to win given the current underwhelming lineup.
While the two agree that Gov. Mitch Daniels has the brains to be a serious contender, they clash on whether the "Christian Right" has turned the GOP into a religious party with a religious test that disqualifies Mitt Romney. 'This field is not it," assures Mary, since "we have a winning message if not yet a winning messenger."
*Trump, for the Last Time. We listen to Obama presciently saying in his Inaugural Address that we should "avoid childish things"...and also hear Anne Coulter tell Bill O'Reilly this week that the birther story was spread by "Hillary Clinton and...MSNBC."
The Host apologizes for saying the word Trump but asks whether Obama acted smartly in a ridiculous situation and, since nearly half the GOP seems prepared to believe anything about Obama, what's next? Remembering when the swift-boaters slimed war hero John Kerry, what do you do when, according to Mark Twain, "a lie gets halfway around the world before truth puts on her boots?"
Mary blames Obama for "crossing a very bad line and responding to such a non-policy issue" and compares it to how "the loony left falsely charged Bush with lying us into Iraq." Also, Trump is not a serious candidate since "he puts himself at the center of the universe while voters put themselves at the center of their universe" in terms of mortgages and jobs.
While Wayne thinks that this "was a fine moment for Obama," he goes on to share Mary's low regard for a headline-seeker who is making Charlie Sheen look good. The former Village Voice writer goes on to discuss his biography of Trump 20 years ago when "he had me arrested and handcuffed in Las Vegas...Look, he's not using his fame to make money, he's using his money to chase fame." As for the mogul's new questions about Obama's intelligence and grades, Wayne notes that even if part of the reason he got into Columbia and Harvard Law School was affirmative action, "it shows that affirmative action works!"
*Quick Takes: Bonds, Gays, Manning, Gas. The two agree that the Giant slugger should not ever be admitted to the Hall of Fame because of his steroid use, with Mary noting that perhaps there could be a special category of those who would be there but for steroids as a "teaching moment" for kids who see sports as their ticket to success. They disagree about whether a D.C, law firm should have withdrawn from defending the so-called Defense of Marriage Act due to pressure by gay activists and whether Obama or BP is to blame for reduced drilling in the Gulf.
Last, they concur that Bradley Manning was mistreated by being confined to a 6x12 cell 23 hours a day. "Not even Cheney would have done that," says Wayne of the accused Wikileaks leaker. Mary pivots from that faint praise to observe, in her On the Radar segment, that she's completing the editing process of Cheney's new book, which "is gonna rock the liberals world!" Wayne tries to trump that by concluding that he's working on an investigative piece on The Donald for Newsweek/Daily Beast, which the Host promises not to mention on Both Sides Now since he's sworn off his fellow New Yorker.
Mark Green is the creator and host of Both Sides Now, which is powered by the American Federation of Teachers.
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