Both Sides Now: Debating Romney and Palin, Global Warming, Edwards and Weiner

06/05/2011 08:37 pm ET

By Mark Green

The GOP presidential race clarified itself this week. If Romney has the hair, head and wallet, why is he stuck in the mid-teens in primary polls? If Palin hasn't announced anything, why do the media run after her "One Nation Tour"? Why does the GOP deny that global warming contributes to record heat, storms, flooding? Sorry if we repeat ourselves -- but so do news and weather. (To listen to whole show, click below.)

*And they're off -- at the Preakness and for president.
Mitt Romney makes his formal announcement, saying that Obama apologizes for America and is "one of the most ineffective presidents ever." Successful roll-out? Both Matalin and Reagan question the effectiveness of the familiar trope about Obama's "apology tour." Ron wonders what part of killing bin Laden was apologetic and thinks Romney has a big authenticity problem given his flip-flops on choice, mandates etc. Mary argues that the former Massachusetts governor would be better off avoiding standard Obama-bashing and focusing instead on an alternative program, adding that "something's not jelling" for him.

What about Palin's Merry Pranksters, "attention-getting disorder" bus trip? Is it really, as she tells Fox, "not about me and not about publicity"? Mary won't bite, saying that the level of animosity towards her is worse than anything she's seen in her 35 year career, then implying it's due in part to sexism. Ron counters that her bus trip ending in New Hampshire "is all about her and her brand, revealing what a fool she is... Everyone knows that she can't fill the chair [of the Oval Office] and can hardly string sentences together." [Ed. note: after the show, Palin talked in New Hampshire about how "Paul Revere warned the British that they weren't gonna be takin' away our arms by ringing those bells..."]

Both, however, agree that Michele Bachmann is more serious. Mary highlights her congressional career, law degree, 23 children/foster children and Ron her ability to make the conservative case, even though "she's a loon." There's inter-gender agreement that being good-looking help Palin and Bachmann politically, as Ron is pressed to admit was also true for JFK and, well, movie star Ronald Reagan. A discussion follows whether Bachmann is a Pat Robertson in Iowa or a Christine O'Donnell in Delaware, a hard-right conservative who can excite the base but not much more.

Did credible Republicans like Daniels, Barbour, Thune, Jeb etc. not run in part because Obama is stronger in polls than incumbents Reagan, Clinton and Bush were at this point before they won reelection? Mary disagrees, arguing that Obama is "weak."

*After record heat, tornados, floods and the Nat'l Academy of Sciences report, why does the GOP deny global warming? Mary asserts that any scientific consensus about the peril of global warming is "a political hoax,...scam...falsehood", citing advocates for her side. [Ed. note again: after the show, Romney agrees that human activity does contribute to global warming.] Ron notes that while no one weather event can be attributed to global warming, the science is overwhelming that greenhouse gas emissions heat the oceans that cause more precipitation and calamitous weather. "What would it take you to change your mind?", he asks. "Living on another planet," she answers. Ron replies that that answer proves his point.

*A bad week for Edwards and Weiner.
While there's uncertainty over an actual criminal indictment, there's joint bafflement that someone like Edwards would, in Mary's words, "think he can have a love child in the middle of a presidential campaign and get away with it." As for Rep. Weiner's now well-known picture and pun-able name, there was a split on whether it would/should affect his front-running candidacy to be the next mayor of New York City. Ron thinks the embarrassment will pass and not be a big deal in two plus years, while Mary regards him more of a Charlie Sheen figure who cannot comeback.

*Quick Takes & Takeaways: Borders of Israel. Nuclear in Germany. Perps in France. Cell phones.
Might Obama's speech on Israel's borders cost him thousands of Jewish votes in Florida? Matalin and Reagan agree that the problem is not the Bibi-Barack squabble but that some people on each side of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict benefit from no peace agreement. Is Merkel smart or merely political by saying that Germany will end nuclear power by 2022 because of the tragedy in Japan? Mary believes that she is merely making up for her problems with the bailout of Greece while Ron argues that the energy future for them -- and us -- should be solar, wind, and tidal power. Neither likes how perp walks visually convey guilt, though Mary would make an exception for "foreign elites who abuse chamber maids." Will the World Health Organization report that cell phones might cause cancer change people's phone habits? Nope. People are addicted says Reagan -- and... Mary concurs that her teenage daughters certainly are.

*Your Week.
Mary tells how she and husband James Carville took a holiday in Buenos Aires and shopped with Bill Clinton who was there, while Ron then notes that he and his wife watched a newly restored version of Fellini's La Dolce Vita, "and I thought I saw Bill Clinton in some shots."

Mark Green is the creator and host of Both Sides Now, which is powered by the American Federation of Teachers.

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