Frum-Shrum Predictions After Bibi's Words, Hillary's Emails, SCOTUS's Obamacare Argument

03/08/2015 07:48 pm ET | Updated May 08, 2015



By Mark Green

Two leading authors and media mavens -- Bob Shrum and David Frum -- predict a) an Iranian nuc deal that Obama enforces without Congress and b) the Court will not overthrow Obamacare on technicality. But they clash on Billary's money and emails: Frum thinks voters should care while Bob predicts they won't and shouldn't.

On Netanyahu, Obama and Iran: We listen to an annoyed Obama compare Netanyahu's pep rally to the example of a Democratic Congress inviting, say, the President of France to a Joint Session to attack Bush's Iraq policy. Then we hear the PM says no deal is better than a bad deal and invoke the resonance of the Holocaust .. and POTUS disparage an approach that offers no alternative than either war or allowing Iran to pursue a weapon without constraint.

Did the PM pull off the politics and theatrics of his Horatio-at the-bridge/near-SOTU to cheering Republicans? Frum dismisses the President of France comparison since Bibi heads a state threatened with annihilation. And he attacks any pending deal that will last only 10 years and invites the kind of cheating the Russians have done on their arms deals.
Shrum thinks we won't know if he pulled off his risky speech until two weeks when he's up for re-election. "But he may have hurt his cause with Democrats who were threatening to impose harsher sanctions but now won't." And he's dismissive of, in effect, making the perfect the enemy of the good since there's no prospect of Iran unilaterally giving up the prospect of a nuclear weapon with no concessions.

Since no deal or war can stop people from knowing how to build or buy a bomb, isn't it likely that a decade or so in the future there will be a nation in he Middle East (other than Israel) that has a nuclear weapon and then isn't Cold War-like 'containment' the only plausible policy response? Frum says containment then wouldn't work, leaving the invasion/bomb option on the table, which Bob argues is untenably dangerous.

PREDICTION: There will be some deal with Iran that Obama will enforce on his own without going to an oppositional GOP Congress and then it'll be up to his successor either to continue, renegotiate or send it to the 115th Congress.

On Supreme Court and Burwell-King: The Host asks Justices Frum and Shrum how they'd rule on the issue argued this week before he Supreme Court whether to uphold one ambiguous clause about subsidies not going to federally created Exchanges in three dozen states.

There's consensus that universal health care is desirable and that the Court shouldn't and won't strike down such a major piece of social legislation based on one clause that contradicts the essence of the law. Frum cites the history of the Court upholding Social Security, although the current Court, according to conservative judge and scholar Richard Posner, is about the most reactionary one since Dred Scott and Plessy. Shrum explains how Justices Roberts and Kennedy can find off-ramps to uphold the ACA though the current radical GOP base will not allow Congress to agree to anything except repeal.

PREDICTION: The Court will uphold Obamacare against this partisan attack so that a) it becomes so much a part of American life that some future constituent will urge his congressman to "tell Washington to keep their hands off my Obamacare!" and b) a future POTUS and Congress may finally agree on some fixes and improvements.

On Billary's Money and Emails: Host: there is a development that may well affect the 2016 race and that's the 12th straight month of monthly job grow over 200,000 which will help the Democratic nominee succeed the current Democratic officeholder. But the headlines and news shows are all about Hillary Clinton using a private, not governmental, email account to conduct State Department business... even though she turned over 55,000 pages of emails last Fall to State which, she says, were all the ones about State business and not private matters.

David Frum disparages the way that both the former President and his wife, from January 20, 2001 on, have collected a quarter billion dollars for their Clinton Global Initiative and Clinton Foundation as a political sinecure for their friends and as a launching pad for her inevitable presidential campaign. As for the emails, here again is an example of them ignoring the rules for political gain, "a scandal that is the kind that undermines a democratic Republic."

Bob Shrum poopoohs talk about a Republic-ending scandal. "Well, I guess David doesn't like the Clintons" and counters that their Foundation work has helped millions of poor people around the globe and is WJC's life's work. Shrum cites the always colorful Paul Begala, who says that voters shouldn't and won't "give a shit or even a fart" about the emails.

PREDICTION: HRC hasn't yet responded other than a midnight tweet that she wants the public to see her emails and presumably will before her announcement next month. But while Bob and David strongly disagree on whether the Clintons are largely motivated by money and power, it's likely that voters won't be swayed by this particular issue. It's more likely to end up a smoke-without-fire Whitewater/Rose law firm/Benghazi in failing to damage her and avoid veering into Nixon Tapes territory.

Host: since an increasingly angry GOP base, if that's even possible, presumably cannot attack HRC for her race or birth certificate, we should expect 20 months of constant outrage about something(s)... with Hillary-haters screaming scandal, crime, etc. Except for maybe the VA, there's been no real scandal during the Obama years, certainly no personal scandals. (Sorry Peggy Noonan, Michael Goodwin, et. al. but you've struck out.) Will any arise for Hillary during her campaign or terms in office should she win? Stay tuned. But it won't be for lack of trying by the "vast right-wing conspiracy"... wait, where have I heard that phrase before?

Mark Green is the creator and host of Both Sides Now.

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