Is Jeb's Mulligan on Iraq Convincing or a Tar Baby He Can't Escape?

05/17/2015 07:19 pm ET | Updated May 17, 2016



By Mark Green

Jeb and TPP had second chances this week -- will they work? And what explains Stephanopoulos's gift to the Clinton Foundation? Rich Lowry and David Corn of National Review and Mother Jones debate these three "oops's". Then: who's "stupid" -- Dems for linking Amtrak funding and the Philly derailing or Boehner for de-linking them?

*George and Jeb and Iraq. It took four tries for Jeb Bush to be able to answer the question -- was the U.S. right to invade Iraq if we knew then what we know now?

Rich assumes that Jeb Bush answered the question he was briefed for, not the question that was asked. "But it's a long campaign and this won't matter much." He adds that Jeb's people explain that in earlier campaigns he was judged as a "Bush" but then exceeded expectations when he was judged on his own merits. (Host: but when he won his second campaign for Florida Governor, George was a Democrat-friendly bro without a war on his vitae.)

David, who co-wrote a book about the intel that misled us into war, insists that the issue is not a hypothetical nor what we've learned since that March, 2003 decision but rather how Bush-Cheney "hyped the intelligence" to get us into a war that the Downing Street Memo, many U.S. intelligence experts and the U. N. thought unnecessary.

Host: Either way, I think that Jeb is pretty screwed since the details are not as important as the irreversible connection between him and a very unpopular brother and war -- "don't pay attention to the red elephant in the room!" can't work. Short of a Sister Soljah moment where he breaks with his brother's mother -- ok, with his brother's VP -- this is merely the first of many ways he'll be tied to the mast of W...and we haven't even gotten to torture, the economy, Katrina. Rubio and Clinton should doing a jig because of the size of his political problem and incompetence after having 13 years to prepare an answer. Hillary has no equivalent burden and has already smartly broken with Bill on mass incarceration.

*Stephanopouos and Clintons. The face of ABC News donated money to the Clinton's Foundation -- ok because of the philanthropic cause and prior relationship or a lapse since he has to cover it and them?

Rich thinks this was an "incredible lapse of judgment" since he knew that he would be covering them... which became obvious during his tough interview of Peter Schweizer on his book ClintonCash. David agrees it was a lapse since "he could always find ways to donate to such causes without any conflict of interest."

*Trans-Pacific Partnership. This off-again, on-again trade deal among 12 Pacific Rim nations is splitting Warren and Rubin Democrats. Rich supports the TPP but seems pleased that Democrats are now suffering Obama's condescending, arrogant manner "which has driven Republicans crazy before." David concurs that Obama was too personal in his tone to Warren but also questions whether the deal will be good or bad for labor and the environment. That will turn on the unknown details when the House takes up the actual Pact and decides what to do about currency manipulations that hurt our exports and the enforcement mechanism.

Will Warren end up voting for it? David thinks not because of unresolved questions of what it might do to Wall Street Reform and court decisions that a world body might supercede on trade grounds.

On Letterman and Mad Men. Corn argues that Letterman lasted 33 years because he brought "sardonic cynicism" to Middle America and that Don Draper ends up doing info-commercials while Peggy runs for the Senate. The Host informs the George Polk recipient that, in fact, Draper and the waitress will end up back at the house he grew up as they fix it up in a major Rosebud ending. Of course, by the time this is read, we'll know if the Host is prophetic or pathetic.

*Amtrak and Congress. Coincidentally, the day after the deadly derailment in Philadelphia, Congress takes up big cuts to the service. Awk-ward... or stupid to link the two?

Rich thinks that money was not the problem in this derailment and that Amtrak is already massively subsidized and inefficient. David notes that Congress does subsidize trains, like all other Western economies, and that the "dead switch" technology was late in arriving at the deadly curve.

*FLOTUS and Limbaugh. Is Michelle Obama right to share with African-American students at Tuskegee her experiences with racial slights -- or is this "playing the race card," as Rush Limbaugh argues?

Rich lauds the First Lady for going to Tuskegee given its history of young students courageously flying in World War II... but thinks it unseemly that "a woman who has everything" would stoop to engage in complaints about "micro-aggressions." David chides him for presuming to tell Michelle and black students whether being followed around stores or treated as "the help" at social functions is no big deal or worthy of illumination.

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

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