By Mark Green
How much should we help rebels with a cause? If a stalemate, should we militarily escalate to pursue "regime change"? Rumsfeld and Matalin imply yes. Obama and Barrett say no. Also, how can the GOP get rid of its birther albatross... and who are Mary's and Wayne's favorite liberal commentator and conservative commentator, respectively? (To listen to this week's Both Sides Now, click below.)
*On Obama-Libya vs. Bush-Iraq. Sitting in for Arianna for a final week, Wayne Barrett -- for three decades with the Village Voice and now Newsweek-Daily Beast -- thinks that No-Drama Obama was "deliberate, resolute, balanced" in his Libyan rationale, unlike the more fire-ready-aim Bush in Iraq. Mary counters that Bush was deliberate and multilateral on Iraq and Obama wrong to disparage him by implication - as for Libya now, where's the doctrine? what if a stalemate? what's the exit? Answers -- there's no doctrine from an Obama who's not doctrinaire, no apocalyptic "smoking guns into mushroom clouds", no JFK-"pay any price" for a non-vital interest, and we're largely out already. Lessons learned.
Mary, however, concludes that "we are still the world leader" whether we like it or not -- and we're not leading in Libya or the Arab Spring.
*On a Carbon-Nuclear Deal. The two agree that the tragedy at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plants should force the U.S. to review our facilities, especially those like Indian Point so close to both fault lines and densely populated areas. But while Mary is sanguine about the safety of more modern nuclear plants, "majority leader" Barrett offers a deal - if Republicans agree to some mechanism to price and limit carbon, Democrats should then and only then agree to subsidize more nuclear energy.
*On a Settlement or Shutdown? There's a military stalemate in Libya and a fiscal one in Washington. Wayne and Mary clash on whether it's "axiomatic" (Wayne) among mainstream economists that you don't slash spending during a shaky recovery and whether the Tea Party is dictating to Speaker Boehner while losing altitude with the public. This issue is not beyond-left-and-right but is in fact a clash of fundamental values -- Rep. Pence cheering on those shouting "cut it or shut it" at a Capitol Hill Tea Party rally vs. Senators Schumer and Reid saying it's wrong to cut Pell Grants for worthy students and tax cuts for the rich at the cost of 700,000 jobs (Mark Zandi).
*Quick Takes: Birthers again? Abusive priests again? Wayne, who's written a biography of Trump, wonders whether a candidate "with orange hair is even an American" and belittles those in the GOP who buy this slander -- Mary, who knows many more Republicans than Wayne, claims not to know any birthers and doubts polls (CNN) which conclude the contrary. They lament the costs of the child abuse scandal to their Church... disagree with each other over Rep. Michele Bachmann's assertion that "social conservatism is fiscal conservatism" ...and split on the teams to watch this summer, as she goes for her Nationals ("love looking at good-looking guys working at it") and he for the Red Sox ("no ring for Rudy!").
As for their favorite political writers of the other stripe, Mary picks Wayne because he's factual, fair and doesn't look down on those he disagrees with and Wayne thinks that Bob McManus of the New York Post and George Will of everywhere else are smart and authentic.
Mark Green is the creator and host of Both Sides Now, which is powered by the American Federation of Teachers.
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