With six weeks before the mid-term elections, politics and celebrity intersected on Both Sides Now (listen to highlights version below).
* Is Outrage In? Yes the economy is the overriding issue, but should voters and commentators ignore Christine O'Donnell's career as a pro- abstinence advocate and her recent concern about cross-breeding mice-and-men...and for Newt Gingrich to talk about Obama in the context of Nazi Germany and Sharia Law?
The women discounted O'Donnell's earlier remarks as a conservative Christian activist, with the conversation turning to whether people in Manhattan like the Host and Arianna practiced abstinence more or less than the rest of the country (listen for the answers!). While Mary tried to put Gingrich's comments in context and defended the former Speaker's concerns about about, in her phrase, "stealth jihadism" by Muslim taxi-drivers, Arianna denounced Gingrich's comments as "insane and dangerous."
* A General Pledge vs. Specific Health Care Reforms. On Thursday there were dueling images and appeals -- Boehner and the GOP at a hardware store released their general "Pledge to America" against spending and taxes -- Obama in a Baltimore backyard talked up the specific benefits from his health care reform (like not losing your insurance when you got sick) began that day.
As for the economics behind the Pledge, one side vigorously defended tax cuts for the top 2% irrespective of the deficit while the other distinguished between the good stimulative economic effect of tax cuts to a middle class who would spend it and bad cuts to an elite who would save it. Then both women agreed that the health care law didn't do enough to reduce costs.
* Woodward, Again? Both marveled that White Houses kept cooperating with the best-selling Bob Woodward, this time in his new book Obama's Wars. While Woodward's and Jonathan Alter's books showed a Commander-in-Chief patiently listening to all and then bringing together generals and anti-war aides, the women condemned the President from two different directions: Arianna attacked his Afghan policies as pointless while Mary thought they were adopted for largely domestic political reasons.
*Quick Takes: The women agreed that celebrities could make significant contributions to the public conversation, but they split on specific examples.
Mary argued that Lady Gaga's message on don't-ask was off-kilter while Arianna gave her a gold medal for her trip to Maine to pressure Senators Collins and Snow; based on comments in his new White House Diaries, MM thought that the former president should be put in a "rocking chair" though Arianna said that it was time to recognize he'd done a lot of good things since leaving office; and the two admired how Stewart-Colbert were trying to excite their audience with a rally in D.C. October 30, with Arianna believing that they could help reduce the heralded "enthusiasm gap" and Mary doubting they'd spur voting as much as Glenn Beck's rally did. Beck-Palin vs. Stewart-Colbert -- where's Gallup and Intrade on that?
Mark Green is the creator and Host of Both Sides Now, which is powered by CommonCause.org.
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