In our effort to clarify differences or bridge them, this week Both Sides Now debated two of the big issues that Bush 43 left on Obama 44's doorstep -- the Afghanistan War and Immigration (the economy being the third). [For highlights of the July 31 show, click the play button below.]
On Afghanistan: The big news was not a spill in the Gulf but a flood of classified documents from the Gulf War in Afghanistan, courtesy of Wikileaks and the New York Times.
With lawyer/ author/pollster/commentator Kellyanne Conway sitting in for a traveling Mary Matalin, the women disagreed whether the release warranted praise or prosecution - with Arianna noting that it also confirmed how "futile" the war was and how it undercut "nation-building at home." Would the Huffington Post have published such documents? "Proudly," said its editor-in-chief. And what about the contrasting covers of Newsweek declaring the war unwinnable while Time emphasized what the Taliban would do if we quit the fight?
On Rangel and Breitbart: The women agreed that the 20-term Harlem congressman should leave office because of the slew of ethics charges. As for the politics of it, he should leave "if he cares more about his party than himself," said Arianna; Kellyanne thought that corruption "was a bi-partisan issue" and partly why the GOP had lost the House in 2006. [But what do we make of the post-show disclosure that the House Ethics Committee would only seek a "reprimand" not censure or expulsion? And what exactly will Gingrich say -- since he himself was "reprimanded" and resigned his office -- when he's asked on FOX?]
Since others have apologized, is it time for Breitbart and FOX to do so for smearing Sherrod? Arianna concluded yes since they both posted the misleading tape; "specific people did specific things -- not 'everybody does it.'" Kellyanne and I got into a slightly lawyerly exchange (sorry) on whether Sherrod could prevail in a defamation case if she was regarded as a "public figure"? Answer: yes if under oath Breitbart or FOX are shown to have known the allegation was likely false and displayed a "reckless disregard for the truth." [Prediction: because such a result could have a devastating impact on these conservative outlets, if it got that far they would surely settle before being deposed.]
On federal court decision enjoining key parts of Arizona immigration law: Kellyanne criticized the decision and said that states rights were overridden, though Arianna questioned why conservatives don't talk about states rights when they oppose something a state has done, like enact same-sex marriage.
Quick Takes: The women were at odds whether to award gold medals or disqualifications to Senate Republicans for "filibustering" to death two pieces of legislation -- the DISCLOSE bill (requiring that interest groups disclose heir participation in a political ad, as candidates themselves now do) and the Kerry-Lieberman climate bill which, if it had a version of cap-and-trade or cap-and-rebate, would likely lead to higher pump prices in the short term and cheaper non-fossil fuel energy in the long-term.
Consensus Alert: When asked about the fact that Amazon last month sold more E-books than physical books, Arianna and Kellyanne chatted about their personal preferences for holding, reading and underlining real books and reading them to their children.
-Mark Green, Host of "Both Sides Now"
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