07/13/2014 08:57 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Will There Be a November Surprise If GOP House Stays on Strike?



By Mark Green

We know about the six-year curse, POTUS' polls and vulnerable red-state Democrats. But as jobs and the ACA rebound -- and the House grouses about borders, wages and IUDs -- can Democrats run well this fall against a Do-Nothing/Know-Nothing GOP? Lamarche and R. Christie debate these issues, Boehner's lawsuit and the president's Wahlbergian taunts.

*On the Border Disorder. Ron Christie says that "both sides are complicit but Obama's mostly to blame because he sent signals to illegals to come here and they wouldn't get deported." Wait, hasn't he deported 2 million in five-and-a-half years? Ron insists that clearly people in Central America getting some new message given this surge of children.

Gara LaMarche counters that there are humanitarian crises all over the world as refugees seek better lives and/or escape violence, like the extraordinary violence in these countries of origin. And if House Republicans had scheduled a vote on the Senate bill for comprehensive immigration reform, perhaps this crisis and future ones could have been averted... not to mention that the 2008 Bush-Feinstein bipartisan amendment requires due process hearings in these cases to reduce human trafficking.

Is Senator Lindsay Graham right to predict that if the GOP doesn't agree to some version of Obama's proposed $3.7 billion package to expedite hearings and shelter the children, they'll get politically blamed? Gara agrees -- how can they credibly scream the situation is dire and then block a solution? Ron thinks that "eventually Congress will have to put politics aside" because of the dislocated children to do something along the lines of the Obama proposal.

Last: we listen to Obama's snarky retort quoting Mark Wahlberg's line in The Departed when a cop on stakeout loses his suspect and asks who Wahlberg is: "I'm the guy doing my job -- you must be the other guy!" Given how the GOP has demonized and rebuffed everything Obama does, can his jokey sarcasm work this fall to make the case against a unproductive #DoNothing/KnowNothingHouse?

"Maybe," says Lamarche, brilliantly avoiding any possible contradiction. "No," says Christie, who thinks it unserious and off-putting. "The Senate is gone [to the Republicans]." "Yes" says the Host since the House GOP is taking a risk by appeasing its fringe base while rejecting urgent and popular change like immigration reform, the minimum wage, gun safety, infrastructure spending... instead suing the president, in his words, "for doing something while they do nothing."

Host: Two questions: how can it be a crisis of border security since the escaping children have nearly all interacted with border patrols; and would the GOP really have deported Dreamers who have lived all their lives in U.S. back to countries of their parents?

*On the Hobby Lobby Aftermath. Ron applauds a result compelled by the bipartisan Religious Freedom and Restoration Act of 1994 signed by President Clinton since government can provide this service without forcing the owners to violate their religious conscience. But the law never anticipated that corporations, as opposed to actual people, would possess religious rights. (Yes owners may pray for profits, but souls...?)

Gara fears this apparently small ruling could open up a large loophole allowing any owner to refuse to comply with a law that they "sincerely claim" offends their religion -- "you don't get to choose your own science." For example, what about Jehovahs Witnesses opposed to all inoculations... Mormans who at one time wouldn't admit Blacks... many Orthodox Jews currently want to segregate women and men in religious and perhaps commercial establishments? Or more immediately, what if Hobby Lobby refused to serve the LGBT community?

Did the Religious Right win in court but lose at the ballot box? Gara thinks so because the huge swing voting bloc of single and suburban women won't like the GOP telling them that their bosses can overrule their reproductive rights. Ron rejects such a "war on women" as "despicable" demagoguery. But there was a large gender gap of 11 points favoring Obama over Romney... and it's hard to see how Democrats can't and wouldn't use this ruling of five Republican justices in their favor this fall.

Also, five catholic men. Is that a fair point to discuss or a dangerous road to go down? Ron and Gara agree that there's no specific evidence the majority's religious beliefs affected their decision (though Bill Maher reminds listeners how openly religious Scalia is, including his belief in an actual Devil). But on the other hand, they agree that it's acceptable to note that all three women justices -- Ginsburg, Kagan and Sotomayor -- agreed to Ginsburg's angry dissent.

*On 6.1 Percent Unemployment. Remember jobs and growth? Voters do... and will. And remember all the pundits saying a few months ago that an awful economy and failing ACA would destroy Democratic prospects this Fall?

Does the 6.1 percent unemployment rate and record Dow change that? Christie thinks the BLS statistics were awful given the number of people who left the workforce or took part-time jobs -- but since that was likely because the ACA meant they could get health insurance without working, is that a bad thing? While Lamarche argues that Democrats should not appear over-enthusiastic and run on a "Morning in America" theme, they will and should say the economy is a helluva lot better than under Bush as an example of how they're "on your side."

Quick Takes: Romney and Israel

What does the panel think of Rep. Chaffetz's prediction that his friend Mitt Romney is likely to make a third bid for the presidency in 2016? Gara and Ron agree that it's possible due to the relatively weak Republican field given Chris (no relation) Christie's woes and Jeb Bush's lack of intensity. Then Ron makes news: "watch out for my former boss Gov. John Kasich," since he's from Ohio-Ohio-Ohio and is likely to win reelection easily.

As for the Hamas-Israel military exchanges (the show is taped as Israelis troops are amassing on the Gaza border), there's a consensus that there's no moral equivalence. Whatever the ancient claims on this sliver of land amidst 22 Arab countries, Hamas certainly provoked the crisis by not repudiating the murder of three Israeli teens and then launching rockets indiscriminately into civilian areas.

Three things:

  • An IDF general said on CNN's The Situation Room that "Israel uses weapons to protect civilians while Hamas uses civilians to protect weapons."
  • Atlantic senior writer (and BSN regular) David Frum tweeted this insight: "Hamas: 'We're the victims because our indiscriminate rocket fire in the war we started isn't killing as many civilians as we expected."
  • Still, Israel has to carefully weigh the political, military and human consequences of a very disproportionate response that kills a large number of civilians in the search for rocket launchers.

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

You can follow him on Twitter @markjgreen

Send all comments to, where you can also listen to prior shows.



Both Sides Now is available
Sat. 5-6 PM EST From Lifestyle TalkRadio Network
& Sun. 8-9 AM EST from Business RadioTalk Network.