This week’s episode starts with a look at Tuesday’s elections, the latest in a series of disasters for the Democrats. Not only did Tea Party favorite Matt Bevin trounce Jack Conway to become Kentucky’s next governor, but Ohio voters decisively defeated a marijuana legalization measure. Mike and Jay survey the electoral landscape, where things look pretty bleak for the Democrats, especially at the state and local level. Next, the Guys talk about the increasing media scrutiny Ben Carson has been under and how much it matters, concluding that it really doesn’t matter much at all seeing as how Republicans are too smart to nominate a nut, regardless of what the polls say right now. Then they turn to domestic policy, where the big news was Obama’s rejection of the Keystone XL pipeline, despite analyses from Obama’s own State Department finding that it wouldn’t significantly contribute to climate change. Finally, they talk about the upcoming George H.W. Bush biography, in which the 91-year-old former president takes some well-deserved shots at Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld.
This week’s lead story is the multi-year budget deal Congress sent to President Obama. Both Mike and Jay agree that it’s nice to talk about something Congress actually managed to do for a change. Next is the third GOP debate, which Mike hated – but then again, Mike hates all political debates. After that is a look at what the future might hold in store for newly elected House Speaker Paul Ryan, more on Syria (things still look pretty bad) and the Army’s runaway blimp.
This week’s podcast opens with Mike and Jay discussing Paul Ryan’s decision to run for Speaker of the House. Jay is a Ryan fan from way back, and even Mike respects Ryan – though he doesn’t agree with him on very much. Does this sort of inside-baseball thing matter to Real Americans? Jay thinks maybe not, but Mike disagrees, seeing it as one of those ‘boring but potentially important’ issues. Next, the Guys talk about Hillary Clinton’s testimony before the House Benghazi Committee. Jay feels that the Committee uncovered some important things about the attack on the US Embassy, and while Mike doesn’t disagree he argues that House Republicans focused far too much on trying to destroy Clinton, and not nearly enough on getting to the truth. After that, it’s presidential politics: Biden’s announcement that he won’t be running, the floundering Jeb Bush Campaign, and finally, Lincoln Chafee (who?) announcing that his delusional quest for the Democratic presidential nomination has finally, mercifully, come to an end.
This week, the guys lead off with a discussion of President Obama’s announcement that he won’t be pulling all US troops out of Afghanistan, a reversal of earlier promises that all troops would be gone by the end of his presidency. Next, Mike and Jay turn to presidential politics, where they take a look at the essentially meaningless Democratic debate and the hugely meaningful candidate fundraising totals. After that, they turn to Ohio, where on November 3 voters may make it the fifth state to fully legalize marijuana. Finally, Mike talks about a new kind of political pork, and Jay wants everyone to take a look at Buddy – the Ohio marijuana legalization movement’s creepy mascot.
Mentioned in this episode:
The Case for Democracy. Natan Sharansky
The battle for the House Speakership leads off this week’s Politics Guys. Jay thinks it’s a result of the GOP being a victim of its own electoral success and that the media is making much ado about very little. Mike agrees, more or less, but points out that changes in how campaigns are financed, as well as the rise of the Tea Party have given the far right more power than they used to have. The Guys then talk about the Trans Pacific Partnership trade deal. They’re both for it, and they both think that Hillary Clinton’s rejection of a deal she was a strong supporter of as Secretary of State is another example of her putting political expediency over principle. Next, they discuss the Doctors Without Borders hospital bombing, airstrikes in Syria, and why airpower alone won’t get you very far when fighting insurgents. Finally, Mike and Jay express their pleasure at the defeat Harvard’s debating team by a team of New York prison inmates.
The Politics Guys devote most of this week’s episode to the mass shooting in Oregon and what, if anything, can be done to decrease the insane number of gun deaths in the United States. They also look at the situation in Syria, where both Mike and Jay find themselves in the strange position of agreeing with Russian President Vladimir Putin, who told the UN that President Obama’s Syria policy has been a big fat failure. Along the way, Mike tries to explain the Middle East situation in under two minutes, with predictable results. In pope-related news, Jay points out that someone at the Vatican must have been listening to him when last week he suggested that Francis meet with Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis. Finally, Jay tells a tale of Florida libertarians, ritual goat sacrifice, and the Invincible Sun God.
This week, The Politics Guys talk about how John Boehner was hounded out of office by the radical Republicans in his caucus and why it matters, using football *and* baseball analogies. The second big Republican quitter of the week was Scott Walker, an early favorite for the GOP presidential nomination whose campaign ran out of money at the same time his SuperPAC had millions in the bank. Mike explains how SuperPACs work and why Walker’s SuperPAC couldn’t save him. Mike is a big fan of China’s announcement that they’ll be instituting a cap-and-trade system to clean up their air starting in 2017, pointing out that this is a policy that Congressional Republicans rejected when President Obama tried to enact it. Jay is more skeptical about the announcement, calling for a ‘wait and see’ approach. Both Mike and Jay agree that the agreement between Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping about cybercrime may not amount to much, thought it’s better than nothing. The Guys next get into the VW emissions cheating scandal, drawing very different lessons from it: Jay sees it as an example of poor management at the EPA (which needed outside help to catch the violation) while Mike says it’s the inevitable result of years of Republican budget cuts to regulatory agencies. Finally, Mike and Jay discuss PETA’s attempt to secure intellectual property rights for a monkey.
The Politics Guys return from their summer vacation tanned, rested, and ready to dive into the free-for-all that is the 2016 GOP Presidential Contest. Mike and Jay agree that modern debates are ridiculous, which may be why the ridiculous Donald Trump seems to be doing so well. Turning to something that’s not actually ridiculous, they discuss what the Federal Reserve didn’t do this week – raise their benchmark interest rate – and why that’s a good thing. Things get heated when Mike and Jay get into the GOP move to defund Planned Parenthood – Jay has major ethical issues with fetal tissue donations (which he doesn’t really think are ‘donations’), while Mike feels that it’s better to donate the tissue to science rather than dispose of it as medical waste. Finally, the Guys discuss a former Nobel Committee member’s comment that giving the Peace Prize to President Obama was a mistake, and look into the effect that climate change may be having on the global Bigfoot population.
The Politics Guys are taking the rest of the summer off – just like the Supreme Court. But, unlike Justices Roberts, Scalia, Thomas, Alito, Kennedy, Breyer, Sotomayor, and Ginsburg, we hope to be back with new episodes before the first Monday in October. (Maybe even as early as mid-August, depending on how Michael’s new book is coming along.)
This week, The Politics Guys talk about the latest entrants into the presidential free-for-all: New Jersey governor Chris Christie and former Virginia senator Jim Webb. Neither of them has a chance at winning the nomination, though Mike is pulling for Webb so that he can see his ‘Moderates Dream’ presidential contest: Webb vs Ohio governor (and soon-to-be presidential candidate) John Kasich. They also wrap up the Supreme Court’s recent term, looking at cases involving redistricting in Arizona and capital punishment (Mike gets more than a little bit worked up during the capital punishment discussion.) Finally, Jay casts his gaze back to his youth, reflecting on the cultural significance of the Dukes of Hazzard and the decision TV Land made this week to cease broadcasting the show.