Welcome to this week's edition of The Daily Banter Mailbag! Today, Bob, Ben and Chez discuss the future of the Obama cabinet; Todd Akin's latest sexist remark; and their desert island first lady choices.
1) What changes do you think might be coming in the cabinet for Obama's second term (if he wins)?
Ben: Interesting question - and I must confess I have absolutely no idea. I think Obama is deliberately keeping his cards close to his chest given it's election time - he doesn't want to give the Republicans any ammo. My guess is that you'll see a more left leaning cabinet if he gets in. Obama has played nice with the Republicans for the better part of 4 years and from what I gather, he's sick of it. He tried over and over again to work with them with absolutely no results whatsoever, inexplicably ceding ground before negotiations had even started. He's wizened up considerably and knows how to better maneuver the Republicans, and that means just doing stuff regardless of what they say. Look, Obama doesn't need to worry about re-election if he gets in - he just needs to worry about his legacy. I still believe that Obama is a progressive at heart with an extraordinarily nuanced understanding of America's problems (just read his book 'Dreams from my Father' if you want proof). Now he knows how to use his position of power better I believe you'll see a lot of pretty good legislation getting through post 2012 and some genuinely progressive members of his administration. And if he doesn't, I'm going to spend a lot of time criticizing him and whoever he brings in.
Chez: I can't really speculate on that, so let me tell you all about how I saw "Prometheus" again on cable the other day and actually liked it quite a bit more than I initially did. I caught it twice in the theater -- once on a regular screen and once in IMAX, just for the experience. Loved the visuals but thought the story was needlessly nebulous, had paper thin characters for the most part and tried to disguise not having a clue what the hell it wanted to say and mean as high art. However, something clicked for me this time around. I've grown to really love the David character and, counterintuitively, removing the spectacle of the beautiful images and 3D somehow made me appreciate the story a little more. There are still things in it that don't make a lick of sense, but I think that if you look at it as only the first part of a two (or even three) part story, it posits enough interesting theories and answers just enough questions -- while raising others -- that it's worth seeing. Pass the popcorn!
Bob: The entire cabinet will turn in letters of resignation on or around inauguration day. It's kind of a presidential tradition for the cabinet to bail out at the beginning of the second term via letters of resignation so the president doesn't have to fire and replace anyone, and very few if any letters are turned down. I imagine the tradition will carry on with President Obama if he's re-elected. And I would wager that Hillary Clinton will be the first in line since she'll need to spend her time prepping for 2016.
2) Hey guys, did you see that Todd Akin said that Claire McCaskill was less "ladylike" in this election than six years ago? Do you think any of the Republicans embracing him again will back away or are they just that despicable?
Bob: The Republicans are all about this kind of nonsense. They thrive on it because it's all they've got left. The top of the ballot, Mitt Romney, was on CNN the other day telling Jim Acosta that President Obama has bribed his base with food stamps and welfare checks -- now, he claims, without any work requirements. It's actually far worse than anything Akin has said, frankly.
Ben: Yes, the Republicans are just that despicable. See Newt Gingrich's stump speech for Akin as an example. These guys are running for public office in the 18th century. It is quite astonishing to watch the GOP descend into complete madness - you can't even really begin to understand what exactly is happening to them. There is literally nothing binding these guys together any more. On the one hand you have a faceless banker who changes policy positions on a weekly bases running for President, while you have a decrepit sexist who believes women's wombs innately differentiates between sexual encounters and thinks that not all rapes are legitimate running for the Senate in Missouri. Then, you have Tea Party militants who think the US government is trying to kill their grandmothers through socialize medicine, and neo cons who want to attack Iran and every other country they can think of in the Middle East. Sorry, gone off on a rant here, but getting back to your question - the Republicans will back anyone they think has a chance of beating a Democrat, no matter how disgusting they are. I mean, they chose Mitt Romney as their best guy for President for Christ's sake.
Chez: First of all, are you surprised? After saying that a woman's vagina secretes molecular acid, like the creature in "Alien," that's capable of killing the sperm of rapists and that not all rapes are actually rapes, being only mildly sexist is like a breath of fresh air. To answer your question, no, they're not going to back off because yes, they're just that despicable and they're more interested in party loyalty than anything else. Akin could pretty much shoot a puppy in the face and there would still be idiots like Palin and Santorum singing his praises and assailing the few sane members of the GOP for abandoning him.
3) If you had to be stranded on a desert island with one current or former first lady, who would it be and why?
Chez: Betty Ford. She'd have drugs.
Bob: Abigail Powers Fillmore. Yes I know. She has creepy staring eyes and she wore 23 layers of stifling hot Victorian garb. But little known fact about Abbie -- she was an expert monkey hunter. Good skill for island survival.
Ben: Ben: No competition here. Jackie Onassis. She was pretty hot...
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