I was on the Thom Hartmann show last night to debate conservative commentator Hughey Newsome and Jennifer Kerns, Contributor to The Washington Times and our old friend, The Blaze. It was a fairly civilized affair, and we discussed amongst other topics the Democrats filibustering the human trafficking bill over an anti-abortion provision slipped in by Republicans and the success of ‘Obamacare’ despite the continuing denial that it is working by the GOP. Check out the debate below:
If I’m honest, I have a hard time debating these topics seriously these days. The issues are so self evidently one sided that I don’t see much point in engaging with conservatives over them. While my co-guests Hughey and Jennifer were very reasonable and open to debate, more often that not anyone defending the current Republican Party is simply not worth talking to (for an example of this, check out the shouting match I took part in a couple of weeks ago).
For the better part of the debate last night, the arguments could be boiled down to the following logic:
Obama is bad, therefore anything he does is bad.
My default position is then to defend Obama, which I am getting fairly sick of doing. It should not be anyone’s job other than administration spin people to relentlessly defend the President, but that’s often where staff here at the Banter end up – cutting through the insane amounts of bullshit chucked at him pretty much for the sole reason that he is an African American. It would be great to have a serious discussion with sensible conservatives over policy and political philosophy, but these days it comes down to blind ideology and stupidity versus people still attached to reality.
There is much to criticize Obama for – rolling over for Wall St, his drone policy, military strategy (or lack thereof) in the Middle East, his administration’s total support of Israel etc etc. But when do we get to debate this stuff sensibly? There’s so much nonsense surrounding Obama that it is virtually impossible to get a realistic understanding of who he is and what his administration is trying to do (for anyone interested, he’s a mildly conservative centrist with many liberal leanings heading up a centrist Democrat administration). But then according to the hard Right he’s a weakling Communist Islamist, and according to the hard Left he’s a baby killing drone emperor. Sadly all political debate in America revolves around these caricatures of Obama, which is particularly strange given he mostly reminds me of my dad – a reasonable, slightly balding professorial chap with an awful lot on his plate.
Of course I will continue to participate in TV debate, and continue to go after Republicans and Leftists who insist on seeing the world through the lens of hardened ideology, but Jesus Christ is it tiring.
Ben Cohen is the editor and founder of The Daily Banter. He lives in Washington DC where he does podcasts, teaches Martial Arts, and tries to be a good father. He would be extremely disturbed if you took him too seriously.