January 15, 2012

Broadcast Date: 
Jan 15 2012

The progressive love-affair with Ron Paul: a discussion with journalist Ta-Nehisi Coates and policy expert Phyllis Bennis about the Republican presidential candidate who is shaking up the Republican presidential campaign -- and the left.

The Legacy of Dennis Ross: a conversation with professor John Mearsheimer about the controversial career diplomat who helped define two decades of US policy toward Israel.

The myth of the Obama's "Jewish problem": an interview with journalist Greg Sargent about one of the media's favorite election-season stories.

Episode segments
  • The progressive love affair with Ron Paul
    Foreign Policy, Iraq War, National Politics, Electoral, Domestic Policy, Israel/Palestine, Civil Rights

    Ta-Nehisi Coates is a senior editor for The Atlantic as well as the author of the memoir, The Beautiful Struggle.

    Phyllis Bennis is a Middle East expert and activist who directs the New Internationalism Project at the Institute for Policy Studies. She is the author of eight books, including Understanding the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict and Challenging Empire: How People, Governments and the UN Defy US Power.

    Adam Horowitz and Lizzy Ratner

    When the Republican presidential race began nearly a year ago, few of us could have imagined that the fight for the Republican nomination would also become a battle over the priorities and even meaning of the American left. But that, in many ways, is what has happened thanks to the cross-over candidacy of Ron Paul, the conservative libertarian who is running second to Mitt Romney.

    With his strong anti-imperial, pro-civil liberties platform, Paul has earned the ardor of such bold-name progressives as John Nichols, Robert Scheer, and Jon Stewart, to say nothing of the masses of hyped-up young people. For others progressives, however, no amount of righteous foreign policy rhetoric can overcome Paul’s anti-safety net, anti-civil rights, pro-free market philosophy, as well as his intimate association with the racist rantings of the Ron Paul newsletter. As Nation writer Ben Adler recently wrote, “If liberals can't agree that opposition to civil rights disqualifies you from the presidency, what can we agree on?”

    It's an important question, one of many raised by Ron Paul's candidacy. In this segment, we discuss some of these questions along with the broader meaning of the Paul campaign for the American left.

  • The Legacy of Dennis Ross
    American Politics, Foreign Policy, National Politics, International Politics, Israeli Politics, Middle East, Israel/Palestine, Occupation, Jewish
    John Mearsheimer is the R. Wendell Harrison Distinguished Service Professor of Political Science at the University of Chicago. His most recent book is Why Leaders Lie: The Truth About Lying in International Politics. He is also the author along with Stephen Walt of The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy.
    Adam Horowitz and Lizzy Ratner

    In this segment, we look back at the career of Dennis Ross, the controversial career diplomat who helped guide US policy toward Israel-Palestine -- as well as Iran, Iraq, and the Middle East more broadly -- for more than two decades. Though widely known for his strong pro-Israel sympathies, Ross was tapped by both Bill Clinton and Barack Obama to help negotiate the Israeli-Palestinian peace process on behalf of the US. In 2008 a prominent Arab negotiator told Daniel Kurtzer and Scott Lasensky of the US Institute of Peace:

    "The perception always was that Dennis Ross started from the Israeli bottom line. That he listened to what Israel wanted and then tried to sell it to the Arabs . . . He was never looked at as a trusted figure or as an honest broker."

    This past November, Ross announced that he was leaving the Obama Administration where he has served as the White House adviser on the Israeli-Palestinian peace process and helped set policy regarding Iran. He went to work for the AIPAC-affiliated Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

  • The Myth of Obama's "Jewish Problem"
    American Politics, Foreign Policy, National Politics, International Politics, Middle East, Electoral, Domestic Policy, Israel/Palestine, Jewish
    Greg Sargent is a veteran political journalist. He currently writes The Plum Line blog for The Washington Post and has previously written for Talking Points Memo, The American Prospect, and The New York Observer.
    Adam Horowitz and Lizzy Ratner

    If you open a newspaper these days or turn on the TV news, you are bound to come across a story claiming that American Jews are fleeing President Obama over his Israel policies. With headlines like “Why Obama is Losing the Jewish Vote” or “Obama’s Jewish Problem,” the articles take Obama’s plummeting Jewish support as fact – and then go on to suggest that he’d better change his tune on Israel or risk losing the whole election. It’s a catchy story line. The only problem is, it’s not clear it’s true.