This week, when I couldn’t take the punditry anymore, I switched to the news. It was 6PM at night, so the real old-fashioned news was playing on mainstream broadcast networks. Within minutes, I had to switch back to cable channels. The news was so filled with the Nor’easter pounding the east coast, the subsequent deaths, and local crime, I had to revert to political punditry. It was all too depressing. A saner person may have just switched the TV off, or found a sitcom instead.
I limit my pundit watching to a few select shows so that the craziness of the day is not infinitely repeated. After reviewing a few shows to determine which ones get my precious time, I’ve narrowed it down to three I recommend largely because, unlike most punditry shows, these limit panels. They concentrate on the opinions and views of the host, and tend to generally limit interviews to one person at a time, more akin to a conversation than a split screen of talking heads. These are three to consider for your own viewing/listening pleasure:
- Michael Smerconish. Philly host and lawyer Smerconish cut his teeth on Republican politics under George H.W. Bush. He is radio host on a SiriusXM show of his name, and on Saturdays on CNN at 9AM with a show simply called Smerconish, also available on demand. He leans toward common sense and is coming out with a book this spring entitled “Clowns to the left of me, Jokers on the right.” He is situated in the battleground of Pennsylvania, but just being outside of NYC or the Beltway gives a different perspective.
- A.B. Stoddard. Stoddard is affiliated with Fox News and Real Clear Politics, a group aligned with the No Labels movement and re-establishing a center in Congress where moderate Republicans and Democrats can engage in dialogue and compromise. With a more journalistic background that the other two, like Smerconish she can also be heard on Sirius XM, but can be more easily found for the unaffiliated on the No Labels Radio Podcast that can be downloaded from iTunes or any podcast service.
- Rachel Maddow. Maddow leans left as might be expected from her 9PM daily time slot on MSNBC. What makes her worthwhile is the extensive research she puts into topics and the fact that on any one night her topic varies from most other hosts. She holds a Ph.D in politics and tends to go deep on any one topic at a time. She was the first to stay fixated on the Russia story, and as Mueller’s investigation ages, her Russian coverage is not as differentiated from other programs as it was prviously, but unlike other shows she sticks to one interview with one person at a time, and talks directly to the audience rather than to other pundits.
All three can be heard on demand and provide food for thought rather than just outrage, offense or defensive postures. Of the three, Maddow has the clearest left leanings, but she’s worth the effort. If you can only pick one — go with Smerconish. If you have space for two, work in AB Stoddard. And, if you can fit in all three, you won’t be worse for the experience.
A view on the Second Amendment: Check out this article on Gun Ownership on Smerconish’s web site. Written by Sergeant First Class Don Cannon-Cutts, it proposes to follow the Constitution literally and allow anyone to have a well-regulated gun so long as they also join a well-regulated militia, aka The National Guard. It’s an interesting proposal for Common Sense Gun Sanity with reverence to the Second Amendment.