Left, Right & Center Image

Left, Right & Center

Podcast Series Left, Right & Center

Left, Right & Center is KCRW’s weekly civilized yet provocative confrontation over politics, policy and pop culture.

Series Episodes

Are personality politics distracting from the GOP’s agenda?

Are personality politics distracting from the GOP’s agenda?

During his first month in Congress, Republican Representative George Santos from New York has been a giant distraction for the new House leadership.  He was caught lying about parts of his job experience, education and even his heritage. He’s now facing multiple state and federal investigations into his personal and campaign finances. Members from both parties and the majority of his constituents want him to resign. And he announced this week he’s temporarily declining his committee assignments.  Santos said it was voluntary, and he was stepping down to clear his name and focus on serving his constituents. But what does all the attention on one member tell us about the direction of the new Congress? The House also voted to remove Representative Ilhan Omar from the foreign relations committee. However, a small group of Republicans want to end the partisan war over committee assignments. Do they want to focus on real business? Host David Greene discusses with Mo Elleithee, executive director of Georgetown University’s Institute of Politics and Public Service, and Sarah Isgur, senior editor at The Dispatch.  Plus, the Republican field for the presidential nomination in 2024 has been relatively quiet. Former President Donald Trump is trying to regain momentum. And there has long been speculation that Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and former Vice President Mike Pence will run as well. But now, former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley says she’ll announce her candidacy this month. Will this turn out to be a contest of personalities? And how do these people represent different visions for GOP leadership? And the pandemic permanently altered the American workplace. How can downtowns and office managers adjust to a new reality? And what would incentivize people to come back?

50 mins

3 February Finished

Can we change the gun reform conversation?

Can we change the gun reform conversation?

Monterey Park, Half Moon Bay, and Oakland, California are all reeling from mass shootings in their communities this past week that left at least 19 people dead. In Monterey Park, a city east of downtown Los Angeles, the shooter opened fire in a dance hall during Lunar New Year celebrations. The next day’s festival, which was set to draw thousands of people, was canceled. Special guest Elise Hu, journalist and host for NPR, was supposed to take her three young daughters to perform at the next day’s Lunar New Year festival. She shares her experience trying to make sense of the violence and looking for hope amid tragedy. And with more mass shootings comes the wave of politicians and policymakers demanding gun reform. President Biden is renewing his call for an assault weapons ban, though House Speaker Kevin McCarthy of Bakersfield says he won’t commit to considering any new legislation. Would stricter gun laws make a difference? And is there a compromise both sides could be content with? Host David Greene discusses with Mo Elleithee, executive director of Georgetown University’s Institute of Politics and Public Service, and Sarah Isgur, senior editor at The Dispatch. Plus, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is standing by his state’s decision to reject an Advanced Placement course in African American studies last week. He said the course lacks educational value and is too political due to its discussion of queer studies, reparations, and abolishing prisons. This is the first time a state has rejected an AP course, which is a class that allows high school students to potentially gain college credit. What’s behind this decision and how can policymakers move forward? And special guest Sergio Peçanha, columnist at the Washington Post, discusses his recent article, “Hug an election denier,” and how we can embrace those we love despite disagreeing with them.

50 mins

27 January Finished

What will it cost Dems to raise the debt ceiling?

What will it cost Dems to raise the debt ceiling?

The Biden administration and House Republicans are already in a potentially months-long standoff over raising the national debt ceiling.  The Treasury Department started to enact “extraordinary measures” this week in order to keep paying the federal government’s bills after hitting the debt ceiling, or the borrowing cap set by law, at $31.4 trillion. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen must now suspend some investments and exchange other types of debt to keep the cash flowing, but she predicts that can only last until June.  Congress must now raise or suspend the debt ceiling so the government can keep the cash flowing. Failing to act could push the country into default could destabilize financial markets and push the world into economic chaos.  Historically, raising the debt ceiling has been an easy vote for legislators. But it’s become a political game of chicken in recent years. Republicans want to slash spending for entitlement programs like Social Security and Medicare, but the Biden administration has made clear it wants the limit to be raised without conditions.  What’s really behind the hard stances from both parties? And given the clear divisions in the Republican party, are negotiations a good strategy? Host David Greene discusses with Mo Elleithee, executive director of Georgetown University’s Institute of Politics and Public Service, and Sarah Isgur, senior editor at The Dispatch.  Plus, Representatives Marjorie Taylor Greene and Paul Gosar were once again granted seats on House committees after being kicked off in 2021 by a Democratic-led Congress. They will both join the House Oversight and Accountability Committee and have already announced their intention to investigate President Biden over a number of issues.  What does this tell us about how the GOP plans to use its slim House majority? And what will this mean for Democrats? And Israel is moving toward a dangerous path away from democracy with Benjamin Netanyahu’s reinstatement as prime minister. While Democratic lawmakers are criticizing Israel, President Biden is now weighing how to respond. What could the Biden administration do, as it navigates debates in their own party? And is now the time for Biden to take a stance?

50 mins

20 January Finished

Did Jan. 6 inspire Brazil’s rioters?

Did Jan. 6 inspire Brazil’s rioters?

Brazil experienced what looked eerily similar to the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. Rioters protested outside Brazil’s congress and stormed government buildings, bolstered by the false claim their recent election was stolen.  The rally was organized online by far-right groups who supported former President Jair Bolsonaro. Similar to January 6, the disinformation campaign was brewing for months, but security still wasn’t able to prevent the surge. However, there were key differences to what happened in the U.S. Unlike former President Trump, Bolsonaro allowed for a peaceful transfer of power.   Are far-right attacks on the government becoming more frequent? What does this tell us about the global state of politics?  Host David Greene discusses with Mo Elleithee, executive director of Georgetown University’s Institute of Politics and Public Service, on the left; and Sarah Isgur, staff writer at The Dispatch, on the right.   Plus, President Biden made his first visit to the southern border in El Paso. This came as his administration announced plans to crack down on asylum seekers from Cuba, Nicaragua, Venezuela, and Haiti, which politicians on both sides of the aisle have criticized.  Special guest Lauren Villagran, reporter from The El Paso Times, weighs in on the mood near the border as the number of migrants and asylum seekers continues to rise. Is there hope that compromise around immigration policy is coming?  And Biden’s aides found multiple sets of classified documents stored in his former offices from when he was vice president under former President Obama.  But Republicans have been quick to accuse Democrats of hypocrisy for their criticism of Trump holding onto private government documents at Mar-A-Lago. Could Biden be in legal trouble? And how will the Justice Department handle each of these investigations?

50 mins

13 January Finished

Are House speaker negotiations good for the country?

Are House speaker negotiations good for the country?

It’s a new year but the incoming Congress has not been able to start work yet. With a slim House majority, California Republican Kevin McCarthy has faced failed vote after failed vote to try and become speaker of the House without success. This is the first time a bid for speaker has failed multiple times in more than a century. How high are the stakes to elect a speaker?  McCarthy is facing a rebellion from around 20 Republicans, many of whom are backed by former President Trump including Florida Representative Matt Gaetz and Colorado Representative Lauren Boebert.  Is McCarthy conceding too much power to try and win over those 20 members? And how long will this dysfunction roadblock the Republican-controlled House?  Meanwhile, President Biden and Senator Mitch McConnell came together to celebrate the building of a bridge between Kentucky and Ohio as part of last year’s bipartisan infrastructure bill. Is this more political theater or are these longtime politicians trying to show younger colleagues how to work across the aisle? Host David Greene discusses with Mo Elleithee, executive director of Georgetown University’s Institute of Politics and Public Service, on the left; and Sarah Isgur, staff writer at The Dispatch, on the right.  Plus, this week marked the two-year anniversary of the January 6 insurrection at the Capitol. What has changed (or not) since then? And sports fans and non sports fans alike were moved by Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamiln’s near death experience during an NFL football game. Why was his injury so significant?

50 mins

6 January Finished

Recommended

Show name

Title

Sub title

Now Playing

The Pat Kenny Show

Live Now: 9AM - 12PM

Presenter logo
Brand

9AM

12AM

Now Playing

The Pat Kenny Show

The Pat Kenny Show

Of The Ball

1 hour left

Today Finished


Next Up

Default

Default

default

0 mins

No Account

Subscriptions to podcast series are only available to users with an account. Sign in or register to subscribe and access your subscriptions.

Register Sign in

Woops!

Error text.