Benghazi: Search for truth or witch hunt?
May 11, 2013 -- Updated 1826 GMT (0226 HKT)
- CNN Radio podcast features CNN Opinion contributors on top three stories
- Margaret Hoover, Dean Obeidallah, John Avlon tackle motivation for Benghazi hearings
- They discuss whether cracks in GOP's monolithic thinking will help or hurt party
- They ask if Gov. Christie's lap band surgery was for political ambition or personal health
Editor's note: Margaret Hoover is the author of "American Individualism: How a New Generation of Conservatives Can Save the Republican Party."
(CNN) -- Dean Obeidallah, John Avlon and I kick off this week's episode of "The Big Three" podcast by tackling Congress' Benghazi hearings from three distinct perspectives.
Ever the centrist, my beloved husband John questions whether the hearings are an earnest search for the truth or a hyperpartisan GOP political witch hunt aimed at embarrassing the Obama administration while derailing Hillary Clinton's potential 2016 presidential bid. Dean and I duke it out from opposite perspectives, and we all agree on a surprising point at the end.
John Avlon, Margaret Hoover, Dean Obeidallah
Then, on to a discussion of the dramatic fractures within the GOP on immigration reform -- a split between former Sen. Jim DeMint's Heritage Foundation and his protégé Sen. Marco Rubio -- which give Dean cause for celebration. But I'm not sure he will ultimately like the outcome of these GOP growing pains, which I suspect reveal a realignment of Republican reformers from old guard thinking.
Cracks in what had been GOP monolithic thinking on issues ranging from immigration to gun control to gay rights -- in a week where Delaware became the 11th state to pass marriage equality with a genuine bipartisan majority -- could reinvigorate the GOP brand and lead to a more competitive party nationally.
John thinks renewal and competition in any party orthodoxy is healthy for America, but Dean is clearly rooting for DeMint's success, even if it means the end of the Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act. To be fair, Dean's a comedian, so maybe his partisanship is good for laughs, but it will give way to a desire for good policy to win the day -- even if the Republicans get some credit. We'll let you decide.
Finally, was Gov. Chris Christie's lap band surgery motivated by political ambition or personal health? One of us thinks Americans are too obsessed with weight to elect an obese president. Another worries that the act of losing weight will obscure Christie's record in New Jersey if he decides to challenge Hillary Clinton in 2016. Is it possible for aspiring elected officials to make decisions independent of their political future?
We hope you have as much fun hearing us analyze these issues as we had laughing it out over them.
Follow us on Twitter @CNNOpinion.
Join us on Facebook/CNNOpinion.
The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Margaret Hoover.
Part of complete coverage on
March 11, 2014 -- Updated 2218 GMT (0618 HKT)
Peggy Drexler says Sheryl Sandberg's "Ban Bossy" campaign is better off if it tries to reclaim the positive aspect of the word.
March 11, 2014 -- Updated 1918 GMT (0318 HKT)
David Frum says the warning for conservatives is: Millennial attachment to the Democratic Party is not a phase.
March 11, 2014 -- Updated 1732 GMT (0132 HKT)
Brian Havel says passengers boarding a flight with stolen passports shows the need for global coordination and standardized procedures for travel documentation
March 11, 2014 -- Updated 1211 GMT (2011 HKT)
Former Israeli ambassador Michael Oren says the U.S. risks getting outmaneuvered in the Middle East
March 11, 2014 -- Updated 1222 GMT (2022 HKT)
Laurence Steinberg says efforts like Obama's My Brother's Keeper" are noble, but a key to helping young black men is fixing a justice system that disproportionately puts them in jail
March 11, 2014 -- Updated 1213 GMT (2013 HKT)
Julianne Wurm says people need to take charge of the avalanche of requests they get and set priorities
March 11, 2014 -- Updated 1448 GMT (2248 HKT)
A man was convicted of raping a woman with Down syndrome, and the judge overturned it saying she didn't act like a victim. David Perry says all rape victims can be subject to this kind of dismissal
March 11, 2014 -- Updated 2044 GMT (0444 HKT)
Peter Bergen says wild theories often flourish after a passenger jet disaster; it's best to wait for an investigation
March 10, 2014 -- Updated 1654 GMT (0054 HKT)
Pilot Bill Palmer says the investigation of what happened to Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 will be long and complicated
March 11, 2014 -- Updated 1837 GMT (0237 HKT)
Alexander Pourbaix says the Keystone XL pipeline is safe and would provide the U.S. with oil from a reliable nation. He says it's the responsible path forward
March 10, 2014 -- Updated 1709 GMT (0109 HKT)
David Wheeler says embarrassing and out-of-context Web ads are affecting nearly everyone who uses the Internet.
March 10, 2014 -- Updated 1441 GMT (2241 HKT)
Kirk Bloodsworth says DNA cleared him after eight years in prison for a crime he didn't commit. He is living proof, he says, that America's system of capital punishment is broken beyond repair.
March 8, 2014 -- Updated 1406 GMT (2206 HKT)
President Putin's endgame in Crimea is now clear—and the West has only a few days to act, writes Daniel Treisman.
March 8, 2014 -- Updated 1426 GMT (2226 HKT)
Melinda Gates says data is not boring; it is a powerful tool in targeting assistance to women and girls, and making the case to world leaders that empowering women makes a difference.
March 9, 2014 -- Updated 1322 GMT (2122 HKT)
Bob Greene says doctors are distracted by their computer screens when they should be giving patients precious face-to-face time
March 10, 2014 -- Updated 1600 GMT (0000 HKT)
Sandra Fluke says for her generation, issues that matter are gender-related violence, education and economic equality.
Today's five most popular stories