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Benghazi: Search for truth or witch hunt?

By Margaret Hoover, CNN Contributor
May 11, 2013 -- Updated 1826 GMT (0226 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • 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
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.

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