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Beg to Differ with Mona Charen
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Beg to Differ with Mona Charen

Author: Beg to Differ with Mona Charen

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Beg to Differ is a weekly roundtable podcast brought to you by Host Mona Charen is joined by Linda Chavez of the Niskanen Center, Bill Galston of the Brookings Institution, and Damon Linker, who writes "Notes from the Middleground," to discuss the news of the week in a respectful, rational forum.
176 Episodes
Joe Klein joins the panel to discuss Haley's Trump support, Alito's freak flags, and polls showing Americans are deeply misinformed about the state of the economy. highlights / lowlights Damon: Is the Biden Campaign Running on False Hope? (Isaac Chotiner, NYer) Linda: Three Books to Help You Understand Nations in Transit 2024 (Freedom House) Joseph: The U.S. assembles the pieces of a possible Gaza war endgame (David Ignatius, WaPo) Mona: The Birth of a MAGA Conspiracy Theory (Andrew Egger, The Bulwark) Bill: If Trump wins, what would hold him back? (Andrew Prokop, Vox)
Sarah Longwell, Chris Cillizza, Will Saletan join Mona and Bill to discuss the upcoming debates, the polls (and Biden's response to them) and how to spend a record $61 million on a Senate primary and still get trounced. highlights / lowlights Mona: Thousands sign petition urging canceled concerts by Israeli ensemble to go ahead in Amsterdam (Times of Israel) Sarah: GOP Sen. Mitt Romney says Biden should have pardoned Trump (NBC) Biden killing the presidential debate commission. Chris: The beauty of no audience at the Presidential debate. Bill: Can the Declaration of Independence’s Ideals Hold America Together? (Colin Woodard, Washington Monthly) Lowlight: The reports from the battlefield in Ukraine, after the GOP delayed aid for so long. Will: RFK Jr.’s Rich Running Mate Just Added $8 Million to His Effort.  The hypocrisy of Congressional Republicans who voted against aid to Ukraine and Israel but lectured Biden over withholding 2,000 pound bombs for Rafah.
Does This Make Me Look Weak?

Does This Make Me Look Weak?


The Society for the Rule of Law's Gregg Nunziata joins to discuss the NY and other cases against Trump; Biden's pivot on weapons to Israel, and RFK, Jr's brain worm. highlights / lowlights:  Mona: In Letter, 540 Jewish Columbia Students Defend Zionism, Condemn Protests Gregg: Highlight: This Is Peak College Admissions Insanity by Daniel Currell, Lowlight: Speaker Mike Johnson and Trump allies who tried to overturn the 2020 election roll out voting 'integrity' bill Linda: The New Propaganda War by Anne Applebaum Bill: Liberland: Populism, Peronism, and Madness in Argentina by David Rieff Damon:  The curse of presentism by Brink Lindsey
FT's Ed Luce joins the group to discuss campus protests and whether Biden is losing. highlights / lowlights: Mona: Country Music, a film by Ken Burns Ed: The Colombia student asking that the protestors be brought food in their encampment. Linda: MTG's bizarre defense of her anti-Semitism vote. Bill: Netanyahu: Israel will invade Rafah — regardless of hostage deal Damon: The new Steve Martin documentary.
Anne Applebaum joins the panel (with Philip Bump) to discuss Ukraine's war effort, Russian disinformation, campus protests, and a change of pace for final segment. What would you have put on the Voyager Spacecraft? Mona: Images of human love: parents interacting with babies (joy), a dog reacting to being reunited, humans taking care of other humans with a handicap (compassion). Damon: Holy texts of major religions, Plato's Republic, Beethoven, Bach, Mozart, and the Beatles. Philip: The vessel itself is a message, and a Haiku by Issa. Linda:, a reproduction of Aphrodite of Knidos Sculpture by Praxiteles, Michelangelo's David, Gorecki and Beethoven.
 Lawfare's Ben Wittes joins the group to discuss Iran's attack on Israel, Congress's action on Ukraine, Trump's NY trial, and the Supreme Court. highlights / lowlights Mona: The Great Hypocrisy of the Pro-Life Movement (David French, NYT) Bill: Efforts to reform the insurrection act. Linda: Restoring Civics in Higher Education (Wilfred McClay, AEI) Ben: Mona is given an award, but Chatham House Rules. Damon: The Retconning of January 6 by people who knew better
Patterico joins the panel to analyze Bragg's case against Trump. The panel also looks at the Arizona Supreme Court decision, and the GOP's clownish attempt to find something on which to impeach Biden. highlights and lowlights Damon: Anxious Parents Are the Ones Who Need Help (NYT) Patrick: Famed photographer quits Ford board over Liz Cheney snub (Politico) Linda: A Region Reordered by Autocracy and Democracy (Freedom House) Mona: Cass review: Health secretary criticises gender care 'culture of secrecy' (BBC) Bill: High interest rates, rising inflation: The economy still isn’t normal (WaPo)
Matt Bennett of Third Way joins to discuss the end of No Labels, RFK, Jr., and other third parties as well as Florida's new abortion law. highlights / lowlights Mona: Karl Rove admonishing Trump's embrace of January 6 criminals (audio) Damon: Why We Can’t Stop Arguing About Whether Trump Is a Fascist (Andrew Marantz, New Yorker) Matt: How the No Labels 2024 Presidential Campaign Failed to Launch (WSJ) Bill: Build Back Faster (Sean Kennedy, City Journal) show notes This episode is sponsored by/brought to you by BetterHelp. Give online therapy a try at and get on your way to being your best self. Go to to try Miracle Made sheets today! And, whether you’re buying them for yourself or as a gift for a loved one, if you order today you can save over 40%. AND if you use our promo BEGTODIFFER at checkout you’ll get 3 FREE TOWELS and SAVE an extra 20%!
Sacrilege for Sale

Sacrilege for Sale


The Atlantic's Peter Wehner joins the panel to discuss Trump hawking a "patriotic" Bible, accusations of lawfare regarding Trump's trials, and Putin's war on truth. Highlights / Lowlights: Mona— What Would You Have Israel Do to Defend Itself? (David Brooks, NYT) Damon— Tucker Carlson's hilariously wrong prediction that Sam Bankman-Fried would avoid justice because he was a megadonor. Peter— Lowlight: Jesus's Crucifixion. Highlight: Easter, of course. Linda— Bridge collapse brings stark reminder of immigrant workers’ vulnerabilities (WaPo) Bill— Democrat who ran heavily on abortion rights, IVF wins Alabama special election (WaPo)
Trump is Hard Up for Cash

Trump is Hard Up for Cash


Nicholas Grossman joins the panel to discuss Trump's money troubles as a national security threat and political challenge, the "bloodbath" brouhaha, and Schumer's speech about Netanyahu. highlights / lowlights  Damon: Miranda's Last Gift by David Frum. Mona: The U.S. is no longer one of the 20 happiest countries. If you're young, you probably know why. Bill: Graham calls for interest-free loans to Ukraine: ‘New way of doing business’ (The Hill) Nick: Once More With Feeling: Banning TikTok Is Unconstitutional & Won’t Do Shit To Deal With Any Actual Threats by Mike Masnick (TechDirt) LINDA: 12,000 More Visas for Afghans Who Helped US Military Included in New Funding Deal ( Appeals court raises doubts of legality of new Texas deportation law, SB4, pointing to past rulings (Houston Chronicle)
Michael Isikoff, co-author of Find Me the Votes: A Hard-Charging Georgia Prosecutor, a Rogue President, and the Plot to Steal an American Election, details some of the undercovered aspects of Trump's 2020 election subversion. The panel also discusses how the Biden reset is going. highlights / lowlights Mona: Warden is ousted as FBI raids California women’s prison known as the ‘rape club’ (LATimes). Damon: American politics is undergoing a racial realignment (FT) and a thread from the author, John Burn-Murdoch. Bill: 2024 Michigan: Trump Leads Biden In 5-Way Race (Quinnipiac Poll)   Michael: Trump’s Biden Mockery Upsets People Who Stutter: ‘We’ve Heard This Before’ (NYTimes). Linda: Literary Magazine Retracts Israeli Writer’s Essay as Staffers Quit (NYTimes).
On this week’s episode, Philip Bump of The Washington Post joins guest host A.B. Stoddard and the usual crew to discuss the beginning of the general election. highlights / lowlights A.B.- The NC Exit Polls where voters thought Trump had better physical and mental fitness to be President than Haley. Philip- The Crazy Collapse of the House G.O.P.’s Impeachment Case Against Biden Bill- Ukraine outgunned 10 to 1 in massive artillery battle with Russia Linda- Mitch McConnell endorses Donald Trump for president after years of frosty ties, and the 9-0 SCOTUS ruling. Damon- The 9-0 SCOTUS ruling on Trump and the 14th Amendment.
David French of The New York Times joins the panel (plus Cathy Young) to discuss the Supreme Court's gift to Trump; Mitch McConnell's tainted legacy; and the threat from Christian supremacism. highlights / lowlights Mona: Stephen Richer's interaction with TPUSA activist about her voter registration. David: Dune 2 Cathy: Yulia Navalnaya addresses European Parliament after Alexei Navalny's death Why the Kremlin Tried to Obstruct Alexei Navalny’s Funeral Bill: Why Americans are still angry about inflation, even as it cools by Heather Long Damon: Why the Supreme Court Should Grant Certiorari in United States v. Trump The Consequences of Jack Smith's Rush to Trial
Putin's GOP Enablers

Putin's GOP Enablers


AEI's Kori Schake joins to discuss Ukraine funding, GOP's moral and strategic collapse, Nikki Haley's role, calls for a Gaza ceasefire, and more. highlights / lowlights  Damon: John Avlon: I'm running for Congress. Linda: Something’s Fishy About the ‘Migrant Crisis’ A Rage in Harlem by Chester Himes Liberation Struggle Kori: NATO Gives Ukraine the Go-Ahead to Cross Putin's Red Line Mona: What Losing My Two Children Taught Me About Grief Bill:  For Gen Z, an Age-Old Question: Who Pays for Dates?
Should Democrats Dump Biden?

Should Democrats Dump Biden?


Chris Cillizza joins the panel for a thought experiment on Biden, as well as the NY special election and its implications for November, NATO, and whether today's GOP as bad as 1930s GOP? highlights / lowlights Mona: Why Americans Suddenly Stopped Hanging Out by Derek Thompson Bill: lowlight: Trump says he would encourage Russia to attack Nato allies who pay too little highlight: Putin Says He Was Disappointed by Tucker Carlson’s Soft Questions Linda: The Budget and Economic Outlook: 2024 to 2034 (look at pages 5-7) Damon: What I Saw Inside the DeSantis Campaign by Nate Hochman Chris: The Corruption of Lindsey Graham by Will Saletan
The Dispatch's Scott Lincicome returns to discuss cheap avocados, the "China shock," and other economic matters. The panel then discusses the GOP heel turn on the border, betraying Ukraine, and whether the Crumbley verdict was a step too far. highlights / lowlights: Mona: As Kids, They Thought They Were Trans. They No Longer Do. (Pamela Paul, NYT) Linda: Isaiah Berlin and the Tragedy of Pluralism (Damon Linker, Persuasion) 1961 Debate Between Malcolm X and James Baldwin Bill: Firing Ukraine’s top general would be a mistake (Adrian Bonenberger, The Hill) Damon: Special Counsel Robert Hur's Biden classified documents report.
ABC's Jonathan Karl joins to discuss Trump's under-covered first two years as post-president. Also the immigration deal that isn't. highlights / lowlights Damon: Baumgartner by Paul Auster Linda: After a Decade of Decline, the US Undocumented Population Increased by 650,000 in 2022, Journal on Migration and Human Security Things Fall Apart: How the Middle Ground on Immigration Collapsed, New York Times Mona: MAGA Has TDS—Taylor Derangement Syndrome, A.B. Stoddard, The Bulwark Jonathan: Lowlight: The collapse of the Ravens and Lions in the NFL playoffs. Bill: EU Leaders Agree to $54 Billion Ukraine Aid Package as Hungary’s Orban Backs Down, Wall Street Journal
Yascha Mounk joins to consider the NH results, Greg Abbott's defiance of the Supreme Court, and a dissenting view on a much-praised TV series. highlights / lowlights Mona: Jamie Dimon Joins the Trump Normalizers by Dennis Aftergun and Walter H. White, Jr. The Best Minds: A Story of Friendship, Madness, and the Tragedy of Good Intentions by Jonathan Rosen Yascha: Emmys 2024: Succession, The Bear and Beef among winners 'I just love you': Tim Scott and Donald Trump's other challengers fall in line Damon: The 25th Anniversary of The Sopranos Linda: Remembering Bayard Rustin by Arch Puddington Bill: Netanyahu rejects Hamas conditions for Israeli hostage deal
Intimidation and the GOP

Intimidation and the GOP


Zack Beauchamp of Vox joins the panel (plus Will Saletan) to discuss Iowa and New Hampshire and the role of death threats in the Republican Party. Highlights / Lowlights: Mona: Peter Schickele, Composer and Gleeful Sire of P.D.Q. Bach, Dies at 88 Zack: Cape Verde becomes fourth African country to eliminate malaria Will:  Trump’s unsubtle crusade to cast foes as less American comes for Haley Bill: The Anti-Liberal by David Bell in Liberties. Linda: What the Asa Hutchinson incident reveals (and why it's important)
The Evangelical Crack-Up

The Evangelical Crack-Up


The Atlantic's Tim Alberta discusses his book on the rot within white evangelical Protestantism. The panel then considers Christie's exit, Haley's chances, and what the GOP base really wants. Highlights / Lowlights Mona Charen-  Don Scott, sworn in as first Black speaker of Virginia's House of Delegates, was once a federal prison inmate Bill Galston-  Haley’s strong bid for second place in the Iowa debate Linda Chavez- Lowlight: 'Flight 93 Election' Anti-Trumpers Imperil the Rule of Law by Peter Berkowitz Highlight: Anti-Trump Means Anti-Democracy? You Can’t Be Serious by Ronald Radosh and Gabriel Schoenfeld Damon Linker- The Case for Trump … by Someone Who Wants Him to Lose by Bret Stephens
Comments (4)

Eliza Howarth

one of your best podcasts ever

Oct 9th
Reply (1)

Mike Brennan

Dems choosing a presidential contender for veep is a distraction vs necessity for choosing a presidential contender in light of Biden's age: pundits are like warthogs, chasing each other through the brush and suddenly changing directions as pursuers suddenly become the pursued. Perhaps a disclaimer should be required at beginning and end of each podcast: " The experts speaking have no predictive skills, please regard this as entertainment."

Jul 31st

Naveen K

Good podcast. Looking forward to more episodes and hope it grows.

Oct 8th
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