Special Podcast: The Two Party System

BW-TwoPartySystem-Blog--DiagonalIn the face of a government shutdown affecting millions of Americans, we ask again: is the two-party system making America ungovernable?

With Congress at a standstill, the Republican and Democratic parties are even further entrenched in calcified partisanship. The rise of extremism in both parties and the exodus of moderate voices from Congress all point toward the public’s growing discontent. Has our two-party system failed us, and is this a call to change our two-party system of governance? With new material from moderator John Donvan, we revisit highlights from our popular 2011 debate featuring Arianna Huffington, David Brooks, P.J. O'Rourke and Zev Chafets.

Have your thoughts on the two-party system changed? Vote now and tell us where you stand.

Special Podcast: Gridlock in Washington

Special Podcast Release on Obamacare

ObamacareBlog2Listen to our first retrospective, a podacst that sheds light on the debate surrounding Obamacare.

Yesterday at 12:01 AM, parts of the government officially shut down as Congress failed to agree on changes to the Affordable Care Act.

Although President Obama signed it into law in March of 2010, the Affordable Care Act remains one of the nation’s most divisive issues. Over the past nearly four years, House Republicans have voted 40 times to repeal the law in part or in whole. Just this week, Senator Ted Cruz spent hours on the Senate floor speaking against the healthcare law, while President Obama took the stage at the Clinton Global Initiative to explain intricacies of the healthcare overhaul.

So, how has it come to this point? Why does healthcare remain such a contested issue nearly 6 years into Barack Obama’s presidency? To shed light on the evolving public debate surrounding healthcare, Intelligence Squared U.S. is recapping a debate it held in 2011, just 9 months after the Affordable Care Act was signed into law. The controversial motion up for debate was: "Repeal Obamacare".

Special Podcast on Obamacare

The U.S. Drone Program is Fatally Flawed

Drones FinalWeb239x398

Illustration by Thomas James

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Remotely piloted aircraft, or drones, have been the centerpiece of America’s counterterrorism toolkit since the start of the Obama presidency, and the benefits have been clear.  Their use has significantly weakened al Qaeda and the Taliban while keeping American troops out of harm’s way.  But critics of drone strikes argue that the short-term gains do not outweigh the long-term consequences—among them, radicalization of a public outraged over civilian deaths.  Is our drone program hurting, or helping, in the fight against terrorism?

Full Debate Details
The U.S. Drone Program is Fatally Flawed Edited
The U.S. Drone Program is Fatally Flawed - Unedited

The U.S. Has No Dog In The Fight In Syria


Friday, August 9, 2013 in Aspen, CO

There are certain international crises that on their face demand the immediate and urgent attention of presidents. We all know them when we see them -- and so does the man in the White House. Saddam's invasion of Kuwait comes to mind -- an easy call. But there are other situations where the call may be tougher to make. Bosnia got a president's attention; Rwanda did not. And what about Syria -- now in the midst of a civil war and humanitarian crisis of enormous proportions. Certainly there are U.S. interests at stake, but are they vital interests? And what of President Obama's response so far: it has been deliberately limited, but should he go further, and with what sorts of options? Military intervention? Something else? Something less? One thing is certain: Syria is not one of those easy calls. It's what we're debating in Aspen, when we take on the topic: The U.S. has no dog in the fight in Syria.

Full Debate Details
The U.S. Has No Dog In The Fight In Syria - Edited
The U.S. Has No Dog In The Fight In Syria - Unedited

Cutting the Pentagon's Budget is a Gift To Our Enemies



Political gridlock in Washington triggered across-the-board spending cuts, known as the sequester, in March. As a result, the Pentagon was given six months to eliminate $41 billion from the current year’s budget, and unlike past cuts, this time everything is on the table. In 2011, America spent $711 billion dollars on its defense—more than the next 13 highest spending countries combined. But the burdens it shoulders, both at home and abroad, are unprecedented. Could the sequester be a rare opportunity to overhaul the armed forces, or will its impact damage military readiness and endanger national security?

Presented in partnership with The McCain Institute for International Leadership at Arizona State University, a center for research and action in national security and foreign policy. It seeks to promote leadership and decision-making, in the best American tradition of open inquiry, spirited discussion and practical action. Get involved at mccaininstitute.org

Full Debate Details
Cutting The Pentagon's Budget Is A Gift To Our Enemies - Edited
Cutting The Pentagon's Budget Is A Gift To Our Enemies - Unedited

The FDA'S Caution Is Hazardous To Our Health


Wednesday, May 8, 2013

The Food and Drug Administration, the oldest comprehensive consumer protection agency in the U.S. federal government, is charged with protecting the public health.  Under this mandate, it regulates drugs and medical devices for their safety and effectiveness.  But is it a failing mandate?  It’s long been argued that the FDA’s long and costly approval processes stifle innovation and keep life-changing treatments from the market.  But the question remains: when it comes to public health, is it ever okay to sacrifice safety for speed?

Full Debate Details
The FDA's Caution Is Hazardous To Our Health
The FDA's Caution Is Hazardous To Our Health

The GOP Must Seize The Center Or Die


Wednesday, April 17, 2013 

2012 was a disappointing year for Republicans. The failure to win key swing states in the presidential election and surprising losses in the House and Senate have prompted some reflection. Was their embrace of small government, low taxes, and a strong conservative stance on social issues at odds with shifting American demographics? Or did the GOP embrace the right platform, but the wrong candidates?

Full Debate Details
The GOP Must Seize The Center Or Die - Edited
The GOP Must Seize The Center Or Die - Unedited

Abolish The Minimum Wage


Wed. April 3, 2013 in Washington, D.C.

The first attempt at establishing a national minimum wage, a part of 1933’s sweeping National Industrial Recovery Act, was struck down by the Supreme Court in 1935. But in 1938, under the Fair Labor Standards Act, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed into law a minimum hourly wage of 25 cents—$4.07 in today’s dollars. Three-quarters of a century later, we are still debating the merits of this cornerstone of the New Deal. Do we need government to ensure a decent paycheck, or would low-wage workers and the economy be better off without its intervention?

Full Debate Details
Abolish The Minimum Wage - Edited
Abolish The Minimum Wage - Unedited


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