Common Ground with
Bob Beckel & Cal Thomas

imageCal Thomas is a conservative columnist. Bob Beckel is a liberal Democratic strategist. But as longtime friends, they can often find common ground on issues that lawmakers in Washington cannot.

Brian Williams

Today: Journalism standards; The golden days of unbiased TV news is gone, if it ever existed.

CAL: I don't know Brian Williams, but I knew several of his predecessors: John ChancellorRoger Mudd and David Brinkley. They would have been appalled at what Williams has done to his reputation and the reputation of NBC News.

The NFL's Tarnished Image

Bad behavior starts at the top, where focus is on money, not ethics.

BOB: Sunday will bring America and those watching around the world the 49th Super Bowl. Millions of dollars are being spent on the halftime show starring Katy Perry. Thirty-second commercials cost a record $4.5 million, with millions more spent to produce them. What happened to the football game?

After Paris, What?

The West is facing off against terrorists, but we aren’t fighting to win.

CAL: The terrorist attacks in Paris are part of an ongoing plot by Islamic fanatics to destroy Western culture and occupy Western nations. It's past time we stop the hand-wringing and self delusion about a "peaceful" religion and start fighting this war as if it were World War III.

Cal and Bob predictions for 2015

And how we fared from our forecasts for last year ...

CAL: It's time for our annual predictions for the New Year. I don't like to brag …

BOB: Since when?

CAL: … but most of my predictions for last year came true.

BOB: Go ahead rub it in.

CAL: I correctly predicted that most Democrats would flee Obamacare, and that Republicans would win sweeping victories in the House and Senate in November.

We're #2!!

The United States appears to be losing steam to China, but tax code fixes can make America's engine roar again.

CAL: As if we needed more depressing news with the social upheaval, foreign policy failures and a crushing national debt that has just topped $18 trillion, the International Monetary Fund has noticed that the U.S. is no longer the world's No. 1 economy. We have slipped to No. 2, behind China, a Communist dictatorship.

Obama: The Last Two Years

If Republicans want a 2016 win, Congress can't live without Obama.

BOB: President Obama unveiled his long-awaited undocumented immigrant executive order last week. We'll still be talking about it next year. The order allows up to 5 million people to avoid deportation and secure work documents. This will let them pay taxes and, hopefully, have a chance to get in the back of the line for citizenship at some point. There have been attempts at comprehensive immigration legislation, including a bill that was approved by a Democratic Senate, which Republican House leaders blocked.

What's Next For GOP?

Voters are more interested in the two parties working together.

CAL: Last week's election was the biggest mandate for Republicans since 1994, when they recaptured the House and the Senate for the first time in 40 years, and 1980, when 12 Democratic incumbent senators were defeated. The question is what will Republicans do now that they control Congress?

Election Prediction and Issues

After a vicious campaign, there will be a chance to work together.

BOB: Nearly every poll indicates Republicans will win a Senate majority in next month's elections. The big question for them and the country is what will they do with it? In the past, they've overplayed their hand when they controlled both houses of Congress. With President Obama still holding the veto pen, any serious policy reform will have to be bipartisan; otherwise, a new Republican Congress will quickly earn a "do nothing" label.

CAL: Oh, you mean like the current Congress. You're right. A majority is not necessarily a mandate. Here's what I would suggest — and I'll bet you agree on at least part of it. Start with two things most Americans, even some Democrats like you, could support.

Reforming The Secret Service

Secret Service reform

Today: Security screw-ups

CAL: Irving Berlin's last musical was called Mr. President. In it are the lyrics, "The Secret Service makes me nervous." That could be a theme for this once highly respected agency. Of all the federal agencies that have in recent years demonstrated incompetence, bad judgment, even criminality, aren't you surprised to observe the decline of this one?

The NFL Scandals

It is impossible to enjoy a football game when distracted by side issues.

BOB: Anyone who pays attention to the National Football League has heard about the domestic violence controversies involving Ray Rice of the Baltimore Ravens, who punched his fiancée, and Minnesota Viking Adrian Peterson, who beat his 4-year-old son until he was cut and bruised. The NFL has had a terrible few weeks. It first tried playing defense. When that didn't work it went on offense. Commissioner Roger Goodell has announced an overhaul to the league's personal conduct policy.

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