"The View" is one of the few places left on TV where liberal, conservative and moderate voices pose questions that real folks might ask rather than indulging in the wonk talk of political podcasts or the punditry of Fox or MSNBC. And the result is raw moments that are as authentic as they are viral.
Democratic presidential hopeful Tulsi Gabbard appeared on the show this week, getting into it with Behar when the host suggested that Gabbard might be an "unwitting" asset of Russia: "Not that that means you're stupid, but people can be used."
"That exactly what that means," replied Gabbard. "Let me start with how offensive it is to say that I'm a witting or unwitting asset of a foreign country, working against the interests of my country, a country that I am willing to lay my life down for. So if you are saying it's not deliberately, then you are implying that I am too stupid and too naive and lack the intelligence to know what I am doing."
Also this week, actress/environmental activist Jane Fonda spoke about her recent arrests during protests to spur action on global warming. "We're the last generation between the life and death of the planet," she warned, and the conversation got serious from there.
Trump Jr.'s segment wasn't necessarily all that hard-hitting or informative. But it was revealing for that one, honest split with McCain, and the other 47 1/2 minutes of fact-juggling and reality reversal.
Trump isn't a bully, by his son's logic, but the victim of a pack of bullies: the vicious liberal media, PC culture and of course, the Democrats. The Democrats had it out for my dad the moment he was elected, bawled Junior. Goldberg, who'd spent most the segment imploring everyone to stop talking over one another, stopped him right there: "He's the president," she said. "Let me remind you of what happened right after Obama was elected. (Mitch McConnell said) 'We're going to make sure he's a one-term president.' ... Part of being president is having a pair that can take whatever heat comes toward you."
As with our own kitchen tables -- and in contrast to any number of ideologically siloed cable news programs -- the range of political opinions on "The View," along with the sense of familiarity its format breeds, creates a dynamic back-and-forth that's rare on TV these days.
When Trump Jr. suggested that no one cared when his father was sent white powder in the mail, for instance, complaining of an uneven playing field, Goldberg turn the whining around: She asked if it bothered him that the whistleblower whose name he revealed could be getting white powder in the mail.
"We don't know that's actually happening to him," said Trump Jr.
"We don't know it happened to you," Goldberg shot back.
Did "The View" get out of hand at times on Thursday? Sure. Does "The View" often devolve into a sparring match, whether between guests and hosts or among the hosts themselves? Most definitely. That's why "The View" is a morning show we're still checking in on, more than 20 years after its debut: Sometimes, when you disagree about politics with your nearest and dearest, you just have to have it out.
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