This week’s episode starts with a look at the annual meeting of the Conservative Political Action Conference, headlined by President Trump himself. Mike and Jay take a look at the president’s stridently anti-media rhetoric as well as discuss someone who wasn’t there: conservative provocateur and former Breitbart senior editor Milo Yiannopoulos, who was disinvited after video surfaced suggesting that Yiannopoulos wasn’t entirely against pedophilia in some circumstances.
After that, the Guys discuss the recent Justice Department rollback of the Obama rule concerning the right of transgender students to use the bathroom corresponding to their gender identity. Mike sees it as a setback for LGBTQ civil rights, while Jay questions the extent to which this is a right in the first place, and argues that states should have greater say in their education policies – including bathroom access for students.
Mike surprises himself by actually complimenting President Trump – for his choice of H. R. McMaster as his appointee to replace Michael Flynn as National Security Advisor. Both Mike and Jay agree that this was a great pick, though it remains to be seen how much President Trump will rely on McMaster’s advice, as opposed to that of Steve Bannon and Jared Kushner.
Then it’s a look at the state of our immigration policy in light of the Trump administration’s crackdown on immigration enforcement. Mike and Jay consider this in the broader context of our current relationship with Mexico, with Mike pointing out that while Mexico relies on the United States, the relationship works both ways, and that should President Trump decide to come down hard on Mexico, the Mexican government could take significant action of its own in response.
Finally, the Guys turn to the Town Hall meeting protests that many Republican members of Congress met with during their ‘week off’. Neither Mike nor Jay thinks that protests alone can make a huge difference, though Mike believes (hopes?) that his Democratic Party has learned the organizational lessons of the GOP, and will combine public protests with plenty of behind-the-scenes organizing.
Mike talks to Jason Brennan, an Associate Professor of Strategy, Economics, Ethics, and Public Policy at Georgetown University. He’s the author of a number of books, including The Ethics of Voting, Libertarianism: What Everyone Needs to Know, *Why Not Capitalism?, and, most recently Against Democracy.
Professor Brennan’s Recommended Reading
Philosophy, Politics, and Economics: An Anthology. Jonathan Anomaly, Geoffrey Brennan, Michael C. Munger, and Geoffrey Sayre-McCord
Political Philosophy: An Introduction by Jason Brennan
Introduction to Political Philosophy YouTube video lecture series.
Madison’s Metronome: The Constitution, Majority Rule, and the Tempo of American Politics. Greg Weiner
This week, Mike and Jay begin with a look at the resignation of National Security Advisor Michael Flynn and what it tells us about the Trump administration’s national security savvy. Next, they discuss President Trump’s press conference, which many on the left saw as ‘unhinged’ while many on the right believed it to be a masterful performance that the mainstream media simply didn’t get. Next is the week in Senate confirmations, featuring the withdrawal of Andrew Puzder as Labor Secretary and the confirmation of Scott Pruitt at the EPA. Finally, the Guys look at new revelations and current investigations into potential links between the Trump administration and Russia.
This episode features our answers to a bunch of great listener mail, facebook messages, and website comments we’ve gotten lately. We start off with Mike ansering a listener who thinks the Democratic Party should move left (Mike disagrees). Jay then responds to someone who suggests he might benefit from spending more time considering feminist perspectives. Another listener wonders if there’s anything we can do to make our country less polarized. (In his response, Jay impressively brings in Epictetus, Mike’s favorite Stoic philosopher.) Then it’s a discussion of whether we’re both being too easy on Donald Trump, and finally, a debate on federal funding of overseas abortion counseling.
Mike and Jay lead off with the 9th Circuit’s action on the Trump travel ban, along with their thoughts on whether or not it violates the Constitution. Then it’s on to contentious Senate confirmation votes, with a focus on Betsy DeVoss – the first ever 50-50 confirmation vote tie (broken by VP Mike Pence) – and Elizabeth Warren’s silencing by Senate Republicans during debate on Jeff Sessions confirmation as Attorney General. Next, Mike brings up some potentially *good* news concerning what may be President Trump’s move toward the center on foreign policy, after which Mike and Jay discuss what’s going on with Russia, along with the meaning of ‘fake news’.
Mike talks to Marc Levinson, an economist, historian, and journalist specializing in economic and business issues. He’s a former finance and economics editor for The Economist, and has written for publications including the Harvard Business Review, Foreign Affairs, and The Wall Street Journal. He’s the author of six books, including The Box: How the Shipping Container Made the World Smaller and the World Economy Bigger and, most recently, An Extraordinary Time: The End of the Postwar Boom and the Return of the Ordinary Economy.
It’s host-swap week at The Politics Guys! We’ve been big fans of Pantsuit Politics podcast for a while now, because both of us approach politics the same way – with the belief that we need less partisan yelling and screaming and more thoughtful, reasoned discussion between liberals and conservatives. And so, when the opportunity arose to talk politics with each other, we jumped at it. On our show, Mike welcomes Pantsuit Politics co-host Beth, while over at Pantsuit Politics Jay talks with Pantsuit Politics’ Sarah.
Mike and Beth get into President Trump’s nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, the latest on the immigration ban, the Senate’s confirmation of Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State as well as the upcoming battle over Betsy DeVoss to be the next Secretary of Education, and lots more.
If you’d like to keep up with Pantsuit Politics (which we highly recommend), here’s where you can find them:
– Website: pantsuitpoliticsshow.com
– Twitter: @pantsuitpolitic
– Facebook: @pantsuitpolitics
Mike talks with Professor Marion Nestle, one of most respected and sought-after academic commentators on food politics, health, and nutrition. She’s the Paulette Goddard Professor in the Department of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health at New York University as well as a Professor of Sociology at NYU, and a Visiting Professor of Nutritional Sciences at Cornell. Professor Nestle has authored countless articles in academic journals and is the author of nine books, including Food Politics: How the Food Industry Influences Nutrition and Health and, most recently, Soda Politics: Taking on Big Soda (and Winning)
They discuss how food policy is made, who it’s made for (Big Agriculture or the American people), and what she thinks of nutrition labels, USDA dietary guidelines, GMOs, and soda taxes, and more.
Aside from following foodpolitics.com, Professor Nestle suggests that people interested in keeping up with matters related to nutrition and public health check out the Center for Science in the Public Interest
Donald Trump has been busy issuing executive orders, with his move to ban immigration from a number of Muslim countries perhaps the most controversial. Mike and Jay look at this, as well as President Trump’s orders that froze government hiring, stopped foreign aid to groups providing abortion counseling, withdrew the US from the Trans Pacific Partnership, ordered the construction of a Mexico border wall, imposed a lengthy ban on lobbying for Trump appointees, and reshuffled the National Security Counsel to remove the Director of National Intelligence and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, while adding Trump advisor Steve Bannon.
The Guys also talk about vote fraud – only because President Trump refuses to let it go – and answer listener mail, some of which was in support of Jay, after a number of listeners criticized him for being not anti-Trump enough.
This week we catch up on listener mail, answering some great questions, including:
- What’s up with Jay’s unwillingness to criticize Donald Trump?
- Why does Mike support better relations with an awful regime like Cuba?
- Where do you Guys get your facts from, anyway?