Polling, The Selfie Vote, & Data Driven Government

Mike talks to Republican pollster and political analyst Kristen Soltis Anderson. Ms. Anderson is co-founder of the research and analytics firm Echelon Insights, a contributor at ABC News, a Washington Examiner columnist, a regular guest on shows like Morning Joe, Fox News Sunday, and Real Time with Bill Maher, author of The Selfie Vote: Where Millennials Are Leading America (And How Republicans Can Keep Up), and the co-host of The Pollsters, a bipartisan weekly podcast.

Show Links
– The Pollsters Podcast
The Weekly Substandard Podcast
Huffington Post Pollster
– The Lost Majority, by Sean Trende
– Sean Trende’s RealClearPolitics articles

Follow Kristen
Her Website

PG94: Syria, Gorsuch, Susan Rice, Devin Nunes, China

This week, we have our very first sponsor – Blue Apron! To get three of their great meals for free as well as free shipping, go to blueapron.com/TPG

It was a crazy week in foreign policy, and the guys start with the biggest of all the big stories – the missile strike on Syria authorized by President Trump in response to Syria using illegal chemical weapons on its own people. The move was a major departure both from policy under President Obama and President Trump’s own prior statements on the wisdom of military involvement in Syria. Mike and Jay discuss whether the president made the right call and what this might mean for the future.

Next, the Guys discuss the visit of Egyptian President / military strongman Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, who President Trump not only welcomed, but embraced. Mike sees this as a mistake, while Jay believe it’s good diplomacy.

After that is some domestic policy – the confirmation of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court. Just as everyone predicted, Democrats filibustered his nomination, Republicans changed the rules to disallow filibusters of Supreme Court nominees, and Gorsuch was then confirmed on a largely party-line vote. Senators from both parties, as well as Mike and Jay, regret that things have come to this point, but the confirmation process is yet another example of how very polarized our politics has become.

But wait – there’s more! The Guys get into the latest developments in the Russia / Trump investigations, and then wrap things up by talking about the visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Politics and Policy in a Second Machine Age

Mike talks to Professor Andrew McAfee, Co-Director of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Initiative on the Digital Economy and a Principal Research Scientist at MIT’s Sloan School of Management. Professor McAfee’s work has appeared in numerous academic and popular publications, including the Harvard Business Review, The Economist, the Wall Street Journal, and the New York Times. He is the author of a number of books, including The Second Machine Age: Work, Progress, and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies (co-authored with Erik Brynjolfsson).

Professor McAfee on Twitter

PG93: Russia, Trump vs Freedom Caucus, GOP vs EPA, NATO Slackers

This week, the Guys start out by looking at the latest news on the multiple Russia probes. The House investigation has slowed to a crawl amid claims from Democrats that Intelligence Committee chair Devin Nunes can’t be trusted to conduct an impartial probe. The Senate investigation seems to be far more bipartisan to this point. Mike and Jay talk about why this is, along with what to make of former National Security Advisor Mike Flynn’s willingness to testify – if he’s given immunity.

Then it’s a look at what Mike calls the Republican ‘circular firing squad’ with President Trump calling out the House Freedom Caucus, and the Caucus and it’s conservative supporters blasting right back at the president.

Following an update on the Gorsuch confirmation process, the Guys get a chance to talk policy – why Republicans don’t seem to like the EPA, what President Trump’s new executive order on the environment means, and whether or not our NATO allies are pulling their weight.

Brad DeLong Interview

Mike talks to UC Berkeley economist Brad DeLong. Professor DeLong, who served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Clinton administration, blogs at ‘Grasping Reality with All Tentacles‘ – one of the best economics blogs around.

Topics they discuss include economic inequality, economic growth, why this is the best time ever to be poor (in the United States, at least), grifters and suckers, alien sinister forces, McDonalds, restaurant gift cards, how the best con artists are those who can con themselves, and lots more.

– Brad DeLong on Twitter

PG92: Obamacare Lives!, Gorsuch, Russia, Immigration

This week, Mike and Jay start by taking a look at the first big legislative push of President Trump and House Republicans: The failed repeal and replace vote on Obamacare. They talk about what happened, why it happened, what it means for Obamacare, and the possible paths forward for Republicans.

Then it’s on to Judge Neil Gorsuch’s Supreme Court confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Both the Guys agree that after 20 hours of testimony, we’re exactly where everyone expected we’d be: Republicans united in support, Democrats united in opposition, and a Democratic filibuster – followed by a Republican rule change preventing Supreme Court nominee filibusters – to come.

After that, the Guys review the latest developments in the Trump / Russia story, focusing on FBI Director James Comey’s testimony to the House Intelligence Committee, as well as a questionable move by Devin Nunes, the Committee’s chairperson.

The focus then turns to immigration, with discussion of the new ‘Muslim laptop ban’ (as Jay calls it), the criminality of illegal vs legal residents, and the Department of Homeland Security’s attempt to shame local jurisdictions that don’t cooperate with immigrant detainment requests.

Progress, Abortion, Liberals & Conservatives, Transgender Rights

This week, Mike and Jay tackle a bunch of great listener questions, such as whether or not progress is always a good thing, if being transgendered is a choice, what our philosophical beliefs concerning abortion are, the best case for liberalism (made by Jay) and for conservatism (made by Mike), and lots more.

PG91: Budget, Healthcare, Travel Ban, Taxes, Wiretapping

Mike and Jay lead off with a discussion of President Trump’s first budget. The so-called ‘skinny budget’ (referring to any incoming president’s first budget, which tends to be shorter on details than their later budget proposals) calls for big defense and security increases and correspondingly big cuts. Jay is hoping that it’s simply another instance of Trump’s negotiating style (start out extreme and then make a deal for what you actually wanted) but he’s pleased that many programs will be required to justify their existence. Mike is less enthusiastic, and thinks that maybe it’s defense spending that needs to be justified. They both agree that the United States has huge looming problems with mandatory spending (which accounts for over 70 percent of the federal budget) that aren’t being addressed.

After that, the Guys talk about the American Health Care Act that House Republicans are trying to get through Congress. This week’s disastrous CBO score makes an already difficult legislative job for the GOP even harder, and neither Mike nor Jay expect the current version of the bill to be what ends up being enacted into law.

Next is discussion of the federal court rulings against President Trump’s revised travel ban. Mike thinks it’s entirely likely that it runs afoul of the Constitution’s prohibition against establishment of religion, while Jay disagrees, feeling that the courts should consider only what the order says, and not other remarks about Muslim bans previously made by Donald Trump and some of his top advisors.

Following that, it’s a look at the underwhelming revelations from two leaked pages of Donald Trump’s 2005 tax return, the continuing story of the president’s ‘wiretapping’ claims, and Mike and Jay’s thoughts on the Federal Reserve’s decision to raise interest rates.

Norman Ornstein Interview

Mike talks with political scientist Norman Ornstein, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, contributing writer for The Atlantic, columnist for National Journal, and the author of many books on U.S. Politics, including It’s Even Worse Than It Looks: How the American Constitutional System Collided With the New Politics of Extremism, coauthored with the Brookings Institution’s Thomas Mann.

Dr. Ornstein’s Recommended Reading
Winner-Take-All Politics: How Washington Made the Rich Richer–and Turned Its Back on the Middle Class. Jacob Hacker and Paul Pierson

American Amnesia: How the War on Government Led Us to Forget What Made America Prosper. Jacob Hacker and Paul Pierson

The Populist Explosion: How the Great Recession Transformed American and European Politics. John Judis.

Why the Right Went Wrong: Conservatism–From Goldwater to Trump and Beyond. E.J. Dionne

PG90: GOP Health Plan, Revised Travel Ban, Wikileaks & the CIA

This week, Jay is joined by guest co-host Ken Katkin, a professor of law at Northern Kentucky University, who takes the place of Mike on the left. (But while Mike was off this week, he still couldn’t resist inserting a few remarks at the very beginning of the show.)

Jay and Ken start off with an in-depth policy discussion of the American Health Care Act, the Republican legislation to repeal and replace Obamacare. They drill down into the fundamentals of how health insurance works – or doesn’t work – with Jay expressing far more confidence in a ‘free market’ solution than Ken.

Next, they look at the Trump administration’s ‘new and improved’ travel ban. While both Jay and Ken agree that courts should grant the executive a good amount of deference in this area, Ken feels that there’s no rational basis for the ban, which he believes is a clear attempt to ‘reverse engineer’ an unconstitutional Muslim ban. Jay, though not entirely unsympathetic to these concerns, isn’t exactly convinced.

Finally, they consider the latest release from Wikileaks – a trove of documents concerning CIA hacking techniques. Both Jay and Ken conclude that Wikileaks is more hero than villain. The discussion turns to ties between Russia and the Trump campaign, with Ken arguing that the amount of evidence of involvement is overwhelming. He concludes that President Trump is, in effect, a Russian agent.