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:
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?
This week the Guys start by discussing the inauguration of Donald Trump as the 45th President of the United States. His inauguration speech was dark, depressing, and hyperbolic by normal presidential inaugural address standards, but Jay argues it was actually pretty restrained for a Trump speech. Mike and Jay also look at Trump’s historic unpopularity, the Democrats who skipped the inauguration, and the Women’s Marches held in protest of the Trump presidency. After that, they talk about the latest in Senate confirmation hearings and debate the wisdom of President Obama’s record number of commutations, including one for whistleblower / spy Chelsea Manning.
This week, Mike and Jay talk about the legacy of President Barack Obama. They discuss what presidential greatness means, whether ‘great’ presidents are something we should even hope for, Mike’s four-point criteria for measuring presidential success, Obama’s ‘Top 10’ achievements (according to Mike) and his biggest failures (according to Jay).