PG119: Price Resigns, Puerto Rico, Senate Primary, Graham-Cassidy, New Travel Ban, Tax Reform

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Mike and Jay start off this jam-packed episode with a look at the resignation of Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price in the wake of a travel scandal. Mike points out that Price joins an unusually large contingent of former Trump staffers for such a young administration, but both Mike and Jay agree that President Trump did the right thing in forcing Price’s resignation.

Next, it’s a look at the federal government’s response to the devestation caused by hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico. Once again, the Guys agree that the administration’s efforts have been good, especially considering the unique challenges presented by Puerto Rico’s location, as well as emergency response resources being stretched thin after hurricanes Harvey and Irma. That said, Jay thinks that the Trump team could use some remedial lessons in messaging.

After that, the Guys talk about the Alabama Republican Senate primary race, where former judge, and ardent cultural conservative Roy Moore soundly defeated incumbent Luther Strange, despite President Trump’s support of Strange.

Following that is a discussion of the vote that wasn’t on Graham-Cassidy, the latest (and last, for now) GOP attempt to repeal and replace Obamacare, a look at the latest Trump travel ban, and Mike and Jay’s analysis of the Republicans’ tax reform framework.

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8 thoughts on “PG119: Price Resigns, Puerto Rico, Senate Primary, Graham-Cassidy, New Travel Ban, Tax Reform”

  1. Hi I’ve been listening to you guys for the last year but I’m finding it hard to enjoy your take on issues now. It seems like you guys are both weathy entitled white men that lack empathy for minorities. For instance the podcast today about trump and his Puerto Rico comments. He was being blatantly racist. And you guys gave home a b-?! Are you serious? Listen im not saying you guys are racist but you need to unpack your white privilege it’s astonishing how naive your comments are. I’ve listened to you suggest that Jeff sessions isn’t racist and you guys defend trump when he literally does racist things. Racism is a concrete thing don’t act like it doesn’t exist look up the definition and call it what it is. I can’t tell you how frustrating it is to hear wealthy white men be oblivious about race. Just because it doesn’t affect you doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.

    I couldn’t even listen to your nfl portion of the podcast, not until you unpack your privilege.

    1. Thanks very much for taking the time to comment. The issue you raise is an important one, and I’m hoping Jay and I will be able to use your comment as a springboard for a discussion of it sometime in the next few weeks. – Mike

      1. Wow great thanks that really means a lot. By the way I am a Canadian that grew up in New York City.

        I’m a 33 year old black man and I am history teacher in highschool. The politics the the US are so intriguing at the moment I actually think that this is history unfolding before mine eyes. I play portions of your podcast to my grade 10 Canadian history class because I really enjoy the nuance that you guys produce. I hope this gives you some context.

  2. Mike and Jay:

    First, I would like to say that I appreciate what you have achieved in this podcast. Our country needs more calm, nuanced, and unbiased discussion of the issues (though I am afraid that what it needs more than your podcast is educated, thoughtful, and open-minded citizens).

    I was listening to episode 118 last week on my way home from work and, as an Alabamian, I appreciate the level of diplomacy used when discussing our state’s political climate; there is nothing I find more more offensive than the litany of tropes regarding our state. However, as much as it pains me to admit, the Moore/Strange run-off has been a prime example of some of Alabama’s most dogged stereotypes.

    When Jay predicted that Luther Strange would narrowly find victory in the primary, I couldn’t help but cringe. I wasn’t sure if Jay was trying to avoid playing into the stereotype, of if he was simply unfamiliar with Alabama’s political climate and culture. For Alabamians, this primary was never in question, and several assertions made by media leading up are just inherently wrong as it relates to the state.

    First, Judge Roy Moore isn’t a controversial figure in Alabama. Polarizing, maybe, but not controversial. The minority of Alabamians who don’t like Roy Moore hate everything about him; his politicizing of the bench, refusal to separate church and state, is views on homosexuality, etc. However, this isn’t any different than most of our elected officials. Judge Moore is just more vocal and visible, and that is one of the reasons most Alabamians like him. If you don’t like Judge Moore, you probably don’t like your state or local representatives either.

    As to why people prefer him to Luther Strange, both candidates check all the right boxes in regards to the three G’s (Guns, God, and Government), but Roy Moore has conviction. Both candidates have lost battles with the U.S. Government, but its all about optics. To Alabamians, Luther Strange is another politician that promised to stop big government and didn’t deliver (not to mention his connections to former Governor Bentley, but that is a discussion for another time. Alabamians on the whole are almost as distrustful of Montgomery as they are of D.C.). Roy Moore, on the other hand, lost his position, career, and prestige taking a stand for God and against government, making him a political martyr for 2 of the 3 biggest political issues in Alabama. Even if Luther Strange had succeeded in the challenge against the Affordable Care Act and gay marriage, I’m not sure he would have over come Moore’s stand and his own reputation as part of the Montgomery elite.

    Hopefully this has been a useful insight into Alabama politics. In the interest of disclosure must confess my bias. I do not share most or all of the political views expressed above. However, from my perspective growing up and living in this state, I do honestly believe that it is representative of Alabamians as a whole.

    1. Thanks for the comment. I think you raise a very important point – that political culture in the United States is very different depending on where one resides, and that it’s often a mistake to assume that the national media – based almost entirely in New York, Washington, and Los Angeles – will have great insight into the politics of other areas. – Mike

  3. The Puerto Rican mayor Trump was disgracefully attacking for having the nerve to mention that people around her were dying is a woman, not – as Jay repeatedly stated – a man. But I’m sure he had a total grasp of who she was and what she was saying before he dismissed her comments, safe and comfortable thousands of miles away from the damage, in his now sadly standard defensiveness for Trump.

    After all, she was only desperately pleading with the world not to ignore her island of American citizens. It’s probably fair enough that she was then insulted and belittled by the President as a troublemaker and crybaby, and that she was apparently largely ignored by you guys too. It’s so much easier to embrace Trump’s standard victim-blaming narrative when you do that; that Puerto Rico had it coming since they didn’t bother building good enough infrastructure.

    I’ve listened to you guys for a long time, but it is honestly getting difficult to keep tuning in lately for reasons like this, and Jay’s now weekly ad hominem references to some grand ‘liberal media’ bias that conveniently excuses the entire Republican party and Trump specifically for ever considering the implications of their statements and actions.

    The most ridiculous example of this surely came last week when Jay suggested that it was the fault of ‘liberal bias’ that anyone would read racist connotations into Donald Trump’s presidency, or see his campaign as having a connection to the tradition of isolationist ‘America First’ nationalism that has stained American history.

    Even though Trump actively and endlessly evoked the language, ideals and direct slogans of ‘America First’ nationalism; even though he demonized an entire nation of people as being rapists and criminals; even as he shared demonstrably fake statistics about black on black crime and inner city ghettos; suggested a judge could not do his job because he was too blinded by his genetic heritage; called a Miss America contestant ‘Miss housekeeping’; pretended not to know who David Duke was, rather than reject his endorsement; suggested a gold star mother was ‘not allowed’ to speak; repeatedly lied about seeing thousands of Muslims celebrating the destruction of the twin towers; suggested that there are troublemakers and good people ‘on both sides’ of a neo-nazi protest; literally promised a ‘Muslim ban’; and was, for years, the principle, loudest, most paranoid promoter of the birther conspiracy.

    No, despite all of this, if anyone considers that maybe Donald Trump has a problem with racism, that is the fault of the liberals.

    If Jay actually believes this nonsense – rather than it just being desperate rhetorical spin – I feel genuinely sorry for him.

    1. Thanks for taking the time to comment. I absolutely agree with you about the inappropriateness of President Trump’s comments. To me, it’s one of the many things that make him an extraordinary weak leader. I’ve believed from the beginning that he was temperamentally unfit for the office he now holds, and while I’ve tried very hard to always question that assumption – as I know how strong inherent biases are – I simply can’t find good evidence to alter my initial view.

      As for Jay’s comments, even when I don’t agree with them (which is pretty much every episode, at least for a few things) I think it’s useful to hear how a well-educated, well-informed right-of-center person sees the world. I know that personally, even though I regularly read right-of-center publications, hearing Jay’s thoughts helps me to better understand how other people interpret events, which I find valuable. – Mike

      1. I appreciate your reply, Mike. Thank you.

        And while I agree that it is important to always be open to hearing the perspective of the other side of an argument (that is, after all, why I was so happy to initially find your podcast), lately Jay’s more reactive comments about the myriad ‘liberal’ biases and agendas that are apparently seeking to misrepresent the truth have risked making such discourse redundant.

        Blanket accusations like that shut down discussion, and leave people rhetorically chasing their tails trying to disprove a negative. There is a reason that Trump shouts ‘Fake News’ into the void whenever he dislikes the way objective facts are being reported. It’s culture war victimhood nonsense designed to avoid real issues, and it is legitimately sad to her an educated person like Jay – who I once thought was beyond that kind of lazy rhetoric – indulge in it.

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