Mueller, Joe’s Woes, and the Role of Government

Will is joined by a new co-host, Brian Smentkowski, a political scientist from the University of Idaho. They begin the show by discussing the current status of the Mueller Report and Democratic efforts to get President Trump’s tax returns released. Will sees little value with releasing the report in full while Brian argues that if nothing else it is symbolically necessary. Both agree, however, that the report will be twisted to fit partisan desires. Regarding income tax returns, both note how tradition is guiding discussions more than law at present.

Next, they turn to discussing the harassment allegations raised against potential presidential nominee Joe Biden. While Will argues that Biden is from a different era and seems genuinely unsure of what he’s done wrong without being malicious, Brian argues there’s nothing funny about the allegations and when combined with Biden’s past could raise red flags for some voters. Will ties the conversation back to whether the average Democratic voter would risk a Biden nomination (and polling that suggests he’s the best chance against Trump in 2020) over the current allegations or not. They then turn to discuss the current field and Tim Ryan’s decision to irrelevantly enter the race. Both find Mayor Peter to be an interesting case study.

Lastly, the Guys talk about three recent example of government intervention and regulation. First, they look at the focus on self-regulating industries brought to light by the FAA and Boeing’s Super Max debacle. Brian argues that self-regulation can work, but it comes with definite risks while Will worries about the cost-benefit of government becoming too involved. Both Will and Brian share concerns over New York City’s current proposal for a consumption tax to relieve traffic concerns south of Central Park. Brian isn’t sure there will be any impact while Will believes money should be spent on better public transportation to influence ridership. Lastly, both Will and Brian lament the upcoming statewide ban on plastic bags in the state of New York, albeit for very different reasons.

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3 thoughts on “Mueller, Joe’s Woes, and the Role of Government”

  1. I’ve heard the commentators on Politics Guys on multiple shows discuss the Mueller Report (which we haven’t seen), how it is not going to make any difference and that we should essentially give it up. I am quite impressed (and dismayed) by your willingness to just accept what a political appointee (who was specifically chosen to be Trump’s defender) says as fact. I’m of the opinion there is at least a better chance than not that Mueller expected the report to go to Congress so that Congress could perform it’s oversight responsibilities. And the Mueller Report is not just about “getting Trump”. It is about the interference in our elections.

    Will and Brian compared airline industry self regulation to the self regulation of the Motion Picture Association. OMG. When was the last time a badly rated picture killed anyone? I realize they were questioning the self regulation of the airline industry but this was a bad comparison.

    In the bonus supporter’s show there was a discussion about banning plastic bags at grocery stores. Everyone gets to have an opinion of course, but Will and Brian were giving opinions on a topic they have no experience with. Makes me wonder what other opinions they give about things for which they have no real experience. Of course, they need to be able to talk about something on the show.

    I’m a Cincinnatian (from the same side of town as Mike). I now live in southern California. You acclimate to the bag ban really quick. If you forget your bags you can buy a plastic bag that is more substantial then the old freebies and reusable for 10 cents a bag. Not a real hardship. The stores commonly sell a nicer, better, reusable bag for between 99 cents and $1.19. It usually has some advertising on it, artwork and could be classified as “cute”. It will last for many shopping trips. I can tell you in my personal California environment I don’t see plastic bags caught in trees, bushes and floating across highways very often. A common site in Cincinnati. Check out at the grocery store is not appreciably slowed down because of customers bringing their own bags. I miss the freebies because they were a perfect fit for my bathroom trash can but that is about it. A reasonable trade off for a cleaner environment, a stupid use of petroleum and protection of animals.

    You all should put your logo on a re-usable bag and sell it to us or give it out to those who support you at a certain level. We could advertise for you.

    I’ve been rather critical in this post, sorry. I still like the show, listen to each and everyone and support it financially. Please keep it up.


    1. Hi Nancy,

      Thanks for that very thoughtful post. While we love ‘you guys are awesome!’ posts, we also really appreciate when listeners push back and challenge some of what we’ve said on the show. I’m withholding full judgement on the Mueller Report until we see the actual report (assuming not too much is redacted) but in general I agree with you about its importance and the value of having it come out, despite how few minds it will change.

      The bag issue is a truly difficult one. I definitely agree that plastic bag litter is a big issue here in Cincinnati and so many other places. I hate the idea of these things junking up the landscape, going into landfills, and harming animals. On the other hand, I was recently informed of a study from Europe that found that one would need to use a cloth bag 7,000 – 9,000 times to make up for the increased sustainability cost of making it (growing the cotton, manufacturing the bag itself) over plastic bags. I was saying to my wife, who’s a political scientist who specializes in issues of sustainability, that perhaps multi-use plastic bags would be the best option. She wasn’t entirely sure, but thought it might be the most sustainable option. -Mike

      1. Thank you so much for the response to my message. I wonder if you get to sleep.

        Sad to hear of the potential that reusable bags might not be the most sustainable option energy wise. I still think we should ban them for all the other reasons. How about mandating paper bags since they will break down quickly.

        Regards the new guy, Brian. Seems like a good fit.

        Thank you, again.

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