The Politics Guys & The Political Orphanage

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On this special crossover show, Mike talks with Andrew Heaton, host of The Political Orphanage podcast. They cover a lot of ground in a conversation that (very) loosely revolves around presidential power. Along the way, they discuss Caddyshack, Edmund Burke, impeachment, anonymous Senate conviction votes, a constitutional convention, Thomas Paine, why a Stormy Daniels based case would have been the most fitting impeachment for President Trump, national emergency powers, splitting up the presidency, expanding the Supreme Court, ‘These United States’ vs ‘The United States’, politics as the new religion, and lots more.

Andrew Heaton on Twitter

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Taliban Talks, Hong Kong, Navy Secretary Fired, CBD Crackdown

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Mike and Kristin start off talking about President Trump’s Thanksgiving trip to Afghanistan. The President served surprised service men and women Thanksgiving dinner at Bagram Air Force Base and made a rousing speech where he said that the U.S. and the Taliban have been involved in peace talks, which prompted discussions about whether the U.S. should remain in the region.

Next, Mike and Kristin discussed President Trump’s signing of two bills aimed at supporting the protestors in Hong Kong. The first enforces sanctions on Chinese and Hong Kong officials who commit abuses of human rights and would subject Hong Kong to an annual review. The second prohibits exporting nonlethal munitions to the Hong Kong police. Of course, China is not happy about any of this and some critics say that this could damage ongoing trade talks between the U.S. and China.

The next topic involves the aftermath of the Gallagher court martialing, pardoning, and the Navy’s decision to not allow him to retain his SEAL status. The firing of Navy Secretary Richard Spencer made headlines this week. President Trump said that the decision was about Spencer’s leadership, and that it was a long time coming. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper told reporters that Spencer had gone behind his and others’ backs to broker a deal, displaying insubordination. Spencer hit back with a fiery op-ed in the Washington Post.

Finally, with all of the interest in CBD products lately, it’s no wonder that the FDA made some headlines this week with its warnings about CBD. The FDA has decided to crack down on some companies selling the products, which brings about questions for Mike and Kristin regarding overreach, regulation in general, and the necessity to protect the public from false claims.

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The Politics Guys & Democracy Works on Trump, Impeachment and the Future of Democracy

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Mike talks with Chris Beem and Michael Berkman from Penn State’s McCourtney Institute for Democracy about their Democracy Works podcast and a whole bunch of other things including:

  • the fact that two of our last four, and three of our last nine presidents have gone through impeachment
  • the ‘best case’ outcome from this impeachment process
  • the potential fallout from straight party line impeachment voting
  • if Donald Trump is a unique case or a portent of presidents to come
  • strengthening our political institutions
  • whether we’re optimistic or pessimistic about the future of liberal democracy in the United States
  • and lots more!

The McCourtney Institute on Twitter

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Impeachment, The Democratic Debates, Government Funding, Trump Pardons, Netanyahu

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This week Trey and Ken start the show by jumping back into the ongoing topic of impeachment. Specifically the pair parse Fiona Hill and David Holmes’ testimony in light of President Trump’s Friday morning conversation on Fox & Friends. Ken thinks that, not only is impeachment the right thing to do, but that it will be an electoral winner for the Democratic Party. Trey argues that impeachment, when the Senate inevitably fails to convict, may result in better polling results for Trump. Ken deeply disagrees and thinks a trial in the Senate benefits Democrats, even if they ultimately lose, due to additional witnesses. Both agree that an impeachment will happen during the first week in December.

Next the pair turn to the Democratic Debates. Both Trey and Ken agree debate fatigue is settling in, in large part due to the format of the debate. Trey argues that little electorally meaningful comes from the debates at this point, accept for the perception of candidates afterwards. On this front he sees Biden as the big loser of the debate. Ken worries that too much time is spent on issues such as universal healthcare when this isn’t a true power of the president.

Trey and Ken then move to talk about the additional 60 day funding of government signed by President Trump after a last minute passage in the Senate. Ken argues that, baring a veto, government will only be funded in short term continuing resolutions, unless Trump vetos. Trey argues that there would be Republican votes to overcome a Trump veto to keep government open. Meanwhile both agree Democrats are unwilling to either fund additional border security or shut down government, thus continuing the need for short term spending resolutions.

Next the pair turn to Trump’s recent military pardons of Army 1st Lt. Clint Lorance, Army Maj. Mathew Golsteyn, and Special Warfare Operator Chief Edward Gallagher. Both are deeply disturbed by the pardons. Trey specifically, who has moral issues with the nature of much military power, worries that by pardoning individuals from the military it expands military power.

Finally Trey and Ken hit a continuing topic outside the united states: Israeli politics. Specifically the indictment of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on charges of bribery, fraud, and breach of trust. The pair discuss the historical ramifications of the indictment, the similarities to the impeachment of Trump, and finish the discussion on what happens next.

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Strategic Voting, Hunter Biden, ‘President Pelosi’, Warren’s Roots

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In this episode, Mike and Jay respond to listener questions on the following topics:

  • Social Security
  • strategic voting in primary elections
  • Hunter Biden, Michael Cohen, and ‘soft corruption’
  • expertise in cabinet positions
  • Donald Trump and fiscal conservatives
  • Jay’s nightmare scenario – ‘President Pelosi’
  • bipartisan blame for the financial crisis
  • the value of Elizabeth Warren’s conservative past
  • a depressing present and hope for the future

Listener support helps make The Politics Guys possible. If you’re interested in supporting the show, go to patreon.com/politicsguys or politicsguys.com/support.

Impeachment, Deval Patrick, Sandy Hook Gun Lawsuit

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Mike, Jay, and Kristin open the show with a discussion of the first week of open hearings on the impeachment of President Trump. Mike argues that it’s clear that Trump ‘did it’ (or at least clear enough to require a vote for impeachment) but that it could be argued that what he did is not cause for removal. Jay and Kristin are less convinced by the evidence presented to this point. They all believe that the most likely outcome is straight party-line votes to impeach and convict, resulting in the acquittal of the president. Mike wishes it would be possible to hear from those closest to the president on this issue, specifically Mulvaney, Bolton, and Giuliani, but he doesn’t think that’s likely. Kristin and Jay would also like to hear from them, but even if they testified that the president attempted bribery, they’re not sure that would justify his removal from office.

Next, they discuss the entry of former Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick into the Democratic presidential nomination race, bringing the total number of candidates to 18. Everyone agrees that this is due to Joe Biden’s perceived weakness and the lack of a popular center-left candidate with strong minority support. Patrick faces daunting challenges, but he may be in a position to pick up significant black support should Biden’s campaign implode. Mike half wishes that Barack Obama had endorsed a candidate, but Jay points out that that would be very much going against past precedent, at least in cases where a vice-president isn’t immediately running to succeed the president, as would have happened had Biden run in 2016.

Finally, it’s a look at the Supreme Court’s decision to not take up a ruling by the Connecticut Supreme Court that allows families of the Sandy Hook mass shooting to sue the gunmaker who sold the weapon used in the massacre. While they all more or less agree that Supreme Court non-intervention was the right call, Mike goes further and argues against the special carve-out in federal law to protect gunmakers from lawsuits – at least until some counter-arguments from Jay make Mike waver a bit in his commitment to that position.

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America, Compromised: Lawrence Lessig on Corruption in America

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Mike talks with Lawrence Lessig, the Roy L. Furman Professor of Law and Leadership at Harvard Law School. Professor Lessig co-founded Creative Commons in 2001 and is the author of numerous books, including Republic, Lost: Version 2.0 which he and Mike talked about on the podcast a few years ago (here’s a link to that interview). In this episode, they discuss about his recent book America, Compromised.

Topics covered include:

  • why the Mafia isn’t corrupt, but Congress is
  • raising the cost of corrupting Congress
  • giving American citizens Democracy Vouchers
  • why we should pay members of Congress a lot more
  • good people in the bad institution of Congress
  • corruption in the financial industry
  • why no financial institution heads were prosecuted in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis
  • corruption in political media
  • and lots more!

Lawrence Lessig on Twitter

Listener support helps make The Politics Guys possible. If you’re interested in supporting the show, go to patreon.com/politicsguys or politicsguys.com/support.

Impeachment, Election Results, and the State of the Democratic Field

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Having heard from our listeners, this week we have a special three-person edition of The Politics Guys with Will Miller, Michael Baranowski, and Jay Carson. The Guys start off the show with a lengthy discussion around current developments in the impeachment inquiry into President Trump. Much of the discussion focuses on the application of process and differences between an investigation and an impeachment inquiry. Mike posits that he believes what Trump has been accused of merits an impeachment inquiry and will merit removal from office if proven true beyond a reasonable doubt. Will and Jay both agree—in theory—that the allegations merit some form of investigation but are concerned about the rush to impeachment as opposed to formally looking into the allegations in a public venue first. Given all of the unusual variables in this case—the use of a personal attorney and having it all based on a whistleblower—it is even more difficult to determine what could happen next. All three note the need to have a process that can be trusted in place. Will continues to worry about what Jay terms a permanent impeachment campaign becoming a way of life in American politics while Mike argues that if the president isn’t behaving like Trump that shouldn’t be a future problem.

Next, the Guys turn to discussing Tuesday’s election results. Jay begins by pointing out that he has difficulty in putting much stock in the results of off-year elections with historically lower turnout. Will points to the statewide results in Virginia as continuing evidence of a shift of Democrats to affluent suburbs that can change elections—especially, as Jay notes, in new districts. Mike echoes this and rightly suggests the 2020 race may come down to whether Trump can turnout rural voters at a higher rate than Democrats can these new suburban voters. The Guys discuss Bevin’s loss in Kentucky but also acknowledge that for such a poor candidate, not even Trump’s support was likely to resonate, which is evidenced by Republican performance down-ballot. And even though the Republican was only able to carry Mississippi by 6 points (compared to 17 for Trump), it was one of the strongest Democratic challengers that could have been brought forward.

Lastly, Mike, Will and Jay discuss the state of the Democrats heading into 2020. First, Mike explains how Elizabeth Warren’s Medicare for all plan is a political document that even Democrats acknowledge has no chance of being enacted. He also questions the impact this has since it will be easy for Trump to denounce the plan in a general election if her own party is doing so already. Further, Mike pushes for Democrats to adopt a more centrist pitch that focuses on opportunity and growth. Will and Jay point out that despite progressives clamoring that they are so large in number, that Joe Biden—as a centrist candidate—is out-performing both Warren and Sanders in polls versus Trump in key battleground states. Will believes if progressives continue to speak louder than their numbers can support, they will only help Trump gain a second term. Lastly, Jay wonders about whose votes Michael Bloomberg might take when he enters the race while Mike points to the strangeness that the general election could be between two New York-based, party-switching, billionaires in their 70s with a history of sexual harassment allegations.

Before we start putting together our show host schedule for 2020, we wanted to get your thoughts on our hosts. We’ve put together a short survey for that purpose at the below link. It’s only a few questions, plus some comment boxes if you want to comment on your answers. We do this show for you, and so getting your responses to this will be extremely helpful. Thanks!

Politics Guys Hosts – Listener Survey:
http://bit.ly/2C9I3bK

Listener support helps make The Politics Guys possible. If you’re interested in supporting the show, go to patreon.com/politicsguys or politicsguys.com/support.

Scott Adams on how ‘Loserthink’ is Ruining America

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Mike talks with Scott Adams, creator of Dilbert, one of the most popular comic strips of all time. In recent years, Adams has become an important part of the political conversation through his commentary on Donald Trump as well as the bestselling book Win Bigly. He’s got a new book out called Loserthink: How Untrained Brains Are Ruining America, which he and Mike discuss on the show.

Topics Mike & Scott discuss include:

  • Donald Trump as the ‘most psychologically capable leader we’ve ever had’
  • why people think like losers
  • the value of mockery
  • the loserthink surrounding climate science
  • why Adams watches both Fox and CNN (as painful as that may sound)
  • how and why to think like an engineer
  • the use of hyperbole and thinking like a leader
  • the ‘48 hour rule’ the ‘20 year rule’ and the ‘magic question’

Scott Adams on Twitter

Listener support helps make The Politics Guys possible. If you’re interested in supporting the show, go to patreon.com/politicsguys or politicsguys.com/support.

Impeachment Rules, Baghdadi Dead, Another Fed Rate Cut, Democratic Race

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The show kicks off with Mike & Jay discussing the House resolution on the impeachment inquiry of President Trump. Jay says that it partly addresses procedural fairness issues many Republicans have been raising, but that it’s still not fair enough to the president. Mike disagrees, arguing that the president will get every procedural protection he should – and then some – during a Senate trial. Things get a bit heated as Mike and Jay discuss whether there’s sufficient evidence to impeach the president and they come to differing conclusions as to what constitutes ‘high crimes and misdemeanors’.

Next, the Guys turn to the death of Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in a U.S. special forces raid. Jay loved the president’s comments about the raid, which he felt made for great political theater. Mike points out that the raid was made possible by intelligence help from the Kurds, and argues that we need a continued presence in the region to make these critical relationships possible. They both agree that this is good news for the fight against radical Islamic terrorism.

Then it’s a turn to some contradictory economic news – another good jobs report, wages exceeding inflation, and a record-setting economic expansion, but with overall growth down and businesses reluctant to spend. Both Mike and Jay believe the slowdown is due in no small part to President Trump’s trade war with China. Mike makes a case that the president might actually be working against his short term electoral interest by pushing the trade war, though Jay points out that that’s likely why Trump is pushing so hard for Fed rate cuts.

The show closes with a discussion of some important developments in the Democratic presidential nomination race – Beto O’Rourke pulling out, Kamala Harris cutting staff and going all-in on Iowa, and Elizabeth Warren releasing details on how she’d pay for her Medicare for All plan.

Listener support helps make The Politics Guys possible. If you’re interested in supporting the show, go to patreon.com/politicsguys or politicsguys.com/support.