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A.B. Stoddard: A Most Delicious Circular Firing Squad

December 8, 2022
Notes
Transcript

Republicans need someone to blame besides Trump, so Laura Ingraham is turning on the RNC, Kellyanne is turning on Jared, and a rump group in the Senate is turning on McConnell. Plus, Democrats are a little too high on hopium. A.B. Stoddard joins Charlie Sykes today.

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This transcript was generated automatically and may contain errors and omissions. Ironically, the transcription service has particular problems with the word “bulwark,” so you may see it mangled as “Bullard,” “Boulart,” or even “bull word.” Enjoy!
  • Speaker 1
    0:00:00

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    Get twenty percent off your first set of sheets and free shipping when you use promo code bulwark at bolenbranch dot com. That’s bolen branch, b o l l a n d branch dot com promo code, Bulwark. Welcome to the Bulwark podcast. I am Charlie Sykes, once again, joined by our good friend, AB Stoddart, Associate Editor and columnist at Real clear politics. First of all, good morning and merry Christmas maybe if I don’t talk to you before the holidays.
  • Speaker 2
    0:01:04

    Charlie, it’s great to be with you, and I’m excited about your holiday. Well, I’m looking
  • Speaker 1
    0:01:08

    forward to
  • Speaker 2
    0:01:09

    it. And I’m gonna have a nice quiet one, but we are all excited to hear in the New Year about your trip across the pond.
  • Speaker 1
    0:01:16

    Well, thank you. You know, and the reason I mentioned it’s it’s good to have you back is because I just mentioned right before we started the podcast that I actually had you on the podcast two years ago to the day, December eighth twenty twenty, and I’d kind of forgotten about it. But you and I were sort of reminiscing about that. What a surreal month December twenty twenty was I’ve actually been going back and reading some old stuff and that whole period after the election but before the insurrection, we knew that bad stuff was going to happen. I mean, there was that ominous sense, but I don’t think that any of us could have predicted that it was going to be as bad as it turned out today.
  • Speaker 2
    0:01:58

    It is. The surreal is the only word for that period because we when we look back on it, we feel almost sick, right, that we were in this suspended reality where we knew the Trump was not likely to leave the White House on January twentieth without the Marines coming, something was gonna happen. What would it be And two years ago yesterday was my piece in the bulwark saying he was gonna destroy the party and that was before the insurrection. Right. Before the Georgia run offs could be intentionally tanked, and then before he told Ronald McDaniel on Air Force One leaving Washington right before Biden’s inauguration that indeed he would leave the party to punish Republicans for not sticking up for him and overturning the election for him.
  • Speaker 2
    0:02:41

    And We knew that there was some kind of, you know, coup plot underway. We knew that. We knew that they were running around the states trying to beg state legislators to to do this and that, but it was just this simmering tension about what the fiery end would be we all did say things like, you know, we’re a little concerned about the attention paid to January sixth and the tweets he was sending out. But we did not think anyone would make it past the security perimeter and into the capital. Surely, we never imagined that.
  • Speaker 2
    0:03:14

    And I think it was more what was gonna be like on the morning of the inauguration when they tried to get him to join base, Andrews. It is really surreal to look back, and we were just anxious, and we were trying
  • Speaker 1
    0:03:27

    to be relieved about Trump losing, but It was such a such a strange strange two months. This is why I feel like we’re kind of caught in a doom loop because it was last week that you wrote a piece saying, Trump is going to burn it all down. And then you made reference to two years ago when you wrote, Donald Trump is going to just destroy their party, not because he wants to or even because he is trying to. But because the destruction of the GOP will be required in order to fulfill his psychological needs. And of course, that was right.
  • Speaker 1
    0:04:01

    And I keep scratching my head. Well, that’s actually, you know, an understatement. I keep asking, you know, our good Republican friends, including the anti anti Trump Republican friends, What did you think was going to happen? How did you think this was going to end? I mean, there’s a certain vindication in watching them all go, hey, you know what?
  • Speaker 1
    0:04:20

    This Trump thing is not working out for This is electoral poison. We’re gonna keep losing. You know, maybe this was not a good idea. And yet you look back two years ago, three years ago, four years ago, five years ago, six years ago, and I’m sorry, seven years ago. And everything this happened was completely predict in the sense of if you understood who and what Donald Trump was, so welcome to the freaking party for many of these folks.
  • Speaker 1
    0:04:47

    Because Donald Trump was always going to burn it all down.
  • Speaker 2
    0:04:52

    And — Mhmm.
  • Speaker 1
    0:04:53

    — yes, there’s this, you know, belated recognition of it but a b. This was this was known. This was out there, wasn’t it? So let’s talk about where we’re at right now because all the stories are, how completely isolated he is, how we know what a complete shambolic, you know, failure his announcement was, all of the knives are out by the way, that’s already become a a tired cliche about the Republican Party. And there’s all this second guessing.
  • Speaker 1
    0:05:20

    But of course, we come back to this age old question. So what? What will they do about it? I mean, the defeat of Hershel Walker in Georgia sort of just caps underlines, bold faces, whatever however you wanna put it. You know, the loser nature of manga, but will it make a difference too?
  • Speaker 1
    0:05:40

    That’s what’s so
  • Speaker 2
    0:05:40

    interesting about their dilemma by acquiescing all along and pretending that these pathologies and psychological needs, which I feel like Pete Weiner and I are the only ones in this town willing to actually, you know, consistently talk about, this is his mental wiring. Right? They’ve known it all along. It’s not even his personality. It’s just he wakes up every day in finding new ways stay on offense.
  • Speaker 2
    0:06:06

    That’s what Newphingrix said about him in twenty sixteen. And destroying things is what fuels him. Offense recrimination, retribution, revenge is what fuels him. So they’ve known this all along. This is how he’s wired.
  • Speaker 2
    0:06:20

    And now their dilemma is how do we figure out how to just ghost Donald Trump? It’s just not possible. And so are they gonna just because the elites are upset now that they’ve lost selections with some bummer candidates who turn off swing voters. Are they gonna change the the sentiment, the minds of maga? No.
  • Speaker 2
    0:06:40

    The voters will make this decision on their own about dumping Trump. And until unless they do, that’s the burden and that’s the obstacle for the party. Which couldn’t stop an insurgency in twenty sixteen and certainly is not organized enough now to keep the field small and knock him out somehow if he keeps the thirty five percent. And again, they need to wrestle with the fact that he either wins or they lose. That’s the name of the game for Trump.
  • Speaker 2
    0:07:09

    Well,
  • Speaker 3
    0:07:09

    and and
  • Speaker 1
    0:07:09

    as you explain, Trump isn’t afraid of Bill Barr. He doesn’t care what Larry Hogan or Paul Ryan’s say he doesn’t care that John Bolton says he’s old and tired. I mean none of those things make a difference. It doesn’t matter that that national review has decided, you know, after all, maybe not Trump, you know, never again. None of this matters to him.
  • Speaker 1
    0:07:29

    Right? Right. And I’m sorry, I apologize to the listeners because we keep sort of coming back to this. But, you know, right now, the Republican Party to the extent that there is a Republican party at all, and there’s an asterisk behind that, is done with Trump. They wanna move on from Trump.
  • Speaker 1
    0:07:43

    They recognize that that Trump is a complete disaster. That Trump may be the only major candidate that would lose in twenty twenty four. That’s what they’re telling themselves. But I don’t see what their exit strategy is. I don’t think they have an exit strategy.
  • Speaker 1
    0:07:56

    I don’t know how it ends. When Donald Trump basically stands up, you know, it is either me or the deluge. Right? I will pull the temple down around me. Right.
  • Speaker 1
    0:08:06

    I am fully prepared to fiddle down here at Mar a Lago while the entire country burns. How do you deal with somebody like that? And again, you were warned about this over and over and over again. And you don’t have anybody to blame, which by the way makes me think about another piece you wrote. And I think you made this case that the most embarrassing, shameful vote among many, cast by Republicans was when Republicans had the chance to rid themselves and the country of Donald Trump in that second impeachment trial and they didn’t take those Republican senators who now own everything that’s happened since.
  • Speaker 1
    0:08:43

    It
  • Speaker 2
    0:08:45

    just infuriates me. You know, we’re all going through this, Charlie. This this welcome to the club. Now you’re pretending that Trump is a disaster and you didn’t know it in twenty fifteen. And all of us who who really suffered in some cases you know, ramifications with our career, with friends, with relationships, with connections to colleagues, all sorts of things in our lives.
  • Speaker 2
    0:09:08

    By coming out and saying this seven years ago and deciding to stick with it, you know, do or die while we were accused of having Trump derangement syndrome. It’s frustrating in a lot of ways because when I would go to members and senators and say, you and I both know he won’t leave the White House if he loses. They would say, there is no need to talk about this. Oh, that’s not gonna happen. And they pretended that they didn’t
  • Speaker 1
    0:09:35

    know. What’s the downside of humoring him
  • Speaker 2
    0:09:37

    really right that he possibly is gonna go. And so that’s what’s so frustrating is that they embedded in him. But, yes, when you come back to that fateful day, February thirteenth twenty twenty one. The senate Republicans oh, you can’t really blame House Republicans A, they’re in the cycle every two years, but most of them are too stupid to know what’s going on. Mhmm.
  • Speaker 2
    0:09:57

    They’re not in the exact, like, inner circle of Washington. Senators are John Thune and Mitch McConnell and John Cornyn, they knew everything that Pat Cipollone knew. They were in the inside track. They knew everything we’ve learned from the January sixth committee hearings in real time or within a few days after the insurrection. They know all of that.
  • Speaker 2
    0:10:18

    And yet they voted to acquit him and not get rid of him. If they had voted to to get rid of him, the megabase would have freaked out and, you know, burn things out of their vans and this streets with their, you know, Trump t shirts for a few weeks, but then they would have moved on to find the next fighter, right, the next gladiator. And we would be done with Trump. And so Mitch McConnell is is having all these Sharon Engel and Todd Aiken and Richard Murdoch flashbacks after, you know, losing the Georgia runoffs again, you know, with Hershel Walker and on and on. But really, that was his moment.
  • Speaker 2
    0:10:55

    Right? It was to just say to enough people, I know I won’t get Von Johnson, but come on, let seventeen of us hold hands and jump off. And they didn’t do
  • Speaker 1
    0:11:04

    it. No. And well, and and then he spent fifty four million dollars trying to get Hershel Walker elected to the United States Senate. So there
  • Speaker 3
    0:11:11

    is that.
  • Speaker 1
    0:11:12

    So let’s talk about Hershel Walker for a moment because I have been saying I I was gonna say I was gonna argue, but I think it’s so obvious that it’s not a brilliant argument that that Hershel Walker may have been the worst candidate in this cycle of really embarrassing candidates. And I asked Mark Liebovitz yesterday on the podcast. Can you remember a candidate this bad? We couldn’t come up with anybody afterwards. I thought, well, Roy Moore would be in that category.
  • Speaker 1
    0:11:34

    You know, that you put up somebody like Roy Moore, you know, the creepy stalker. Who managed to lose an absolutely unwinnable election in Alabama. But Hershel Walker, unique uniquely awful. And I guess I’m I’m watching all the punditry and people who’re trying to, you know, understand, you know, why Walker didn’t win. I think it’s so obvious I think it’s more depressing that he did as well as he did, but I’m looking at some of these numbers.
  • Speaker 1
    0:12:00

    In the ten metropolitan Atlanta counties, which made up about the same share of, the statewide vote as they did back in two thousand four. These counties have shifted from the Republicans to the Democrats. By an average of a cumulative amount of forty two percent, forty two percent shift in the vote. In just those counties. These are big counties around Atlanta.
  • Speaker 1
    0:12:25

    This would be for this race. But I wanna get your take on a list. Because there’s kind of a debate going on. About, you know, what’s happening here. Georgia is not a blue state.
  • Speaker 1
    0:12:36

    Georgia is still a red state. Every other Republican won. All of the evidence suggests that Republicans in fact did turn out in big numbers this year, that they did turn out, that it was not a, you know, Republican sitting on their hands. They turned out but a lot of them just would not vote for Hersha Walker, which would suggest that, you know, the decisive element in this campaign was independence, and Republicans who just wouldn’t go along with MAGA. Do you have a different take on this?
  • Speaker 1
    0:13:03

    No. I
  • Speaker 2
    0:13:04

    agree with you. I think they would have gone along with manga. They wouldn’t go along with walker or the most fascinating, fascinating anecdotes from sirloin wells focus group on this where the this woman says, I showed up on election day in lifelong Republican. I voted straight Republican ticket. For Brian Kemp and Walker, but I actually can’t do it again.
  • Speaker 2
    0:13:26

    Mhmm. I mean, just the abject ludicrous nature of Walker as a candidate, you know, trying to send him to the senate the way he was used. It was such turn off to so many independents and Republicans. I think it did drive up a lot of black turnout because they were really insulted that Hershel Walker was being used. You know, as a black Republican to run against a black Democrat, they were really resentful of that.
  • Speaker 2
    0:13:51

    And I think that the Democrats used that effectively. But I think that you’re right, that the the margin, the decisive margin in a state that just elected cap by eight points, was Republicans who said, I just that man needs to go home. He shouldn’t go to the Senate. Like, I feel sorry for him and I can’t vote for him. And that was decisive.
  • Speaker 2
    0:14:09

    But but I agree with
  • Speaker 1
    0:14:10

    you probably Yeah. If only there was a name for Republicans that wouldn’t vote for, say, Donald Trump or Hershel Walker, if there was only a term to describe those Republicans. I’m I’m sorry. But I
  • Speaker 2
    0:14:20

    I agree with you, Charlie, that I think that, you know, Biden barely won Georgia. That’s great for him. Republicans lost those runoffs because because of Trump telling rural Georgia Republicans on January five that it was rigged. You know, Rafael Warner is extremely impressive, you know, away from his senate career as a reverend. He has won four elections in a row.
  • Speaker 2
    0:14:41

    The man needs to go to sleep for four months. And I think it’s great that he’s he’s earned a six year term, but And it’s really if you look at it, thanks to Walker, he came way too close. Amazing. Republicans turned out for him in the day I vote in very impressive numbers. Brian Kem’s ground game truly helped him.
  • Speaker 2
    0:14:57

    And with all of Hershel Walker’s, you know, just the embarrassment of him, the incompetence just being so unfit. He still gave worn off a run for his money. So, yeah, I I don’t think that Democrats can look at Georgia and say I mean, it’s slightly purple, but Republicans really aim to get it back under control, and I think that they’re gonna do that from now on. I
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  • Speaker 3
    0:17:20

    You know, we used
  • Speaker 1
    0:17:22

    to play a game, you know, in the early Trump years asking, so what would it actually take If shooting somebody in the middle of Fifth Avenue would not turn off those, what would it take? And the only thing that I could come up with was if it turned out that Donald Trump actually paid for an abortion from one of his mistresses. That was the only one. Of course, since then, it’s obvious that not even that would make a difference. But I think Georgia demonstrated the rather cartoonish fashion that if you are a right to life conservative Republican and it is revealed that you paid for one or more abortions, would it act make that much of a difference.
  • Speaker 1
    0:17:54

    And the answer is really no. I mean, we’re not the point now where it’s hard to imagine any scandal that would the kind of normal scandal that used to derail senate candidates, Republican candidates, and that would certainly still derail any Democratic candidates. It’s hard to imagine any story now in this era that would turn off the Republican base.
  • Speaker 2
    0:18:15

    It’s really hard for me to swallow, actually. And it must be for someone like you because of your pro life views and your personal story and your journey through this. I mean, Charlie, I watch evangelical and a deeply faithful Christian Republicans and Catholics and all of them who are pro life voters in sixteen say that Trump was it was a binary choice and they had to support him because of the issue of abortion. I respect that. He was going to choose the judges he promised on the federal society shortlist to overturn Rose versus Wade.
  • Speaker 2
    0:18:51

    And that was their, you know, that was their goal of that coalition. The Hershel Walker story has just is really exposed that these voters wanted another vote in the senate more than they wanted to stop abortions. And someone like Hersha Walker is like a Saturday Night Live Skip version. Of a candidate that would expose the ambition of the true driving force of pro life voters. It’s really ugly.
  • Speaker 2
    0:19:19

    Yeah.
  • Speaker 1
    0:19:19

    It it it is really ugly. And I’m gonna keep coming back to this point that Nate Cohn makes in the New York Times that and this is really an important lesson to learn is that there are still Republicans out there. They still vote for Republicans. The turnout by Republicans was great. They just refused to vote for this particular guy.
  • Speaker 1
    0:19:37

    And the final New York Times Ciena poll showed that voters in Pennsylvania Arizona, Georgia, and Nevada preferred Republican control of the senate, and yet in each state they did not elect the Republican senate candidate because they hated the candidate. And in each one of those cases, the candidate had been handpicked by Donald Trump. This is in bright red letters. In Pennsylvania, Republicans turned out, but doctor Oz didn’t win. In Arizona, Republicans turned out, but Blake Masters didn’t win.
  • Speaker 1
    0:20:16

    In Nevada, Republicans turned out, but Paul Axel didn’t win, etcetera. And it does seem to have settled into at least the Republican elites that that there’s one common denominator here, which is they have to have somebody to blame for all of this. And so let’s talk about that for a moment, the circular firing squad. I I am not gonna carry any water whatsoever for Ronald Romney McDaniel. But it is fascinating all the people, you know, that the skies have opened up and the finger of God has written It’s fucking Donald
  • Speaker 2
    0:20:48

    Trump, and
  • Speaker 1
    0:20:49

    they go, look at that. Ronald McDaniel. We have to do something about Ronald McDaniel. I mean, just talk to me about that. I mean, she is spectacular.
  • Speaker 1
    0:20:57

    She is sick of fanic. She’s been ineffective. But I’m sorry. How do you blame her? For this.
  • Speaker 1
    0:21:05

    I
  • Speaker 2
    0:21:05

    have to tell you. First of all, yes, there is what you pointed out about Republican turnout is kind of amazing because if you’re the RNC or people who are doing ground game and trying to choose Republican voters, you’re saying, wait a minute, I really tried our GOTV was above par, and we and we worked our butts off, but there is a universe where Mitch McConnell is majority leader again with senators, star Dewey, senators, Chris, the new news, Senator Chris Chris Carr, senator Doug Collins from Georgia and senator David McCormack from Pennsylvania. This is
  • Speaker 1
    0:21:36

    so easy to imagine too. Mhmm. Now that would have happened. Okay. I’m
  • Speaker 3
    0:21:41

    so glad. The most
  • Speaker 2
    0:21:41

    delicious circular firing spot, I have not had this fun in a long time watching Laura Ingram here on Rana But then Kellyanne Conway nervously on her panel the other night, Kellyanne Conway and Fox News contributed to that. Trying to stick up for raw and sort of blame other factors other factors.
  • Speaker 1
    0:22:00

    Got the
  • Speaker 2
    0:22:00

    RNC challenger, Ronda, this Army Dillon person going on Tucker. You’ve got Kellyanne Conway turning on Jared Kushner on Fox saying that, you know, he made billions in the White House and he’s a friend of Kanye’s and why doesn’t he start answering questions? You’ve got Andy Biggs turning on Mark Levin and Mark Levin turning on Andy Biggs as Andy Biggs is trying to run for speaker. And you’ve got Paul Lindsey still trying to stick up for Trump. And Don Junior is still wearing his a number forty five and number forty seven t shirt.
  • Speaker 2
    0:22:32

    The the whole thing is the most beautiful clown car. I I hope it lasts for months. I I couldn’t be enjoying it more. And there’s a rum group now in the Senate, an official Like, as McCarthy is undergoing all this in the house, trying to become speaker, there’s now, like, an official room group that’s turned on McConnell. So they can’t take him down but they’re officially bonding together to be a pain in his ass.
  • Speaker 2
    0:22:56

    It’s just too much fun.
  • Speaker 1
    0:22:58

    It is. Matt Lewis has a column today, Maga is eating itself after GOP’s disaster. And and he runs through some of these, you know, Maga on Maga foods, which really really kind of make no sense when you think about it. I mean, you know, for example, Matt Gates versus Marjorie Taylor Green. I mean, what is that about or Laura Lumer against Marjorie, Taylor, Greene.
  • Speaker 1
    0:23:20

    And and what it is is is, of course, you’ve created this ragtag group of grips and and trolls and conspiracy theorists and narcissists. And and they’re all now jockeying for position. It’s not about anything except power so that you know, as Trump fades, there is kind of the this vacuum or maybe the better analogy would be. You know, as as the tide goes out, you see all the critis that’s left behind all the garbage and the crap and everything. But it is interesting.
  • Speaker 1
    0:23:48

    The way they’re all turning on one another, but the Ronald McDaniel thing, is interesting because I think the human mind actually requires some sort of rationalization anytime something like this happens. And the political mind, which is not, of course, irrational necessarily. They always have to find a scapegoat. And in this particular case, this is the humor of it because the responsibility is so obvious. And yet, you know, what was it?
  • Speaker 1
    0:24:12

    Lindsey Graham saying, no, no, no, no, it’s not Trump. Trump had nothing to do with this. It was fundraising. Oh, yes. Fundraising.
  • Speaker 1
    0:24:18

    These if Hershel Walker just had ten million more dollars, people wouldn’t have care, I’d what? I don’t know. I mean, money is important, but this was not about fundraising.
  • Speaker 2
    0:24:27

    That is the best response to the midterms from from the Republicans. A, blame Trump when, yes, Trump’s the factor with those candidates, but they also have a huge abortion problem that they refused to confront. And then they blame Brana. And the problem for them going forward is that they have these things are falling back on on process. So they come for themselves.
  • Speaker 2
    0:24:44

    They say, it was a green wave. They out and I speak to one here and three to at one. And then it was the intervention by Big Tech And then it was early voting, which, of course, is all Trump’s fault. So now they’re upset that no one early votes in their party or does mail in ballots because Trump has told them all that that’s a rigged fake system. And so the process things, you know, that’s fine to tell donors, to send more money, and they were outspent, but they’re not actually really dealing with the fact that the MagA voters nominated these candidates and they wanted them and then you had, you know, young people churning out, I think, just solely on the issue of abortion and that they really aren’t gonna have to reckon with I mean, I I don’t think they’ll do it.
  • Speaker 2
    0:25:26

    But, you know, a smart candidate trying to make a play for twenty twenty four would stand up now and say those that many of the trigger laws that don’t include exceptions are too severe, and they’re going to cost them vectorally. But they’re looking for any reason that they can to they can’t blame the mega voters.
  • Speaker 1
    0:25:43

    No. No. No. So
  • Speaker 2
    0:25:45

    they’re blaming Trump, and then they’re blaming Wada, and then they’re finding anything they can, except, you know, to deal with the real problems that they have. And I think the democrats are, you know, obviously, because they’re in a better position, they’re sort of just blind to their deficits as well. Well, let’s get
  • Speaker 1
    0:25:57

    to that in a moment. I mean, I think the Republicans, you know, have figured out that that, yes, that all of those things are true, but their salvation is hundred Biden’s laptop. Which I I mean, I, you know, is that do you know there were dick pics on that laptop that Twitter would not let us see this is the real threat to democracy. Okay. So you you wrote something this week about that mentioned, Ronald, that ties it together with the I think the large dilemma the Republican Party has, which is that they may be finished with Trump, but he has not finished with them.
  • Speaker 1
    0:26:25

    Europe, Ronald Romney, Romney, Nathaniel, who has rigged the RNC for Trump after he tried to steal an election by paying his legal bills, buying Don Junior’s books, and centering Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger has no secret plan to keep Trump on the team nor does anyone who would defeat her for RNC chair. This, I think we just need to to remind people of there is no plan. Yeah. There is no scenario. No one has a roadmap in which Donald Trump goes away.
  • Speaker 1
    0:26:55

    Without setting off the world’s greatest political shit bomb in his way. You know?
  • Speaker 3
    0:27:01

    Right? It’s so
  • Speaker 2
    0:27:03

    you know, it’s so true. There’s no gold watch they can give him, the promise of a pardon from Rhonda Santos. You know
  • Speaker 1
    0:27:11

    the the imminent nominee.
  • Speaker 2
    0:27:12

    There there’s nothing that makes him go nicer quietly. His objective is to destroy, and he either gets to be the nominee or destroys the party. No one else gets to win. And, Rana McDaniel, that lover, she’s facing a challenge from this army dillion who has some, I guess, her firm represents Trump. I mean, that person’s not gonna take on the real truth, which is that they can’t nominate Trump.
  • Speaker 2
    0:27:37

    I mean, it’s just so crazy the level of denial. And I guess you have to do that right when you don’t have a plan? When there is no way out, you’re just totally trapped. You say things like, let’s nominate Glenn Youngkin. You know, you there’s keep on talking delusional talk to yourself because I I mean, really I don’t really know what they can do.
  • Speaker 2
    0:27:55

    It’ll be interesting to see what this woman who’s challenging, McDaniel, is what kind of platform she’s running on. Like, that doesn’t matter. I mean Really,
  • Speaker 1
    0:28:03

    really? Yeah. I don’t know what. Yeah. I I will suck up harder.
  • Speaker 1
    0:28:08

    I mean what? I I don’t know. I I wanna get to your point about the the Democrats being in a little bit of denial. I think they’re in sort of a bubble of glee at the moment, but Since we’re a few weeks away from Christmas, would you like another, like, a lump of shot in fried in your stocking? Always.
  • Speaker 1
    0:28:23

    Okay. Because I always worry about having too much shot in Freud, but I don’t think that’s possible at this time at this time of the year. I want you to think just for
  • Speaker 3
    0:28:32

    a moment. About
  • Speaker 1
    0:28:33

    Devin Nunes. Devin Nunes. Okay. Resigned his seat in congress. To go run this huge new hot website.
  • Speaker 1
    0:28:45

    Right? And this hot website would become even a user. Because of all the people kicked off of Twitter? Well, not only is Devin Nunes’ new website, just a complete dumpster fire, but all those people who left Twitter are now back on Twitter. Right?
  • Speaker 1
    0:29:07

    And, Devina, I quit this seat in Congress. The most important
  • Speaker 3
    0:29:12

    thing is not
  • Speaker 2
    0:29:13

    just that he left his seat in Congress. He was the unchallenged, unrivaled next ways and means to that. Yeah. And now what’s also so fun is that Vern Buchanan is one of the contenders, congressman, one of the contenders for the ways and means championship. And if he doesn’t get it, he might retire.
  • Speaker 2
    0:29:35

    And now I’ve been in the next congress since which means that McCarthy is another vacancy, and a smaller margin. I mean, the whole thing is so crazy. But, yes, Devin Nunes, I couldn’t be happier for him shortly. No. I I sort
  • Speaker 1
    0:29:48

    of have this this this picture of him. Like, he’s sitting in his corner office. The rest of the floor is completely barren, and all the wires are hanging from the ceiling, and all of the desks have sort of crap all over them and no one’s there. And he’s there and there’s just like one phone on his desk and he’s just waiting for his master’s voice and and it’s like, you know, I was going to be the CEO of this. Okay.
  • Speaker 3
    0:30:13

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  • Speaker 1
    0:30:15

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  • Speaker 1
    0:30:53

    talk about the Democrats for for a moment because you you made a point in passing. I mean, obviously, there’s a lot of vindication to sense that, okay, now we have the wind our back we now have a mandate to continue doing more of what we had been doing. So talk to me about that. What lesson should Democrats take from all of this? Because they’re feeling pretty jiggy about this election.
  • Speaker 1
    0:31:18

    Yeah.
  • Speaker 2
    0:31:19

    I think you’re right. I think there are sort of high on their euphoric. Right? And so they’re not seeing the reality, which is that they face a dismal map for the Senate in twenty twenty four when they have to defend a whole bunch of seats in all the swing states Pennsylvania Arizona, you know, across the Forbes concept, one after another of the most important battleground states. And then, of course, they have red state democrats up.
  • Speaker 2
    0:31:47

    And while Mansion, you know, will likely do fine. You got to worry about John Tester in Montana shared brown in Ohio. Sheriff Brown was last reelected in a Democratic year twenty eighteen. And if Republicans for some reason shake Donald Trump and get their act together, Oh, wow. It was very red state.
  • Speaker 2
    0:32:03

    We all know that. So looking at that, that they have to contend with that, then they have this, you know, will Biden run again, should he run again issue? And I think that they need to just really sober up about the fact that voters did not rescue them because they were sitting there thinking, and I wanna back up and say, I think that Biden and the democrats record with these margins of getting, you know, the chips and the packed act and the most significant gun reform in thirty years. And a bipartisan infrastructure bill and classification of same sex marriage and all these. I think these are hugely consequential and extremely impressive.
  • Speaker 2
    0:32:39

    In this polarized country given the margins they have in these chambers. I think it’s amazing. And I’m a huge fan of bipartisan cooperation. But I don’t think the voters were, like, going to the ballot box thanking the Biden administration for those accomplishments. And And for the fact that gas prices, you know, lowered here and there, I think that they were thinking about abortion and these freaky candidates that the Republicans had put up.
  • Speaker 2
    0:33:04

    And and and election denial. So that problem for the Democrats going forward is they don’t have a mandate nor does Biden in terms of thinking that he’s made history with this election, you know, since nineteen thirty four, no state legislature losses. Mhmm. Since nineteen twelve, no incumbent senator loses, defying all the historical trends for the House which is like an average of twenty seven seats. Anyway, this is no mandate for him to run again either.
  • Speaker 2
    0:33:32

    And so they have a lot of reflecting to do and their party is also facing a real pivot point, and they really shouldn’t ignore it. I think they need to start over and they need to make some changes, and I don’t think anyone over there is in a mood to do that. No.
  • Speaker 1
    0:33:47

    I don’t I don’t think they are. In some ways, though, the the election
  • Speaker 3
    0:33:52

    results, No. Many of our
  • Speaker 1
    0:33:53

    listeners will hate this. Election results saves them from any future overreach, at least in the next two years. They’re not going to pass some massive new spending bills, a massive new experimental bill — Yeah. — the kind that Republicans would exploit. Because I think that the focus is is going to be on the insanity of the Republican House and what they’re going to do.
  • Speaker 1
    0:34:14

    I wanted to get your take on this. We had an interesting piece in in the bowl work yesterday by Joe Perticom. Who knows that, okay, you know, Republicans have made it absolutely clear that they’re gonna be doing twenty four seven investigations over the Biden family. But less attention to what Democrats are going to do in the senate because they now have the gavel and they have the majority on all of the committees. What is your sense about how aggressive Democrats are going to be in their own investigations, including maybe picking up the fallen standard of the January sixth house committee going looking at the Kushner Crime family.
  • Speaker 1
    0:34:49

    What what do you think is gonna happen over there? And what should they do? Well, it seems
  • Speaker 2
    0:34:52

    like they are interested sit in the Kushner family. I think that as they tell voters that Hunter Biden’s laptop, and his, you know, dick pics are are not, you know, gonna lower anyone’s price of gas and address inflation and put food on the table. I think that they also risk going too far trying to counter program House and Best estigations with Senate investigations that Democrats control. So it’s probably one of those things where if I were advising them, I would say, you know, when you’re when your enemy is digging a hole, you just let them keep on digging. I mean, the the problem with Biden running again, Charlie, is that if the Hunter Biden investigation, it gives Joe Biden some exposure and reveals some liability there.
  • Speaker 2
    0:35:42

    Then they have succeeded. If Joe Biden insists on running again. If Joe Biden, which it looks like he
  • Speaker 1
    0:35:49

    does. Right. I mean, that doesn’t it that it it feels like that’s a subtlety. Yeah.
  • Speaker 2
    0:35:53

    And that’s I’m really surprised by that because I don’t think Joe Biden is in any physical condition to promise this country at age eighty two. He has not even served two full years, Charlie. We’re talking, he has two more in this term. And you the man is tired. I I think he can handle the next two years, but I don’t think he’s in any shape to tell the country that at eighty two, he can serve until eighty six.
  • Speaker 2
    0:36:14

    So that’s my democrats will throw food at me about this. And I’m fine with that. I’m sticking with this. He is too old to run for a second term, in my opinion. If he says he’s not gonna run for a second term, it totally blows the hunter by an investigation up.
  • Speaker 2
    0:36:29

    It’s like a waste of money, a waste of time. Nobody cares. And I think that’s, you know, that’s the best course for the party is a fresh new leader, you know, just dump all over the Hunter Biden investigation by Joe Biden, you know, stepping from the stage. Then it also takes the, you know, the air out of the impatient balloon on and on. But if they’re if they’re gonna get into Hunter and there is some problem in those investigations politically for Joe Biden, that’s a
  • Speaker 3
    0:36:57

    problem for the
  • Speaker 2
    0:36:58

    whole Democratic Party. And so that’s why if you balance that aggressive investigations on the senate side, it may not help them. Yes.
  • Speaker 1
    0:37:07

    I I think I agree with that. On the other hand, I I think that this is also an opportunity to put everything into context, to remind people Yeah. That the obsession with Hunter Biden is what led to Donald Trump’s first impeachment when Donald Trump tried to extort Ukraine in return for digging up dirt on Joe Biden and his and his son. And also highlighting, Donald Trump and Donald Trump’s families just scurrilous vicious attacks on Ukraine, remind people of their pro Putinism, and and put that in those context. But I I don’t disagree with you.
  • Speaker 1
    0:37:40

    I think that the entire discussion of Joe Biden, though, really at bottom as they listen to people talk about it. It relies on the hope that Donald Trump will be the Republican nominee because the the hope is that, yes, everything you said about Joe Biden may be true, but but he is still more likely than not to be able to defeat Donald Trump. But if Republicans somehow miraculously rid themselves of Donald Trump and they come up with a younger, more vigorous nominee, then they have a
  • Speaker 3
    0:38:08

    real problem.
  • Speaker 1
    0:38:08

    And I think that they need to to game that out as well. Do they want to go up against a younger, more vigorous, even mongotype like Rhonda Santos? Particularly if the electorate’s you know, sometimes the electorate just gets in a mood and the electorate wants to turn the page. And, you know, what Democrats did not see in twenty sixteen was that that was change election. Voders wanted change.
  • Speaker 1
    0:38:31

    What did Democrats do? They said, hey, how about Hillary Clinton? Vote. No. We told you we want change.
  • Speaker 1
    0:38:36

    If voters in twenty twenty four are in the mood for change, turning the page, a younger generation moving ahead.
  • Speaker 3
    0:38:44

    You know,
  • Speaker 1
    0:38:44

    again, if Republicans nominate Donald Trump, Biden’s in good shape, if Republicans move on, then I think that changes the dynamics and but I don’t I don’t know whether political parties are this nimble. I mean, it you’re only on a podcast can talk about all of this. But it doesn’t matter. Right? I mean, because political parties don’t actually go into a room and make these decisions.
  • Speaker 1
    0:39:08

    No. They can’t choose
  • Speaker 2
    0:39:08

    candidates anymore. I actually think if Donald Trump is running, he’s gonna be in a pathetic shape that Okay. Yes. I know if he’s nominated, then he has a chance of winning. I understand that.
  • Speaker 2
    0:39:20

    Actually,
  • Speaker 1
    0:39:20

    almost
  • Speaker 2
    0:39:21

    one in twenty twenty
  • Speaker 1
    0:39:22

    minus, like, forty
  • Speaker 2
    0:39:23

    four thousand votes. And I’m very terrified of of of Donald Trump ever being president again, and I take it very seriously. The threat of that, but I’m saying that I I think that Joe Biden is gonna be so much older two years from now at eighty two than he is at eighty because of how much I’ve watched him age between seventy eight and eighty that I believe that he shouldn’t go up against Trump and that a flailing agrieved older Trump against a fresh, vigorous, competent, you know, midwesterner. On the Democratic side actually would really I think he’d really Trump would really struggle. And you’re right.
  • Speaker 2
    0:40:00

    I mean, if look, if Rhonda Sanchez is up against Biden, Biden has real problem. It’s just The party nominating Biden is setting themselves up for a crisis. It’s really Biden setting the party up for a crisis. You know? He’s gonna be in office at age eighty two.
  • Speaker 2
    0:40:16

    For another four years where he’s gonna have a health event. And there it’s just it’s just irresponsible in mind Yeah. I’m
  • Speaker 1
    0:40:22

    I’m gonna put myself down as agnostic at at this point on on all this. So let me just ask you another one other question though. And and we’re doing this almost in passing at the very end of the podcast. Carrie Lake is still out there. Okay.
  • Speaker 1
    0:40:36

    Do do are you old enough to remember when Carly Lake was the hottest thing in Republican politics when she was the heir apparent, when she was the super star, the queen of maga, like — Oh,
  • Speaker 2
    0:40:45

    yeah. —
  • Speaker 1
    0:40:46

    three weeks ago. Well, she is full into election denial. You know? She is is actually posting videos endorsing that truth social blurt from Donald Trump recalled for terminating the constitution. And she’s still railing and trying to get that old buyback.
  • Speaker 1
    0:41:02

    In Arizona, they just seem to have completely decided they’re gonna ignore her. They certified the election. And I don’t know, am I missing something, but it’s just not playing. Nobody’s paying attention. And I wonder whether or not this is one of those those things that has changed, that election denialism just seems tired.
  • Speaker 1
    0:41:23

    It seems irrelevant. It not even jigging up the MEGA base. I won’t
  • Speaker 2
    0:41:30

    believe it’s over with until I see the people in the twenty twenty four field against Trump say that Biden was freely and fairly elected and that the election was not stolen. And that election denialism is bad for their party with independent voters. Yeah. Hey, speaking
  • Speaker 1
    0:41:47

    of election denialism, etcetera, Is Congress going to pass the Electoral Account Act revision in this lame duck session? I mean, we were told they were going to and I keep looking around and going, okay, they’re gonna do gay marriage today, great, fine. Glad they’re doing that. They might come up with a spending bill, but weren’t we kind of told that they were going to fix the electrical contact We
  • Speaker 2
    0:42:09

    were told this was gonna happen in the lame dock, and it is receded from the list of emergencies that they’re dealing with, and they also have some disagreements that remain. And so you have Susan Collins, like a chief, you know, negotiator saying it’s still on track, but I think it’s looking less likely. That
  • Speaker 1
    0:42:25

    would be a painful failure on the part of the legislation. So what else are you keeping an eye on? Is there anything else besides this frantic race for the the lame duck session that you’re watching. And again, I we’re both sitting back in in our barco loungers with popcorn watching what’s going on in the Republican house clock as So do you think Kevin McCarthy ends up being speaker? Well, that’s what I’m keeping my eye on.
  • Speaker 2
    0:42:47

    Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Because because
  • Speaker 1
    0:42:49

    I think
  • Speaker 2
    0:42:50

    everyone’s gonna go home for Christmas after they take care of the CR or whatever they do on the spending bill — Yeah. — and then so much is gonna continue to worsen for him. Because the opponents you know, believe that if they can’t break him, they can extort him. And so the extortion that’s going on is unbelievable, and it’s gonna get worse with each passing week, and it’s clear from do Skolise’s comments to the press
  • Speaker 3
    0:43:17

    that he
  • Speaker 2
    0:43:18

    might be the catch all default replacement because he didn’t say He said he’s supporting Kevin, but he was kind of vague about what happens next. And he was also vague about the motion of vacate the chair. Kevin McCarthy is blocking requests from Freedom caucus people and people who wanna overthrow him to permit a motion to vacate share because if he does then any single day, people can come to the floor and throw him out of his job. And so that that’s the thing. He can’t have that.
  • Speaker 2
    0:43:49

    I mean, as it is, he might not make it. Who? He might have, you know, some health event from this job. No no same person would seek this job. I don’t know who even makes it, you know, mentally through the two years.
  • Speaker 2
    0:43:58

    But the point is that he’s putting his foot down on that. And Steve Skalise’s comments this week were so vague about about whether he might step in as a default choice if Kevin can’t make any supportive of Kevin, but we don’t really know where it’s going. So I think there’s a lot under the radar, and and it’s gonna be so interesting to see, you know, there are Republicans who want in Biden districts, there are moderates who are Right.
  • Speaker 1
    0:44:22

    So more than a dozen. Right? I mean Yeah.
  • Speaker 2
    0:44:24

    Making demands, and they need to keep their seats in twenty four. So, I mean, it’s not it’s not December eighth facing, you know, an an intersection we didn’t know is coming, but there’s a long long time between December eighth of twenty twenty two and January three of twenty twenty three — Right. — in in the
  • Speaker 1
    0:44:42

    corner saying, me,
  • Speaker 3
    0:44:43

    me, me,
  • Speaker 1
    0:44:44

    me, me, me, Elise Stefanik. But I think even Elise Stefanik
  • Speaker 2
    0:44:49

    is more enough to know that no one that she couldn’t handle no
  • Speaker 1
    0:44:52

    one can handle this job. Right? Oh, I think she’s so blinded by
  • Speaker 2
    0:44:57

    And and I want you to know, apparently, Trump is playing in this matter. He’s on the phone with these people. He knows handybags is running, and he will put more strain on this process.
  • Speaker 1
    0:45:07

    Oh, see, now this is interesting because had everything not turned out so terribly, you could certainly imagine Donald Trump
  • Speaker 3
    0:45:14

    you know, really,
  • Speaker 1
    0:45:15

    literally handpicking the the next speaker by saying I want so and so. Right? I mean, he could assure Kevin McCarthy — Right. — or he could destroy Kevin McCarthy. Now I’m not sure that he wants to try this.
  • Speaker 1
    0:45:27

    But yes, he still has a stranglehold on that caucus. I look, I I just think the theater of this caucus no matter what happens is going to be extraordinary. And among among the you know, the many things that ought to cause a great deal of anxiety among Republicans is how they will look for the next two years led by this group of Jabroni’s and, you know, the the constant bickering and the conspiracies and the and the and the backstabbing that’s gonna go on, it will be absolutely endless. And as we mentioned earlier, it’s not just gonna be tension between the normies and the crazies between the moderates and, you know, the the right wing. You also have, you know, the, you know, the knife fights going on between Marjorie Taylor Green and Nancy Mason, you know, Marjorie Taylor Green and Matt Gates and all of these folks.
  • Speaker 1
    0:46:14

    And and so the the theater will be worth the price of the ticket, I think. There’s no question, but
  • Speaker 2
    0:46:21

    imagine that we are in the United States America, and the Democratic Party was hoping for the good of the country to spare us from what would happen if we left the debt ceiling negotiations to the Republican majority. Yeah. It will rattle global markets and lead to some horrible meltdown. And we are now in a position where the Democrats are objectively the normal party. The school principal who keeps things under control — Yeah.
  • Speaker 2
    0:46:53

    — and after the selection of the Republican Party is objectively the lunatic crazy party. And we face such instability with him. So it’s not just that it’ll just be like a fun crazy you know, clown car show to watch. It it It’d be dangerous. Yeah.
  • Speaker 2
    0:47:07

    Yes. That we
  • Speaker 1
    0:47:07

    really don’t know.
  • Speaker 2
    0:47:08

    There there is the unforeseen things happen. And that that part of it, it can’t be understated that the business community, you know, the grown ups in both parties, and in our society are very worried about Republicans controlling the house. Well, and
  • Speaker 1
    0:47:26

    I was as you were speaking, I was thinking back to twenty ten, twenty eleven after Republicans had this massive victory at the polls and took over control of congress. In many ways, they resurrected Barack Obama by behaving in exactly the way that you’re describing by, you know, playing these games with the budget and government shutdowns. So we can we can have that to look forward to next year, and I hope to talk to you in the New Year, Abe. Have a great New Year’s. You as well.
  • Speaker 1
    0:47:54

    Enjoy France,
  • Speaker 2
    0:47:55

    and thanks for everything twenty twenty two. It’s great to be with you, and I look forward to talking to you in twenty twenty three. It is always a pleasure.
  • Speaker 1
    0:48:02

    And thank you all for listening to today’s Bulwark podcast. I’m Shirley Segg we will be back tomorrow and we will do this all over again.
  • Speaker 3
    0:48:16

    You’re worried about the economy.
  • Speaker 9
    0:48:18

    Inflation is high. Your paycheck doesn’t cover as much as it use too, and we live under the threat of a looming recession. And sure, you’re doing okay, but you could be doing better.
  • Speaker 1
    0:48:29

    We afford anything podcasting blains the economy and the market detailing how to make wise choices on the way you spend and invest. Afford anything talks about how to
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    0:48:36

    avoid common pitfalls, how to find your mental models and how to think about how to think. Make smarter choices and build a better life.
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    0:48:46

    Afford anything wherever you listen.
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