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Do People Care That Trump’s a Sociopath?

February 2, 2024
Notes
Transcript
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
    0:00:09

    Welcome to Beg to Differ, the Bulwark weekly roundtable discussion, featuring civil conversation across the political spectrum. We range from center left to center right. I’m Mona Sharon, syndicated columnist and policy editor at the Bulwark, and I am joined by our regulars. Will Saletan of the bookings institution in the Wall Street Journal, Damon Linker, who writes the sub stack newsletter notes from the middle ground, and Linda Chavez of the Niskannon Center. Our special guest this week is Washington correspondent for ABC News, Jonathan Carl.
  • Speaker 1
    0:00:44

    Who has written three books about the Trump administration, all great, but the most recent one is called tired of winning. Thank you. One and all. Jonathan, thanks so much for joining us today.
  • Speaker 2
    0:00:59

    Great. Thank you for having me.
  • Speaker 1
    0:01:00

    I loved your book. I think one of the things that you did so well is that, and one thing that’s so necessary in our moment is that you have reminded people of just how, outlandish and crazy some of the things that Trump has been doing just since twenty twenty one have been. And there is, I think, a failure on all of our parts to assimilate all this, partly it’s because there’s so much of it. But so, for example, you famously in your previous, book, which I also recommend, betrayal. You talked about, you know, visiting Trump in Mar a lago soon after January sixth and questioning him about was he worried about his vice president who, on January sixth, his followers were chanting Hank Mike Pence.
  • Speaker 1
    0:01:50

    His response was extraordinary. So and you reported that that he said, well, they were very angry. And that arguably is something that a normal person would never say. Never. I mean, that is the mark of associate path.
  • Speaker 1
    0:02:05

    You know, he was even willing to justify his supporters’ murderous rage that he was not only willing to justify. He was he was stoking it. But then in this new book, you begin by talking about his obsessions with the election being stolen to the point where It seemed like you were struggling with whether he was really deranged and believed the craziest possible conspiracy theory. So tell us about conversation you had with him about well, tell us as much as you want, but about Italygate in particular, because you seem to feel like that was the Rubicon.
  • Speaker 2
    0:02:41

    I had gone through in betrayal and tried to chase down some of the the conspiracy theories that were being pushed by you know, by people that were that were trying to aid Trump in his effort to, to overturn the election. At that time, and I spent some time out on betrayal, truly what I thought was the most insane a theory was this idea. I mean, and there’s competition for this, to be fair. But but but was this idea that Italian spy satellites from an Italian military contractor were used to flip votes somehow connecting with voting machines in America to flip votes from from Trump to Biden, and that there were these two guys that were in prison in Italy, who were the key to it all, knew all the stuff, and they were being locked up. And and what I reported in in betrayal was that well, I can’t say Trump himself, but the Trump White House chief of staff, Mark Meadows, had actually sent word out to the Justice department to investigate this.
  • Speaker 2
    0:03:40

    And then, and and and an email had come out that he had sent to the acting attorney general, you know, forwarding this lunatic, right up on Italygate, but that he had also, and this was this had not been reported anywhere. That Meadows had asked the acting defense secretary, Chris Miller, to look into this and that Miller on a Saturday, and it’s actually Saturday, January second, which is the day of the Raffensberger call and a whole bunch of other stuff. But he he actually brings in the head of the defense intelligence agent a three store general and asks him, to, you know, to look into this to activate the the military attache at the US embassy in Rome, to somehow get ahold of these guys that are in prison to get to the bottom of whether or not there was really anything. Because, I mean, this is bonkers stuff. So I, I actually asked Trump about it.
  • Speaker 2
    0:04:31

    And and there’s more to it, by the way. I mean, the whole the whole story, how it came into the White House, it got into the National Security Council, this crazy I mean, anyway, we can do a whole separate podcast on Elgate, but I asked Trump about it. And, you know, he just tells me about, you know, well, you’d have to ask Mark Meadows about that Mark, there’s a good man, really smart man, really great chief of staff. I mean, take a beat to say, no, I don’t think the Italian, you know, tried to He doesn’t wanna take ownership himself. Although, obviously, that’s the reason why this is happening.
  • Speaker 2
    0:05:02

    But Yeah. Is to praise him. But that interview So I did a couple of interviews with Trump after he left the White House. The very last one was as I was wrapping up betrayal And there’s there’s something in there that was so out there that I actually didn’t even include in betrayal because it hadn’t really processed it. I don’t know.
  • Speaker 2
    0:05:24

    I, you know, look, it it was an interview right before the book went to press. I was basically calling him to get his response to some of the news that I was breaking in the book. And he starts the interview. I mean, I have this on audio tape, which I’ve included in the audio book of tired of winning in part. He starts talking about how the states are all reassessing and looking at the election.
  • Speaker 2
    0:05:45

    And somehow he’s implying that there’s a way that even He’s been out of the White House now for, you know, the better part of a year, that he’s still thinking that these election results can be overturned from twenty twenty. So that’s not why I’m calling him. I’m I I wanna ask him about this other stuff. So so I just stop and I and I say he he had just put out a statement that nobody paid any to. He didn’t even have truth social yet.
  • Speaker 2
    0:06:08

    So it was just like a, you know, a statement that he put out from Mar a Lago. It was actually criticizing SNL, if you can imagine, because you know, for being a biased against him. So it was not a very serious statement. Didn’t get any attention. But but at the end of it, Alec Baldwin and his how bad is impersonation.
  • Speaker 2
    0:06:25

    All this stuff, he goes on and on and on the statement. Nobody paid anything. At the very end of it, It had the words twenty twenty four or before. And I knew that there was this kind of QAnon Mike Lindell idea that the election was still gonna be a nullified and Trump was gonna go back early. So I asked.
  • Speaker 2
    0:06:45

    And so I I finally because he he’s the way he’s going on, like, so I see, you don’t really believe there’s a chance that you could go back to the White House even before the next election, do you? And he just says to me, it’s very similar to his response when I’m asking about Mike Pence because this is an easy thing to say. Well, of course, not. And Stacey said, I could explain to you, John. But you wouldn’t understand, and you wouldn’t even report it.
  • Speaker 2
    0:07:12

    He was consumed. And and and I and I go into this at some length in tired of winning. I think it’s important because it gets the state of mind. He was consumed with the idea for a solid two years, and maybe as to this day, with the idea that the twenty twenty election could still be nullified and that Biden could be evicted from the White House and that he could be reinstated before another presidential election. I think he believed it.
  • Speaker 2
    0:07:40

    Maybe he believes it to this day.
  • Speaker 1
    0:07:42

    Okay. And do you think that that is because he is so ignorant of American history and politics and constitutional law. Just, you know, the wish being father to the thought, or do you think it was something along the lines of? I know exactly the gravity of I’m suggesting and I am out to blow it all up?
  • Speaker 2
    0:08:06

    Well, I think that there’s a little bit of of the ladder to it, and I’ll tell you a note of him to look at. We all remember he put out now onto his social at the end of twenty twenty two, the statement calling for the suspension of of the constitution, elements of the constitution. Look at what it was. That’s that’s what we remember as he did. He did this, but why was he doing it?
  • Speaker 2
    0:08:29

    In that statement, he is basically suggesting that the election can still be overturned again.
  • Speaker 1
    0:08:34

    Right.
  • Speaker 2
    0:08:35

    That’s what that statement was about. I mean, it’s amazing that we’re talking about a a maybe at this point a virtual presumptive Republican nominee who has on the record called for suspending the US constitution. But the reason why he was talking about doing that is his obsession with overturning the twenty twenty election, which and I know, like, like, Jack Smith has made the case Listen’s made the case. The Trump fully knew he lost. And I’m telling you, I think he believed that he could actually get back into the White House.
  • Speaker 2
    0:09:07

    I don’t know that these two are actually contradictory. In the case that Cheney and Jack Smith and the indictment, have made is that all the people close to him who presented the information, who told him that he had lost, who said that they had chased down the allegations fraud and there was nothing there. Therefore, I mean, you could say, obviously, he should know he lost. I don’t really weigh in on that question. Did he know he lost?
  • Speaker 2
    0:09:30

    But as he was pursuing this this effort to convince the world that he had lost. And there’s a reason for that which we can get into why that was so important, psychologically to him. But he came to at least act in a way like he believed it. And to me, the biggest tell on this one is it wasn’t something he was talking about publicly. It was something he was talking about ad nauseam over and over again privately.
  • Speaker 2
    0:09:59

    And, you know, the public lie is a big that’s what Trump does. He wanna know, move public opinion, but it’s almost like he knew that it sounded crazy. So he didn’t wanna talk about it. He would he did the twenty twenty four before. It’s like a hint.
  • Speaker 2
    0:10:11

    But as I report in entire of winning, he was talking about this over and over again with the people around him to the point where One person who spoke to me very close to him at Mar a Lago acknowledged to me that he finally said, you know, you should really stop talking about that because people are gonna think you’re crazy. It’s just like a, you know, one of his aids down there. And and you know, this just privately. Talk about it privately. People are gonna it’s like if you really think it can happen, then let it happen.
  • Speaker 2
    0:10:37

    But don’t talk about it. Just let it happen.
  • Speaker 1
    0:10:40

    You know, he doesn’t hedge his bets. I mean, this is one of the things that you document really clearly in the book is that you know, for example, he was all in for this audit that was gonna that did take place in the state of Arizona. Right? And, I mean, honestly, it does feel like earth two point o where, you know, the group that they hire is called the cyber ninjas. Who have no experience with, you know, auditing votes and what okay.
  • Speaker 1
    0:11:09

    Whatever.
  • Speaker 2
    0:11:09

    So the the
  • Speaker 1
    0:11:11

    Exactly. The Senate, the Senate. Yeah. So they choose to spend all this taxpayer money for this enormous audit, which was ridiculous, and Trump is out there according to your book every day saying, this is gonna show it. The here it comes.
  • Speaker 1
    0:11:26

    Wait for it. And then what does he do when they finally come out with their report that actually Biden won by slightly more votes then they had a then the initial tally. He denies it. He says the media is so dishonest. They won’t report what they found, which was all this fraud.
  • Speaker 2
    0:11:47

    Yeah. He acts like they did the opposite of what they did. Which just shows his willingness phrasing lie about whatever’s going on. I mean, first of all, you it’s like you can’t make it up. I mean, if this didn’t happen, there’s no way
  • Speaker 3
    0:11:57

    you would
  • Speaker 2
    0:11:58

    be able to invent the notion of a of a group called cyber ninjas that rents out the, the basketball arena, you know, to bring in all the ballots to count them out, and they’ve got people looking at within Fred Light to see if there’s bamboo in the paper because Bamboo. If if ballots were flown in from China, they would have bamboo and, you know, mean, it’s it’s just cord so
  • Speaker 1
    0:12:18

    they would. Plus chopsticks. Yes.
  • Speaker 2
    0:12:21

    You just can’t make up any of this stuff. So the the the Senate Republicans. This was a government funded effort other than they had to then they started getting private funding from, you know, all these kind of Sydney Powell group, actually. Helped help. Yeah.
  • Speaker 2
    0:12:35

    But they they had agreed to allow in the interest of transparency. OAN, one American news. The the total Trump sycophantic, I don’t want to call it a news channel, but but channel to have a live stream a twenty four seven live stream. So you could watch what was going on on the floor as the ballots were being gone through. So Trump
  • Speaker 1
    0:12:56

    must have been great entertainment. Right? It might have
  • Speaker 2
    0:12:59

    been the only guy actually watching and he was. And and and and the only reason why I know this is, you know, and people told me about it. Nobody was interviewing Trump during this time. I mean, Fox, there was basically a Trump blackout, you know, and they they they didn’t want him to deal with him. He was off Twitter.
  • Speaker 2
    0:13:14

    He was in exile in Mar a lago, and One of the ways that you can find get get a little bit of an insight into actually is actual words is, you know, while, you know, Marla log has to make money, he’s gotta make money. It’s that there there weddings are happening down there, special events of one kind or another. And one of the features is if you’re holding an event at Marlago, there’s a good chance Trump’s gonna come down. You know, and say a few words, and he would do this and people would shoot with their with their iPhones, you know, trump talking and and invariably and some of the stuff still out there on online. You know, trump would be wishing the bride and the groom, the best of luck and all that.
  • Speaker 2
    0:13:50

    And then within thirty seconds, he’s talking about cyberdinges out in Arizona. You know, he’s talking about how they’re gonna overturn this and all the and he’s talking about all this other crazy stuff. Yeah. I guess if you’re getting married at Marlago, you like that kind of thing, but I, you know It
  • Speaker 1
    0:14:07

    must be. Yeah.
  • Speaker 2
    0:14:08

    And you can see it. And usually, it’s up on stage. The band is waiting to play. You know, the people wanna dance and and he’s talking about how, you know, man, it’s gonna be Arizona, and then they’re gonna do it in Georgia, and then we Scottsdale, and New Hampshire. A lot of really interesting things happening in New Hampshire.
  • Speaker 1
    0:14:23

    Yeah. A lot of people are saying. Yeah. Yeah. Okay.
  • Speaker 1
    0:14:28

    All your books give chapter and verse about that this is a man with serious mental instability. He is a danger to democracy. He is a liar, par excellence. One of the things you talked about in this book, which I had not seen reported anywhere else was that he gave advice to herschel Walker in his senate campaign that he should just call his opponent a child molester. And Hershel Walker, believe it or not, demurred.
  • Speaker 1
    0:14:54

    And said, well, but I don’t have any evidence. He said, well, you just say that it happened on his watch. That’s that’s what you do. Just say it. Not even that it happened.
  • Speaker 1
    0:15:03

    Just say it. Just say it.
  • Speaker 2
    0:15:05

    What what what’s going on is that that call is is is because Trump likes calling people, obviously. So he’s calling Hershel Walker. Hers Hershel Walker’s phones off, and they’re in the middle of a debate prep session. So, like, all of what, you know, campaign people are there. And Walker puts them on speaker phone.
  • Speaker 2
    0:15:20

    So they all hear.
  • Speaker 3
    0:15:22

    I’m saying this stuff.
  • Speaker 1
    0:15:24

    And so somebody told Jonathan Carl what transpired. Alright. So you have chapter and verse here about What kind of associate path we have on our hands? I mean, you tell that story about right after nine eleven long before he was president right after nine eleven? He was doing a radio interview.
  • Speaker 1
    0:15:42

    And, you know, he says, yeah, terrible about all the death. I guess that means I have the tallest building in Manhattan now. You know, the mind boggles. You imagine
  • Speaker 2
    0:15:51

    having that thought in your head on that day?
  • Speaker 1
    0:15:53

    No. And and and
  • Speaker 2
    0:15:54

    you’re actually in New York. I mean, he was in New York at the time.
  • Speaker 1
    0:15:59

    Yeah. No. It is astounding, and it is such a sign of of a morally degenerate person.
  • Speaker 2
    0:16:05

    It’s also a lie incidentally.
  • Speaker 1
    0:16:07

    Well, that’s true. It’s also a lie. You know, I sing on the cake.
  • Speaker 2
    0:16:11

    Yeah. So even if it were true, it’s like, oh my god. Yeah.
  • Speaker 1
    0:16:15

    Yeah. Okay. So do you think that people have just forgotten about these aspects of his character or that they really don’t care or that they like it. Where where do you come down on this?
  • Speaker 2
    0:16:31

    Well, I, I, I think there are, there are a couple of things. One is, I, I think that there are look, and I’ve, over the years, I’ve spent countless hours at Trump rallies around trump supporters. I mean, I’ve I covered the campaign in twenty sixteen. I covered all four years at the White House. The reelection campaign and much of what he’s been doing, afterwards.
  • Speaker 2
    0:16:54

    And you do have people who are totally and thoroughly devoted to him. And no matter that the kind of the shoot him on fifth Avenue crowd, maybe that’s those are the people that attend his rallies and for the most part, but you also have a a larger segment of Republicans who don’t like any of this stuff. But what they will tell you is, look, I I wish he didn’t do that. I wish he, you know, kept his mouth shut, but, you know, but, you know, the kind of cliche is I like his policies, which by the way, I think is something of a myth. We can talk about that whether or not they’re what exactly these trump policies are But but the notion is, look, I don’t like that stuff, but I thought he was a good president.
  • Speaker 2
    0:17:36

    The country was better off than it what than it is now under Biden. That’s why I come to terms with it. It’s almost like they’ve I’ve come to terms with the fact that he’s got all these parts of his personality, the way he acts, the way he treats people that I just don’t like, but you know, nobody’s perfect. So those are two two groups of people. I think there’s a there’s a perhaps the largest of them all.
  • Speaker 2
    0:17:58

    And a big reason why I wrote tired of winning is people who have really memories of faded about what he was like in the White House, especially in that final year. And people didn’t pay any attention at all to what he did after he left the White House. Right. And in some ways, I make the case that he is that all the tendencies that led to January sixth have actually actually accelerated after he left the White House. He’s a little more divorced from reality.
  • Speaker 2
    0:18:29

    His obsessions, his quest for vengeance, and all of that much greater after he left the White House. The way I’ve put it is like January sixth was the end, not literally, but was that the quota of the Trump presidency, it’s the beginning. Of a second Trump presidency if there is one. And and and people just haven’t paid attention. Unless you were attending weddings at Mar a lago, you didn’t hear much from the guy over the last you know, a few years.
  • Speaker 1
    0:18:56

    Right. Okay. Bill Goldstein.
  • Speaker 3
    0:18:58

    First of all, this interview so far you know, to seize the cliched adjective has been absolutely riveting. And, I will now go out and do what I should have done quite some time ago. And that is get and read the book. My apologies for not having done so up to now. But you strike me as an optimist, Jonathan Last the following sense.
  • Speaker 3
    0:19:22

    And a subtext of what you just said is that people don’t really know or they’ve forgotten. And if they’re reminded, then surely they will turn against him. That’s sort of the argument that I’m hearing. How sure are you of that? Because, you know, I’m, you know, I’ve been a lifelong defender in theory and in practice of liberal democracy.
  • Speaker 3
    0:19:50

    But I’m beginning to wonder whether a substantial portion of the American electorate hasn’t lost its capacity for what Catholics call moral discernment. What’s your view of this?
  • Speaker 2
    0:20:02

    Well, Mark Libichro to be some you probably saw in the Atlantic a couple months ago, kind of ridiculing the notion of this is not who we are. You know, the the kind of cliched, like, that, you know, Trump’s doing this. That’s not who we are. That’s not us. And he’s like, well, maybe it is.
  • Speaker 2
    0:20:22

    You know? I mean, how has he come back the way he has. But I I I do think that there is, as I said, a segment of the population that doesn’t care about this stuff and is totally loyal to to, to him. Almost cult like. But I do think that there is a, a significant segment of the, of, of the people who have even voted for him.
  • Speaker 2
    0:20:51

    And these you know, in the first round of primaries who, you know, aren’t aware of all of this stuff. It is challenging. It is hard to be an optimist. I am an optimist. One of the things that I kind of conclude with with betrayal, which is my previous book where I really tried to explain what happened in twenty twenty and what led to January sixth, And as horrific as all of that was, we were prevented from a much greater crisis and maybe truly the end of American democracy by the courageous slash everyday, phenomenal actions of people that were very close to Trump, who were ultimately unwilling to do what he demanded.
  • Speaker 2
    0:21:33

    And it’s, you know, I mean, obviously most famously pence on January sixth, but it’s, but it’s a lot more than that. You know, some of it’s very well known. The the the, the leadership of the Department of Justice threatening to resign en masse. In early January when Trump started to put Jeffrey Bulwark in, you know, ahead of the, of the Department of Justice and to use the power of DOJ to try to overturn the election. It’s all of them standing up.
  • Speaker 2
    0:21:59

    These are all Republicans. They were all appointed by Trump. They all supported Trump through all of that Think of all that had already happened. And all of them, you know, did something again. Is it courageous or is it like you would hope they would do that.
  • Speaker 2
    0:22:12

    It’s both. I think the the the people that were running the, the transition with the Biden, team. You know, I described kind of a of a clandestine operation run out of the, the second floor of the West Wing. It’s doing some of those things. That you have to do to prepare for a transition, the logistics of a transition.
  • Speaker 2
    0:22:31

    There were people that were trying to thwart it around Trump. To be sure. But there were good people. Again, Trump people, people brought in who had served Trump, clearly one guy I talk about had been there for all four years. Tony Arnado, the Secret Service agent, become Deputy chief of staff, who was working with General Molly Dylan in, in those final, you know, couple of weeks to facilitate a transition that Trump was actively trying to stop.
  • Speaker 2
    0:22:55

    Again, they’re doing what they’re required to do by law, so it’s hard to call it courageous because they would have been breaking the law they had done what Trump wanted them to do or acted in the way that Trump wanted them to act. So, yeah, but it but I I I I I have I mean, it is It is remarkable how resilience, he has been given all that has gone down, and the willingness appear people to to to look the other way is is hard to explain.
  • Speaker 1
    0:23:24

    Linda Chavez, you had a comment?
  • Speaker 4
    0:23:26

    Yes. Actually, it was sort of a a follow-up in in question to Jonathan Last that is I think you’re right in describing the way in which some Republicans have behaved and that was great. Of course, we haven’t seen very many examples of that recently. And my worry is that some of this, you know, willing to tolerate Trump think you’re right. A lot of people aren’t paying attention, and maybe they’ll start paying more attention, particularly as we talked about this, on the podcast last week and the role that Niki Haley could play in in helping Trump, you know, again, sort of implode unravel, be more, crazy, or at least give more sort visible examples of his craziness, but I also wonder whether you know one of the one of the issues isn’t that Biden has such opposition and the Biden Harris team has such opposition among some of those independent voters and Republicans like myself who I was a Republican then, not anymore, who voted for Biden that they feel that he really has has caved to to the progressive wing.
  • Speaker 4
    0:24:39

    Now, you know, Bill will tell you that hasn’t happened and I probably agree with him, but it doesn’t mean that that there aren’t substantial number of American voters out there who think that the the Biden administration altogether too low that they’ve done things they don’t like. And, you know, to what degree are those going to be the drivers of the election?
  • Speaker 2
    0:25:03

    For sure. It’s it’s that phrase that we kept on hearing in twenty sixteen, you know, from Republicans who had professed horror at the idea of Trump as the nominee and then came to support him. It’s a binary choice. It’s him or artillery Clinton. Now it’s it’s him or it’s it’s it’s Joe Biden.
  • Speaker 2
    0:25:19

    And they’ve done a a remarkably effective job of vilifying Joe Biden. I didn’t really think that was possible in the way they’ve done it, but they’ve they’ve really turned him into this, flip side of the he’s the threat to democracy. They’ve had material to work with. I mean, probably no issue greater than the border. I would say border and crime, but crime rates are going down not in Washington DC, but, but, You know, and I would say inflation, but inflation has come down with the border.
  • Speaker 2
    0:25:50

    And you can tell how important the issue is politically to them by the the absolute effort to block any anything that would that would wreak of a of a solution that Biden could take credit for. You know, the effort tank. Yeah. The the the agreement.
  • Speaker 1
    0:26:04

    Funny, you should mention that, Jonathan Last, because that is what I wanna get to next. Unless Damon, did you have anything, or can we move on to, can we move on to the immigration battle?
  • Speaker 5
    0:26:15

    Well, I did wanna say one one thing, if that’s okay. I I I want to make sure everyone here is aware that I am not an optimist. But, more seriously, I I did want to, you know, point out, to to to people who agree that with Jonathan Last I know there are a lot of people out there, and there’s a part of my soul that inclines in this direction, the part of my soul that admires and loves the enlightenment, and it’s hope that there is knowledge that can be won and disseminated that will make the world a better place. And we hope that if somehow we wake everybody up to how bad Donald Trump is after everything we’ve been through, things will get better. There was a poll by the, public religion research institute PRRI in October about many issues, but one of them, one segment of the poll had to do with QAnon believes.
  • Speaker 5
    0:27:17

    I just wanna read a few results here. Among all Americans, fourteen percent, believed in QAnon in twenty twenty one. By twenty twenty three, that number was twenty three. That’s fourteen to twenty three percent. Republicans have gone in those two years from twenty three to twenty nine, not that high of a of a jump because it was already on the high end.
  • Speaker 5
    0:27:42

    But among independence, twelve percent to twenty two percent, among Democrats, seven percent to fourteen percent. This is true across white evangelical protestants non Christians religiously unaffiliated white Catholics and Hispanic Catholics. All of them jumped. Sometimes two and three fold in two years. And perhaps the most shocking bit of evidence or or, data of all, Bulwark Ron DeSantis, thirteen percent for support for QAnon to twenty six in two years.
  • Speaker 5
    0:28:18

    And this is from an older PRI poll. So it’s the same outfit doing the the data. I would just submit that We who are educated and like the enlightenment and read about politics all the time I fear increasingly that we have no frickin clue what is going on in the minds of not all Americans. Maybe not even half of Americans. But a nice big old chunk of Americans epistemologically that they they live in a reality.
  • Speaker 5
    0:28:51

    We can’t even imagine residing in. And you know who else lives in that world is Donald Trump, and he speaks their language. And as long as negative partisanship is in effect convincing normie Republicans that Yeah. I don’t like him, but Biden’s really bad. So I gotta vote for the Republican.
  • Speaker 5
    0:29:12

    You have a coalition there that as we saw in the polls released this week from morning consult and Bloomberg. Trump’s winning seven out of seven swing states. I mean, I I don’t like this. But, you know, the title of your book is, you know, tired of winning. I mean, we’re seeing a lot of winning so far relative to what I would expect I I don’t know what to do, but I I’m at a loss and any advice thoughts on that.
  • Speaker 1
    0:29:40

    Jonathan, before you respond, let me just level set for a second. Damon, did that poll define QAnon beliefs in any way, or did it just say do you believe the QAnon is true?
  • Speaker 5
    0:29:51

    I don’t have it in front of me. I don’t I don’t recall the exact wording of the question.
  • Speaker 1
    0:29:56

    Okay. Because that would matter. Okay, Bill.
  • Speaker 5
    0:29:58

    But Bill isn’t he probably knows. Bill is mister Polster.
  • Speaker 3
    0:30:02

    Not only do I know, but in fact, the poll to which you referred, Damon, was the annual version of the American Value survey, which has been a co production of PRRI and the Brookings institution, Right. And I was part of the team that wrote the survey instrument. So no. Great. It was it was not just you know, an abstract invocation of QAnon, a number of specific QAnon beliefs were explored.
  • Speaker 1
    0:30:33

    Yes, well.
  • Speaker 3
    0:30:33

    And, and laying out the specifics didn’t seem to scare people away. I’m gonna do it for you.
  • Speaker 1
    0:30:41

    Thank you for that. Well, Jonathan, there you go. Try being optimistic in the face of that I dare you.
  • Speaker 2
    0:30:48

    I mean, it’s it’s a disinformation contagion, and it’s definitely It’s it’s it’s growing. There’s no question. And when when you have somebody who is a who can be as an effective communicator as he sometimes is, Donald Trump, you know, screaming it from the rooftops, it’s gonna spread faster. And, I mean, it’s you don’t have to go all queueing on, just the widespread belief that the election was stolen or Yep. The increasingly widespread belief that January sixth was in Ramaswami’s words, an inside job.
  • Speaker 1
    0:31:26

    I mean,
  • Speaker 2
    0:31:27

    these are not events that are far off into the distance.
  • Speaker 1
    0:31:29

    Or a patriotic display. Take your pick.
  • Speaker 2
    0:31:32

    Yeah. Yeah. Right. It was either a it was either a false flag FBI effort or it was just good old, you know, American tourists, visiting the yeah. Put all the express, their their love of the country.
  • Speaker 1
    0:31:44

    Yes. Let’s talk a little bit about what’s been happening in the politics of immigration because I do think that you could make a case. So if we were all gathered a month ago and four of us were, talking about the political effect of immigration on this race, we would have said slam dunk. This is a huge advantage for the Republican Party. Huge vulnerability for the Democrats and for Joe Biden, Bill Goldstein, in particular, has been, you know, practically, you know, waiving semaphore flags saying that Biden has to do something about this and has to change his tone and so on.
  • Speaker 1
    0:32:22

    And in the last few weeks, arguably, we have seen the Republican Party really you know, sacrifice its advantage by openly and and flagrantly saying that they wanna tank a deal which gave them nearly everything they asked for. That Sarah Longwell negotiation, which A very conservative senator, James Langford, was the lead negotiator on, and which he himself says is very tough. Was the sort of thing that basically it had nothing for the Democrats. Nothing about the dreamers. Nothing about it was all enforcement.
  • Speaker 1
    0:33:04

    Hiring more immigration judges, just right across the board, changing the asylum standards, doing all of these things. And suddenly, you have Republicans saying, this was the, speaker of the house saying it’s gonna be dead on arrival. You had Trump, of course, openly calling on Republicans, not to support it. You have members saying, why would I give Biden a win in an election year. I’m not gonna do that.
  • Speaker 1
    0:33:32

    And so suddenly, haven’t they handed two Biden, if he has the wit to use it, an opportunity to say, I am ready to get tough and to and to take action on the border and to do it the right way with Congress changing the law, which is necessary, And it is the Republicans who stand in the way. Linda, what do you think?
  • Speaker 4
    0:33:57

    I think that, Republicans see this as their best campaign issue. You know, they thought they might be able to win on the basis of inflation being too high and a lousy economy. And all of that. And, you know, suddenly inflation is coming down. The economy is doing better.
  • Speaker 4
    0:34:13

    Wages are actually increasing not greatly but better than they did during the Trump years according to some charts that I’ve seen recently. So obviously they want to keep this as a live issue. Now I don’t think that that is necessarily going to get Biden out of the woods on this issue. So long as you see tens of thousands of people showing up at the border, and turning themselves in claiming asylum, and a substantial number about half are actually released into the United States. Then you see, you know, governors like Abbott and and other Republicans shipping those people, usually to cities like Chicago or San Francisco or New York, it’s going to be an issue.
  • Speaker 4
    0:34:59

    So I think that Biden is probably going to have to do something unilaterally. And the question is what can he do? What are his options? One of the things that critics that I hear from suggests is that he has been too quick to release people. You know, why are half of all of those claiming asylum being released.
  • Speaker 4
    0:35:23

    Why not particularly if you’re talking about single men who show up It’s a little bit harder, I think, with families. But, you know, there were more detention beds available under the Trump administration. You know, COVID changed that somewhat. They had to eliminate some because of the dangers in terms of spreading the disease. But I think he’s gonna have to come up with some solutions that that are not gonna be popular among progressives.
  • Speaker 4
    0:35:51

    I’m not gonna like them because, you know, I’m very much an advocate for immigrants. But politically, I think he’s got to be shown as being strong. And then, you know, we’ll see whether the Republicans can continue to make it an an issue. You know, when he’s come up with solutions in the past, he took the Venezuelan situation when we had tens of thousands of Venezuelans going through the dairy and gap coming up through Central America and Mexico showing up on the border along with haitians, Cubans and others. You know, people were outraged.
  • Speaker 4
    0:36:28

    I mean, we saw lots of pictures last spring and summer. He came up with an idea of parrolling some of these individuals giving them access to be able to apply, to come into the United States through, an app on their phone showing up not in between ports, but at ports of entry being processed there, and immediately the numbers dropped. I mean, it was like overnight the numbers dropped. Now, what did the Republicans do? They went into court and suit to try to stop him from having that authority.
  • Speaker 4
    0:37:00

    And one of the things that being debated in this bill is to try to limit his authority. So the question is gonna be can Biden do things, unilaterally? That are going to have some I’m going to make some difference and get rid of some of the pictures that we’re seeing now because those pictures will continue to be run, in campaign ads.
  • Speaker 1
    0:37:24

    K. So Linda, I have a question. The Republicans claim that they say Biden is not enforcing the laws on the books now. Why should we give him another law? But is that right?
  • Speaker 1
    0:37:37

    My understanding is that because of our asylum law, which is completely misapplied. Well, it’s inappropriate for our current needs. It’s currently situated. It was passed in nineteen eighty in a different world, and now it’s being abused and it requires a change in the law. Isn’t he required by the law as it stands to give everybody who comes and claims asylum a hearing?
  • Speaker 1
    0:38:02

    Which means that, you know, his hands are a little bit tied. Right?
  • Speaker 5
    0:38:07

    What am I missing?
  • Speaker 4
    0:38:08

    Yeah. No. And the the problem is that if you want to claim asylum, under current law, the only way you can do that is by being in the United States. And then that’s why these people show up.
  • Speaker 5
    0:38:19

    You
  • Speaker 4
    0:38:19

    know, it isn’t they’re sneaking through the border and hiding in the bushes and not wanting an encounter. Nope. They walk right up to the CPP agent and turn themselves in and say I wanna claim asylum. The rules in terms of what allows them to claim asylum are also a little bit fuzzy. You know, they have to show a credible fear.
  • Speaker 4
    0:38:40

    And the agents who first encounter them do not have a whole lot of authority. That. So I think that those are some of the kinds of changes. Come up with somewhat tightened standards. Make sure that we don’t.
  • Speaker 1
    0:38:54

    You mean through rule making. Yeah. You’re saying Biden can do this through rule making.
  • Speaker 4
    0:38:58

    Look, whenever he tries to do anything by rule making, he has done these things by rule making. And they sue him. So Okay. You know, now maybe if arguably if he’s doing it to tighten the rules, maybe they won’t sue, but I don’t really have that much faith in in the Republicans in there, and their motives in there. So I think there do have to be changes in the law.
  • Speaker 4
    0:39:19

    The other thing is that one of the things that made the Venezuela policy work and one of the things I think that would make asylum work better is instead of saying you just have to step foot on American soil and you’ve got a year after stepping foot on American soil, to present yourself a claim asylum that if you tightened that up a bit and made it that you had to come through a porter of entry and you had to present yourself immediately that, you know, coming in and and being in the shadows for a year and and coming forward at the last minute that leaves a lot of problems for loopholes. And but then you also have to make sure that you have enough immigration judges to be able to judge those claims. And if not immigration judges come up with a system mhmm.
  • Speaker 1
    0:40:06

    But, Linda, this is in
  • Speaker 4
    0:40:07

    the bill. I know that.
  • Speaker 1
    0:40:08

    Yeah. I know.
  • Speaker 4
    0:40:09

    I know.
  • Speaker 1
    0:40:10

    Alright, Bill. I’m coming to you. Let me just read you this quote from James Langford again. Very right wing Republican Sarah Longwell respected, or as he says, ruefully now, formerly well respected by his colleagues, quote, So we actually locked arms together and said, we’re not going to give you money for this. We want a change in law.
  • Speaker 1
    0:40:33

    He’s talking about their relations with the administration. When we’re finally going to the end, they’re like, and now he’s talking about his fellow Republicans. Oh, just kidding. I actually don’t want a change in law because it’s a presidential election year, unquote. And then he says, we all have an oath to the Khan’s institution, and we have a commitment to say we’re going to do whatever we can to be able to secure the border.
  • Speaker 1
    0:40:56

    So, Bill, I know you’ve been harsh about Biden on this, but honestly Republicans have been saying, we have to hold up aid for Ukraine. We have to hold up aid for Israel. We can’t do anything for Taiwan because we have a dire emergency at our own border. And now they’re saying, no. We don’t we don’t wanna solve the problem because it might help Biden.
  • Speaker 3
    0:41:19

    If you’d like my moral judgment, This is outrageous. If you’d like my political judgment, I’m afraid I’m gonna have to give you a different answer. And here it is, and it’s a blunder version of Linda’s answer. In the last year of the Trump administration, under five hundred thousand people, presented themselves in any of the forms and ways.
  • Speaker 1
    0:41:41

    That was COVID. That was under COVID. Okay,
  • Speaker 3
    0:41:44

    Linda. I’d rather Mona. Fine. Okay. First year of the Biden Administration, one point seven.
  • Speaker 3
    0:41:52

    Second year, two point four Fiscal year just ended, two point five. I did an interview with an official of the Migration Policy Institute, late last week, The total for the first quarter of fiscal two thousand and twenty four is seven hundred and eighty five thousand. Project that out for a full year, and that’s three point one million. That’s what people are paying attention to, darn it. Yes.
  • Speaker 3
    0:42:21

    The end
  • Speaker 1
    0:42:21

    okay then. Bye.
  • Speaker 3
    0:42:22

    The idea Look. This is very cynical politics that the Republicans are playing, but unfortunately, you know, the old Dale Carnegie, Maxim, you don’t get a second chance to make a first impression. And, yeah, I may sound harsh, but I think I’m right. I speak as an ardent proponent of Joe Biden’s reelection. The administration has blown this two for three years.
  • Speaker 3
    0:42:49

    Now suddenly they’ve gotten religion. I’m a ardent proponent of the compromise bill that is taking much too long to see the light of day, by the way. If this has seen the light of day two months ago, we’d be in a different position. But now that Trump is the presumptive nominee. He can push his party around.
  • Speaker 3
    0:43:09

    You know, I was about to say, don’t get me started. Clearly, you You know, so many missed opportunities in the past three years, and now we’re in a situation. I’m afraid where the American people, the ones who are genuinely malleable, are gonna pay attention to only one thing. Not the process, not the politics, but the results. And if the the administration through one way or another, can show real measurable results between now and November.
  • Speaker 3
    0:43:43

    They will gain from that. And if they don’t, I don’t think all the banging away on the political cynicism that Republicans are now displaying is gonna make a darn bit of difference.
  • Speaker 1
    0:43:53

    Jonathan Last, do you think that Biden can do anything unilaterally to change the perception here? And I don’t just mean on the border. I mean also messaging. Not just the substance, but also the messaging.
  • Speaker 2
    0:44:08

    You know, I mean, clearly, you make the case that you have been trying to do something the Republicans have stopped you. You make that case as forcefully as you can, but I I agree with Bill, He’s the president of the United States. He’s been president for three years. The the buck is gonna stop with the president. And he can’t just say, you know, those people in Congress wouldn’t let me get it done.
  • Speaker 2
    0:44:28

    I think that the substance is gonna win over the battle over process here. I know that there is some frustration among some of the president’s allies that he hasn’t done more already in terms of executive action, to make changes at the border. But, I mean, look, we’re six million plus that have crossed so far under president Biden it’s gonna be very hard to change the messaging on this one and to change the the substance of the policy.
  • Speaker 4
    0:44:56

    Could I just jump in here? Mona because, you know, the six million number and even, bills numbers of, you know, two million, two and a half million, etcetera, three million now. Those are encounters at the border. Not all of those are individuals. Some of them are repeats, and not all of those people actually end up being led into the United States.
  • Speaker 4
    0:45:17

    Now clearly there are also others who get in who never encountered the border patrol, but we have to be careful when we and I’ll talk about it in my highlight of the week. We have to be a little careful about assuming that five million illegal immigrants are suddenly in the United States, not not quite accurate.
  • Speaker 3
    0:45:35

    But you’re not claiming that the metric has
  • Speaker 2
    0:45:37

    changed. No.
  • Speaker 4
    0:45:37

    I’m not. Absolutely not. No. We’ve been measuring the same way. And you’re right, Bill.
  • Speaker 4
    0:45:42

    There has been this huge increase. But as I like to remember, I like to remind people when Donald Trump ran for office, In two thousand and sixteen, we were at the lowest point in illegal immigration, to the United States in fifty years. And he was able to make it an issue then and win on that issue, even though we had nothing like a crisis the time. So a lot of this is driven by things other than actual numbers and what the real impact is of these folks coming into the US.
  • Speaker 1
    0:46:13

    Okay, Damon. Couple things. One, you know, we have seen in American history, maybe not within living memory for most of us, but, Harry Truman, was able to run against a do nothing Congress. He was able to make an issue of the fact that, they were unwilling to give him what he asked for. It’s not like it cannot be done.
  • Speaker 1
    0:46:35

    But the other side of this, of course, is that this is a textbook display, isn’t it, of Congress being unwilling to do its job. It’s been this way for forty years. Congress has not wanted to legislate. And so we keep dancing around and and, you know, our capacity to grandstand has never been greater, and our capacity to actually legislate seems like it’s atrophied.
  • Speaker 5
    0:47:02

    Oh, of course. Absolutely. Congress basically exists to sure responsibility. People in Congress wanna get reelected, and they’ve learned that if they do very little, then there’s not much that, voters can say to, to say they should be kicked out. So they try to kick all cans down the road.
  • Speaker 5
    0:47:23

    It happens in foreign policy all the time. I mean, there’s all kinds of you know, refusal to weigh in, sort of deferring to the executive branch and letting presidents do what they want. And it’s true in many issues as well. But it’s also a function of divided public opinion. We are a very divided country and And immigration is one of the worst there is out there.
  • Speaker 5
    0:47:46

    You have a a segment of the population that doesn’t wanna single additional person coming over the border. Then on the opposite side, you have people on the left who don’t hardly anyone on the left is explicitly in favor of open borders, but it effectively would like free movement of peoples within some kind of reasonable limit who are effectively at the opposite Paul from the first group. And then in the middle, you have a lot of people who either want to adjust a little or kind of happy with where it is, but they also thermostatically shift based on who’s in the White House. So if trump’s in the White House, those people lurch in the more pro immigration direction because they hate Trump. And they feel like he’s a fascist, and they don’t wanna be associated with that at all, and they want a different vision of America.
  • Speaker 5
    0:48:38

    So they become much more liberal on immigration. Then Biden comes in and you see images of chaos on the border and they move over and start to become much more skeptical. And now they’re sort of kind of more skeptical of open immigration. And that is a perfect recipe if you then combine it with the fact that the margin between the parties and congress is like. Three people, four people, where and, you know, and and effectively nothing gets through unless you have, you know, unanimity of the party that has a three or four vote majority.
  • Speaker 5
    0:49:14

    I mean, that’s that’s an in incredibly narrow needle to thread. It’s so hard. And then you add in that dimension of the the forces in public opinion, It it’s effectively, like, may render self government nearly impossible. And I and then and then the last factor of all is the timing in the election cycle. And now that we are within a year of a presidential election, where immigration is a major topic, a major issue.
  • Speaker 5
    0:49:46

    I just don’t see anything happening. I I agree with you, Mona, that it’s pretty, you know, cynically despicable, what the what the Republicans are are doing now, especially after just a few months ago, they were imploring Biden to, like, come to the table. Let’s have a deal and everyone seemed eager to do it. Now they’re all running scared because Trump is commanding them not to give Biden any victories. But Then again, politics ain’t bean ball, and this is not an era of bean ball.
  • Speaker 5
    0:50:19

    It’s an era of extremely harsh hardball. And, and I’m afraid that’s where we are, and Biden is gonna have to to ride this tiger. He maybe has traded, you know, a kind of bad vibe over the economy for now bad vibes over the border. The the thing that hasn’t changed is a lot of Americans appear pretty grumpy about wanting to blame Biden for something.
  • Speaker 2
    0:50:46

    Would just make two very quick points based on what you just said. First of all, all the reasons you went through, this is by far tough. This is a tougher more comprehensive, bill than Trump would be able to sign if he got back into the White House. There’s no way that something passes with with with with Trump in the White House. Even if the Republicans take over both chambers, there’s no way it could
  • Speaker 1
    0:51:08

    Oh, spell that out, Jonathan. That’s because the Democrats wouldn’t agree. Right?
  • Speaker 2
    0:51:12

    No no Democrats. I mean, mansion will be gone by then. I mean, no Democrats.
  • Speaker 1
    0:51:16

    Right.
  • Speaker 2
    0:51:16

    The other thing is, just a quick comment, which is The dysfunction in this Congress is actually greater. I mean, yes, it’s a four. It it this is this is nothing new in American tree to see this kind of stuff. But this Congress is and and you guys are you guys have the numbers. You guys are the experts, but I mean, this seems to be a new level of of dysfunction, which to me, I I wonder when you’re Biden and you’re the Democrat and and you’re making the case that Donald Trump a threat to democracy, which I think is a very powerful and important case to make.
  • Speaker 2
    0:51:51

    I wonder if it’s a little harder to make, American democracy is produced, what we are watching right now on Capitol Hill.
  • Speaker 1
    0:51:58

    Yeah. Bill, you wanted to make a point?
  • Speaker 3
    0:52:01

    I think it’s worth remembering that We wouldn’t be having any of this discussion about immigration if the pillar of Joe Biden’s foreign policy, namely Ukraine. Weren’t pending, weren’t linked to it and dependent upon it. This is a very special set of circumstances, and, you know, Otherwise, there, otherwise, I think there would have been no move towards bipartisan discussions in the senate.
  • Speaker 1
    0:52:27

    Well, but it is also, even more underlines the point that both Damon and Jonathan are making, which is this is a whole new level of dysfunction. I mean, we are purportedly a world leader, that is So wrapped around its own axle that we cannot get aid to our, you know, very important allies in the world at a time of desperate need. That’s a new level.
  • Speaker 3
    0:52:51

    I think we’re all baking to agree to that proposition.
  • Speaker 1
    0:52:55

    Yeah. About on that. Yeah. Okay. Well, before we turn to our final segment, and I’m sorry we didn’t have time to get to our third one, we will have to put that off.
  • Speaker 1
    0:53:07

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  • Speaker 1
    0:55:14

    Thank you, miracle made for sponsoring this episode. Alright. We now come to our final segment, our highlight or low light of the week. And, Damon, let’s start with you.
  • Speaker 5
    0:55:27

    Well, the only thing that keeps me, from despairing in my pessimism is, listening to music, reading good novels, things like this in my spare time. So I’m gonna plug a novel today. I’ve been reading, Paul Oster’s novel calledbaum Gartner. This has been out for a few months. It’s about two hundred pages long, so not a a huge read, not a big commitment, but it’s a very, very good book.
  • Speaker 5
    0:55:54

    It’s about, kind of middle, middle aged philosophy professor at Princeton. He’s a a professor that focuses on phenomenology, and there’s a kind of phenomenological character of this novel because it’s a lot of it takes place, inbaum Gardner’s head as he reflects on his life, the death of his wife at a sadly young age and his dealing with that grief, but also reflecting on their past together. And then it goes back to his youth, and then forward to a relationship after the death of his wife, and then back again. It’s very much a stream of consciousness novel, but it’s it’s thoughtful and deep and soulful and, very much recommended. It’s a very good read.
  • Speaker 1
    0:56:41

    Thank you very much Linda.
  • Speaker 4
    0:56:43

    Well, I would, share what I’m reading, but it is so depressing. It is I’m rereading the brother’s car lots of. I mean, do you wanna get depressed, reread the brother’s car lots of? I’m not gonna share that, but what I am gonna share are a couple of pieces on immigration because I think they made important points. One of them is actually just from a couple of weeks ago, And it was from the New York Times.
  • Speaker 4
    0:57:09

    It was one of their opinion videos and it’s entitled things fall apart how the middle ground on immigration collapsed. And if you want to see something to really make you depressed in terms of what you know, what it is that we used to be like on the immigration issue and how how much we have really changed on that. I recommend that. The second piece is one that I think is very important. And, I I mentioned it because we talked about the numbers and how many people are actually coming into the United States and settling.
  • Speaker 4
    0:57:44

    And I think most people would be surprised to hear that until twenty twenty two, the actual stock of illegal immigrants living in the United States remained absolutely steady. Actually it had gone down from the high point. They were about ten point three million people. And then it ticked up, somewhat, and but in twenty twenty two, those numbers ticked up by six hundred and fifty thousand, which is not nothing. That is a real increase.
  • Speaker 4
    0:58:14

    This is a study that was put out and is available on the journal on migration and human security. It’s available online. It’s called after a decade of decline, the US undocumented population increased by six hundred and fifty thousand in twenty twenty two. By Robert Warren of the Center for Migration Studies. So I would recommend that.
  • Speaker 4
    0:58:37

    It does show that numbers are going up. But they’re not quite as dramatic as people on the right would have us believe. Okay. Jonathan Carl.
  • Speaker 2
    0:58:46

    Well, I would, say my
  • Speaker 3
    0:58:49

    low, I’ll
  • Speaker 2
    0:58:49

    do a low light, and it’s Sunday. That’s the first day of the week, so I can do that. Right? Seeing that the white lions and the Ravens lose were preparing for the Super Bowl. I did not wanna watch.
  • Speaker 2
    0:59:00

    And the the corollary to that is to have to hear all the madness on the, on the QAnon right, about Taylor Swift and Travis Kelsey, for another couple of weeks, just disheartening.
  • Speaker 1
    0:59:12

    Yes. Okay. Bill Dawson.
  • Speaker 3
    0:59:15

    Well, I’d I’d say, you know, enduring a Super Bowl that you don’t want to watch will be excellent preparation for covering this year’s presidential.
  • Speaker 2
    0:59:26

    I can go. That’s good. Yes.
  • Speaker 3
    0:59:29

    But I actually have some good news. And that is that, the European Union managed to twist Victor Orban’s arm into agreeing for fifty billion dollars. I’m sorry, fifty four billion dollars in aid for Ukraine. This is, to edit our president slightly a big deal. And, and not just in dollars, because the EU got this money freed up without major concessions to Orban.
  • Speaker 3
    1:00:05

    There were some cosmetic conceptions, small changes of language, but basically he threw in the towel. It couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy. And so we’ve now dealt with half of the Ukraine funding problem. And the other half I’m I’m afraid is on us. And, I’m getting decreasingly confident that we’re going to be able to figure out a way to get to S on that.
  • Speaker 1
    1:00:31

    Bill, this does come almost hard on the heels of another strong man getting, his comeuppance, or at least caving, and that was Erdogan of Turkey finally gave up his objections to having Sweden join NATO. So we’re now two for two on the overruling strong men.
  • Speaker 3
    1:00:48

    Although, everyone got some very substantial concessions in return.
  • Speaker 1
    1:00:52

    Yes.
  • Speaker 3
    1:00:53

    That’s true. Including long stone weapon systems. So Even you want
  • Speaker 2
    1:00:57

    more expensive to
  • Speaker 3
    1:00:58

    fly off than Orbanj.
  • Speaker 1
    1:01:01

    But it wasn’t a principled, cave, so it was just money. Alright. Well, I would like to what shall I make this a highlight or a low light? It is, a highlight because it’s kind of weirdly entertaining, but that is watching the, ultra right manga world lose its mind over Travis Kelsey and Taylor Swift, you know, they’re always looking for a pop star or or some sort of a cultural issue to fight a culture war about. And so usually it’s, you know, Bulwark lives matter or, you know, they went after, Colin Capernick and and and all of that.
  • Speaker 1
    1:01:42

    And and you can understand that. I mean, that’s going to agitate maybe lots of people on your side, but choosing to go after the most popular pop star in the world plus her all American boyfriend who’s going to the Super Bowl is the height of stupidity and and of course it illustrates the thinking process among these people who say things like Jesse Waters Fox News. He said that Taylor Swift is a Pentagon sci op asset. Okay. So it’s all been cooked up by the Pentagon.
  • Speaker 1
    1:02:17

    He said, have you ever wondered how or why she blew up like this? Well, Around four years ago, the Pentagon psychological operations unit floated turning Taylor swift into an asset during a NATO meeting. And he goes on. So and and all of these lunatics, Jack Post Soviet of pizza gate fame and Vivek Ramaswamy, Laura Lumer, all of these people, even Sean Hannity, who warned Taylor not to endorse Joe Biden said, think twice about that. They are all losing their minds going after.
  • Speaker 1
    1:02:55

    And they say now that the Super Bowl has been rigged, so that it that there can be a great celebration of this couple and that they will then endorse Biden. And, so the, you know, All of the people in the know have to be prepared for this that it’s all been, rigged and orchestrated. So look, There have always been people like this. There have always been Loonies, and, you know, they used to get newsletters, you know, they came in the mail. And now they are at the very centers of American power.
  • Speaker 1
    1:03:29

    Now they are friends of the Republican nominee, likely Republican nominee for president who was president and they control huge swathes of the media. And, that’s the world we’re all forced to live in. But I do think that the good news side of this is they really have bitten off more than they can chew this time. I mean, going after these guys is, a pretty boneheaded move. And with that, I want to thank our guests, Jonathan Last.
  • Speaker 1
    1:04:01

    Highly recommend all of his books, the most recent one, tired of winning. And, of course, my regular panel, and I would also like to mention our wonderful producer, Jim Swift, and our Sound Engineer, Jonathan Last. And we will return next week as every week.
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