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Lucy Caldwell: Fetterman Should Have Dropped Out

October 12, 2022
Notes
Transcript

Fetterman’s stroke was always going to be THE big story, and now the moment’s arrived. Plus, Herschel Walker’s talk of redemption without confession, Mastriano’s antisemitism, and abortion v crime overshadows democracy in the midterms. Lucy Caldwell joins Charlie Sykes.

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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
    0:00:02

    This episode is brought to you by GMC. The new GMC twenty twenty four Sierra heavy duty features the first ever Sierra HD Denali Ultimate, offering an enhanced six point six liter Duramax Turbo Diesel V eight to deliver turbocharged towing capability. Taking premium capability to amazing new places, available spring of twenty twenty three, visit gmc dot com to learn more.
  • Speaker 2
    0:00:37

    Happy Wednesday, and welcome to the Bulwark podcast. I’m Charlie Sykes. Hey, if you haven’t joined the Bulwark community yet, I I hope you’ll consider it because we have a lot of things going on. There’s next week’s live event in DC with police officer Michael Fanone, one of the heroes of January sixth. And Bulwark members, Bulwark plus members also have acts to a whole bunch of newsletters, like morning shots, which I put out every morning, JBL’s triad.
  • Speaker 2
    0:01:00

    Podcasts like a secret one that I do every week with Mona Charron, And then there of course is the next level, which is also a YouTube show. So if you haven’t done it yet, please consider joining us because democracy’s really too important to be left to the crazy people. So having made that heartwarming pitch, I’m afraid that we wanna make everybody mad at us with today’s podcast. I’m joined by Lucy Caldwell, political strategist, and board adviser to the Renewal Democracy Initiative. Welcome back to the podcast, Lucy.
  • Speaker 3
    0:01:31

    Hey, Charlie. It’s good to be with you excited to make people mad.
  • Speaker 2
    0:01:35

    Okay. Well, we have a lot to cover. We’re gonna talk about tomorrow’s January six hearing, which may be a BFD, especially with those new secret service text messages, more bowl from Hershel Walker. John Federman’s very awkward NBC interview and all of the fallout. Fox News, this will come as a shock to you.
  • Speaker 2
    0:01:54

    Turns out that they edited out all of Kanye West’s crazy talk, but it was leaked while the rest of the right meaty is either ignoring or rationalizing his antisemitism, so we can talk about the normalization of antisemitism on the right. And I’ve got some pretty remarkable poll numbers from Wisconsin. And of course, because it’s a day that ends in why J. D. Vance’s testicles are still on a lock box somewhere.
  • Speaker 2
    0:02:21

    So where do we start, Lucy? What’s your favorite thing? What bite at the apple do you wanna take?
  • Speaker 3
    0:02:26

    Oh, so many celebrities to choose from? And so little time. I don’t know. I mean, I think that the Hershel Walker knew coming book of children’s stories featuring farm animals or cattle is an interesting place to start.
  • Speaker 1
    0:02:39

    Okay.
  • Speaker 2
    0:02:40

    So I do sometimes wonder what it must be like to be on Hershel Walker’s campaign staff. On a sympathetic way. I don’t want to be misunderstood here. But yesterday, in the midst of all of these stories about his lies, his hypocrisy, the paid abortion, the pressure, the abandonment of his children. Tom Cotton decides that yesterday is a great day to fly to Georgia to campaign with him so they have an event.
  • Speaker 2
    0:03:03

    And there’s Tom Cotton with Rick Scott from Florida and their flanking Hershel Walker. And a Hershel Walker tells this heartwarming story about a bull. Let me just play this. As they’ve been saying, something is better somewhere else. And I’m here to tell you it’s not.
  • Speaker 2
    0:03:22

    So I’ve
  • Speaker 4
    0:03:22

    been telling this little story about this ball will not in the field with six cows. And three of them are pregnant. So you know you got something going on. But all he cared about is kept his nose against defense, looking at three other cows that have been blown to him. Now all he had to do is eat grass.
  • Speaker 4
    0:03:44

    But no, no, no, he thought something better somewhere else. So he decided I wanna get over there. So when did he measure that fits up? And he said, I think I can jump this. So that they came where he got back.
  • Speaker 4
    0:03:57

    And he got back. And as he took off and he dove over that fence and his bed, it got cut up onto the bottom. But as he made it over on the other side, he shook it off and got so excited about it. And he ran to the top of that hill, but when he got up there, he realized they were boos too. So when I’m telling you, don’t think something is better somewhere else.
  • Speaker 4
    0:04:21

    So
  • Speaker 2
    0:04:21

    I’m thinking Lucy that probably somebody on his staff should tell him Hershel, that’s really not the story of Bull’s wanting to fuck multiple cows that you should be telling right now.
  • Speaker 3
    0:04:32

    Well, I think it’s actually really just a it’s a story about woke identity politics and transgender cows because Yeah.
  • Speaker 2
    0:04:41

    The
  • Speaker 3
    0:04:41

    reason the bowl triggered. Yeah. Because the bowl was confused because from afar he was the scent of those cows you know, he believed they were birth aside female cows. And then he he dove over that fence. I’ve never seen a cow dive, but amazing.
  • Speaker 3
    0:04:59

    And he got there and they had begun to identify as balls. And it is really a story putting aside the cow pregnancy earlier. It’s really a story about how the woke left is now forcing gender reassignment to the point that this poor bowl who really, I guess, should have just been sticking to eating grass, went and found that those cows were no longer cows. They they were bulls. And our children are being indoctrinated, and they’re gonna take your children away from you.
  • Speaker 1
    0:05:27

    So
  • Speaker 2
    0:05:27

    most the commentators have insufficiently appreciated the subtlety of of what Michael Walker was was doing. I I appreciate that I’m almost burned out on Hershel Walker, which is wrong because, of course, we’re almost to the the election because every day the hits keep on coming, there’s a new pullout. Showing Brian Kemp in Georgia with a big lead over Stacy Abrams. And that one does not appear that it’s in any question whatsoever. I think if I don’t have right in front of me, but Kemp was ahead by ten points.
  • Speaker 2
    0:05:57

    And at the same poll, showed worn off ahead of Hershel Walker by, what about three points. So I mean, there’s two, I guess, questions to ask them is number one, there’s obviously going to be a lot of split ticket voting there. But what does it say about our political moment that with everything that’s going on, that a Hershel Walker is still within striking distance, that this is not a blowout that maybe he’s even within the margin of error, I mean, WTF.
  • Speaker 3
    0:06:29

    Well, I think that we can truly say that after the news of Hershel Walker’s penchant for paying for abortions. Last week, it was truly his access Hollywood moment in that, like Donald Trump’s access Hollywood moment, although appalling, it has absolutely zero effect on his would be supporters.
  • Speaker 4
    0:06:50

    Because
  • Speaker 3
    0:06:51

    they’re all in a cult. So it doesn’t it doesn’t matter. And you know now he’s telling the story of redemption and it’s amazing. George Conway talks a lot about, like, the applying during the Trump years, like, applying clinical kind of psychiatric methods to understanding Trump, but now by extension, I think a lot of these Republicans, and there’s, I’m gonna get it wrong, but it’s it’s, like, Darvo, like, deflect attack, reverse victim offender — Yeah. — you know, like, actually, I’m the victim here.
  • Speaker 3
    0:07:22

    Right? Which is exactly what Hershel Walker is doing here because he has managed to turn this story, and he’s denying it. And so he is still there’s a weird trick at play here where he’s denying that any that ever happen, but then also in that speech this week, he’s asking for redemption and saying basically, they’re coming after me, but don’t we believe in redemption stories? Okay. But to be redeemed, you have to
  • Speaker 2
    0:07:46

    Yeah. Go to Go to Go back. Truly confess and say, I’m sorry if we’re doing it. You know, like, yeah, redemption is not, no, I didn’t do it. That’s a lie, but God forgives me for it.
  • Speaker 2
    0:07:56

    Anyway, no, that’s that’s not the way it worked. And of course, look, let’s be honest about it. There’s a huge number of voters. I mean, I don’t know how many, but, you know, who believe that he’s lying, believe that he’s being a hip circuit and simply just don’t care about it. And that’s this has now become the new norm.
  • Speaker 2
    0:08:11

    But see, this is, I think, an underappreciated aspect of the appeal of Trumpism. That really when you go back to access Hollywood, that that Donald Trump and the Mago World offers complete absolution for anything. I mean, it basically says whatever you do, no matter how vulgar you are, no matter how cruel you are, it is okay. We are not going to judge you. And and and there’s a certain appeal to that while I think people look at sometimes look at progresses and saying, well, you’re constantly, you know, accusing me of being racist and sexist and guilty and you know, that that I should make, you know, restitution for this or for that, whereas Trumpism says, basically, fuck it.
  • Speaker 2
    0:08:50

    You can do anything. You can do anything and say anything and you are okay. And and if you’re accused of these things, you treat it as a badge of honor. And you can say whatever you like and it will just trigger the lips and this is what it’s all about.
  • Speaker 4
    0:09:06

    I mean,
  • Speaker 2
    0:09:07

    I think there’s a little bit of that, isn’t there?
  • Speaker 4
    0:09:09

    There
  • Speaker 5
    0:09:09

    is. And if you’re a right winger, look,
  • Speaker 2
    0:09:12

    for many years, conservatives always felt, you know, that they were constantly being judged that that something that was a misdemeanor for a Democrat was a felony for a Republican. You were constantly, you know, under that scrutiny of a media that looked down on you. And now basically, you look around and you go, hey, I am free. Free at last from any sort of moral, political, cultural judgment?
  • Speaker 3
    0:09:37

    Yeah. It’s not just on morality. It’s across the board because the Republican Party has the party of the ends justify the means. Do you remember how a couple of years ago, Mike Lee made a statement. It was like a tweet.
  • Speaker 3
    0:09:51

    It was he said democracy isn’t the objective. Yeah. You know, we want the human condition of flourish and rank democracy can thwart that. Which is really weird, really weird, weird disturbing thing to say. Mike Lee, I think, keeps a a little bit more of a straight narrow god fearing home than Hershel Walker turns out to, but it’s the same principle which is essentially the ends justify the means.
  • Speaker 3
    0:10:17

    And so as long as you talk the talk, you can pay for forty abortions, but you’re on team Maga, so anything is justifiable. Also though, I think that there’s so much weird kinda like tradwife’s signaling on the right now. We saw that with Carrie Lake this week with her — Yeah. — little vacuuming stunt, you know. But I think that a lot of that is just window dressing and there is less interest now on the right even though there’s still all kinds of signaling around issues like abortion.
  • Speaker 3
    0:10:50

    There is certainly less actual commitment to living a moral life. It’s mostly about signaling. And it’s funny because when you spend time around I mean, you can often find, I think, that you spend time around, say, young Republican operatives and young Democratic operatives, and the Republicans are much more fun in many ways. Yeah. It is not what it appears.
  • Speaker 3
    0:11:17

    Howard Bauchner:
  • Speaker 2
    0:11:18

    No, it’s not. You know, but I keep coming back to this, you know, how things have have changed. I mean, it was years ago that if you said something, you know, untoward about rate for abortion, Republicans would would abandon you. And your career was was over now, it’s like you can say anything and nothing happened. So like Tommy Tuberville the other day, made a just not subtle at all.
  • Speaker 2
    0:11:40

    There was no dog whistle about the racism when he talks about, you know, these people committing the crimes want reparations. Well, I say bullshit. You know, on the next level podcast, I think it was JBL who made a really interesting point that the key there is not that Tommy Tuberville is a racist because, you know, breaking news. But the way that the crowd reacted, and I think that’s the tell is they loved it. They mean, they they knew what he was saying You know?
  • Speaker 2
    0:12:06

    He, you know, he walked right up to the end word. He didn’t say it. And they loved the transgressiveness of it. The fact that he said something that nobody else is gonna say and that’s going to, you know, really upset people. You know, again, it’s exciting for them.
  • Speaker 2
    0:12:23

    So things that used to be disqualifying now really send a tingle up their legs?
  • Speaker 3
    0:12:32

    Well, that all comes from the idea that the woke left won’t let you say anything. And so part of being a heart charger who’s willing to say the politically incorrect thing is the thing that gets you a Meribat. But the tuberculosis comment is especially insane because the guy was a college football coach who made millions and millions of dollars basically getting young black men to get out onto the field every weekend. It’s it’s so it’s
  • Speaker 2
    0:13:02

    it’s all in Alabama tradition of that sort of thing. Right? Yep. Guys getting rich on sending young black man out of the field. Every single
  • Speaker 3
    0:13:10

    day. Get to cautions, and then they can go on to run for Senate in Georgia. Yeah. It’s sick. It’s a sickness.
  • Speaker 2
    0:13:17

    I’m probably gonna write about this later this week, but I think it’s rather extraordinary watching the whole Kanye West thing play out. I mean, it it seems it ought to be clear that he’s having some sort of a mental breakdown. And yet, you have Fox News, Tucker Carlson, even Ben Shapiro, twisting themselves into making him to some sort of a, you know, anti woke hero. And I think that one of the things that’s happening though is that they are normalizing what would have, like, five minutes ago been recognized as unacceptable antisemitism. We have the Republican candidate for governor in Pennsylvania, Doug Mastriano, who has you know, been playing footsy with some really, you know, hardcore anti Jewish folks from the old.
  • Speaker 2
    0:13:59

    Right? I suppose, again, a remotely rational political party would say, okay, you know, let’s dump Mostriano. He’s not gonna win anyway. You know, let’s at least show that we have some standards. It’s
  • Speaker 5
    0:14:09

    kind of hard to do that when your party is run by somebody who just last week was referring to Chinese Americans as CocoCao. And of course, also this new culture where you could never apologize for anything. So I do think that one of the things in twenty twenty two that may seem like it’s a continuation, but really seems kind of rather striking is just sort of the normalization and the And the fact that we greet these things now, which is sort of a shrug like, yeah, what are you
  • Speaker 2
    0:14:37

    gonna do about it? This
  • Speaker 1
    0:14:41

    episode is brought to you by GMC. The new GMC twenty twenty four Sierra heavy duty features the first ever Sierra HD Denali Bolt to men, offering an enhanced six point six liter Duramax turbo diesel v eight to deliver turbocharged towing capability, taking pre premium capability to amazing new places. Available spring of twenty twenty three. Visit gmc dot com to learn more.
  • Speaker 4
    0:15:09

    Gosh,
  • Speaker 3
    0:15:10

    the Tucker Carlson, Kanye West, back and forth, where he was, like, have I reached Alex Jones territory yet. Like, there’s, like, a little bit of a a moment of reckoning where there’s an acknowledgment that if I think a good rule of thumb is if you’re asking yourself, have I reached Alex Jones territory yet? The answer is, Yes. Yeah. That
  • Speaker 2
    0:15:33

    that’s a bad thing. Well and then, of course, you know, Fox. I mean, they they understood in real time that they’re talking to a crazy guy. And with some very, very serious problems. And so they edited out that part and and, of course, they’ve been busted for it.
  • Speaker 2
    0:15:45

    In contrast, He says taking a deep breath. NBC did not edit out what seems to have been a very awkward interview with John Federman. I won’t go into great detail about all of this, but the NBC reporters, you know, said, hey, you know, this was not like any other interview I ever had. He was having some difficulty. Answering the questions.
  • Speaker 2
    0:16:05

    And of course, this has set off a firestorm of people saying, you know, we’re seeing a guy who had a stroke, who’s clearly cognitively challenged or at least has some medical issues versus others who are saying that NBC is very, very unfair know, why would you make an issue of the fact that he needed to read these questions anymore than you would make an issue of the fact that, you know, somebody uses a hearing aid. So Lucy, give me your take on on the whole John Federman thing because it’s it seems it has become a huge deal at a crucial moment in that race. So how badly does this hurt John Federman? Well,
  • Speaker 3
    0:16:43

    thank God John Federman’s social media team is so effective because they have basically run a campaign by Twitter post. And John Federman is clearly in a bad way. Obviously, I hope he wins. I’m concerned about that race. But to say that there’s nothing to see here, is the kind of deceit that really, I think, pours gas on the fire of the right of basically being, like, the media is in Kahoots with left wing politicians.
  • Speaker 3
    0:17:17

    It is bananas that John Federman had this stroke. He is obviously experiencing effects after effects of the stroke. I’m not a doctor, but so whether what the long term effects of that are or not, I couldn’t say as a layperson, but it is so absurd to act as though we shouldn’t be able to call us beta state on that. That is not like having hearing loss. That’s just not like that.
  • Speaker 3
    0:17:44

    It’s not. And we all, you know, we’re happy to ask for things like Trump’s medical records, etcetera, ask questions and all kinds of situations. And now suddenly, when John Betterman is refusing to release his medical records, there’s nothing to see here. So I think that the willingness of some mainstream outlets to cover this is a good thing. I think it’s important, and I think that it’s really the way the Democrats in Pennsylvania have handled this race is really a shame because I think that the lack of straight shooting on this really is to the benefit of someone like doctor Oz?
  • Speaker 3
    0:18:25

    Okay. So
  • Speaker 2
    0:18:26

    you’ve been on the other side of this table as a campaign manager, you’ve been, you know, a consultant, why did federalmen’s folks agree to this interview? How do they think this was going to turn out?
  • Speaker 4
    0:18:39

    I have
  • Speaker 3
    0:18:40

    no idea. I have no idea. But on the other hand, at some point, you have to get them out there because there’s a perception that he’s not out there. Right? He’s kinda like in the back of the pickup or, you know, there there’s just we have seen very little of John Federman since the spring.
  • Speaker 3
    0:18:55

    So I think they probably felt like they have to get him out there and that this was a relatively safe bet that he could make it through this interview. It wasn’t just the secondary reports of how he was during that interview from the kind of behind the scenes perspective. With you listen to the audio of the interview, his voice is quivering. I mean, it is not the betterman that we knew a year ago. Every time I say something like this, I get all kinds of flack for it.
  • Speaker 3
    0:19:26

    But part of recruiting people to the pro democracy team and asking people to cast their vote for the John Federman’s of the world over the authoritarian embracing Dr. Oz type characters of the world is being honest with them. And we cannot have a situation where we all participate in a game of pretend because we want to protect ourselves from the realities of the campaign trail. And the reality is that John Federman is clearly impaired by what happened to him in the spring. If I were a Pennsylvania voter, I would still vote for the guy.
  • Speaker 3
    0:20:02

    Mhmm. But it that’s just a it’s that’s a much more honest take than what we’re seeing. Okay. Well,
  • Speaker 1
    0:20:08

    I’m
  • Speaker 2
    0:20:08

    gonna come back to that that point. I just wanna read the Daily Beast account of this. In the interview aired Tuesday night, Federman required to use closed captioning the Democrat is, quote, still suffering from auditory processing issues, which means he has a hard time understanding what he’s hearing NBC News porter Dash Up Burns said NBC News agreed to the use of closed captioning technology during the interview where a screen transcribed Burns’ questions. I and then he says, I sometimes will hear things in a way that’s not perfectly clear. So I use captioning so that I’m able to see what you’re saying on the captioning.
  • Speaker 2
    0:20:43

    Federman, according to Adasha Burns, Federman occasionally stuttered, had trouble finding words. Well, I think we’ve all been there. Responding to Burns’ oral questions after subsequently reading the captions on a computer screen. In the interview, Federman can clearly be seen behind the screen reading the questions as they come. Every now and then I’ll miss a word he said.
  • Speaker 2
    0:21:03

    Every now and then, or sometimes all maybe mush two words together. But as long as I have captioning, I’m able to understand exactly what’s being asked. Okay? So that’s he was he really was upfront about it. I wonder whether they
  • Speaker 4
    0:21:16

    thought that
  • Speaker 2
    0:21:16

    NBC just wouldn’t make an issue of this. I’m sure that’s
  • Speaker 3
    0:21:19

    true. Okay. I
  • Speaker 2
    0:21:21

    I’m
  • Speaker 3
    0:21:21

    sure that’s chat.
  • Speaker 2
    0:21:22

    Okay. So that they thought that this was safe, and they they thought that maybe they would cover for them and, you know, not not highlight this in the way that they did Okay. Now back to your point about the most voters are probably gonna, you know, continue to vote for who they were before. And then again, look, I I do not want to make this morally equivalent to the walker case, Jose. So let me just draw the line.
  • Speaker 2
    0:21:42

    This is not a both sidesism. But really, this race has also come down to okay. So he may not be a hundred percent. Walker may be, like, not five percent. But people are gonna vote for him because it’s all about that seat.
  • Speaker 2
    0:21:57

    Right? It’s it’s it’s really right now all comes down to who wins that seat? What is the vote? Who controls the senate? And all of these concerns about the character, the judgment, the health, are really secondary for the vast majority of voters.
  • Speaker 2
    0:22:14

    Do you think that’s
  • Speaker 4
    0:22:15

    true? I
  • Speaker 3
    0:22:17

    suppose, but I think that this is another example of your responsibility by a team engaged in a campaign, engaged in a candidate campaign where the drive to win and the drive to get their guy over the line began to take precedence over the greater good. John Federman should be running away with this race he is not. That’s for a variety of reasons, including the fact that he suffered a stroke days before the Pennsylvania primary in the spring. And when that happened, John Federman should have immediately dropped out. If he had immediately dropped out, Connor Lamb, who is not having these challenges, would be the nominee, and we would be in a very different place.
  • Speaker 3
    0:23:06

    That doesn’t mean that, I mean, John Federman has the right to do what he did, but it is an example of the fact that campaign apparatus is and the way that people are incentivized in the political operative class and in the campaign class. Those are not simply they may have good intentions. They may support policies that we all like, but the kind of allure of political power even for people who could be heroes for democracy or the rule of law or the good of the order, there is an allure that comes with the quest for political power that is very dangerous and and is not always in keeping with what’s best for the greater good even when it strikes people who are good people. So
  • Speaker 2
    0:23:55

    expand on that for a moment. Okay. So you have John Federman having this stroke, which appears to have been quite serious before the primary. So there was a moment. There was a window there where Democrats could have turned said, okay, you know, whatever we think about John Federman.
  • Speaker 2
    0:24:11

    You
  • Speaker 1
    0:24:12

    know,
  • Speaker 2
    0:24:12

    Connor Lamb was a very, very plausible candidate. I mean, he got blown out in the in the primary, but he’s a congressman. He’d won in swing districts. I think he was sort of an outspoken center left candidate. I was a big Conner Lane, a Lam fan.
  • Speaker 2
    0:24:23

    But he obviously, you know, was not able to compete with John Federman. But he would have been certainly a credible, reasonable candidate in a general election. You know, what what’s interesting is that the candidate for governor the attorney general Josh Shapiro is pretty much sort of a normal straight kind of inoffensive foil to Doug Mastriano. Connor Lam knows how to win elections. He knows how to win elections and swing seats.
  • Speaker 2
    0:24:50

    Okay. So, I mean, it’s it’s not it’s not crazy. So why did John Federman not drop out? Give me what the internal mental process. I think you’ve already done it, but I mean, just like, there’s at that moment people had to decide who’s gonna go in the room and say, John, we love you.
  • Speaker 2
    0:25:09

    We’d love you to be a senator, but this is not the time we can’t do this, we can’t risk what’s about to happen. You need to drop out. Why did that not happen?
  • Speaker 3
    0:25:19

    For those reasons because of the incentives that exist for his consultants or his
  • Speaker 2
    0:25:25

    What are those incentives?
  • Speaker 4
    0:25:26

    The
  • Speaker 3
    0:25:26

    power that comes along with being part of a winning campaign. Mhmm. Money power. There’s probably some you know, suite campaign manager or suite comms director who sees their path to being chiefs of staff. To the US senator from Pennsylvania or the press secretary or getting a job lobbying for an energy outfit or any number of things that come along with life in the political operative class.
  • Speaker 3
    0:25:55

    John Benjamin had a stroke on May thirteen The Pennsylvania primary was just, I think, May seventeenth, and I’m sure that in that window of time, there was this idea of, like, well, we’ll just wait and see. And they came out during that time and said he’s had absolutely no cognitive impairment. No problem. Nothing to see here. And now he is acknowledging that he has had cognitive impairment.
  • Speaker 3
    0:26:16

    It’s just it’s just one of these things where incentives and the calculus within a campaign it gets confusing and dicey. It’s the same reason that candidates in many other circumstances don’t drop out when they should to move aside for a person who has better prospects. So as you
  • Speaker 2
    0:26:37

    pointed out, one of the things that the Federman is going for him is he’s got a really good comms team, you know, whatever role they played in all of this. And I I saw one comment where he said, look, you know, yeah, I had a stroke and I’m getting better. So in January, I will be better and doctor Oz will still be a fraud. I think it was a pretty good line. So and apparently, there’s
  • Speaker 3
    0:26:55

    gonna be a puppy a puppy killer, Charlie. Well, okay. I
  • Speaker 2
    0:26:58

    was gonna mention that because this is interesting how this ad is going to play because they’re going big time with ads about doctor Oz’s role in these animal looks experiments that resulted in the death of hundreds of puppies. And I don’t know about you, but my experience is that things like that generate would would generate more of an emotional reaction than adds about if he was, you know, neglecting children or
  • Speaker 1
    0:27:23

    something.
  • Speaker 2
    0:27:24

    I’m I’m trying to balance them. What has more effect? The fact that John Federman needs closed captioning or the fact that doctor Oz kills
  • Speaker 4
    0:27:31

    puppies? I don’t
  • Speaker 3
    0:27:32

    know because at this point, so much of that race is baked. That it means you’re on the margins I’m
  • Speaker 2
    0:27:40

    going to the dogfight. How big is the dog
  • Speaker 3
    0:27:41

    lover vote in Pennsylvania? You know, notice that all of the most effective dog lover messaging Just shows images of people with their dogs. Like, Federman has done a bunch of posts where his dogs are. Licking his face, that kind of thing. Notice that it’s not imagery of dead puppies.
  • Speaker 3
    0:28:01

    Right? Just like the best anti abortion messaging. The anti abortion lobby learned years ago that it’s not effective to show pictures of dead fetuses. Right? It’s most effective to just do kinda like warm friendly messages showing moms with their kids whom they love.
  • Speaker 3
    0:28:19

    And in this odd pivot to puppy messaging, the Federman campaign is taking a page out of that book, and it’s just puppy photos for days. They don’t even have to get into the nitty gritty of how exactly those poor puppies found their end at the hands of doctor Oz? You made a
  • Speaker 2
    0:28:39

    reference to the abortion issue. You were you were on MSNBC the other day, and you described it as the big elephant in the room for Republicans ahead of the midterms the abortion issue, which they are all running away from as fast as they can. And I think it is rather extraordinary to watch how many Republicans have reverse positions that they held for years and years and years and are dropping positions that they had up until about five minutes ago, which is a tell about how this is actually playing out. So give me your sense of the abortion issue in the midterms.
  • Speaker 3
    0:29:13

    Yeah. I mean, in your home state, Tim Michaels is now saying that he supports plan b, that he would not support a total ban, that he supports exceptions in cases of of rape and incest. It’s almost like Republicans are the dog that caught the car and they don’t know what to do with themselves. I think that the challenge for Democrats is that Democrats, I think, sometimes misinterpret voters who are anti anti choice as being pro choice, like, enthusiastic pro choice advocates. So instead of thinking, you know, the the tea leaves from Kansas earlier this year.
  • Speaker 3
    0:29:51

    I think a lot of Democrats mistakenly read that as we have this huge voting block in Kansas now of enthusiastic pro choice voters. No. No. You have a reluctant voting block who wants to preserve some access and doesn’t want an outright ban. So I think that the pivots that Republicans are making now is an attempt to thread that needle.
  • Speaker 3
    0:30:15

    Howard Bauchner: No,
  • Speaker 4
    0:30:16

    I think
  • Speaker 2
    0:30:16

    you’re right. And also here in Wisconsin, Ron Johnson, who had proposed and signed on to national abortion bans in in the past, is now saying that he doesn’t want a national abortion ban. In fact, he doesn’t want the the Court to decide or legislators to decide he wants a stand alone referendum, which is a completely new position that he’s having. But again, it’s part of the change. Now, you know, one of the things that Republicans here in Wisconsin are saying, I mean, they’ll they’ll acknowledge privately that this is not helping them, that it is hurting them, but they say abortion is not going to be the magic bullet Democrats think it is because it is not a top three issue.
  • Speaker 2
    0:30:56

    It is not as powerful as say in deflation or crime or immigration or some of these other issues out there. What is your sense in terms of the sealiency of the issue. Because, you know, in Kansas, it was an up or down vote on abortion. It’s much more complicated when you’re dealing with candidates. Because you have a whole suite of issues that they’re dealing with.
  • Speaker 2
    0:31:18

    So where does it rank for voters?
  • Speaker 4
    0:31:21

    I don’t know. I think
  • Speaker 3
    0:31:22

    it becomes a matter of context depending on what’s on offer from the Democrats. So there’s a piece of approach choice messaging that I find massively ineffective, but that apparently moves some hardcore based Democrats, which is messaging to the effect of, okay, did you know actually that most abortions are sought by women who already have children? You know, or, like, mothers of children and that many of them are being sought by married women. So, oh my gosh, this is a much bigger issue than we realized. That to me is a super super uncompelling message, which I’m just gonna say that that is.
  • Speaker 3
    0:32:02

    Right? The most compelling message would be something like, let me tell you the story of this fifteen year old who got pregnant and has no means. And now her whole life is gonna be set in a different direction she has less potential because now she’s gonna be forced to carry this baby and, you know, that’s a compelling message. So a lot of it is, what is the message being promoted by the Democrat in contrast? To the message gate promoted by the Republican.
  • Speaker 2
    0:32:25

    So if you
  • Speaker 3
    0:32:26

    have a Republican who you have a Democrat promoting the, you know, its mothers with kids, message, and the Democrat is promoting or the Republican, excuse me, is promoting a message about how he really doesn’t prefer abortion. But by the way, he supports exceptions for rape and incest, then you can go get plan b or, you know, he he either like the Ron Johnson needle thread that you’re talking about. I think that you can actually can really reduce the potency of the abortion message, especially if it’s then coupled with some of these overwhelming messages that we’re seeing on crime. I think that the crime push and you in your home state, it it
  • Speaker 2
    0:33:05

    is like
  • Speaker 3
    0:33:05

    It is like Ducocca’s two point o Willie Horton all day every day. It is.
  • Speaker 2
    0:33:09

    That’s true. I I
  • Speaker 1
    0:33:10

    think
  • Speaker 3
    0:33:11

    that those
  • Speaker 4
    0:33:11

    messages
  • Speaker 3
    0:33:12

    what we are actually seeing in both of those messages is that those are for people about their daily lives and what it means to wake up every day and go through your life in your community. In a way that messages around January six or authoritarianism or democracy, the kinds of things that probably, for example, a lot of listeners with World War podcast are motivated by, but that’s a specific sector. These other messages have so much more potency for voters in terms of being able to hold onto them. So it’s it’s really, I think, a a balancing in each of these races between how the Democrats and Republicans respectively are are marshaling their particular message points
  • Speaker 4
    0:33:58

    this
  • Speaker 2
    0:33:58

    this is a very, very important point. You know, and I’m and I’m sorry that January six is not playing a bigger role because I think it ought to. I mean, I actually have plotted when Mandela Barnes turned on Ron Johnson and said, you know, you you know, you claim to support the police. But what about the hundred and forty of capital police officers? Who were injured during the insurrection you supported.
  • Speaker 2
    0:34:16

    I thought that was good. I’m I’m I’m in favor of that. However, your point is that people in these communities don’t feel that January six is a threat to them in a way that they feel that they, you know, nightly stories of crime are. So for example, I will say in southeastern Wisconsin, people are much more effective. We’re much more effective.
  • Speaker 2
    0:34:38

    By Kenosha burning than by what happened on January sixth. And that is all they’re seeing on television. They’re seeing Kenosha burning and what Tony Evers said about crime, what and and police and what the Mandela Barnes said about it. You know, it is Willie Horton two point o, but it is it is effective. I I don’t have time to really get into it, because I know Lucy you you have been extremely interested in sort of breaking the duopoly of the two parties system, and you’re advising the forward party right now?
  • Speaker 2
    0:35:09

    I
  • Speaker 3
    0:35:09

    am. Okay. Well,
  • Speaker 2
    0:35:10

    I have some advice. I think you should give them, but we could talk about that later. I am obsessed with and I confess and and I’m gonna get some blowback for, like, oh, you’re not gonna talk about Ruit to share again. Are you in the answers? Yes.
  • Speaker 2
    0:35:20

    I am.
  • Speaker 4
    0:35:22

    Because there was
  • Speaker 2
    0:35:22

    a very interesting poll conducted in Wisconsin testing his thesis that the center of gravity of American popular opinion is not on the right or the left. That centrism is actually kind of the sweet spot. And so he laid out a series of centrist propositions that he said, we’re the center of gravity. And then it turns out that his thesis was tested in this poll back in May in Wisconsin. And so they they asked people these a series of propositions that that Ruiz wrote.
  • Speaker 2
    0:35:55

    And for example, you know, it’ll give you one. Equality of opportunity is a fundamental American principle equality of outcome is not. Turns out sixty six percent of Democrats and seventy three percent of Republicans agree with that. Okay? On racism.
  • Speaker 2
    0:36:14

    Discrimination and racism are bad, but they are not the cause of all of the disparities in American society. Turns out, Big majority, sixty two percent of Democrats agree with that as did ninety one percent of Republicans. And it goes on on here here here’s here’s the one on police. That ought to ought to be, you know, front and center for all democratic candidates. Here’s the statement.
  • Speaker 2
    0:36:34

    Police misconduct and brutality against people of any race is wrong, and we need to reform, police conduct and recruitment, more and better policing is needed for public safety, and that cannot be provided by defunding the police. Sixty nine percent of Democrats agreed with that. Now, the question is, is that what the Democratic candidates have been saying? Well, maybe it is, but I don’t think they’ve been saying it as loudly or vigorously as they need to. And if they don’t, I think they’ll pay a price in the midterms.
  • Speaker 2
    0:37:07

    Your thoughts. That first line,
  • Speaker 1
    0:37:10

    which
  • Speaker 3
    0:37:12

    is it comes up in different language often. The the the first thing tested around a quality of of opportunity versus outcomes. And the quality of outcomes is that is a more descriptive way of describing what is usually just tossed off as a term by folks on the left, which is equity — Equity. — equity. And equity is very different than a quality of opportunity.
  • Speaker 3
    0:37:42

    Equity is you know, I’m gonna cut up a piece of this pie and give it to you regardless of whether or not you were the one who went to the store and got the flower and rolled out the dough and whatever. And so Americans are interested in creating the conditions by which we can all go to the store and you know, acquire the flour and the sugar and the rolling pin, but they’re not interested in having their slice of the pie cut up to someone who wasn’t participating in those first few first few activities. So it’s very complicated. But I think across the board, I had a prominent Democrat say to me recently off the record. He said, you know, we were talking about we were actually we were talking about the former party.
  • Speaker 3
    0:38:23

    We were talking about this idea of how do you break up this horrible fever dream that we’re in. Mhmm. He said, look, the problem is that Republicans are insirectionists and Democrats are aliens. And that I think about that so much. It really struck me because that is what basically in essence that poll was finding out, which is that Democrats repeatedly have trouble even though they are clearly between the two parties, the party that is in favor of democracy.
  • Speaker 3
    0:38:55

    They are clearly your better bet if you if you’re not a big fan of fascism. They are clearly the the right ticket, but yet they continue at every turn to seem to manage to alienate regular people. So the the fight is for those people who agree that Republicans are instructionists but are feeling like maybe Democrats or aliens. Mhmm. Well Right.
  • Speaker 3
    0:39:19

    And and and and if in
  • Speaker 2
    0:39:20

    fact, they feel this is that the the the assault and democracy is an existential threat, then they really ought to give extra thought to how not to alienate the average swing voter. You know, look, Tahira is not a Republican. He is not a conservative. He has been a progressive Democrat. He’s entire life, and he is trying to say, This is why you have been losing ground with working class voters.
  • Speaker 2
    0:39:44

    This is what you need to do to win these elections. You know, and that that’s what tough love means. It is tough, but it is also love. And he’s you know, it’s been brushed up. Okay.
  • Speaker 2
    0:39:56

    So in the time we have left, Probably the final public hearing of the House Committee on January sixth, tomorrow. Washington Post reporting a little while ago that it is expected to highlight newly obtained secret service records showing how president Donald Trump was repeatedly alerted to brewing violence that day that he still sought to stope conflict the committee plans to share in Thursday’s hearing, new video footage and internal secret service emails that appear to corroborate parts of the most startling inside accounts of that day said that people breathed, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, Former White House aide Cassidy Hutchison testified in June that Trump was briefed on January sixth that some of his supporters were armed for battle demanded they’d be allowed into his rally anyway and insisted he wanted to lead them on their march to the capital. So once again, there are high expectations for the committee hearing, your thoughts about what’s gonna happen tomorrow, and
  • Speaker 4
    0:41:01

    I’m
  • Speaker 2
    0:41:01

    not gonna ask you the cliched question, and will it make a difference? Just and what were your thoughts about what’s gonna happen tomorrow? Howard Bauchner: Yeah,
  • Speaker 4
    0:41:06

    it should
  • Speaker 3
    0:41:07

    be interesting. I think in the summer when we had the Cassidy Hudgensin testimony, one of the things that was a bummer is that the details around the steering wheel and grabbing the wheel, Trump, that is all of that, became the failured that anyone had to feel totally confident that that had happened and it was years I became this huge distraction because even the rest of the stuff was so much more damning — Yeah. — anyway. And it was kinda like the steering wheel. So, like, well, we know the guys totally insane and kind of unhinged.
  • Speaker 3
    0:41:39

    So it’s sort of not remarkable to think that he did that. So I guess it’s nice that we could clear that up. I think the more interesting piece of what we may see is the Roger Stone footage, the Roger Stone testimony. And part of the reason is that Roger Stone has repeatedly shown himself to be a person who he’s so into the bravado and image of the Roger Stone personal brand that he will say and do almost anything for attention and he has absolutely no care in the world in terms of helping the Republican brand recover from the Trump era he’s just all in all the time. And so I actually think that if there’s a lot of emphasis on Roger Stone, not it’ll at least be fun.
  • Speaker 3
    0:42:34

    Have Americans
  • Speaker 4
    0:42:34

    tuned this out
  • Speaker 2
    0:42:35

    though at this point?
  • Speaker 3
    0:42:38

    Probably. I don’t think that matters. I
  • Speaker 2
    0:42:40

    want I want to miss Megan. I I don’t care whether it moves the needle. I don’t care whether or not Americans have tuned it out. I think this is absolutely essential. That we continue to do this, that at some point, you know, it’s not all horse race.
  • Speaker 2
    0:42:52

    You know, sometimes it is substance and getting to the bottom of this and, you know, making an historical record is absolutely crucial, but have Americans tuned it out.
  • Speaker 4
    0:43:01

    I think
  • Speaker 3
    0:43:02

    that they probably have I think that there’s another piece of this that has made me feel a little concerned the whole time, which is that there’s a lot of emphasis on Trump and the Trump White House and Trump affiliates, so to speak, in the January sixth committee hearings that earlier this year, when they began, we were seeing in Poland that it had begun to have an effect. But basically, it had an effect on people’s perception of Trump, and it it had caused some of his popularity to go down. I continue to feel like Trump is just the biggest symptom of what’s afoot in the Republican Party. So I have continued to be worried about the permission structure that the January six hearings could create where it basically helps Republicans who are threatening people like Tom Cotton, Rick Scott, some of the people who went down to help Hershel Walker, Josh Holly, Ted Cruz, people who are much more effective than Trump, that it could actually be like a it could wash out Trump and basically create a a lane for them begin to separate from the Trump brand, but continue to do all of the same destructive dark stuff that the Trump types wanted.
  • Speaker 3
    0:44:21

    And therefore potentially be much more effective because they have much more impulse control and a grip. So I don’t know that the January sixth committee, even if people are totally tuned in, even in a totally tuned in scenario, I’m not sure that we get all that we would hope for out of it. I still think it’s an incredibly important exercise. I think it’s an incredibly important piece of the historic record, but that has been a bit that has given me a little bit of heartburn this whole time. Oh, I think we’ve all had more than
  • Speaker 2
    0:44:50

    a little bit of heartburn the whole time. Lucy Falls. Well, thank you so much for coming back on the podcast. I appreciate it.
  • Speaker 4
    0:44:57

    Thank you. And thank you
  • Speaker 3
    0:44:58

    all for listening to
  • Speaker 2
    0:44:59

    today’s Bulwark podcast. I’m Charlie Sykes. We’ll be back tomorrow, and we’ll do this all over again.
  • Speaker 4
    0:45:10

    Your
  • Speaker 3
    0:45:12

    worried about the economy. Inflation is high. Your paycheck doesn’t cover as much as it used to and we live under the threat of a looming recession and show you’re doing okay, but you could be doing better. The afford anything
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    0:45:22

    podcast explains the economy and the market detailing how to make wise choices on the way you spend and invest. Afford anything
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    0:45:29

    talks about how to avoid common pitfalls, how to refine your mental models, and how to think about how it being. Make smarter choices and build a better life. Avoid anything wherever you listen.
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