OANN National Political Correspondent Neil W. McCabe on the Uncompromising State of the Union Address

Feb 8, 2023

Live from Music Row, Wednesday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. – host Leahy welcomed Top Gov Tracker Neil W. McCabe of One America News to the newsmaker line to comment on President Biden’s State of the Union Address, Ron DeSantis’s personal history, and South Carolina as Democratic primary election state.

Leahy: Right now on the newsmaker line, Top Gov Tracker, our very good friend, the One American News Network national political correspondent, and formerly the lead political correspondent nationally for The Star News Network, Mr. Neil W. McCabe. Good morning, Neil.

McCabe: Michael, very good to be with you, sir.

Leahy: Last night we had an hour and a half of a very old angry man slurring and attacking everybody who wasn’t a left-wing Democrat. What was your reaction to this?

McCabe: It was a strong speech because there was no compromise. And if the only thing you ever did was tune into the State of the Union every year, like those Christmas and Easter Catholics, you would think everything’s fantastic. There was no compromise on guns. The Republicans are a bunch of insurrectionists who tried to kill that old guy sitting next to Bono. (Leahy laughs)

Ukraine is America. The Dreamers are finally going to get a shot. It’s a very interesting tact that Biden has always taken. He always gives a speech where he expresses an empathy for the concerns of his audience. But he doesn’t compromise on policy. He never compromises on policy. And that was forceful.

On abortion, immigration, and the border, he’s all-in. But what he didn’t expect was that some Republicans just couldn’t take it anymore. And they basically called him a liar. When he was talking about fentanyl, they’d say, hey, what about the border? When he said, we may need oil and gas for another 10 years, they just started laughing at him.

Leahy: You know the best line I saw on that, Neil? I’m not a fan of this guy, but Jonah Goldberg with The Dispatch said, yeah, and we also may need air and water for the next 10 years. (Chuckles)

McCabe: Almost half of the House Republicans have been elected since 20116. People talk about the need for term limits. It just so happens that in the Republican Party, there is natural turnover because guys have careers and guys have other things they want to do, and things turn over a lot more than people expect, at least on the Republican conference side.

You have all of these guys who have been elected in the age of Trump, and it’s like Biden wasn’t talking their language. It was bizarre. Sometimes he was playing to the room, sometimes he was playing to the TV and I don’t know what the effect would be.

Leahy: The interesting response came from Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders from Arkansas. It was a dramatic contrast.  A couple of things on that. First, she highlighted the fact that she’s 40 years old and he’s 80 years old. And then she said this. She said, it’s not a choice between Republicans and Democrats, it’s a choice between normal and crazy. I thought that was pretty effective.

McCabe: There is an axis in American politics of crazy and not crazy. And when I was at Capitol Hill, I got a little bit of it when I was covering the White House. A lot of the White House reporters that I fully expected to be like Bolsheviks, socialists, and hardcore, they’re not. In a lot of ways, the White House reporters aren’t political at all.

The White House reporters don’t care if somebody wants the drug test, food stamp recipients, or any of this stuff. They’re not involved in policy. It’s crazy. Not crazy. You saw that yesterday with Governor Ron DeSantis when he had that round table.

And one of the people he invited to his roundtable was Libby Locke, who’s the lawyer suing on behalf of Dominion. She’s suing Rudy Giuliani. She’s suing Mike Lindell. He’s suing a bunch of people. And DeSantis, by putting himself with Libby Locke, he’s saying, I’m in the not crazy lane.

And so the idea is, can we have conservatism without the crazy? And I think that’s going to be DeSantis’s pitch. The same thing with Biden last night. The Republicans are insurrectionists. The Republicans are insane. It’s not politics. They’re violent, they’re extreme. Biden’s attitude was, I don’t even know why they’re in this room.

Leahy: It’s interesting, speaking of Governor Ron DeSantis since you are the Top Gov Tracker. The old saying is if generals try to win the next war with the tactics of the previous war, it doesn’t end well.

Former President Donald Trump yesterday went out and started attacking again. The unannounced candidate, Ron DeSantis, governor of Florida, put out a picture, I don’t know, 20 years ago, that showed Ron DeSantis in his 20s surrounded in a party atmosphere by a bunch of younger girls.

Other than that, there was a picture of DeSantis with some teenage girls, I don’t know what was there, but Trump was attacking him for that. Someone who’s been sued by Stormy Daniels and didn’t seem like a good tactic to me. Your thoughts?

McCabe: I guess when The Washington Post and The New York Times have both run articles talking about how when Ron DeSantis in the year after Yale had spent a year teaching at a private school, and he was like a 22, a 23-year-old teacher would party with some of the students. And that’s been out there.

I guess when Trump says it, he’s being outrageous. But when The New York Times and The Washington Post write about it, they’re being responsible. I think that your real point is correct. People don’t care about someone’s personal life as long as they vote correctly. If they think Ron DeSantis is going to deliver a future that lines up with their interests, they will vote for him. Remember, Grover Cleveland was elected President of the United States after it came out he had an illegitimate daughter, His Baby Ruth candy bar was created by the Republicans to make fun of his illegitimate daughter Ruth. 150 years ago, people were willing to elect a guy to be president of the United States with an illegitimate daughter because they thought he was going to be a president that delivered a future that lined up with their interests.

Leahy: Let’s talk a little bit about the 2024 race on the Democrat side. The Democrats now are saying we don’t care about Iowa or New Hampshire because they don’t represent the United States of America, the electorate. That’s what James Clyburn said.

He’s the black congressman from South Carolina. But now because South Carolina delivered for Joe Biden back in 2020, they are making South Carolina the first primary in the country. Your thoughts on this?

McCabe: It’s a bold move, but maybe it had to be done. I’ve covered Iowa. Iowa is a bear. It’s wicked cold. It’s wicked cold.

Leahy: I know it is. I was there in 2020. You’re right. I can confirm it was wicked cold.

Listen to today’s show highlights, including this interview:


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Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 a.m. to The Tennessee Star Reporwith Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio.



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