Simon and Leahy: CPAC 2023 Is In The Swamp This Year

Simon and Leahy: CPAC 2023 Is In The Swamp This Year

Live from Music Row Thursday 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 all-star panelist Roger Simon in studio to discuss Washington D.C. and past CPAC events.

Leahy: All-star panelist Roger Simon is here with us. Roger. A little bit of a programming note. I will not be here tomorrow. Aaron Gulbransen the official guest host will be here.

Simon: Oh, that means I can sleep in.

Leahy: You can sleep in. I know, I know. The official guest host of The Tennessee Star Report will be here. And of course, he’s kind of a political nerd like you and I are. We talk a lot of inside baseball, a lot of Tennessee politics since he’s the state director for the Tennessee Faith and Freedom Coalition.

Tonight I’m making my way toward the nation’s capital, Washington, D.C. We are talking about this a little bit off the air. I used to really love the idea of being in and spending time in Washington, D.C. Now I feel as if I’m walking into the camp of the enemy when I do.

Simon: You can look at all those buildings and all those offices. It’s endless blocks and blocks of them, and you wonder what the people do. And in reality, I have it from friends of work for the Department of Justice and so forth, not much.

The amount of featherbedding in Washington is unbelievable. And the fact is that the hostility to Trump, I think, is largely based on that because all those people are afraid that if he gets elected this time, they will be out on their ears.

Leahy: It’s very hard to do. As our original all-star panelist, Crom Carmichael points out, one of the biggest problems in America came when John F. Kennedy allowed federal government employees to unionize.

Simon: Yes.

Leahy: And now who’s running the show, I will tell you a little-known fact about my background, Roger. Back in my youth when I was still a liberal Democrat. Yes, I was. If you go to an Ivy League college, you gotta come out as a liberal way back then. But my first job, I worked for an economic consulting firm as a research associate in Boston, and then I got a gig. I had Potomac fever.

I wanted to work in Washington, D.C. I had a teacher who was friends with the assistant administrator at the EPA. I got a gig at the EPA, and I lived in Washington, D.C. for a year and a half. I was a budget analyst in the EPA when Jimmy Carter was doing zero-based budgeting. Do you remember that?

Simon: I remember it very well, because at the same period, I was having a Los Angeles fever. (Chuckles) In those days, even more, than going to Washington, going to Hollywood was a big deal.

Leahy: A big deal.

Simon: Now neither of them should be.

Leahy: I was a low-level Washington bureaucrat federal bureaucrat. I was part of that deep state there for a year and a half.

Simon: You would’ve hated Trump then.

Leahy: (Laughs) A long time ago, but it was zero-based budgeting. And this was the big deal that Jimmy Carter had been promoting, and it was going to be streamlined government. After spending a year and a half implementing it, I never, never became a fan of Jimmy Carter again after that. It was phony.

Simon: He doesn’t have very many fans now. Let’s be honest.

Leahy: By the way, he’s in hospice care. We certainly wish him well. But having said all that, He was a disaster as a president.

Simon: Quite obviously. I remember the gas lines well.

Leahy: And by the way, the fans of Jimmy Carter are happy now because he’s no longer the worst president in American history. Joe Biden is the worst president.

Simon: I thought it was Andrew Johnson.

Leahy: Wouldn’t you say that Andrew Johnson, the Tennesseean, the last president from Tennessee, even though he was impeached and only survived by one vote, I would say, as bad as he was, he was better than Joe Biden.

Simon: I would have to agree. (Laughter) Not that I really know because I wasn’t around then. But being around now, I would imagine so.

Leahy: So I’m going up to CPAC. It’s going to be at the Gaylord National. I’m staying tonight across the Potomac at the $ 100-a-night Holiday Inn. I’m not at the $ 500-a-night Gaylord National.

Simon: I spoke at a CPAC at the Gaylord about 15 years ago. It must have been more, actually, when we were starting PJ Media, that same event, I introduced an awful senator and presidential candidate from Utah.

Leahy: You introduced Mitt Romney?

Simon: Yes.

Leahy: What!

Simon: Very weird. I think back on it, I don’t know why they asked me to do it. I have no idea. But I guess they were hard up. And I spoke just before Rush Limbaugh. I felt very embarrassed the whole time.

Leahy: You addressed the whole big crowd?

Simon: Yes.

Leahy: It’s about like 5,000 people show up for this thing, and it’s sort of a conservative rah-rah thing.

Simon: It’s a good thing if you’re trying to sell a book.

Leahy: If you’re trying to sell a book, good place to go. This probably was 2008, I would guess something.

Simon: Yes. Maybe a little earlier.

Leahy: But you introduced Mitt Romney at the time. He was a Massachusetts guy. He was he running for president?

Simon: He was going to be coming.

Leahy: 2007, probably.

Simon: Yes. 2007. That’s right. My memory is getting very dim here. I actually was embarrassed about doing it.

Leahy: Why were you embarrassed about doing it?

Simon: I was just sort of a newbie on the conservative side really. And still at that point. Now I don’t feel like that.

Leahy: No. You’ve been there.

Simon: I’ve been there for quite a while. I was running a company so it was good for the company and I knew it. Visibility for, for then PJ Media, but then Pajamas Media is now, it still exists. The company I founded then, and the other thing was though I felt like I was a newbie and this, they must have been hard up.

Leahy: You’re very articulate. Oh, Roger, you and I have something in common. We have both introduced Mitt Romney at an event.

Simon: Oh, well, there you have it. I didn’t know that either.

Leahy: So I’ll tell you my Mitt Romney story. This was in 2012. and I had just back selfishly, I’d just, a book I’d written had been Pub, the only book that I’ve ever written that’s actually been published by a real publisher. Covenant of Liberty, the Ideological Origins of the Tea Party Movement, published by our mutual friend, my editor was our mutual friend, Adam Bellow.

So I was beginning this book tour and I had an opportunity to go up to Philadelphia. It’s like the Ben Franklin Museum of Science or something and introduced Mitt Romney to an event where he was, you know, going to be the nominee in 2012.

I had been a Romney delegate in 2008. I thought, well, Mitt, yes. I’m gonna give Mitt this book about the origins of the Tea Party movement, and he’s gonna read it and he’s gonna say, I’m gonna adopt all your policies. (Laughter)

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

– – –

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.
Photo “CPAC Crowd” by Gage Skidmore. CC BY-SA 2.0.
















Leahy and Gulbransen Share CPAC Stories

Leahy and Gulbransen Share CPAC Stories

Live from Music Row, Tuesday 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 the official guest host of The Tennessee Star Report, Aaron Gulbransen in the studio to reminisce about past CPAC events.

Leahy: We are joined in studio by our all-star panelist, official guest host of The Tennessee Star Report, and the state of Tennessee director for the Faith and Freedom Coalition, Mr. Aaron Goldbinton. Good morning, Aaron.

Gulbransen: How are you doing, sir?

Leahy: Well, I’m glad you’re here because we do have a little bit of programming announcement to make that a week from this Friday, March 3rd, you, sir, will be guest hosting The Tennessee Star Report. I will be in Washington D.C. or thereabouts in a suburb on the Potomac at the Gaylord there, participating in CPAC.

And I will be either phoning in briefly with the updates of what’re all the things that are going on with CPAC, the annual gathering of the conservatives, or we may have a more extended communication. It sort of depends on how the technology works.

Because anytime I’m out of studio and I’m trying to communicate back here, and our producer Patrick is smiling right now. I’ve been on that road before, sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn’t.

So I guess you’ll have at least three hours here in studio from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. on Friday, March 3rd. And the minimum, I’ll have at least an 11-minute phone call with you, but maybe longer. It depends on the technology.

Gulbransen: Of course, we’ll be turning the tables on you and interviewing you instead of vice versa.

Leahy: I have been interviewed before, and of course, you like that. That’s fun.

Gulbransen: Yes. It’s a lot of fun. We’ll have a good time. So when was the last time you’ve been to CPAC?

Leahy: Would you like to hear a story about CPAC?

Gulbransen: Yes.

Leahy: There was a period of time when it was a lot of fun, and there’s a period of time when it wasn’t so much fun. And now it looks like it’s going to be a little bit more fun this time. CPAC, of course, was all disrupted by COVID. I recall the first one I went to was at the Marriott Hotel in March of 2010 in Northwest Washington, D.C.

I had just written a book called Rules for Conservative Radicals, a book self-published, so perhaps an extended monograph might be a better way to describe it. Right. And I was interviewed on CSPAN there. I remember that I sat right next to this home-schooled kid who was there and was like a superstar for a nanosecond.

And then he turned out to be, you know, when he grew up, he was a left-wing lib type guy. His name was Jonathan Crone; I think I was right next to him. So that was 2010. In 2013, when I was with Breitbart, I was there. And CPAC had moved to the Gaylord.

The Gaylord says Washington, D.C., but it’s actually technically in Maryland. It’s right on the Potomac. It’s kind of southeast of D.C. It’s a beautiful hotel. Beautiful hotel. And I was there writing for Breitbart. And it was fascinating because the late, great Pat Goodell, great pollster was giving a barnburner of a speech, which I guess you would call it. Perhaps a precursor of Donald Trump, right?

It was basically criticizing the elite and globalism. I was there in the audience, and in essence, I just wrote a story about what his speech was about. It was published quickly, and it was a morning speech. Later that afternoon at about maybe 12:30 p.m., my phone started blowing up. (Ringing sound) What had happened?

Turns out the late, the great Rush Limbaugh was reading my story from Breitbart verbatim. (Gulbransen chuckles) And I mean, it was, and he spent, like, half an hour talking about it, and it was all citing Breitbart. I don’t think he mentioned my name, but it was the article.

Gulbransen: He didn’t call you a babe?

Leahy: No.

Gulbransen: This babe over at Breitbart?

Leahy: I’m trying to recall because he did say it was a Breitbart article that captured the whole thing. But it was just fascinating. And I can tell you I recall I had taken a break from the conference.

I was outstanding on the banks of the Potomac, looking across to Alexandria, Virginia, and then up to the north, looking to Washington, D.C., And it’s like, there’s my phone. And it was bing, bing, bing, bing, bing bing bing, bing bing bing. And I’m thinking, what is going on? Is there an accident somewhere?

Gulbransen: That’s awesome.

Leahy: No, Rush Limbaugh was talking about my article. It was quite a recollection. How about yourself?

Gulbransen: I went to CPAC 2007, 2008, 2009. I distinctly remember a number of things from 2007 CPAC. Of course, you had somebody working for Sam Brownback, which at the time, he was running for president.

Leahy: Hold it. Sam Brownback, was he the governor? And then he became governor.

Gulbransen: I believe that’s the case.

Leahy: Sam Brownback was not exactly an inspiring figure.

Gulbransen: They had a campaign staffer, and I believe they would have denied this at the time, following Mitt Romney around dressed as a dolphin. And the name of the dolphin was Flip Romney. I remembered that.

Leahy: Oh, that is so cornball.

Gulbransen: I remember running into Michelle Malkin, of course; now, jeez, this is 16 years ago. The first one, there was a lot of energy for Romney in that CPAC. I think he won.

Leahy: It was 2007.

Gulbransen: That was Mitt Romney 2.0 because you had Governor Romney, one persona. Then you had ’07, ’08 Romney, then you had 2012, and then you have the current one.

Leahy: Are we up to 4.0 with Romney?

Gulbransen: Something like that. As it turned out, the Flip Romney was prophetic. It was, oddly enough, the first time I met my good friend, former governor of Virginia, Jim Gilmore, who briefly ran for president that year too, and he dropped out to run for Senate against U.S. Senator Mark Warner. There were a lot of interesting and fun times. By the way, I just did an observation since we brought up Rush Limbaugh’s name, and I always like telling this to people. And it is in my book. Smoke Filled Rooms. The story is in there.

Leahy: And that’s actually a book, not a monograph.

Gulbransen: That’s an actual book available on Shameless plug. And Rush Limbaugh gave me my first cigar when I was back working for (Inaudible talk).

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

– – –

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.
Background Photo “CPAC” by CPAC.


Maury County Mayor Andy Ogles Weighs in on Trump’s Big Reception at Last Weeks CPAC

Maury County Mayor Andy Ogles Weighs in on Trump’s Big Reception at Last Weeks CPAC


Live from Music Row Tuesday 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 Maury County Mayor Andy Ogles in the studio to review Trump’s reception at last week’s CPAC.

Leahy: In studio with us, our very good friend, mayor of Maury County, that bastion of freedom and turbocharged engine of economic growth, Andy Ogles.

Andy, over the weekend, while you were relaxing on Dauphin Island with your family – Did you get back during the weekend?

Ogles: Oh, yeah, we did.

Leahy: You got back during the weekend. So you were able to probably watch the goings-on at the 2021 CPAC conference. The Conservative Political Action Conference. That got started, I guess, way back in 1973, right?

Ogles: Oh, wow.

Leahy: A long time ago. And it was really where Ronald Reagan first rose to prominence a long time ago. So that’s a long time ago.

It’s almost 50 years now. I just have to bring this to you. We’re going to get to what former President Donald Trump said there and what his reception was.

Governor Lee was invited to go down there and he was on a panel. And I got to tell you the name of this panel. Wait for it … He was on a panel with another governor, Governor Stitt of Oklahoma.

And the moderator was Matt Schlapp, who is the president of the group that sponsors the Conservative Political Action Conference.

It was “A conversation on leadership, justice, and jobs in the age of wokeism.” (Ogles chuckles) Now, Governor Lee was there, and our headline tells it all.

It was like a 22-minute advertisement if you will. Schlapp was basically shilling for Governor Bill Lee and Governor Stitt of Oklahoma. Our headline:

No Questions for Governor Lee at CPAC About His Woke Cabinet Members Penny Schwinn and Juan Williams. We’ve reported on this extensively, but it was really of the 22-minute interview mostly about Governor Lee’s criminal justice reform program.

Which, I think criminal justice reform is fine. But they didn’t ask him any questions about his own woke administration. I felt, generally speaking, that CPAC is gone. Well, it’s not quite the pure conservative experience that it was back in the era of Ronald Reagan and leading up to Donald Trump. That’s just my view.

Ogles: Yes. I think when you look at an event like that, it’s not really a journalistic event. There’s no investigative reporting, per se.

And I think for someone like Matt Schlapp, he reads the press releases, and probably from their perspective, the governor is – or appears to be – conservative.

But my guess is, they didn’t scratch the surface to see that Penny Schwinn and the others and its plural in his administration have gone full awoke and really nothing’s been done about it.

Leahy: So I’m going to try to get on Matt Schlapp in here because I’m going to ask him these hard questions. And I think he knows. (Laughter)

I think he knows that Governor Bill Lee is no conservative. He’s more of an establishment Republican guy. He was a deputy policy advisor in the George W. Bush administration.

My view, not yours, but my view. I think history is showing that George W. Bush was not a very good president, frankly. And he’s not a very good post-president.

But that’s just my view. But the world in 2021 is about where this country is today, and if we can make America great again.

We did a great job I think for the four years that Donald Trump was the president of the United States. Now, with the legal but not legitimate occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, who is flouting and violating our immigration laws, looks pretty troublesome.

Former President Trump went down to CPAC, and it was a barn burner. He was very well received.

Ogles: He was kind of the crescendo, the highlight, the grand finale of CPAC. He spoke on Sunday. And, of course, they had a straw poll. Now, keep in mind, CPAC attendees are going to lean conservative.

Leahy: Oh, yeah.

Ogles: Trump just dominated that poll. And with Ron DeSantis coming in a distant –

Leahy: Very distant –

Ogles: Very distant second.

Leahy: I think it was Trump at 70 percent. They do the presidential strap polls and they’re more kind of fun than anything else, I think.

They’re not typical scientific polls or the electorate. But among enthused conservatives who attended CPAC, it was a runaway. We want Donald Trump for 2024 – 70 percent, and DeSantis got 20 percent, and nobody else even got one percent.

Ogles: It was crazy. I was surprised that Kristi Noem – I’m a fan of Governor Noem’s – she didn’t even register on the radar. And it’s not a scientific poll.

But that being said, when you look historically, Reagan got traction there and Rand Paul when he launched his presidential bid, Ted Cruz.

They really kind of spoke to the base to get some of that traction and some of that initial momentum. So it has validity, at least in the beginnings of a campaign. But that being said, it was Trump’s moment for sure.

Leahy: Trump’s had a lot of moments of late. Except, Andy, you can’t find any of these recent moments on YouTube. Did you see this?

Ogles: Oh yeah. They took down his speech, which was Orwellian.

Leahy: It is Orwellian. This claim that they are fair arbiters of public discourse, what a joke that is. They can’t take a punch, shall we say.

And they won’t allow anybody to take a punch at them, even though it’s well deserved because there are a bunch of Big Tech bullies.

Ogles: And I think there’s a growing appetite in Congress to do something about big tech and maybe to treat them more like a utility. And, of course, that’s not going to happen the next year or so.

But after the 2022 midterms and Republicans sweep both Houses of Congress, if I’m Big Tech, I would expect to be broken up in some way or capacity. Because I think that’s coming and it’s coming hard and fast.

Leahy: Well, that is interesting to see how this will all play out. I’m hearing increasingly that the general populace is very very tired of all the overreaches of the Biden maladministration.

That’s what I’m hearing. And I think on our side, I’m hearing and seeing resilience and enthusiasm for taking back the House of Representatives and maybe even the Senate. Even though now that is still 16 months away. It’s a long time.

Ogles: But, I mean, everybody’s getting geared up. I think more people are paying attention. Anecdotally you look at Moms for Liberty Group out of Williamson County.

Those types of liberty groups are popping up all over the country. And it’s individuals. You’re going to expect someone like myself or you to be engaged in politics and maybe be seen at some of these conservative events.

But when you have soccer moms who are busy and they’ve got agendas and kids and all the stuff that goes with that and suddenly they’re going to political rallies.

If you’re not a conservative, if you didn’t lead through COVID, you’ve got problems.

Leahy: From our story about former President Trump’s appearance: Sunday night at CPAC in Dallas, former President Trump took the stage to a standing ovation and a rowdy crowd while headlining the large gathering of CPAC Conservative Political Action Conference in Dallas on Sunday.

In a speech that lasted 90 minutes, the former commander-in-chief highlighted a variety of key areas that Republicans across the country are focused on including the 2022 midterms, the Biden administration’s policies, and his lawsuit.

He has a lawsuit against Big Tech platforms. With the help of everyone here today, we will defeat the radical left, the socialist Marxists, and the critical race theorists.

We will secure our borders. We will stop left-wing canceled culture, we will restore free speech and free elections, and We Will Make…here’s the punchline…

America Great Again, Trump said of the prospects of 2022. What do you think? You look at this phrase, We Will Make America Great Again.

In 2020 he said Keep America Great, now it’s regressing back to the Orwellian Democrat dystopia. Will we make it great again, Andy?

Ogles: I think he’s handing out endorsements for the upcoming elections in 2022. And if you look here in Tennessee, it’s now July. Today’s date is the 13th and early voting in Tennessee starts in 12 months.

And so the election, whether it be governor or Congress or whatever, is a mere 12 months away. And I think that’s the case across the country.

And I think President Biden is the gift that keeps on giving. Every time he does something stupid, which is about every five minutes, it’s just a win for the Republicans.

It’s a win for Trump. This idea that they’re going to go door to door on vaccinations – I don’t think that works out well in rural Tennessee.

Listen to the full second hour here:

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













The Epoch Times Senior Political Analyst Roger Simon Explains His Recent Article on Florida’s Ron DeSantis and Big Tech

The Epoch Times Senior Political Analyst Roger Simon Explains His Recent Article on Florida’s Ron DeSantis and Big Tech


Live from Music Row Tuesday 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 the founder of Pajamas Media and all-star panelist Roger Simon to the studio to talk about his recent article at The Epoch Times.

Leahy: In the studio with us the famous Rogers Simon and now political columnist for The Epoch Times. Roger people have questions for you. Mark from Nashville has a question for you. Mark, you’re on with Roger Simon and Michael Patrick Leahy. (Takes a call from a listener) Roger Simon, are you related as do you have any connection with the playwright Neil Simon?

Simon: I knew him. I played tennis with him, but I have a funnier story about it. And hat is when my first film came out that  actually got made because anyone who writes in the movie business writes about 53 movies before one gets made.

Leahy: Which film was this?

Simon: It was the Big Fix with Richard Dreyfuss.

Leahy: Great movie. And based upon your novel.

Simon: Based upon my novel. In those days, the movie was taken on the road by the studio to do the last refinements. They’d show it in Denver or some other place and the audience would write down what we call cards about what they thought of the film. And then the writer and the director and the star in this case because Richard also produced we’d sit there and read the cards that night in fear that we’re going to be killed or people would love it. And that movie most of the people liked it a lot but some didn’t.

Simon: I Will do it every time. (Leahy laughs) I was riveted about that one for years.

Leahy: You were not related to Neil Simon.

Simon: Not related.

Leahy: But you played tennis with him.

Simon: Yes.

Leahy: How did that come about?

Simon: He was a good player.

Leahy: How did you playing tennis with Neil Simon come about?

Simon: I don’t remember exactly but I got called up by this producer Larry Turman who produced The Graduate and he knew I liked to play tennis. I’ve been playing tennis since I was six.

Leahy: So you’re pretty good.

Simon: I’m pretty good but I’m not great. And it turned out that the fourth player was Neil Simon. Then we got to know each other a little bit but not very much. But he did come to The Big Fix opening party and so forth.

Leahy: That was nice of him.

Simon: Yes. Well, he was very close to Dreyfuss because he wrote The Goodbye Girl.

Leahy: Of course, I forgot all about that. Which Richard Dreyfuss won the Academy Award for. Yeah, a great movie.

Simon: A fun movie.

Leahy: Not quite as great as The Big Fix. Perhaps the best movie ever made. But a good movie.

Simon: A good movie. People still watch it.

Leahy: Yes, they do. Roger, you wrote a great piece at The Epoch Times. All Red States Must Join Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida Restrain Big Tech. tell us about that article.

Simon: Well, you know, I saw DeSantis speak at CPAC. He was very popular at CPAC. And everybody loved being in Florida because they have to wear a mask very much. But that’s the sort of minor part of it. The big part of it is to say it has has done some smart things. He is initiating legislation to give trouble to Big Tech. now Big Tech is I think the enemy of the people in this country.

Leahy: I agree.

Simon: And the federal government because it’s run by the Democrats that are loved by Big Tech and essentially support Big Tech and vice versa are not going to do anything about it. So the states have to do something about it in defense of the people. And DeSantis started it and now Abbott in Texas has done something. And every one of the states should really look to that legislation and start enacting legislation that restricts Big Tech and stop them from canceling people like me. (Chuckles) They haven’t canceled me yet.  but they’ve canceled everybody else. and I’m sure I’m on the list. They certainly canceled Dr. Seuss. And that’s I mean that’s beyond the Beyond.

Leahy: The Cat in the Hat is now bad. It’s crazy.

Simon: (Inaudible talk) In the Soviet Union. So I think we have to stop this in its tracks before it ruins the Country and really essentially ruins freedom of speech.

Leahy: Now there is a bill like that and currently under consideration in the Tennessee General Assembly. Next time you’re on we’ll have an update on where that is. Senator Mike Bell is one of the sponsors in the Senate. Well, we’re going to have him on he will talk about that. I want to talk to you a little bit about this Ron DeSantis fellow. What kind of speaker is he?

Simon: He’s good. I think at CPAC the surprise best speaker went to Kristi Noem.

Leahy: That’s what I’ve heard.

Simon: But DeSantis was good.  But I think the other thing is they had the straw poll at CPAC and it was surprising in a way because Trump is a better speaker than any of them. Trump is an electric speaker. Let’s admit it.

Leahy: Let’s also admit he tends to meander a bit.

Simon: He meanders the whole time. But personally, I like to follow along. He’s fascinating.

Leahy: He’s entertaining.

Simon: If he had a late-night talk show, good by Jimmy Kimmel. (Laughter) But in the straw poll, DeSantis came in a small second.

Leahy: Even including Trump.

Simon: I mean, I think we even including Trump. I think it was 51 to Trump and 26 to DeSantis. I got it was a few weeks ago. But anyway, it’s just a straw poll at all that but I think the rank-and-file of the Republican Party really likes DeSantis and I think that he’s going to be, if Trump doesn’t run he’s going to be stepping in as a front runner very quickly.

Leahy: I think you’re right about that and Kristi Noem of course has ambitions in that regard as well.

Simon: She wouldn’t be bad.

Leahy: It was interesting to some extent, I mean here we are and it’s March of 2021 we haven’t even been through the first two months I’m sorry to say of the Joe Biden maladministration.

Simon: It feels like six years.

Leahy: It does! It feels like six years of misery. And moving towards totalitarianism at lightning speed. But back to your point. Look it’s got to be the state’s pushing back for the next two years next 15 months.

Simon: I’m telling you, it’s all in the hands of the states. and look Trump won more States than Biden did. If we were right and the election wasn’t kosher.

Leahy: It was not kosher in five states because of the unlawful elections.

Simon: But even more states. And we’re going to find out interesting things from in Georgia.

Leahy: They’re looking at the Fulton County ballots. And I think they’re going to what they’re going to find it’s not going to be good for the Democrats.

Simon: Let’s hope.

Leahy: It’s not gonna make any difference in terms of who the current president because of the failure of many institutions to stop unlawful, like election procedures in those five states.

Simon: Exactly. Which circles around the same thing. The states are the ones who have got to do the work right now. We’ve got a Republican government here in the state. As citizens, we have to keep our foot on these on all our politicians from our own party if we are Republicans to make sure they stick to it because boy they haven’t got much time really.

Leahy: I agree completely. I think this is an exec substantial challenge to the ongoing survivability of our constitutional republic. My senses are Tennessee General Assembly is doing a good job. Our governor in my view is more than a little bit weak and push back.

Simon: Well if he should be listening to us this morning.

Leahy: He’s not. (Laughter)

Simon: What? He sleeps in like me usually when I’m not in.

Leahy: Look, Governor Lee is not a bad guy. But he’s not a courageous guy in terms of pushing back. And he’s wrong on a number of issues for instance as an example in my view he said welcome. We want more refugees in Tennessee. We don’t want more refugees in Tennessee, and he could have done something and he didn’t.

Simon: He did one thing that was good the other day.

Leahy: Tell me.

Simon: He walked around downtown and Broadway without a mask on and god filmed. Step one. That’s good. Now keep it up. Get further along. Take some risks.

Leahy: But he created his own problem and I’ll tell you why.  I think he unlawfully gave counties the authority to determine whether or not they should have masks. He didn’t have the authority to give counties that authority. Now Davidson County Mayor John Cooper has a stupid mask mandate still. And so he’s he kind of created his own problem in that regard. That’s a mistake in my view.

Simon: I agree with you. It’s a mistake. The whole COVID thing is so filled with mistakes we could sit here for 14 hours and we wouldn’t get through it.

Leahy: I know.

Listen to the full third hour here:

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









All Star Panelist Roger Simon Reflects on Being a Journalist at CPAC and the Cancelling of Dr. Seuss

All Star Panelist Roger Simon Reflects on Being a Journalist at CPAC and the Cancelling of Dr. Seuss


Live from Music Row Tuesday 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 the founder of Pajamas Media Roger Simon to the studio to discuss the energy and reception at CPAC and how Dr. Seuss is the recent victim to fall prey to the cancel culture.

(Trump Clip Plays)

I said that I think he should have 10,000. I think I gave the number. I definitely gave the number of 10,000 National Guardsmen. I think you should have 10,000 of the National Guard ready. They took that number from what I understand. They gave it to the people at the Capitol which is controlled by Pelosi and I heard they rejected it because it wouldn’t look good.

Leahy: That was Donald Trump talking about the generally sixth event. In-studio Roger Simon my former boss at PJTV now a columnist at The Epoch Times. And of course, Andy Ogles mayor of Maury County in the studio with us. I want to ask you this question, Roger. So you’re with The Epoch Times. It seems to be the juggernaut of conservative reporting these days supplanting, the old staple like National Review and The Wall Street Journal. What was it like being a journalist at CPAC for The Epoch Times?

Simon: Well the bottom line is what journalists need is access. You want to be the one to interview a Mike Pompeo or someone like that. And to be with The Epoch Times now, it’s simple. they all want to be on The Epoch Times. And the reason is that it’s the only kind of serious newspaper online and in your mailbox on the right anymore because The Wall Street Journal sort of deserted it. So we’re growing like crazy. And I can tell your listeners here if you haven’t subscribed be there or be square as we used to say.

Leahy: So who did you interview down there?

Simon: Oh, I talked to all of them Jim Jordan. All of them. My job is not to do that. That’s (Inaudible talk) job who had the video.

Leahy: You do the reporting. You are actually a commentary.

Simon: I’m the wise guy who gives you the sense of the ‘room’.

Leahy: So Andy, let me tell you why Roger Simon is a wiseguy. Like one of the other people in this anti-lockdown party in our studio today he’s an Ivy Leaguer. He went to Dartmouth. Dartmouth is in the news today.

Simon: Yes.

Leahy: You’ve got to tell our audience about this.

Simon: We all love the cancel culture. Anyway, who’s your favorite children’s author? Well, chances are if I would say 50/50 it’s Dr. Seuss. Have you ever read Dr. Seuss to your kids? Anyway, Dr. Seuss was just canceled. Six of his books have been rescinded by the publisher. So I don’t know which ones I haven’t read the full article yet, but I hope…

Leahy: Was it green eggs and ham?

Simon: I hope it’s not If I Ran the Zoo said Gerald McGrew because I love that one.

Ogles: But anyway, I do think that is one of them, but I mean, we’ve lost our collective minds. Mr. Potato Head. It’s not inclusive enough?

Leahy: It can’t be Mr. Potato Head. It has to be Potato Head.

Simon: Right.

Leahy: Unbelievable. So Dr. Seuss’s real name was Theodor Seuss “Ted” Geisel, a Dartmouth graduate.

Simon: Who donated the copyrights to all his books in his will. He’s dead. And there are the guys at Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth and it was a lot of money he gave him.

Leahy: He gave the rights to Dartmouth.

Simon: As a royal alum. Let’s hope Dartmouth complains.

Leahy: So the publisher says we’re canceling six Dr. Seuss books. Andy, can you imagine Dr. Seauss being politically incorrect. Is it anti-green eggs?

Ogles: Again, we’ve lost our minds. This cancel culture of inclusivity or non-inclusivity. I mean look, if you are a dude and you want to wear a dress, wear a dress. I don’t care. But you are still a dude. (Laughter) I’m sorry. That’s the way God made you. And maybe that’s the problem that you don’t have a relationship with God and you need to get woke with yourself. If you want to get woke read scripture follow Jesus and be woke. But at the end of the day, I’m not going to hold your hand and pander to you because you’re a dude in a dress. You’re still a dude.

Leahy: Yeah, absolutely.

Simon: But it is something that Michael said that occurs to me that it’s Dr. Seuss who came up with green eggs and ham. The left should love him.

Ogles: I don’t know.

Leahy: The left should. But again this is like the French Revolution. We have of the French Revolution and we’ve got this permanent class funded by various left-wing nut case billionaires of all these activists who don’t have any common sense whatsoever.

Simon: There may be a guillotine here in 15 minutes if we go off the air. (Laughter)

Leahy: If there is dead air when the show opens at 5:00 a.m. tomorrow morning you’ll know what happened. So I want to go back to the CPAC adventure. It’s interesting what you said as very upbeat. Now, why do you think it was upbeat? And where do you think that leads us?

Simon: Well, I think that part of the reason is up rate is that Trump is absolutely back. And he looked really good physically. A lot of people on the comments section of my Epoch Times piece were saying how much weight he lost.

Leahy: You know, it’s the old thing about Nixon back at after he lost the 1960 presidential race. Lost the governor’s race in ’62 for California. But then in ’66 and ’67, he was back. He was tanned, rested, and ready. That was the phrase. Trump you can tell just on the camera that he looked tanned, rested, and ready.

Simon: But he’s always tan. (Leahy laughs)

Leahy: That’s another story.

Simon: Yeah, but I think that dominated the whole thing and I think people have sort of figured out that the left has really overstepped and because they have overstepped it’s time to take things back and to get things on. And also it’s time to get on some of these wishy-washy Republican officials in our state and other states. One of the great things is DeSantis’s state. Everybody was saying that DeSantis should be the template for Republican governors across the country. And I really agree. How do you feel?

Ogles: Absolutely. I think DeSantis has done a great job managing COVID and defending liberty. Early on in March and April when we were all terrified he took action. But as soon as the data said otherwise, he reversed those actions and that took real courage.

Simon: The other thing that was true about CPAC is that Fauci became a curse word. (Laughter) Quite literally at the Reagan dinner Larry O’Connor who was the host.

Leahy: Larry O’Connor used to work for Breitbart and is now with the WMAL in Washington D.C. doing a great job in the afternoon.

Simon: He does a great job on the radio. But he is a funny host and he used Fauci as a replacement and as the new F-bomb. (Laughter) Fauci you!

Leahy: Now that’s funny.

Simon: I won’t go on with the whole thing.

Leahy: We might get in trouble. We don’t want to do that.

Simon: We don’t want to go off the air before they cancel us.

Leahy: What’s interesting to me Roger is I think people had a lot of fun down there.

Simon: They did. I mean, I kept saying, When can I go outside? It was 80 degrees out there. But aside from that it was great and everybody was super friendly. Another interesting thing about what’s happened with CPAC is that there now is a Korean CPAC, French CPAC, and various others.

Leahy: In those other countries?

Simon: Yes, and they had videos of their events that were shown to us. CPAC as a movement is spreading globally as the conservative movement of the kind of Trump direction it’s going. The populist direction is spreading. It’s very heartening.

Leahy: Of the speakers there, which one’s got other than Donald Trump, of course, who capped it off with an hour and 20 minutes. It was very well received. Which of the speakers also were received with that same level of enthusiasm?

Simon: The same level, no one. But I would say very high-level was Kristi Noem. What’s interesting to me about her is she’s a really good public speaker. And she knows how to underplay lines like an actress. And I come from that world so I watch that. She underplays everything just well. She said very quietly like to the audience. I don’t know if you agree with me, but I think Dr. Fauci makes mistakes a lot.

Simon: The place broke up! (Leahy laughs)

Leahy: She knew how to play it. She knows how to deliver a line. And she knows pacing.

Simon: Yes. She knows the line’s good. Don’t scream it.

Listen to the full third hour here:

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