Roger Simon: Young Vivek Is Trump Without Any Baggage

Roger Simon: Young Vivek Is Trump Without Any Baggage

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 age and politicians.

Simon:  I am very pro-Trump, but I’m more pro-Vivek because Vivek is Trump without any baggage. And also, he’s more original even than Trump.

Leahy: He is quite original.

Simon: I have to admit a lot of his thinking, mirrors mine. So there is a little bit of arrogance in this because one of the things that he says, and I really believe because I’m a post-sixties guy myself, and he’s much, much younger. He is half my age.

Leahy: He’s 37. Thirty-seven. By the way, the youngest president elected was John Kennedy at the age of 43. Vivek would be 39

Simon: But let me say it, and I pointed this out in The Epoch Times that Thomas Jefferson was 33 when he wrote the Declaration of Independence.

Leahy: Very good point.

Simon: And Alexander Hamilton, when he signed the Constitution, wait for it…was 20. These guys were incredibly, by our terms, precocious.

Leahy: It’s interesting because back to the whole, Trump will and Biden will be 82 versus Kennedy in 1960 at 43 and Nixon at 47, there was a vibrancy to the two of them.

Simon: Yes.

Leahy: Which Trump and Biden don’t have. Let’s be honest at that age.

Simon: I’m closer to Trump and Biden.

Leahy: But you’re pretty vibrant.

Simon: I try to be vibrant. I read this essay recently, don’t let the old man in. And I try not to because I work out and play tennis all the time. Anybody my age, that’s my advice to you. I think it’s necessary right now in our society for younger people to come in.

Leahy: I agree completely.

Simon: We can’t stay here forever, ala Pelosi or these people because no matter who you are, when you reach a certain age, your ideas are formed by what happened a long time ago.

Leahy: I’ve got a phrase for it.

Simon: Go.

Leahy: Ossified. (Chuckles)

Simon: That’s very good.

Leahy: I look at Joe Biden, and that adjective ossified comes to mind.

Simon: He’s ossified in his power.

Leahy: So the thing that’s very impressive about Vivek Ramaswamy is this. Saturday morning Trump comes out and says, I’m gonna be arrested on these trumped-up charges on Tuesday. He’s not been arrested yet.

Lots of things have happened since. But within an hour, Vivek Ramaswamy and his team have a spot on email release and stories come out. He’s the first guy that says this is…

Simon: And he challenged DeSantis and Haley to join him.

Leahy: Exactly.

Simon: And they didn’t. Finally, DeSantis did, but in a very mealy mouth way. And I’ll tell you something. I was sitting in the car when he did this. Right next to him.

Leahy: Were you sitting right next to him when he did that?

Simon: Absolutely.

Leahy: So this was Saturday morning when he wrote it?

Simon: I was riding around.

Leahy: What time did you hook up with him or join the travel team?

Simon: Early, early Saturday morning.

Leahy: This is fascinating. So did he have any advanced notice that Trump was going to make this claim?

Simon: Not as far as I know.

Leahy: So there he is. You’re sitting next to him. He composes a statement, which was spot on while he was in the car with you.

Simon: Yes, he’s also able to flip on his phone and video himself extemporaneously, boom on virtually any subject.

Leahy: Hitting it. So he’s got the advantage of speed and intellect on point.

Simon: That I’ve never seen in politics.

Leahy: That’s a very big comparative advantage because everybody else in politics, what they do as is they bring in the focus groups and they bring in the wordsmiths. And they just agonize over it.

Simon: I wrote in The Epoch Times, this guy’s not gonna need a speech writer. Some people have accused me of being pro-Trump, so I could be his speech writer.

Leahy: This is gonna be great for your book because there you are with him at the first really critical turning point in his campaign, and you see him compose in real-time this statement that boom, gets him out in front.

What’s interesting about this is on Monday night, Donald Trump puts out a social media posting after, in essence, DeSantis criticizes Bragg, the DA, for politicizing and weaponizing his Manhattan DA’s office. But then he throws the shade, he mentions I don’t know anything about paying hush money to a porn star. Obviously bringing up that as an attack point.

Simon: As a ding.

Leahy: As a ding on Trump. Missing the point in terms of winning the primary.

Simon: You could say he’s missing the point.

Leahy: Or you could say his point was he wanted to ding Trump.

Simon: One or the other, or both.

Leahy: Then Monday night, I think, changed the VP race, in my view. I don’t know what your thoughts are.

Simon: I definitely, agree.

Leahy: So then Trump goes up and says, oh, DeSantis is dropping in the polls. I think that young Vivek Ramaswamy is going to surpass him.

Simon: So far, he’s only called Vivek young. This is true compared to the rest of him; he’s very young. Vivek thinks that as it goes on, he’s gonna get a nickname now. I don’t know what it’ll be, but maybe he won’t, and if doesn’t, that will be, I think that will be a sign that he’s going up.

Leahy: I’ll tell you the nickname. Young Vivek. If he goes with that, it makes this point back that you and I have been talking about, right? The ossified nature of a 78-year-old versus an 82-year-old running for president in the general election. I think that post by Donald Trump Monday night was a signal.

Simon: Oh, I did too.

Leahy: The signal is, I’m not picking DeSantis as VP. Now, we’re looking at Kari Lake in Arizona, and I’m looking at Vivek. That’s what it looks like to me.

Simon: I had the exact same reaction, and I think that’s good too. Can you imagine Vivek debating Kamala? My piece on The Epoch Times is, oh yeah, that’s the tag to the whole thing. And all the commenters were saying, yay! It would be a donnybrook. It would be really something to see.

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.
Photo “Vivek Ramaswamy” by Gage Skidmore. CC BY-SA 2.0.
















All-Star Panelist Roger Simon on Presidential Candidates: ‘Is 80 the New 45?’

All-Star Panelist Roger Simon on Presidential Candidates: ‘Is 80 the New 45?’

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 the average age of presidential candidates and the genius of Vivek Ramaswamy.

Leahy: We are delighted to welcome to our studio, my very good friend, my former boss at PJ TV, Academy Award-nominated screenwriter, excellent writer, novelist, mystery writer, and depending on the day, the most popular columnist at The Epoch Times, Mr. Roger Simon.

Simon: I’m happy to be here.

Leahy: I’m delighted to have you here. You’re just finishing up your book, American Refugee, and then you’re starting a new book, The Making of the President 2024.

Simon: Here I go again. (Chuckles)

Leahy: Here you go again. One thing I noticed of course, it’s a modern version of the classic The Making of the President 1960 by Theodore White. This is interesting, Roger to notice the difference in this country over the past 64 years since Kennedy, the Democrat nominee who won in 1960 was 43 years old. Nixon, the GOP nominee, was 47. Their average age was 45. This time around it looks like…

Simon: They’re 106.

Leahy: Yes, this time around, Trump is going to be 78 if he gets the nomination, which it looks like he will at this moment in time. And Biden, if he chooses to run, will be 82. The average age will be 80. What does that say about our country?

Simon: 80 is the new 45? (Leahy laughs) I don’t think so.

Leahy: That’s a great line.

Simon: I would say part of it is you better have a vice presidential candidate who looks capable of taking over. I don’t think Kamala is, Miss Giggler. I think the guy I was traveling around with the last few days in South Carolina is the best possible vice president.

Leahy: He’s 37 years old. He’s our buddy, Vivek Ramaswamy. Tell us how this came about. You’re writing this book about The Making of the President 2024. How did you come to be spending the weekend driving around South Carolina in the same car with Vivek Ramaswamy, the presidential candidate?

Simon: Part of it’s thanks to you, and I tipped the hat. It’s not on now cause of airphones, but I usually wear a hat, and I tip the hat to you because you put me in first contact with him. And then I wrote some things about him and quoted him in The Epoch Times.

I think they liked it. And then is publicist, a bright woman named Trisha McLaughlin, sent me his schedule. He was gonna be in South Carolina, and do you want to come down? And I said, sure. The Epoch Times sent me down there, and that’s what happened.

Leahy: Tell us how the weekend went.

Simon: I ended up sitting in the s u v with him for almost two days.

Leahy: So who’s driving?

Simon: A driver and there were about four people in the car. I got to say, I’ve met a lot of politicians in my life or semi, he’s not really a politician yet, which is probably good, but from Teddy Kennedy onwards. And this is the highest IQ I’ve run into period.

Leahy: Of any political candidate.

Simon: Going away. There’s no question. This is a guy, as I wrote in The Epoch Times, I was sitting next to him while on his laptop as the car was driving, he was writing an op-ed for The Wall Street Journal all about his criticisms of the Federal Reserve.

At the same time, he is talking to someone on the phone and to the four of us in the car about all different matters and did it in five minutes. Now I’m a fast writer. And then he read the thing back to us and it was superb. There aren’t too many people who can do that on planet Earth. And also, his wife is equally brilliant.

Leahy: She’s a medical doctor, surgeon.

Simon: Yes. A laryngologist. It’s a hard word to pronounce, coming from the throat, which it does. And she’s one of the world’s experts in swallow problems. And a very attractive couple with kids that are eight months and three years.

Leahy: We’ve got a 37-year-old multimillionaire entrepreneur.

Simon: From biotech research into Alzheimer’s, among other things.

Leahy: He is a very intelligent and honest guy. No blemishes on his record that we know of. And very personable. And, speaking personally, because I’m a tennis nut, as and it’s probably in some of the audience, you know, he’s also an avid tennis player. And I found out subsequently because I said, hey, let’s play. And we were joking about it that he was number one in Ohio in the juniors. (Chuckles) 

Leahy: That’s pretty good.

Simon: As well as valedictorian.

Leahy: But wait, there’s more!

Simon: I don’t know what could be more. He is also a bestselling author.

Leahy: He also plays the piano. He’s a classical pianist. How about that? (Chuckles) He’s a pretty good guy.

Simon: Yes.

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 “Joe Biden” by Joe Biden.













Clint Brewer: If the GOP Presidential Nomination Was Held Today, Donald Trump Would Win

Clint Brewer: If the GOP Presidential Nomination Was Held Today, Donald Trump Would Win

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 recovering journalist Clint Brewer in studio to review national polling numbers that indicate a win for former President Donald Trump if the GOP presidential nomination were held today.

Leahy: Clint, I always like Thursday morning at six o’clock when you come in.

Brewer: Yeah?

Leahy: First we have to test the coffee.

Brewer: It’s pretty strong today, Mike. It’s always strong. I always make it. It’s not awful; it’s just strong.

Brewer: It’s high test today. (Leahy chuckles)

Leahy: High test.

Brewer: It’s high test.

Leahy: I’ll dial it back on Thursdays, but it is, it’s,

Brewer: If we had a time-traveling DeLorean, we could put this in there and go a long way.

Leahy: It’s Pike’s Roast from Starbucks. I’ll dial it back next time.

Brewer: It’s all right.

Leahy: It’s got caffeine.

Brewer: It goes with the mood of the show. It’s a little hard-edged.

Leahy: We got a little edge to it.

Brewer: Got an edge to it. Sometimes a little bitter.

Leahy: I wouldn’t say bitter, although I could understand why you might say that.

Brewer: That was a joke, Mike. That was a joke.

Leahy: That was quite clever, by the way. You could make a living using words.

Brewer: I could.

Leahy: You could. Let’s talk a little bit about the national stuff.

Brewer: It’s all over the place, right?

Leahy: It’s all over the place. I come from this Clint and we’ve got 20 months to save the country because I can’t imagine what January of 2025 if we were to inaugurate either Biden or some other Democrat lunatic for another four years…

Brewer: We are not on a good glide path at the moment.

Leahy: Oh we are like in a very bad way. The banking system is shaky. The spending of the federal government’s outta control and the weaponized judicial system.

Brewer: Chinese leaders have just gone to Moscow.

Leahy: Look, I think that the Chinese have figured it out. Here’s what I think they’re doing. The Chinese are saying, that American century thing? We need to stop it. We can do it a couple of ways. We can try a war. Eh, we’re not quite there yet. Or we could try to basically totally destroy the country internally by promoting all sorts of disruption.

Brewer: I saw a story that I think was in The Economist. I actually like The Economist. One of their, one of their writers did like a forecast of a war in Taiwan and if the United States got involved, would cost China roughly 25 to 30 percent of its GDP. And it would cost America about. Four to 5 percent. It’s not a great way to look at war.

Leahy: I think it’s good.

Brewer: There’s not a great incentive for China.

Leahy: Especially since they’re making so much progress, basically stealing our intellectual property, compromising our leaders.

Brewer: Taking over Africa where all the precious metals people need for technology.

Leahy: Yes. They’re very smart, actually, and they’ve got a long-term perspective. Meanwhile, everything, literally everything that the Biden…

Brewer: And we can’t decide whether to kick TikTok out of the country or not.

Leahy: Talk about a brainer.

Brewer: They just flew a spy balloon over our country for four days before we shot it down.

Leahy: So we’re making the case here, Clint, that if on January 20th, 2025, if they’re swearing in any democrat, I think the Constitutional Republic, as we know it, is in deep trouble. The whole point is that we got 20 months here. So here’s my dilemma.

I think on the GOP nomination when you talk about a nomination or even a presidential nomination, there are national polls. Then there are state-based polls. It’s really the states that matter, particularly in the general election.

Brewer: Sure. Yeah.

Leahy: You could have one candidate up by 10 points in the national polls, but if that’s all coming from California and New York.

Brewer: But if they can’t win South Carolina, Iowa, and New Hampshire…

Leahy: And you have to win all those states. But right now, where we stand at the midterms, which were a disaster for Donald Trump.

Brewer: Yes.

Leahy: Real disaster. The only thing that we did was squeak by the House. And if Donald Trump hadn’t injected himself into the Pennsylvania race and the Georgia race, we probably would’ve kept gotten the Senate probably.

Brewer: Yes. And if he were a head coach, he would’ve been removed mid-season.

Leahy: But he’s Donald Trump.

Brewer: But he’s dominating the Republican field.

Leahy: That’s the point. That’s what I’m saying.

Brewer: If the election were today, he’d win the nomination.

Leahy: Oh, there’s no question about it. He would totally win.

Brewer: If the election were held today, he’d just be beating Nikki Haley because there are no other declared candidates, really.

Leahy: No, Vivek.

Brewer: Well, okay.

Leahy: I saw a poll that had of the declared candidates had Trump at 79, Nicki at 11, and Vivek at six. Declared candidates.

Brewer: Is that a state poll or a national poll?

Leahy: National poll. But the point is that yes. And if DeSantis gets in, which he will, Trump is still up 15, 20 points, right?

Brewer: I got to tell you, DeSantis, he’s got some work to do. Two points. One, I didn’t realize this and I read this the other day but Florida has a resign to run law, and he’s stuck in a gray area because the law’s been interpreted a number of different ways and it’s unclear.

How far he can go before he would have to resign? And if he does resign and he doesn’t have the apparatus of the Florida Governor’s Office behind him and he’s not the governor of Florida what does that look like when he runs?

Leahy: Whatever that law is, he’s got to either get a ruling or a

Brewer: There’s talk of that with the legislation. They actually talked about changing it when it looked like Charlie Crist was gonna be Obama’s running mate. There’s that issue. And then, here’s the other thing. You can’t win a Republican primary running under someone else’s flag. He has to make his own movement.

Right now he’s running off the brand of politics that Donald Trump created and the only differentiator there is DeSantis is actually a really good manager and Donald Trump is not. And so he’s running on his competency in the state of Florida. So that’s his differentiator. But I just don’t think that’s loud enough to get the electorate’s attention which is unfortunate. But it’s not.

Leahy: That’s a very good point. And Trump is relentless in his smash-mouth sort of way.

Brewer: Let’s be clear, he’s also getting some help from the left because the Democrats want Trump.

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.
















John Harris: TN State Senate Shows ‘Cavernous Lack of Constitutional Awareness’ on Second Amendment

John Harris: TN State Senate Shows ‘Cavernous Lack of Constitutional Awareness’ on Second Amendment

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 John Harris, the founder and CEO of Tennessee Firearms association to the newsmaker line to comment on the Tennessee General Assembly’s lack of awareness of the Second Amendment.

 Leahy: We are joined on the newsmaker line right now by our friend of many years, John Harris. John is the founder and CEO of the Tennessee Firearms Association. This is a group that defends the Second Amendment here in Tennessee and has done so for 28 years. Good morning, John. Thanks for joining us.

Harris: Good morning. Thank you.

Leahy: John, what’s going on with the Tennessee General Assembly? Are you happy, or are you displeased?

Harris: I will say I am not surprised by the cavernous lack of constitutional stewardship shown by our Senate this week.

Leahy: That’s quite a phrase. You call it the cavernous lack of constitutional awarenesses. Did I get that?

Harris: Stewardship.

Leahy: Cavernous lack. That’s pretty good. That’s a great phrase.

Harris: It’s unfortunate. It really is.

Leahy: Tell me about it. What do you mean by that, John?

Harris: We have, discussed and pushed through TFA now for two decades or better, the concept of Tennessee’s lack of true constitutional carry. And a fact that clearly dates back in our statutes to at least 1801. And the Tennessee legislature, particularly under the control of the Republicans for the last 13 years, and the Republican leadership, particularly in the Senate, have used every opportunity they had to block and stonewall efforts to try to move Tennessee towards true constitutional carry, which is simply an environment that says if you can legally possess a firearm, it just simply isn’t a crime for you to carry it in public.

Leahy: Wherever you want in public.

Harris: Right. It’s what most of us think of it as the free exercise of a constitutional right, and we don’t have it. We’ve never had it in Tennessee with respect to the Second Amendment.

Leahy: I’m just surprised that you constantly think that here in the United States, we’ve got to have our constitutional rights. (Chuckles)

Harris: I feel like I’m talking to the leadership in China sometimes as opposed to elected officials in a constitutional republic because they really don’t care what the governing document that restricts their authority as elected officials says.

They do what they want to do and they listen to both Governor Haslam’s and Governor Lee’s administrations, which clearly have demonstrated in the hearings this week as one of the stories on The Tennessee Star this week, showed quite clearly that they don’t care what the Constitution says, nor do they really even understand what the Constitution says in terms of the existence of this right, and what the right means, despite the fact that there are now within the last 15 years, three U.S. Supreme Court decisions have laid it out quite clearly what this concept stands for.

Leahy: John, do you think that you and I ought to give them, copies of the book that you helped co-author with me, The Guide To The Constitution and the Bill of Rights for Secondary School Students? I think our kids that go to the Constitution Bee probably know the Constitution better than some of our leaders in the Tennessee General Assembly.

Harris: That would be a marvelous idea. It’s sad that it would be necessary, but in this particular context, we’re talking about a provision of the Constitution that is literally one sentence, and the operative phrase is less than 10 words. They can’t get it.

Leahy: Shall not be infringed.

Harris: Yes.

Leahy: Shall not be infringed. Actually, that is four words, shall not be infringed.

Harris: No doubt about it. It’s clearly a disposition and Governor Lee’s leading the charge, but he’s got a lot of support, particularly in the Senate with Randy McNally and Jack Johnson and Todd Gardenhire, that they don’t want this particular constitutional right to be recognized or understood in Tennessee.

Leahy: Is that bill dead in the water now?

Harris: Here’s what happened. The bill came through the house last Wednesday and came out of the House Civil Justice Committee in a format that we were substantially happy with. There had been an amendment put on it that we did not like because it created a conflict among four different statutes.

But otherwise, it would’ve done two, or three things of necessity. It would’ve eliminated a sentence in the Tennessee statutes that says it’s a crime to carry a firearm with the intent to go armed. That gets us substantially to the base concept of constitutional carry.

The next thing it did was it would have provided that the handgun-only restrictions under Tennessee law for permits and permitless carries would be repealed. All of those references to handguns would be substituted with references to the phrase firearms, which again, in the constitutional context, are not limited to firearms, but they certainly aren’t limited to handguns.

So it would’ve been a move in the right direction to, say, firearms. Then the third thing it would’ve done is it would have changed the permitting age and the carry in general, from 21 down to 18. And that’s not really a change because the state has executed an agreement to be submitted in federal court in East Tennessee that already says that.

For example, Senator Johnson’s bill from 2021 to impose that restriction on its face violates the Second Amendment, 14th amendment and constitutes a federal civil rights violation.

Reducing it to 18 statutorily cleans up the code, but it’s something the state has already agreed to it’s new Attorney General is completely unconstitutional and can’t be enforced anyhow. And so that’s what came through the House and is headed to the House floor, and Speaker Sexton signed onto that last week as a sponsor. So we feel comfortable that it’s at least going to pass in the House.

Then yesterday in Senate judiciary, we’ve got a committee of people appointed by Randy McNally to serve on that committee. Two of the nine are Democrats from Memphis, at least seven Republicans, and you’ve got to have five affirmative votes to get a bill out of that committee.

Senator John Stevens has done a good job presenting this bill and advocating that we now have a responsibility in the legislature to follow the Supreme Court’s Bruen laws carrying the bill. That was the companion version of what came through the house last week.

And we had been told that of the seven Republicans, only three, including Stevens himself, who serves on the committee, Senator Kerry Roberts and Senator Don White were willing to vote for the bill. And that left Todd Gardenhire, the chairman, John Lundberg, Paul Rose, and Trent Taylor.

Four Republicans that would support that bill were listening predominantly to representatives from TBI in the Department of Safety who were sent over there, according to Elizabeth Stroker’s own words, Governor Bill Lee, to oppose the legislation.

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.














Aaron Gulbransen: Affirmative Defense Removed from Abortion Trigger Ban, Expected to Pass Resoundingly in Senate Next Week

Aaron Gulbransen: Affirmative Defense Removed from Abortion Trigger Ban, Expected to Pass Resoundingly in Senate Next Week

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 all-star panelist Aaron Gulbransen in studio to discuss Tennessee Faith and Freedom Coalition goals and the expected swift passage of modified abortion trigger ban in Senate next week.

Leahy: We welcome in studio, the official guest host of The Tennessee Star Report and all-star panelist, Aaron Gulbransen and also the Tennessee state director of the Faith and Freedom Coalition. How much longer do you anticipate the Tennessee General Assembly will remain in session?

Gulbransen: Everybody tells me probably the first week in May.

Leahy: We’ve got probably, what, five or six more weeks left, right?

Gulbransen: Yes.

Leahy: These sessions have an ebb and flow to them, right?

Gulbransen: They do, especially at the beginning, right? You’re, they’re not doing a lot on Mondays. Then, as of late, they do a lot on Mondays, but they’re typically not in session on Fridays. And they have their floor. This will expand as it goes on, but, they’ve typically had their floor sessions early in the morning on Thursdays in both Houses, and they get out of town.

Leahy: They did. I think they accomplished a lot early on with the prohibition of gender mutilation for those under the age of 18 and with the bill that prohibited sexually suggestive public shows where kids attended adult cabaret shows on public property.

Gulbransen: Adult cabaret shows on public property and also where children may be.

Leahy: They got that done.

Gulbransen: For those of you lefties in the audience, because there’s so many of you, I say sarcastically, listening to this show, the talking points on the left have been just so bizarre on SB 3.

Leahy: SB 3 being…

Gulbransen: The adult cabaret show ban on public property. And in front of kids they’ve tried to twist it and say, oh, you’re banning drag shows. You can’t do Shakespeare in the park anymore. And it’s just ridiculous empty rhetoric.
And of course, by revving up their people, the General Assembly got flooded based on that. And that, of course, was Senate Majority leader Jack Johnson’s bill. He’s had a great session. He was on the two bills we just mentioned; he was the Senate prime sponsor.

There is also legislation he sponsored passed that made some protections against government overreach on COVID, permanent. Which obviously is very important to me and most of us listening.

It was a good session for Leader Johnson. Of course, on the adult cabaret show ban, Chris Todd in the House deserves a lot of credit too.

Leahy: Chris has emerged as quite a leader there. There are a couple of other bills out there, though. There’s this controversial bill but it shouldn’t be controversial, but the proposal to make the Duck River a scenic river.

Apparently, there is a group that wants to turn parts near the Duck River in Maury County into a landfill. That’s turned out to be fairly contentious. I don’t know if you’ve tracked that particular one.

Gulbransen: No, because unfortunately, the Tennessee Faith and Freedom have nothing to do with that, those sorts of issues.

Leahy: Good point. So here’s my take on the Tennessee General Assembly right now. I think it started off very strongly. And now in part because of the controversy surrounding Lieutenant Governor McNally, it seems to be bogging down toward the end. Your thoughts?

Gulbransen: I think so. I think they were so hot and heavy and got a lot accomplished very quickly that it’s at the point where, okay, where do we go? Or a lot of the very important issues they’re working on, they’re not getting a lot of media attention.

Last night the House passed with 83 votes in favor of the modification of the state’s abortion trigger ban. Ultimately after a lot of public pressure and a lot of work by a lot of different people, a very narrow modification was made. They removed the affirmative defense clause in there. For those of you who don’t know what that means…

Leahy: Add me to that list. (Chuckles)

Gulbransen: You’ll see this in a lot of legislation and laws on the books in the state, especially on gun carry laws. It’s basically as some would say, an arcane way of saying you can’t do this except X, Y, and Z. And if you find yourself being charged this is your affirmative defense. I’m trying to think of an analogy that isn’t inflammatory here, but, if you are…

Leahy: Oh, you can be inflammatory.

Gulbransen: If for some reason you have to go speed really quickly because you’re in fear for your life and you get pulled over and you get a ticket and you can go to court and explain affirmatively. Yes, sir. Yes, I was speeding. But it’s because such and such was chasing after me with a gun. That’s affirmative. That’s an affirmative defense.

Leahy: That bill has passed the House now pretty resoundingly.

Gulbransen: Yes.

Leahy: Where is it on the state Senate side?

Gulbransen: I think you’ll see action next week.

Leahy: And you anticipate that bill will pass in the state Senate?

Gulbransen: I think it will. It’s on the Senate judiciary calendar today. It’ll probably sail through that and then you’ll see probably a floor vote next week.

Leahy: What’s the Faith and Freedom Coalition’s view on that bill?

Gulbransen: We are far happier with it than the original intent of it.

Leahy: That is a very qualified answer.

Gulbransen: In the beginning, it was far broader and it was all over the place. But we’re much happier with what it is now.

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.
Background Photo “Tennessee Senate” by Tennessee General Assembly.