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 The Tennessee Star’s national political editor Neil McCabe to the newsmaker line to discuss his attempt at an in-person interview with Beth Harwell Tuesday night at the VIEW PAC fundraiser in Washington after her absence at The Epoch Times Nashville debate.
Leahy: On the newsmaker line, the very best Washington correspondent in the country, the national political editor of The Tennessee Starand The Star News Network, Mr. Neil W. McCabe. Good morning, Neil.
McCabe: Hey, Mike. You have kind of a morning zoo vibe this morning. This is fantastic.
Leahy: Yeah, we’re going with that vibe a little bit. So listen, speaking of morning zoos and evening zoos, last night there was a debate in Nashville, really the first debate hosted by The Epoch Times.
The others have been candidate forums for the TN-5 race. Only three of the leading five candidates showed up: Jeff Beierlein, Andy Ogles, and Tres Wittum.
Two of them dodged the debate. One of them, Brigadier General Winstead, had apparently accepted and then backed out on Saturday.
The line from Jeff Beierlein at the debate, by the way, was that this was the first time in Tennessee history that a general has run from a fight. I thought that was a pretty good line at The Epoch Times debate last night.
But also, now, Beth Harwell, the former Speaker of the House here in Tennessee, never accepted this invitation and was busy elsewhere.
She was busy, actually, in Washington, D.C., had a meeting with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce at a fundraiser of sorts at a group called VIEW PAC.
You were there in Washington, D.C. You tried to get her to talk to you at the fundraiser. Describe what happened then and subsequently.
McCabe: Yeah, well, we were camped out in front of the Capitol Hill Club, which is sort of the social hub for Republicans on Capitol Hill, particularly the congressmen.
And it’s really where these bachelor congressmen get their one hot meal for the day, and geographically bachelor, I should say. And so we were out there and we were trying to talk to people and, you know, hey, are you up [for us] to see Beth Harwell? We’re with The Tennessee Star.
And then a functionary from the Harwell campaign came out to the sidewalk and said, hey, man, you’re really bothering people. You’re making The Tennessee Star look bad. And I’m just giving you some advice.
I’m not telling you what to do, but you should stop asking people questions about Beth Harwell. And I’m thinking, okay, guy. Thanks.
I always appreciate career advice. You know that, Mike. (Leahy chuckles) But he told us, he said, listen, we’ll bring Beth down after the event, and just stop harassing our guests.
Yes, sir. Okay. I don’t know if we’re going to call it a compromise. Maybe it was a truce. And so after the event wraps up at 6:00 p.m., of course, outside on the sidewalk, we can’t bring our cameras into the Capitol Hill Club to film. They did allow us to hang out in the lobby because this biblical rainstorm was coming down.
But we had permission to film under this sort of roof canopy that they have that extends into the sidewalk from the door. And our trusted videographer Anthony is ready to go, but the guy comes down and says, hey, sorry, we got to go.
I said, what do you mean? You said you’d come down and do an interview. He goes, yeah, but it’s raining outside. I said, no, they got the canopy. We considered the canopy.
He goes, no, our Uber is here. We got to go. And so what are you going to say about a campaign that’s more worried about their Uber than talking to The Tennessee Star, Mike?
Leahy: Yes, well, and again, we did, give the campaign advance notice that we’d be there, and I think it was relevant to say, well, you chose not to participate in this debate in the 5th Congressional District. She didn’t back away from it after making a commitment, as Winstead did.
But there were a number of questions to be asked, I thought, one of which I think this event, the VIEW PAC event, right? Was that the name of the group that was doing the fundraising?
McCabe: Before I go into VIEW PAC, let me just say for the record that she did call me.
Leahy: Oh, she did?
McCabe: And so we did have a seven or eight-minute conversation. She answered the questions, I was recording it, and she agreed to go off speakerphone, which is making [the recording] like crazy.
But she answered the questions and I asked her about VIEW PAC, and I mentioned to her that VIEW PAC has received donations from a man named Tim Ranney, who was fined $8 million for illegal use of credit reports.
I don’t exactly know how he did that, but it was worth an $8 million fine. He gave $200,000 in this cycle to VIEW PAC. Another contributor is abortion philanthropist Melinda Gates who has also given to VIEW PAC, and I mentioned this to the speaker.
You’ve accepted the support. Obviously, this event was sponsored by VIEW PAC and her response was, well, Marsha Blackburn accepts money from this abortionist and this guy who paid an $8 million fine for abusing credit reports. So what’s the big, I guess.
Leahy: Did you feel like, and you’re going to have a report on this, do you feel like that she answered your questions and you got good responses from her?
McCabe: I asked her about how they handled illegals driving in Tennessee, and I thought that was a reasonable answer. She said that she was not beholden to the teachers’ unions, which is one of the knocks against her. She talked about why she’s going to come to Washington and fight Biden’s economic policies.
Leahy: Did you ask her why she didn’t show up at the debate?
McCabe: No, I didn’t ask her that. That was a swing and a miss.
Carmichael: Neil, I have a question for you. When you asked her about …
McCabe: Hold on, Crom, I do want to say one more thing. She did say, which would probably be my headline and lead, she said that she’s lived in the district and she loves the district and its people. Go ahead, Crom.
Carmichael: That’s good. Did you ask her about the $5 billion of tax cuts that she got through as Speaker of the House. And what was her response to that?
McCabe: I didn’t ask her that question.
Carmichael: Oh, you didn’t? Okay. Did you ask her about her repeal, where she co-authored the repeal of the legislation to take away the driver’s licenses from illegal immigrants? Did you ask her that?
McCabe: I asked her about the driver’s license …
Carmichael: No, did you ask her about her repealing it? Because she co-authored …
McCabe: She led the fight to take it away. It was tried, it didn’t work, and she brought her out and she brought it into the program.
Carmichael: Okay, but you didn’t mention that a moment ago. Did you ask her about that? About how hard a fight it was to get that repealed?
McCabe: I didn’t ask her how hard the fight was.
Carmichael: It was a very difficult fight. It was a very difficult fight. She fought against a special interest on that, but she got it done, Neil, so it’d be really good when you’re going to attack a Republican that you get the whole story out. I think that’d be great.
Leahy: I don’t think Neil was attacking.
McCabe: Hold on, Crom. First of all, this is not an American courtroom. What’s going on here? I didn’t put missiles in Cuba, Crom. Come on, man. I’m just doing my job.
Carmichael: Okay. And I’m just doing mine, which is to make sure people know all the facts.
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 national political editor for The Tennessee StarNeil W. McCabe to the newsmaker line to weigh in on Joe Biden’s latest speech and political omens.
Leahy: We welcome now to our newsmaker line, the very best Washington correspondent in the country, Neil W. McCabe. Neil, good morning.
McCabe: Morning, Michael. Good morning, Crom. We’re all very excited about the omens. Everyone remembers from Roman history that birds are very important for telling us what’s going to happen in the future, to tell us about the times that we’re going through now.
You’ll recall the Romans had special priests who would cut open birds and examine their livers. They would watch the way birds flew in the air to see which way the war was going to go. Birds are very important to the Romans.
Leahy:(McCabe laughs) So there was a bird that had a special delivery in Iowa. The legal but not legitimate grifter-in-chief, Joe Biden was giving a speech in a big barn in Iowa. Tell the audience what that special message the bird had for President Joe Biden.
McCabe: He made a special delivery, a little deposit … (Laughter)
Leahy: He’s in his speech, and this little white deposit is dropped on his shoulder just above his lapel flag pin. And it’s sort of, I mean, you can see this white substance kind of dribbling down above his lapel. Did you see, Neil, what the White House said that substance was?
McCabe: It said it was a kernel of corn, right?
Leahy: Yeah, that’s what you call spin. Crom Carmichael, do you want to weigh in on this?
Carmichael: It’s just hysterical. Kate Beddingfield, who is the White House communications director tweeted, if you guys knew your way around a corn silo at all, you’d know it was corn.
Leahy: Well, he wasn’t speaking inside of a corn silo. He was speaking inside of a barn. And if you look at it, your lying eyes will tell you corn does not leave that drizzly white imprint down your lapel.
Carmichael: This is very similar to the White House explanation on inflation. (Leahy laughs) It’s not bird poop. It’s not inflation. It’s corn and Putin.
McCabe: If anybody has spent any time in a barn, they would know that there are often birds in the rafters. So that was just bad advance work, I think.
Leahy: Yes! By the way, that’s a very good point. Knowing that there’s a risk that a bird would, I don’t know, give you a special delivery, why would you hold this in a barn?
McCabe: Because they’ve never actually been in a barn. They’ve seen pictures of barns, and they think they’re amazing, and what a great vista. The president didn’t seem to be aware at first that he was in a barn. I believe he called it a hall at first.
(Laughter) Whatever. It’s tough! It’s almost cruel to ask the guy questions, because he doesn’t know any more than anybody else what’s going on, and he’s supposed to be in charge. And so here we are. But it does remind me of, again, the parallels with James Earl and Jimmy Carter.
McCabe: And when we saw him collapse when he was jogging, or he was attacked by a rabbit.
Leahy: Very similar.
McCabe: George H. W. Bush, vomiting on the Prime Minister of Japan, whatever, as one does. I guess the Japanese assume that was just a custom.
Leahy: But the bird is an omen, I suppose you could say.
Leahy: But related to Jimmy Carter: inflation. Yesterday they came out with the numbers, 8.5 percent. We haven’t seen that since the days of Jimmy Carter. Your thoughts, Neil W. McCabe.
McCabe: So we were coming out of that Carter presidency when Ronald Wilson Reagan took office and it took about two years, and it was a tough transition.
And Reagan said that he finally knew that his policies were working when they stopped calling his policies Reaganomics.
Because with Paul Volcker at the Fed, they had to raise interest rates, and it was crushing. And it really flipped a lot of companies and a lot of businesses.
Businesses had learned to sort of function in a high-inflation environment with a weak dollar. And when the Fed and Reagan took the steps necessary to rein in inflation, everybody had to sort of make those adjustments, and not everybody made the adjustments well.
The other comparison I’ll make to the Carter sort of years is that for four years of Jimmy Carter, there was a man named Reagan waiting in the wings, and he was trying to stay relevant.
He was trying to stay involved, trying not to do too much, but trying to keep his viability as a candidate for 1980. And we see the same thing with Donald J. Trump as he’s sort of waiting.
He’s always there, waiting in the wings, but far more active in politics than Reagan was during that time in the winter between ’76 and ’80.
Leahy: Last week you were down inside Mar-a-Lago and had a chance to see the former president give a speech there.
Leahy: I have a big question for you. Are you ready, Neil W. McCabe?
McCabe: I’m ready, sir.
Leahy: Were there any birds flying around Mar-a-Lago when you were down there? (Laughter)
McCabe: There was an eagle soaring over the grounds.
Carmichael: Very good answer.
McCabe: Which the Romans would tell you that that’s a good sign. The other thing is that the Chinese talk about the mandate of heaven, right? So, you know that a dynasty is going to fall when there’s an earthquake or some kind of natural disaster.
And there was a massive earthquake in China that marked the end of the Cultural Revolution. Basically, a lot of people attribute that earthquake and the attitude of the earthquake to the fall of the Gang of Four in that group. And so we’re just sort of seeing these things.
Biden does not enjoy the mandate of heaven. And bad things are happening, and bad things happen when there’s a bad leader. You talk about the Fisher King, Michael, the land and the King are one.
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. – guest host Ben Cunningham welcomed TheTennessee Star National Correspondent Neil McCabe to the newsmaker line to outline the $5 trillion dollar infrastructure spending and the anti-Trump senators who continue their hostility toward Donald Trump.
Cunningham: Gosh, things are going on so quickly in Washington this week, and it’s just depressing if you care about any kind of fiscal responsibility.
Neil McCabe is on the line with us. Neil is the national political correspondent for The Tennessee Star and is the most connected man in Washington, D.C. Neil, tell us, is there any way that this big snowball can be stopped? This $5 trillion spending snowball, or are we doomed to just watch it roll through?
McCabe: First of all, yes, we are doomed to just watch it roll through. But it’s the confluence of a number of events. And I think the critical one for people of our ilk, Ben, is that Mitch McConnell has made the decision that he’s going to stick it to Donald Trump.
And sort of this cattery of anti-Trump Republican senators is going to get together and give Joe Biden a bipartisan win. And it’s just because of the different cultures of the House and the Senate. The Senate has always been culturally hostile to President Trump.
And I’m talking about Senate Republicans, whereas House Republican congressmen are overwhelming, not only do they like Trump, they support Trump, and they feel a kinship with Trump. Whereas Republican senators see him as an interloper, as this stranger from another planet who has just basically messed up all of their plans.
Mike Lee had this great line where he says everybody talks about wouldn’t it be great if Republicans and Democrats could learn to work together again? And Lee always says the problem in Washington is, when Republicans and Democrats work together, it’s to raise spending and to raise taxes.
And that’s exactly what this bill is going to do. And McConnell has now decided that this thing was dead and he’s brought it back and he’s going to do it to stick it to Trump.
Cunningham: They do. They treat Trump and the supporters of Trump like an embarrassment basically. They are just embarrassed, but they will go the distance. And the House Republican leadership is not doing much at this point, are they?
McCabe: What you’re seeing, thanks to the leadership of Jim Banks, who I have (Inaudible talk) Granted it’s in baby steps. But he is returning the Republican Study Committee to its roots. The Republican Study Committee was founded in 1973 as part of that effort to bring some services and back into the Republican Party.
It was that same movement, that same period of time, that created the Heritage Foundation and the Committee for a Free Congress. And the American Conservative Union was all part of that movement. And so the Republican Study Committee has been integrated under Boehner and then under Paul Ryan. And then McCarthy is part of leadership because instead of being the rebels, they became part of the empire structure.
Banks is waging a war against this infrastructure bill. And he’s doing it by actually reading the bill. And he and his people are reading the bill and they’re pulling stuff out of it. And guys in the Senate and conservatives are trying to delay it.
And that just gives people more time to read it. But really, it doesn’t matter what’s in the bill. McConnell wants to stick it to Trump and so do a lot of Republican senators.
Cunningham: That’s pretty depressing that that is the dynamic. How much can they delay it? There are two bills. And I certainly don’t understand it as well as I should because things move so quickly. There’s a $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill.
And then there’s the $3.5 trillion, which supposedly will pass with reconciliation. There’s so much stuff in that $3.5 trillion. Is the parliamentarian actually going to say yes, all of this stuff is qualified as budget, and we’re going to pass it with reconciliation. Is that going to happen?
McCabe: They’re going to work over the parliamentarian. Basically, that $3.5 trillion bill has been written almost in coordination with the parliamentarian, basically working as the referee. And so everything that Democrats can’t pass on their own is going in the $1.5 billion. So you now have the factor of 10, 15, maybe 20 Republican senators who are moving heaven and earth to give the Democrats everything they can’t get in the reconciliation bill.
And the test vote of that was the filibuster. And the Republicans joined the Democrats to break the filibuster. And so now when that comes to the floor, it’s just a simple majority vote.
Cunningham: That is so depressing. And obviously, Lindsey and Mitch McConnell obviously believe they can do this without incurring any penalty back home.
McCabe: Well, you know, McConnell and Lindsey Graham, they just won reelection. Portman, who’s one of the guys leading the effort, was the budget director under George W. Bush. He loathes Trump and loathes conservatives. He’s retiring.
That’s why J.D. Vance is in that race. And you have Pat Toomey, who was once the darling of the conservative movement. He was president of the Club for Growth, and he’s retiring. So he’s part of it. Lisa Murkowski in Alaska, she’s got a tough primary fight.
She’s underwater in some polls that I’ve seen. And so the senators who are on their way out are walking around like zombie senators. And their only goal right now is to set themselves up for their retirement and private life and also set up 20 or 30 of their aides with lobbying jobs as beltway bandits.
And all of those sorts of cookies, treats, donuts, and ornaments are going to be stuck into that bill to help out these senators and their staffers when they return to private life.
Henry: Neil, Grant Henry here with Americans for Prosperity.
McCabe: Hi Grant.
Henry: Pertaining specifically to this $3.5 trillion plan, one would hope that through that bird rule amendment process you could theoretically cut out some of this nonsensical trash. The Pro Act stuff, the Green New Deal stuff, and increased healthcare spending.
But if that doesn’t happen, it will come across as a fairly transparent con in my mind against the American people. It’s exactly what you just said a second ago, Neil. This is just a grab bag, a kitchen sink way to pass all the legislation.
In the last minute we have here, let me ask: if that happens what are the ramifications for the midterm elections? Does it do anything towards that at the last minute here?
McCabe: I think, Grant, you know more than anybody else that this is going to dull the knife of Senate Republicans as they try to retake the chamber. What you’re seeing in House conservatives, they are mounting a serious campaign against this bill, and that’s going to drive up their chances of retaking the lower chamber. Of course, Kevin McCarthy is nowhere to be seen.
Cunningham: Neil, we are coming up on a break. Can you stay over with us?
Leahy: We are joined on our newsmaker line by the very best Washington correspondent in the country. The Washington Correspondent for The Tennessee Star and the Star News Network, Neil McCabe. Good morning, Neil.
McCabe: Good morning, Michael. A pleasure to be with you.
McCabe: Well, Kevin Brady is the ranking Republican on Ways and Means. He was the chairman from November of 2015 until the Republicans lost control of the Chamber after the 2018 midterms. He was the key guy writing the 2017 tax bill. Kevin Brady is from Texas.
He has a personal and emotionally vested interest in the state tax because his father was an attorney who was shot and killed in a courtroom when Brady was 12 years old. And he watched what the estate text did to his mother and his family.
And he became sensitive to how it was affecting other people in his area because there are a lot of people with small businesses, small farms, and ranches in his district. And in the 2017 tax bill, the House bill eliminated the estate tax.
The estate tax or death tax is you pay taxes all your life and whatever is left over when you die, the government wants to tax it again. That’s why it’s called a death tax. It is opposed by the life insurance lobby. And when that 20 17 House bill went to the Senate, the state tax was put back in by Senator Mike Rounds from South Dakota with the help of John Coon.
John Coon, who ran I don’t know if you remember this, Mike, but John Coon defeated Tom Daschle, who was the majority leader. He was a Democratic leader in the Senate. He defeated the sitting majority leader of the Senate. And his campaign pledge 12 years ago was he would eliminate the estate tax.
But when the Republicans had the chance to get rid of the estate tax in the 2017 bill, Coon and Rounds put it back in. And they were able to raise the caps so that going into this tax year and the state tax doesn’t affect you unless you have an estate over 11 million for an individual and over 20 million for a couple.
So for most people, it isn’t really an issue. But because it’s still on the books, you can always tamper with the rates. If it’s been eliminated, trying to put it back in the tax soda is a much more difficult thing. And even at $20 million, which seems like a lot of money, if you own a farm and you have three combines that you paid $600,000 for and then you have some land and then you have a barn and then you have a house and then you have a shed and then you have some trucks.
All of a sudden, it’s very easy to get to $20 million, but it’s not in cash. So what ends up happening to family-owned businesses and farms and ranches is you have to sell the farm to save the farm. It’s just ridiculous.
Leahy: It’s crazy. What’s interesting here is how anti-small business and anti-middle-class American the Biden administration is. Crom Carmichael has some overall questions for you on what’s going on with that tax legislation.
Carmichael: Neil, there are three big pieces of legislation. The great big giant tax bill, and then two great big spending bills. The so-called infrastructure bill and the so-called family bill. What I see from where I’m looking is I don’t think the infrastructure bill will pass with anything more than what Republicans are willing to agree to. And I think the family bills dead to water and the tax bill is dead in the water. What are you hearing?
McCabe: I’ll tell you right now, everybody’s talking about how Biden is going to have trouble getting things through the Senate. I’m telling you right now that Biden is going to have trouble getting things through the House. And Kevin McCarthy is restoring the Whip.
It’s something he never did when he was the Whip. (Leahy chuckles) But as a majority leader, he’s finally putting the stick to these Republicans. And the Republicans stay firm. They’re only down something like three seats. If McCarthy convinced four Democrats to flip parties, he’s the Speaker of the House.
That’s how close this thing is. And you have a number of House Democrats who are frightened about what’s coming at them in 2022. This state tax thing is very dangerous because Brady told me that if this thing goes through, it’s 800,000 jobs out the window.
There’s no greater destroyer of family-owned farms and ranches and businesses than the state tax. And it’s insane how it’s just wiped out. When you look at the Midwest or these great farm areas and you wonder why do we have all these corporate farms and we no longer have family farms, it’s because of the estate tax.
And there are companies that suck up all of these farms at the estate sale. Going back to Biden’s program, what I think you’re really asking is have the wheels fallen off the cart for Biden? Yes. Biden has completely run out of time. I’ve said this over and over again. He has no more runway.
He just announced he was going to take the sanctions off of that German pipeline to Russia, the Nord Stream Two. Well, do we have an ambassador to Germany? No. Do we have an ambassador in the UK? No. We don’t have ambassadors in Canada, Afghanistan.
Japan we just nominated Rahm Emanuel. But South Korea, England, France, Switzerland, Spain, Italy, Ireland, the Vatican, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Australia, we don’t even have ambassadors nominated. Those are the easiest things to do.
Leahy: And he’s not doing it.
McCabe: There just isn’t time to get things done.
Leahy: Speaking of time, Neil, we have one political question for you. If you could wrap your mind around this one for us.
Leahy: In the Senate in 2022, the Republicans have a disadvantage in terms of the way the seats play out. But if you look at key states that are currently represented by Democrats, one state is New Hampshire. The incumbent is Margaret Hassan.
I think that’s how you pronounce it. H-A-S-S-A-N. Apparently, the Republicans there are trying to get the very popular governor, John Sununu Jr. to run for governor. The polls show him with a five or six-point lead. Will he run for the Senate in New Hampshire? Will he beat Margaret Hassan?
McCabe: Yes. And I wrote about this for The Tennessee Star. This is one of the three seats that the Republicans can flip to take back the Chamber. And Hassan, she barely beat Kelly Ayotte. And that’s only because the Democrats bussed thousands of students from Massachusetts who pretended that they had moved to Massachusetts and they did same-day registration and they lied and said that they were residents of New Hampshire.
They had just moved there that day. And pretended they were going to spend the rest of their lives in New Hampshire. And as soon as they voted, they went back to take their midterms.
Carmichael: Has New Hampshire changed that law?
McCabe: They have changed that law. A student ID is no longer accepted as part of their voter ID law.
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 Tennessee Star National Correspondent Neil McCabe to the newsmakers line who outlined the levers of power in the House of Representatives and gave different scenarios of how strategies are playing out for Pelosi, McCarthy, and Cheney.
Leahy: We are joined now by the great Neil McCabe who is the National and Washington Correspondent for The Tennessee Starand the Star News Network. Neil, every time I turn around national news publications want to talk to the Washington Correspondent for The Tennessee Star. The New York Times was knocking on your door, and you gave them a quote. (McCabe chuckles)
McCabe: A great bunch of kids at The Times. They, of course, were doing a hit piece on a place that I enjoyed working at One American News, and I’m pretty sure I’m the only positive quote that made it into that article. (Leahy chuckles) So I think I’m going to call that a win.
Leahy: Yes. All the mainstream media news outlets want to hear from The Tennessee Star’s Washington Correspondent Neil McCabe. And I want to hear from you, Neil about the impact on Biden’s legislative agenda of the Derek Chauvin guilty verdicts in the death of George Floyd.
McCabe: Well, I think, as they say on Wall Street, I think a lot of this verdict was already baked in and the lines are already drawn. So nothing is really going to change. I think the most significant thing, which is sort of ancillary to the Chauvin trial is what happened with Maxine Waters being scolded by the judge and giving Kevin McCarthy a chance to put some numbers on the board and force that vote.
The Democrats were able to defeat the motion to censor Waters, but it was 216 to 210. And basically, every Democrat voted the party line, which is a very scary thing for Pelosi. And if I can go into that, Pelosi runs her caucus very well. She is a brilliant vote counter, and she is able to garrison and heard and shepherd her votes. And the main tool that she uses is she goes to 218 to get a simple majority in the House.
And so basically you go around and you secure more than you need. You get like, 220 or 225 and you go around to your people, depending on how many you have. Once you’ve locked down your majority, what you tell people is there are people who are going to say, Nancy, I can’t go with you this time it’ll kill me in the district.
And Pelosi will say if I can get you out of it, I will. And so once she has her simple majority, she can then go around to people and say, I’m going to let you off the hook. And so you’ll see a number of votes going back to when Pelosi’s been Speaker, and then even with this majority leader and whatnot that she has allowed Democrats to vote against Democratic legislation and the Democratic motions as part of the deal.
It’s like if I let you off the hook on this gun vote when the abortion vote comes up, I’m going to need you. And that’s part of the way she cuts a deal. She was not able to let anybody off the hook this time because if she let this person off the hook, she’d have to let somebody else off the hook. So basically, they all had to go down together. And that shows you just how tight things are. If you saw 10 Democrats voting with Republicans, that would show you that Nancy Pelosi is confident and has control of her Chamber.
But if she’s got to lock everybody down, that means that they’re strapped to the max. And it’s not a good sign for Pelosi. It’s a good sign for McCarthy, who is very good when things are safe and the Democrats make a mistake. McCarthy is very good at sort of scooping up the ball. Where McCarthy is very bad is that there actually is no Republican agenda.
You never hear McCarthy talking about gun rights unless he’s trying to restrict guns and gun rights. You never hear him talking about immigration unless he’s trying to expand immigration. You never hear him talking about building the wall. So if McCarthy has the juice to get this Waters thing to the House floor, there’s a ton of bills that McCarthy could have been bringing to the House floor, he’s not going to do it. And that’s just the way it is.
He’s a passive reactive guy. And if that continues, it could jeopardize the red wave that is going to be coming and everybody smells it which is exactly why Biden is playing smash and grab with these executive actions and executive decisions. They just decided to make all school lunches is free. They just decided that they’re going to start restricting nicotine and tobacco. They’re talking about auto emissions. They’re cutting deals with Iran.
They’re cutting deals with China. They’re moving on NATO. It’s like Biden is in a hurry because the Democrats know they are supposed to lose the House in 2022. The only thing that’s going to stop the Republicans from taking the House is McCarthy sort of dampening voter enthusiasm as he continues to support people who voted to impeach Trump and continues to go after and ridicule conservatives and there is no reason to vote for Republicans because all he does is go after Democrats when they stumble.
Carmichael: Neil, let me ask you a question.
Carmichael: I’m going to take everything that you just said to be gospel to be correct.
McCabe: It is the gospel.
Leahy: The gospel according to Saint Neil. (Laughter)
Carmichael: Amen. Amen. My question is this, is the majority of the Republicans in the House like McCarthy? And if they’re not, if they’re more conservative than McCarthy, then how does McCarthy win his position of minority leader?
McCabe: Well, basically, there are probably 70 or 80 conservatives in the Republican conference. The rest of the guys are these goofballs who are active in the Rotary Club and they own five dealerships or they sold their business and they didn’t know what to do. The Republican Party, especially on the House side, loves to go with these so-called self-financing guys.
So if some rich guy decides he wants to run for Congress the Republican Party will back him because they don’t have to do any work. He can raise his own money. And so these guys get in and they are just good-time Charlies and they want to go along to get along. The reason why McCarthy is still there is that no one else is strong enough to make a run for it.
And so basically, McCarthy is there is the store literally a placeholder because Steve Scalise does not want to make a run for Speaker of the House. We already know that Liz Cheney is going to run for Speaker. She was trying to muster votes to go up against McCarthy for Speaker last time. So, I mean, there are people who want to take McCarthy down, but because nobody has the juice to take him down completely, they’re basically going to leave McCarthy there until they can figure out what they’ll do.
And so it becomes sort of this ghost ship, almost like we saw under Paul Ryan where he skips the bit in April of 2018 and refuses to resign and basically it just becomes this ghost ship. Remember, in 2018, the Republicans lost the House, but they also left 40 seats unchallenged. And McCarthy of course is part of that team.
Carmichael: Geez. There is nothing that I can look at to argue with you. But the clarity of the way that you said it is disappointing…
McCabe: You can’t argue with that. (Leahy laughs)
Carmichael: That’s true.
Leahy: Neil, where does this go? What has to happen? What has to change between now and 2022 for the Republicans to take back the House of Representatives?
McCabe: So basically, it’s McCarthy’s game to lose. You’re going to see some more retirement on the House side. Kevin Brady, rather the very powerful and wonderful chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee when the Republicans had control, the ranking member there. He’s announced his retirement. Devin Nunes should be in place to take over that spot. And as you see, the sort of the jockeying around of the senior Republicans, you’re going to see some potential chairman that is going to decide you know what? Maybe I want to be Speaker.