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 the studio to predict that Republican candidates will have somewhere between a heavy trickle and a wave in the upcoming midterm elections for both the House and the Senate.
Leahy: In the studio, all-star panelist, recovering journalist Clint Brewer. Clint, it’s time. This is it. It’s time for your call. It’s your call in terms of the midterm outcomes. Do you agree with the sentiment out there that Republicans are likely to take over the House of Representatives?
Brewer: Absolutely. No, I think that’s going to happen.
Leahy: It’s totally going to happen. The question is, how big is it? Is it a red trickle, a red wave, or a red tsunami for the House?
Brewer: I don’t know what the difference between trickle and wave is.
Leahy: Trickle is you pick up less than 10 seats.
Brewer: Oh, no. Wave is you pick up 40 seats. A tsunami is you pick up 70 seats.
Brewer: I think it’s going to be somewhere between a heavy trickle and a wave. I think it will be somewhere between 30, 40.
Leahy: A heavy trickle and a wave.
Brewer: But let me just preface this by saying when I was in the media, I completely stopped predicting elections because I’m terrible at it. (Laughs)
Leahy: That’s a very good point. It’s a losing proposition. But I do think Republicans take the House. I do think they take it with enough of a margin to be comfortable.
Leahy: How about the Senate?
Brewer: I think they eke it out. I think it’s going to be a seat or two. I think they win. I think we win. I think it’s going to be close.
Leahy: You do?
Brewer: And I think there’s probably going to be some challenges across the country on both sides of the aisle. I don’t think we’re going to know on the Senate until December exactly where we are.
Leahy: RealClearPolitics, they do the average of polls. They have a whole slew of them out today. We’ll kind of cover those. But what they’re saying is the pickups, the Senate, they’re projecting a 54-46 Senate that Republicans hold all the seats, and they pick up Arizona’s Blake Masters, Nevada’s Adam Laxalt.
Leahy: Now they’re projecting New Hampshire with Don Bolduc taking Hassan. And then dragging across the goal line in Georgia is Herschel Walker.
Brewer: That sounds about right.
Leahy: Sounds about right?
Leahy: 54-46. And so we’re looking at Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy.
Brewer: Who I know you have a lot of personal affection for.
Leahy: I don’t dislike him.
Brewer: But you’ve been critical.
Leahy: He’s not Newt Gingrich.
Brewer: Well, nobody’s going to be Newt Gingrich. Is Newt Gingrich still even Newt Gingrich? I’m not sure.
Leahy: That was the thought formulating in my mind, but I didn’t articulate that. We’ve got a little telepathy going on here. (Chuckles)
Brewer: That’s right. That’s right.
Leahy: That’s a good one. And then Mitch McConnell will become the majority leader.
Brewer: Absolutely right. Looking forward to that.
Leahy: Yes, we are looking forward to that. In terms of our summarizing what the world is going to look like in January of 2023, we’re going to have a Republican majority in the House.
We’re going to have a Republican majority, likely in the Senate. We’ll have Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy and we’ll have Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. That’s what it’s going to look like.
Brewer: It sounds good to me.
Leahy: What’s the first thing they’re going to do?
Brewer: I don’t know about the first thing they’re going to do, but the main thing they ought to do is do what the American people want, which is to focus on the economy. We’ve got to figure out inflation.
We’ve got to get people to the point where they can buy a new home if they want to, remodel their home if they want to, or get into a first home if they want to. And we’ve got to get to the point where a trip to the grocery store isn’t so burdensome for the average working family.
Leahy: You don’t have to take out a mortgage on your house to go to the grocery store.
Brewer: Yes. Look, I think that’s what’s on people’s minds. I know there are other things. I know people who are very locked into the political system and read a lot and listen a lot.
They have diverse interests. But for the majority of Americans, this election is about the country not going in the right direction.
Leahy: Here’s the thing. I don’t know. For a couple of months, it seems like endlessly, I’ve been describing November 8th as the nadir. Nadir. The low point of our constitutional republic.
Brewer: Constantly pushing on people’s vocabulary on this show.
Leahy: Expanding vocabulary. We’re here to help expand the vocabulary of people. But what we’re going to see, I think, is because the commander in chief, the legal but not legitimate Joe Biden, will veto any good bills that come out.
What’s going to happen, I think, over the next two years is a Republican House and a Republican Senate will just stop all the stupid things that Biden is doing and there’s not going to be a lot of forward progress, but there’s going to be not quite as much damage.
Brewer: I agree. I think there’ll be a lot of regulatory items and other things that are going to be rolled back. But again, don’t forget why you’re there. Don’t forget why this election happened. Both parties are guilty of this.
They get in the midterm or they get it in a big wave and they believe that what got them there was all of these sort of insider baseball or big ideas that they had, and it’s not. It’s very simple things. And if they want to be heroes of the American people, address those very simple things.
Leahy: Will Kevin McCarthy be as disappointing a Speaker of the House in 2023 as John Boehner was in 2011?
Brewer: I don’t know. I think McCarthy’s going to have to really step up and control a new caucus that’s going to have a lot of new members. (Leahy chuckles)
Being the Speaker of the House might be the most thankless job in America, and it’s definitely one of the hardest. Those poor folks have to run so frequently so they don’t have a lot of latitudes to make decisions outside.
Leahy: People think, by the way, that being a member of the U.S. House of Representatives is like a fantastic job. It is nonstop work, it seems to me.
Brewer: It’s a grind.
Leahy: And you have to have two households and you don’t see your family very much. I think it’s a very hard job.
Brewer: It’s a remarkably hard job.
Leahy: Especially for our friends who are in the minority right now. Oh, my goodness. But they are ready for the top.
Brewer: We need to remember there’s another battle between good and evil that’s going to take place very soon.
Leahy: Yes, Tennessee and Georgia.
Brewer: Yes, go Vols.
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 Report with Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio.
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 Star and 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.
Listen to the 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.
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 National Correspondent Neil McCabe to the newsmakers line to discuss where the irresponsible Democratic spending stands on both infrastructure and tax bills and the upcoming red wave of 2022.
Leahy: We are joined now on our newsmaker line by our Washington Correspondent for the Star News Network, Neil McCabe. Good morning, Neil.
McCabe: Michael, very good to be with you, sir.
Leahy: Is there anything in the Democratic dictionary when you go look up infrastructure, is there anything that’s not included in that definition?
McCabe: Yes. Highways, roads, and bridges. (Laughter)
Carmichael: Now that’s funny.
Leahy: That is very good.
Carmichael: Very quick. (Laughter)
Leahy: You just made our day here, Neil. (Laughs) So, Neil, let me ask you this.
McCabe: This is why you bring me on board here. I’m good at my job. This is my function. I deliver the mail.
Leahy: So where is that boondoggle? How many trillion dollars is this infrastructure bill that’s basically a bunch of Democratic slush fund monies for liberal groups. Where does that stand now?
McCabe: I think it’s in really big trouble right now because three big reasons. Number one, the Republican moderates, especially those 10 moderate senators who are going to the White House and meeting with the President they have now come forward and say we’re sick of being used. The president uses us as props, and we were embarrassed and we’ve had no input. And we’re tired of being props. And that took two months.
So that didn’t take long for these guys to figure that out. The second problem is that they’re running out of runway on their calendar. Remember, the Biden administration went with the soft opening. They haven’t had a joint address to Congress yet. Now comes word that Nancy Pelosi the Speaker has invited Biden to speak to a joint session of Congress on April 28. We talked a while ago when I said the earliest it was going to be like this week.
So I wasn’t that far off. The problem is after July 4 nothing gets done until people get back from Labor Day. And then you’ve got the budget crisis because it’s the end of the fiscal year. They don’t have the runway to get done what they needed to do. And one of your clues about that is that at the press conference, Biden said that he was going to put forward his gun legislation after he got infrastructure done because he wanted to do everything at the right time.
And he wanted to schedule everything. He said that the part of presidential leadership is doing everything step by step. And then they panicked and then released their gun agenda and infrastructure isn’t in the bank yet. The third thing that’s going to really hurt that infrastructure bill is the fact that people in Washington are now very much aware that there is severe inflation on the horizon. We’re seeing it in home prices.
We’re seeing it in commodity prices. We’re seeing it in gas prices. There is price inflation. A lot of this rise in the stock market is not attributed to increases in productivity, innovation or future earnings it’s just sheer inflation. And one of the problems that you’re going to run into is that the more you spend like crazy, you’re going to continue to feed that inflation with that big COVID bill that they pushed through.
There was an argument that Trump’s government spending was responsible for that inflation. When Biden pushed through that COVID bill and then now talking about this infrastructure bill and his other spending bill, he is going to own the inflation that is going to come from all of this spending.
Carmichael: Neil, add to that their proposed tax bill, which essentially when you get to the fundamental understanding of the way the Democrats are thinking is they want to spend trillions of dollars from Washington, and they want to suck trillions of dollars from the private sector. So they’re essentially becoming for lack of a better term a kind of a fascist of government where Washington is in league with certain industries in the private sector. And I think the tax bill is also in tremendous trouble. And it should be. What do you think about that?
McCabe: What’s going to kill the tax bill is that everyone knows that there’s a red wave coming. Everyone knows that the polls severely undercounted or underrepresented the strength of Trump, especially with the irregular voters. And they’re sort of the unlikely voters who all showed up. So people are very scared of what Trump is going to be able to do.
Leahy: You mean Biden.
McCabe: I mean, Trump is going to be able to deliver.
Leahy: In the 2022 midterm. Thanks.
McCabe: Everyone everyone knows that Trump is out there. He’s not being treated like an ex-President. Believe me, I’m old enough to remember. Nobody was afraid of ex-President Jimmy Carter. No one was afraid of ex-President George H.W. Bush. Nobody was impeaching George H.W. Bush because they were afraid he was going to run again. Okay, that was clear very quickly. He was never running again. But Trump is active and he is there.
And the Democrats know they have one shot at smash and grab. The problem is if they do a smash and grab tax bill, the thing they have to fix is the limit on the deductibility of property taxes in these states, especially in the Northeast, where the property in California, where the property taxes are so high and that’s capped, I think the cap is what $10,000 from the 2017 tax bill? And that is really hurting the Democratic machines in New Jersey and New York and Massachusetts and Connecticut.
And people, can’t deduct their property taxes anymore. So what you have is what was happening before is the rest of the country was subsidizing the high taxes in the Northeast and these blue states, and they’re desperate to fix that. No Democrat in Colorado or Arizona or New Mexico or Missouri is going to defend cutting the taxes of rich people in New York.
Leahy: Last question for you, Neil from Crom.
Carmichael: I think Neil hit it right on the head on that because that’s called the salt. The state and local taxes. And they’re only about six states that get pounded by state and local taxes. But that’s because the Democrats in those states tax their citizens at such high rates, and especially the rich. And so I’m with you.
They’re not going to be the Democrat senators from the states with relatively low taxes. If they do vote to repeal taxes, give billionaires in high tax states tax breaks then they’ll be facing a rough midterm. Do you know how the Republicans are doing in recruiting candidates for the House and Senate?
McCabe: This is going to be a great recruiting year for Senate races and House races for the Republicans going into these midterms. And remember that with Trump, he wasn’t personally popular, but his policies were. Biden is personally popular, but his program and agenda are not. And if the Republicans focus on the agenda, they will crush the Democrats.
Listen to the 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.