All Star Panelist Clint Brewer Ponders the Fate of the Republican Party

All Star Panelist Clint Brewer Ponders the Fate of the Republican Party

 

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 Clint Brewer to the studio to discuss the replacement of Liz Cheney and the mechanics of a Republican Party destiny.

(Rep. Elise Stefanik clip plays)

Leahy: And that is Elise Stefanik who is the Congresswoman representing the congressional district in far Northern New York, where I used to live as a kid. And now last week, the big news, the political news in Washington, they threw Liz Cheney out of the conference chair position.

The number three position in the House of Representatives and replaced her with Elise Stefanik. Now, I think from a messaging point of view, Stefanik is absolutely on point. And Cheney was absolutely off point. What does this mean for the Republican Party’s future, Clint?

Brewer: Well, I mean, it’s a gamble, right? You could say that about anything in politics. But for this moment in time right now, I think she’s more on message for that House caucus. And I think the move was made because the House members who always have to seek reelection every two years, I think they’re looking to talk more about Democrats going into the midterms than they are a person in their own caucus. It had to do more fundraising in taking the House back than it did anybody’s ideology.

Leahy: Liz Cheney is the daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney under George W. Bush. She kind of got handed that seat in Wyoming. She’s not really from Wyoming.

Brewer: I think a lot of people get handed their seats in politics. (Laughs)

Leahy: I don’t disagree.

Brewer: That’s not unusual.

Leahy: We can’t criticize her too much about that. What was her thinking to go so far in attacking President Trump, and do we counter to the leadership, why did she think that was a good idea that would have a good outcome for her?

Brewer: I’m not sure she cared. I don’t think she did it because she thought it was politically savvy or a good idea. I think she did because it was her conviction. I think she believes it, and it’s her honest viewpoint. I know that’s an outlier in politics to actually share your honest viewpoint, but I think she’s just being honest with people about what she thought because it certainly didn’t help her any. So she wasn’t doing some desire to get ahead politically. I think she’s just telling what she felt like to be the truth.

Leahy: I think her duty, though, to me, if you’re going to be the number three person in the House, you should follow the party line. I think she probably should have resigned and then criticized Trump. But then she wouldn’t have got the visibility.

Brewer: That’s the gamble. So you see Cheney on one end of it, you see Stefanik and McCarthy on the other end of it. The gamble is you’re going to double down on your position. And there’s a fight for the party right now and which way it’s going to break. The House is a what have you done for me lately environment. They got to run.

Leahy: They’re running all the time.

Brewer: They are always running. They never start running.

Leahy: My hats off to all of the Republican members of the House of Representatives serving now because it’s a very frustrating job because it’s all being run dictatorially by Nancy Pelosi. They can’t get anything accomplished.

The only thing they can really do is to try to help in a year and a half, turn the House over and get Republicans in control. I think it’s a tough job. A frustrating job.

Brewer: Look, it’s a tough job if you’re in the majority. I mean, you’re always running. I think the standard stat that’s out there is in order to get re-elected to the House, you have to raise about $10,000 a day.

Leahy: That is a miserable existence.

Brewer: Yes it is.

Leahy: It really is.

Brewer: But, I mean, look, to your point about the party, the party right now is fractured. It’s trying to decide what the long-term prospects of the Donald Trump worldview are. And I think there are some people in the party, like Cheney, who disagree with it vehemently.

I think that every day that passes that former President Trump’s out of power and I think that worldview probably has a little less impact.

Leahy: I disagree. I think it’s gotten even more. I look at the polls in terms of Republicans and his support is as high as it’s ever been. Number one. Number two. Did you notice this? He’s going to start doing his rallies again.

Brewer: I did. And it’s going to be interesting to see how they go. I think early on, they’ll go really well, I just don’t believe it’s sustainable. I mean, you saw Reverend Franklin Graham come out and say, I don’t know if he’s going to be well enough health-wise and have the energy and the vigor needed to run again.

Leahy: Really? I missed that part of it. I’ve not heard that there are any health problems.

Brewer: I mean, he’s just his age. He’s reaching into advanced age.

Leahy: He’ll be about Joe Biden’s age in 2024.

Brewer: And look at what everybody says about Biden. I mean, it’s not a dissimilar situation.

Leahy: But they are just so different in terms of energy levels, don’t you think?

Brewer: In a gentleman of that age, a couple of years can make a big difference.

Leahy: That’s absolutely true.

Brewer: From 74 on every year, you’re looking for diminished capacity. We’re witnessing it with Joe Biden. And I think the party has to decide if that’s really the direction it wants to go. I mean, you’ve got a lot of people stepping up.

We talked about it in the studio during the Georgia run-offs. You had a host of characters headed down there. (Leahy laughs)

Leahy: A host of characters. I like that. The usual suspects.

Brewer: The usual traditional displaying of plumage and ceremonial dances (Leahy laughs) that go along with sidling up to running for a major political office.

Leahy: That’s very good.

Brewer: And that’s what you saw. So I think you’ve got a number of U.S. senators interested in running. I think you’ve got members of his former cabinet who are interested in running.

Leahy: Mike Pompeo.

Brewer: Pompeo. Nikki Haley.

Leahy: She kind of self-destructed back there a little bit. Didn’t she?

Brewer: I think she’s probably more attuned to Liz Cheney than she is to Donald Trump in terms of her values. I think Stefanik and McCarthy. I mean, look at McCarthy before Trump, he was just kind of a templated neocon.

Leahy: A templated neocon. That’s very good.

Brewer: He was not a Trump populist, but he got on the bandwagon, and that’s what it is. It’s a bandwagon and bandwagons run out of steam and they run out of gas. They stop eventually.

Leahy: Now you talked about governors and we have some governors coming to Nashville in a couple of weeks. The Republican Governors Association.

Brewer: Big event.

Leahy: That we’re trying to get a ticket to for interviews. The leadership now in the Republican Party of action is at the level of governors. And, of course, the number one guy people think of Ron DeSantis in Florida.

Brewer: Well, I agree. And I think DeSantis is an interesting position. A lot of the knocks on Republicans have been how we’ve comported ourselves during the pandemic, and Florida has done really well. He’s made all the right moves. He managed it very well at the state level.

Leahy: By the way, the legacy media in Florida hate his guts.

Brewer: Oh yeah.

Leahy: Totally hate him. That’s one of the reasons why we started as our seventh title at the Star News Network. We started The Florida Capital Star and getting great stories out of there. A big story today, Jeb “low energy” Bush former governor there, that guy. He has come out and criticized Governor DeSantis for his support of online gambling for the Seminole Nation.

That’s become a bill down there, sports betting. And Jeb Bush has come out vigorously opposing that. I don’t think that helps. I don’t know why Jeb is doing that. But I think it’s popular, frankly, down there. DeSantis is doing a lot of popular things.

Brewer: Well, it’s popular everywhere. Human beings like to gamble. I think that’s something you can say pretty affirmatively no matter where you are, people find a way to gamble. Is it the best thing for society? I don’t know. But not entirely. But is it something we really have a right to tell people no on? Not really. Can the government regulate it and tax it so it’s not completely destructive. I mean, there’s a role there.

Leahy: And it’s online all kinds of gambling, not just sports doing down there. Well, it’s very interesting. We’re going to try to get Governor DeSantis in studio here in the next couple of weeks. Maybe Kristi Noem and a few others.

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Florida House Rep. Randy Fine Talks Recent Florida Legislation of Big Tech, Critical Race Theory, Pro-Police, and Anti-Rioting

Florida House Rep. Randy Fine Talks Recent Florida Legislation of Big Tech, Critical Race Theory, Pro-Police, and Anti-Rioting

 

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 Florida State Representative Randy Fine to the newsmakers line to discuss some of the Florida legislation that is going through the last days of session and how his state is leading the way.

Leahy: We are joined on the newsmaker line by state Representative Randy Fine of Florida. Good morning Representative Fine.

Fine: Good morning. Happy to be here.

Leahy: We are delighted to have you on here. I’m going to give you some news you may not know. As you know, we own and operate several state-based conservative news sites. And two weeks ago, we launched The Florida Capital Star. Floridacapitalstar.com. Right there, based in Tallahassee. We’ve got a crew of three folks here writing about what you guys are doing in the Florida state Legislature and what Governor DeSantis is doing. We are delighted to have you on here.

Fine: Well, we appreciate you getting the good word out on all the good work we’re doing down here.

Leahy: So your legislative session is about to wind up, I guess tomorrow is that right?

Fine: That’s right. We have a 60-day session by Constitution every year, and tomorrow will be the 60th day.

Leahy: So every time I turn around, you guys are passing legislation that should be viewed as a model by other States. What would you say are the top accomplishments of this session of the Florida state legislature?

Fine: I think number one, we will again pass a balanced budget, which we do every year while adding to our reserves. I like to tell people we do more than balance our budget. We actually put money in savings. That’s always our most important priority. But policy-wise, we’ve passed the most aggressive anti rioting, pro-police legislation in the country to make sure Florida never looks like Portland or Seattle. And we are also close to passing legislation to really hold Big Tech accountable for the way that they manipulate our data and the way that they censor and treat Conservatives.

Leahy: I looked at our website, floridacapitalstar.com, and I can see you had a couple of other bills. The Florida House passed a bill banning vaccine passports.

Fine: We did. We did. The governor feels very strongly that people should not have to prove that they have been vaccinated in order to go into particular businesses. And so that bill passed the Florida House overwhelmingly yesterday.

Leahy: The other thing I’ve been hearing about is that Governor DeSantis has said we’re not going to be teaching critical race theory in Florida. And I’ve also seen that apparently there are some bills out there that would provide bonuses to teachers in the Florida public school system that follow and take advanced training on the Constitution and civics. Where does that bill stand?

Fine: I’m actually the chair of K through 12 appropriations, so I set the budget. We’re very very aggressive on that front. Number one, minimizing the teaching of the hatred of America and that America is bad and everything that we do is bad. And that’s really what critical race theory says. Basically, let’s be critical of America and view everything through a racist lens.

We’re focused on celebrating America. We’ve passed multiple bills this year that focus on increasing civics as well as reminding people about what makes America great through creating new content to show folks portraits in patriotism, and to remind folks about the evil that’s involved in socialism and communism.

Leahy: So is there an incentive program for teachers that get special training on civics and related projects? Is that in the works? Has that been passed or about to be passed or under consideration?

Fine: We haven’t passed anything to provide incentives for it. But we’re doing one thing better. We’re going to require the teaching of this stuff in schools. So you’re not going to get paid extra to do the right thing. We’re going to expect you to do it as a condition of your job.

Leahy: How will that be monitored? Because one of the problems, we interview members of the Tennessee General Assembly all the time, and they have an idea about what’s being taught in the schools and often their idea of what should be taught and what is being taught is very different from what’s actually being taught.

Fine: Well, that’s a great question. So we passed other legislation this session that increases the availability of classroom materials to parents so the parents can see what’s going on. And we have very active parents in our state. But one other thing that we’ve done is that is sort of related to keep the schools honest is we have passed the largest expansion of school choice in the United States this year.

So we’re creating opportunities for all of our Florida families if they so choose to take their child if they’re not happy for any reason out of a government-run school and to put them into a different school.

Leahy: Tell us how that school choice program expansion will work. Here in Tennessee, this is something that we’re very interested in. We have had a few fits and starts in that Arena. And we look to Florida, as many States do, as a model.

Fine: We have hundreds of thousands of students already taking advantage of private school choice here in Florida. We’ve expanded that this year to say any family of four making $100,000 a year or less can get a voucher equivalent to what the state is paying the school to teach your child. You can get a voucher and take that to a private school. That’s what you want to do.

But in addition, we have a very expensive program for families of children with special needs. Whether they can get their money not only to go to a private school but if that child would be better off at home with specialized therapies and other kinds of products and services they can use it for that. So that is for special needs programs and middle-class programs.

Leahy: For a middle-class parent there, what’s that work out to be? About $7,000 a child?

Fine: That’s exactly right. It’s right around $7,000. And it changes from year to year. We’re talking about the income-based scholarship.

Leahy: Right. The income-based scholarship. But any parent down there with $100,000 or less can qualify for those voucher payments. Is that right?

Fine: So to make it simple, you make $99,000 a year. You’re a family of four with two kids in school, you can get $14,000. to send your child to a private school.

Leahy: Wow! And so I’m guessing that there are a lot of parents that are likely to line up to take advantage of that.

Fine: There are. But the fact of the matter is by having this accountability, our public schools and our charter schools have gotten better. So some parents go, well, hey, we appreciate that we have this option. It makes my government-run school have to do a lot better to keep me from leaving. So everybody wins.

Whether you’re going to a private school or whether you’re going to a charter school, which is a public school, or whether you’re going to a government-run public school. That increased competition benefits everybody.

Leahy: So how are teachers in Florida responding to all this? I know the teachers’ unions, particularly up here in Tennessee, are pretty hostile to these kinds of policy changes. What’s the case down in Florida?

Fine: Well, teachers’ unions hate them, but teachers don’t necessarily because whether you’re teaching in a private school or a government-run school or charter school, they is still a job for you. But I don’t do this job for teachers unions. I do this job for children. I do this job for parents. And those folks overwhelmingly like these programs.

But if you are a teacher in a government-run school, Florida has raised our minimum teacher salaries to among the highest in the country at $47,500 which is a pretty good salary for a job where you get 14 weeks a year off.

Leahy: So you are likely to wrap up tomorrow. Do you think you’ll be there until midnight? How long will it take to get all the business done?

Fine: We can’t vote under our Constitution until 12:06 tomorrow on our budget. We have to actually give 72 hours after we print the budget before we vote on it. So I think sometime mid-afternoon. And by the way, I’m in my fifth year in the legislature and this will be the first time in those five years that we actually end on time.

Leahy: Ah. Do you give Governor DeSantis credit for that or the leadership?

Fine: I give everybody credit. I give credit to Governor DeSantis. I give credit to President Wilton Simpson, who’s the President of our Senate, and Speaker Chris Sprowls, my Speaker. I think they’ve all worked really well together to get the job done.

Leahy: So Saturday morning, you’re going to wake up and the session will be over. Is your job as a state representative over, or do you just turn the page to some other sorts of activities?

Fine: Well, it won’t be over, unfortunately, because we have to come back in two weeks to do a special session on casinos in Florida, which really isn’t a basic function of our regular session. But beyond that, I’ll go home, and I’ll start to talk to folks about the work that we did up here. And I’ll also get to know my family again. I’ve hardly seen them for the last two months.

Leahy: So do you stay up in Tallahassee during most of this time or do you go back and forth?

Fine: It’s a Monday to Friday job, and I live a six-hour drive away. So I’m lucky to get home for 24 to 48 hours every weekend. Especially when session gets busier.

Leahy: That’s a big personal sacrifice. What’s the toll on your family life?

Fine: It’s a lot. You get to a point of week six or seven of session where you think of home as more Tallahassee, and then you’re visiting your family. And then it’s sort of like re-entry as people have described it. And I’m not trying to compare this to being in the military, but people describe it as you sort of have been deployed for 60 days and then you go through the reentry process when you get home.

But I’ve now been through it four times, and I’ll get through it again. It takes a big big toll on your family because you’re just gone and it’s very busy when we’re up here.

Leahy: Well, thanks for all the hard work that you’re doing for the folks in Florida State Rep. Randy Fine.

Listen to the full first 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.
Background Photo “Florida Capitol” by DXR. CC BY-SA 4.0.

 

 

 

 

 

Star News Network Washington Correspondent Neil McCabe on Trump Move to New Jersey and Next House Freedom Caucus Speaker

Star News Network Washington Correspondent Neil McCabe on Trump Move to New Jersey and Next House Freedom Caucus Speaker

 

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 speculated Donald Trump’s move to New Jersey, a Ron DeSantis VP ticket, and his recent article about the choice for House Freedom Caucus Speaker.

Leahy: On the newsmaker line, 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: How you doing, Michael? Very good to be with you.

Leahy: Well, you have a great story on Mark Meadows. But before I get to that, here’s the big question for you today. A report in The Daily Caller that President Trump is moving his residence from Florida to New Jersey. Former President Trump. Does that have any possible implications for 2024 Neil McCabe?

McCabe: Well, I think as a practical matter with his location in Bedminster, New Jersey basically puts him an hour from Manhattan and three hours from D.C. So it just facilitates moving, meeting with people. Whether it’s fundraisers or operatives or even members of Congress and being able for him to reach out to people or people being able to reach him within a three-hour drive.

Or if you take a private jet or even if you drove from D.C. all of a sudden, meeting with Trump is a day trip. It’s not an overnight stay or something like that, which is what’s going down at Mar-a-Lago. But the second thing is that it is just practical. I lived in Tampa, Florida, for two years. I thought the summers were going to kill me.

To survive in Florida you basically move from one air-conditioned space to another air-conditioned space. And there are moments when you leave the car and in between leaving the car and getting into the Starbucks, you’re attacked by the heat down there. And if it wasn’t for air conditioning, you wouldn’t even have Florida. (Laughter) Seriously, the heat there will kill you.

Leahy: So let me tell you what I read into this. If Donald Trump is a resident of New Jersey and not Florida, that means there is no political penalty to him if he runs in 2024 in a ticket that he heads as president and Ron DeSantis the governor, Florida as vice president. What do you think of that?

McCabe: Well, I think that that is very much in play. And I think you saw the same pictures that I saw of President Trump talking with De Santis at that fundraiser for the National Republican Senate Committee. And there’s definitely a primary going on for vice president. I think Pompeo is very excited about that. And it’s like in NASCAR, you ride behind another car. Basically, he’s breaking through the wind and you’re just sort of hiding behind it.

Leahy: Drafting off them.

McCabe: Right. This is what Ted Cruz tried to do in the 2016 campaign, but just Trump got too far ahead and Cruz could never pull the move that he wanted to pull. I think that definitely, that’s what Pompeo is doing. I think DeSantis is very busy being the governor of Florida right now. But there are some other people in the veep sweepstakes. But I think that definitely, that is in play, Mike. But I think transferring your residence from Florida, which has no income tax, to New Jersey, which has nothing but tax, he may put that off for a year or two.

Leahy: Exactly.

McCabe: And keep some money in his pocket.

Leahy: Your story at the tenesseestar.com and throughout our constellation of Star News Network sites now in seven States, Mark Meadows Vows: ‘The House Freedom Caucus Is Choosing the Next Speaker. Tell us about that story.

McCabe: So Saturday, there was a fundraiser for the House Freedom Fund, which is the political action committee associated with the House Freedom Caucus. And so Trump was there and Meadows was there who spoke after Trump. And as he was walking off the platform, it wasn’t really a stage, but there was a platform set up.

And as he was walking back to his seat, he told people within earshot that the Freedom Caucus is choosing the next Speaker. This is not an idle boast because Mark Meadows is the guy who took down John Boehner. And Mark Meadows was also working behind the scenes to block Kevin McCarthy from becoming Speaker. Unfortunately, as things were moving around and our dear friend Matt Boyle was covering this at Breitbart, Boyle told me that Marsha Blackburn was going to be set up to be the conservative candidate for Speaker.

And they scrambled to get Paul Ryan before Blackburn could put things together. When Mark Meadows says he’s going to choose the next Speaker, there’s a very good chance he is going to choose the next Speaker. And what it means is that Kevin McCarthy does not have the confidence of Meadows or Trump or Jim DeMint, who was also at that fundraiser Saturday. And remember that the House Republicans at their annual retreat in Orlando, which is about two and a half hours up the street from Palm Beach, didn’t invite Trump.

Liz Cheney, as the head of the Republican Conference, she owns that retreat. That’s run by her staff. That’s like her event every year. So obviously, Liz Cheney, who basically tells anyone who will listen that Trump is a criminal and a traitor, didn’t want him there. But the fact that McCarthy would not insist on bringing Trump tells you that McCarthy is afraid of his own shadow and he’s always going to take the coward’s choice.

Leahy: I think you’re probably right on that. Ben Cunningham has a question for you.

Cunningham: Hey, Neil.

McCabe: Hey.

Cunningham: James Carville has been getting a lot of press with his critique of Democrats and the threat of wokeness to their 2022 prospects. Is that reflective of the Democrats in general? Do they understand this as a real threat or is Carville just kind of trying to get back into the news cycle now?

McCabe: No. He’s correct. Everyone understands that this is not a mystery. It’s just that you have to choose. Are you going to play the long game or you’re going to play the short con? And right now, Biden is playing the short con. He is playing smash and grab.

Cunningham: That’s a great point.

McCabe: And this is typical that all of the consequential Democratic presidents. If you look at what Barack Obama did in his first two years, Dodd Frank, ObamaCare is the law of the land. Obama may have lost the Senate and he may have lost the House and he may have been embarrassed, but his priorities and his legislation are the law of the land.

What Johnson did in his first two years, Medicare and all that other stuff, that’s the law of the land. And it’s been 60 years. In the first two years, the Democrats have learned to just go for it. Smash and grab. And if they lose the House and they lose the Senate, who cares? Democrats are worried about the agenda. Republicans are like, oh, no, we’ll lose our majority.

Republicans would prefer to have a majority and do nothing with it because they’re afraid of losing a majority. This is the problem that Conservatives have because we’re stuck with the Republican Party. But the Republican Party has no interest in advancing our concerns.

Leahy: What is the impact, Neil, of the redistricting now with the census? Texas picks up two seats. Florida picks up a seat. New York loses one. California loses one. Michigan loses one. We got one minute left, Neil.

McCabe: I was surprised that Florida didn’t pick up an extra one. But what you’re seeing is that old blue States are losing out, and it’s going to be critical in their culturally conservative States where the unions are very strong. And that’s why Biden is pushing this pro-union legislation because States like Kentucky, Colorado, or Montana have active Democratic parties even though they’re conservative States because of the union.

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

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