Live from Music Row Tuesday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. – host Leahy welcomed Maury County Mayor Andy Ogles in the studio to talk about the corporate wokeness and its disregard for their constituency and how other states need to act now and follow Florida’s lead.
Leahy: You are a small business guy. I think Alfredo Ortiz made quite a case there. (Laughter) It was kind of funny right?
Ogles: Oh, my goodness. As we sit here and talk about this billboard, I was trying to think of a funny quip. I’m usually pretty good at that. And I’m speechless. Sometimes we say things in jest and we lighten them up a little bit. But he’s really talking about something serious that wokeness that is sweeping the country. It has a dangerous, ugly side to it in that it’s ready, fire, aim. And we’re no longer processing things through an objective lens. That suddenly everything’s tainted.
And that’s problematic. Could have should have the All-Star Game been evaluated? Well, of course, that’s what you do in any business model. But just to pull it a knee-jerk reaction because of Coca-Cola and Delta, these woke corporations trying to push. They’ve become oligarchs now where they are pushing their agendas onto the American public. But because they have such a market share we don’t have a voice.
Leahy: It’s a very good point. When we grew up, the idea was, well, this is a capitalist society. And businesses were in business to make a financial return for their shareholders and do a good job in providing products and services to their customers. That’s the model that’s being replaced now by a concept called stakeholder capitalism.
I call it basically an early version of Marxism. What’s happening is these large publicly traded companies, the left is trying to turn them into, like, public benefit corporations. And they are making decisions not based upon their products or services or what their customers need but what the left activists are trying to push them into. It’s a very bad sign.
Ogles: And the problem is that most of us we’re busy with jobs, mortgages, and kids and we’re trying to figure out life. And then you’ve got this minority, this small portion of the left. They’re loud, they’re angry, and it terrifies these corporations. And so they’re moving in directions that their constituency really doesn’t want.
Leahy: Their customers don’t want, their investors don’t want. But these stakeholders are basically a bunch of left-wing Marxist types that want a version of neofascism in the United States. There’s a lot of words but that I think describes what they’re trying to do. They’re trying to serve the authority of state legislatures around the country.
Ogles: Yeah. They totally bypass. For example, the Tennessee legislature, they’re not going to do some of the things that Coke or Delta or some of these other companies are suggesting. And so what are they doing? It’s a run around you and I, as we try to say, hey, wait a minute. We value the Constitution. We’re governed by elected people, not by corporations.
And because you’re Coca-Cola and you have such a large market share, now you have a disproportionate voice and telling me how to live. Look, I don’t care what Coke thinks. I really don’t. Make soda, do it well, and be gone. That’s it.
Leahy: Yeah. I think I’m going to stop drinking Woka-Cola myself.
Ogles: Woka-Cola. That’s almost as good as that billboard.
Leahy: All strikes and no balls for the Major League Baseball Commissioner. The thing is, when you look at that, you look at the social course, as you know, 2nd Vote, our friends Amy Wilhite and Chris McCarran are the executive director and CEO of 2nd Vote. They rate large corporations based upon whether they’re neutral or conservative or liberal.
The vast majority of large corporations now are pretty liberal in terms of their policies, and it’s just not what they should be doing. And people are pushing back now when you talk about as a consumer, you look at that. If I tell you I’m not going to drink Woka-Cola, okay. If you like to drink Colas, there are a few less woke versions of it. Pepsi-Cola is sort of in that crowd, not quite as bad as Woka-Cola. Royal Crown Cola.
These are all kind of politically correct. There is this thing going on in American capitalism, and you’re a student of economics Andy. There’s a thing going on where all of these big funds that manage all the money that invest in corporations are pushing the publicly traded companies to do something called ESG. And it’s a big code word. It’s for the environment and social governance. In other words climate change and equity, diversity, all that kind of stuff. And there’s huge pressure on these publicly traded corporations to kind of comply. Not a good sign, I don’t think.
Ogles: No. And that’s why it’s imperative that our state legislators and the legislature step up and do something about this. You had Senator Mike Bell in the first segment, and there’s the opportunity to follow Florida’s lead and to push back against some of this Big Tech censorship, kind of draw a line in the sand if you will. And they’re going to study it for another session.
Well, the time is now to act. And so I would call on the legislature to go ahead. I sent a letter to the governor, the speaker of the house, and to the lieutenant governor saying, we have to stand up collectively as a state in the same way Florida has done. And that’s the other thing that’s important is we need these legislatures, these governors from conservative states to work together to be a chorus of conservatism because that’s what the left does. And they do so well.
You’ll have these factions of the left that otherwise would never want to be together because they’re so distinctly different. But yet when it comes to fighting against conservatism, they are one voice and they move and they march together. And then you get here on the conservative side, we’re too busy bickering as to which one of us is the most conservative.
Leahy: I’m more conservative than you.
Ogles: That’s right. Ron DeSantis is out there getting it done. And in Tennessee and Texas and some of the other states. We’re a little tepid.
Leahy: Lagging behind.
Ogles: That’s right. You look at the election, the lawsuit that the Texas attorney general filed. Tennessee, we finally signed on, but we were like 16th out of 17th by the time that we signed on. It was so far in the process, it was irrelevant. We should have been tagalong beating on the door to say, no, we’re next. We’re next. We’re going to file, too. So that way, if your lawsuit doesn’t work and we have one. And so we as a state, as elected officials, we’ve got to work together and be a chorus of rationalism in a crazy world.
Leahy: You said something very interesting and very important. There is leadership, I think, going on in the conservative world, and it’s coming from the state government. But particularly there’s one state I think that’s leading the way. And there’s one governor who’s leading the way and that’s Ron DeSantis in Florida.
Ogles: Going back to the baseball analogy, he’s knocking it out of the park. I mean, he really is. I mean, if you’re a conservative in this country, man, do you wish you had Ron DeSantis as your governor or perhaps as your president.
Leahy: Now you use the baseball term. You know, the story about Ron DeSantis?
Ogles: He’s quite the ballplayer. From Yale?
Leahy: He was the captain of the Yale baseball team and hit 345 his senior year. I never even in high school, I never even got close to 345. So this guy’s pretty good. He’s a very talented guy. And that’s one of the reasons I think since last you’ve been here, we have a little bit of news. The Tennessee Star and our parent corporation is Star News Digital Media. And we have the Star News Network. We do state-based conservative news in now seven States. And we have added, wait for it….drum roll, please. The Florida Capital Star.
Ogles: There you go.
Leahy: Up next, The Texas Loan Star.
Ogles: That’s a good one. Again, if you’re a conservative publication, the state that’s really helping drive conservative content is Florida. So it makes absolute sense to have something like that there. But again, they are leading the charge, knocking out of the park as I said.
Leahy: That was our thinking as well. And so far, the stories that have been great about conservative leadership from a governor and a state legislature down in Florida.
Listen to the full broadcast 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 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 IWF’s Senior Fellow Carrie Sheffield to the newsmakers line to discuss the woke agenda and implementation of critical race theory into public schools and how the Biden infrastructure plan will hurt the lower 20 percent of earners in the U.S.
Leahy: We are joined now by our good friend, whom we’ve never met but we’re glad to meet her now, Carrie Sheffield. Carrie, welcome to The Tennessee Star Report.
Sheffield: Hey, Michael, great to be here. How are you?
Leahy: I’m great, Carrie. We have so many friends in common. You are a BYU grad. You went to Harvard, got a master’s in public policy there. And did you know a Professor there by the name of Dutch Leonard when you were at Harvard? He’s probably retired by now because he was an undergrad teacher of mine.
Leahy: But you also started as a reporter with Politico and The Hill. You’re an entrepreneur. You started Bold TV for millennials. That’s a great venture. Most recently, you’ve been the White House correspondent for our good friend John Solomon’s Just the News and have left now to join as a senior fellow with the Independent Women’s Forum. Carrie, you’ve had a very, very productive and busy life.
Sheffield: Hey, thank you. That’s so kind of you. I have taken a breather right now. Being a fellow, I’m just delving into the policy and I love it. And Yes, John Solomon, and thanks for the plug for that. He’s fantastic. Go to justthenews.com, amazing content.
Leahy: Well, you know, my sense on this is that although you have been a reporter for a long time, I think there’s something in you. You’re a thinker about issues and I think you want the time to reflect. Do I have that right?
Sheffield: You know what? You hit the nail on the head, Michael. Yes, that’s kind of why I jumped back into the think tank. And that’s what we do at Independent Women’s Form, where we really break down the policy. And I love that. At Just the News it is just the news and I wanted to make sure to keep that firewall. And so I have a lot of opinions and at the Independent Women’s Forum, I’m allowed to share those opinions.
Leahy: A very good point. I know you have several topics you want to hit, but let’s talk about this problem of wokeism in our public and private schools today. It seems you cannot turn around without seeing it. And we have a story here in Williamson County a suburb of Nashville, where they’re introducing critical race theory into the K-12 schools here. They’re saying it’s not critical race theory, but parents are saying my kids are coming home saying, I hate myself because I’m white. That’s going on everywhere.
Sheffield: It really is. And we did some reporting about an elite school in New York City as well called the Brearley School, which is a private school. Very often you think of the private school system as a kind of relief from public schools, but not so in this one. They’re doing the same thing. They’re doing the critical race theory, and it’s coming in everywhere, the public schools, and private schools.
And it ultimately is a rejection of Dr. Martin Luther King’s dream, which was that we don’t judge people by the color of their skin. We judge them by the content of their character. And what critical race theory is teaching is this narrative of suppressors and being victimized. And if you’re white, you have no choice but you are part of the suppressor class.
And there is just the slicing and dicing of America based on race. And it’s tribalism at its very worst. And it’s really toxic and tragic that this is taken over our school system. And if you even try to say something, I’m white, and oftentimes when I’m talking to liberals and I try to mention Dr. King, I’m not allowed to even say that because I’m white and that by its very definition, is racism.
Leahy: How can we fix this problem, Carrie? Because you talk to state legislators and we talked to a lot of them here in Tennessee but really, they’re not setting the tone for the schools. This critical race theory curriculum has seeped everywhere. Teachers do it independently. The school boards put it in. The school directors put it in. What’s the solution?
Sheffield: I think the parents should absolutely fight back. It’s a different topic, but there was a success. For example, in California, when it comes to school choice, the parents were the ones who took the leadership there to allow for school choice. So I would recommend to parents to be vocal about it and to push back and say, I am not going to allow my child to be indoctrinated, to hate people of other races, or to feel ashamed of their family background. This is just fundamentally anti-American. I think parents should not be afraid to speak out about this. I interviewed Dennis Prager earlier this year, and he said his solution is to take your kids out and to home school them. So that’s always an option, too.
Leahy: Well, it’s interesting because we have a bunch of parents who met last night in Williamson County in the suburb of Nashville here, and the school director refused to show up. One of 12 school board members showed up and said pretty much the same thing, tell everybody you don’t like this. The problem is the parents that do tell folks this don’t get much relief. The institution, to me of K-12 public education, seems to be corrupted beyond repair. That’s my view.
Sheffield: You know, it is local. That is the beauty of America. And we are seeing at a macro level people migrating out of these liberal States like California, and like out of New York. I was reading data from the U.S. Census Bureau and I think it was 16 states that lost population in 2020 just through that census in 10 years. And so that’s the other option. You can always vote with your feet if it really is that bad. And I know a lot of parents do move for schools. You can go to a state where this toxic critical race theory is not allowed.
Leahy: The only state that I see that happening Carrie right now is Florida. That’s not been pushed back here against in Tennessee. And people are moving to Tennessee because we have low taxes and it’s a great place to live.
Sheffield: Right. Well, I think also a lot of it can happen at the local level. I don’t know in particular if this is coming down from the state of Tennessee as opposed to the local level. But I do know that local districts often will respond to parents. And so I think there are options, whether that’s petitioning, maybe putting things on local referendums, or putting things for a vote. There are options.
Leahy: You also want to talk about Joe Biden’s infrastructure program which looks like anything but infrastructure. Where does that stand right now?
Sheffield: I like to say it’s like that phrase, where’s the beef? Where’s the infrastructure? (Chuckles) And Newsweek was reporting it’s only about six percent of his plan overall. This is even according to a White House fact sheet that it was proposing only 115 billion or ‘modernizing the bridges and roads that are in most critical need of repair.’
But the vast majority of this is really just a liberal grab bag of many other things. In terms of the answer to your question of where things stand, the word on the street is that Republicans have their alternative plan they said they want to do. The price tag here for Joe Biden is out of control. He says he wants to do it in two different ways and in two different packages, and it could be upwards of four trillion dollars when you slice and divide them up.
But about two trillion for the first one. What it honestly is is a move to try to unwind what the Republicans did with their tax reform that was passed in 2017. What this bill would do is hike the corporate tax rate to 28 percent from 21 percent. And what that would do is make us the highest-taxed nation within the OECD.
The developed countries put our tax rate to 32.34 percent and that’s going to cause people to lose jobs. And you know, what’s sad is it the bottom 20 percent of earners the poorest among us are going to see a 1.5 percent drop in their after-tax income in the long run according to the Tax Foundation if this bill is passed. So it really doesn’t have hardly anything to do with infrastructure, it really is just a manifestation of a liberal wish list.
Leahy: Last question for Kerry Sheffield, a senior fellow with Independent Women’s Forum. When are you coming to Nashville so we can have you here in studio with us?
Sheffield: Oh, I would love that.
Listen to the full second hour here:
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Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 a.m. to the Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio.
Photo “Carrie Sheffield” by Patrick Ryan. CC BY-SA 4.0.