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 Tennessee Star National Correspondent Neil McCabe to the newsmakers line.
During the second hour, McCabe commented on the sporadic calendar in Washington, D.C., and the proposed new stimulus package. He added how he saw the Republicans not standing up against the violence and schools not opening and cited the Pentagon’s refusal to back President Trump.
Leahy: We are joined now by our good friend and national correspondent for The Tennessee Star and the Star Newspaper Group. Neil McCabe. Good morning Neil. What’s going on in the nation’s capital these days, Neil?
McCabe: It’s a very interesting time because a calendar is far more important than policy and politics in Washington. So if you want to get anything done, you have to do it between the State of the Union, Memorial Day, and in between Memorial Day and the Fourth of July is the dead sprint to really get something done.
After the Fourth of July and especially in a presidential election year, if you don’t get something done by the Fourth of July it’s not going to pass. Congress is going to be in and out sporadically until after Labor Day when of course we have to have our annual government shutdown crisis. (Leahy laughs)
Leahy: You skeptic. You cynic.
McCabe: Then you do the spurts, right? You do temporary funding until the Thursday before Columbus Day. Then you do a jump to Veterans Day. You try to get to Thanksgiving. I think the most cynical thing is when they schedule things right before Christmas because all the congressmen and senators have to go home for Christmas so they would pass basically anything. They would change our national language to Lithuanian if it meant going home for Christmas.
Leahy: Absolutely. So Neil, when did this very bad habit of moving away from regular order. That is reviewing budgets and committees and then moving up from the committees to House debate and discussion. How long have we been engaged in that very bad public policy practice?
McCabe: I guess you have to go back. It’s one of those Watergate reforms that are sort of personal. The Budget Act of 1974. Then you had the economic crisis with Nixon. Under President Reagan, you would do these sort of continuing resolutions. People forget that there were probably 10 government shutdowns with Jimmy Carter.
And Jimmy Carter was a Democrat in a Democratic-controlled House and Senate. The idea that you could do things and continue to keep things going. And we basically passed the same thing we passed last time until we change our minds. It’s a bad system but there’s is no way to fix it. And so here we are. I think what we are going to see is one more stimulus bill pass.
Leahy: We are? What’s going to be in do you think?
McCabe: It’s just going to be Christmas presents. (Leahy chuckles) It’s going to be the most amazing assortment of bicycles. Trains. Barbie dolls…
Leahy: You are such a skeptic this morning Neil.
McCabe: It’s so incredible that they are going to spit out the money. I think that one of the things that you are seeing in Congress which if its something more fabulous than a stimulus bill that’s going to come out is that what we’re seeing is that the Republicans on Capitol Hill are absolutely scared and hiding under the desk and they are not willing to stand up to help the president or sort of the party in its national aspirations coming into the election.
What we see is a majority of Americans opposing the changing names of our military bases. Like the one, I was fortunate to be stationed at was Fort Bragg. Of course, a lot of people argue that Confederate General Braxton Bragg did more than any other general to help the union win…
Leahy: I made that point in the five o’clock hour. (Laughs) He should be a union hero because he was such a bad Confederate general.
McCabe: Right. So the majority of people don’t want to change the name. So house Republicans unanimously go along with it. In the Armed Services Committee, there’s no fight. There’s no fight on the House floor. There’s going to be no fight in the Senate. The president says I’m going to veto this bill.
So the Republican leadership basically all goes along with a bill that the president says he’s going to veto. So they are going to set him up for a veto and it will probably be overwritten in the Senate. So what happens is when an election as you know because we worked with Pat Caddell in 2016.
Leahy: We did. The late great Pat Caddell. The best pollster in political history.
McCabe: Amazing. One of the things he said over and over again is that Trump can’t win the personality contest but he can win on the issues. And when you concede on the issues then the message going to the American people is well we don’t believe in this why should you. And I think that Trump is in an amazing position when it comes to issues. The people actually want the police.
The people actually want schools. They want schools that they can send their children too. And I think honestly we’re going to see a revolution in homeschooling coming out of this because so many people have been forced into it and find that it’s actually preferable. I think a lot of parents are stunned to see where their kids actually are in education.
Leahy: Developmentally far behind where they should be now.
McCabe: Yes. Having said that the Republicans should be running up the score on changing the bases. They should be running up the score on the fact that the Left wants to burn down our courthouses. But you don’t see any of that. You look even in the president’s cabinet and the only cabinet officers who are capable of creating and dominating the news cycle is Mike Pompeo who’s done a good job.
You have Bill Barr and Betsy DeVos have stood up with some things on the schooling. Then you have a cabinet officer like Mark Esper the Secretary of Defense who literally says I will not support the president when he is restoring order in the streets.
Now the president is forced to use Homeland Security and other federal law enforcement to do this in Portland. And you have the Secretary of Defense actually saying I have a problem with Homeland Security restoring. So I won’t restore order with the Department of Defense. You have the Pentagon and other parts of the government in open revolt.
Leahy: Against the president.
McCabe: It’s very interesting.
Leahy: Neil, let me bring up a point about our own company. I’d like to switch gears here a little bit. This will be good for you since you are based in the Washington area. You are going to have a home and an office there because our company is launching on August 17 The Virginia Star, which will cover Virginia state politics the same way we cover Tennessee state politics. The Tennessee Star. The Ohio Star. The Michigan Star and The Minnesota Star. And our affiliate [in Virginia] is John Fredricks.
McCabe: The great John Fredricks.
Leahy: You know John. He’s got a radio show in Richmond. He’s got studios in Richmond, Virginia, and the Norfolk, Virginia Beach area, and Washington, D.C. So when you are in Washington, D.C., and want a base of operations you’ve got one now.
Listen to the full second hour here:
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