Live from Music Row Friday 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 author and political writer Ben Weingarten to the newsmakers line.
During the second hour, Weingarten outlined what inspired him to write his latest book about Ilhan Omar and his new podcast NatCon Squad which he co-hosts with other millennial conservatives. Towards the end of the segment, he predicted in detail what we may see from a Biden presidency going forward.
Leahy: We welcome to our newsmaker line Ben Weingarten. He’s a co-host of a new podcast new show called the NatCon Squad. A production of the Edmund Burke Foundation. Their first episode is the trouble with Big Tech. He is also the author of a book and I love this title Ben. American Ingrate: Ilhan Omar and the Progressive-Islamist Takeover of the Democratic Party. Welcome to The Tennessee Star Report, Ben.
Weingarten: It’s my pleasure. Thanks so much for having me and I really was trying to go for the most subtle title I could go for with that book.
Leahy: That was published by Bombardier Books our good friend, Adam Bellow is now working at Bombardier Books. Did you work with Adam on that book?
Weingarten: I did and truth be told he was very influential in picking that title. (Leahy chuckles) It’s a provocative one, but I do think it is the perfect descriptor for our friend Congresswoman Omar. And that book I actually do believe is truly playing out in real-time. I think you’re seeing with the radicalism of the Biden administration and the so-called moderate Joe Biden that it really is more Ilhan Omar’s party now than the party of the old Joe Biden, Chuck Schumer, and Nancy Pelosi.
Leahy: I think you’re 100 percent right. And you know Bombardier Books and Post Hill Press is based here in Nashville. Adam is a good friend of mine. He was my editor and secured a deal I had with Harper Collins called The Covenant of Liberty: And the Ideological Origins of the Tea Party Movement. And a great influential guy.
And I’m delighted that you worked with him on that project. The big question for you first though. Ben Shapiro and The Daily Wire have moved to Nashville and Sean Davis of The Federalist moved to Nashville. Of course, we’re here in Nashville, The Tennessee Star and The Tennessee Star Report. When Ben are you going to move to Nashville?
Weingarten: (Chuckles) It’s a very good question. You know, I’ve been up in the Northeast my entire life. I was born in New York and raised in New Jersey. I went to school at Columbia in New York and have been in the city or was in the city for the last decade or so. And we recently moved out to a little red hamlet which has had a Republican mayor since they’ve had mayors in New Jersey but obviously in an ocean of blue.
So pretty much every day my wife and I are having a conversation about how people want to get out of New York. Should we flip our house and get out of here and move down south to brighter pastures? So stay tuned on that I guess that would be my response.
Leahy: Well, you have an open invitation and we will help you find a great place here in Nashville, and we would love to have you live in Middle Tennessee. It is becoming the center of conservative media in the United States today and for good reason. It’s a great place to live. Did I tell you no state income tax here?
Weingarten: You’re making a great hard sell here. And I have to say I have a brother-in-law who went to school down at Vanderbilt as well who only had the best things to say about Nashville. So I think there’s a compelling case to be made. And if you’re not tied down to the Northeast and you’re still up here get out while you still can. (Leahy chuckles)
Leahy: How did you go to Columbia University and escape with an independent mind?
Weingarten: I think it all comes back to family and upbringing. And I was very lucky to be raised in a home where every single day at the dinner table politics was the conversation from a conservative perspective. And I guess it goes back to my father who had an independent streak. He grew up in a house of leftists and he ended up converting those leftists to conservatives as well.
And I think ultimately it’s about what are the values and principles that ultimately lead to human flourishing and to pursuing the highest aspirations in man. And it is our conservative values and principles. Our Judeo-Christian classical Western Civilization principles build that. So I go back to my parents. My father was an elected official in the state of New Jersey. He was a state legislature legislator. He ran for the U.S. house as well.
So I was steeped in it pretty much from the start walking around delivering campaign literature back when you still did that by hand helping in those campaigns. And it had an indelible impact on me. And then going to Columbia only strengthen my convictions because every single day obviously the things I believed most deeply were under assault on that campus.
And so I think if anything was a great experience in terms of only forcing me to think even more deeply about these issues and redouble my commitment to them. So it was a great experience in that respect. And Columbia is a great education for what it’s worth in terms of its core curriculum where you read all the classic books.
They still haven’t completely bastardized that curriculum. I pray that they don’t. But like with everything in the academy everything that made the academy great is being overridden right now in favor of wokeism. And that’s a huge danger. And that explains why all the commanding heights of society are today controlled by the woke.
Leahy: Tell us about your new program. It’s a podcast called NatCon Squad? Tell us who’s with you on that and how that came about.
Weingarten: Yeah, it’s a really fun initiative to be a part of. It consists of myself, Rachel Bovard who is just an exceptional writer thinker when it comes to the nitty-gritty of essentially all of the corruption that’s baked into legislation on Capitol Hill. She was a longtime Hill staffer and she has been uniquely or keenly focused on the Big Tech issue and the myriad ways that we must combat it. So she’s excellent as well.
My co-host on another show actually that we just launched for The Federalist which were calling BAD News, the media criticism show conservatives deserve. Emily Jahinsky who’s the culture editor at The Federalist is another panelist. And then lastly my friend Josh Hammer who among many other things is the editor of the opinion section at Newsweek where I also write a column. Josh is just a rock-ribbed conservative from a legal perspective.
The genesis of the show was basically that there ought to be sort of a millennial version and I say that and I have the same kind of pejorative view of millennials, even though I am one as probably your listeners do as well. But a millennial version of the McLaughlin Group with conservatives who are open to thinking about what the future of conservatism actually is in a post-Trump world.
And I think Trump took the party really where the constituency was and where the American people are. But it is still determine where kind of the intellectual grounding is for it and what our program ought to be going forward. And so those are the kinds of questions that we hash out in the show. Each show we focus on four topics in very in-depth long-form conversations where we really allow the subjects to breathe. We’re very excited about it and we think hopefully it’s insightful and pretty entertaining too for viewers.
Leahy: How can people get to the NatCon Squad?
Weingarten: Yep, if you just go to YouTube and search Nat Con Squad. It’ll come right up. It’s under the national conservatism banner there. So I urge you to check that out. And then my other show BAD NEWS, which we’re really excited about which is a two-day-a-week sort of faster quicker harder-hitting media criticism show. You can find it at Bit.Ly/fdrlstbn. Or of course, you can go to my website at benweingarten.com where I link all of them.
Leahy: Now I want to go back to Ilhan Omar. What a story there. I love the title American Ingrate. You said she has really now taken over the Democratic Party particularly with the Biden Administration. Tell us a little bit more about that.
Weingarten: Yes. The genesis of this book was I had written a piece about what if we applied the Russian collusion standard to Ilhan Omar, what would we find? And so essentially I explored all of her links both foreign and domestic with Islamic supremacists, individuals, groups, entities, and the like and it raised a very concerning story and asked the question, how is this congresswoman sitting on the House Foreign Affairs Committee right now?
And of course, she already caved and it’s a curry favor with its progressive wing so Nancy Pelosi at the time could retain her Speaker’s gavel or take her Speaker’s gavel back. She made a deal with her progressives to put Ilhan Omar on that House Foreign Affairs Committee. And by the way, she’s now been elevated to running at least one of the subcommittees.
Leahy: I saw that. It’s the Africa subcommittee. We’ve got about a minute left. What do you predict going forward here in the next couple of months with the Biden Administration?
Weingarten: Well look, I think you’re seeing that while the press is focused on Mario Kart and what ice cream flavor Joe Biden likes the best or standing on the lawn with signs that say unity and healing, there’s going to be an assault on every single one of the values and principles that we all hold dear. There’s a complete reversal of the national security and foreign policy that the Trump administration put in place.
We’re going to see the complete erosion of our sovereignty on the border. I suspect we’re going to continue with rolling lockdowns and the Draconian tyrannical shutdown of American life. Not on the basis of science but wokeism throughout every orifice of the federal government. Most of this has already been done or the wheels have been set in motion by executive order.
A continued assault on the energy sector the Golden Goose of our economy. So in short we’re under assault. And then there’s the coming assault on the war on wrong thinkers, which I recently wrote about at The Federalist and urge all your listeners to check it out. And how the domestic war on terrorism may seek to criminalize political dissent is the article.
Leahy: Ben Weingarten. We have a couple of houses here we want you to take a look at in Nashville. Please move because we need another great conservative thinker here in Nashville. Thanks for joining us today Ben.
Weingarten: Thanks so much. I really appreciate it.
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 “Ben Weingarten” by Ben Weingarten. Photo “American Ingrate: Ilhan Omar and the Progressive-Islamist Takeover of the Democratic Party” by Amazon.