The Epoch Times Editor at Large Roger Simon on DeSantis, the New Federalism and Jokes at a Run on Metro City Council

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis


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 Roger Simon to the studio to discuss his most recent article at The Epoch Times discussing Ron DeSantis’s new federalism and states’ rights.

Leahy: In the studio with us Amy Wilhite executive director of 2nd Vote and Roger Simon, my former boss and founder of Pajamas Media, now Editor At Large of The Epoch Times, the fastest growing newspaper in America. Now we have a preview, Roger, of your column coming out today. When you talked about it off air I said we’ve got to discuss this. Only our listeners will hear this before anybody else.

Simon: Press the button.

Leahy: Tell us about your article.

Simon: Well, it’s called DeSantis leads the way to the new federalism. And I’m trying to coin a phrase, the new federalism. And the reason I’m trying to do that is to point out that the way back to America because we’re losing the America that the framers had in mind and that many of us love. And that all the people who voted for Trump revived and who knows how many that really was through the states.

And it is states’ rights, which was the great idea that the founders had in mind and that only governor so far who was fully taking advantage of what I would call the new federalism. A revival of the old federalism is DeSantis in Florida. And just yesterday, I believe it was that he announced that he was going to sign into a law forbidding the vaccines from being mandatory.

Now there’s an offshoot of that’s really important. And that is if the vaccines become mandatory across the country we’ll all be asked to have them. And this is in the works of New York who already has trial versions of this out there. A vaccine passport on our cell phones. Now, why is that really bad? Well, in China, everybody has got something called a social credit score on their cell phones so that the state monitors everything they do, and that determines whether they can get a mortgage, whether they get a job, or whether they can travel, etcetera, etcetera. And we’re heading in that direction without even knowing it. And this is why we have to have a new federalism where the governors at least put their foot down and stop this trend.

Leahy: I agree with you a 110 percent on that, Roger. And it’s interesting that you say that because I also agree that it’s Ron DeSantis in Florida who’s leading the way. Amy, you were there in Florida for CPAC. You were there as well Roger. But you said that DeSantis was very popular at CPAC.

Wilhite: Oh, very much so. He was very welcoming to the conference. And the talk there was he’s going to be our next President. That was all the talk while we were there from several people.

Leahy: Well, and the reason he’s popular, Roger, is because he is asserting the traditional view that the states are sovereign and have a whole series of rights that have been usurped by the federal government to take your phrase, the new federalism. The new federalism is the old federalism.

Simon: Exactly. It’s just a reminder that we’ve got to renew it. What I say in the article is if there is a federalism and new federalism, old or new, that means if New York and California want to have those passports, let them have it.

Leahy: Let them at it.

Simon: Because if the citizens of the state, and that’s an important thing, not the officials give it to them. If the citizens want something, they should have it.

Wilhite: We’ll probably just have more moving to Tennessee. (Simon chuckles)

Leahy: I was thinking the same thing now is I want to kind of segue a little bit on that because anybody who is a sane person and who’s a business person who doesn’t work for a Fortune 500 company if you’re a small business guy and you currently have your business in California or New York or Illinois, what you want to do is get out. You want to get out because they’re just crushing you with rules and regulations.

Simon: Look, I’m an ex-pat from California as of now, about two years and eight months. So I’m sort of feeling like I’m beginning to be a Tennesseean.

Leahy: You are a Tennesseean.

Simon: I am legally now. Of course, I have my driver’s license, yadda yadda. But,  I think it actually takes a long time and psychologically to move for people.

Leahy: So how long has it taken you?

Simon: Well, I’m two years and eight months, so I’m sort of sliding in there. I’ll never have a drawl.

Wilhite: I was going to say, give you another couple of years and you might have a Tennessee accent.

Leahy: You’re here from South Brooklyn, right?

Simon: No, I’m from Manhattan.

Leahy: South Manhattan. That’s right. South Manhattan.

Wilhite: Hang around with me and you’ll get one.

Leahy: Through osmosis. It’s a very, very good point, though Roger. And one of our friends. The original Instapundit.

Simon: Glenn Reynolds.

Leahy: Professor of constitutional law at Tennessee, has a very good idea for everybody coming to Tennessee…a welcome wagon.

Simon: I read that. I mean, I think that’s a great idea because the welcome wagon would remind the people when they arrive not to bring those California notions and New York notions with them that this is a different place.

Leahy: Yeah. We have no state income tax, and we’re actually never going to have one now because it’s in our Constitution. Remember, we don’t have a state income tax, and all of those crazy ideas like those things like transgender and sports and just go down the list. We don’t do that here in Tennessee. Now, they do it in Nashville and Memphis, but the rest of us, we don’t do that stuff.

Simon: Well, the interesting thing about it was that I was ignorant when I moved here a little bit because I thought, well, it’s a red state. Nashville will be pretty red. I learned other ways in about a week. (Leahy chuckles) But I think it’s time to do to Nashville what the blue states try to do to us. Let’s try to turn Nashville red. Well, we’ve been talking about that.

Craig Huey who’s a marketing specialist who moved here took his whole direct marketing firm, left Southern California, moved in June. He’s got this idea. We’ve got levels of activism going on here with, of course, the Nashville Taxpayer Protection Act, which would roll back the 34 percent property tax. There’s a dispute of course with the Metro government who does not want to do that.

But Jim Roberts and his group, they turned in petitions on Thursday 14,000 signatures. They say they only need about 12,000 to get on the ballot to roll it back. Now, the city lawyers are looking at that and saying no, you need 32,000. So there’s going to be some dispute there. But I have an idea. The next Metro Council elections here, Roger. Now you’re arrested and up Davidson County, right?

Simon: That’s true.

Leahy: Ohhh.

Simon: Uh oh. Listen…

Leahy: You know where I’m going here?

Simon: Yeah, I know, because somebody years ago, they were trying to get me to run from Congress in Palm Springs. (Chuckles) The reason I quickly said no is you have if you’re in the Congress, you have to be back home in the summer. You ever been to Palm Springs in the summer? (Chuckles)

Leahy: No. It’s a little hot. But we do have August of 2022 there will be council elections and city mayor elections. Right now, there are 40 members of that council and five at large. Thirty-five elected by districts. If we had 21 of those who were conservative or sane people, we could get 21 in 22, I think it is, right. Or maybe it’s 23. Actually, think about it. It’s 2023 that the next elections are.

Simon: Well, you got one Gray Councilman against the whole tribe. That’s Steve Glover and he’s very good.

Leahy: But the rest of them. So I think it’s August of 2023. You’ve got plenty of time to plan.

Wilhite: You could add councilmen to your title or councilman at large.

Leahy: Either at large. I think you’d be a great councilman.

Wilhite: Me too.

Leahy: He’s saying now please, please, please.

Simon: Every time this comes up in my household, my wife says you’re crazy to run because I have a pretty complicated pass. I’ll admit it. I worked in Hollywood for 40 years.

Leahy: Yeah. And you were at one time, I guess you would be aligned politically with the Hollywood views.

Simon: Oh, very much so. In fact, a leader there. That’s the reason that the people don’t like you because you saw the light after. I guess it was after 9/11 was right?

Simon: 9/11 right.

Leahy: That’s what changed your views?

Simon: Pretty much.

Leahy: And you started kind of looking at the world differently. But the problem is, on the left, they all seem to think of like, Roger.

Simon: I noticed.

Leahy: And so you can’t break out of that thought process can you?

Simon: And also there’s a question of apostasy. Muslims are not the only ones who don’t like apostates.

Leahy: Left-wing.

Simon: If you are an apostate, I think for almost anything, you threaten the original more than most people.

Leahy: And that’s why you have so many people who aren’t sending you Christmas cards, right?

Simon: Exactly. Or making movie scripts I would like to make.

Leahy: Exactly.

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.





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