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 The Tennessee Star Washington Correspondent Neil McCabe to the newsmaker line to discuss his recent Stony Brook University article and the strategic force of Democrats.
Leahy: We are joined on the newsmaker line now by the very best Washington correspondent in the country, Neil McCabe, who represents The Tennessee Star and The Star News Network. Neil, you broke a story. Headline: Stony Brook Student Beaten for Backing Amy Coney Barrett Faces Barrett-Backed Vax Rule Expulsion. Tell us about that story, Neil.
McCabe: It’s one story, but I think it’s sort of an allegory for what’s happening to our country. And certainly, tens of thousands of students are going through the same thing. Isabella Maria DeLuca was working as an intern for the Department of Energy during the fall of 2020.
She and a bunch of her conservative friends went to the Supreme Court to be part of a rally for Barrett, who is, of course, President Donald Trump’s nominee for the Supreme Court right before the election.
And a bunch of leftists surrounded her and they really beat her up pretty bad. Two women were punching her in the face, and one of the women started choking her. And they had her on the ground and she got pretty bruised.
And finally, some guy intervened. And as the guy sort of helping her up, he says, you know, this wouldn’t have happened if you were wearing a mask. And so this is the country we live in today. It’s kind of a frightening story.
And then, of course, fast forward to a year later, it was Amy Coney Barrett who ruled in favor of the Indiana University rule, saying all students must be vaccinated or they get expelled. And what they did at Stony Brook University, which is on Long Island, they basically gave the students till the end of September.
Isabella and a bunch of other students are going to lose their tuition and they’re going to lose all their credits. And this is all at the hands of someone that she helped put in the Supreme Court. Somebody I don’t want to say she put her life on the line, but she took more solid punches than a lot of us did Mike.
Leahy: What’s happening with Amy Coney Barrett on the Supreme Court? They started this week on Monday this session will be her first full session so far. To me, she’s been more than a little bit disappointing.
McCabe: I think what it comes down to is the Federalist Society. We decided that the Federalist Society was going to be the arbiter of who Republicans put on the Supreme Court.
And I suspect that the Federal Society is not like the sort of a conservative insurgency that it was when you and I were in school around 50, 60 years ago. (Chuckles) But now I think if the Federalist Society, like Heritage and a bunch of other places, they’ve become part of the establishment.
And they also signed off on Kavanaugh. I also signed off on Gorsich. These guys weren’t put on the Supreme Court because they look pretty. They were put on the Supreme Court to protect gun rights and to ban abortion. Bottom line.
Leahy: So we got trouble on the Supreme Court. They’re back in session. We also have craziness going on in Congress, in the House of Representatives, and the Senate.
Crom Carmichael is very curious as to what the status of that is. He’s been on vacation for 10 days. He’s come back and he tells me nothing has changed. Crom, what’s your question for Neil?
Carmichael: Where do you think the so-called $3.5 trillion bill stands?
McCabe: That reconciliation bill will be knocked down to $2 trillion. And that will pass because Manchin will help trim it down. And then once that passes, they’ll pass the bipartisan infrastructure bill, and everybody will get a huge, huge payday.
Like the Democrats realize that they’re not going to get another chance at lining their pockets and the pockets of all their friends. This is the smash and grab, and they’re going to do it.
Leahy: Smash and grab. Now, that’s a great phrase used elsewhere. But you, Neil McCabe, have used it to describe, in essence, the Democratic strategy about everything when they control the House and the Senate.
Carmichael: And the presidency.
McCabe: And the Democrats are willing to burn the majority, which is something the Republicans refuse to do. And so everyone laughed about how under Obama Democrats watch the House and Senate. But Obama’s legislative program is the law of the land. Obamacare is still there.
Chris Dodd is still there. So you can laugh all you want but the Democrats got their agenda done. Democrats send people to get an agenda accomplished. Republicans send people to Washington to do, I don’t know. Just hang out?
Leahy: No, no, no. Some Republicans will say bad things about Democrats in the press. They get that done. But what does that accomplish?
McCabe: Yes. Thank you. Thank you for that.
Leahy: You’re welcome.
McCabe: What is it? But you’ll remember that during the Obamacare fight, Rahm Emanuel, who built that 2006 House takeover by the Democrats, as the chief of staff for Barack Obama he begged Nancy Pelosi to go slow in Obamacare.
And Pelosi said, we’re not going slow. We’re going for it all. And that’s what they did. And it’s the law of the land. I think Manchin worked Schumer up the ribs. I think he got his point across.
Schumer is not going to become a Republican. Schumer’s power is in the Democratic Party to think that he’s going to get everything he wants. And he’s going to give some payback to some of these people who hate coal.
Manchin’s going to bring back the Hyde Amendment, something the Republicans don’t even care about. No Republicans are talking about bringing back the Hyde Amendment.
It’s Manchin that’s going to bring back the Hyde Amendment. It’ll be interesting to see how Sinema behaves after they’ve been chasing her in the airport and chasing her into the ladies’ room. She might be a problem in the Senate because I think that people went too far harassing her.
Leahy: The question about Kyrsten Sinema and Joe Manchin, do you think either of them will join the Republican Party in light of all of the harassment both have received in particular lately, Kyrsten Sinema?
McCabe: Yes. Sinema is an interesting case. I would see Sinema before I see Manchin. And the problem with Manchin is that his entire family is completely interwoven into the Democratic Party of West Virginia.
And after Manchin, there are no more Democrats ever elected in West Virginia. And so he basically is king of that hill. And so why would he give that up? He’s in a very good spot right now.
Carmichael: When is Manchin up for reelection?
Leahy: 2026. He beat Morrison. It’s either ’24 or ’26.
Carmichael: But 24 is much different than 26 in West Virginia. A presidential election. If he’s up on the same time as the president, then he’s going to have a tough time. I don’t care who he is. If a good candidate runs against him, he’ll still have a tough time in West Virginia.
McCabe: He had a tough time when he was trying to take away people’s guns. He’s not going to have a tough time when he’s embarrassing the leftists. West Virginia is eating that up.
And Senator Capito, she’s no walk in the park either. She’s a real battle-ax. She’s tied up with the whole Paul Ryan fundraising circle.
She shares a fundraiser with Paul Ryan. So she’s allied with Ryan and Cassidy. And, of course, your favorite, Mike, Liz Cheney.
Leahy: Oh, yes. Absolutely. Well, interesting. Manchin is up again in 2024. Crom and Neil, you are both correct in that regard. Neil McCabe, thanks so much! Talk to you again next Wednesday. I appreciate you coming on.
McCabe: Take care, guys.
Listen to the full third hour here:
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