Live from Music Row Monday 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 all-star panelist, Dr. Carol Swain, a newly appointed fellow for constitutional studies at the Texas Public Policy Foundation to discuss her new position and the political battles within a divided union.
Leahy: We are joined on our newsmaker line right now by our very good friend. All-star panelist, Carol Swain, former Vanderbilt professor and now distinguished fellow for constitutional studies at the Texas Public Policy Foundation. Good morning, Carol.
Swain: Good morning, Michael.
Leahy: That is a significant appointment. How did that come about? Of all of the state-based conservative think tanks out there, the most effective, the most well respected is the Texas Public Policy Foundation. Now, you are a distinguished fellow there. How did that happen?
Swain: They contacted me a couple of months ago, and I’ve been so busy for a while, they fell through the cracks, and eventually we had a conversation and out of the conversation, the appointment occurred.
Leahy: Why do they reach out to you? What did they say and tell me what you think about them? And how much traveling are you going to have to do now because we want to keep you here in Nashville, of course.
Swain: A lot of what I’ll be doing will involve media. I will also write op-ed pieces, testify before the legislature, meet with donors, and maybe also do some podcasting. And my other big news for your audience is that I ended my show Conversations with Dr. Carol Swain.
Two minutes to think about it, and I ended it a few days before I got the offer from the Texas Public Policy Foundation. So the two things are unrelated. What it means for me is that I will have an infrastructure to do what I already do from a larger platform.
Leahy: And they’ve got quite an operation down there. Tell us about the Texas Public Policy Foundation.
Swain: They’re totally aligned with the values of most conservatives and conservatives in Tennessee. And I feel like if any state is going to save the union, it will be Texas because they just don’t rollover.
And they’re true conservatives. If you think about me, I left Vanderbilt in 2017. I’ve been out there. I’ve never been approached by any organization for a position since I left Vanderbilt. In fact, I applied for two. One at Belmont and another Brentwood Academy, and those things fell through.
Leahy: So Belmont University says we don’t want an independent conservative black voice in the form of Carol Swain. Brentwood Academy didn’t. And a distinguished scholar I might add.
But the Texas Public Policy Foundation came after you. Tell us about what that conversation was and why they felt it was so important that they needed you in their organization.
Swain: It’s not just the timing as much that I was also approached by another major organization in D.C. two days before I was asked about the Texas Public Policy position.
I think the Critical Race Theory has put me on the radar in a way that maybe I haven’t been before because I’m seen as one of the foremost experts in that area, but also leading the charge nationally.
Education and CRT is certainly something that they’re interested in. But there are other topic areas where I speak out that we’re in alignment, and I didn’t have to worry about whether or not they would be concerned about my Twitter feed or things that I do in the world. (Chuckles)
Leahy: Yeah, really. I love that about Texas and conservatives in Texas, don’t you?
Swain: I do, too.
Leahy: Yeah, it’s great. But now you can’t spend too much time in Texas, right? I mean, you’ll be there a bit, but you’ll still be based here, right?
Swain: Probably be based here. Yes, I’ll be based here. And I will also meet with their donors and just do whatever I’m asked to do. And it is a fellowship. I don’t know how long it will continue, but it will continue until we get the job done. (Laughs)
Leahy: We got a big job in front of us, Carol.
Swain: I know.
Leahy: Tell me about this Merrick Garland decision here to go after parents who don’t like CRT.
Swain: What I find fascinating is that the Department of Justice, of all the institutions and organizations in Washington, you would think that they would be defending the Constitution and the civil rights laws and that they would be educating people and leading the charge.
And what they’re doing is actually stripping parents of their rights and that they are the terrorist it seems in some ways rather than these parents that they’re going after. And it’s all about intimidation.
They want parents to just shut up and let the government have their children. It’s all about control. Everything we see taking place in Washington is about control.
And as far as CRT, we focus on CRT. But Critical Race Theory itself divides Americans in so many ways. When you look at what’s happening with the vaccination mandate and how they’re dividing our society between those who are vaccinated and those who are unvaccinated, they’re not following any kind of science.
It’s all about dividing people, and they are bullying, shaming, intimidating, and trampling on the rights of unvaccinated people in the same way that they are bullying and trampling right now on the rights of white people.
And also with racial and ethnic minorities, they’re moving back to an era of segregation. And I would not be surprised by the political left and the progressives because they have always been in favor of segregation.
They’ve always integrated the rights of racial and ethnic minorities. And so whatever they say about CRT, it’s not about equity, it’s not about helping racial and ethnic minorities. It’s all about power. It’s all about Marxism.
Leahy: Here’s an interesting question for you, Carol. You have been out there alone for so long since you left Vanderbilt, and you have a lot of friends all around Fox News and Friends here on The Tennessee Star Report and at The Tennessee Star and in conservative media.
But you have been isolated, I think, by a lot of the academics on the left. Now you have an opportunity to really connect with high-level, like-minded conservative academics in the Texas Public Policy Foundation. It seems to me that will be energizing and rejuvenating for you.
Swain: Well, you know, Michael, I have not been as isolated as you think because I’m a member of the Council on National Policy. CNP. I’m involved with things connected to The Heritage Foundation.
I’ve been out there in conservative circles. One of the things that happened a few weeks ago is that C-Span did a two-hour interview with me about books. And it was not just my books, but it was books I had read.
And I believe it was meant to be a gotcha because the first question was about why did you accept Donald Trump’s appointment to the 1776 Commission?
It was presented like, we want to have your thoughts about books that have influenced you. But it turned in my favor because I responded to the moderator in such a way that kind of disarmed him.
But the response from the listeners was all positive. It was all good. And it was something that may have been meant to be a got you of me but it backfired.
Leahy: Who was the moderator?
Swain: I can’t remember his name. His name, his first name have been Peter. It was an older guy. An older white guy.
Leahy: Let me just say something about CSPAN. I have been a big fan of CSPAN, wrote a case study about Brian Lamb, big fan of Brian Lamb.
I have noticed, however, in the past period of time, they seem to lean left in their questions. And it’s not surprising that they were trying to set you up and that you handled it magnificently.
Swain: I can tell you that I have had many opportunities and the people who are reaching out to me, they cut across partisan lines. And when we’re talking about CRT and some of these issues, these are issues that Democrats are just as concerned about as Republicans.
We have an opportunity to reach people across partisan, racial and ethnic lines. This is about America. This is about saving our nation. And for the people who are in Tennessee, we may look like a red state, but we don’t act like a red state.
And I’m sick and tired of these political games that I see played among the local politicians. And we need to find a way to decide who we are and stop fighting each other.
We’re fighting each other so much that we can never win any real battles. And right now, we’re not controlling that much in our red state.
Leahy: Carol Swain, congratulations on your very important selection by the Texas Public Policy Foundation as a distinguished fellow for constitutional studies. Come back again if you would, please. Thanks for joining us today.
Swain: I will. Thank you.
Listen to the second hour here:
– – –