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 all-star panelist Carol Swain for discussion on the lack of Republican leadership, meeting AZ GOP governor nominee Kari Lake, and the importance of school choice.
Leahy: In-studio, first time in a long time, our very good friend, all-star panelist Carol Swain. Carol, good morning.
Swain: It’s always great to be here, Michael.
Leahy: Carol, you know, I am now, today, as of this moment, I’m a hero in the Leahy household. Would you like to know why?
Leahy: Because I’m talking with you, and my wife is your biggest fan.
Swain: Alright. Thank you.
Leahy: So that’s good news for me. You have been traveling a lot, and you went to a recent conference, I guess it was in Dallas, where you met Kari Lake, the GOP nominee.
Swain: It was in Austin.
Leahy: In Austin … a Texas Public policy event, right/.
Swain: It was a retreat. It wasn’t held at the headquarters, but yes, it was a leadership retreat.
Leahy: And so Kari Lake is there, and you had a chance to meet with her. I think she is a spectacular communicator, and very effective. Tell us about your conversation with Kari Lake. She’s running for governor in Arizona as the GOP nominee.
Swain: Michael, this may make some of your listeners uncomfortable, but for most of them, it won’t. I felt like I met another real sister in Christ that was doing what she was called to do. And often I meet women like her that never thought they would be doing the thing that they’re doing.
Like with her running for governor, that’s not something that she planned all of her life. Many politicians have been wanting to be a politician for a long time. She’s not someone that has spent her life wanting to be a politician. She stepped up to the plate because there is a critical need in this country.
Leahy: And she grew up in Iowa, and went to the University of Iowa. Became a broadcaster, and for, I guess, the past 20-odd years, has been the TV anchor on one of the major local stations in Phoenix. And now she is a big critic of media for not being honest.
Swain: Right. And I understand that she did a video or something that went viral where she explained why she was leaving media, and that is what propelled her into the public arena. Once it went viral, all of a sudden people wanted more of this individual because of the values that she represented and her courage and strength.
Leahy: She’s also, perhaps, as a politician now, one of the most effective communicators I’ve ever seen. She’s very good, if you watched her on any of the Fox News segments.
Swain: Well, she should be.
Leahy: She’s had a lot of experience.
Swain: She’s been preparing for this position all of her life, so she’s totally prepared in every way. And again, she is the ultimate stateswoman. She did not seek political office because she wants power. She was steered into that role, because there was this critical need, and so she’s stepping into a void that she didn’t see coming.
Leahy: And it’s interesting. Because she’s such an effective communicator, and because she’s a big supporter of the MAGA agenda, and has been endorsed by Donald Trump.
Swain: And when you say MAGA – because the Democrats and progressives have tried to demonize that – that means Make America Great Again. Every American should want to make America great.
And so, yes, she loves America, as do many of us. Even though I tell people often that I don’t love this version of America that I’m experiencing right now. Right now I feel like I’m experiencing a nightmare.
Leahy: Yes, and we’ve talked about that earlier in the 6:00 hour with Clint Brewer. I’d say we are about to reach the nadir, N-A-D-I-R, of our American constitutional republic on November 8th, and it will start getting better every day after that.
Swain: Well, hopefully.
Swain: Because there are some Republicans that have enabled the Biden administration, and unless they take a leadership role, it’s no telling … we’ll have World War III. And I don’t hear enough Republicans standing up and speaking for the needs of our nation as opposed to its interference with other nations across the world.
Leahy: Because of the weakness of Biden’s foreign policy and recklessness in many regards.
Swain: And when you have weakness, you expect stronger leaders to stand up on principle. And unless I’m missing something, I’m not hearing the voices that I would have hoped to hear as far as taking leadership positions against some of the madness that’s taking place in the world right now.
Leahy: One of the things I see – and I’d be curious to see your thoughts on this, Carol – is that in the United States, we have a federal form of government, which means that the states have certain rights, and individuals, of course, within the states have rights. And the national federal government over the past 100 years has usurped many of those rights.
Swain: They certainly have. And you look at the public schools and the National Education Association. They have this huge building in Washington, D.C. where they plot mischief against our children and our teachers. (Leahy laughs)
Leahy: That’s a good way to put it.
Swain: And so we do need to return power to the states. Education should be something that state and local authorities, with the input of parents and teachers, and stakeholders, should be taking the lead in shaping the educational experiences of our children across the country.
Leahy: And let me kind of continue on that theme, because I see, in order to take back the powers rightly due to states that have been usurped by the national federal government, you have to have a strong state leader who will take it back.
Swain: That’s right.
Leahy: We have an example of that in Florida, in Ron DeSantis.
Swain: Right, I agree.
Leahy: And he’s doing great, and people like him, and he’s on a glide path, it would appear, to be re-elected. Arizona, I think, is another example where the gubernatorial nominee Kari Lake, I think will be aggressively pursuing state rights. They actually have already passed in Arizona a fascinating law that puts Arizona at the forefront of educational choice. It’s called the Empowerment Scholarship Account. And the law was passed and has gone into effect.
And it allows every parent of a child to get $7,000 a year for their child to go to a private school, to do home-schooling, to do a learning pod, or anything education-related. That’s going into effect now. I think that may well be a model for the rest of the country. Your thoughts on that, Carol?
Swain: I agree 100 percent. And I believe that the demand for school choice, what we’ve seen happen over the last couple of years has been so dangerous to our children, but it has awakened so many stakeholders.
I’m talking about parents and teachers, because the teachers are locked in a situation much like the conservative professors were some years ago. The best teachers are being pushed out.
And so it’s really important for parents to have choices. And whether or not they home-school or go to a Christian classical academy or private school that teaches their values and principles, they need choice.
And even in the public schools, I believe in public schools, and I believe that the parents who have the resources to exercise choice also have a stake in the public schools. You cannot insulate your child by home-schooling or putting them in an elite school and thinking that they’re going to be insulated from harm.
You have a stake in everyone’s education because your children have relatives, they have friends, they’re going to be out in the world with other people.
And we pay our tax dollars to support the public school system. So no matter what happens, we have a stake in being involved in making sure that public schools are the best they can be.
Listen to today’s show highlights, including this interview:
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