Reagan Speechwriter Drops Truth Bombs on Lib ‘Meet the Press’ Panel

News & Politics

With President Biden’s massive spending agenda falling apart in Congress (his own party’s infighting was seeing to its failure), former Reagan speechwriter, New York Post columnist and Commentary editor, John Podhoretz dropped some inconvenient truth bombs on Meet the Press’s liberal panel of mostly media types. Meanwhile, the panel spent much of their Sunday discussion on NBC lamenting how Democrats just couldn’t get things together.

Podhoretz’s first truth bomb came in the form of calling out how Biden was trying to pass his sweeping agenda when he didn’t have a mandate from the American people. “If misreading a mandate is a sin in politics, pretending that you have one when you don’t is a mortal sin,” NBC political director, Chuck Todd said, reading from the writing of Charlie Cook of the Cook Political Report.

According to Podhoretz’s retelling, Biden was essentially tricked into believing delusions of grandeur that he could be a great American president. He and Todd actually had a little bit of a laugh at Biden’s expense as Podhoretz contrasted him to President Johnson:

PODHORETZ: In March, Jon Meacham convened a bunch of historians at the White House who said to Biden, you can be FDR, you can be LBJ. Lyndon Baines Johnson won election in 1964 with a 155-seat majority in the House and 69 —

TODD: Say that again.

PODHORETZ: 155 seat majority and 69—

TODD: Is that more than five?

PODHORETZ:  And 69 Democratic senators. And in 1965 they passed 70 major pieces of legislation. If you go to the Johnson library, there are 70 pens lined up. That’s the great society.

“Joe Biden has a majority of — nobody even knows? Is it three, is it five, is it four in the House,” Podhoretz quipped. “And a 50/50 Senate. Only a 50/50 Senate because of bizarre machinations by Trump in November and December that depressed the Republican vote.”

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NBC senior Capitol Hill correspondent Garrett Haake tried to stick up for Democrats by arguing, “They’re locked in structurally” with “the way reconciliation works” and being forced to take stuff out of the bill was hurting their party coalition.

Podhoretz then took that opportunity to drop his second truth bomb about how “crazy” the Democratic spending spree was BEFORE the progressives started trying to cram in so-called “social infrastructure”:

And they had a coalition for a bill. They have a huge spending bill, a trillion-dollar infrastructure bill. That’s a big bill. Like, there was a time when say you were going to spend a trillion on a bill was like, “what, are you crazy?!” Obama didn’t spend a trillion dollars on the stimulus package in 2009.

This all put Boston Globe opinion writer Kimberly Atkins Stohr in a sour mood seeing as she huffed about how the original spending bill wouldn’t “satisfy the people who spent the pandemic marching in the streets for real social justice reform.

She also lashed out at West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin for supposedly relishing his influence in the process and that he was doing it all for himself. Then suggested that the roughly 1.8 million people living in West Virginia shouldn’t matter to the rest of the country and should just be forgotten. “I do think that the American people and Senator Manchin should realize that West Virginians make up one-half of one percent of the American population,” she sneered.

Truth bomb number three came immediately after as Podhoretz pointed out the fact Manchin was actually listening to his constituents, and how even President George W. Bush was able to get Democrats on board with his legislative agenda to an extent (Click “expand”):

But the West Virginians who voted Joe Manchin in voted almost 40 percent for Trump. Trump’s margin was 40 points in 2020 in West Virginia. He is representing his constituents.

In 2001 when George W. Bush had a Senate almost exactly analogous to this, he got one major piece of legislation through that was a bipartisan piece of legislation shepherded by Teddy Kennedy. That was No Child Left Behind. That was an education bill for which they had to be bipartisan support. They have that bill, they have the infrastructure bill, and Democrats are tanking the infrastructure bill.

Earlier in the conversation, Atkins Stohr warned that if Democrats didn’t pass Biden’s radical agenda, it “will be absolutely devastating to the Democratic base if they walk away not just with nothing … if they walk away with nothing, they can expect, as you said, to pack up.”

Talk about kicking them when they’re down. Podhoretz’s truth bombs were savage.

This largely liberal panel was made possible because of lucrative sponsorships from Amazon and GEICO. Their contact information is linked so you can tell them about the biased news they’re funding.

The transcript is below, click “expand” to read:

NBC’s Meet the Press
October 17, 2021
10:56:14 a.m. Eastern

CHUCK TODD: The President’s agenda feels a bit, sort of, clogged up a little bit. What is the mindset of Democrats on Capitol Hill? Do they see the forest right now through these trees of obstruction if you will?

GARRETT HAAKE: I think they will. I mean, Democrats promised the world to their voters coming into the last election cycle. And now they’re trying to figure out what they can still deliver on. They’ve left some priorities by the wayside. The guns bill, the voting rights bill that will get a vote this week that they don’t think are going pass. But all the marbles are on these two big spending bills right now. And they’re just pretty well stuck.

Now, I think everyone understands that the reconciliation bill is probably too big to fail. They will all survive or fail and if they don’t pass that big bill in some capacity, probably everybody is going home.

TODD: Amy, is it already, though — is it already though got this like weird negative vibe to it even if they passed it? Here’s what Politico wrote yesterday. I thought it was a bit harsh, this framing but maybe they’re right.

“Here’s the cold reality,” they write. “It now appears all but impossible for Democrats to enact a reconciliation package that’s anywhere near as far-reaching as what polls suggest a large majority of Democratic voters want. And that effectively means that for a lot of Dems, it will be hard to see whatever ends up coming out of this process as a success – with potentially dire implications for the party in 2022.”

Specifically, they were writing about the climate provisions, basically capitulating to Manchin’s demands here, which basically Secretary Buttigieg didn’t want to touch.

AMY WALTER: See, I think the challenge really goes back more to what Garrett was saying. Is that, I don’t know that Democratic voters are particularly excited about Build Back Better or an infrastructure bill.

TODD: Don’t you see all the individual polling? That that [inaudible] – I just – I makes me nu – Just because something polls well doesn’t mean it’s on the [inaudible].

WALTER: I know it. I know. It’s not salient. What is salient and I’ve been sitting in these focus groups, especially with younger African-American voters. You know what they’re talking about? Exactly what Garrett said, which is, where is the police reform? We talked about that a lot in 2020. Voting rights, this is an existential threat to our country, and what, can’t pass it? You’re in charge, Democrats. You have a chance to do this.

And so, I think they’re sort of missing out on the things that do really energize Democrats on the one hand and the other is everything you just talked about, which is there’s just a sluggishness in the economy, in the optimism, that he’s also the president and Democrats aren’t delivering on the sort of bread and butter that they were hoping they would.

TODD: Kimberly, how demoralized do you think the Democratic base could get if this gets fraught?

KIMBERLY ATKINS STOHR: Oh, I think it’s already. I think it is very existential at this moment for all the reasons that Amy was just talking about. I don’t think it’s the matter that the Democrats promised the world to their voters. Its voters demanded these things from Democrats. And now they’re saying, “okay, you have the White House, you have Congress and after the end of two years we have nothing.”

I think that will be absolutely devastating to the Democratic base if they walk away not just with nothing, but without voting rights particularly, without anything, without making sure everyone has health care, the expansion of Medicaid. I mean, if they walk away with nothing, they can expect, as you said, to pack up.

TODD: John, I’m going to guess you’ll agree with something Charlie Cook wrote. I should have made Amy respond to this, but I’m not.

[Crosstalk]

Because here’s what Charlie wrote: “Democrats pushed for way too much without having the political capital to make it stick. It’s killing them on overreach, it’s killing them on competence. If misreading a mandate is a sin in politics, pretending that you have one when you don’t is a mortal sin.” Is that the issue?

JOHN PODHORETZ: In March, Jon Meacham convened a bunch of historians at the White House who said to Biden, you can be FDR, you can be LBJ. Lyndon Baines Johnson won election in 1964 with a 155-seat majority in the House and 69 —

TODD: Say that again.

PODHORETZ: 155 seat majority and 69—

TODD: Is that more than five?

PODHORETZ:  And 69 Democratic senators. And in 1965 they passed 70 major pieces of legislation. If you go to the Johnson library, there are 70 pens lined up. That’s the great society. Joe Biden has a majority of — nobody even knows? Is it three, is it five, is it four in the House? And a 50/50 Senate. Only a 50/50 Senate because of bizarre machinations by Trump in November and December that depressed the Republican vote.

Democrats went nuts in the winter. They went crazy. They’re proposing — they were at the point of having $8 trillion of new spending with no consensus — forget the Democratic base. Like, there was no mandate to do any of this from the American people writ large.

HAAKE: They’re locked in structurally, right? You can’t do voting rights with a 50-vote threshold. You can’t pass a guns bill with a 50-vote threshold. You can spend money with a 50-vote threshold. And you have to say the price tag first. That’s the way reconciliation works. And so, they locked themselves into the messaging nightmare by saying, “Okay we have to set the price tag and then tell you all the good stuff it’s going to do—

WALTER: And then take it all out.

HAAKE: Right! And then take it all out.” That’s not a way you build a coalition around anything. But it’s what they were forced into doing.

PODHORETZ: And they had a coalition for a bill. They have a huge spending bill, a trillion-dollar infrastructure bill. That’s a big bill. Like, there was a time when say you were going to spend a trillion on a bill was like, “what, are you crazy?!” Obama didn’t spend a trillion dollars on the stimulus package in 2009.

ATKINS STOHR: I’m not sure a trillion spending package would satisfy the people who spent the pandemic marching in the streets for real social justice reform. So, I don’t think that would solve all their problems either.

TODD: No, I get that. But it gets to the point – I almost wonder, was Manchin and Sinema too easy on COVID relief? Because it made the progressives think, “Oh, we’ve got them for this so we’ll try to get them for more.”

ATKINS STOHR: I will not try to say what’s in Senator Manchin’s mind. I think he’s enjoying being at the center of this conversation. I do think that the American people and Senator Manchin should realize that West Virginians make up one-half of one percent of the American population.

PODHORETZ: But the West Virginians who voted Joe Manchin in voted almost 40 percent for Trump. Trump’s margin was 40 points in 2020 in West Virginia. He is representing his constituents.

In 2001 when George W. Bush had a Senate almost exactly analogous to this, he got one major piece of legislation through that was a bipartisan piece of legislation shepherded by Teddy Kennedy. That was No Child Left Behind. That was an education bill for which they had to be bipartisan support. They have that bill, they have the infrastructure bill, and Democrats are tanking the infrastructure bill.

(…)

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