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Ol’ Puddin’ Fingers (The Secret Podcast PREVIEW)

April 14, 2023
Notes
Transcript

Sarah and JVL talk about MAGA’s new attack on the Great Republican Hope. And about the Heritage Foundation’s strange new respect for socialism. And more!

Check out all The Secret Podcast episodes here: https://thesecretpodcast.old.thebulwark.com/

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This transcript was generated automatically and may contain errors and omissions. Ironically, the transcription service has particular problems with the word “bulwark,” so you may see it mangled as “Bullard,” “Boulart,” or even “bull word.” Enjoy!
  • Speaker 1
    0:00:00

    Hey there, it’s JBL. On the Secret Show with Sarah Longwell today, we talked about old putting fingers. Here’s the show. Okay. So we begin our Friday morning with shots fired from the Maga war room where they are rolling out an internet ad hitting Ron DeSantis remember he’s pronounced his name differently, then he changed it.
  • Speaker 1
    0:00:31

    Did you know that? Oh, yeah. Oh, Tim and I did the whole thing. There’s all this audio for him talking, like, introducing himself, hi. My name is Ron DeSantis.
  • Speaker 1
    0:00:41

    And, anyway, it’s it’s all very funny. Here, let me let me play the audio for for people who haven’t yet seen it. Ron DeSantis loves sticking his fingers where they don’t belong. And we’re not just talking about putting. Does Santos has his dirty fingers all over senior entitlements?
  • Speaker 1
    0:01:02

    Why cutting Medicare? Slashing social security, even raising our retirement age. Tell Ron DeSantis to keep his putting fingers off our money. Oh, I can get this man a spooky. Make America great again.
  • Speaker 1
    0:01:18

    Inc. Is responsible for the content of this appetite. Okay.
  • Speaker 2
    0:01:21

    So first of all, programming note, when I said I was play it. And I was just gonna hold it to the microphone. You were like, no. I thought you were gonna do something more technical to integrate it. You just did exactly the same thing I was gonna
  • Speaker 1
    0:01:30

    do. Yeah. I was trying to make your life easier so you didn’t have to do it. Oh. I wasn’t like, I’m gonna do it better than you.
  • Speaker 2
    0:01:36

    Like, I was just trying to save you that But you were gonna, like, integrate it into the system. Like, a producer would instead of, you know, our jinky way. I’m just holding things up to the
  • Speaker 1
    0:01:44

    mic. You know, I’m sorry. The the the flagship podcast get cool producer things. We get JBL holding his phone up to the microphone.
  • Speaker 2
    0:01:53

    And so hopefully, you guys could hear that. So my producer, Barry Barry Rubin, sends it to me this morning. And I this this ad is a this ad has layers. K? And and if you so the visual on it is a lot of it’s They’ve got a fake Ron DeSantis, basically, and three fingers going into the pudding.
  • Speaker 1
    0:02:11

    Over and over.
  • Speaker 2
    0:02:13

    Until it’s empty, And then there’s, like, putting splatters next to he voted three times to cut Social Security. Two temps to cut Medicare and, like, just putting everywhere. I can’t
  • Speaker 1
    0:02:27

    in
  • Speaker 2
    0:02:27

    my head, just I kept wanting to be like, boy, that’s gonna stick. Get
  • Speaker 1
    0:02:32

    it?
  • Speaker 2
    0:02:35

    Here’s the problem. That is a Trump made ad. Mhmm. That ad is funny. Mhmm.
  • Speaker 2
    0:02:41

    That ad is I think it that ad could have been made for a general election from a Democrat. Mhmm. And it’s gonna work. This is why this is why Trump is so hard to go up against. Because he’s just gonna murder you and mock you.
  • Speaker 2
    0:03:01

    Right? What do you what do you think? JBL, you think it sticks?
  • Speaker 1
    0:03:04

    I think it’s pretty bad. I think it’s pretty bad. It’s
  • Speaker 2
    0:03:07

    bad in what way?
  • Speaker 1
    0:03:09

    Bad for DeSantis — Yeah. — in the way that you you have an excellent piece for the Bulwark coming on Monday. And the the point you make in it is something you’ve said here. The danger for Rhonda Santos is he he has two things closing in on him. On the one hand, he, and we’ll talk about this in a minute, just signed a six week abortion ban bill, which is gonna hurt him a lot and might even hurt him in the Republican party a little bit.
  • Speaker 1
    0:03:39

    I mean, the truth is they are gonna be Republican Party voters who look at this and like, what is this psychopath doing? This isn’t what we signed up for. Right? This is you know, like even in Kansas, you can get a majority of people who are not into a six week abortion ban. And Then on the other hand, he’s got this Paul Ryan history, which is no longer where Republican voters are.
  • Speaker 1
    0:04:03

    They don’t wanna go back to that. They don’t want twenty twelve anymore. That that and I just, you know, the idea of Ron DeSantis culture warrior is very attractive of when he’s just down in Florida hurting brown people. But I don’t know, man, like, when you get into an actual Republican primary where he’s not going up against Charlie Crist, and he’s gotta answer this. And then, you know, it turns out he’s not like super charismatic.
  • Speaker 1
    0:04:29

    And he get Clint Youngkin on line one. Right. I mean, that that’s really what I honestly, I think that’s what the the subtext of this ad is. Is it too late for the establishment to switch horses here? And what’s funny is The other knock on DeSantis is that he doesn’t play well with others and that nobody actually likes him Well
  • Speaker 2
    0:04:57

    And so this It’s even worse than that. Can I just because like, though, to me, the subtypes of the ad is, this guy’s a weirdo? Yeah. Weirdo. Yeah.
  • Speaker 2
    0:05:05

    Weirdo guy. And and, yes, like and I think that part of what’s so that, like, there was a I think there was period of time where the weirdo thing was like circulating, but nobody else but voters didn’t see that. Like, that hadn’t sunk in on voters. Because it was a mainstream media phenomenon or, like, it was, like, the daily beast phenomenon. Right.
  • Speaker 1
    0:05:29

    This has
  • Speaker 2
    0:05:30

    always been the problem for DeSantis. What does Trump do? He takes all the things, the negative things that people have said about Rhonda Sanchez that they haven’t heard because they don’t engage in that type of media. And he because you know who shared that ad? Oh, I think it was oh, well, maybe now now maybe it was the MAGA war room, and I that’s not the same thing as Steve Bannon’s war room.
  • Speaker 2
    0:05:51

    But because, you know, but like but I was I was gonna make the point. The point’s still true even though that’s not who shared it, that this is like pulling people on side. People, the Trump people, band whatever. Get seeing Ron DeSantis get owned like this and be like, this guy’s a weirdo. And that Trump megaphone just blaring it out to people.
  • Speaker 2
    0:06:09

    They’re like, yeah, that establishment, rhino, weirdo, we hate him. And he is not and that, like, that can that can that can change on a dime.
  • Speaker 1
    0:06:18

    As as you have said about Ron DeSantis for a long time, his support is is broad.
  • Speaker 2
    0:06:23

    — shallow.
  • Speaker 1
    0:06:24

    Very shallow because they don’t have any personal commitment to him other than I liked him on Fox when he was making fun of the lips. Yeah. Right? And the minute they think, wait a minute, actually, he’s just trying to sucker us by pretending that he’s maga. I So, yeah, giggling Youngkin.
  • Speaker 1
    0:06:42

    And as I said, the the it’s not like there are a bunch of establishment people who had just have long histories with DeSantis and love him personally. Nobody likes him. Right? You know, you go you go to the Republican Governor’s Association meetings and he’s often a corner by him. Self.
  • Speaker 1
    0:07:02

    It’s not that the donors really just think that, oh, this guy gets us, you know, and easy. They they It’s been a purely transactional relationship up to this point. And I I I he still has to run, I think. I don’t think he can wait. But, you know, if if he waits his position is unlikely to ever be better than it is now, but his position isn’t super great right now, and it is still deteriorating.
  • Speaker 1
    0:07:29

    So
  • Speaker 2
    0:07:29

    you know that I am not one of that I was a person who thought he might not run before twenty two. But then coming out of twenty two, Trump’s relative weakness, relative to Trump’s normal levels of support and to scientist’s relative strength, after winning Florida, I was like, yeah, he’s kinda gotta do it. Plus he was releasing these ads of him in, like, a bomber jacket and God made a fighter and, like, that is positioning yourself for, no, I’m gonna be the guy. I’m gonna go in there. I will say, I don’t ever like this to talk I don’t like to quite say this, but you and Tim say this a lot.
  • Speaker 2
    0:08:04

    Although, I am it is true. But, like, they just want Trump to die. Right? Like like, Trump dying is basically and if so if you’re around the scientists, Right. It’s not that you think you could The the only way your position is better.
  • Speaker 2
    0:08:22

    There’s sort of two ways you could think about it. But let’s say you’re getting nervous. Because you don’t like seeing ads with people saying you’re a weirdo putting guy, establishment rhino, and you think Jesus. Let somebody else deal with this guy this time, because you know what? He’s gonna lose and then he’s gonna die.
  • Speaker 2
    0:08:38

    And then I and I’m forty four years old. And I can come back and I can do this again. I I could like I I don’t believe that I sort of think he has to, and I’ve made that argument that he has to. But there’s part of me that is always when I was making my original argument, I did it like a long thread and like the DeSantis people were so mad at me. But I was like, why get in the ring with this guy?
  • Speaker 2
    0:09:02

    He’s going to be grotesque, and he’s gonna be horrible, and you haven’t dealt with it, and you know, you and I I sleep, you know, Ron DeSantis, he doesn’t have a deep relationship with these voters. And when you see him, he’s not that comfortable on his own skin. His smiles are forced like he is not a charismatic guy and why let like, you if you ran in a field where Trump didn’t exist, and you could define yourself. You’re in a much better position than running against Trump where he’s gonna define you with people who love him and the whole party’s gonna tip over on it. And so, like, Ron DeSantis get intimidated out of this race?
  • Speaker 2
    0:09:40

    I still say no, but like seeing stuff like this makes possible. Makes me think it’s possible. Yeah. I mean, it’s
  • Speaker 1
    0:09:46

    not a high percentage, but I think there’s a one in ten chance that he passes. Yeah. Which is different than it was four months ago when it was probably a one and a hundred chance of him passing. But the other the other problem with all this, and what none of these guys under stand, I don’t think. Is that the question isn’t can you get in the ring and go toe to toe with Trump?
  • Speaker 1
    0:10:08

    Because everything they do is unilateral disarmament. Right. It’s can I get in the ring and just stand there and have Trump hit me over and over because none of them are willing to criticize him for anything because he has a cold and they don’t? Right. Right?
  • Speaker 1
    0:10:25

    And and this is the the asymmetry of these guys who just, you know, Tim Scott, oh, there’s hardly any. Policies I disagree with. I’m so grateful that mister Trump was president, you know, and Nikki Haley and I will I don’t wanna say, I’m sorry, like, to get into a race and be unwilling to criticize the guy who is over fifty percent support, why are you doing it? Right? And if you aren’t willing to go in there and throw shots, then, I mean, you you might as well pass because otherwise you’re just hoping that something happens and he blows up, which is as you have been saying for two years now, two years ago, you started on this, Sarah, saying, This is twenty sixteen all over again.
  • Speaker 1
    0:11:10

    Look at the look what’s happening and you were right.
  • Speaker 2
    0:11:13

    They really are waiting for something else to blow up. And what and you’ve pointed this out. This is why we’re complementing each other on being right about stuff. Your point about the fact that, like, what’s create the craziest thing about that you’re banking on something blowing him up, but they have to defend him against those things. Those exogenous events that would be the thing to take him out like the indictments.
  • Speaker 2
    0:11:37

    They have to be on his side for and so they are participating in keeping those exogenous events from hurting him.
  • Speaker 1
    0:11:45

    It’s
  • Speaker 2
    0:11:46

    the craziest thing. It’s
  • Speaker 1
    0:11:47

    the craziest dynamic. And I don’t I don’t know. Sometimes I look at this and I think these people aren’t stupid. They may be fools, but they’re not stupid. Sure.
  • Speaker 2
    0:12:00

    How is it what’s happening?
  • Speaker 1
    0:12:02

    Don’t see what’s happening. How is it that they don’t understand this stuff? And I’ll never I’ll never quite get it. I mean, maybe maybe they have a deeper a deeper understanding of where the base is, but I don’t know. I feel like the scale is fallen from our eyes.
  • Speaker 1
    0:12:17

    I feel like we’re pretty clear eyed about all this stuff. And I don’t know.
  • Speaker 2
    0:12:24

    So so here’s the thing. So here’s a couple things that I think. So the the piece that I wrote for Monday is about, like, the before times, the before Trump and the after and how there’s a bunch of these politicians. Many of them, I think, are gonna end up running for president because they’re and they’re from them before times. Right?
  • Speaker 2
    0:12:38

    Nikki Haley’s from them before times, Tim Scott’s from before times. Mike Pence’s from the before times. Now, the people who have a shot, like Trump isn’t the only person. The people who have a shot are people whose identities were forged in the after time. Sorry.
  • Speaker 2
    0:12:50

    After twenty sixteen, And so, you know, Rhonda Santos, him being a a a proto Trump politician who launched his campaign literally with kid building the wall with blocks and with his baby in a Trump one z that he’s reading the art of the deal too. Like, that’s a guy who he did he he forged as that identity then and so voters were like, oh, this guy looks like, Trump without the baggage. Trump with a mute button. Trump, not on steroids. Still all relative to Trump.
  • Speaker 2
    0:13:16

    I will just point out in how they thought about him. But they look at Nikki Haley and they think, she’s a nice enough person. But, like, she’s She’s the she’s the past. We are not going back there. Same with Mike Pence.
  • Speaker 2
    0:13:26

    Right? So none of these people are are viable, but I do think that they they know that the party has changed, which is why their rhetoric now is different. Like, they’re running as candidates who are not the same as they would have run. Nicky Hilli is not running as the same person she would have run as in twenty fifteen. Right?
  • Speaker 2
    0:13:45

    She’s running in a world where, like, Trump’s been a president she sees that but I She would have run
  • Speaker 1
    0:13:49

    as Rubio.
  • Speaker 2
    0:13:50

    That’s right. But that’s exactly right. But I don’t think that they really get it. I think they understand that things have changed. They understand the base is different.
  • Speaker 2
    0:13:59

    They understand they’ve got to sound different in order to appeal to a different constituency. But I don’t think they get How much like, oh, did you want to have a sunny optimistic message, Tim Scott? No thanks. We’re here for catastrophe. Nikki Haley, did you wanna be serious about foreign policy?
  • Speaker 2
    0:14:17

    No thanks. We want a clown show circus that because we’ve been raised on anti heroes and reality TV, and we now need that in our politics. And so I just I think that they they know and they know they or understand that Trump’s the front runner, but
  • Speaker 1
    0:14:36

    they’re
  • Speaker 2
    0:14:36

    still going to spend all their money against Ron DeSantis. And that is because they they halfway understand that Trump still dominates the party and the best that they can hope for is to run, not make him mad at them, and still have a place in Republican politics in the hopes that someday this man Will Saletan they think things can go back to normal and they will not have realized by that point after the after there’s ten more margarita greens and sixteen more Lauren, Bobarts, and a whole bunch of other weirdos in the senate, and you’re gonna be wishing Mitch McConnell was back. Wishing you had some normal senate candidates. And I know people are gonna be like, why? I would never wish for Mitch McConnell.
  • Speaker 2
    0:15:19

    I’m just like, okay. Well, when Tommy toberville as your,
  • Speaker 1
    0:15:23

    you know, base like You people are gonna be crying for Mitch McConnell.
  • Speaker 2
    0:15:28

    And so, like, it is Anyway, the the the I I quote a lot of people in the focus groups. What’s interesting at the focus groups is how clear they are. They just say things like, we’re never going back. Like, I don’t Nikki, I don’t hate Nikki Haley, but she’s a Paul Ryan type politician. That’s not the direction I want for the party.
  • Speaker 2
    0:15:47

    Like, this is not Trump is not an aberration. It’s not an interregnum. So which is a word you inserted into the piece. It’s an evolution or no. It’s a it’s like a it’s like a clean break and we’re like in a totally new direction now.
  • Speaker 2
    0:16:02

    So
  • Speaker 1
    0:16:02

    here’s my here’s my question for
  • Speaker 2
    0:16:04

    you. Put
  • Speaker 1
    0:16:06

    dinner coffee first. I don’t want you to spit it out.
  • Speaker 2
    0:16:08

    Okay. What are you gonna say?
  • Speaker 1
    0:16:09

    If you were to ask these people, we’re not going back to that. Mhmm. If you were to ask them, tell me then. So what are the policies from back then that you now don’t like? And what are the policies now that you do like?
  • Speaker 1
    0:16:26

    Yeah. Please explain that to me, mister Cleetus, sir. These are
  • Speaker 2
    0:16:31

    not I you your derisive clearest thing is not. It’s not who these people are. Right.
  • Speaker 1
    0:16:37

    So but what would they say to that? Like, would they say, well, I you know, are they this week, the Heritage Foundation. The Heritage Foundation — Oh, just spent decades, calling people like me a com you know, commies because the answer to everything is the free market. And, And and this week, the Heritage Foundation puts out a statement. They’re like, well, we’ve been thinking a lot about these national conservatives and the common good.
  • Speaker 1
    0:17:01

    And it turns out the Free Mark isn’t always right. And we’re gonna
  • Speaker 3
    0:17:04

    start rethinking a lot of things over here. I’m like, really, what do your fucking eighty year old donors think about that? Like, you know, you’ve You’ve been sent you’ve
  • Speaker 1
    0:17:11

    literally sent these people for fifty years, you’ve been sending these people direct mail talking about the communists who don’t care about anything except they’re wanting to type leave the makers alone. We must fight the takers And now you’re gonna turn on a dime and be like, well, actually, actually,
  • Speaker 3
    0:17:31

    turns out we gotta we gotta put the thumb on the scale and go after the corporations we don’t like. How’s that gonna work? And and the answer is I think it’ll work fine. Right? Because those people didn’t never
  • Speaker 1
    0:17:43

    cared about the free market in the first place. The free market was always just virtue signaling for them about the the we don’t like those other people over there. And those other people over there were, you know, wanting to regulate corporations. And so they were in favor of unfettered capitalism. I think this is a fair thing.
  • Speaker 2
    0:18:02

    No. I think this is pretty I think this is pretty correct. I saw that statement from the Heritage Foundation and I was like, it’s almost funny. Like,
  • Speaker 1
    0:18:09

    it’s like your mind. Yeah.
  • Speaker 2
    0:18:10

    I mean, the thing is, like, they’ve been going this direction. Like, I’ve been watching them sort of go this direction. But to be just explicit, to be, like, we’re rethinking I mean, that’s not what they said, but it was we think common good conservatism now like doesn’t involve an unfettered free market. Was just like, well, that’s just like saying, we’ve our central thesis about everything that we built this entire enterprise on, like we now reject. Howard Bauchner:
  • Speaker 1
    0:18:34

    This is like the AC. I mean, I I think people listening to this who aren’t familiar. Like, if if you are not a DC person who’s familiar with the heritage reservation, this is the equivalent of the ACLU saying, we’re gonna reconfigure our mission statement around the understanding because we reflect on this. Turns out some speech really is deeply harmful. And Our mission is gonna be to adjudicate which speech is harmful and which speech is not going forward.
  • Speaker 1
    0:19:00

    That’s the equivalent of this.
  • Speaker 2
    0:19:02

    Yeah. I but the the question you’re asking about, whether it helps or hurts, like, there’s a new political coalition. Like, people have moved into the Republican Party who didn’t used to be there. Mhmm. And they want this is where they want vibes, man.
  • Speaker 2
    0:19:19

    They want the they want the fight. So that’s like the topic. But I do think they could articulate and they can’t. So I do this within the focus groups. People will be like, you know, I didn’t always love Trump, but I I liked his policies.
  • Speaker 2
    0:19:30

    Because this is what people say who wanna make sure that they signal to you, that they did not condone all his bad behavior. Mhmm. But they liked his policies. And so I’ll say, what kind of policies? I must have said this to you before.
  • Speaker 2
    0:19:41

    And they’ll say, you know, America first policies. And they can tell you a little bit about what that is. And it is basically immigration, clamping down on illegal immigration. And it has it’s and it’s about, like, not shipping our jobs overseas. And it’s about no forever wars.
  • Speaker 2
    0:19:59

    So, like, they can articulate sort of a set of things. And then it’s also this isn’t like a policy thing, but it’s also like culture war, anti woke, anti social them. So and those are the depth there is limited, but, like, they could articulate, you know. There’s some of those things. They articulate those things.
  • Speaker 2
    0:20:17

    Limited. And so that like, the the extent to which that is a complete reverse from what the Republican Party used to be. Right? So it doesn’t believe in free markets. It doesn’t believe in global free markets.
  • Speaker 2
    0:20:30

    It’s about captured protectionism. That’s different. That’s not where the heritage foundation was. That’s not where anybody in conservative angle us. But now we’re for that.
  • Speaker 2
    0:20:38

    And that’s where the voters are.
  • Speaker 1
    0:20:40

    Hey, again. It’s J. V. L. The conversation goes on from there.
  • Speaker 1
    0:20:43

    If you wanna hear the rest of the show, head on over to Bulwark Plus and subscribe. We’d love to have you.
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