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Rep. Dean Phillips: The Pitch

February 14, 2024
Notes
Transcript
The congressman states his case for why he’s challenging Biden, and Tim Miller grills him.
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
    Hello, and welcome to the Bulwark Podcast. I’m your host Tim Miller. We’ve got a good one for you today. Congressman Dean Phillips, who is running a primary campaign against Joe Biden’s not going so well. He agreed to come to the board podcast despite some of my I think pretty aggressive critiques of him in the past.
  • Speaker 1
    0:00:18
    So, we give him credit for that. This conversation gets a little spicy. It gets a little see. You know, we hear them out at the beginning, and then, well, why don’t you stick around for the end of the podcast? I think you’ll enjoy it.
  • Speaker 1
    0:00:29
    Before we get to I just wanna give you guys an update on two things. Number one on Wednesday is going forward for the next level fans. Next level is still happening. So you can go over there on your podcast app, search the next level. It’s me, Sarah, JBL, and you’ll get all my political hot takes.
  • Speaker 1
    0:00:43
    I don’t have to be in the host chair. I can let it rip. So on Wednesdays, you get a double dose of Tim if you are interested in that. And secondly, on the news front, we talked about this very briefly with congressman Phillips, but New York three. There was a special election last night.
  • Speaker 1
    0:00:57
    The Democrat Tom Swazi won in a district that had been trending more Republican, but it was a district that Joe Biden won. My friend, Liz Smith, who was a consultant on that race, sent a tweet thread that kinda summed it up. And I thought you guys might be interested in hearing what her takes were on why the demos did well last night. She said Tom Swazzy went into the race with his own brands. He’s been a mayor, county executive congressman that blunted the Republican attacks against him as an aspiring squad member.
  • Speaker 1
    0:01:23
    He did well with Dems, held his own with Indies, and attracted a meaningful number of GOP votes. This is all very useful for Joe Biden. Liz goes on That matters in a place like Long Island, which was hit hard by the red wave post twenty twenty. And twenty twenty two when George Santos won the race, crime was the top issue for voters. Dems ignored it and tried to change the subject to abortion.
  • Speaker 1
    0:01:45
    It came across as out of touch. The same dynamic could have been folded here. Liz says Swazi could have ignored immigration, dismissed voters’ concerns about the migrants coming to New York City, tried to change the subject, but he didn’t. He actually leaned in on it. His first presser of twenty twenty four was on immigration and support for a bipartisan security deal.
  • Speaker 1
    0:02:03
    She goes on. You can see her at Liz underscore Smith on Twitter, x, shitter, whatever we’re calling it these days. But I think that that is an important lesson, important takeaway from somebody that was on the ground in that race. And it’s something that we’re gonna continue to chew over on this podcast going forward, and then we get into a little bit in this conversation. So here’s my conversation with Dean Phillips Congress Dean Phillips.
  • Speaker 1
    0:02:33
    Welcome to the pod.
  • Speaker 2
    0:02:34
    Good to be with you, Tim.
  • Speaker 1
    0:02:36
    Thank you for doing this. I have had some spicy takes about your campaign strategy over the last few months and your posture towards Biden. So I really genuinely appreciate you coming on here to hash those disagreements out. But before we do that, I thought we’d start with just a little bit of news and learning a little bit more about you first if that works. Perfect.
  • Speaker 1
    0:02:53
    Unless you wanna argue right away.
  • Speaker 2
    0:02:55
    No. I’d I’d like to ease on into arguments.
  • Speaker 1
    0:02:58
    Okay. That’s a Minnesota way. Minnesota away.
  • Speaker 2
    0:03:01
    Little get to know you first. You know, let’s not dive in too quickly.
  • Speaker 1
    0:03:04
    Alright. That sounds good. A little foreplay. Alright. Here we go.
  • Speaker 1
    0:03:06
    The house impeached Aljandro Maurekis last night by one vote after they failed to impeach him last week embarrassingly after they killed a bipartisan bill that they had that Republicans had demanded, that would have included border security, along with the foreign aid, What does kind of that series of events with your old colleagues in the House GOP tell you about the state of the party over there?
  • Speaker 2
    0:03:30
    Well, first of all, Tim, it’s a failure of both parties because my party has failed to recognize something that has been a human crisis, a national security crisis, and now even a original crisis, for some time. And, of course, on the other side of the aisle, the GOP, there is no incentive to solve problems. I hope we can talk about that a little bit. In the absence of an incentive to actually solve a problem, you’re not gonna see Congress change. And I think that is one of the great challenges of this day and age.
  • Speaker 2
    0:03:59
    That’s what happened. There was a bipartisan bill. Could have been should have been at least a step in the right direction. And, you know, you saw what happened. And impeaching my orcus does absolutely nothing.
  • Speaker 2
    0:04:11
    I think it’s a a travesty. I think it’s absurd. Ultimately, the buck stops with the president. And that’s true whether he or she’s a Democrat or Republican. This is something that should be a priority, and I’m utterly disappointed frankly, and my colleagues on both sides of the aisle, it’s a lack of leadership, and that’s why we find ourselves in this, predicament.
  • Speaker 1
    0:04:29
    What is the democratic failure on this in your estimation?
  • Speaker 2
    0:04:32
    You know, Tim, in when I was sworn in in twenty nineteen, I took my first trip to the southern border. I was shocked. I went back again the following year. Know, this has been an issue, by the way, for decades. It precedes Trump and Biden.
  • Speaker 2
    0:04:44
    It is a massive failure over the coming months, probably more like years. We’re gonna see waves of migration around the world because of famine, because of war. I think climate is gonna change in parts of the world where it’s gonna force people to leave. And we’re just completely ill prepared to see human beings in cages was appalling to see our PoEs or points of entry, so poorly designed, so archaic, based on the volume. And then our our ridiculous asylum policy, that is essentially the magnet that is bringing the waves of migrants right now in a very disorganized and, a manner that I think is not becoming of our country and certainly of those who seek to become Americans.
  • Speaker 2
    0:05:22
    So that’s the problem. And I think president Biden should have taken this more seriously, more quickly. And I think it’s is a failure of leadership over many, many years, not just his.
  • Speaker 1
    0:05:31
    Yeah. And I think that’s a good point going back many many years. And I think going all the way back to, you know, the days when I was a Republican, when I was one of the compassionate conservatives. You remember when, yeah. I mean, Obama and Bainer tried to come to a deal on this.
  • Speaker 1
    0:05:46
    Right? And at that time, the Democrats’ demands in my view are pretty reasonable because I supported them then as a Republican, right, that that we have to have some kind of, you know, pathway to citizenship. We have to deal with the dreamers. Right. And, you know, the Democrats were always on the side.
  • Speaker 1
    0:05:59
    We’ll meet you halfway on border security and some of these other reforms as long as you have the pathway to citizenship part of and Republicans never would do it. Right? The far right of the of the Republican Cox number would do it. And then trump gets in there and he builds what? One tenth of his wall.
  • Speaker 1
    0:06:13
    That was his main campaign promise. And now we get in. I think that there’s some to be said for Biden’s, you know, maybe delay in dealing with this for sure over the first couple years of the administration. But now once again, it’s the Democrat saying we’re gonna come to the table and the Republicans aren’t gonna do it. So, you know, at some point, isn’t it incumbent?
  • Speaker 1
    0:06:31
    I don’t, the Democrats need a negotiating partner here?
  • Speaker 2
    0:06:33
    Well, I would argue still the executive branch has authority that has been unexecuted is the truth. Tim, it is a national security issue period. We spend almost one trillion dollars a year on national defense, ostensibly national defense, and I believe deeply in asylum. I believe deeply in refugee, compassion. I believe deeply in a nation of immigrants.
  • Speaker 2
    0:06:56
    But any reasonable person, any common sense perspective would argue that when you are allowing thousands of people to come across per day, without vetting, not all of them, encountered. It’s a problem. I do believe the executive branch has missed opportunities to act more quickly. That’s what Trump tried to do. I didn’t think the policy was a sound one, but at least he did recognize it.
  • Speaker 2
    0:07:19
    And, yeah, you need a negotiating partner, but we don’t have incentives. This whole conversation could center on What are the incentives in Washington, DC to get something done? What are the disincentives? The same is true with our two leading candidates at the top of the ticket on both sides. You know, what are the incentives, in politics these days?
  • Speaker 2
    0:07:37
    They are perverse. They’re grotesque. They’re working against most Americans. And here we’re finding it once again. And the rest of the world is looking at us wondering if democracy, at least as practiced in the United States of America and most of the free world, if it is suitable for this day and age.
  • Speaker 2
    0:07:53
    And I wanna demonstrate that it is, but absent leadership on both sides that prioritize problem solving Tim, we’re gonna be in the same circumstance. And now we’ve got the budget issue coming back.
  • Speaker 1
    0:08:03
    Yep.
  • Speaker 2
    0:08:03
    You know, we’ve we’ve been pushing this can down the road now for months and months and months. And here we’re coming up on March again without any resolution and facing another shutdown. And it’s appalling and disappointing. And, frankly, again, it’s a failure of leadership even if you love someone, they’re not getting the job done. It’s a failure of leadership.
  • Speaker 1
    0:08:22
    One more congressional item, then we’ll kinda get to presidential. Issues didn’t need to be related. Republicans made them be related, but the foreign aid issue with the immigration, it sort of been like you guys during the Trump years, saying that we need Medicare for all in order to do some Donald Trump priority at their separate issues. But they’ve now been disaggregated. The Senate passed aid for Ukraine, Taiwan, and Israel.
  • Speaker 1
    0:08:45
    Now it’s going to the house. I just wanna play it really quick. Here’s the president Biden called on the Republicans to do. Last night, I wanna get your reaction.
  • Speaker 3
    0:08:53
    And I say to the house members, house republicans, you gotta decide. Are you gonna stand up for freedom? Or are inside with terror and tyranny. You’re gonna stand with Ukraine, you’re gonna stand with Putin. We stand with America or trump.
  • Speaker 3
    0:09:12
    Republicans and Democrats in the Senate came together to send a message of unity to the world. It’s time for the House Republic to do the same thing to pass this bill immediately. To stand for decency, stand for democracy, to stand up to a so called leader hell bent on weakening the American and I mean it sincerely. History is watching. History is watching.
  • Speaker 1
    0:09:37
    Conerson?
  • Speaker 2
    0:09:38
    I think what’s really going on here, Tim, is people increasingly appalled by the fact that we are now a nation with thirty four trillion dollars in federal debt. Our debt service now probably going to approach one trillion dollars a year And here we are about to share, and I think it is important. We do so, by the way, ninety five billion dollars in foreign aid to Taiwan Israel, Ukraine, and also for humanitarian assistance. That turns out to be about two hundred and seventy dollars per every single American man woman child in this country. And when you’ve got people sleeping in our streets, when you have people, kids going to school hungry, when you have people burdened with extraordinary amounts of educational debt, medical debt, can’t find housing, inflation of, fuel and food.
  • Speaker 2
    0:10:25
    I can understand why people, especially representatives of people are concerned about how much we are exporting relative to our dollars and our support and how little, frankly, we are supporting American. I don’t think that’s incongruent with anyone’s basic principles. With all that said, can we and should we be doing both? Yeah. We should.
  • Speaker 2
    0:10:43
    And I think that this aid bill while hard to palate is something terribly important. I think what the president said is true. Now do I think we could have prevented some of the reasons for this aid? Yes. I do.
  • Speaker 2
    0:10:54
    And that’s another frankly failure of leadership.
  • Speaker 1
    0:10:57
    Which aid do you think we could have prevented?
  • Speaker 2
    0:10:59
    I think the war in Ukraine absolutely could have been prevented. And I do think the United States could have played a more significant role going all the way back to twenty fourteen, Tim, when Putin took Crimea with impunity. And same with the Middle East, you know, we’ve had Yeah.
  • Speaker 1
    0:11:13
    On the neocons side, we should’ve been tougher. Obama should’ve been tougher on Putin during his first incursion. That’s what you’re saying.
  • Speaker 2
    0:11:19
    Tough can be exhibited kinetically. It can be done diplomatically. It can also be done with allies and foreign aid. And, frankly, the fact that that diplomacy failed is to me the most grotesque part of this whole story. And the same is true in the Middle East, you know, for seventy five years.
  • Speaker 2
    0:11:33
    By the way, Joe Biden has been in Washington for fifty years. Two thirds of the life of the state of Israel through that entire half century. It is the same cycle of despair, same cycle of bloodshed, Do I think that the United States can and must do better relative to peace and preventing war? Yeah. I do.
  • Speaker 2
    0:11:52
    But neither here nor there. Here we are. And yes, We should support Ukraine. We should support Israel. We should support Taiwan, and we should support humanitarian aid.
  • Speaker 2
    0:12:00
    Decoupling that from the border security bill in this day and age. The only thing that can get through is things that have sweeteners for everybody, which is a shame. I think we should have single issue bills. Right. That are clean and crisp and understandable, Americans can, opine as well.
  • Speaker 2
    0:12:15
    We’re not in that circumstance. And the fact of the matter is Yes. It’s all politics. And I would argue that Donald Trump, in some ways, has more influence right now in the United States Congress than the sitting president of the United States. That’s pretty parrot based on the actions of too many who have become just sycophants for someone who I think is awfully dangerous.
  • Speaker 2
    0:12:33
    I think the president is correct. We have to do it.
  • Speaker 1
    0:12:35
    Think you might be a little bit overstating the power of the United States presidency to stop bad things from happening everywhere. And we had a genocidal maniac president in Russia, but I think that transitions us a little bit into where I wanted to go next, which was that’s the job you want. And so setting aside your critiques of Trump and Biden and their age, which are well taken, I’d love to hear just a clean Pitch for Dean Phillips. Why you? Why do you wanna be president?
  • Speaker 1
    0:13:02
    What would be the top things you’d wanna take on?
  • Speaker 2
    0:13:04
    No. Thanks, Jim. Let me go backwards and I’ll bring you to today. That starts with my life story. I I lost my father in Vietnam.
  • Speaker 2
    0:13:10
    He was a soldier, US army soldier, a captain, earned an rotc scholarship to go to college because he could not afford it, grew up very poor in Minnesota. My grandma, I was a single mother, raised, two boys, my uncle and my dad. And, he was killed in action in July of sixty nine just a few days after the moon landing. I was six months old. My mom was twenty four widowed.
  • Speaker 2
    0:13:30
    We had nowhere to go. And we lived with my great grandparents for three years. And then I got lucky. My mom remarried a wonderful man. He adopted me, brought me into an extraordinary family, with many blessings, My grandma became dear Abby, the advice columnist, so a lot of advice in my family, and a lot of success.
  • Speaker 2
    0:13:48
    And I I got lucky. And I share that because I don’t think it should take a stroke of just good luck or being born in the right zip code. That determines where you go in America. And for too many young people in this country, that’s exactly the determinant, either luck, or being born to the right parents in the right place. And that’s been a big part of my life.
  • Speaker 2
    0:14:05
    Was successful in business, our family business, and then Tolenti Gelato, the ice cream brand that my partners and I built. And I’m watching the twenty sixteen election, Tim, with my family, and Like you, I was really shocked and dismayed that our country had taken such a turn away from decency, away from respect, away from character, And my other recognition that night was that we have a country that’s really angry. And, I think we had mistook quiet for peace for a long time. But I woke up the next morning, and the first thing I heard was my daughter crying in her bedroom. She was sixteen.
  • Speaker 2
    0:14:38
    She had just overcome Hodgkin’s lymphoma, she’s a gay woman. I didn’t know that when she was sixteen. And I looked in her eyes and I saw fear, Tim, that I just had never seen before in my children’s eyes and it jarred me. And I sat at the breakfast table, and I promised my two daughters, I would do something. And I decided to run for Congress, and that was because of Donald Trump.
  • Speaker 2
    0:14:57
    And I flipped a district that had not elected a Democrat since nineteen fifty eight, Ida, a four term Republican incumbent who had won by fourteen points even by twelve. It was a twenty six point swing in just two years. So that’s what inspired me to get off the couch, if you will, and participate in democracy because I had taken it for granted. Of course, I get to Washington. I discover an unmitigated but totally solvable mess, with the right leadership, the organizational design, social design, of Congress is the atmosphere in Congress, I should say.
  • Speaker 2
    0:15:28
    It’s just woefully broken, but it’s all a human institution that can be fixed. Joined the modernization committee. Now I’m the ranking member of the Middle East Sub Committee on Foreign Affairs. I was elected to house Democratic leadership. And I was on the house chamber on January sixth, then trapped with my colleagues for twenty minutes.
  • Speaker 2
    0:15:44
    We thought that was the last twenty minutes of our lives. I was with Liz Cheney later that day in the safe room after we left, got out, and saw her exhibit traceable that I’d never seen in Congress before Tim, pointing at screen when Trump finally came on hours later, pointed at the screen, said it’s because of him, and we’re gonna hold him accountable. And you know what happened to her and the other tent that had the audacity protect the constitution. Nine of the ten never came back to Congress. And she was the third highest ranking member of the House GOP Conference Leadership, leadership, the most conservative member of the conference according to the Heritage Foundation.
  • Speaker 2
    0:16:19
    And she had courage and conviction, and she knew it would cost her job I did an ad for her in her primary election that she lost because I saw integrity. And then when I saw the same thing happening on my side of the aisle, Tim, which is in the last year and a half, we have been seeing the president’s decline. We’ve seen the erosion of his support. We’re seeing the polls. We’re seeing the approval numbers.
  • Speaker 2
    0:16:42
    And we are seeing the fact that now, once again, the very man that inspired me in twenty sixteen to do something is coming right back to the White House. So Tim, for a year, I called on the president before he declared his candidacy beginning July of twenty two. Okay.
  • Speaker 1
    0:16:55
    We’re gonna get here. We I know what you think about Biden. I I wanna get that. I just wanna follow-up one more time. Gonna get there on Biden.
  • Speaker 1
    0:17:01
    I’m with you.
  • Speaker 2
    0:17:02
    No. But I but I’m so you’re asking why me. So the why me is this. I tried for a year to ask to get him to pass the torch because it was important he did so. He didn’t because I knew If you wouldn’t pass the torch, there would be no competition, and there would not be an alternative to Trump who’s likely to win.
  • Speaker 2
    0:17:16
    He didn’t do it. I called Whitmer. I called pritzker. I made a public call for Harris Newsom, any of the well known Democrats, the rising generation to participate, they wouldn’t, and recognizing that this is a time for courage, I decided if no one else is going to do this, that I would. And in two weeks, I put together a presidential campaign.
  • Speaker 2
    0:17:33
    It was not my aspiration. It was not my intention. But just like my father gave his life to the country, just like I got off the couch in twenty sixteen to do something, I wasn’t gonna sit by Italy and watch a train wreck. So that’s the why.
  • Speaker 1
    0:17:45
    I hear you that’s a process why, though. I’m I’m interested in your ideology. Where are you? Like, are you a Joe Biden? Are you a old bill Clinton?
  • Speaker 1
    0:17:52
    Are you my man Jared Polis in in Colorado or libertarian? Tell me your ideology.
  • Speaker 2
    0:17:57
    Hey. So here’s my take. I I’m a humphrey Democrat, and I’m a business person. I believe You can be pro business and pro worker at the same time. I believe in working with people.
  • Speaker 2
    0:18:06
    There’s not a company in this entire country, Tim, that can succeed if you demean fifty percent of your customers. That’s what every single president seems to wanna do. That’s what both parties do. I was the vice chair of the problem solvers in the house, I love bipartisanship. I love working with anybody who’s willing to sit down and actually solve problems.
  • Speaker 2
    0:18:24
    That’s what the presidency needs. And I’ll have a bipartisan cabinet. It hasn’t been done in a long, long time. I want a team of rivals. I want a youth cabinet.
  • Speaker 2
    0:18:32
    I want zero based budgeting. I want the Pentagon to pass and audit for the first time. I want an international consulting firm to assess every agency and program to make recommendations, how we can save money, provide better service than we do right now and how we actually start injecting artificial intelligence to deliver better outcomes in health care and government service provision and to save money, not to mention putting some parameters so we can protect ourselves for nefarious use as well. My big proposition, Tim, policy wise, is something called American dream accounts that would complement Social Security. Most successful anti poverty program in world history.
  • Speaker 2
    0:19:07
    So security, it’s only when you retire. I wanna compliment that with something in the beginning of life. My proposition is dream accounts five thousand dollars vested into an account by the US federal government for every baby born in America. The money would be invested in US equities, markets, Over eighteen years, kids would get an app on their phone. They would learn entrepreneurship, financial management, investing in public school curricula, And then as an incentive, incentive to graduate high school, that money would become yours.
  • Speaker 2
    0:19:36
    And at the compounded interest rates of growth in our stock market over the last thirty years, that would be about twenty to twenty five thousand dollars for every young person in America to start their careers. Down payment on a house, start a small business, have some cash to begin your life.
  • Speaker 1
    0:19:49
    I love that idea, but And by
  • Speaker 2
    0:19:50
    the way, it costs eighteen billion dollars a year. Compared to ninety five billion for Ukraine and Israel and and
  • Speaker 1
    0:19:57
    We don’t need to downgrade the Ukraine aid. And the Ukraine aid is not cash. Okay. It’s not cash.
  • Speaker 2
    0:20:01
    No. I don’t.
  • Speaker 1
    0:20:01
    It’s not exactly an apples to apples situation here.
  • Speaker 2
    0:20:04
    Let me give you another. California spends about sixteen billion dollars a year just on incarceration. We spend eighty to a hundred thousand dollars a year prisoner in the United States of America, my proposition, take five thousand dollars. We’re gonna save thousands of lives and livelihoods. We’re gonna save probably trillions of dollars in social services by simply investing upstream.
  • Speaker 2
    0:20:24
    So if you want to know who I am, I want to invest upstream. That means border security. That means education, health care, housing, and American dream accounts. If we invest upstream, we’re gonna save so much downstream, Tim.
  • Speaker 1
    0:20:36
    That’s speaking my language. Okay. Though, here’s the thing. In several of these answers, talk about how we need to bring back bipartisanship. We have an absence of leadership.
  • Speaker 1
    0:20:43
    And, like, isn’t that what Joe Biden has done? I guess it’s what I don’t understand. Like, over the past, four years, we we’ve had a bipartisan chips act. We’ve had the first bipartisan gun bill in a generation. We had an infrastructure bill that Trump Robinson didn’t do.
  • Speaker 1
    0:20:57
    We codified gay marriage with myself and your daughter. Appreciate.
  • Speaker 2
    0:21:00
    Yeah.
  • Speaker 1
    0:21:01
    You know, people keep telling us that there are these polarized times. Everybody including me, by the way, said when Biden came in, he was a little naive, about whether these Republicans could be worked with. His theory of the case proved right. And so when you keep saying, oh, we need to do more by partisanship, more by parts, like, Joe Biden’s been doing that.
  • Speaker 2
    0:21:18
    His promised him. And look, I I have great respect and admiration for the president. This is not some campaign of antagonism and animosity. It’s the opposite, I want to beat Donald Trump. I wanna just make it really clear.
  • Speaker 2
    0:21:29
    I’ve not seen a single data point, not a single data point that would indicate that Joe Biden is gonna beat Donald Trump.
  • Speaker 1
    0:21:35
    The fact that Donald Trump hasn’t won a single election since twenty sixteen isn’t a good data point for you?
  • Speaker 2
    0:21:40
    Not against Joe Biden. No. It’s not. Then Tim, you know, Joe Biden won by forty seven thousand votes in twenty twenty in a few states. You look at where he is now compared to twenty twenty.
  • Speaker 2
    0:21:49
    He is underwater in every one of the battleground states, his approval numbers are the lowest in measured history measured history. This is before the special council’s report, by the way. Nobody’s one reelection in the thirties like he’s at. He’s five points below Trump in approvals, nine points below Obama, nineteen points below Jimmy Carter. He made a promise to repair the soul of the nation.
  • Speaker 2
    0:22:10
    No. It hasn’t been repaired. There’s been no intention to do so. Relationships with Congress? Yeah.
  • Speaker 2
    0:22:15
    Joe Biden had those twenty some years ago. And could have leveraged them very beautifully now, but that’s not the circumstance. That’s why I think it’s time for a new generation. That’s why.
  • Speaker 1
    0:22:23
    What more did you want them to do? Over the last four years. Again, I given the context of the Trump Magga Republican Party Yep. Given that context, like, did he not exceed all expectations when it comes to bipartisanship. When it becomes to actually getting things done, shouldn’t there be credit given for that?
  • Speaker 2
    0:22:38
    I give the president credit for, navigating us out of COVID and through the post trump years. Yes. A lot. Right. Do I think he can serve till January of twenty twenty nine in a capacity necessary to lead the free world?
  • Speaker 2
    0:22:50
    No, I don’t. Do I think that he has done an admirable job? Of trying to heal this country. No, I don’t. And if you want examples of how we do that, I can give you those too.
  • Speaker 2
    0:22:59
    Do I think he has done a good job of building relationship with rank and file members of both the House and Senate? No, I don’t. That’s the truth. Do I think a new generation of leaders from Congress or from governorships around the country? Could be better positioned to do that?
  • Speaker 2
    0:23:12
    Yes, I do. And that’s why most of the country is opining the same. Now those in the Washington bubble see this very differently. But all the numbers say that people want to turn the page from both of these men, Tim.
  • Speaker 1
    0:23:23
    Not the people in South Carolina, New Hampshire. I mean, they’re Venn votes. Here’s my problem with this. As you know, I was open to the idea that there should be a primary against Joe Biden. The first two podcasts this week is my third podcast welcome.
  • Speaker 1
    0:23:35
    I’ve taken over. First two, we’ve discussed the age issue. Like, I don’t think it’s a non issue. What I’m talking about is what you’re offering is an alternative. Okay.
  • Speaker 1
    0:23:42
    There’s no data point that shows you doing better than Joe Biden. There’s no data point that shows Kamala Harris doing better than Joe Biden against Donald Trump. In the actual votes we’ve had to date, you’ve gotten slaughtered by Joe Biden. So if you’re gonna come on here and say, okay, I agree with most of what Joe Biden did, I need to replace him because he’s too old and that his polling numbers aren’t good. Well, then haven’t you boxed yourself into a corner?
  • Speaker 1
    0:24:05
    Why you then? Because there’s no evidence that you would pull better. Is there?
  • Speaker 2
    0:24:09
    Yeah. Not a totally reasonable question. At first, the why, because Joe Biden is likely to lose. That’s the why. Someone had to do it.
  • Speaker 2
    0:24:16
    Someone had to demonstrate that in America, democracy requires competition, and someone had to knock the door down a little bit. I’m still trying to invite others in. That’s most important. You’re right. The data points don’t show Kamala Harris doing well.
  • Speaker 2
    0:24:28
    Gavin Newsom, Gretchen Whitmer. That’s probably why the president felt he should do it because all of the better known candidates fail against Donald Trump, including Joe Biden. But what they don’t test him is someone who is not despised by two thirds of the country or half the country already. Five percent of the country knows who I am. MSNBCs afforded a single interview in four months.
  • Speaker 2
    0:24:49
    The DNC, as you well know, is very good at deplatforming. And, there’s circling the horses around the president. So my contention is to try to inspire people to wake up and the delusion, inspire others. And by the way, Tim, my whole strategy is really simple. At five percent name recognition, of course, I’m gonna get slaughtered in primaries, especially only when base voters show up to vote, which is another problem, a crisis of participation.
  • Speaker 1
    0:25:12
    I agree with that.
  • Speaker 2
    0:25:13
    But come June, July, I do think more of the country will know me. I think head to head polls will show that I would be better positioned to beat Donald Trump. It could be somebody else, Tim. We’re not gonna know that if we don’t have a competition, but whomever is best positioned to beat Donald Trump. Whomever is someone I think we should all support.
  • Speaker 2
    0:25:30
    If it is the president at the end of the day, I’ll support him. But if it’s me, if it’s somebody else, I think we should support them. That’s the whole contention. But if you don’t allow democracy to be practiced, if you suppress voters, you suppress candidates, you suppress debate, which frankly, the Democratic Party is doing right now. I don’t think that’s helpful.
  • Speaker 2
    0:25:49
    And circling the wagons around an eighty one year old man who increasingly perceived as unable to leave the country Tim, I think, is a massive dereliction of duty, and all the party needed to do is have a thoughtful primary competition that If we’re pragmatic, we would have done.
  • Speaker 1
    0:26:03
    Can I offer a a counter theory? I just don’t think that what you’re offering is resonating. I think that if if there was an opening among Democrats, to oppose Joe Biden, then you would be walking through that door. I so here’s one example that I have. Back in twenty I was in that Republican campaign.
  • Speaker 1
    0:26:20
    Mick Romney was the establishment candidate. Duke Gingrich was an insurgent candidate. Duke Gingrich gained momentum. He didn’t end up winning, but he gained momentum. By demonstrating that he would be tougher on Obama, that he would be able to carry a message against Obama better.
  • Speaker 1
    0:26:34
    Resonated with the Republican voters. They wanted somebody that was gonna be strong, against Obama. I’m I’m happy that one out anyway. But you could do If you want attention for yourself, you could get attention. I’ve watched your Fox interviews.
  • Speaker 1
    0:26:44
    You’ve gone on Fox several times, and you’re not doing what Mayor Pete does when he goes on Fox, you’re agreeing with their anti biden propaganda most of the time when you’re on that network. You’re not doing anything to show that you would be a tougher opponent to Donald Trump than Joe Biden. If anything, you’re showing that you’d be a weaker opponent than Biden. So why not take those opportunities to try to get attention and get momentum?
  • Speaker 2
    0:27:08
    Well, first of all, you know, I think we have a perverse incentive system where you can become well known and attract a lot of attention, especially among base voters. If you act like jerk? Are you act aggressive or you’re bombastic? And that’s why we see a whole culture now of doing just that? By the way, I defend the president regularly.
  • Speaker 2
    0:27:23
    I don’t think he’s cognitively declining. I’m recognizing that he’s going to lose because Americans do not approve, and that’s the whole issue here, Tim. You’re right. Base Democratic voters have not at all responded to me. Not at all.
  • Speaker 2
    0:27:34
    But this is not about based democratic voters. It’s about the future of the country. It’s about independent voters who have completely abandoned the president And you know how that goes? And this is about trying to inspire a country to wake up to the reality that an election is all of America. And, yeah, when I go to a mega rally to say hi to people waiting in line in the cold for Donald Trump and they treat me with respect and decency, I like to tell that story.
  • Speaker 1
    0:27:56
    Because at
  • Speaker 2
    0:27:56
    the end of the day, if you don’t appeal to independence Can
  • Speaker 1
    0:27:58
    I tell you when that story bugs me? You keep telling. Can I tell you why? Yeah. Sure.
  • Speaker 1
    0:28:02
    Your critique there. Is that Biden and the liberal elites are condescending towards these people and that you actually met them and saw that they were nice people. Yeah. I totally reject that. There’s an entire cottage industry of New York Times reporters going out to hear what these folks have to say.
  • Speaker 1
    0:28:16
    Joe Biden goes and campaigns, and and a lot of the things you voted for in the chips act these factories are being built in red areas when I was doing the circus. I go out and talk to these folks. Obviously, they’re nice to you. Like, mega people are not like cartoon villains. Sure.
  • Speaker 1
    0:28:32
    They’re humans. There’s some concerns they have that are legitimate. And there are other concerns they have that are insane mostly because they’re being fed law. Of course. By Donald Trump.
  • Speaker 1
    0:28:41
    And by the the media. So when you tell that story, I’m like, well, yeah, of course, they’re nice to you. Congressman, but they’re voting for somebody that is a massive threat. And if you don’t challenge them on that, they’re gonna be nice to you. And that’s my problem.
  • Speaker 1
    0:28:54
    It’s like, you don’t seem to be challenging the other side on the issues that they have that are very serious.
  • Speaker 2
    0:28:59
    Yeah. Democrats should be kicking ass right now. And you know what? The reason we’re not is we’re perceived as not listening that we are condescending to have this country. And, yes, you’re right.
  • Speaker 2
    0:29:10
    I use invitation, not confrontation because, you know, why it works and politics is so populated with people who see it so incorrectly and not populated with people with organizational marketing experience and basic basic psychology, Tim, Why is Joe Biden losing in every single major poll and his approval numbers in the thirties when the alternative is a man like Donald Trump? I mean, how about we talk about that for a minute? We can talk about the chip sack, the infrastructure bill, all the things I voted for, everything that Joe Biden did four years ago. That’s great. It’s wonderful.
  • Speaker 2
    0:29:41
    Is that what people really care about right now? They care about being heard. They care about feeling that they matter. They feel that no president in the White House other than Trump recently, frankly, has done that. That’s the issue.
  • Speaker 2
    0:29:53
    And and Tim, this is existential. And if Democrats and independents think the way to succeed is to simply demean the people who vote for Donald Trump. Good luck. And I just say that that’s the problem. That’s why I’m running
  • Speaker 1
    0:30:05
    I’m not asking you to demean them. I’m asking you to demean Donald Trump, the person’s lied to. Hold on. I wanna play another clip because you just said something that’s very similar to what you said in your one MSNBC interview. And I agree with you on MSMBC should have you on more.
  • Speaker 1
    0:30:16
    That’s why I had you here.
  • Speaker 2
    0:30:17
    Donald Trump is listening to people. He gets it. The border chaos is at absolutely front and center amongst Democrats who cannot believe that Democrats here in Washington are denying it and have been for years. They had an opportunity. They had an opportunity.
  • Speaker 2
    0:30:30
    In the last number of publicans decided to bundle it. But I’m all I’m saying is that Donald Trump is listening.
  • Speaker 1
    0:30:37
    Do you listen to Donald Trump? I guess that’s my question. Do you listen to him? Because, yeah, he’s not listening. His speeches are insane.
  • Speaker 1
    0:30:44
    His speeches are mostly complaints about the twenty twenty election.
  • Speaker 2
    0:30:47
    Why is he winning, Tim? Tim why then why is he winning? That’s let me turn it on you.
  • Speaker 1
    0:30:51
    I can tell you because Donald Trump and the conservative media have an echo chamber where they have convinced these people that their legitimate grievances that they should support somebody like Donald Trump, who is lying to them, who’s a selfish jerk, who has convinced them that you know, the elites and culture are out to get them. And then you’re out there validating this BS validating. Yeah. Yeah. When you’re saying that I’m listening to these people and their complaints are valid and that Donald Trump is listening to them.
  • Speaker 1
    0:31:21
    What you are doing is is echoing Donald Trump’s talking points when the real truth is that Joe Biden was listening. Joe Biden’s been the one that actually did infrastructure that actually, you know, gave them COVID relief that actually did, you know, chips acts. Donald Trump isn’t listening to them. Donald Trump is a selfish jerk that only cares about himself. Why wouldn’t you say that?
  • Speaker 2
    0:31:40
    He is a selfish. Tim, that’s why I told you my story of why he even entered Congress in the first place because he’s such horrifying despicable manner. So
  • Speaker 1
    0:31:47
    why aren’t you talking about that?
  • Speaker 2
    0:31:48
    I talk about it all the time, but, you know, the fact of the matter is I’m not I’m trying to run against Donald Trump because I know how to beat him. You know how you beat him by inviting the people who are so angry in this country right now who are joining him because they feel he’s listening and they don’t see anybody else doing it. When he goes into the small towns around the country and does rallies when he’s perceived as all over the place and the president doesn’t do it, yeah, that’s a problem. He’s not listening to people in the way that you need to in this day and age, Tim.
  • Speaker 1
    0:32:14
    But perceived. You said the word perceived. You’re contributing to that perception.
  • Speaker 2
    0:32:18
    Oh, real? Okay.
  • Speaker 1
    0:32:18
    So echoing this point that Donald Trump is listening people. And Donald Trump is not are you under the impression that Donald Trump cares about the people at his rallies? Tim, I’ve been
  • Speaker 2
    0:32:27
    in the situation room with the man. I’ve looked at his eyes. I saw a man who lacked empathy, one hundred percent lacks empathy. I know what this guy is.
  • Speaker 1
    0:32:34
    So then why are you saying that he’s listening to people?
  • Speaker 2
    0:32:36
    Why am I saying he’s listening to people? Because every single poll, Tim, says that he has attracted more people in this country to win elections, and Joe Biden hasn’t. So can we just talk about that for a minute?
  • Speaker 1
    0:32:46
    This is like an oravirus where you, like, eat your own tail, where Oh, the poll says that they’re listening to him so that people are listening to him. But why are you saying it? Why are you echoing Trump’s talking points and building him up?
  • Speaker 2
    0:32:58
    I don’t echo his plopping points, Tim. I what I’m trying to do is present a path for Democrats to win. Okay? Tom Swazi last night. Did he win by being A leftist?
  • Speaker 2
    0:33:06
    No. Did I win my district by being a leftist? No.
  • Speaker 1
    0:33:09
    Is Joe Biden being a leftist?
  • Speaker 2
    0:33:11
    To many in the country he’s perceived as such. That’s the truth. Is that not true? I mean, that’s the perception, and he’s not done a good job to actually present the What
  • Speaker 1
    0:33:18
    did Tom Swazzi run on that was different than Joe Biden, like, a little bit harder on the border? I agree with that Biden could run a little bit more aggressively on the quarter. Is that but what else on what other issues did they disagree?
  • Speaker 2
    0:33:28
    Well, Tim, you I know you you’re a student of politics. You know exactly how Tom Aussie ran and won. You know this country. You know we are generally probably a little bit of a center right country. And if Democrats wanna win, we need to do it differently.
  • Speaker 2
    0:33:40
    And the way we’re doing it right now, the messaging, bidenomics, encapsulating a president instead of getting him out there. So the perception, at least, is that he’s hearing you, that he’s engaging with people, not doesn’t do interviews. He doesn’t do press conferences. I’m trying to inspire him. This notion that I’m somehow parroting Donald Trump talking points, I can’t imagine one other than the fact I’m trying to wake up Democrats to start playing the game better.
  • Speaker 2
    0:34:02
    Absolutely. There’s no question because we’re going to lose.
  • Speaker 1
    0:34:08
    You’re trying to help Joe Biden, and I’m trying to help you. I agree. If we had a better alternative, if we had somebody that was beating trump by twenty points, trust me. I would jump ship. That’s not what we have right now.
  • Speaker 1
    0:34:17
    You went on prime time Fox, which is a a Donald Trump propaganda outlet to talk to Jesse Waters, and here’s what happened.
  • Speaker 4
    0:34:23
    In terms of mental capacity, Trump’s light years ahead of Joe Biden. Just look at him and the polls show the same thing, but you say decency. He’s a decent man. You can swabble with that. But wouldn’t a decent leader, maybe put the country above his legacy and his ego and do the right thing, or is that Jill’s job?
  • Speaker 2
    0:34:43
    Now, Jesse, in fact, I I was the first Democrat in July of twenty twenty two to publicly call on the president to pass the torch. He implied he would only serve one term, of course. I’ve been doing that on a mission. I invited other candidates who are better known than me to enter the race because democracy requires competition. GOP has a number of candidates running right now, of course.
  • Speaker 2
    0:35:04
    And yes, I think he should be putting both his own legacy and the country most importantly ahead. And I think he’s making the wrong decision for both.
  • Speaker 1
    0:35:13
    So when Jesse Waters says that Donald Trump is light years ahead of Joe Biden mental capacity, You’re on prime time fox. Why are you not trying to speak truth to the people that are watching time time fox? I mean, this man confused his own ex wife
  • Speaker 2
    0:35:25
    for his rape victim. In that moment, I should have pushed by the way, I’ve been on Fox a number of times. And when they say that kind of stuff, I push back and I say, I’ve said it a number of times. I don’t see any cognitive decline. That’s not the issue.
  • Speaker 2
    0:35:36
    The issue is the next election. I should have there. You’re absolutely right. And the fact of the matter is I wish MSNBC and outlets that are more reasonable, perhaps, as you would argue, would, at least invite me on so at least I can talk policy introduce myself. But I’ll tell you, you know, how it works, Tim.
  • Speaker 2
    0:35:52
    Fox is inviting me. And news nation is inviting me. CNN a little bit. MSNBC is not even.
  • Speaker 1
    0:35:57
    That’s what I’m telling you, this is your opportunity on Fox, though. You know, now we’ve moved from this from a podcast to a coaching session. I’m giving you free free coaching. Go on. Tell Jesse Waters say, no.
  • Speaker 1
    0:36:07
    No. You can borrow that line. You can say Donald Trump mixed up his rate victim for his ex wife. Is this your mental strength candidate?
  • Speaker 2
    0:36:15
    You know what, Tim, you’re right. And the fact is every time I’m on and you chose one clip, every time I’m on, I say the same thing. The country wants to move on from both of these men, Tim. That’s the truth. Seventy percent.
  • Speaker 2
    0:36:26
    So why does our system, two party system, continue to elevate people who the rest of the country doesn’t even want? It’s because no one participates in primaries. So I’m also trying to inspire that. By the way, and I accept that criticism that I should go on when I’m on a fox, push back a little bit more. You’re absolutely right.
  • Speaker 2
    0:36:42
    You’re absolutely right. I do say the same thing about Trump. He should be also exiting this because he is not competent to serve as president. We have two men that the country has determined they do not want. And no one then goes and votes in primaries, and we get the same thing time and time again.
  • Speaker 2
    0:36:56
    And that’s where we’re at. So I hear you. And you know what? And I’m unusual, maybe, and I accept your criticism, and I’ll do better.
  • Speaker 1
    0:37:02
    Be also, though, when you when it’s always it also, both of them, also, it it creates this false equivalence. Again, I’m totally fine for you to go out there and say, people are concerned about Joe Biden’s age. I’m concerned about it. Twenty twenty nine is a long time away. Mhmm.
  • Speaker 1
    0:37:16
    I think that the Democrats have a a better option in. But also too, Donald Trump tried a coup. Donald Trump is a rapist. He has four indictments against him. He has horrible policy ideas when it comes to nasty British.
  • Speaker 1
    0:37:28
    Uh-huh. You know, it’s you seem to be hesitant to wanna do that because you kind of wanna lump them together.
  • Speaker 2
    0:37:34
    I understand what you’re saying, Tim, and I understand your reception, and look at I accept your criticism. I’ve had a lot of it in the same vein. My contention is that to win and to beat Donald Trump, is not to go on and actually demean him because it’s not working. We’ve been doing that. Look at how long we’ve been trying to do this, Tim.
  • Speaker 2
    0:37:50
    Barely working barely.
  • Speaker 1
    0:37:51
    The Democrats have won every election since twenty sixteen, except for the Virginia governor’s race.
  • Speaker 2
    0:37:55
    I think the fundamental difference right here is you are of the opinion that Joe Biden can win this next election, and I’m of the opinion that he cannot. And if you talk to my colleagues, you would hear the same thing. If you talk to people who will never say it publicly, Tim, they’re all saying the same thing privately, the special council report. That wasn’t even out when all these numbers were looking so horrifying. If that’s your opinion, you’re right.
  • Speaker 2
    0:38:16
    There’s no conversation. I’m of the opinion he cannot win, and I need to do something to disrupt this, open up the floodgates, wake people up from the delusion because Donald Trump whatever he’s doing, however despicable he is, however repulsive he is, it is working. And Democrats by simply demeaning him. You know what it does? It empowers him more.
  • Speaker 2
    0:38:35
    He grows in the polls. He attracts more people to his rallies. My contention is, yeah, show up on Fox News and show them that Democrats are actually reasonable. We don’t have horns coming out of our heads. We’re not all socialists.
  • Speaker 2
    0:38:47
    We actually are people of common sense, decency, invitation, competency, and we understand your gripes. That’s my contention. You can demean that strategy, but I’m telling you, that’s what works in the business world. It’s what works in politics for those who’ve done it, and I’m afraid Democrats are completely deluded into thinking the way to win is to talk about the infrastructure bill and to say Donald Trump is a horrible, terrible, No good man. It’s not working, Tim, because if it was, at least Joe Biden may be ahead a little bit.
  • Speaker 1
    0:39:16
    Yeah. Look, I’m worried about Joe Biden. I’m worried about it. I’m with you. I think cannot win is a pretty ridiculous statement.
  • Speaker 1
    0:39:22
    There’s a lot to happen, but I’m worried about it. And I think that on sixty, seventy percent of the things that you’re saying, we’re totally aligned. I agree with you. I think that Democrats should go into red areas and show that they’re not scary and not socialist and be nice. Yep.
  • Speaker 1
    0:39:35
    And I think Joanne does that a lot, to be honest, But I think the demo card should do that. It’s when you get into the process stuff that I we part ways. Okay. I wanna let you go, but I wanna end with a fun parlor game, if that’s okay. Can we do a parlor game to end?
  • Speaker 1
    0:39:46
    You know, kind of I
  • Speaker 2
    0:39:47
    gotta say I appreciate you and what you just said. And by the way, counsel is always helpful and, you know, perception is reality. And at the end of the day, it would be nice be introduced to Democrats at least to be introduced, and that’s why you’re right. And I will take your counsel to heart, and I will practice it. I want you to know Okay.
  • Speaker 1
    0:40:04
    I appreciate that congressman. I really do. Okay.
  • Speaker 2
    0:40:05
    Y’all can walk. Yeah.
  • Speaker 1
    0:40:06
    Thank you for coming on. Honestly, you did not have to. I believe I did call you a gelato beat belief. One time on a podcast, which just came out. Sometimes I’m letting it fly.
  • Speaker 2
    0:40:14
    As long as we beat Donald Trump, you can call me generic Democrat. You can call me Gelato Baron. You can call me an asshole. I don’t care. We gotta beat them.
  • Speaker 1
    0:40:22
    Okay. I’m with you on that. Alright. Here’s our pro gamer. Are you ready?
  • Speaker 1
    0:40:25
    Yeah. It’s gonna take you a second to think about So, I’m gonna explain it slow. The last five presidents, kind of your adult life, basically Clinton Bush, Obama, Trump, Biden. I’d like you to rank and grade them. So as a hypothetical, if Carrie Lake was getting this process, she might say Donald Trump a plus Interesting.
  • Speaker 1
    0:40:42
    Barack Obama, d because she voted for him. Bill Clinton, d minus George Bush, f. Yeah. Okay. So, I would like for you to give us me your last five presidents ranking grade.
  • Speaker 2
    0:40:52
    Okay. Number one would be Will Saletan. I’ll give the grades after number one, Bill Clinton, number two, Barack Obama. Number three, Joe Biden, number four, George Bush, number five, and a distant five Donald Trump.
  • Speaker 1
    0:41:05
    What are your grades?
  • Speaker 2
    0:41:06
    And my grades would be, a b plus for Clinton, a b for Obama, a b for Joe Biden, a c for George Bush, and a not just an f. Like, they’re not did not attend
  • Speaker 1
    0:41:21
    for for travel problem. Okay. Fine. This life off of that. Can I ask you, what did you feel like was better about the Obama presidency then divide in?
  • Speaker 1
    0:41:29
    First four years I I guess I use the speeches. The speeches naturally, but what else?
  • Speaker 2
    0:41:34
    Yeah. I’ll tell you exactly. And Tim, I’m glad you asked that because this is what you can’t measure, and that’s atmosphere and inspiration. And what he did for this country, what he did for so many of us to demonstrate that anything is possible, He brought youths. He brought energy.
  • Speaker 2
    0:41:48
    He brought optimism. He brought a worldview that I think opened eyes and hearts and minds. And you can’t measure that, but it was an extraordinary and beautiful, and I think inspirational presidency. Did he accomplish What so many of us had hoped he could? No.
  • Speaker 2
    0:42:03
    Had he become president maybe a little later with a little with some executive experience for could have done better. I think so, but that’s why I give that a a b and, and frankly, Biden accomplished a whole lot more, but has not been able to inspire the country to, you know, kinda to to get back to that optimistic hopeful beautiful America in which people are looking to the moon and and achievements in the future rather than looking behind and litigating, the past and living in fear. And that, that has not been solved Tim, and it’s gonna get worse under Trump, we know that, but Joe Biden’s a good man. I don’t think has the tools and capacity as an executive to lead us that way. And that’s why I think Obama He gave us a gift.
  • Speaker 2
    0:42:44
    That was quite remarkable.
  • Speaker 1
    0:42:46
    That’s a great way to end. I’m happy, that we hatched this out, and they gave us the time. Congressman Dean Phillips We’ll keep in touch. Who knows? We’ll keep talking.
  • Speaker 2
    0:42:53
    I love it, Tim. Hey. I admire you. And I I wanna have more conversation out less, and that’s my invitation to the president too. That’s what I’m asking him to do.
  • Speaker 2
    0:43:01
    Show up. And demonstrate, and you will see the difference it makes in the electorate because they just wanna be heard, and that’s why I’m here. So thank you.
  • Speaker 1
    0:43:08
    Sounds good. Thanks, Henderson.
  • Speaker 2
    0:43:09
    Thanks to him.
  • Speaker 1
    0:43:15
    The Secret Podcast is produced by Katie Cooper with audio engineering and editing by Jason Brepp.
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