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The Old Man and the Participation Trophy (The Secret Podcast PREVIEW)

April 28, 2023
Notes
Transcript

Sarah and JVL talk about Montana Republicans kicking a trans Democrat out of the chamber, the E. Jean Carroll lawsuit, Nikki Haley’s death pool, DeSantis in Israel, Trump and debates. And then we close out with the scourge of participation trophies.

To get the full episode—and The Secret Podcast every week—join Bulwark+.

Go to: 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 Nikki Haley’s Joe Biden is gonna die line. And then we talked about Participation trophies in youth sports. Here’s the show.
  • Speaker 1
    0:00:19

    Alright, Nikki Haley. Nikki, why don’t you take the Nikki story? So
  • Speaker 2
    0:00:23

    here’s what I like about this Nikki is. Our optimistic
  • Speaker 1
    0:00:26

    Sunny, Reaganite conservative Nikki Haley has come out and made her case for why she needs to be president to lead America into a new new time.
  • Speaker 2
    0:00:37

    She was just like and here’s the thing. This is I’ve also said made the said this, but it’s funny as a as a, like, declared candidate. She says this. So I’m not positive how I feel about it, but she basically, like, said, Joe Biden’s gonna die in the next five years. Like she just, like, said, Joe Biden is very likely to die in the next five years and we’re gonna Kamala Harris is gonna be the president.
  • Speaker 2
    0:01:01

    And I’m sure I’ve said this on this podcast. I don’t I I think it’s it’s weird because it is both morbid but, like, also true. Like, I don’t think you should we shouldn’t pretend that people in their eighties don’t pass away or have major health complications. Mhmm. It’s sort of silly to pretend like that’s not true.
  • Speaker 2
    0:01:21

    On the flip side, it’s like, I’ve but I have always said, like, this is what Republic is gonna do. They’re gonna run against a dead Joe Biden and a livecom with Harris. Like, that is their plan. And But what so it was interesting to me, like, I’ve always I’ve always said that they were gonna do this, and I thought that they were gonna do it in, like, like, a slightly more subtle way. I guess, and, like, leave it to other people to to talk about actuarial.
  • Speaker 2
    0:01:45

    But, like, she’s she’s just putting it out there. The like is probably gonna die in the next five years, which is Mona was like, this is a terrible thing to say. And I was kinda like, it it does feel terrible. And I guess I didn’t think they would be so explicit. And yet, it’s not I guess, I just don’t think it’s insane.
  • Speaker 2
    0:02:09

    For candidates. I think they’re gonna say he’s old, and that this is a like threat we Will Saletan. And
  • Speaker 1
    0:02:16

    this is where the convala bar is much higher than people think. So I think it’s actually good for Biden to have it out in the open and to have Republicans saying it in the grossest possible terms — Yeah. — because everybody’s gonna be thinking it anyway. And to me, the Biden response writes itself. Right?
  • Speaker 1
    0:02:37

    The the response to this is Look, God has blessed me by getting me this far. None of us is promised tomorrow. No matter who we are, how old we are, I know this because my son died at, you know, fifty one or forty seven or however old Bill was. Right? None of us has promised tomorrow.
  • Speaker 1
    0:02:56

    All we can do is take the time that we are given by the good lord Bulwark hard, and try to make the world a little bit better for for our kids. And one of the reasons I chose Kamala Harris, was not to balance a ticket or anything like that, but because I believe that god forbid the worst should happen, this is a woman who’s prepared to lead this country. They should not try to I said the last night. Don’t try to paper over or say, no. No.
  • Speaker 1
    0:03:26

    She’s number they should run very hard and, like, Carmel Harris is a governing partner, and just, like, lean into that. And part of that, I think they need to let her let Kamala be Kamala. People people tell me I lunch, somebody knows her pretty well this week and said, you know, what’s weird about it is that personally, she’s very affable and kinda goofy. But when she’s in public, there’s, like, this weird robotic. I gotta be somebody else and let let her let her just be herself.
  • Speaker 2
    0:03:58

    Well, we’ve talked about this. You said this. I’ve now said this to six other people. Sometimes you say things and I think, like, that’s such a smart way to think about it, which was having having, like, she was, like, the political yips. Right.
  • Speaker 2
    0:04:08

    She’s in her head. She’s nervous. And so she starts, like, word salting. When she could just I was I was I was talking to somebody who had saw her at an event, and it was like at Howard, So she’s speaking to, like, the black college kids and, like, she was amazing. They were just, like, that version of her is because she’s comfortable.
  • Speaker 2
    0:04:31

    They love her. I do think there’s think about how much better it is. Like, this is, like, part of Trump’s, what Trump has going for him. How much better it is to speak in front of a crowd of people who love you. You are more comfortable.
  • Speaker 2
    0:04:44

    You feel like yourself. You don’t feel all up in your head and tight like you do when like, you don’t get your have your please clap moments. Yeah. Tim will talk about this. About Jeb, like, getting the yip, getting in his head, and suddenly, like, you feel like people don’t like you or they’re not and, like, you just you just you start spinning.
  • Speaker 2
    0:05:03

    And I think Yeah. She could sort of she should just imagine the whole audience as Howard University College students who adore her and And they’re everywhere. In their underwear, and just yeah. Go from there. Yeah.
  • Speaker 1
    0:05:14

    Just work from there. And like
  • Speaker 2
    0:05:16

    I I agree with you. This is actually very smart advice that I hadn’t I’ve I’ve been thinking more about, like, how they really need to get her out there rehab her not just rehab, but, like, especially since Now the focus groups, people do not care for her, but especially in dev focus groups, there’s a lot of just unfulfilled potential. People are like, why? I liked her. I wanted to see her, but I just haven’t seen her, which means there’s like a whole opportunity to they wanna like her the dams.
  • Speaker 2
    0:05:43

    And so she could rebuild support by just showing up and being, you know, exceeding their expectations, which is kinda low right now. Yeah. But your point about Biden kind of not shying away from it, because a a big part of, I think, rebuilding confidence for her Is the White House showing that they have confidence in her?
  • Speaker 1
    0:06:03

    I think they totally have. I mean, the the launch video has her at fifteen
  • Speaker 2
    0:06:06

    It does. It does. Right. I
  • Speaker 1
    0:06:08

    mean, they they are not. They shut down any talk of replacing her. Right? I mean, this is which again is a thing that happens almost all the time in presidential politics the incumbent president is tempted to to push me. The Obama White House, people talked about getting rid of Biden going to their reelection.
  • Speaker 1
    0:06:26

    That’s the thing that happened. Nobody remembers it, but it happened. We
  • Speaker 2
    0:06:30

    don’t need this old white guy anymore. This guy’s got no future.
  • Speaker 1
    0:06:34

    No future. He just he’s crazy. He just says stuff. He goes off script. He gets out over his skis.
  • Speaker 1
    0:06:39

    And, you know, But, yeah, I think that lean into it and I don’t know. I feel okay about the Kamala I feel okay about the running against a dead Joe Biden in a live drama again. Okay.
  • Speaker 2
    0:06:56

    I think that you should not feel good about that. That I think is too
  • Speaker 1
    0:06:59

    far. Not good. I didn’t say good. I said, k.
  • Speaker 2
    0:07:02

    Okay.
  • Speaker 1
    0:07:02

    Because, you know, Trump is likely to be the nominee, not a hundred percent. But Trump’s is four years younger than Biden. He’s also very old. Trump’s Vice presidential pick may not be somebody who forty eight percent of America would be thrilled to see as president should he pass away. Right?
  • Speaker 1
    0:07:20

    And
  • Speaker 2
    0:07:21

    — Yeah. —
  • Speaker 1
    0:07:21

    I don’t know Biden look, Biden has been living with death in his life since his his wife died and his kid in a car price. Right? This is and again, this is how I think Biden just talked about this in a very human way that everyone will connect with. Yeah.
  • Speaker 2
    0:07:36

    I don’t think you should talk about it too much.
  • Speaker 1
    0:07:38

    No. Not too much. But I think you’re right. You know, like, at a debate. Right?
  • Speaker 1
    0:07:41

    You can see the answer for this at a debate. You know, my wife was taken from me when she was ex years old and my daughter too. My son passed away when he was however old he was. Right? And what I have always known is that none of us are promised tomorrow.
  • Speaker 1
    0:07:55

    Doesn’t matter who we are. Right? Yeah.
  • Speaker 2
    0:07:57

    Yeah. No. As as you should write you did you write this? Have you written this? You should write
  • Speaker 1
    0:08:01

    this? Try write
  • Speaker 2
    0:08:01

    this. People will read it. Waste.
  • Speaker 1
    0:08:03

    Yeah. Yeah.
  • Speaker 2
    0:08:03

    Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. When
  • Speaker 1
    0:08:04

    people read by things, did you read it?
  • Speaker 2
    0:08:06

    I would read it. Mhmm. I have read sure. I read the one this week. Or it was like toobine is gonna be the president and you’re gonna like it.
  • Speaker 2
    0:08:15

    It was like the most JBL piece ever. Did
  • Speaker 1
    0:08:17

    you like it?
  • Speaker 2
    0:08:18

    I I liked it. Yeah. Yeah. Right. It was good.
  • Speaker 2
    0:08:22

    Okay. Can I just can I just just not to turn it make it about Trump and DeSantis really quickly, but did you see the picture this morning of DeSantis having is in Israel? He’s sitting he’s at, like, with Republican donors. He’s sitting next to Marya Madison. Sheldon’s late late Sheldon’s wife.
  • Speaker 2
    0:08:43

    She is not late. She’s alive. She’s having dinner with Ron DeSantis. And she’s like the richest republic. She’s the biggest she was Trump’s biggest donor.
  • Speaker 2
    0:08:51

    And so it’d be quite a coup for DeSantis to make her his donor. Although she said apparently, she’s sitting out the Republican primary, But but it’s, like, somebody got a photo and it’s, like, him talking with his hands and she’s, like, looking at her plate or, like, looking at the phone. It’s unclear. She just doesn’t look that excited to be talking to him. But there is this piece.
  • Speaker 2
    0:09:13

    Jay Martin wrote this piece. I don’t know if you guys have talked about it on any of the pods. Did you guys talk about it with Amanda? Or did it come out yesterday? It came
  • Speaker 1
    0:09:19

    out yesterday. This is the one where the very shrewd Republicans said, we’re just gonna have to go down to the basement and ride out the turn Right. Come out to rebuild once it’s over.
  • Speaker 2
    0:09:29

    That’s great. It’s great stuff. And I just think it is amazing. How quickly people have gone from Trump is too weak. He’s not gonna be the nominee, so I don’t have to do anything.
  • Speaker 2
    0:09:41

    To Trump is too strong. He’s inevitable, so I don’t have to do anything. Yes.
  • Speaker 1
    0:09:46

    Mike, who could possibly be
  • Speaker 2
    0:09:47

    Where was that middle place where, like, agency happened. And I would just like to go on the record here and say that I do not think Trump is inevitable. I only think Trump is inevitable. If everybody continues to behave as they are currently behaving.
  • Speaker 1
    0:10:03

    So he’s inevitable.
  • Speaker 2
    0:10:07

    I don’t know. I mean No. Santos has moved up his launch date to the middle of May. Because I think as people are just
  • Speaker 1
    0:10:15

    freaked out. Yeah.
  • Speaker 2
    0:10:17

    And I can’t wait.
  • Speaker 1
    0:10:19

    I I think that again, I I think he is likely to be an I think the odds of trumping the nominee now are better than fifty fifty. Yeah. Not a hundred percent, but, you know, sixty forty, seventy thirty. Alright.
  • Speaker 2
    0:10:32

    So just did that but we also haven’t talked about how he’s, like, also saying, like, maybe he won’t debate.
  • Speaker 1
    0:10:38

    Yeah. And that’s interesting. I I think that this is him working the refs to get the debates in to get the debates to a format that he wants. Because here’s the thing about Trump, which I I admire. In a way.
  • Speaker 1
    0:10:59

    I mean, the guy just plays to win. Right? And he, you know, he wasn’t a good fit for Iowa. He wasn’t gonna do well and, you know, he was gonna be very, very hard for him to win the Iowa caucuses in twenty sixteen. And where the traditional Republican move in that case is, If you are a candidate like Trump who is, like, soft with evangelicals at that point, which is what he was, then the move is to all the consultants would tell you Listen, we’re not gonna put a lot of resources into Iowa.
  • Speaker 1
    0:11:26

    We’re gonna lower expectations for Iowa, and we’re gonna focus on New Hampshire. And we’re gonna, you know, we’re gonna down play Iowa. We’re not gonna play too hard there because we know we won’t win. In Trump’s position was, I’m gonna run everywhere and I’m gonna win everywhere. Yeah.
  • Speaker 1
    0:11:41

    And that’s a good position, it turns out. Right? Like, this is this is what you should do. And, you know, like, he skipped the one the one Republican a bait with Megyn Kelly. No.
  • Speaker 2
    0:11:54

    He just has a bait with Megyn Kelly.
  • Speaker 1
    0:11:56

    No. There there was another one, I think, with Well, maybe it wasn’t. Yeah. He skipped one of the republics.
  • Speaker 2
    0:12:01

    He skipped one of the fox debates because Brian Killmead shot at Radha. She was hon saying, They were like, Trump says he’s not gonna debate. She was like, well, you know, we’re gonna work with all the candidates. And Trump was there for all of them at the center of the stage, and he debated. He never shied away from painting.
  • Speaker 2
    0:12:20

    He can’t kill me. He was like, yeah, he did. He didn’t show up to our debate. And she was kinda like, Yeah. He skipped one debate.
  • Speaker 2
    0:12:29

    I
  • Speaker 1
    0:12:29

    remember when
  • Speaker 2
    0:12:30

    he skipped that debate. And it was like, Ted Cruz said the only funny thing I’ve ever seen him say, which is he he opened up the debate by being like, let’s just get it out of the way that you’re disgusting I’m disgusting. We’re all idiots and morons, and now we have completed the Donald Trump portion of this debate.
  • Speaker 1
    0:12:51

    That’s funny. Yeah. Been funnier if Ted Cruz didn’t go around. Well, I don’t wanna make something crew. I wanna say something crew to make you blush.
  • Speaker 1
    0:13:00

    Alright. Let’s get to the thing everybody really wants here, which is participation trophies. In
  • Speaker 2
    0:13:04

    This is what everyone
  • Speaker 1
    0:13:05

    wants. The North Kakalaki three Republican state legislatures are pushing around a bill which would outlaw participation trophies in youth sports
  • Speaker 2
    0:13:17

    It’s amazing what people think should be dealt with by our legislatures these days.
  • Speaker 1
    0:13:20

    Because what is happening right now is that we get these kids, and we just give them all these participation trophies for everything in life when they’re five. And then we send them to these woke schools. And then they go and they become dance majors at Wesleyan. And then they show up to their office and they demand raises from their bosses. And these these commies you’re you just it’s like You basically agree with all of I
  • Speaker 2
    0:13:49

    agree with them of this.
  • Speaker 1
    0:13:50

    Brimley m.
  • Speaker 2
    0:13:51

    I agree with this. I I’m gonna start with participation trophies.
  • Speaker 1
    0:13:55

    Okay. So You are at the beginning of the youth sports roller coaster? I am. I would like to posit to you that we have two big problems in youth sports. Neither of which is participation trophies.
  • Speaker 1
    0:14:09

    K? The first problem we have in youth sports is declining participation. Yep. Kids aren’t doing youth sports. One of the things I believe we we typically, when you’re conservative believing is incentives, Right?
  • Speaker 1
    0:14:23

    If if getting kids to do sports means like throwing them a five cent hunk of tin and really saying, hey, it’s great that you came out for soccer this year. You get a trophy for it because we’re trying to incentivize them for coming out for soccer next year. And this is a good thing. What we want is more participation in youth sports because being what is important about youth sports isn’t the trophy you get. But the fact that you’re doing it.
  • Speaker 1
    0:14:46

    Right? That’s where you what you learn in youth sports is the stuff that comes from doing youth sports. That that’s where the most of the, you know, kids don’t walk away from his sports and the big lesson they took from it was if they got a trophy. The big lesson they took from it was that they were on a team. They learned how to get how to get around, how to get along with other kids.
  • Speaker 1
    0:15:02

    They learned how to follow instructions. They learned how to push through and do things that are difficult. They learned how to win with grace or to lose with dignity. Right? Those are the real things.
  • Speaker 1
    0:15:10

    This idea that these aging southern boomers gosh, I’m being so good. Look at me. And I mean, that’s that they think that the the the big thing that a seven year old takes away from a season of of of wreck soccer is that they got a trophy and that that’s what molds them and is insane. Yeah. But the second problem And the much bigger problem is that we have done in youth sports is the exact opposite of participation trophies.
  • Speaker 1
    0:15:43

    We have professionalized it. Yeah. We have pushed everybody no matter what if you were into fencing, then you have to be part of a fencing club by age ten in order to make your high school VAR a defensive team. If you play baseball, you have to be doing baseball year round. Year round, if you want to make your middle school team, forget high school team.
  • Speaker 2
    0:16:07

    Well, do you even play for your high school team? Or do you are you on your traveling team? And that’s the real team.
  • Speaker 1
    0:16:12

    You’re on both of them. Right? The traveling team is more important than the high school teams as it turns out, as I as I am finding out right now. And what we have done is we have made it impossible for a normal kid or normal parents who don’t have the thousands of dollars that it takes. To be involved in all these travel leagues and to do the private lessons and to give the time to Schlep.
  • Speaker 1
    0:16:34

    What happens if you have three kids all within five years of one another who are all in travel. So I mean, you literally can’t drive them from place to place enough. It’s it’s impossible. It’s an impossible to ask And so we are making sports at even the middle and high school levels. The exclusive preserve of highly motivated, well-to-do parents and kids.
  • Speaker 1
    0:16:57

    Yeah. And that is the prop. The problem is not participation trophy. Now, is there a remedy for this? Maybe the remedy for it, which I have seen banging about by people who care about this stuff, is actually increased funding for exports because a lot of what happened in in one of the instigating events in the explosion of travel programs and travel sports teams and club sports was the slashing of local rec budgets.
  • Speaker 1
    0:17:24

    And so as local rec sports began to disappear, private travel stuff filled the void. Okay. So if if you wanted to, you know, attack the sports industrial complex, then what you could do is spend a little more money to make sure that you’re, you know, the local community center stands up an extra rec soccer league or an extra rec basketball league for these, you know, for the kids who don’t wanna be professional basketball players by age eleven. Yeah. But, you know, The Republicans in North Carolina, they found the real problem.
  • Speaker 1
    0:17:54

    And and now and then add another thing. What is what is the proposed solution to this? So we outlaw outlaw participation trophies. Are we gonna have participation trophy police who show up to every game to make sure that nobody gets an award? Are they gonna Are these guides gonna drive across North Carolina every single Saturday afternoon to make sure that no seven year old anywhere is getting a trophy or a medal that they don’t deserve.
  • Speaker 1
    0:18:27

    What? It is madness. I’m gonna stop. Sara, if you would like to defend this for your standards of excellence because I I joked with somewhere that the Sarah Longwell position on this, is that forget just banning the participation trophies. Kids who lose games should have to show up at school on Monday with t shirts branding them as the lose servers so they can learn the value of winning.
  • Speaker 2
    0:18:57

    I mean, I you know, the my biggest my only real thought on this is once again, Like, we used to joke about Democrats, the Democrats, whenever Democrats would see some problems, where they would be like, there ought to be a law. Right. There ought to be a law about this weird cultural thing I don’t like. And I was always like, there shouldn’t be a law. Civil society should take care of most of these things and we definitely don’t need a law.
  • Speaker 2
    0:19:24

    And now it’s just Republicans being like, you know what I don’t like? These these boys becoming girls. And so I’m gonna make a law against it. And why I don’t like kids getting participation from me. So I’m gonna make a law I mean, you know, this is like what cultures for.
  • Speaker 2
    0:19:40

    This is what civil society is for. And, you know, and also, they are pretty it is, like, I I my kid one of my kids played soccer. And my played soccer, I mean, sat down. On the field.
  • Speaker 1
    0:19:56

    Picking down the
  • Speaker 2
    0:19:56

    lands on the field. Yeah. Pulling grass for much of the season. And when he was given his medal, I was a little bit like, But sure he earned that.
  • Speaker 1
    0:20:07

    Did you did you take it away from him and tell the truth? Not once here. Where is that?
  • Speaker 2
    0:20:10

    He, like, sort of, treasures this you know, madal. It’s like,
  • Speaker 1
    0:20:14

    oh, that’s just real. Isn’t
  • Speaker 2
    0:20:15

    it? Well, you know and the thing is is I do want him to play. Again, I’m not sure he will. I’m not sure it’s his bag. And so I think that there’s a Here’s the thing.
  • Speaker 2
    0:20:26

    I think it’s different for little kids. And I think when you get older, I’m not I’m not a parent. Who’s at the, you know, six year old baseball game, you know, shouting at my kid to I am shouting at my kid sometimes, but it’s usually like stop sitting down. You must stand up. Like, you know, or when he hits the ball and he looks so surprised, and I’m yelling, run.
  • Speaker 2
    0:20:48

    You know? That’s that’s the most of my shouting. But, you know, at some point, you sort of shift to a place where, like, okay, you’re grow you’re you’re a bigger kid now. And, like, we don’t give you trophies just for existing, and I think that’s okay.
  • Speaker 1
    0:21:01

    None of my kids have ever gotten any sort of participation trophy. Flash has gotten won trophy in his entire life, and it was when they won the Little League Championship. That’s — Yeah. — Eric, there ain’t been no trophies in our our world. Again, it’s been exactly the opposite.
  • Speaker 1
    0:21:15

    But maybe maybe I’m just in a bubble. And in North Carolina, participation trophies are an epidemic.
  • Speaker 2
    0:21:22

    Did you keep your trophy? So I had I Will Saletan a and, like, my bedroom as, like, a teen, had my trophies and my medals from my various sports endeavors. And none of them were like, here. This is you know, it was all because we, like, won the middle school playoffs or whatever. And or, like, or it was, like, your most valuable player award or whatever.
  • Speaker 2
    0:21:50

    And
  • Speaker 1
    0:21:51

    there’s a special one. Never got a single one of any of that. It’s all about. I
  • Speaker 2
    0:21:55

    did there is four. Show because they don’t give them to absolutely everybody, but
  • Speaker 1
    0:22:00

    certainly
  • Speaker 2
    0:22:00

    for little kids. In
  • Speaker 1
    0:22:01

    a hard scrabble, New Jersey, we don’t give trophies to anybody unless you unless you bribe the official. You palm somebody at twenty. You can get yourself a trophy. That’s the New Jersey way. I’m glad you admit that you live in New Jersey.
  • Speaker 1
    0:22:15

    Gotta goo. Hey, again. It’s JBL. The conversation goes on from there. If you want to hear the rest of the show, head on over to Bulwark Plus and subscribe.
  • Speaker 1
    0:22:24

    We’d love to have you.
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