Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America conclude the Three Martini Lunch Award season by announcing their choices for person of the year and turncoat of the year. They also make their fearless predictions for 2019.
Archives for December 2018
Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America announce three more prestigious year-end awards. Today they look at the stories the mainstream media covered far too much, the ones they conveniently ignored because they didn’t fit their narrative, and what they saw as the best stories of 2018.
Earlier this month a federal judge ruled the Affordable Care Act was unconstitutional, and even with the the U.S. headed toward a divided Congress next month, a conservative policy expert says this could be a great opportunity for market-based solutions to make progress.
Judge Reed O’Connor struck down the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, using the logic Chief Justice John Roberts used to save the law in 2012. At that time, Roberts declared the law constitutional because the penalty for violating the individual mandate amounted to a tax. But with last year’s tax law reducing the penalty to nothing, O’Connor said both the mandate and the entire law must go.
The decision is just the first in what will likely be a long legal battle sure the reach the U.S. Supreme Court, but with the law in legal limbo, Galen Institute President Grace-Marie Turner says the opportunity could be ripe for a legislative fix.
Turner was part of a group urging Congress to adopt the Health Care Choices plan for much of 2018. GOP leaders ultimately chose not to take up the plan or even the issue. Turner suspects it’s because they were still wounded from their 2017 efforts.
“I think Congress was traumatized by what they’d been through with the rejection after putting so much effort into trying to do repeal and replace and failing in 2017. They were afraid to try that again,” said Turner.
Instead, she expects the new House Democratic majority to push for a single-payer system, known on the left as Medicare for all.
“After Obamacare’s failure, you’d think that maybe they’d learned a lesson but no. They just want to say, ‘If you give us all the money and all the control, we’ll be fine and we’ll be able to fix health care,” said Turner.
“We don’t believe that. We believe that you’ve got to devolve power down to the states and ultimately to individuals to make better decisions, to give resources to people who are sick, who are low income, who need help purchasing health insurance,” added Turner.
Democrats hammered away on health care in the midterm election campaign. Incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi even mentioned how the fight over coverage for pre-existing conditions was a major factor in her party regaining the majority.
Listen to the full podcast to hear Turner explain how her plan is more generous to people with those conditions than anything provided for in Obamacare, how the Health Care Choices plan could be of great benefit to Medicaid patients, and how it could greatly reduce our all of our health care costs. She also discusses what’s realistic with Democrats running the House come January.
Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America embark on the second half of their six-episode saga known as the 2018 Three Martini Lunch Awards. Today, Jim and Greg offer up their selections for the best political idea, worst political idea, and boldest political tactics for 2018.
The tax reform legislation has our economy booming and the boom will keep rolling unless the Federal Reserve kneecaps it by continuing to raise interest rates, according to informal Trump economic adviser Stephen Moore.
Moore is a Heritage Foundation and FreedomWorks scholar and is also co-author of “Trumponomics: Inside the America First Plan to Revive Our Economy.”
He says the 2017 tax reform bill is doing wonders for our economy.
“The tax reform has been a spectacular success, with an amazing amount of money coming into the United States and factories being built. We’re in the biggest construction and manufacturing boom in 50 years in this country right now.
“You see we have the lowest unemployment rate in 50 years. Wages are rising. It’s hard to point to any single thing that hasn’t worked with the tax cut,” said Moore.
He says lowering tax cuts for corporations and small businesses as well as individuals was more about generating job creation than balancing the budget but he says the Congressional Budget Office is already estimating greater revenues as a result of the legislation.
“The Congressional Budget Office has already increased its growth estimate over the next ten years by $6 trillion since we passed the tax cut. The federal government is going to get 20 percent of that, so that’s going to be $1.5 trillion right there,” said Moore.
Moore also rejects the argument from Democrats that the tax reform is just providing a one-year “sugar high” that will dissipate in 2019, although he does urge lawmakers to make the tax cuts permanent.
But the past three months – and especially the past couple of weeks – have shown major losses on Wall Street. If the Trump economic plan is so sound, why is this happening?
Moore says the Federal Reserve is to blame by raising interest rates.
“We’ve got a massive problem now on our hands. The federal reserve is just crushing the economy. It’s sucking dollars out of the economy at a time when we need the feds to be putting more money into the economy,” said Moore.
“The Fed made a tragic mistake on Dec. 19 when they raised interest rates. They should be cutting interest rates, not raising them. We’re in a deflationary spiral right now. Look at what’s happening with oil prices. Look what’s happening to the prices of wheat, cotton, soybeans, and copper. It’s a very, very dangerous situation,” said Moore.
Listen to the full podcast to hear Moore explain how strong Trump’s re-election chances will be if the Fed stops raising interest rates and what those chances will be if they don’t. He also lays out the contrast we’re likely to see in economic policy from Trump and the eventual Democratic nominee.
Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America are back from celebrating Christmas with three more prestigious Three Martini Lunch Awards. Today they discuss the most significant scandals of 2018 and then sift through a ton of possibilities for the best and worst political theater of 2018. And maybe, just maybe, there will be a moment from the Kavanaugh hearings that fits one or more of these categories.
Almost everyone who will vote in 2020 has already made up their minds. The 2018 midterms showed a divided America and political scientist Larry Sabato says we’ll see the same thing in the next cycle as America gears up for a presidential race.
Sabato, who directs the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia, says Americans are locked into their political views and are not budging. He says this is proven in President Trump’s unprecedented poll numbers, which hardly ever budge.
“Not much has changed, not much since the day he was elected in November 2016,” said Sabato. “He got 46 percent of the vote. I think if you filter the polls through likely voter status, you’ll find that he comes out about 46 percent. Nothing’s changed.”
Sabato says this is also evident in how the midterms played out, with some voters sharply rebuking him and others giving him a bigger majority in the Senate.
“The message in the House election was that people wanted a check and balance on President Trump. That’s the national election because you didn’t have a national election for Senate and for governors,” said Sabato.
“President Trump’s luck held because he was able to add two seats to the U.S. Senate. Given the fact that Republicans already had the majority, those two extra votes will come in very handy for him in the new year,” said Sabato.
As for the outgoing Congress, Sabato suspects longtime GOP lawmakers will see the past two years as a great success due to passing tax cuts and criminal justice reform while confirming a record number of judges. He suspects younger, more conservative members will feel like opportunities were missed on spending, repealing Obamacare and more.
Listen to the full podcast to hear Sabato’s assessment of the Brett Kavanaugh hearings, how Democrats will act once they have the majority in the House, and why he thinks there may be more than 20 Democrats running for president in 2020.
Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America offer the second installment of their prestigious year-end awards. Today they remark on someone they’re sorry to see go, with Jim focusing on an important conservative leaving office and Greg honoring a key figure who left us in 2018. They also share their choices for rising political stars and the political figures who appear to be fading into oblivion – rarely to be heard from again.
President Trump is taking heat from all points on the political spectrum for announcing an immediate withdrawal of some 2,000 U.S. forces in Syria, but retired U.S. Navy Captain Chuck Nash believes Trump is doing the right thing while acknowledging the decision leaves several uncertainties in the Middle East.
On Wednesday, Trump declared that ISIS was defeated in Syria, a claim roundly rejected by lawmakers and national security experts who say it damages the credibility of the United States to suddenly get out before ISIS is fully crushed.
Nash says Trump is just sticking to his promise to neutralize the ISIS threat and then get out. He likens it to President George Bush’s handling of the Gulf War as the U.S.-led coalition evicted Iraq from Kuwait.
“We did that in blinding time. There were a lot of people saying, ‘Keep going to Baghdad.’ No, that’s mission creep. A lot of people, me included, said he did the right thing. This was after Vietnam, where mission creep bogged us down into a horrible situation,” said Nash.
Nash says Trump vowed to stay in Syria only until ISIS was crushed and he says that has largely happened because of the Trump administration’s approach to fighting ISIS.
“We took off the restrictive rules of engagement. We put the right kind of people on the ground and we let the right people do the fighting, backed up by the right people. It’s been much smarter the way we’ve done it and if you want to look at tonnage of bombs, (it’s) drastically different from what happened during the Obama administration,” said Nash.
Trump’s critics are accusing him of cutting and running similar to President Barack Obama’s withdrawal of all U.S. forces in Iraq in 2011. Nash says there is a big difference.
“What’s different from what President Trump is doing than what President Barack Obama did was (Obama) advertised a pullout some point down the road. That just gave the enemy time to prepare. What Trump has done is pull the rug out from under them and said we’re pulling those 2,000 troops back,” said Nash.
Nash also believes Trump reached his decision based on the evidence presented by Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan last month.
“(Erdogan) made a speech on Nov. 27 in which he said there were no real ISIS fighters left in Syria, that there are just some gangs in there stirring things up, downplaying the quality and quantity of what remains of ISIS,” said Nash.
Domestic experts estimate 30,000 ISIS terrorists remain engaged in the fight.
Nash does worry about Iran trying to grow it’s influence in the region with the U.S. puling back. He also fears Turkey will mercilessly target Kurdish fighters and that U.S. must stand up for those allies.
“The Kurds are the people we should be supporting in Northern Iraq. We have gained some relationship with the Kurds in Northern Syria because they have been the bulwark of who we have been supporting up there against ISIS. They’ve been doing the vast majority of the fighting against ISIS.
“We are kind of betwixt and between. We can’t let them hang out to dry,” said Nash.
Listen to the full podcast to hear Capt. Nash explain why our improving relations with Turkey may help to protect the Kurds and how the U.S. is not really actually leaving the fight against ISIS entirely.
Over the past 12 months, many legends from the entertainment world have passed away.
From Aretha Franklin to Burt Reynolds to Penny Marshall, we lost many of our favorites in music, television, and film. And we also remember those whose contributions were truly out of this world.
Listen to the full podcast to join us in remembering the famous names and faces who kept us entertained for so many years and be sure to find our podcast honoring those we lost in politics, faith, media, sports, and business.