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Hello from the Lincoln Project, I'm Ron. Welcome back to our weekly roundup, where we bring in a rotating panel of experts to discuss the truth. You need to know behind the most important stories of the week and how they're shaping the political landscape in this country. And on today's very special episode, I'm joined by former political director, the California Republican Party, my fellow Lincoln Project co-founder, Mike Madrid. It's great to have you back, Mike. Good to be back.


Political commentator and crisis communications consultant, former Lincoln Project senior adviser and MSNBC political analyst Susan Perso. Good morning, Suzanne. Good morning. Finally, I'd like to welcome Lucy Caldwell back to the round up, a political strategist, former campaign manager for Joe Walsh's primary challenge to Donald Trump and a former senior political adviser and communications director of the Goldwater Institute. Lucy, thanks for making the time again today. Thanks for having me back, you guys. So great to be here.


On today's episode, we're going to discuss Joe Biden's inauguration as the 26th president of the United States.


But before we get started, I did want to let you know that there was an issue with our last Roundup episode. We made an editing error in a clip of a Capitol Police officer named Michael Fernan that made it sound like he was thinking members of the mob who were at the Capitol, he was, in fact, condemning those people for going to the Capitol. And we've corrected the audio in the episode. But I wanted to make that correction for our listeners.


You guys, let's start by talking about the inauguration of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris as president and vice president of the United States.


There were a ton of great highlights from the inauguration, from Bernie Sanders mittens to an inspiring poetry reading to a remarkable inaugural address, which we'll get to in a minute. But I think the biggest highlight was that as of noon on Wednesday, Donald Trump no longer has access to the nuclear codes.


We we we we did it. It is it is done. It is over. I think all of us and our listeners have spent much of the last four years just waiting for the next crisis or crazy tweet or incendiary comment or racist policy. So before we dive in to the speech and the politics and the optics, how did you all feel watching the inauguration yesterday? Lucy, why don't you start us off?


You know, I was really taken aback. My husband said to me yesterday afternoon, at some point, it's a big crying day for you, huh?


And I thought, why am I so overwhelmed?


I, I, you know, eat, breathe, sleep that stuff. And I think it's because the antics of the last several months, let alone the last four years, have made me even gird myself against what it would be like to finally get rid of the sociopath in the White House, whom I hope we never hear from again.


So just really experiencing how overwhelming it was to see that the day has finally come.


Mike, how about you? You know, we've been talking for the better part of a year saying this, this epic doesn't end on November 3rd, it ends on January 20th because we were stealing the nation and guarding the nation for any of the problems, especially the violence, which we ultimately did see pop up and emanate. And I think, like Lucy, I you know, I did not realize how the physical like I literally felt it in my being like, OK, we're going to be OK.


And I think when that started to really seep into my core, I was watching Biden's speech when they would do those pull away shots and you could see the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument. And I did not realize how long it had been since I felt hopeful, seeing those those monuments of who we were that have always been so inspiring about what a great nation and great people we are. And when I saw that and felt that again, rather than worrying about either of their desecration or or immediately being in a frame of mind of what was wrong with the American character, but to feel hopeful again and to see those symbols that we have built and demonstrated throughout our generations, to say we are a great people, we are a people of character, I'm reminded that we did we for the moment and it's a big moment, we we have prevailed.


We did win the election. We did our constitution did hold, though battered. Our institutions remained intact. And despite a global pandemic, despite an insurrection, but despite the ravaging of our economy and the despoiling of our character, we are still we are still shining. We are still there. We have a lot of work to do. But I think for the first time in years, I was reminded of what I would say inspirational as a student at Georgetown University, as a young person interested in politics, as we're going to be OK, our American character has survived.


It has endured. We have been steeled by this moment and we will be the stronger people.


Susan, what were you feeling? Well, at first I was thinking how spectacularly wrong I was during the last podcast, worrying about how it would all look and how I was so concerned that this was going to be the wrong image to send around the world, seeing the fencing, seeing the soldiers.


And I couldn't be more wrong. I couldn't have been more inspired and and hopeful and just literally on the edge of my seat waiting to see it happen. I also felt a sense of calmness at first. Again, I thought, you know, Donald Trump should be there, the traditional handoff of power. But you know what? I was coming not seeing him. You knew nothing was going to happen. You didn't have to worry about the camera showing his pursed lips and him being all grumpy.


And he took away nothing from anybody. And you saw presidents from both sides, former presidents from both sides of the aisle. They're enjoying each other's company. And that was just fantastic.


Yeah, I felt the same sort of outrage after he said he wasn't going to be there, but even more relief that he wasn't because it what there were no distractions that that inevitably there would have been. OK, I want to spend some time with Biden's speech because it was a masterpiece. You know, the dominant theme of the speech was unity. But Biden opened by talking about democracy. So let's take a quick listen to that.


This is America's day. This is democracy's day. Day of history and hope of renewal and resolve through a crucible. For the ages, America has been tested anew and America has risen to the challenge. Today, we celebrate the triumph not of a candidate, but of a cause, the cause of democracy. The people, the will of the people has been heard and the will of the people has been heeded. We've learned again that democracy is precious. Democracy is fragile.


At this hour, my friends, democracy has prevailed. Democracy has prevailed.


I got chills yesterday when I heard him say that for the first time and I just got chills again, hearing it a second time. And I think since election night, really, we've seen an assault on our democracy. But even before that, you know, Mike, we had framed the choice in front of Americans as being America or Trump from, you know, from Trump. But but then after the election, from Trump coming out and telling his supporters that, frankly, we did win this election on election night to all the lawsuits and the baseless claims of voter fraud up to the Electoral College vote challenges in Congress and then ultimately the insurrection at the capital.


You know, how were each of you feeling when Biden started the speech talking about democracy prevailing? Mike, why don't you lead their. You know, at the Lincoln Project, we did use the characterization and the political frame of America or Trump, and in many ways it was overly simplistic. In other ways it was exactly right. But the meaning of the depth of that wasn't just about America and the flag. It was literally juxtaposing this authoritarian movement and this person with our democratic institutions and our democratic ideals.


Democracy is extremely, extremely fragile and it always has been. We have, through our own political structures, always, I think, sought to or at least our elites have sought to ensure that only people of enough character and commitment to the idea of democracy were elected to the power structures that we had that we enabled. The Trump era flipped that on its head. Right. It's just it's just rising populism, which, incidentally, is also emanating on the left.


But that's about Ghast for another day. And so democracy, democracy is in trouble. And it's not just because of Trump and Trump ism. Right. It's a social dynamic that is really manifesting itself not just in American democracy, not just in Western democracy, but globally. And I do fear that we are entering a time where democracy may not be the dominant form of government for the next century, especially as we as human beings grapple with the technological age.


And so for the moment, we can reflect and step back with this new president and and reconfigure and reinspire and reimagine what a democratic institution, a democratically elected republic looks like in a new age. And I think there's a certain luxury to that. But but it but it's not going to last long. We have a lot of work to do. The good news is it held. We can we can pause. We can we can remember. But we got to get to work very, very quickly.


And maybe we'll have time to get to H.R. one later on in this episode. To your point, there's so much work to do and actually a really, really compressed timeline to do it out of the midterms. But Lucy and Susan, I want to give you an opportunity to respond to that first line and and how you are feeling.


Susan, what's so inspiring about how President Biden delivered his speech was he wasn't trying to to make it poetic. He wasn't trying to have it remembered for the ages. He was talking to the people at the time and saying what we needed to hear democracy will prevail. It he's showing the country. He's here. I heard you. And one line that he also used in that speech was, in my words, not his exactly. But if enough of us come together, we can overcome saying this is a democracy.


We need the majority, but you don't need everybody. And he recognizes in a healthy democracy, not everyone's going to get along. And that's OK. We just don't have to hate each other. We don't have to have what he said in uncivil war of red and blue, we can disagree. So I think, you know, just taking it pass, the, you know, democracy prevailed. What does that mean? And can we get things going forward?


And I think that was, again, the exact message at the exact right time. Yeah.


Lucy, definitely moving from four years ago, an inaugural address that included talking about American carnage. I mean, the legacy of the past four years as American carnage. We passed 400000 Americans died yesterday.


And so to hear Joe Biden talk about Americans together and to talk about what qualities could be definitional definitional for Americans, I think is a moment that hopefully, you know, in that spirit of moving past an uncivil war, thinking about what are the qualities that we, as we heard later, want to step into, I think really hopefully will resonate with with Americans. And from the reviews he did, he got it dead. Yeah.


So we're talking about this part of the speech where he says enough of us came together. Let's do we have that clip? Can we play that?


Our history has been a constant struggle between the American ideal, that we're all are created equal and the harsh, ugly reality that racism, nativism, fear, demonization have long torn us apart. The battle is perennial and victory is never assured through civil war, the Great Depression, World War, 9/11, through struggle, sacrifice and setbacks are better. Angels have always prevailed. In each of these moments, are enough of us are enough of us have come together to carry all of us forward and we can do that now.


I think this is really telling about what Biden means when he talks about unity. And Mike, I called you yesterday to talk about this because it to get your take on how he approached unity in this speech, because it's something it's something we've spent a lot of time talking about. It's something that you referred to several episodes ago about uniting with the people who were behind the insurrection at the capital. And so it sounded really similar to how we've been talking about it.


And you know that it's about enough of us coming together. How were you thinking about unity during this speech and particularly during that moment, especially watching him on the steps of the same capitol that had just been desecrated?


So this, I think, is the issue that will define not just the Biden presidency, but the next century of American identity. And the question of unity has always been one that we as Americans have grappled with. It's why we had from our earliest days a failed confederation that didn't work before we established the United States of America. Right. We had a government that didn't work for 10 years before we established this constitution in this framework going forward, because the balance of states rights and whether or not Virginians wanted to work with with those from Vermont or Delaware and those from the Deep South.


So, look, I mean, I've spent a lot of time on this because especially especially in examining Lincolnian notions of unity and some of the thinkers in the Republican Party like Thaddeus Stevens and Andrew Johnson, you know, who was really a compromise candidate for vice president, a Southern Democrat who was chosen for the sake of unity. And this speech, I think, hit it very well. I think Biden hit two things very well. And to Susan's point, I'm glad you played the clip, the thematic that enough of us came together so that all of us could move forward, I think honestly addresses the notion that we are not going to find unanimity, especially during this time.


But there needs to be enough of us that come together to move the American experiment forward. And we have to be OK recognizing it just has to be enough of us. And I think this was the failure of of Lincoln and some elements of the Republican Party after the Civil War. And so what I mean by that is this. Unity for the sake of unity is precisely what allowed us to sweep some very ugly parts of our history under the rug and fester like an open wound through Jim Crow, through segregation, through the oppression of black and brown people, because we are finally recognizing and finally coming to terms with the facts in a real, meaningful, substantive way.


I believe that democracy, American democracy has not worked for everybody. It still does not work for everybody. And for those that are not committed to it, I believe there is no place in the public square for you. And maybe that that puts me in the Thaddeus Stevens wing of of the radical Republican Party.


But I'm very comfortable there. I don't want to work in coalition with those that do not support the Voting Rights Act, that would rather oppress votes and gamed the system and lie about our democracy to maintain power than to see all the voices in this country have a seat at the table, which they helped to build. That is the Republican Party I joined. That is the country I want to be a part of. And I feel a special and unique obligation to fight against those forces that do not agree with that.


And if that's my role, you know, I don't think anybody wants to be involved in politics to fight against things. I think we want it to be aspirational and be forward thinking. At least I hope we do. But at least in this moment of time, if that's what my highest and best purpose is, I'm not interested in working in unification coalition or building an America that unites those forces together. Again, we need to learn that Lincoln was wrong, at least in that aspect, and we need to not not allow that to be a part of the American experiment.


You know, one thing that is so interesting about Biden's speech is everyone, you can there is an interpretation for everyone and to take away from it. And so while I completely agree about everything that Mike just said in the lofty goals and how we move forward, and certainly Biden was talking about a lot of that with the uncivil war. But when he said, if enough of us get together, we can move forward. To me, it was the building block of how he plans to get forward by fighting covid-19, by fighting this crisis.


If we come together, there's no bigger crisis. He had the memorial on Tuesday was unbelievable, which I hope we get to separately. But it was also inspirational. It was also a time for the country to finally mourn what happened.


And I think that those words take me to a place where if we can move from being nationalist, especially white nationalists under Trump to patriots moving forward, and that's our goal is if enough of us come together, we can fight this crisis, both, you know, the public health crisis as well as the economic one that's sure to come. My God, this is a time that we unite. This is when we move forward. Yeah. Lucious, you're nodding.




I think that not only did Biden set that tone, but we have seen it even later this week, echoed by Nancy Pelosi when she was asked about how do we move forward? And a member in a press conference, someone asked Nancy Pelosi just, well, isn't it kind of divisive to push forward with impeachment? And she said, are you worried about it?


No. And she said about it. She said, I don't think it's very unifying to say, let's just forget it and move on. Right. So they've really done a good job of threading the needle, both this idea of enough of us being together in this, but also that it is not to paper over the actual American carnage of the last four years to borrow Trump's term, but that it is actually to not participate in that papering over. And I think that anyone who has been involved in Republican politics over the last decade plus well beyond that, knows that the impulse was, yeah, we've got these people who are wacky, but we're over here passing regulatory reform.


So it's fine.


And we know we know how that story ends. So, you know, I spoke to a friend of mine who's who's worked in this business as well for 30 years. And it was so critical for me to reach out to him yesterday morning because I was like, we we we stood strong through this. We didn't just paper over like a lot of our friends did and realizing how disappointed I was in so many, I said, oh, but that's their business.


You know what? No. And I think to Lucy's point, like, yeah, you can't especially as women in the Republican Party.


Right. I will say we did a lot of papering over through certain points. Absolutely. But now it's just at a at a time of reckoning, if you will, if you have to call it all out and into Mike's point, you can't let it fester and be this open. Like you've got to clean it out and it's going to hurt like hell. But that's how you move forward.


Biden used the terms, white supremacy and systemic racism. He did. He went right at it. And I was really proud. It's like that. Look, let's just be honest. That's what is driving most of this. And we have paper over so much of this in our 250 year history because it is an ugly, horrible wound. It's a it's our original sin. And I think to hear that from the Capitol, steps from a new president on Inauguration Day elevated it to a way that we need to start honestly saying, of course, this is part of the American story and of course, it needs to be extricated.




So I'm thinking about this notion of unity in the context of a couple of lines from Amanda Corman's poem from the inauguration, which we'll talk about more in a minute. But she wrote, and I'm probably one of the millions of people quoting her today. We we've learned that quiet isn't always peace and the norms and notions of what just is isn't always justice. And I think the conflation of quiet with peace and unity is going to is going to play out over the next couple of days and weeks.


Mike Huckabee went on Fox last night and said that if Biden were serious about unity, he'd rebuke Democrats for the second impeachment of Donald Trump. Like, how much do you think we're going to see Republicans looking for quiet in the name of unity, Susan?


Well, we're not that much I can say. And could you imagine the same exact situation if if former President Barack Obama was overseeing was the president at the time as this happened? I think they want him held accountable. But, you know, the other thing that's so fatally flawed about Huckabee and others is that they're saying, oh, well, if you want unity, don't have the impeachment. So you're saying for us to have unity, have to do things your way.


I'm going to make much sense to me. I think you say this is something that's already moved forward, first of all, and yes, it's up to the Senate to make it. There's a process, how it turns out, how it turns out. But we also now have to do a lot of things. And if you wanted to show some good faith, the Republicans, I think they could even go as far as maybe approving some of the cabinet picks like quickly instead of what they did on homeland security, which was ridiculous, holding up that appointment.


President needs a full team. He's entitled to that. And that's how you start moving the agenda. You want to criticize the agenda, at least let it get started. So if you want to if you want to have unity, we have to speak together and not at one another. And that's you know, when you hear a Mike Huckabee, that's all it is. That's just someone trying to get TV time.


Yeah. Lucy, what do you think they're going to do?


I think that when you hear someone like Amanda Gorman say that. Being American is more than just the pride we inherit, but it's the past we step into and how we repair it. To me, that was just this line that gave me chills. It just is it's this idea that it is not about saying, well, let's just keep keep on keeping on. And the juxtaposition of that with the reaction of Republicans not only yesterday in the inauguration, but how they chose to spend their rapidly dwindling political capital over the days ahead of the inauguration, the White House put out the 1776 commission report, which was this reaction to the 16 19 project.


It is now no longer on White House dot gov. So don't try to go find it, although you can probably find it on parler.


But it was basically a complete load of.


Garbage, you can say sit here, it's a complete bullshit that that really is about how we have to stop feeling bad for slavery, about slavery, because other countries did it and just assign that best. The Republican Party is either the party of white fragility or of just straight up stupidity and make it worse. Half of it was plagiarized.


Mike, I want to get your take on what you how you think as especially some of the worst elements of the GOP are going to proceed. And I'm thinking about Holli and Cruz, obviously, and Cruz with the mask that he wore just on such an auspicious day, such a like on the most momentous of occasions. He has the audacity to wear a mask that says, come and take it. I like. Yeah, go ahead. We we need this.


My great fear with the calls for unity is to not address the fact that for too many years we have had a welcoming place at the Thanksgiving table for our drunk racist uncle and pretended like what he was saying was not deeply harmful and hurtful and offensive. Let him say it and let him say it loud so that we can acknowledge it. We can violently oppose it. Violent and the political rhetoric sense, not the physical sense, but then we can smash the rebellion in its finality.


Let us stop pretending like civil discourse is the only way that we can resolve this. It is not going to be an easy path. It's like when you got to throw up after you drank too much in college that night, the only way you get better is by vomiting it up. I mean, I hate to put it in such crass terms. That's what we are finally doing. We have been pretending for two hundred and fifty years that people didn't own other people and trade them like cattle and livestock and property and all of the ugly, horrid things that we did as a country that was not maybe unique to the United States, but it was certainly at a much greater scale than anywhere else in the Western world.


This the origin story of America, is intertwined with white supremacy. And that doesn't just end in a conversation. It's going to take generations to weed out. And we began that through a great civil war. But we in calls for unity. We did not allow ourselves the opportunity to process that out. So I am grateful for Ted Cruz. I am grateful for Josh Hawley. I'm grateful for Donald Trump, because as long as we as long as there are enough of us to move all of us forward, we need to reconcile this.


And every voice needs to join the chorus to loudly and boldly ostracize it for what it is. We cannot pretend that it does not exist. And that, in many ways, is one of the great lessons of the Trump era is it was no longer hidden beneath the surface. It was out and loud and and and violent and ugly and present. And it was a mirror that we had to hold up and say, this is America. There are 74 million Americans who, if not outright racists and misogynists and corrupt and traitorous, were willing to vote for it, were willing to vote for it.


And we now know that it spans social class economics. It spans so many more of those barriers that we thought it was contained. By then we realized we learned that at the capital. So I want to talk about the inaugural poet, Amanda Gorman, who we've we've just quoted twice now, who is really just incredible. There's we don't have the words, she has the words, we don't have the words to describe how incredible this was.


I was really struck by her focus on the role we all play in protecting democracy. So instead of quoter, let's listen to the clip of what she said.


So while once we asked how could we possibly prevail over catastrophe, now we assert how could catastrophe possibly prevail over us? We will not march back to what was but move to what shall be a country that is bruised but whole benevolence, but bold, fierce and free. We will not be turned around or interrupted by intimidation because we know our inaction and inertia will be the inheritance of the next generation. Our blender's become their burdens. But one thing is certain.


If we mert's and mercy with the might and might with right, then love becomes our legacy and change our children's birthright.


Our inaction and inertia will be the inheritance of the next generation. So we've seen so many people throughout the course of this administration and campaign who really woke up to the importance of politics. I'm thinking about people like Rita, who we had on the podcast, who said she just wasn't paying attention during 2016. How important is it going to be that we take this opportunity that Trump presented Mike, to really keep pushing forward, to focus on building and rebuilding our democratic system?


I think one of the great travesties of this era is not the ugliness that we saw embodied in President Trump that will always be there. What I always believed wrongly and regret candidly was I believe that there were more of Americans of character who would step up when when this ugliness began its rise to power. So that statement doesn't action, right? It's it's the great order. It's a great teacher for Martin Luther King to this young woman, have had a government who's going to define the narrative probably of this next American century.


I believe that. I mean, absolutely. They're so inspired with those words. I mean, she she was talking about some very big pieces of our American identity and and putting it in perspective of what it means going forward. That in action, I think, is probably the worst part of this American generation. You know, I think of those young men and women who lied at 16 and 17 year olds to sign up at age 18 to go fight against authoritarianism in Europe, to lay down their life on foreign shores.


Compared to the Patriots, quote unquote, patriots that we saw committing insurrection at our Capitol building and realizing how far within two generations we have fallen in our American character, the good news is we are going to reclaim that. You know, I sound very pessimistic in my assessment.


But the truth is, I'm not at all because I don't mind the struggle.


The character is revealed through struggle. We just need to be honest about what's going on. And the more we talk about it, the more honest we are about it, the stronger is the character we forge. It is an action that is the worst of the worst of all traits at a time of challenge. And and I think that we are hopefully recognizing and hopefully people were inspired, though not by inspirational means or aspirational qualities, to to be a better people, to to be the American people of our mythology, of who we've always thought we were.


We can get there again, but it can only come forged in fire and through challenge and through conflict.


Yeah. Lucy, I saw you nodding. How do we channel that energy for political good? I think that this idea of how do we step into our past and repair it is really key. I think it's going to be painful. It's going to continue to be a slog. You can both hold in your mind both an optimism about the American people and a realism about the forces that continue to exist. Not only did Ted Cruz wear the mask that said come and get it with a cannon, it was the mask that he had to the inauguration.


It was the same mask he wore on the day of the riots two weeks ago. And so I think we have to start accounting for Trump ism without Trump and maybe we need a different word.


Yes. Here we go, Susan. Yes, we've been talking about this. And and we're we're we're going to spend some serious time on this in the weeks and months ahead. But we have to have a different word for Trump ism without Trump as he has left the stage now, even though he's threatening to be back like a disease.


But be back on the jury in some form, by the way.


We'll be back in some form. Like what form? Anyway, Trump ism, the word.


Well, Lucy, thank you so much for saying that. We haven't been on together. And yet you would think that we would have been.


I couldn't agree more, but and I think, you know, listening to Mike say he's happy, you're not happy, but that the actions of Ted Cruz, if Donald Trump really show people who they are and that it gives us the challenge to fight them, I think that that's really interesting because at some point, even Donald Trump went too far and he knows it.


So holding these elected officials, I almost want to provoke them to go as right as they can and become loony tune crazy.


And then I'm going to give you a it's a it's a local example. But in here in New York City, Staten Island is a conservative conservative place. We have someone running for borough president unopposed, is a Republican, Democrat.


And she basically went off on on the mask mandate and other things.


And she said, yeah, bring back some Heil Hitler was and it didn't disqualify her. She said she apologized, saying she went too far. But but she said it. As she was just there in a rally, it wasn't it was just her her obvious, clear word choice, it's her thinking and no one had to call her out on it.


She calls herself out on it. And we have to keep allowing those circumstances, I guess, to exist to allow those people to really show who they are, because then you can come together.


The one thing I struggle with is and we talk about the inaction and Mike made me think about it, is all of those people who did support Don, when I say support, they voted for Donald Trump. I know, at least especially through the work of the Lincoln Project when we were trying to go after Republicans to kind of come over, we had to initially give them a little permission being like, okay, look, you made that. You did that.


We're not we're not going to call you evil, but now we have a group that did it again.


And so the question I have is at some level to get them back into you can't paint them all as horrible, evil, non redemptive people who cannot be redeemed, people. You just can't do that. You can't say you're never going to try and work or talk to them because of what they what Donald Trump is. So I think that will also be a challenge of either how do people kind of redeem themselves in our public eye or we want to judge.


Yeah. Or, you know, who should be redeemed and who should not. But as far as the those who really scare us, who are in elective office, they will show who they are given the opportunity.


Yeah, yeah. There's a threat. So just to bookmark that, there's a thread of that conversation that is going to lead us into the deep platforming of the president and the, you know, and how parler was then taken offline and then it's now back up and running through servers in Russia. But like, that's a separate part of this conversation. But it goes to allowing the worst factions to say the quiet part out loud so that we can see who's saying it.


But back to character for a minute, we had Carly Fiorina on. She talked about character and said character is revealed over time and under pressure. And we're seeing that character revealed on both sides of the aisle. Now, we've seen Joe Biden's character shine through and the real character of Cruz and Holly as well. But we can also look at the American people as individuals and how their character has been revealed throughout this whole process. How optimistic are you about the rebuilding process, Lucy?


I'm very optimistic about micro themes, about specific issues.


I think, for instance, the incredible ugliness of Republicans around things like the Black Lives Matter movement. What we have actually seen in a in a way, Republicans bad behavior was the best thing that ever happened to a whole bunch of social movements in the US that needed a hearing. Mainstream Americans who probably come from Republican districts or have voted for a lot of Republicans in their lives, are saying phrases like representation matters, things that would have been unheard of.


I do think that to that theme of what is Trump is without Trump. You know, this week there were reports that he's forming some crazy group called the Patriot Party. And we saw these search terms go way up. I think people have the impulse to think one of two things. One, oh, great. We're going to eradicate again, you know, put a pin in our new term to be determined later Trump ism from the Republican Party.


But I think that there is not good evidence that that will happen. I've been thinking a lot about Teddy Roosevelt and Teddy Roosevelt's kind of tantrum in at the turn of the century after leaving office, feeling like Willy, that Taft was not sufficiently reverential to Roosevelt. And so after losing his attempt to take back his Republican Party, he went off and started the Bull Moose Party. And a lot of Republicans went with him, but a lot of them also stayed Republicans.


And we know that the outcome of that was that Woodrow Wilson became president. So it was ultimately really, really damaging for both the Bull Moose Party and for the Republican Party as a whole. And I've heard Mike talk before. We've talked before about this idea that the Republican Party could become really regional and just increasingly part of the sort of nationalist movement. And that may happen, but it is not enough to think, look, here are some signs that.


That its leaving, its departing on a new. It can be both, it can be both. Mike I see is is contemplating deep in thought.


I think it's important to recognize that there's a there's a certain American mythology mythology about our own exceptionalism, which I think needs to be re-examined.


Something and Applebaum brought up. I'm glad you're going there. This is good. The notion that somehow you're great or that you are exceptional without recognizing your failures is or weaknesses or deficiencies. It's silly. I mean, as individuals, we can be great people. But that doesn't mean you're perfect. It means you're human. And what is what is a government? What is society except for a collection of humans, a great nation, a great people recognize their flaws, their mistakes and their deficiencies, and they work to correct them.


There is a deep strain in Republicanism, which we are all very familiar with, which suggests that if you acknowledge the weaknesses of America, you're somehow not really American.


And actually that bleeds into our politics, too, because it leads us not to acknowledge our faults, period. Of course, never apologize, never, never show weakness that has led to this sort of strongman style of campaigning, of course.


And no, that's exactly right. Well spoken. And think about that in the individuals that we have all come across in our lives who are like that. Yeah, it's it's not real. It's shallow. It's it's it's jingoistic. It's this faux patriotism that that ultimately relies more on symbolism than substance.


And if that's not what the Trump era was with, you know, screeching bald eagles in the over the top banner flags with him on a rainbow body, you know, with a riding a tank. It's an apocalyptic battle, which, of course, America is going to, you know, beat everybody else. You know, if you like the Russian propaganda. Yeah, but it's like a cheesy 80s one like Red Dawn stuff. Right. And, you know, going to Mount Rushmore.


And, you know, it's just it's the absurdity of it all is a reflection of the American character at this moment in time that that is who we are. It's like it's that cheesy that you just described in your intro to The Colbert Report. Yeah, right.


Exactly right. And that's why that comedy works well, is because it was so accurate, so telling. And that's to me is, as I hope, one of the ways that we can fix ourselves is the Germans have done this quite well. It's to acknowledge the atrocities, the badness, and say that doesn't mean we're bad people. It means we it means we're people. And how do we build off of that?


How do we recognize our failings in the past and the fact that America has done some bad things and that doesn't make us a bad people or bad nation. It makes us a stronger people for acknowledging it and willing to build off of it and and and expand those great American ideas and ideals that only we as a people can bring forward. That, to me, is what the future of concern to me, a conservative, always has been, by the way.


But that that's the cultural healing that needs to take place. And until that is the overwhelming sentiment on the American right. We're not going to hill, it will be a battle, it will be a devolution of of this of this jingoistic patriotism, you know, when at all costs do not acknowledge any weakness, which is which is a weakness in and of itself. That's the Ted Cruz mask. That's the symbology of what he's saying. The truth is, that's the martyr complex that has overcome the Republican Party, which in many parts of this country and I'm thinking of California, New York specifically, where these parties become more intense as they become more and more smaller and more regional, they become martyrs.


Right. It's the myth. It's the mythology. The culture of the loser is I am more self-righteous because fewer and fewer people understand how right I am.


Look, I was leery of American exceptionalism before. It was cool to be leery of American exceptionalism. I just like to it out there. But what's so weird that we've seen with Republicans in the last few weeks, you can either believe in American exceptionalism and be in or move on, because in the aftermath of the election and in justification of things like the riots two weeks ago, you had the kinds of people who are putting out reports like the 1776 commission saying, don't look here.


We've been this perfect country, also justifying storming the Capitol as this sort of moment of like this is what happens when people fear for kind of the rule of law in their country. It's like, are we exceptional or are we not exceptional or right? It can't be both. It cannot be both that we are this city upon a hill. And also we're just like Venezuela, right? It cannot you can't it can't be both things, but the way in which that has become almost so that we have a couple of things now.


One, we have to rename Trump is a mantra. We've got to do a serious cleaning out the cobwebs of American exceptionalism.


Right. Because Ann's point, by the way, just was that you can't buy the idea that it could not happen. Here is why it happened here. And that is ultimately like that's how we arrived at the at the authoritarianism which was all around us. The signs were all around us all throughout last year. And then it culminated in that event at the Capitol. But the idea was never going to happen here. Couldn't happen here. Right. But that comes from the idea.


Yeah, sorry. Go ahead.


Yeah, that's absolutely right. And I think that Ruth Benguiat I think I'm saying her name the right way, who's written a lot about how do how do democracies become destabilized? I mean, she was writing about this a couple of years ago, similar to Anne Applebaum, that all of the signs were there. And so when you then see these forces on it, say, looking at individual states, you look at states like Georgia or Arizona thinking about, well, are Arizona, Georgia going to become the next California and New York?


I mean, in Arizona, instead of thinking, gosh, we've really had some losses and maybe it's because we've become ground zero for this complete loony tunes, stop the steal stuff. And we have this chairwoman of our party who's just completely nuts. So instead of thinking, gosh, maybe we should go back to the drawing board on this. The Arizona Republican Party has censured Cindy McCain at the county level. They're censoring her again at the state level.


Doug Deucy, who frankly was pretty weak kneed in his devotion to Trump up until very recently, can barely win re-election to be a precinct committeeman in his district. I mean, you see these groups going the opposite direction of of anything that even remotely resembles coming back to a sense of normalcy. And it's it's an odd line. So, Susan, do your thing first, but I have this question for you, which is how do we deal with the political reality that admitting you made a mistake is spun inevitably as flip flopping, which is right.


Like, how do we deal with that? Well, because if it means you were wrong, what's right and wrong.


Right. I kind of and I am. And it works as a political right. John Kerry famously, this was one of the biggest, you know, by the bed, the death blow in the 2000 race. Right.


So, well, I'm a little scared to do this, but I'm going to strongly disagree with my commentary, which is everyone disagrees because you're good company.


Mike Madrid is actually a Russian asset to sell the stuff he says. So it's my patriotic duty to you. All right.


I mean, when when we talk about, you know, Germany has done a decent job at this. No, they really haven't. When you look at the fact that Kuhnen is that's where it exists. Second, to the United States, they have still people who you can't you can't have an anti-Semitic group because it's illegal there, but it still exists. You have communities of color, of religion who are separate. It is it is not necessarily it.


I think they actually do a little sweeping under the rug by just legislating some some actions. But what happens and I think the cause of that and part of the cause of what we have here and it goes to flip flopping issue in a minute, is it's us versus them.


It's not that you would disagree on having the Affordable Care Act. You actually it's OK if you have it. Donald Trump doesn't want them to have it. You shouldn't have the same things. And so what we've created is trying to basically blame other people for your woes, like and for us as a country. So we have a large national debt because we have to take care of them.


We have to you know, we they actually our government has not acted proactively in in almost an over a decade. I could argue really proactively. They are constantly reacting to trying to fix things and to not be wrong. People are to focus in in the political world. You know, usually it's when they get caught doing something like a spouse inappropriately has to do a big mea culpa, then. Sorry, I cheated on my spouse, direct a camera and, you know, they apologize.


Otherwise, apologizing has become weakness come from the word comes to mind, has become weakness.


And and even agreeing to be compromise means you're weak. It's that, you know, you're not strong behind your principles, even though these days no one has any principles whatsoever. So I think that dynamic of just getting the lack of getting things done and just seeing who's not doing it the loudest is where you get to that point. And yes, as a tool, politically, it's absolutely what you do. I wonder when people start holding their elected officials accountable that they don't have a vaccine.


You see, people will be OK if they don't have a vaccine. But if you know me and the others. Right, the others. But where's my vaccine? And that's you know, if government starts to actually deliver on some of these things, I think it does show it for everyone.


It'll also make those in the House and the Senate have to get on board with certain policies. And what are they going to say? Tell me, a Republican who could say that they're against, you know, the growing debt, like really with Donald Trump? How many times? Ninety percent of the time, no.


You have no principles left. But we have to we have to start doing for our our country again, for the people again. And that's the risk. That's where you have to take that shot, is to try and get something done for your constituents.


So amazing that that's the risk that you're doing the job, doing the work that you were there to do is the risk. It creates political risk.


Tell me tell me what a congressman does. Yeah, I'm not joking when I say that.


No, the dollar for dollar dollars eight percent of the time. Yeah. They said Mikulski on Capitol Hill. Yeah. There is money, right, Lucy?


Yeah. So I you'll never find me running for Congress.


Mike, I want to give you an opportunity to respond to that and also like especially address the other rising of America at the policy level, because it because I think Susan's on to something there. She may be I'm digging to try to find where that site let me read the words of the German president a year ago in Israel, not the chancellor, but the president. An amazing speech at the World Holocaust Forum. Where he says industrial mass murder of six million Jews was committed by my countrymen, an explicit acknowledgement of who they are, I wish I could say we Germans have learnt from history once and for all.


He's not saying it was vanquished. That's the point. It's an acknowledgement that it is something that will always be in our midst. When that's why the Germans are such a great example of how Americans can move forward with this, it's an explicit acknowledgement of what we have done and the immediate recognition that it will never be resolved, that the fight, as Joe Biden said, is an eternal one. That was what was profound about the Biden speech. And it's what we as Americans have never been good at being able to do.


I think a lot of this comes down to how to change your mind and the way that we want regular everyday Americans who think God do not spend 24/7 on Twitter and thank God, go about their lives and have a lot going on in their lives beyond politics. How we help people change their minds is different than what we should ask of elected officials. I think that a person we haven't talked about in the inauguration, but to me was the real tear jerker of the day and I might start crying again was Jennifer Lopez, because after singing This Land Is Our Land An American, The America the Beautiful, she broke into Spanish.


And I thought and I probably have a bias as a white woman, but from Arizona, I thought, gosh, what must that mean to. All the millions and millions of Americans who speak Spanish, I am from a place where there used to be fights about whether or not we should allow Phoenix area restaurants to print menus in Spanish. That's not because of any concern over education. That's because it's ugly. That was ugly. And that's still going on.


But how I ask for someone who maybe thought that was OK 10 years ago, maybe more recently, to come around to thinking, I want to hear an inauguration where someone speaks in Spanish. I want to hear a famous celebrity say, let's get loud. And it's clear that she's speaking to brown people, not just to white people who are the kinds of faces we normally see at an inauguration. What I feel like I need to ask of them regular rank and file Americans is not a massive atonement.


Four times they had a different view, but I do feel like it is fair to ask of that that of people who are in power, it is it is important because it is not a matter of Truth and Reconciliation Commission that is going door to door and finding out if you had a Trump flag. It's about who are the voices that you are sending to Washington now to represent you. And so I think that we can parallel process to use a business jargon, these two things of what we want from our elected officials and elected leaders and what we are asking of our neighbors.


Lucy, this is my last question on the on the subject. But this is, I think, a perfect way to end up losing it to you first. But both Mike and Susan feel free to weigh in on it as well. But Gorman alluded to Lincoln's Cooper Union address in her poem, which I have to mention. She said, if we merge Mersea with MIT and MIT with Wright, then love becomes our legacy. Those words right makes might obviously and Lincoln's address were really a driving force for us over the last year that.


Sturdy moral ground is a source of political strength. So how do we channel that strength to, as she puts it, compose a country committed to all cultures, colors, characters and conditions of man?


Well, to to quote the inimitable Jennifer Lopez, let's get loud. I think it is a matter of talking about these things all the time and calling these things out. And I talked a little bit about my fear that put a pin in it. Trump is may take a bidirectional form, both continuing to thrive within the Republican Party, underground or not, but also kind of the public facing in the form of the Patriot Party or whatever they settle on.


And it is a matter of having a zero tolerance policy for anyone who's a part of that. There's a lot of a brewing DC Beltway insiders controversy over Trump, senior Trump officials and even lesser known officials getting jobs at lobbying firms in D.C. and and you can call that canceling them. But I think they should because they should be canceled is the right one. The right ones should be canceled.


We should embrace cancel culture, I would say, because the fact that we even have a moment now as a country, as a society where a person who was very little known, but whether they're a person who is in the Trump administration or someone who says something really ugly and harms members of their community, how great is it that they might wind up with a platform and their words get out in a way that they should be canceled?


That's great. There should be consequences for their speech.


It is great for the same reason that a 22 year old, freshly graduated young woman, as she said, a skinny black girl was on the inaugural stage yesterday because we just as we are giving platforms to people whose words resonate in that way, we must also show that we will not stand for for the opposite. One thing that just stood out about her again is what life has she lived. That lends her that perspective that is so jarring and hits us all so deeply and recognizes such bad, bad things.


And yet and this is this is what makes it so great and remains so hopeful. I find I find that combination is pitch perfect because she recognizes that the the bad she says she, you know, at some level could feel affected by the bad, and yet she still dreams big for our country.


She still loves this country so much because she has belief in what we can be. And I think that sometimes what we lack in looking at our elected officials or leaders, whether whatever part of our community is that, what can we be and why, you know, what can we do to be better and reach that goal? And why don't why aren't we trying to reach that goal?


Mike. I think that's exactly right. It's that life experience that can only be, I think, communicated as a as a black woman, surprisingly, as a young black woman, but perhaps not. I think there's a generational approach to it as well. And I'm reminded of Doc Evers in the middle of the George Floyd Death, which Lincoln Project did a great ad saying what black people have to go through and we still keep loving this country. Now, when I juxtapose that with some of the some of Susan's comments earlier about white people feeling despondent in America, black people have always felt despondent in America.


I'm not suggesting that you weren't saying that, but it's important to understand that there has to be only a there's a limit.


There's a limit to what we will accept in this despondence until we become what I joined again a long time ago, which was the party of personal responsibility, is it's amazing to see the resilience of this emergent nation, of younger people of color who love this country despite having so many reasons not to being castigated, being attacked, being vilified by people who have so much opportunity and so much privilege simply because of their own racial birthright, and that that conflict is one.


To answer your question, Ron needs to be given voice. I'm not afraid of the conflict in that conflict. I mean, the political conflict, because that is the way you forge the American character. You cannot sweep this under the rug. We should not allow that anymore. Let us have the debate. Let us suffer through the difficult challenges we face because we have ignored it for far too long. I want to turn to some of the actual specifics of what Biden has done in his first 25 hours now as we're recording after the inauguration.


On Wednesday, Biden signed 17 executive orders, memorandums and proclamations. Many of these were focused on dismantling the damaging policies Trump put in place or taking action on covid. He appointed an official covid-19 response coordinator who will report directly to the president. Biden is requiring social distancing and masks on all federal property and by all federal employees. He reinstated ties with the World Health Organization and named Dr. Anthony Fauci as the head of the U.S. delegation by Bolstad, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA.


As you probably know it, which deals with immigrants who are often called dreamers because they were brought here as children. He overturned the prior administration's plan to exclude non-citizens from the census count. He also ended the racist and xenophobic Muslim ban by disbanded the so-called 1776 commission, which Lucy, you talked about earlier. Historians said the commission distorted the role of slavery in the United States. In the report they put out on Monday by halted the construction on the wall at the U.S. Mexico border and signed a letter to re-enter the United States in the Paris Climate Accords, which will take effect in 30 days.


These are just some of the actions Biden took in his first few hours in office and were recording on Thursday, and he is spending his first full day in office focused on the pandemic. So, Lucy, how important is it going to be for the Biden administration to really examine and correct some of the worst Trump policies in this new administration? Yeah, I think it's very important and I think that something that is powerful is that a lot of what he's doing is simply undoing things that Trump did.


You know, Trump in his final days as if to prove that the draining the swamp thing was all a farce, he rescinded an executive order that he himself had signed earlier in his term that would have limited Trump administration officials ability to lobby the federal government for five years. And so now they're back at it, which is fine because, again, they have dwindling political capital, too, I imagine. But having that happen just before, I think really set the tone for just how gruesome the Trump administration was even in its final days.


I think that one of the things that's really important about some of the some of the programs or coalitions that Biden now sets about to reinstate is that he is signaling that we want to be a world partner. The U.S. has been isolated in such a stupid way by this Trump administration and at times forget whether or not you're a war hawk or whether or not you have sort of Madisonian ideals about focus on what's at home versus what's abroad. It just has been just random, right.


From how we got out of the Iran nuclear deal to abandoning the World Health Organization in the middle of a global pandemic. So I think that Americans want to feel for better or for worse, that the United States stands for something abroad. And I think that for Biden going to those partners, those allies or former allies and saying we want to be back in this with you culturally is a super important step.


Mike, if Biden was elected to heal the wounds of division, how much of his mandate is cleaning up the mess that Trump left behind? Well, look, I think, again, somebody just deals with the data of this stuff. Let me I want to characterize that a little bit differently, because I'm not convinced that he was elected to heal the wounds of the nation. I think he was elected to reject the extremism that had emanated in the Republican Party.


Those are two different things. And it also explains why Republicans did so well down ticket is those same voters that were voting to reject Republican extremism. We're also voting to reject congressional extremism in the Democratic Party. And it was a national phenomenon. Right. And it's not a typical of what we've seen for the past 30 years. Having said that, that in and of itself is a mandate for both parties to move away from this type of politics and move back towards a governance model of what we should and have come to expect from our presidents.


We have to be mindful, you know, people like us who think about this quite a bit and people who actually even listen to this podcast aren't necessarily representative of most Americans who really don't have much of an appetite for for politics, for the political discourse, and frankly, probably aren't terribly shocked by what they're seeing in Washington, because, of course, it's just a bunch of people who can't get along and fight, disagree and and are all in it for themselves anyway.


So, look, what people want is they want the trains to run on time. They want the lights on. They want to spend in a way that makes the most efficient sense. They don't want debt. They don't want us picking battles and getting into wars where we shouldn't be. And and that's that's the mandate. And again, it's not just a Biden mandate. It's it's a Republican mandate. I'm hopeful that they'll finally figure this out. But it's been a long 30 years since at least 1994.


We have seen all but two elections be votes for either divided government or a rejection of the party in power. So the voters are telling politicians something very, very clearly and have been for a long time. They just haven't been very good at listening to it. So new White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki held her first press briefing and didn't lie about the size of the crowd at the inauguration and no one was accused of fake news. Susan, what is the gents going to be great at this job?


She's already off to a spectacular Saturday Night Live.


Might suffer a little bit because I think that Melissa McCarthy behind the podium was probably the best sketch I've ever seen. What does this return to normalcy? If it's if it if you would characterize it that way, feel like for you? And how should we be thinking about the return of a professional press secretary to the White House briefing room?


Well, I think most importantly, especially during this time of crisis, public health and economic crisis, we are going to have facts given to the public. People will know where we stand.


We're not going to have someone suggesting we ingest bleach.


We're not going to have just good numbers made up and told to us, that's very important. We need so much trust in our government right now to get through this time. Don't forget, while there's great news on the vaccinations, there's also a lot of people who don't trust the vaccinations.


There's a lot of people in this country who are afraid to ask for government loans or uncomfortable, whatever it is, they're not there to receive it. They need to know government is not there to hurt them, but to help them. Biden said something and I and I really did love the line. Sometimes you need a hand. Sometimes you have to be willing to lend a hand. And I feel that that's even the relationship with with the press. And Jennifer, they are not always going to be on the same side.


They're not supposed to be. It's an inherent generosity is supposed to give the information and she's not supposed to lie about it. It doesn't mean that you won't push back. I mean, she was caught on it today when questioned about, well, is united. Why does President Biden not when why doesn't he call on and Schumer not to go forward with the impeachment if you want to really move forward.


And she said that's the Senate's job. Now, that's a perfect answer, because it was it wasn't a question of facts. And the more we can get back to a common set of facts that are accepted, the more we can actually start talking to one another because we're at least having the same conversation, which is absolutely critical at this point. I mean, we can't even have a conversation because we can't agree what we're talking about. If you keep saying, well, here's a hammer and I say, I see now Polish, we're not going to talk.


So I think that's a really important thing that we're seeing in our country right now.


So there are a couple of staffing changes I want to mention within the administration. The former Republican operative who Trump had installed as the general counsel of the NSA just one day before leaving office has been placed on administrative leave pending an inspector general investigation. Biden fired Michael PIAC, who became the head of the U.S. Agency for Global Media, which oversees Voice of America back in June. We've talked about pack a couple of times on the podcast. He's a Trump and Steve Bannon ally who essentially purged Voice of America and and other GM staffs and installed Trump loyalists and demanded pro Trump coverage.


Biden also fired Kathleen Cranton Jr., who was the director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. She had no previous experience in consumer protection and rolled back regulation that restricted predatory payday lending and refused to enforce protections for military personnel against a broad range of predatory lending. He also ousted the anti-union general counsel of the National Labor Relations Board, the organization created to enforce federal laws that guarantee the right to form a union and collectively bargain. So, Mike, you know, I think I think I know the answer here.


I think I know what you're going to say and I agree.


But Republicans are trying to play these dismissals of I need to note, people who should never have been in these positions in the first place. And we're actually working against the mission of the organizations they were supposed to be serving as a direct contradiction to Biden's calls for unity. So how should we be thinking about these particular staffing changes? Well, I'm clear the decks get rid of them.


I mean, they never should have been there in the first place. Who cares? I mean, right. That's for the second thing is and I think people need to be prepared for this. We're going to find out some jaw dropping things about what was going on over the next 60 to 90 days that are probably going to horrify most of us just how deep this stuff ran into the highest levels of our government.


And I think we just need to be. Prepared for that and hopefully use it as an opportunity to reform where we can and strengthen those institutions where we can as well, but we're going to we're going to find some really ugly, ugly stuff coming out that is going to talk about. And I look, I think there will be corruption. I think that there will be very nefarious involvement from foreign governments and influence and what we were doing, it very, very high levels.


So as a matter of national security, these people need to go, you know, who cares, get rid of them, move forward. OK, now that we're up to speed on just some of the biggest news this week, there's so much there's so much that we couldn't get to. And we've already been going like this is one of the longest episodes we've recorded in a while. There's so much more that we didn't get to, which means we'll get to a lot more next week.


I want to briefly look ahead to next week. So what stories and developments are you watching for, Lucy?


Oh, gosh. Well, I'm looking for more resignations. You know, Biden also asked for the resignation of the surgeon general who was a pense loyalist. I hope that we'll see some resignations from the operation, warp speed, folks, because I think to the theme of we're about to find out, find out to the theme of we're about to find out a whole lot more than we bargained for. I think that we will find that the degree of ineffectiveness in the covid-19 response will be deep.


So I think that that's one story I'm interested in. I'm I'm also interested to start seeing how some of Trump's allies begin to shake out as we not only get into a likely impeachment trial, but also just as the dust settles, as he settles into his new life in Florida.


So I think that seeing if the proud boy's apparent rejection of Trump keeps going will be interesting, as well as the continued efforts to bring capital rioters to justice.


Susan, what are you watching to Mike's point about learning a lot of bad stuff, which I agree is going to be a lot? I think what I'm looking for to that end is who's leaking it?


Because the Biden campaign has been very tight lipped and very good. And I think they really don't want to leak a lot of stories. So what I actually am looking for is to see who's trying to rewrite history from the Trump campaign and what stories are they leaking and how are they trying to protect themselves.


So I think that's going to be the more interesting town because people are going to try and get ahead of as much as they can and as as to lose this point, as we learn more and more about the siege on the capital, we are going to see a lot a lot of people trying to do some rehab to their reputation.


And if they can blame somebody else, I think they will. Mike, what are you watching?


You know, it occurred to me when you asked the question, I think for the first time in years, I'm not following any story and I'm kind of OK with that. That will probably change, I'm sure, the next 48 hours. But for the moment, I'm not following any stories. I'm sure they'll come and we'll take them as they come. But I'm just not.


Well, I there's two things I'm looking for. And one is in the in the theme of what else is what else are we going to learn? What else is coming out again? Axios reporter Jonathan Swan, who is one of my favorites, has a new series in writing and in podcast form about what he's calling the collapse of a president. And it's covering the period from election night through the attack on the capital. And I'm interested in more than a little bit scared to see just how far off the rails things were inside the White House after Trump realized he lost the election.


So what Swan is doing is essentially recreating based on a ton of deep background interviews that he's been doing, which deep background for listeners means that you can you can talk about the material, but you can't talk about you can't mention where you got it. And so he's talked with a ton of people who were in the rooms when when a lot of these conversations were happening. And they're recreating and it's it's it's absolutely brilliant. And the other thing is incoming Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, incoming Senate Rules Committee Chairwoman Amy Klobuchar and Senator Jeff Merkley announced that the first bill the Senate Democrats are going to offer is the For the People Act, which will make major changes to voter registration requirements, provide more funding for election security, require presidential vice presidential candidates to disclose their tax returns, enact new ethics rules for members of Congress, things that we have taken for granted for so long that were never actually enshrined in statute, but were actually just upheld as pieces of tradition.


They are now moving to to legislate. And the. This is also taking up the bills, H.R. one, which has been pending for a long time. So I'll be keeping an eye on that and how it progresses. But obviously, the bill will require 60 votes to pass. So it would need Republican support. So we have a listener question here from Elizabeth Floyd, who writes, How do we express our horror and displeasure about people like Josh Hawley and Ted Cruz if we don't live in their states?


I feel so helpless, Susan.


First of all, just because you don't live in the state doesn't mean you can't have the conversation. It doesn't mean you can't reach out to other people who do live in the state to see what the conversations going on. There doesn't mean you can't support groups that do voter registration. Highly recommend that. Find out what's going on in the state. Lend your support there, even if it's just filling out a petition of some sort.


And also, like the people who you have elected in your state know you are not pleased and that they will not have your support if you support them. So kind of put it back on your own elected officials. I'd say that's key. Or people who are yet to be elected, but aspiring political actors in your district or state and make them go on the record about it. OK, where can everyone find you on the Internet, Lucy?


I'm at Lucy Caldwell on Twitter.


Mike Fahmi on Twitter at Madrid. Underscore Mike, Susan, Twitter Del Perciasepe. Great. And I'm at Ron's Tesla. Thank you to everyone at home for listening. And thanks to Susan Lucci and Mike for having the conversation today. If you enjoy the show, it would help us if you could rate and reviews wherever you get your podcasts. I'm Ron Suslow. I'll see you in the next episode.