Episode

8/11 Maui Fires, DeSantis Panics, SCOTUS Corruption w/ Alex Pareene, Francesca Fiorentini

August 11, 2023

It’s Casual Friday! Emma hosts Alex Pareene, Contributing Editor at the New Republic and co-host of the Politics of Everything podcast, to round up the week in news. Then, she’s joined by Francesca Fiorentini, host of The Bitchuation Room podcast! Emma starts off with some more harrowing updates from the wildfires in Maui, where residents were advised by police to jump into the ocean to escape the blaze. Then, MR bestie Alex Pareene joins Emma and the crew to break down the big headlines, starting off with the big win for abortion rights and democracy in Ohio after Issue 1 was rejected by voters. Emma and Alex discuss, given the consistent success that left-leaning issues have had with ballot measures in purple-to-red states, sometimes even more success than actual Democratic politicians, what liberals and the national Democratic party can learn from this. They also wonder if, given the success on the ground in referenda like Issue 1, as well as voters, liberal and independent, now having seen the Republicans assault on democracy with their own eyes on January 6th, 2021, whether the “abortion & January 6th” political strategy is the most salient one going into 2024. They then touch upon the January 6th indictment brought down by Special Counsel Jack Smith on Trump, and how Emma was “libbing out” over the impressive and effective nature of how streamlined Smith made the indictment, seemingly intentionally so. Emma brings up Sam’s contention about how Trump is running in the 2024 primary, and how it differs slightly from 2020 and 2016: that Trump, due to all of the legal arenas that he is exposed in going into 2024, is essentially fighting for his life, existentially and politically. News breaks as this discussion is going on, with the announcement from Attorney General Merrick Garland now announcing that he has, upon request, appointed David Weiss, the U.S. attorney in Delaware, regarding the investigation into Hunter Biden. This is SEPARATE from the Robert Hur special counsel into Biden’s possession of classified documents, a trend that, Alex points out, has never worked to make Republicans trust that Democrats are being properly overseen and investigated. This leads to a very well-earned discussion on the unique uselessness of Garland as a Cabinet official, compared to someone like FTC chair Lina Khan.The topic turns to Ron DeSantis, whose presidential campaign has continued to crater, and how, in retrospect, it seems as if this implosion has been all but inevitable. Alex marvels at how, even after 7 years of Donald Trump, no one in the Republican Party seems to have any idea on how to actually “deal” with Trump, especially now that, as Matt points out, DeSantis’s candidacy is essentially contingent upon an act-of-god taking Trump out of the primary. The MR Crew take a stroll down memory lane, exemplifying Trump’s debate prowess in pantsing his fellow primary opponents when Ted Cruz tried to explain “New York values” to a debate audience, remarks that Trump proceeded to destroy him on. This is proof, for Alex, that it almost seems silly that Trump wouldn’t want to participate in the first debate in a few weeks, because nothing endears him to voters more, because the talk radio and pro wrestling instincts are actually Trump’s strongest (and not DeSantis’s). Emma and Alex end their chat discussing yet another bombshell ProPublica report on Justice Clarence Thomas’s seemingly endless benefits, trips, and gifts he received from a number of extremely rich benefactors, and what, if anything, congressional Democrats might do to try to rein in corruption on the Supreme Court. The lack of oversight on these unimpeachable justices, and the lack of coherence of any political message coming from the Democrats on what they plan to do to combat the undemocratic nature of the court, will inevitably lead to disillusionment in rank-and-file voters. One last appeal against blanket reverence for institutionalism is made, and then Emma lets bestie Alex go.

Then, Francesca joins the MR Crew right before she was going to head out to walk the picket line in solidarity with the WGA and SAG-AFTRA. They react to CNBC’s Jim Cramer’s bone-deep fear of UAW President Shawn Fain, and how, per Cramer, the man is seemingly as charismatic as Malcolm X and as frightening as Freddy Krueger. They then take a look into the romance of Ron and Casey DeSantis and how, during an NBCNews interview, Casey outlines how, when she was undergoing treatment for cancer, Ron…picked up their kids from school. They get a few more laughs in at DeSantis’s expense, revisiting some of his extremely unnatural retail politicking, before Francesca jumps off.

And in the Fun Half, Emma takes a look at Al Gore’s recent TED Talk where he eviscerates the idea of pushing more chips into the middle of the table and investing in carbon capture (something the Biden Administration is literally doing right now), as well as the pick-me girl musings of Rep. Marie Gluesenkamp Perez on Barbenheimer. Plus, your IM’s!

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Catch Francesca and comedian Matt Lieb LIVE at the Punchline in San Francisco on Tuesday October 17th! Tickets here: bit.ly/3OCzLiB

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