Thursday, January 19, 2012

Brain Trust - Hunter Baker

Hunter Baker is an Associate Dean at Union University, and a blogger at First Things. He joined The Matt Friedeman Show to discuss the presidential candidates. Here are the "CliffsNotes" of his interview.

What's your take on Santorum's Iowa win?
I'm not surprised. I think that he pretty much got the winner's treatment out of Iowa. He got to make a primetime speech, his campaign went from nothing to something.

Of course, he would have preferred that he be touted as the winner, but at the same time there are a lot of people who have done well in Iowa and gone on to be irrelevant.

I think it's a credit to him and his campaign that he has managed to stay in the mix. He's continued to be a player.
Predictions for Marianne Gingrich's upcoming disclosures?
In my darker moments, I wonder if the Romney campaign is behind this.

Marianne Gingrich did a long interview with Esquire Magazine in 2010. I've read that interview, and if that's all she says, it won't hurt Gingrich. It's negative, but not a killer.

But I hear from another source that she may say something new. If she makes this new allegation, then I think he would be sunk.
Is it unfair for the media to jump on this?
I don't think so. The media runs after the story. It seems newsworthy; it can speak to the character of the man.

I hope that they would do the same thing if we were talking about participants in the Democratic contest.
Does Gingrich have a real chance?
If Marianne Gingrich goes on TV and says the same things she's already said, Newt may have a chance of winning this SC primary.

Also, I have heard that Perry may drop out and play king-maker. He may support Gingrich and derail the Romney campaign.

If he does that and the interview with Marianne Gingrich is not as damaging as it could be, Newt really has a chance of winning.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Brain Trust - Ramesh Ponnuru

Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review. As The Matt Friedeman Show's Brain Trust interview, Ponnuru talked about Martin Luther King Jr and the presidential race. Below are the "CliffsNotes" of his interview.

What are lessons that the Right can learn from MLK?
I think one really important lesson is that cultures can change, and that moral witnesses can do a lot to bring about that change. 
While people tell us that abortion is here to stay, that it's a firmly rooted, slavery and discrimination were much more so. 
I think that another thing is that this was one of the great social and political movements in American history, and it was clearly inspired by Christianity. 
A lot of people seem to miss that about the civil rights movement.
Will the religious council's endorsement of Santorum help him?
Of course, it's something Santorum is very happy about it, and he should be. But it may be a little late in the game here.

The Iowa Caucus and the NH Primary have already happened. Nobody who has won both of them has ever failed to win the nomination.

But we'll see what happens. Maybe Santorum becomes the strong alternative to Romney.
Will Rick Perry be the next out of the race?
I find it hard to see. I was one of the folks who listened to what Governor Perry said on the night of the Iowa Caucus and just assumed that he was dropping out.

But just recently he said that even if he came in last in South Carolina, he would be staying in the race.
If Romney wins South Carolina, is he an inevitable win?
If he wins in South Carolina, which everybody has said is going to be difficult for him, I think it's very, very hard to deny him the nomination.

But at the end of the day, it's up to voters. If Governor Romney gets the nomination, it's because significant numbers of Tea Partiers and social conservatives are giving him their votes.
Do you understand conservative reticence for Mitt Romney?
There's no question that if Governor Romney had a consistently pro-life record, a lot of these doubts would be out of the way.
He says he's had a change of heart, but I think it's a big reason why people are wary. 
On the other hand, we have records of people who started out their career as pro-choice and had a genuine change in their views.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Brain Trust - Rea Hederman

Rea Hederman is Assistant Director of The Heritage Foundation's Center for Data Analysis (CDA), where he is also Research Fellow. He joined The Matt Friedeman Show to discuss unemployment rates. Below are the "CliffsNotes" of his interview.

What do the most recent numbers tell us?
I think for the first time in the last couple months, we've seen a significant drop in unemployment rates.
However, we're going to need a lot more in the future to get America back where it was.

I think what we need to see is better policies coming out of Washington. 
Businesses need to be able to plan their finances for a year or two in the future. Temporary fixes just aren't going to help them.
What does Congress need to do?
We need to see some permanent policies. Congress needs to make the lower tax rates permanent.

We also have to figure out how we're going to pay off our massive debt. Businesses aren't expanding, because they're afraid their taxes are going to increase to help pay off this debt.

We don't have to pay it all off in chunks, but we need to show people that we're serious about the magnitude of this problem.
What job sectors are doing well?
Healthcare has always been one of the fastest-growing sectors in society. Also, natural resources is becoming very big.

Construction is still very weak, as is finance. It's going to be a hard job for construction and real estate to get back where they were in 2006.

Our brighter days continue to be ahead of us, but we have some challenges that we have to face.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Brain Trust - Phil Bryant

Mississippi Governor-Elect Phil Bryant came on The Matt Friedeman Show to talk about his anticipations for the office of Governor. Below are the "CliffsNotes" of his segment.

What issues are you trying to be a change agent in during your gubernatorial term?
I would say teen pregnancy and abortion. I have long said that my goal is to end abortion in Mississippi. I still have reporters ask me if I think we can do that. I do.

As Governor, it's very easy to get away from those kinds of issues.
What will we see in the legislature as far as pro-life bills?
I think you're going to see some bills that are introduced very quickly in this early session. 
You will see legislation introduced by the house of Representatives that will work towards that end.

I think you'll see a version of the Personhood Amendment. It may try to clarify some of the difficulties people had with it. 
I think you'll see legislation introduced that will simply identify that child as a person.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Brain Trust - Rachel Sheffield

Rachel Sheffield is a Research Assistant for the DeVos Center for Religion and Civil Society, with a focus on welfare, marriage and family, and education. She joined the Brain Trust to discuss marriage in America. Below are the "CliffsNotes" of her interview.

How unhealthy is the marriage situation in the U.S.?
We just got a research study saying that the percentage of married adults has fallen to a record low.

Only half of Americans are married. This has significant impact, for individuals and for the nation as a whole.
What effect does this have on poverty?
With this declining marriage, and also the unwed birth rates, it has a huge effect on poverty. 
A child in a single-parent family is much more likely to be poor than a child in a two-parent family.

Marriage is the biggest antidote to poverty. I don't think people realize how big of an impact this has on children's lives.
What about crime?
Children who are raised in impact families are much less likely to get into crime. They are more likely to have better psychological, emotional, even physical health.
How does marriage affect poverty?
We see the major breakdown of relationships in low-income communities. We need to start by telling these young men and women about the importance of marriage.

Think about how much we stress the importance of not dropping out of high school, and where we would be today if we didn't. We should tell them the same thing about marriage.

We have to begin by spreading that message of the importance of marriage.
Who should be spreading that message?
I think it needs to be done at every level, but certainly down at the churches, the schools.

They need to tell this message to their youth and children. The president can certainly explain why marriage is important. It's a message that everyone needs to share.
Is this toothpaste out of the tube? Can it be reversed?
I think we definitely have a long road ahead of us. But we have to start somewhere, or the problem is certainly going to become a lot worse.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Brain Trust - Kevin McCullough

Kevin McCullough is the nationally syndicated host of The Kevin McCullough Show & Baldwin/McCullough Radio, and a blogger at Townhall. He joined The Matt Friedeman Show to discuss . Below are the "CliffsNotes" of his interview.

Do you have predictions for Iowa?

I don't know if anyone's paying attention, but Ron Paul has now taken the lead in six different polls. 
I think there's some real trouble to the Republican establishment there.

If Ron Paul ends up winning Iowa, it could really throw the race into a tailspin.

There's so many people that I have talked to in the primary states that say his foreign policy stance is so off-the-wall that he'll never chance. But Romney can't seem to get more than 22%.

If we don't see a leader come forward, Ron Paul might actually be the guy who is looked to as the non-Romney.
What's your take on Virginia's ballot?
Rick Perry's group is saying that Virginia changed the rules on them and didn't notify them. But in reality, you cannot expect to run a successful campaign if you don't pay attention to things like this.

Gingrich especially should know how important this is at the federal level.

What I want to know is that if someone who is not Mitt Romney wins Iowa and South Carolina, is Virginia really going to ban them?
Is there any possibility that someone like Bobby Jindal or Chris Christie could jump in?
I don't know if that's as much of a possibility, because you'd have to drum up an entire campaign staff and crew.

What I'm wondering is if we will see something like a brokered convention if this continues to splinter and be the fractured process that we've seen thus far

I think we've had too many debates. Romney has his core support, but no one else has anything sewn up.

And if, say, Bachmann wins Iowa, Paul wins South Carolina, and someone else wins Florida, and we get to the end and no one has secured the nomination, we might see something like a brokered convention.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Brain Trust - Matt Barber

Matt Barber is Director of Cultural Affairs with Liberty Counsel and also serves as Associate Dean with Liberty University School of Law. He joined the Brain Trust segment of the show to talk about Ron Paul. Below are the "CliffsNotes" of his interview.

Tell us about your recent article on Ron Paul.
It's in the Washington Times. The article is titled "Ron Paul's Presidential Dance: Cute, But Unstable."

Basically, I'm pointing out and hopefully alerting conservatives and Christian evangelicals that Ron Paul is a likable guy, but no conservative.

Ronald Reagan had his "three-legged stool" of conservatives: strong national defense, strong social values, and strong economic values.

Ron Paul is strong on economic values, I will give him that. But he is a social liberal, and he's a pacifist; essentially, an isolationist.
Is his economic policy the reason he's leading in Iowa?
I will give him that. On the economic issues, he makes a lot of sense. He is resonating with people because of the dire straits we find ourselves in economically.

But he goes completely off the rails when he talks about radical Islam, especially in Iran. Where you stand on economics kind of becomes a moot point.
What about the allegations that he's a racist?
That will sink him, I think. He has an active, devoted base of supporters. He may win the Iowa caucuses, but strange things happen in Iowa.

I think the GOP establishment is freaking out, thinking that if Ron Paul wins, their credibility is sunk.

This presidential race has been, if nothing else, all over the board. This week and next week may be Ron Paul's 15 minutes. But when the dust settles, I think clearer heads will prevail.

But hey, it's getting exciting. It's fun to watch, no doubt about it.