10 episodes

Government Affairs Institute's Senior Fellows discuss current congressional politics.

Congress, Two Beers In Government Affairs Institute

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    • 4.9, 34 Ratings

Government Affairs Institute's Senior Fellows discuss current congressional politics.

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5
34 Ratings

34 Ratings

best political content..... ,

best political content i have found

This is just perfect for someone like me. I do not have a background in politics or political science and this is a great resource for me to understand a lot more about what is going on in washington. I feel like the information i am getting is certainly opinionated, which is great, but not biased or loaded with language that leaves me feeling manipulated, like the news often does...

jaimito sutuchi ,

Fantastic and Ultra Insightful

I couldn’t be happier with this podcast. These hosts are funny, sharp and really know their stuff. And they have the perfect mix of humor (not much, but good) with real information that never ignores the deep history of each argument. And for those of us who follow Congress but can’t live in DC, I couldn’t imagine a better resource. If only they were airing every day.

One personal note, I would like them to blend a little more of their personal history into these discussions. I’d like to have a better feel for why they are so passionate and how they came to their ideas. There are a couple moments of this, one mentioned his dad’s obsession with the Nixon Watergate trials, another gave us a sense that he’s been on the Hill for decades, but this could be fleshed out a little more.

On a political note, I have enjoyed their strong bipartisanship and their true respect for all involved. When Trump does something they enjoy they voice it. The same is true for the members of Congress. It is almost jaw dropping that after listening for as long as I have that I can’t be sure how left or right the hosts and their guests are. Very impressive.

One nit: I wasn’t impressed with their analysis of how the NRA gets things done. It was still a great segment, full of great insights as they talk, I believe correctly about how the NRA isn’t some magical group and that they are a special interest like many others out there. But while they correctly say that, of course, the NRA isn’t buying votes, because, and I agree, five thousand dollars wouldn’t buy the vote of the vast majority of Americans far less wealthy than our members. Their following analysis misses the point. As Aristotle and others talk about throughout history there are two ways to corrupt a legislator. One is Bribery - which the hosts acknowledge and correctly dismiss. But they ignore the other. That is intimidation. This is the central and most important tactic of the NRA. And it is likely the most important form of corruption in the US Congress as well as on the State and local level.

How does intimidation work. Well it is so easy. When Debra Maggart crossed the NRA in Tennessee, the NRA went after her with everything. And they knocked her out of office. After they knocked her out they took out ads bragging about it. What does that do? Well those ads and the ensuing press lets every legislator in the US know that if you cross the NRA, money will fly into your district, but it won’t land in your pockets or in the pockets of any legislator. It will be used to form grass roots movements that resemble killer bees. It will be used to buy massive negative ads. It will be used to intimidate researchers and the press. In short it will all be used to negatively influence the candidate. So no that is not bribery, because bribery involves an exchange of money to a voting member. Intimidation involves spending the money in dark ways and sending all the money to media outlets, grassroots groups etc.

So this lack of understanding and acknowledgment of how dark money/intimidation is used is my little nitpick of the work of the folks running this podcast. But it isn’t something that other scholars ignored. In particular Robert Reich (who I am usually not a fan of) applied this intimidation logic to the recent Florida NRA situation when he wrote

"Marco Rubio, in the town hall meeting w Parkland students and families, deflected the direct charge about accepting money from the NRA by saying that he accepts contributions from /anyone who supports my agenda./ The better and more pointed question is (obviously): is it not the money “for” him that is at issue but his fear of NRA money plowed in to unseat him if he doesn’t do their bidding?”

This is precisely correct and this is precisely how the NRA works and uses their money. For the record intimidation is likely far less expensive than bribery. And so it seems likely that any budget conscious special interest (all of them) would rely on intimidation more than bribery. And they do. This applied to the situation with Katrina. It applies to the subject of climate change and big oil and big coal. It is used universally. And like bribery it relies on the transparency of a legislature. So the more open a legislature is, the more they are susceptible to effective forms of intimidation.

That said, thanks guys for the amazing new podcast. I can’t wait for the next episode.

DoinWorkSon31 ,

Inside look

This podcast gives you an inside look of the political culture going on in D.C. They don’t just repeat the news, they explain how it applies and the consequences of congressional choices.

Had the chance to take a 4 day class with Matt and Mark and can’t say enough on their expertise and their ability to share that knowledge.

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