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Final Five Could Help Solve Congress Dysfunction: WIOD (Miami, FL) Fox News Interview

As many across our Republic continue to become more frustrated at not only the lack of discourse, but also dysfunction within the halls of Congress, President John Pudner traveled to Miami, Florida, the heart of presidential candidate and Governor Ron DeSantis’ home state and where Team Bush, which Pudner was a part of, was at the center of recount efforts in 2000, to discuss how new methods could help to alleviate this and bring functionality back to government.

While Pudner focuses in on how recent events, such as the looming potential of a government shutdown, talks of impeachment, and some House Freedom Caucus members floating the idea of removing Kevin McCarthy as speaker, one method that he points out to fix these divisions is Final Five. As Pudner highlights, it’s a voting system that helps to position candidates for success in the general election by removing the need for expensive, dirty, and divisive primaries, allowing them to instead focus solely on the big issues at play, giving them the best chance to win in a general election.

Both host Andrew Carlton and Pudner agreed, though, that good governance and open dialogue are needed again in our government, which Final Five hopes to accomplish.

To learn more about TBOR Action's efforts on Final Five, please click here.

The following transcript from this interview is presented in its entirety with minor edits:


Final Five, impeachment, shutdown, McCarthy, messaging, governance, election season.


Andrew Colton and TBOR Action President John Pudner.

Andrew Colton 00:00

Right now, we want to say good morning to John Pudner, he's the president of Take Back Our Republic Action, and was a Bush 2000 aide - Boy, that dates all of us quite a bit. Hey, John, good morning. Thanks for being here. How are you doing this morning?

John Pudner 00:15

Thank you. We were counting votes in 2000 down in Florida!

Andrew Colton 00:19

I remember standing in Tallahassee reporting on the votes being counted, so, boy, we all have gotten older. So hey, listen, I was taking a look at some of your material this morning. You guys are, for the most part, it seems, pretty centrist, is that about right?

John Pudner 00:33

Yeah, we definitely conservative, but we're open to some ideas on elections and things that, you know, that might be a little more centrist.

Andrew Colton 00:40

But with that being said, and it was really kind of just the rational, down-the-middle, sort of reporting that I've been reading this morning that stood out to me about the organization, what's on your radar as we are getting hot and heavy in this election season?

John Pudner 00:55

I think everyone's focusing on potential impeachment. Just from a political background, those don't usually play that well, for the side doing the impeaching, so we've been watching that pretty closely, because I think right now, the soundbite for a lot of people in the middle is that the administration of a sitting president is criminally charging his leading opponent. That's the kind of winning strategy on the conservative side, or winning soundbite if you will, and I'm not sure if launching into impeachment doesn't cut in on that. It sort of becomes, "Oh, both sides are trying to get rid of their opponents", so that's why impeachment might not make political sense, but there's certainly is a push for it.

Andrew Colton 01:36

And to take that one step further, when you do the math, and I had not done the math until I got some stuff this morning, only 11 legislative days for a lot to happen, and we're talking suddenly, again, about a potential government shutdown. Now, there is talk of impeachment. Does this not run the risk of the Republican Party....I don't want to say imploding....but certainly kind of does extreme damage to itself if everybody's trying to do all of this and nothing actually ends up getting done?

John Pudner 02:06

It does. First, you have just the impeachment itself, which Bill Clinton and Donald Trump hit highs on popularity after their impeachment attempts, so the history is not good there on how that plays out. But, as you said, if they also have a government shutdown while the talk is about impeachment, well, that gets the, "Hey, why aren't you focused on the important things", and shutdowns don't usually play well for Republicans? You can argue that there were times they were needed to tap the brakes temporarily on spending, but just again, politically, since I was always on the political side, that would be a bad combo if the government shuts down and impeachment efforts are underway at the same time.

Andrew Colton 02:46

Well, also because Kevin McCarthy...I mean, I feel like we were just doing this a couple of months ago, took a victory lap avoiding shutdown the first time, but here we are again, and now there's more on his plate. I mean, I realize the way it works, so I asked this somewhat facetiously, but is there ever messaging to some of these leaders, like McCarthy, saying, "Hey, listen, you got to look at the entire party here. You need to be realistic about what can be accomplished and how this is being received across the nation from those who you need to have supporting you?"

John Pudner 03:20

Yes, and I think the counterbalance, though, is you have Matt Gaetz, who was on a radio station again a couple days ago, raising the idea of getting rid of McCarthy, so you've got the pressure when you've got a four-vote margin. There are a couple of members who, for various reasons, may not be there for a couple of days, just health issues and different things, so you're kind of razor-thin on if you stay speaker if you get challenged, so that's on the one side. And then, as you said, on the other side, is, "Wait a second. Impeachment is not going to play well in my district, and the shutdown is definitely not going to play well in my district," which is what you're hearing from some of the little more moderate members who have to hold down moderate districts.

Andrew Colton 04:00

I like to think of myself as a communications guy, and regardless of what side of the aisle anybody wants to be a part of, I think that sometimes the messaging isn't always heard by those who are doing the messaging that's being heard very loudly by those who are receiving it, and they're saying, "Hey, listen, I really don't like what's being said. You need to refocus." We can finish up with this... In your role, do you ever try to do what you can to refocus those? Do you think there needs to be a refocusing right now as election season is getting, even more crazy than it had been?

John Pudner 04:34

We do, and you mentioned some of the little more centrist things on the pages we have, we like this Final Five idea of just going to an open primary, because I think it means your next hurdle isn't always, "Hey, I've got to go to my 10% on the far-right, or the far-left, to win my primary. That's my real election." And, I think you'd have a little more honest discourse if you went through a little different system, so it's ideas like that where we don't mind throwing out the big idea, which may take a few years to seriously be considered, but that's going to lead to dialogue and actual governing, I believe, as opposed to, "I've got to win my 10% on the far-right, or far-left, to be elected next year."

Andrew Colton 05:16

Dialogue and governing. If you want to talk about that, you come on anytime. We appreciate it, John.


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