Updated: Jan 11
TBORAF President John Pudner continued his radio interview tour across America when he went on WFRK in Florence, South Carolina, wherein he continued to analyze the possibilities of an incoming term of Kevin McCarthy as House Speaker by focusing on what the Republicans should prioritize, including investigative priorities, following the results of the mid-terms and the success from states like New York and California.
The following transcript from this interview is presented in its entirety with minor edits:
Republicans, Speaker, McCarthy, investigation, elections, New York, Wisconsin.
John Pudner and Ken Ard.
Ken Ard 00:00
Anytime you underperform, there must be some post-mortem, and I think there are some Republicans that know what they're talking about, there are a lot of Republicans that don't know what they're talking about. We've argued over these airwaves for a day or two or three that, "Throw all the bums out," you know, Ronna McDaniel, the eventual speaker to be Kevin McCarthy, Mitch McConnell needs to be replaced as the Senate Minority Leader...that's not going to happen. I have no idea what happened to the RNC but we do know that Mitch McConnell is going to be the Minority Leader and It looks like Kevin McCarthy is going to be the speaker come January. But the one little bit of pushback I've had is lumping McCarthy in with McConnell when McCarthy was a minority leader. I mean, he's never been Speaker of the House. So I think we owe him a clean slate and a chance to make good on some of the promises that the Republican Party has made to its constituency. We have with us this morning, President of Take Back Action Fund, who was a Bush 2000 Aide, and the only person, I found this interesting, in US history to run a campaign defeating a majority leader in a primary. John Pudner is with us. John. Good morning. How are you?
John Pudner 01:17
Good. Thanks for having me on.
Ken Ard 01:18
So is it inevitable that Kevin McCarthy will be the speaker in January? And what sort of dilemma will he be dealing with within the ranks of his own party?
John Pudner 01:29
Well, I believe so. The dilemma is, you know, what appointments do you have to make? Does he have to pick a few, you know, chairs, who he's uncomfortable with in order to secure those votes? But, in the end, no one's gonna bail or risk a chance of anything other than a Republican Speaker, and you know, it's going to be him with his commanding lead. I've been on both sides of these. As you mentioned, took on Eric Cantor, recruited Dave Brat to beat him as Majority Leader when he was about to become Speaker in 2014, and really thought that was the time we needed to change, and it kind of was building to Trump in 2016 being more grassroots. But, I'll tell you, I've put in a lot of effort defending a speaker in Wisconsin who Trump wanted out this year for not overturning the elections results. So, I've been on both sides these battles, and I think McCarthy raises money. I think you said it right. At this point, I think we've got to give him a shot to run this. I don't see how you put a lot of the blame on him for last week.
Ken Ard 02:28
John, I'm formerly of politics. I've been in the middle of some of those battles in South Carolina. The Republicans have a supermajority in this state, Kevin McCarthy will be working with slim margins. What should his priorities be? I mean, obviously, legislatively and policy-wise, he's not going to get very much done. A lot of the base, a lot of the America Firsters, want to investigate the Hunter Biden laptop story, they want to investigate the FBI and whether they manipulated the outcome of an election. I mean, what would you advise the Republicans to pay close attention to and make their priorities?
John Pudner 03:01
There's a little turnaround. Is this fair play on doing some investigations? But, what they've got to look at is where did Republicans have, you know, have a good year? I mean, how did the New York and California Republican parties have great nights? I mean, pick up congressional seats, my gosh, come close on the governors' race in New York on a day that we challenged 13 Democratic governors and 12 of them survived, and yet, New York was almost one to blip? So we've got to look at that because everywhere you go, you know, the suburbs were tougher this year, their continuing shift, where Trump really brought out a lot more rural vote, but kind of hurt us in the suburbs. And look at that, you know, I don't know the numbers here, Wisconsin, 54 of 72 counties improved in the governors' race this year, and yet, we lost by more. So those are the things I would just, you know, go to New York, go to California, just figure out where, and how, and what issues, and how they addressed the abortion ruling, and you know, how they talked about that, and just go through the game book. There were a lot of successes, this wasn't like Republicans were wiped out. It was a disappointing year, but they're wins he can learn from and apply to other states.
Ken Ard 04:11
I've got a theory, wanted to get your take on this year, you're far more informed with Washington than I am. I'm of the opinion that we should continue with the January 6 investigation but allow, you know, maybe a Jim Jordan or McCarthy appointee to chair the committee, allow the minority, which will be the Democrats now, to put their members that they choose. In other words, don't do what Pelosi did to the Republicans. Am I crazy to want to keep that committee intact and continue pursuing kind of an unbiased version of what happened on January 6th?
John Pudner 04:45
I think that's a great idea. I hadn't thought of it, but of course, because the reaction is to shut down any investigation you don't want, and that's just kind of bad PR. That could be a much better way to handle it, and, you know, perhaps give a more balanced account, but it never makes for good headlines to say, "Hey, we got power, we shut down the investigation", even for people who are fed up with the investigation. So I think that might be a great one, and it certainly you got the right guy, and Jordan, I mean, he'd be the guy to run those meetings.
Ken Ard 05:13
Last question. Does Trump's announcement make McCarthy's job a lot harder, a little bit harder, but certainly doesn't make it less complicated?
John Pudner 05:21
That doesn't make it less complicated, but obviously, Trump lost some of his clout last week, and I'm not saying he couldn't be the nominee, but you have to have so many of the people he fought to get the nomination, and then didn't support, as they lost elections or came close in. You certainly don't want to go after Trump. I mean, even Kemp in Georgia did not go after Trump, but at the same time, I don't think he's going to wield the authority and be quite as intimidating in decisions like this after last week.
Ken Ard 05:52
Very well explained. John, thank you for your time. Have a great day, sir.