« The Weeds

Email scandals are back!

2020-10-16

Ezra and Matt discuss Hunter Biden’s laptop, social media regulation, and the ongoing stimulus standoff.

Hosts:

Matthew Yglesias (@mattyglesias), Senior correspondent, Vox

Ezra Klein (@ezraklein), Editor-at-large, Vox

Credits:

Jeff Geld, (@jeff_geld), Producer

The Weeds is a Vox Media Podcast Network production

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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
Support for this episode comes from click up. We lose an average of three hours every day, switching between all our work apps, but you can get them back with click up a flexible platform that brings. Your essential tools into one place where you can prioritize tasks, collaborate in Docs chat with your team and track goals, so companies like uber and web flow use click up. Is their mission control Center, replacing every other app that we're using before click up even guarantees to help you save one day week and get more done. It's completely customizable. It's free forever! So try click up today at click up dot com, slash the weeds twitter actively blocking right. Now this instant store. He's from the New York Post a lead. Corruption and the mind family receiving millions of dollars from Communist China. This is election, interference and we're nineteen days out from an election. It has no precedent in the history of democracy,
hello welcome for another episode with weeds bucks, media podcast network. I met him place. He is here with us for a climb out we're gonna be turning to the normal Tuesday panel format. After a little bit of an absence and I'm hoping we will tackle the Amy Comey Barrett Hearings, their by for now. I guess what I wanted to talk about something that is a little bit more interesting, which is this kerfuffle. About the new posts story, about Hunter Biden and Twitter and Facebook handling of it, and the United States Congress. His handling of their handling of it so just like white, like what was the story,
so bad. I want to know where I was going to talk about the stimulus package and then do it the administration to do Dlm better plus, you should take it before we started here in the in the fever, swamps. What happened yesterday is it. The New York Post in the morning comes up with a story, and by somebody who is a former Sean Hannity segment producer segment like only ever produced three stories, the the postman they're all on this and the nature of the story is very peculiar. What it says is that I ve noticed his without laughing that there is a Delaware computer repair stork. I and somebody brought in a computer, but he's not sure who is he's an eye condition that prevents him from being able to tell? All who brings in computers, but somebody brought in and it included a bob. And foundation sticker on it, and it was a guy like a memory problem on the computer, and so the guy recovered a bunch memory, and then then nobody came and picked up the computer and to be a Seinfeld.
About this yadda yadda yadda. He gives it to Rudy Giuliani lawyer and then I guess Rudy Johnny sits on it for a while and then Rudy Johnny gives it to the New York Post. And this all like the big, like upshot of this, is in on this computer are apparently some emails. If you believe any of this, which I'm not sure. Why should? I are some email suggesting that Hunter bite in wanting to introduce Father to like somebody high up at charisma- and you know this is before his father, like fire alike, read and helped to fire. The ukrainian prosecutor, who everybody in the democratic small d democratic world wanted to fire because he was not doing things like prosecutor so number one. I want to say before we get into any of this. Claim being made in the emails possible emails here that Joe Biden, somehow fire this prosecutes.
Who he could only fire, because everybody in like western world politics who cared about corruption, wanted to fire. This prosecutor that he fired him, because it's something upper Isma is bullshit like this procedure is being far because he wasn't doing corruption. Investigations like birds might not, because he was was this think? This whole thing is built like on a rotted core? Is the one gillig chaser this in circles all day what then happens happens very very, very unusual, which is this. This comes out and within a couple of hours, Facebook and Twitter. Both boy. A very unusual and heavy level of moderation against at Facebook, says they're doing there what what's up you going to call like the bride rally Circuit breaker, so the New York Post is allowed to post this on their page and so can other people, but they are pretty yet for being spread by really until fact, checkers can decide whether out story is actually true, and the second thing that happens is twitter comes and they do and even more heavy handed thing where they live
They shut the story down and like when you try I too share it? Like a message comes up about how the story is is being suppressed, so the conservative world freaks out it gets a ton, more attention in a budget. There is now one like subpoena, like Jack Dorsey like TAT crew cities can do that for the Senate I'll, say those big, big thing that think will get us take what what is happening in the platforms and then like what we should think about what what is happening in them, which is on the one hand I looked at this. Might this is an insane thing to do like this is crazy love, a moderation against dumb story that isn't gonna have any effect Casey Newton, our former colleague at the verge, who now runs a platform or a newsletter, has, I think, a more considered take on this, and he says that something the platforms have been preparing for all since two thousand and sixteen. Is what to do in the case of a hack and weak operation partaking the key an operation. What looks like it has happened. Is a foreign government like Russia, has half somebody and is now just passing
Hack documents through an intermediary to try to effect an american election, because the platforms as correctly feel terrible about their role, or this or abetting two in twenty. Sixteen, as by the way, should media outlets- and this gets to the role all new, your post here and What they saw immediately with this came up is like that potentially they throw the circuit breaker because they need to figure out if this is happening again. If it's a real I d like take it off like let it go, but if it's not, they won't because I don't want to be part of a russian disinformation campaign and the big question becomes. Do you know like whose, say on. This is going to ultimately pro valid or reliable and like the fog of disinformation campaigns that we currently live in, like that's where we are
are to my knowledge now jumped down? I think it is worth talking about the the newer post here, because this gets that part of the dilemma I think facing technology companies, because technology companies don't wanna, do journalism. Basically, right they think it is expensive. It's annoying people get you all the time when they are hardly cracked about rightly things by those who they don't they didn't want to do. What would be great for them is if they could just say you know it's like People are american, and some people are Brazil again, and some things are, journalism and some things are not because then you could treat journalism in certain ways, but the New York Post is like definitely journalism like it's. A newspaper and people read it, but it's also part of Rupert Murdoch's, transcontinental media empire and they do think
like run this story which, while it may or may not be accurate, it did not have the tires, kicked out it in a proper journalistic way. If somebody shows up at your talk, everybody Julie, Hunt, heat Joseph. Door, which is like absurd cock and bull story about a computer guy, I in Delaware and Sticker, like you, have to ask some questions right like searching questions about the actual provenance of this, unlike what is good, on here here, because the underlying implication of the story is definitely false. I like the way this goes was like narrative logic. Is that Joe Biden? Why
denying wrongdoing in the firing of Victor Shoken said. I never spoke with my son Bou about his work in Ukraine. This email could potentially indicate that it wasn't true that Joe Biden never spoke to Hunter about Hunter's work in Ukraine, which would raise new questions, blah blah blah blah blah blah, but like ultimately, the core allegation that Joe Biden to be here, as vice president of the United States, does not empowered to fire prosecutors in Ukraine. Read like like what happened here thing here is Joe Biden like exam. Exaggerated his own role well in this piece of american foreign policy, the whole international community right, the European Union, the IMF, the European Bank Forecast,
Jim developed? Then it republic is that if everybody wanted to get the Ukrainians to fire, the sky and binding served as the emissary of the western community too, like literally show up in Kiev and yell at the bright like that's what he did, and it's done any kind of dispute will, but the post just cut a runs. This story, which then the Trump campaign was immediately running, were frightened. This was this was guenaud. Hilary emails were ducks beyond the problem that you get into four for the tech companies. Is they wanna say? Well, maybe there's can be like a bright line rule against foreign hacking operations, but you can't tell if something is a fine hacking operation like right when it happened.
Even Wiki weeks right so like in retrospect. What we all believe is that the russian government hack those emails and delivered them to Julian Assange, who then publish them but like at the time the presentation was that it whistleblower at the day and see had given these emails to Wikileaks right and like I think that always it was always kind a clear what was going on there, but it wasn't no and to some extent, continues to be disputed. Fright like if you could call up Vladimir Putin help you I get. We didn't do so you want to say: ok, we're not gonna. Have russian government is information campaigns but Facebook, dozen and twitter they're, not in a position to know exactly where this email came from or is it
what's true in what's not true, and there certainly not going to mount on their own Burkina since an investigation of it and like us, you and I, as as writers and sometimes as editors and as practitioner, is, I think we are comforter ball dealing with this level of ambiguity right and I did not write a story about this, but if I did write a story about it, I would say the thing here that Joe Biden, serving as an emissary of the western community removed a corrupt prosecutor from Ukraine that remove prosecutor did not want to say I lost my job because I was super corrupt. So he has spun out this other conspiracy theory which Republicans like because they're trying to win the election against Joe Biden and everything that has happened since then, is the downstream consequence of that.
And that's just like that's how journalism works, like not. Everybody has to agree with my take on the story, but that's my take like we're supposed to try to reach a view, about? What's true, and what's not tell people that and accept that other people can yell at us because they don't agree with us, but social media companies would like there to be some external standard that they can appeal to by appealing to the external standard. This might be part of a foreign just information campaign. They were making everyone on the right. Incredibly angry. So I think there are a couple very interesting gray areas, this puts up and let me start on the journal, someone because, as you said, that that's it what we do of take journal networks. I just have this also the question the journals and simply like. Can we verify if this is true right? So I think it is the daily beast maybe spoke to the computer store guy.
And he said you, like he's afraid for his life and be notably in the south, which conspiracy prison. Nobody knows what is happening with the sky, and nobody knows really like why he would have We need your honeys lawyer, Rudy Johnny has a lot of no contacts with russian intelligence. A lot of them are just like way out there in the daylight. Take this very you can imagine a number of different ways for us to have played out so one issue here. Is it journalism itself, has a very weird and somewhat complicated relationship with leaked documents and hacked documents and where the line is between one and the other is it is a little bit and no one will give an example, something that that I enjoyed is busy journalism a couple years ago by speed news published a huge huge huge, huge damp of emails that showed the way in which Milo
Annapolis? If anybody remembers him and Steve Bannon and a bunch of other senior players at Breitbart, news had been very consciously cultivating the alt right or the White supremacist right and what they got were a bunch of email. Like really really serious. Private emails between Milo and other people can achieve. Like the amount of plagiarism and ghost writing happening in miles operation of that period, showed what Bannon was sinking internally and like that was a leak. Presumably I don't know that it was a hack, a it could have been, but journalists all the time, get things where suddenly The party who did not want these private documents coming out like it feels really fair and a little bit be understood in some cases, even as a crime for them to have come out of the came out. Another way like if you come in you take my emails. I get a big, that's a crime I'm so we get documents that are leaked and sometimes even documents that are hacked and we use them like well
the greater good. Then there is the issue of like what happens when the hacker has an agenda or the liquor has an agenda and use idea is at an agenda, is not disqualify information from being, I mean the amount of information, the political journals get from opposing campaign in so doing also dumps is pretty significant and the fact that that opposing campaign has a rooting enter seeing the other side do poorly, doesn't make the information on true, but then there's a different strategy or or testified to a foreign government, but and the foreign governments sort of understand this, so they give just enough plausible deniability is coming through Wikileaks or something like that, and so one is here, one reason is not an easy decider. It really comes down. This question of not just watch it. Platforms have learned from twenty sixteen But what should media organisations have learnt from twenty? Sixteen, like, let's say, that there is a good chance. This is a russian, this information campaign sure, did the new posts have published it and
what you're seeing on the right is. The answer is yes, that what happened in twenty sixteen was great, sort of embarrassing when parts of it came out but like they won, the election Arguably because of it and that the Russians are going to route some more interesting, information about how Joe Biden is bad like like they should do that, and we will publish it I'm end simile. Obviously this happened when Donald Trump tried to withhold arms aid from Ukraine in order to get them to open up a corruption investigation from Joe Biden again. Joe Biden that would then be covered in all the papers. That guy was a disinformation campaign routed through an eastern european country coming from America, its health and Republicans, did not want to a peach doll, jump over it and some of them don't even think he did anything wrong. It's like that's one, I think really important. Phase of all this the other one. I think really does apply to the platforms which is
I would say we are seeing a playbook emerge here on on both sides, which is like the platforms have certain things I want to shut down. So they become aggressive towards Donald Trump recently, when he is both sensible. They say like this is covered information or disinformation, and we're not going to let this go forward because we have a rule that you're not to misinform people about the Krona virus on twitter, and that's true. Even if you're, the president or on Facebook and that's true, even if you're the president, and they they it to this too, and it happens to be the case that the right, the president from the Republican Party, is a conspiracy theorist who lies constantly and a lot of the right wing. Media institutions appear to very low empirical or ontological standards as a run, a foul the stuff more but then the right what they do is they then use this? As a kind of stress and effect and like spin up an entire hubbub about whether not what's really happening and whether the real issue here is censorship, which simultaneously makes them look
and feel aggrieved, but also drives more attention to the original story. It is a very plausible argument. Did this underlying stories getting somewhat more attention, although in a different way than it would have gotten if none of this very high profile? racial had been applied to it at all. So you don't you talking earlier about you, know: journalists, and you used. The word should at which I think is an important word in this context, because one ways. It's looking like a philosophy, major! No! No! No I mean we at the debate gets tricky. Is that if somebody says the New York Times shouldn't have given so much coverage to the Hillary Clinton, email scandal, everybody understood
adds the debts an appeal to some notion of journalistic ethics or the public interest, and that it doesn't me and then your time should have been prohibited by law from giving that much coverage till it. Goodnight else can just like we have a consensus that, like people yell at journal, saw the time and that the yelling is just meant to be normative right. Technology companies do not claim to have a corpus of ethics, the way the journalists do and at the same time are implicated in regulatory issues in a way the journalists are so when people say things like twitter shouldn't shut down, you know, Donald Trump, Twitter shouldn't sense.
The New York posts like that, the argument carries the implication that there should be a regulatory ball against them doing right by the same token, right so like just Holly and had crews, say they're gonna drag executives from twitter and Facebook to testify for capital hell to talk about this, where again that they are not introducing a bill, but the implication of that is that there is a regulatory issue here so section. Two. Thirty of the communications decency ACT is often invoked, as is the concept that there is an anti trust issue here right and that's part of what makes this different- and I think, is a good report and to be clear here. I'd like if you take the idea of free speech like at all seriously like free
Beach for twitter means that they get to decide. What goes on twitter, like free speech, is not just whatever goes on twitter readily give if you own a bookstore right and there's like a book and you like a year, I dont want bill O Reilly books in my store. I think those books are garbage. And then the government is. I know you have to stop Kabila, Riley's books like that's, that's, not free speech right and then I think in the case of twitter, because twitters actually kind of small company, even though, like news people are really into it. The like. That's really clear that, like the free speech position is a Jack Dorsey and his team can do whatever they want. And you can yell at them. If you want to, but like it just their product, just twitter is in no way a monopoly right, whereas with Facebook you get the question of okay, clear
e, a random small bookstore honour can stock would have books they want and can put the books on whatever shelf they want. I mean that there's a lot you doin it matters in a bookstore, whether you're cover faces out or your sideways with you on the front table whether your eye, you know John, recommends whatever kind of thing, but is it gets your bookstore? You can do whatever you want with it at Facebook, though, is currently governed by bookstore principles right like Mark Zuckerberg and his team. They just do whatever they want to do with it. But Facebook is a really big legs. Everything pig bookstore there appear to be significant network effect, Facebook so like, even if you don't love Facebook, it's really hard
is it you and your seven friends who also don't like Facebook Kansas. I go over to Facebook to act as like that that the world doesn't work that way. So there's a question of whether there should be some kind of special regulatory framework that applies there, and I think that would be a good conversation to have as a country. But it really has to take place like separate from Outrage of the day about specific decisions that are built there can, I add an example to that yeah, because when you say that it has to take place separately from these decisions, I think Holly is a good example of why pigs Holly's focused on and it is come applaud, is a city of section two. Thirty of the of the communications Decency ACT and what such a degree basically does is give these platforms immunity from what is published on their platforms, but the way it was bill. It
to make it easier for them to moderate child pornography stuff because the idea was if, when they moderate things that is implicitly a responsibility for everything that comes on then, if they're, trying to moderate the the worst things but like the third worst things just just like Nazis or Nazis, or something else there on they're and now, like implicitly, now legally liable for them. It's a disaster. Now Holly's talked about appealing that if you repeal that it would not make it easier for the New York Post, like bullshit stories on Facebook and twitter? It would make it harder it make it harder for Anybody who is not an unbelievably well verified fact checking organization to put anything anywhere, because, like the way, you would have to rewrite to thirty two very different, way, which I have not seen like these folks having good idea how to do if you got rid of two things then, all of a sudden, I'm all these
discussions are liable for anything Donald Trump posts onto their platforms. Don't ya postings. It are wrong key postings that are dangerous. He postings that in another could even be bliss, and so, like you, it into some real some real, weird issues so think I'm interested as you are in like a different framework fur for regulation here, but what I've heard is very real, active and almost instinctual and not well thought through way when you would have to think about what is your call right? he's right. Now, a lot of people like talk about means and what we should change to thirty. But there is a lot of things you can lead the way government in politics and stuff works is like there's a lot of different things you could do, but would before you talk
about the things you could do. You should have a conversation about what you're trying to achieve right. So if you look at like twenty TH century communications law before the internet exists, we have two models really for this. One is how we treat telephones and the idea of The regulatory framework for phone calls is that we really really really really really do not want the companies that own the telephone, switching infrastructure, to be operating as like a surveillance machine right. So there is absolutely no liability accruing to eighteen tea or or a further phone company for anything that happens over phone calls like. I can use the phone to organise the ito like up. I wouldn't a mafia behind Could use the phone network to organise the murder of doesn't
dozens of people over a period of decades and the function he is not at all responsible for the right like and evil there legally, not risk and we also, as a society, have a consensus, like you, don't write, article being like terror groups, use telephones to communicate right in a way that implies, the phone company is responsible is like the last thing that we want is the executives of phone company? saying what we need to listen in. On every conversation we need to like cut certain people off from the phone network right, it's like anything up was, but there then subject to strict common carrier. Walls like they just have to treat all sound equal. You know it is what it is that we have broadcast television bright, which is regulated for similar natural monopoly reasons to why we regulate phone companies, but is regularly with the reverse skull the idea
particularly old school big three network broadcast television is that it should be extremely inoffensive right. So, like you can have sex, you can't have violence, you cannot people swearing, but you definitely can't have porn. You used to have like them Ernest doctrine like you could not have opinionated television shows on network television and like it was blighter right like this, like the joke about Twentyth Century american culture is a drug. Has television was credibly, bland and boring. Haven't we started to have cable and other things like you could be more edgy, but sophisticated people would like read books are you would go to the movie theater because, like network television was really dumb down and a generic and I could see the case like there's some merit, I think, to trying to push social media in either of those direction
right so, like one idea would be like look. We don't want Facebook like controlling what we see, so it should be less moderated like both like not shutting down President Trump, because you think he's lying, but also not using like engagement, algorithms that, like pump up the most inflammatory thing that anyone can pose and make it more like? You know,. W Www the facebook com from two thousand and five were just like. I go to ES page page, and I just see whatever you posted there and if I don't go to your page, I don't see anything like that's one vision. Or we could say. No. We want to make Facebook and Youtube similar to broadcast television. They're, just like sensor everybody. You know because it's like we don't want crazy stuff happening here. It's going to be like
birthday greetings tips for how to take care. You tat you know some anodyne stuff about the weather and like if you want the like to and fro the address the way they ve got porn off of the right. It's not like there's no pornography on the internet, but this pornography on Facebook right like they got rid of that and they could go go kind of further that way. But what we keep having? Is these like, like selective of of the idea? regulation to create, like hyper specific outcomes, But I don't want you to be mean to Donald Trump or I dont like that. Then Shapiro content does so well on the spot, but, like you did you say in the abstract, but what do we want to go in the direction of a common carrier or do we want to go in the direction of Blandin an offence? And I think the problem This conversation is there is no
even moderately good answer that any of the directions we go are just kind of bad. So look the issue with actual moderation, is that you can't do it at this scale well and in the play. Where it is going to be most important. You may not really be able to do it credibly at all and that all the more true when you're dealing with a fractured polarized society and in particular, were one party in there has united behind an informational ecosystem. That is simply trash to be blunt about it, and so there isn't going to be an answer like where one thing that the platforms want to do is maintained credibility, the wide swath Americans of of all political persuasions and also the republican Party. Is lying behind Donald Trump, who has benefits from my than in some ways himself tried to launch this information campaigns and is himself like very prone to I arising and saying things that are untrue. There's
not a form of moderation there. That is going to make like not just to everybody, happy, probably anybody b and, on the other hand, letting things or this his powerful and algorithmic and viral just do anything they want is bad like and he's going to create an unbelievable free for all of disinformation campaigns and toxification of american discourse and then doing sort of what you're saying Matt of like regulating them into a kind of dumb pipe. Music in infringement I'll, be on basic companies, ability to two to exist and an end to the rolling telling Facebook. I can't have a reality and a noose feed on his back so then you get into. Maybe we should break them up? Maybe the point is simply they're too big, but that's also somewhat weird solution to this problem, so I just want to know because I think it sometimes imported to say this. I don't think there is a good policy here. Are the girl, bad ones. I am open to all kinds of different ideas, but but, but I do think of a problem is very fundamentally: isn't it
This is not a question within easy solution- and it may not even be one with a credit, solution at all. Now, like one version of it, is that just want to have, and this is thing that I've always favored. Is it basically the way these platforms were currently? Is that who are in a very strange way and answer morasses, good piece on this in the new Yorker just last week? It, You are subject to more aggressive moderation, the smaller you are so like an unknown aim, account would like a cup. Hundred followers or something and you the rule and for whatever reason, you're breaking of that rule gets noticed, which obviously often doesn't happen like the full hammer can come down on you, but if you're Donald Trump, like there's a news worthiness exception, if you are a meter platform in general like there are all kinds of exceptions for like what you're putting up a newsworthy this and so on, and I've often We should have in the spot forms the highest birds on the biggest pages.
Bigger you are. You should actually just flip into new was moderation. They become more restrictive, and if that means that, like your pages get more boring along laces lines there I that's fine. I think it is fine for bigger people, them to be more boring. Like it's a little, I want to do and finance where people want to put taxes on bigger and bigger and bigger company, so it becomes harder and harder and harder for them to operate. They have higher capital standards, etc, because when you be homelike too big to fail, like it's actually better for the system, begin slowing down and like actually creating a competitive dynamic where other companies can come up. That's the twenty entry media model right, we're like network television is extremely boring. Daily newspapers are somewhat less, Then magazines, magazines, supporting the newspapers, all weeklies have like tiny circulation, but they're like advertising hookers in the back and by you know it's like anything goes but also that's where you find out about the cool shows and, as you get bigger, and
influential, yet to just be more alike banal actual. I don't think then I read a couple years ago now that that's his influence by thinking about this is hunt all caught with three co authors, some of whom have heart, pronounced names Did a paper called the welfare effects of social media, and basically they like bride, some people to turn off Facebook for four weeks, in advance of the mid terms, and they like wait. You know there was a control group, a random station group and look at what happened. And importantly, the people who turned Facebook off were worse informed than the people who kept using. So in the aggregate right like there is misinformation on Facebook,
There is more signal that noise on their like turning it off now in theory, you could take all the time that you used to spend on Facebook and like use it digging into financial times archives like no all kinds of things about oil contracts, but regrets that actually what people did Instead, they found that people watch more tv. They hung on board their friends and family. They knew less about the news and they were also happier soap the upshot of this is that, like Facebook is great, like its secretly making people miserable and the short term detachment from Facebook cause like longer term detachment. But it isn't a in the aggregate vector for me information and get a wanting that I wonder about because their task of like how people are informed is you know, I'm a little a little crude, but like this, a classic finding from the polarization litter
sure. Is that, like the more you know about politics like them or wrong, you can become about like a really big picture. Question because, like I think about the fact that, like in February before the pandemic struck, the american economy was really good. And if you just asked some idiot who didn't know anything about politics, they'd be like economy's going great. But if you ask like a super sophisticated progressive person, they could give you all kinds of reasons why the economy was terrible like not because they were like getting misinformation. But because, like This is like a this lot of this sort of true facts about world that people can assimilate and then a range in a way that reduces their positive dissonance about things and in some ways like that's the like true. Information is the real misinformation in some way like that
Hunter Biden story like the factual elements of it like they like pile on right, so that you like create in your mind, the idea that there's some important Ukraine scandal but like you're just is like obtaining more true facts about Hunter binds work with birds, My leg is only can make you more misinformed, because Hunter seems like a sketchy. Guy decided, dubious characters hang around of Ukraine and you don't need to know anything at all about this story and feeding people. True information about the exploits of Hunter Biden is a way of misinforming them about the stakes of the two thousand and twenty presidential election. Alright, let's take a break and then talk about the stakes of the stimulus vote or maybe not vote coming up.
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and Pelosi's bill that she's behind is a two point: two trillion dollar bill, but there are stick which is down from three point three, but there are sticking points other than the head line number, and it now seems like quietly, maybe policy, a saying, she's Eddie to settle on one point: eight if she can get that the terms right. It's not hundred percent clear to me what the firms, are some of it has to do with how much money goes to a tribal entity? Is some of it has to do with how the testing works? Some of it has to do with how we like characterize like how The pandemic is in certain places, but there's no publicly available paper on any of this. So, like both sides keeps like, if you ask them cause. The natural question to ask: is that these positions don't seem that different? So
Why haven't you made a deal and if you ask them, they'll be like? Oh no we're far apart on so many issues, and then they just don't sound that far apart, and it at least appears that the real issue so to speak is that for one thing it's clear that Minuchin does not speak for Senate Republicans and he is out on a limb in doing the deal Mitch. Mcconnell, as we record, is introducing a five hundred billion dollar stimulus, which is much less than one eight and there's just a real question as to like does Pelosi actually want to go? The deal done here or does you just want to avoid taking the blame for the absence of a deal because naturally like if it was three weeks before an election?
and the economy was stalling out and President Joe Biden went to congressional Republicans, and I was like I thought one point: eight trillion dollar stimulus spill like there is no way that would happen right and Pelosi is not. Democrats. Just like not willing to be rejectionists on the level of a John Vainer, but did not above a little politicking either. And so, if they can have it be that it's like well, Trump won't agree to our great testing ideas. Are they so sad about that yeah? So it's an in question what the bottom line are. I do want to say a little bit about what is in the deal here. So the new offer has three hundred billion for cities and states from two hundred and fifty billion in the last proposal. Its four hundred dollar weekly enhance unemployment insurance benefits, which is down from six hundred, which is what was in the Cares act, but is up from the nothing that is there now ended increase.
Is the duration of these I'm cribbing a bit from some great reporting done by our former colleague Jeff Stein? Here the White House is offer on stimulus, is gone up to one thousand dollars check per child instead of the five hundred dollars per child, which seems to be a replacement for a child tax credit that Pelosi wanted separately so like the big taken items, and I would have told you they are fighting about a couple weeks ago when you listen to policy she's, not really, maybe those items anymore. She is not out there saying this state, Local aid offer is reprehensible. It's too low a won't solve the problem, she's making a couple different points, but the One she keeps saying is that there is no plan to fight the virus, and here I think you ve been confirmed, met that in the testing I've heard frame it a little bit more broadly, that she wants to steal to include like The administration putting forward a plan with real for like what we're going to do to get the virus under control. I don't exactly know what to say about that. I also think it would be good if the administration had a plan
at the level of competence and a desire to implement an anticorrosive irish strategy legality to tackle climate change. You know where his artifices drugs to do But it's not clear to me like, in the context that we are actually now why you and hold up really they needed help for families for businesses that then, as you seem out, there is the issue of war. Ok, we're three weeks before an election like does play want to give Donald Trump like this huge victory, and I don't think it is a huge victory that Carter is a good piece on this over at Huffington Post, but he makes the argument. I think his argument is correct. This money is not gonna get into economy that quickly and it's not gonna turn anything around that quickly. It's not how this kind of money and so you're, basically doing a deal that is going to begin like filtering out. Like, let's say they got the deal done in the next like five, because it has to go to Senate Republicans, it needs to be signed by Donald Trump. That needs to be implemented, and then people need to
Why for money, if you're dealing with the business side of aid and state and local governments need to distribute the money disperse funds, it just doesn't happen in forty eight hours, and so what you have happening here is a deal that is to begin stimulating the economy like in in bulk, probably largely after the election, I mean it'll help a little bit before assumption we'll go out, I gonna wanna. Take all that way, but this is deal that is going to save Donald Trump's. Ass, like this is a deal that they're probably not going to be able to get if Trump loses by the way, because and this goes to the other? I think very important point. The reason there might be a deal isn't just mention its trop trump has been out. Now after going on Twitter and saying the hit it, what turned out to be misinformation than you telling his representatives to stop negotiating we're just going win the election in the past, a much bigger stimulus, he's he's been out saying: no, he actually does want a stimulus bill. He he did a rush. Limbaugh show where he said he wants to be much bigger than what the Democrats want bigger than two point: two trillion dollars.
The White House says he actually does it. He wants a big under two trillion dollars, but nevertheless the pressure to get it done right now that is relevant and pretty relevant to Senate. Republicans is coming from Donald Trump and TIM be that makes a bitch Mcconnell side of his deal totally irrelevant. So I must say that Pelosi and Minuchin come to this deal, and be out whatever the thing they do? The repulse Democrats pass out in four days and then it gets to make and Mcconnell says, I'm sorry, but five hundred billion is my offer great let Mcconnell and Senate Republicans take the blame for that. One led Donald Trump about a bunch of having Mcconnell socks. Much Mcconnell, like that not seem to me to be Nancy Pelosi's problem, and so I don't fully understand in this case. What answer policies issue is? I know she thinks this is not a great deal and what I think is actually going on here. Is it she? think she has got everything she can get out of the deal and so like we might just be in the final
like forty eight hours of a deal making process where she's not willing to say it's done yet, because she feels at what happened in the past. Seventy two hours is trumps, sent that tweet panicked when he realized. How about the reaction was. Now wants to get a deal done enough. That there's actually a substantial amount that she can get in return, and she just does not believe that she has gotten the best deal she can get, but she intends to make one. It is very hard at this structure to separate that world out from Nancy Poles to decide does not want to get a deal done yet something you're. Seeing is it. There is clearly a caucus strategy here, because very few House Democrats have come out. Policy Roca has I'm span burger. How of Virginia, but I think it's like three or four so far as of when we're talking it's not like. It is very clear that there's been a communication out to House Democrats, they like there's a strategy here and like they need to hold the line, and I dont think they would be
comfortable with a simply no deal strategy, I think to set the stage here right in an interesting way. Big advocates of Pelosi should stop playing hard ball should stop demanding the maximum should stop being a political strategist and should instead do the high minded West wing compromise are the hard bitten leftists of the internet, who are constant like all they do is criticized that's for acting the way they are now calling on Democrats too, to add up to and including like your friend of mine, adds Carter. Who's been a strong advocate for Pelosi. Taking this bell in April, he referred to the Cares act as the worst bill in twenty five
I very much disagree with Zach on this point, but he was upset about business, immunity and business issues in the Cares act and this bill is constructed differently. I really disagree with that point is act, but it's not pure hypocrisy. No, it's not that it's hypocrisy. I think that a disposition to believe that Nancy Policy has very poor tactical judgment. Journeyman is like, I think, what you're saying here, So a natural constituency, though for Democrats you make a deal under these circumstances, is the public sector. Play unions, their members. Livelihoods are on the line in the steel, make at an earlier time, when the sticking point was, is there going to be state local government aid, like obviously they were like pollution hold fast right and you could have imagined a situation in which
pose, was maneuvered into blocking vast amounts of financial assistance to Americans in need, because like the teachers and ask me were holding out for state local government aid, but manoeuvre, is now offering the state local government right an interesting Lee alike. I talked to the union leaders, I follow their social media presences and they are not calling on policy to cave here. The frontline House Democrats right before trumps, sent that infamous tweet. I was hearing from people involved in democratic Senate campaigns and they were panicking that policy was about to cave and make the one point. Six trillion dollar deal with management, Because Frontline House members and the problem solvers caucus we're like we gotta, do a deal, we gotta do a deal right,
they're, not panicking and calling for a deal either. All of which makes me think if there is a problem here, it's a miscalculation rather than an excessive cynicism, but like the people who want to deal like for their own personal self interest, they are acting. This course of action is going to get them a deal. You know I mean like they're, not kicking and screaming the people kicking, meaning are like the rural corners of the world. There is a lack of one of the most interesting house members, but like he has a safe sea like he's trying to be like an ideas guy who has profile, and so as long as that's going on like, I do think that Pelosi is like squeezing extra drops of blood out of Steve Nugen. My question is why Father, given that the odds of this deal passed,
in the Senate, but usually passing the Senate unmolested seem really really low to me. So it's like what are we doing here. It's eight seems like almost just like showing off right, like like, like like white, like what's the point in mass boat, both strategic sides of so make the same point to which I have to assume he understands, which is that after the election, there is no deal right, which is to say that, if and wins the election report are never going to permit a deal So you really have this one shot before, like and then take on the other side. You are too good piece mad about possibly doing the stimulus and and and carnivores work through, but your conciliation, I've written a billion pieces about getting rid of the filibuster to just be able actually governing them cuts, take back, but the Senate as well, but either way until late January like late Annie worry when you have a new government like us, can be nothing at all Can it be a worsening economic situation and so
soon is, like your last point, to get a deal like one becomes more important. Is you need to get it deal like you need to take a deal and get it now so that there is not simply a collapse. Between now and then and another is it want to get the best deal. You can, because you can build a comeback from more which you know, like testing is really important to us, for instance, and so You say like a lot of things in the end. Right here come down who do you think policy has a goods. And other substance here like what is needed and what is important issue being advised by good people and then a good feel for like the politics of the deal making and eat can only really judge these things hike after they play out, but she is held pretty firm and from his ultimately come back to the table, and they began in some real concessions, and you say when you listen now they're not far apart and Pelosi
now under a lot of pressure like she just went on CNN and I gotta do fight with both Blitzer, and so I acts like if I had a bad, I think we get a deal. An unpleasant religion, and not too long, barring some like trump watch? The Wolf Blitzer thing, a decisive got the upper hand like walks away from the table is something but it would be really weird if pussy blogger by blue the dial up over like what they are still like, apart on, because you just hear them: it it just isn't enough like it's enough money? It's not about anything, but there isn't. What reason? By the same token, why should Pelosi Cave on a proper testing and suppression strategy, as opposed to the White House being on enough money protesting Emily. Some kind of suppression like that's your reasonable thing to try to like deal of forty eight hours more of unpleasant negotiating a bad press to get. But they question
Actually do you get it or not? One of the underlying issues year continues to be the sort of weak and confused leadership of Donald Trump right. I mean like that. The Democrats presumption heading into this, I think, is that Trump should really want stimulus, and therefore Democrats should get a heavy role in shaping like where it goes right, and it is just that I think that is just not proven to be true like from like now seems like who hunt stimulus, but this isn't going out from that's right with, like the White House not being engaged in a real way on what's but what's Goin on an evil. Unfortunately, the problem with the negotiation the side that has more willingness to be irresponsible and at least
tend to believe that no deal is okay for them. Like gets the upper hand in this leverage to this situation, and it is just true, I think, objectively, that, like it's bad for causes, Democrats believe in to not have a stimulus. But it's not that bad for their politics right for the country to just the collapse this winter and LIVE Biden takes over in an empty are ask like state of emergency kind of situate of any needed to collapse before the election. For that I mean the thing, is it a cops before the election and after came with russian majorities like you can possibly I bet I mean about, but even so Europe's descended stuff. You know it it's bad for the rebels anyway,
I dont think democratic should do it, because I think you know. I think a good guiding principle in politics is that when the politics of something are uncertain, like you, you might as well just do the right thing rather than play like fifty five percent chance. That, like some catastrophe, is gonna work out well for you, but like its dicey, because he would it is true- is that you don't want as a congressional leader like you, you don't want a reputation for being a suck and I feel like Democrats have sometimes gotten into that position, and that policy is, you know like rebuilding her rap, as I like it, like a heart ass negotiator here very very effectively, but they're. Just there all like they're driving really close to the edge of the highway here. What do we have? There was a time story. This morning, a eight
Young people have have got into poverty. Now we had an initial jobless claims which had been going down start going up again. Everyone expects like guinea, like the whole outdoor dining c and is gonna get worse over the winter. The virus seems to be getting worse and like I would just Vila better with some getting done, and I both I find myself both like inclined to defer to policy as a technician, but also just thinking that, like probable Stickley, like I did, the downside risk of not reaching a deal seems so much worse than you know, leaving a little scratch on the table. I got my God is it by the time we do weeds next week has been a deal, but I wouldn't put confidence on that, I guess we'll say day, go we'll see what happens. Okay? So thanks to Ezra thanks to our sponsors, thanks as always to our producer, Jeffrey GEL and the weeds will be back
until the dirt
Transcript generated on 2021-05-14.