My apologies for neglecting you all. I spent the last two weeks filling in for Krystal Ball as a guest host of her former morning show Rising. She and her co-host Saagar Enjeti moved on to start their own show called Breaking Points (which you can learn about here). There’s one right-wing host and one left-wing host, and I had filled in for her a bunch before when she was on vacation, and it hadn’t been that bad, but this time it was brutal, for one reason: The Radars.
They do this bit where one co-host says to the other, “What’s on your radar?” and then the person does a 5-10 minute monologue. When I filled in for Krystal before, I didn’t have to do a radar, I just showed up and ran my mouth, which is my specialty.
Writing the monologue on top of my reporting and editing at The Intercept would have broken me if I had to do it one more week. The show starts with a conference call at 6:15 am to go over the day’s topics, studio arrival at 7 am, then filming till 11 am. Then it’s on to the day job and playing catch up. Then when that day is over it’s time to write the monologue for tomorrow and finish it at a reasonable enough hour so that you can be up and ready for the call the next day.
I don’t know how Krystal and Saagar did it for so long. I say all this by way of excusing my negligence in sending this email for the past two weeks.
Still, it was, aside from all that, quite a fun experience, and my co-host, the right winger, Emily Jashinsky, was delightful to work with. When we disagreed we kept it civil and we also found plenty of places to agree.
And I’m proud of the monologues I was force-marched to produce.
Relatedly, a clip from the show went viral on Twitter Friday and for most of the day the terms “Soviets,” “USSR,” “Nazis,” “Nazi Germany,” and “Holocaust” were all trending. I think it’s because people just don’t hear this kind of thing on normal TV shows. Here’s the full segment:
Here’s a rundown of some of the monologues, which I don’t expect you to binge but they’re all pretty evergreen, so whenever you get a chance:
The “radar” from Thursday got some results in the House, thanks to Rep. Ro Khanna’s response, which he told me was inspired by the monologue. I made the argument that all the focus on Senate infrastructure talks obscured the power progressive House Democrats have. Because very, very few House Republicans will vote for any deal that Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi approve of, Pelosi will need almost her entire caucus to pass it. A dozen or two Democrats could be enough to sink bipartisan talks and force Democrats back into using reconciliation and going big. If Democrats demand that climate remain part of the infrastructure package, Congress has no choice but to do it without Republicans, because they won’t agree to that.
Here’s one on how expensive it is to be poor in this country and how we can change that a bit.
Here’s one that looks at the crisis of campaigning that Democrats face. Internal revolts from campaign staff are becoming a major problem for campaigns, and I tell the previously unreported story of campaign staff for Bernie Sanders coming within moments of blowing up his campaign a week before the Iowa caucuses.
Here’s one on the actual leverage that Democrats have against Joe Manchin. Basically, if he wants to run for governor in 2024, he needs the 30% of the electorate of Democrats in West Virginia to be with him lockstep. And they won’t be if he screws over the party’s agenda.
And here’s one on how the Biden administration is stacking itself at the very highest levels with consultants all from the same consulting shop, called WestExec Advisors. The secretary of state, director of national intelligence, and on and on are all from WestExec.