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American Wonk

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American Wonk covers a wide range of topics, with a focus on domestic and foreign policy. Avik explores important ideas and policies with the experts who know them best—right or left—and ask challenging questions to all, in the spirit of Bill Buckley.

Read more

American Wonk covers a wide range of topics, with a focus on domestic and foreign policy. Avik explores important ideas and policies with the experts who know them best—right or left—and ask challenging questions to all, in the spirit of Bill Buckley.

iTunes Ratings

17 Ratings
Average Ratings
13
0
4
0
0

John Yoo

By MBCHOE - Nov 01 2018
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My only criticism of the episode is you guys didn’t address the civil rights issue involved specifically title 6 of 1964 civil rights act

Wonk

By 3Commando - May 29 2017
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Excellent

iTunes Ratings

17 Ratings
Average Ratings
13
0
4
0
0

John Yoo

By MBCHOE - Nov 01 2018
Read more
My only criticism of the episode is you guys didn’t address the civil rights issue involved specifically title 6 of 1964 civil rights act

Wonk

By 3Commando - May 29 2017
Read more
Excellent
Cover image of American Wonk

American Wonk

Updated 1 day ago

Read more

American Wonk covers a wide range of topics, with a focus on domestic and foreign policy. Avik explores important ideas and policies with the experts who know them best—right or left—and ask challenging questions to all, in the spirit of Bill Buckley.

Rank #1: 27. Paul Winfree’s Inside View of the Trump West Wing

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Paul Winfree, director of economic policy studies at the Heritage Foundation, left that post in January 2017 to take a senior policy position in the Trump White House. A year later, he's back at Heritage, and--you guessed it--spending more time with his family.

On this episode of American Wonk, Paul talks freely about his year in the West Wing--about what the Trump White House is doing right, and where it can improve. He gives us a never-before-revealed account of the internal debates in the White House about whether or not to put forward a Presidential plan to repeal and replace Obamacare, and reflects on the failure of the administration to curb domestic spending.

You won't want to miss it. I learned more from this interview than any other I've done for the show.


Sponsored by Quip


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Feb 28 2018
59 mins
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Rank #2: 29. Pete Hegseth on Veterans Health Reform

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One of the core promises that President Trump made on the campaign trail was to fix the broken veterans' health care system. In 2017, he nominated David Shulkin, a holdover from the Obama administration, to be his Veterans Affairs Secretary. But Shulkin spent most of his tenure opposing efforts to reform the VA, because reform, in his words, was an effort at "privatization...a political issue aimed at rewarding select people and companies with profits."

Shulkin was let go in March of 2018, but Trump's nominee to replace him--Rear Admiral Ronny Jackson--withdrew from consideration.

So how should the Trump administration move forward on VA reform? Is it enough that the VA occasionally allows some veterans, under certain conditions, the option of seeing private doctors, or should all veterans have the freedom to see the doctor of their choice, public or private?

There is no one better than our guest today to answer that question. Pete Hegseth was the founder and long-time president of Concerned Veterans for America, where he led CVA's effort to produce the most ambitious proposal to reform the Veterans Health Administration in several decades.

Pete left Minnesota, where he grew up, to go to Princeton, and then Harvard, where he got a Masters in Public Policy. In between, he volunteered to serve in Iraq, where he was awarded the Bronze Star. Today, he's best known for his work on Fox & Friends, the Fox News morning show.


Sponsored by Quip


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May 03 2018
47 mins
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Rank #3: 19. Smoke and Fire with John Yoo

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On this month's episode of American Wonk, our topic is: What the heck is going on between Donald Trump, James Comey, and Russia? Is there fire underneath all that smoke? Is the President in any kind of legal jeopardy?

To answer these questions, we needed to go to someone who could wonk out with us on both foreign policy and constitutional questions, and so we're very fortunate to have John Yoo join the program.

John is the Emanuel S. Heller Professor of Law at the University of California Berkeley, Co-Faculty Director of the Korea Law Center, a Visiting Scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, and author most recently of Point of Attack: Preventive War, International Law, and Global Welfare.

On the show, we talk about the constitutional structure of how one investigates the President, since the President is in charge of federal law enforcement. We talk about likelihood--or lack thereof--that President Trump committed a crime. John reviews for us the legal history of impeachment, and calls it "crazy" to consider using the 25th Amendment to remove the President by claiming he is incapacitated.

In the final segment, we mine John's expertise in two other areas--Korean politics and preventive war--to contemplate what exactly America should do to curtail the ability of North Korea to launch nuclear weapons that can reach our shores.


Sponsored by Blue Apron, SimpliSafe


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May 29 2017
55 mins
Play

Rank #4: 28. Patrick Ruffini on Facebook, Trump, and the Future of Political Campaigns

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When the campaign of then-Senator Barack Obama mined users' Facebook feeds for information about how they might vote in 2008, Obama was praised as an innovator. But this spring, a firestorm of controversy enveloped Facebook, after the New York Times reported that Cambridge Analytica mined data from Facebook users to help elect Donald Trump.

So how should we define right or wrong in political campaigns in the age of social media? Is it our own fault that campaigns can exploit what we share with our friends and the world? What social media tools will presidential campaigns be using in 2020? And how is the internet changing the nature of politics itself?

To help us answer these questions, we turn to Patrick Ruffini, who has been thinking about the role of the internet in politics since the earliest days of the internet itself. In 1998, Patrick started a Yahoo group to encourage George W. Bush to run for President. In 2002, he served as Deputy Director of Online Communications for the Republican National Committee. In 2004, he was the webmaster--sounds like such an antique term now--the webmaster of the Bush-Cheney reelection campaign. And from 2005 to 2007, he served as the eCampaign Director at the RNC. Today, along with Kristen Soltis Anderson, Patrick is co-founder of Echelon Insights, a political research and intelligence firm.


Sponsored by Quip


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Mar 26 2018
41 mins
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Rank #5: 23. Larry Is Money

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On this episode of American Wonk, our guest is Larry Kudlow: Contributing Editor at National Review, Senior Contributor at CNBC, and host of the "Larry Kudlow Show" on WABC.

Larry joins us to talk about three hot economic topics. First, we discuss President Trump's upcoming appointment of a new chairman for the Federal Reserve. Why is the Federal Reserve important? What has the Fed gotten right or wrong since the financial crisis? And how does it affect your ability--and the government's--to borrow money?

Next, we get Larry's take on the latest developments on tax reform. He's bullish on the opportunity to revive economic growth through tax reform, though he has his share of quibbles with the proposals coming out of Congress.

Finally, we talk about Bitcoin and the emerging field of cryptocurrencies. Is Bitcoin a "fraud," like JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon thinks? Or is it a technological breakthrough that could someday challenge the U.S. dollar? Larry tells us where he thinks the ideal opportunity is for Bitcoin-like currencies to have an impact.


Join the conversation and comment on this podcast episode: https://ricochet.com/podcast/american-wonk/larry-is-money/.


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Subscribe to American Wonk in iTunes (and leave a 5-star review, please!), or by RSS feed. For all our podcasts in one place, subscribe to the Ricochet Audio Network Superfeed in iTunes or by RSS feed.

Oct 31 2017
39 mins
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Rank #6: 17. One Podcast, Two Wonks: Dr. Zeke Emanuel

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A lot of you have been waiting for us to talk health care at American Wonk. But we wanted to save it for a really special guest. And today, we have him. Zeke Emanuel, Vice Provost for Global Initiatives at the University of Pennsylvania, joins us. Zeke, as you know, was one of the key architects of the Affordable Care Act. You may also know that he has two famous brothers: Rahm Emanuel, the mayor of Chicago, and Ari Emanuel, the super-agent inspiration for "Entourage."

Every day brings fresh news about developments on Capitol Hill with the American Health Care Act, the GOP's attempt at repealing and replacing Obamacare. And we want this podcast to be useful for listeners even if they get to it a few days or weeks from now. So in this podcast, we focus on the big picture. Zeke has first-hand knowledge of how hard health care reform actually is. While you'll find many things Zeke says to disagree with, he helps us think through the challenges Republicans face as they try their hand at health reform.


Sponsored by Blue Apron, SimpliSafe


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Mar 21 2017
37 mins
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Rank #7: 14. Parsing The Transition

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Presidential elections happen every four years. But presidential transitions don't. The last time we had a Republican president replace a Democratic one was in 2001. To give us some historical context on presidential transitions, and to evaluate how Donald Trump's transition is going, Avik Roy turns to Tevi Troy, who was the domestic policy director for Mitt Romney's presidential transition effort in 2012.

Tevi is the author of several books about the presidency, most recently Shall We Wake The President? Two Centuries of Disaster Management From The Oval Office, and also the CEO of the American Health Policy Institute.


Sponsored by Blue Apron, SimpliSafe


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Jan 11 2017
45 mins
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Rank #8: 25. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai on Net Neutrality

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Today, we're taking a deep dive into the biggest policy controversy in the tech community: the impending vote by the Federal Communications Commission to abandon the Obama-era effort to regulate the internet, known as "net neutrality."

What is "net neutrality?" Why has this highly technical topic aroused the passions of so many people in Silicon Valley? And can we trust the biggest corporations in America to keep the internet open and free?

To answer these questions, we're joined by Ajit Pai, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission. Commissioner Pai is a graduate of Harvard College and the University of Chicago Law School, where he first got interested in the topic of regulation and technology. He was first nominated to join the FCC in 2012, under President Obama, and has since been the country's leading advocate for internet deregulation. President Trump nominated Pai to run the FCC in 2017, and that brings us to today's brouhaha.


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Dec 05 2017
27 mins
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Rank #9: 22. Dr. Senator Bill Cassidy

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Today, our topic is the struggling Republican effort to repeal and replace Obamacare. In late September, a handful of Senate Republicans announced that they wouldn't support the Graham-Cassidy bill to repeal Obamacare's expansion of health insurance coverage, and replace it with block grants to the states, using the same pot of money.

So where do we stand now? What is the path forward for Republicans on health care? To take stock of where we are, we're joined by the leading health wonk in the U.S. Senate, Dr. Bill Cassidy, the senior senator from Louisiana. Among other things, we attempt to figure out why Jimmy Kimmel has suddenly decided that Bill Cassidy is a bad guy, after praising him earlier in the year.


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Sep 28 2017
24 mins
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Rank #10: 16. Out Like Flynn

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Well, Month One of the Trump Presidency hasn't been boring. There are so many things we could talk about, but on this episode of American Wonk, we focus on one story in particular: the appointment and subsequent ouster of retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn as U.S. National Security Advisor.

President Trump has a conspicuously more favorable view of Vladimir Putin than do most conservatives. And in a pro-Putin White House, Michael Flynn was perhaps the most pro-Putin guy of all.

All of a sudden, it came out that Flynn had misled Vice-President Pence about conversations he'd had with the Russian ambassador, prior to the inauguration, about lifting U.S. sanctions. A few days later Flynn was out.

But that's not the end of the story. As Eli Lake spelled out in a fantastic piece for Bloomberg View entitled "The Political Assassination of Michael Flynn," the leaks that led to Flynn's ouster are themselves highly disturbing, because they call into question the democratic legitimacy of career officials in the executive branch.

If you don't know Eli, well, you should. Prior to becoming a columnist at Bloomberg View, Eli was the senior national security correspondent for the Daily Beast and has covered the same beat for the Washington Times, the New York Sun, and UPI. He's one of the most perceptive writers on foreign policy you'll find anywhere.

Along with talking about Michael Flynn, Eli and I discuss his successor, Lt. Gen. H. R. McMaster, the performance of the rest of the Trump foreign policy team, some of the underappreciated foreign policy problems of our time, and one of the most challenging questions of all: what should we do about Russia?


Sponsored by Blue Apron, Casper


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Feb 22 2017
52 mins
Play

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