Matt Mackowiak's Mack On Politics

Smart political talk every week from Austin, Texas political consultant Matt Mackowiak, who has served in senior roles for two U.S. Senators and the Bush administration.
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Matt Mackowiak's Mack On Politics





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Apr 19, 2019

Dissecting the Mueller Report is the subject of episode 130.

Our guest is David Harsanyi, a syndicated columnist and senior editor at The Federalist.

In this conversation, we explore his first impressions of the report, whether the obstruction angle has merit, how concerned Trump should be about 12 unknown criminal referrals, why the collusion angle evaporated, how much Russian meddling matters, the role Attorney General Barr has played, whether Mueller should testify, what we hope to learn from the DOJ IG report on the origins of the counterintelligence investigation and how the media has covered this story.

Apr 12, 2019

2020 politics is the subject of the 129th episode.

Our guest is Josh Holmes, former Chief of Staff to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and president of Cavalry, LLC.

In this conversation, we begin by sizing up the Democratic field of presidential candidates, then discuss the relative strength of Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris and Pete Buttigieg, Trump’s political position for reelection, discuss the importance of the GOP launching a small dollar donor online platform, and analyze the state of the modern day Republican and Democratic parties.

Apr 5, 2019

The life and legacy of former First Lady Barbara Bush is the subject of episode 128.

Our returning guest is Susan Page, Washington Bureau Chief for USA Today and author of the new bestseller, ‘The Matriarch: Barbara Bush and the Making of an American Dynasty”.

In this conversation, we explore Page’s writing process and how she secured the subject’s unprecedented participation. We then explore how the loss of Robin Bush at age 3 shaped the rest of their lives, how Barbara went through some mental health issues in the 1970s, how Bush 41’s political career began, how the Reagan-Bush alliance formed, how dysfunctional the Nancy Reagan-Barbara Bush relationship was , how they dealt with rumors of infidelity, how the political careers of George W. Bush and Jeb Bush developed, how Barbara Bush viewed Donald Trump and the modern Republican Party, and whether she was content with the family and legacy she built at the end of her life.

Mar 29, 2019

The Mueller Report is the subject of the 127th episode.

Our returning guest is Chuck Ross, reporter for The Daily Caller, whose reporting was validated by Attorney General William Barr’s letter to Congress summarizing the Mueller Report.

In this conversation, we examine what Ross thought Mueller would reveal, what we still don’t know, how the outcome could affect several people ensnared by the Special Counsel, whether Russia colluded with Hillary’s campaign on the dossier, what legal concerns remain for Trump, and what he wants to see in the full Mueller Report.

Mar 18, 2019

Bestselling author Arthur Brooks is our guest for the 126th episode.

He has served as President of the American Enterprise Institute for the past ten years and will leave that post in June.

His new book is “Love Your Enemies: How Decent People Can Save America from our Culture of Contempt”.

In this conversation, we discuss whether ‘loving your enemies’ comes naturally, whether tribalism is the cause of contempt rising, whether the profit motive in media companies drives us further apart, what role Twitter is playing in this, how capitalism and socialism view the concept of ‘earned success’, whether the conservative movement still values ideas, how he views his tenure at AEI and what he has planned for his next chapter.

Mar 11, 2019

This is a story you must hear.

For the 125th episode, we talked to Luke Rosiak, investigative reporter for The Daily Caller and author of the new book, “Obstruction of Justice: How the Deep State Risked National Security to Protect the Democrats”.

This is not a book about the Mueller investigation or Russia.

It’s a book about a Pakistani IT consultant who worked for more than 40 Democratic members of Congress who was indicted for bank fraud, theft and a host of other crimes, but was then curiously given immunity from prosecution for no apparent reason.

This jaw-dropping account will make you wonder about many of our institutions.

Mar 8, 2019

The crisis in Venezuela is the subject of episode 124.

We spoke to Rice University’s Mark Jones about where things stand currently, whether Maduro’s grip on power is weakening, how US policy is affecting his regime, how Cuba and Colombia are involved, whether a US military option is on the table, how this may end, and how Gaido could serve as a unifying figure.


Feb 28, 2019

Our 123rd episode comes to you from Washington, DC.

In this special conversation, we interviewed two freshmen U.S. Senators, Mike Braun (R-IN) and Rick Scott (R-FL).

We explored the legislative outlook for the U.S. Senate and limited opportunities for bipartisan accomplishments, the collapsing situation in Venezuela, the Green New Deal, federal deficits and spending, the state of the agricultural industry and trade negotiations, China, North Korea and the state of the American economy.

Feb 18, 2019

For the 122nd episode, we zero in on the real story on the southern border.

Our guest is Brandon Darby, who has been covering the border for eight years as Managing Director of Breitbart Texas.

In this conversation, we examine the question of whether the U.S. has operational control, how the cartels operate, how asylum seekers are profit centers for the cartels, what the drug trade has changed, whether Mexico is a true partner, and what he makes of the recent budget deal and the national emergency declaration.

Feb 18, 2019

For the 122nd episode, we zero in on the real story on the southern border.

Our guest is Brandon Darby, who has been covering the border for eight years as Managing Director of Breitbart Texas.

In this conversation, we examine the question of whether the U.S. has operational control, how the cartels operate, how asylum seekers are profit centers for the cartels, what the drug trade has changed, whether Mexico is a true partner, and what he makes of the recent budget deal and the national emergency declaration.

Feb 11, 2019

Social justice is the subject of the 121st episode.

Noah Rothman, Associate Editor of Commentary Magazine, is the author of the new bestseller, “Unjust: Social Justice and the Unmaking of America”, a thoughtful critique of the social justice movement.

In this conversation, we examine why he wrote the book, the concepts of ‘white privilege’, excessive policing, campus culture and Occupy Wall Street, race-based Affirmative Action, abortion and school choice, and the motivations of Social Justice.

Feb 5, 2019

For the 120th episode, we go deep inside the Trump White House.

Our guest is Cliff Sims, former Special Assistant to the President and author of the national bestseller, “Team of Vipers: My 500 Extraordinary Days Inside the Trump White House”.

In this conversation, we talk about how he came to join the Trump campaign, how they weathered the Access Hollywood tape, what Election Night was like, what his considerations were when he was asked to join the White House, how it operated like a team of vipers with rival power centers and constant leaks, what Donald Trump is really like behind closed doors, what one thing would make his presidency more successful, and whether he thinks he traded private White House conversations as part of his book.

Jan 30, 2019

In the 119th episode, we spoke with MSNBC national political correspondent Steve Kornacki, author of the new book, “The Red and the Blue: The 1990s and the Birth of Political Tribalism.”

In this conversation we examine the political intensity of the 1990s, Bush 41 breaking his ‘no new taxes’ pledge, comparisons between 1992 and 2020, the independent candidacy of Ross Perot, the leadership of Newt Gingrich, how Perot’s bid differs from a potential independent bid by Howard Schultz, and whether Trump is a populist billionaire. 

Finally, we look forward to the 2020 presidential election.

Jan 22, 2019

North Korea is the subject of the 118th episode.

Our guest is Victor Cha, who withdrew from consideration to be U.S. Ambassador to South Korea in the Trump administration, and is currently Korea Chair at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). He formerly served on the National Security Council staff.

In this conversation, we preview the upcoming 2nd Trump-Kim Summit, how China plays a crucial role, whether North Korea has made a meaningful denuclearization commitment, how sequencing matters, whether their secret weapons programs have been growing, where the negotiations currently stand, the issue of human rights, the intel challenge that North Korea presents, what message our guest would have for President Trump, and what a successful summit looks like.

Finally, we delve into what life in North Korea is really like – especially compared to South Korea.

Jan 18, 2019

Energy is the subject of episode 117.

John Tintera has 30 years of experience in the oil and gas industry, as a geologist, regulator, and now as the President of the Texas Alliance of Energy Producers.

In this conversation we discuss the current strength of the U.S. oil and gas industry, where Texas fits in, how oil prices affect production, the role of state and federal regulation, how tariffs and infrastructure impact both the industry and the communities, and how expanding LNG exports from the U.S. are a game changer.

Jan 11, 2019

In the 116th episode, we check in with AB Stoddard, Associate Editor and Columnist for Real Clear Politics.

In this conversation, we discuss the partial government shutdown and potential ways it may end, the Mueller inquiry and where it may be headed, how the new Democratic House majority is shaping up, and what the 2020 Democratic presidential primary looks like.

Jan 4, 2019

The economy is the subject of the 115th episode.

In this conversation we are joined by Steve Forbes, Chairman and Editor-in-Chief of Forbes Media.

We discuss the current state of the economy, how he thinks the tax cut law is working, whether new trade deals will pass and other new trades deal will be negotiated, what he makes of the current Federal Reserve, whether he thinks inflation is a real concern for the U.S. in 2019, what he makes of U.S. policy with China, how he believes President Trump should deal with Congress and how and why he believes the partial government shutdown will end.

Dec 28, 2018

For our final episode of 2018, we take a trip around the world with Washington Examiner columnist Tom Rogan to explore the most pressing foreign policy issues facing the U.S.

In this conversation, we discuss the withdrawal from Syria and its effect on Russia, Iran and the Kurds, the state of the House of Saud, the upcoming Israeli election, the whether the U.S. should remain in Afghanistan.

Dec 17, 2018

A stunning District Court ruling wiping out Obamacare is the subject of the 113th episode.

Our guest is South Texas College of Law professor Josh Blackman. 

We begin with his summary of the ruling, then delve into the concept of severability, who the plaintiffs were, whether the ruling is fully in force, how the appeal may work, how Democrats are responding, what it means for the popular provisions, why the next two weeks matter, and whether the Supreme Court will hear this appeal.

Dec 14, 2018

British politics is the subject of episode 112.

Our guest is Alastair Campbell, press secretary and strategist for former Prime Minister Tony Blair and an advisor to the People’s Vote campaign.

In this conversation we discuss this week’s unusual ‘no confidence’ vote, division within the Tory party, how difficult it is to be prime minister and usher through Brexit, if Theresa May is offering a false choice between her deal and no deal, how the votes stack up in Parliament, whether May’s lame duck status is a problem, what leverage the EU has, whether May will hold another vote on the same deal, and what the future looks like in British politics.

Dec 3, 2018

He survived an assassination attempt.

In episode 111, we spoke to House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA), who on June 14, 2017 was the target of an assassination attempt while practicing for the congressional baseball game.

We discuss his new bestselling book, “Back in the Game: One Gunman, Countless Heroes, and the Fight for My Life”.

In this conversation, we discuss why he wrote the book, what actually happened, the heroes that helped save his life, how it felt, whether he faced doubts at the time, the importance of gratitude, and whether he believes he survived for a bigger purpose. Finally, we talked about the new Congress.

Nov 30, 2018

Russia is the subject of the 110th episode. 

Garrett Graff is a contributor to WIRED Magazine, and his buzzy new piece is, “Robert Mueller’s Endgame May Be in Sight” is insightful.

In this conversation, we review where things stand after a busy week with new developments, how the attempted Trump Moscow development fits into this story, what the joint defense agreements could mean, what Michael Cohen and Paul Manafort are up to, what risk Donald Trump, Jr. is facing, and what major questions still remain.

Nov 19, 2018

Thanksgiving and giving thanks is the subject of this week’s episode.

Operation Turkey began with one person, Richard Bagdonas, delivering one warm meal to a homeless person on Thanksgiving Day in Austin, Texas in the year 2000.

Now they operate in seven states and 30 cities and will deliver 75,000 meals this year – accounting for 15 percent of the national homeless population.

In this conversation, where this idea came from how this all-volunteer effort scaled over time, how corporate partners and individual donors make it possible, what they’ve learned along the way, how they manage tens of thousands of volunteers and what they need this week to be successful.

Nov 16, 2018

Brexit is the subject of the 108th episode.

Our guest is pollster Joe Twyman, co-founder and director of Deltapoll.

In this conversation, we examine where Theresa May’s proposed Brexit deal stands, how hard the March 29 deadline is, the specifics of the deal, what the math looks like in Parliament, her own political standing, how a no-confidence vote would occur, how a second referendum vote would occur, where the polling stands on Brexit in Britain, whether Boris Johnson is a likely successor and what Brexit would mean for a US-UK bilateral trade deal.

Nov 10, 2018

In this episode, we look back at the midterms elections and then look forward.

Our guest is The Atlantic senior editor and CNN senior political analyst Ron Brownstein.

Our topics include how the GOP is moving deeper into white working class sections in America, what both parties should worry about after the midterms, what both parties need to do for 2020, which two states will decide the 2020 election, and whether the GOP can win back the suburbs.

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