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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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Now displaying: February, 2017
Feb 23, 2017

In our 13th episode, we first talked to Blain Rethmeier, Managing Director for Crisis and Risk (Western Region) for powerhouse PR firm Edelman. Rethmeier just completed serving as an advisor to Gen. John Kelly, the Homeland Security Secretary nominee. Rethmeier helped shepherd Gen. Kelly through confirmation and we discussed what that was like, how it worked, and how the team helped prepare Gen. Kelly for his crucial confirmation hearing. Then, we turned the discussion to Supreme Court nominee Judge Neil Gorsuch, and called upon Rethmeier’s experience as Communications Director for the Senate Judiciary Committee to examine how much Supreme Court battles have changed in the past decade. Finally, we delved into the world of corporate PR, reputation management, and crisis communications in a world where the President of the United States often praises and criticizes major corporations on social media.

Next, we interviewed columnist and author Ashley McGuire about her bestselling new book, “Sex Scandal: The Drive to Abolish Male and Female.” We discussed President Trump rescinding the transgender bathroom executive order, how and why she wrote this book, whether an orchestrated effort to “end the gender binary” actually harms women, and where these issues tend to have practical consequences. We wrapped up by discussing her process for writing the book and what the publishing industry is really like, particularly for a first-time author.

Feb 20, 2017

Susan Page is the Washington Bureau Chief for USA Today, and a former president of the White House Correspondents Association.

In this episode, we delved into what it is really like covering the Trump White House, reviewed the past turbulent week, discussed whether President Trump’s manner of operating is really the problem, inquired where she believes the Michael Flynn situation is headed amid an FBI investigation into potential campaign contacts with Russia, recalled what the historical precedent is for Democrat delays of Trump’s Cabinet, mused about what the State of the Union moment offers for President Trump, and then finally, spent a few minutes talking about the future of journalism.

Feb 13, 2017

On the 11th episode of the “Mack on Politics” national political podcast, produced in partnership with The Washington Times, we interview former U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Tony Garza and DNC vice chair candidate Adam Parkhomenko.

With Ambassador Garza, who joined us from Mexico City, we started with an overview of the U.S.-Mexico bilateral relationship, before diving into specific discussions about a proposed border tax, NAFTA, what the Ambassador job is, how the race for the Mexican presidency is shaping up ahead of national elections in July 2018, border security, and whether he has optimism about the future of the U.S.-Mexico relationship and hope for the future of Mexico.

Then, we talked with former Ready for Hillary executive director, former DNC national field director and DNC vice chair candidate Adam Parkhomenko about the state of the Democratic Party, whether the party faces a strategic choice of whether to move left or to the middle, what type of reform is necessary at the DNC, whether the Democrats should fight Trump or find areas of agreement, and finally, we delved into what Hillary Clinton is really like.

Feb 6, 2017

In the 10th episode of ‘Mack on Politics,” we examine Russia and the Supreme Court with two experts: Michael McFaul and Ed Whelan.

Michael McFaul served as U.S. Ambassador to the Russian Federation from 2010-2012 in the Obama administration and served on the Russia desk at the National Security Council for three years before that. Fluent in Russian, he is currently a professor at Stanford University and a senior fellow at the Hoover Institute. We discussed what is going on in Ukraine, what Vladimir Putin is personally like (he first met him in 1989), what the U.S. just did with sanctions against Russia (and what they are considering next), whether NATO remains a vital alliance, what Putin is up to in Syria, whether the “Russian Reset” worked, what a post-Putin Russia will look like and we review his personal experiences while he served in Moscow as Ambassador.

Next, we dive deep into the Supreme Court with Ed Whelan, the President of the Ethics and Public Policy Center (EPPC), a former clerk to the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. Whelan gives us an overview of President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Judge Neil Gorsuch, we discuss why originalism and textualism matter and whether judges should care about “outcomes.” Then, we looked at Gorsuch’s ten-year record on the Court of Appeals, previewed the Senate confirmation battle and the debate over the filibuster, discussed the current spring term and the upcoming fall term, and ended with his view on what it was like to work in the Supreme Court, what Justice Scalia was really like, and what the stakes are whenever the next vacancy arrives.

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