The Score: Dave Brat, Abigail Spanberger, Joe McCarthy, Impeachment Power

This week on The Score – Dave Brat and Abigail Spanberger debate. A presidential scholar examines impeachment. State and local governments innovate technology rules. A historian looks back at the rise and fall of Joe McCarthy. How are thereRepublican governors in Democratic states?

Brat/Spanberger Debate
Election day is coming up fast and candidates around the country are debating their opponents, formally and informally.

Dave Brat press conference Culpeper Last Monday, two of the three candidates running in Virginia’s seventh congressional district met on stage at Germanna Community College in Culpeper in what will probably be their only debate (see video). Republican incumbent Dave Brat sparred with Democratic challenger Abigail Spanberger.

Abigail Spanberger press gaggle Germanna Community CollegeLibertarian candidate Joe Walton was excluded from the debate but he was seen in the audience, taking notes. (Prompted by reporters’ questions, both Brat and Spanberger noted this lacuna in their post-debate remarks.)

After the 90-minute event, both major-party candidates spoke separately backstage to members of the news media, who came from as near as a local high school newspaper and as far as a German television network.

First came Congressman Dave Brat. Our recording begins with the press conference in progress. Abigail Spanberger follows.

Tailgunner Joe
Each month the Charlottesville History Club meets to hear a lecture and discuss some matter of historical interest. This past week, historian Robert Brent Toplin talked about the rise and fall of Senator Joe McCarthy in the 1950s. The meeting room at the North Side Library in Albemarle County was almost filled to capacity for the one-hour program about the Wisconsin Republican’s career in the military and politics, his mentorship of Robert Kennedy and attorney Roy Cohn (who later became a mentor to New York real estate developer Donald Trump), and his sudden fall from booze and hubris.

Toplin, who has taught at Denison College and the University of North Carolina, among other institutions, is the author of several books on history, politics, and film including Radical Conservatism: The Right’s Political Religion (2006), Michael Moore’s “Fahrenheit 9/11”: How One Film Divided a Nation (2006), Reel History: In Defense of Hollywood (2002), Oliver Stone’s USA: Film, History, and Controversy (2000), and History by Hollywood: The Use and Abuse of the American Past (1996, 2010). Afterward the lecture and discussion, I asked him to summarize his remarks for listeners to The Score.

Impeachment Power
Gene Healy impeachment Cato InstituteGene Healy is a vice president at the Cato Institute in Washington. His research interests include executive power and the role of the presidency as well as federalism and over-criminalization. He is the author of False Idol: Barack Obama and the Continuing Cult of the Presidency and The Cult of the Presidency: America’s Dangerous Devotion to Executive Power. He also edited Go Directly to Jail: The Criminalization of Almost Everything, which includes contributions by Erik Luna, James V. DeLong, Timothy Lynch, and Grace-Marie Turner.

Healy recently wrote a white paper called “Indispensable Remedy: The Broad Scope of the Constitution’s Impeachment Power.” I recently spoke to him about it in the Cato Institute’s library.

Policy Innovation
Jennifer Huddleston Skees is a research fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, where she focuses on the intersection of emerging technology and law. Her research and analysis covers topics including judicial deference, liability protection for Internet platforms, autonomous vehicles and other disruptive transportation technologies, the regulation of data privacy, and the benefits of technology and innovation.

I spoke to her by telephone this week about a three-part series she has written for The Bridge on state and local regulatory innovation. The articles include “What States and Cities Do Right to Promote Innovation,” published on October 9, and “Gray Areas in States and Local Tech Regulation,” published on October 16. Her commentary on “scooter wars” is also worth a read.

Blue States, Red Leaders
Two of the most popular Republican governors preside over strongly Democratic states, Maryland and Massachusetts. Patrick Hauf, a contributor to Young Voices and director of talent management at Lone Conservative, recently explored the popularity of Larry Hogan and Charlie Baker in an article for the Washington Examiner. In it, he notes:

…it’s true that Hogan and Baker do not have perfect conservative platforms. But that does not diminish their ability to implement fiscally conservative policies in deep blue states while retaining a positive image among voters of all persuasions. The GOP has to compromise on certain issues in order to win blue states — that’s a political reality.

Hauf and I talked by telephone on Thursday.

Coming Up
Next week’s episode of The Score is still being assembled, but when you come back for another listen, expect interviews with another GOP congressional candidate and the author of a recent book on the United States during World War I. Those are just a start. Sometimes I don’t know the last element of the program until hours before we put it to bed.