This week on High Noon, Inez Stepman interviews Chris Bedford, senior editor at The Federalist, board member at YAF’s National Journalism Center, and founding partner at RightForge, a new venture seeking to build the guts of an alternative to the Big Tech censored internet.

Chris and Inez discuss why culture war concerns seem to always fall by the wayside in a Washington D.C. seemingly resistant to realignment politics, and why everything from the rule of law to supply chains seems to just plain not work in 2022 America.

High Noon is an intellectual download featuring conversations that make possible a free society. The podcast features interesting thinkers from all parts of the political spectrum to discuss the most controversial subjects of the day in a way that hopes to advance our common American future. Hosted by Inez Stepman of Independent Women’s Forum.


TRANSCRIPT

Inez Stepman:

Welcome to High Noon, where we talk about controversial subjects with interesting people and this week, we’re talking with Chris Bedford. Chris is a Senior Editor over at The Federalist. He’s on the board for the National Journalism Center over at YAF and he’s a founding partner at RightForge, which correct me if I’m wrong, Chris, because I’m bad at this kind of stuff, but building the guts of an alternative and free internet infrastructure, trying to circumvent some of these big tech companies and more importantly, the underlying infrastructure of the internet that’s in control of companies that largely agree with each other, that they don’t very much like the American way of life. But he’s also the author of “The Art of the Donald,” which offers motivational self-help advice through the mouth of Donald Trump, and he previously led the Daily Caller News Foundation. You’ve seen him around on Fox, Fox Business just generally on The Federalist podcast, everywhere. So welcome, Chris, to High Noon.

Chris Bedford:

Thanks for having me. That’s exactly right. That’s what we’re doing at RightForge.

Inez Stepman:

So, before we get to some of perhaps more abstract or larger topics about our future here, let’s take a second to talk briefly about this Inflation Reduction Act as so Orwellianly-named. Inflation Reduction Act. It looks like it’s about to become law and you’ve done a lot of reporting in and around the Hill over the years. How do you see essentially, the politics and the pieces of this coming together and what do you think the impact will be going forward on the politics of the Democratic party and of the Republican party as well?

Chris Bedford:

Well, it’s a perfect example of how politics actually seems to work between Republicans and Democrats, where Democrats come here to change the country and they’re not really… They are willing to take electoral losses to that effect. The driving motivation for a lot of Democratic congressmen and senators not all of them, but a lot of them, is to be activists and to stand up for their causes and their constituents and their beliefs. They come here to really affect change and they realize, like Nancy Pelosi realized after Obamacare, I’m going to lose my majority for this, but the country will be changed and I’ll come back and now they’re doing that sort of thing again. This is just the way it seems to play out all the time and you compare that to Republicans where too many of them come there as just a cap on a successful career in business.

Hey, it’s great to have businessmen in office and in Washington from time to time and certainly, it’d be great to have that input on this kind of bill, but it’s not ideal because they have legacies that they want to ensure. They’re not here for battle, they’re not here for change, they’re not here to be the kind of activists that will change this country forever and because of that, they’re always starting off on the wrong footing. So, even though the inflation is rising, even though raising taxes is suicidal, even though they’re facing a red wave, the Democrats have said, “Hold my beer,” grabbed the banner and ran over the cliff with it and that kind of dedication to their politics just puts it on complete odds with the GOP.

This reminds me of 2010, where what are we going to do when the GOP comes back into power here? Are they just going to come back and gain a bunch of seats? And then what, do nothing? Make a couple, tinker around here, change corporate taxes. They’re certainly not going to come back and fire the 80,000 IRS agents that have been brought in, they might get rid of some of the tax provisions, but the Democrats will have made an impact. And it’s great, it’s fine, it’s nice to have some more Republicans in Congress and the Senate, but not if they’re playing ball like this.

Inez Stepman:

So, the big question here is whether, if there is a red wave and that outcome is more in doubt than it used to be it sounds like. The polls are narrowing a little bit, it’s not as overwhelming against the Democrats and polling for these midterm elections, but let’s say that the Republicans do gain a significant number of seats, the bigger question to me has always been, what are they going to do with it? In terms of actual sort of infrastructural, I don’t know if that’s a word, but underlying structural change moving forward, because I very much agree with the way you laid this out. Much of American political history in the last maybe century, it seems to be just a series of leftist gains and then a period of consolidation and plateauing, and then the next transformational agenda from the left happens and then there’s a period of adjustment and plateauing, where Republicans don’t actually, maybe they win a couple little things around the edges, but fundamentally, the infrastructure and the underlying structure of politics doesn’t change, accepts that new leftist step forward.

And then all the arguments we have are in the new world where the parameters have once again shifted to the left. I think it’s the most obvious in culture where now positions that were completely ordinary for both Democrats and Republicans even 10 years ago, we have difficulty getting Republicans to embrace in public.

Chris Bedford:

The gay marriage vote was a complete and total embarrassment. Republicans couldn’t even… You have the head of the Freedom Caucus coming out there and voting yes and then the Freedom Caucus, there’s a statement saying vote no. People were surprised to find out that some of their colleagues were still socially conservative, it blew their mind. No one had thought seriously about this, none of the think tanks in Washington had been really priming members to actually have the papers and the staffers hadn’t been priming the members to actually have talking points on this. There’s no secret why, because a lot of them think it’s a dumb agenda. They’re not actually interested in preserving traditional marriage. I think it’s bad politics, I think it’s something they’ll be punished for and the result is Republicans weren’t even able to voice or put words to their concerns over this.

The only even arguments that we saw over that bill were essentially procedural, whether or not this bill should be allowed or if it was going too quickly or how the vote, what the wording should be. None of them are really about the, well, here’s an actual ideological or theological or political defense of marriage and what it means in the society. And that’s the same thing we’re facing with the Republicans, exactly right. The Democrats make that kind of change that’s much more structural to the government, and Republicans tinker around the edges.

There are some people who are standing out as folks who don’t act like that. The governor of Florida, Ron DeSantis really stands out, just last week saying, “Well, I’m going to fire this elected district attorney because he’s refusing to uphold the law that’s been passed by the people, I’m going to take him away.”

Then he says, “Well, you can’t fire him, you don’t have the authority.” And DeSantis comes back and says, “The police are here to escort you to get your stuff and your key card has been changed, let’s see who has the authority.” That kind of strong action against someone who’s refusing to uphold laws is the kind of thing that you really need, it’s something that Democrats are great at. Basically aside from gun control, Democrats have been able to get most of the agenda that they want either through votes or through executive action. They have no problem with that.

When you have Republicans typically in leadership, they say, “Well, we don’t have the authority to take that step, we don’t have the authority to take that executive…” Or they do something that can be quickly undone, or they say, “We don’t have the votes,” even though they often do have the votes, leadership doesn’t want to fight on these things.

There are some hopeful people who are coming up in the Republican Senate potentially. You’ve got J.D. Vance is someone who’s really interesting, Masters is interesting. These folks who might actually have a different governing philosophy and then that’s a positive sign. Our publisher at the Federalist, Sean Davis, is fond of saying that politicians basically for their entire career reflect the year that they were elected, at least Republican congressmen do and senators. That Tea Party wave that we got in 2010 is going to be one that’s going to forever really be focused on a lot of those fiscal issues and some of that Tea Party stuff and the constitutionalism. The Bush era of Republicans who got elected, they’re going to be maybe more hawkish or this or that.

And the ones who are being elected right now in this moment, hopefully will be the kind of politicians who can really actually stand up against the status quo and the consensus. The kind of folks who come up like Josh Hawley for example, who was the only person in the entire US Senate who voted against sending more troops and more money to more European countries right now in the middle of this American meltdown. That new way of thinking is necessary. There are some decent signs on the horizon for it, but still we’re a long way from changing the way that people really think and I think the voters are catching onto that. Like you were talking about, the gap is lessening, the Democrats are raising more money especially after the Dobbs decision, online fundraising than the Republicans are. They’re actually gaining in that ground. There’s some things that are motivating people and you’d have to be silly to really look at this and say, “Well, Mitch McConnell and Kevin McCarthy will save the country if we just give them more money and elect them more politicians.”

People are catching on. I know this is just examples from life, but in the last couple days, the amount of people who I’ve talked to who are just political watchers, who have professional lives elsewhere, the baby boomer generation who have been extremely down on the prospects of the future of our country and whether or not our currency is going to collapse and whether or not we as a civilization continue, it’s most of them, the ones that I’ve talked to think that way. Gone it seems are the days of just the mindless, well, the pendulum will swing back, the mysterious backlash that never actually comes is coming, the liberals have pushed too far this time, we’re going to vote them out of office.

People aren’t talking like that like they did during the Tea Party wave. People are I think a little bit more down and they’ve realized that we’re in a country at this point where political opponents are being jailed, where the IRS is stocking enough to be bigger than the Department of Defense and the border patrol and everything, State Department maybe even combined, we’re at a point where there’s a lot less faith in just the normal mechanisms of government to right the ship of state. It’s a dangerous point to be in for sure. It’s really only a matter of time before we get more situations like we saw with the Bundy ranchers where local people are saying, “No, you’re not going to arrest this person.”

I certainly am not calling for violence. I see it around the corner at some point with the pushes that we’ve been seeing and with the general pressures we’re feeling in this country, the same kind of pressures that made Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump either gain such popularity in 2016, they have not been lessened in any way at all and it’s still rising, people in this country are still getting more upset on both sides. It’s a dangerous brew we’re living in.

Inez Stepman:

I think that’s actually one of the biggest differences between the Tea Party, which I also see as a populist movement and the Trump wave that came after and I think after the four years of the Trump presidency has only been reinforced and I actually think you just pretty much put your finger on the difference. I think the Tea Party was more restorationists, more hopeful and the number of… Everyone who listened to this regularly knows that I was a huge Tea Party person, an active-

Chris Bedford:

That’s where we met.

Inez Stepman:

In the rallies, but the number of really sweet grandmas at Tea Party rallies who would come up to me and try to get me to buy into some obscure silver bullet plan, because they think they found something in the Constitution that would fix all of our problems was very high and it was actually very charming. They’re like, “No, but the Constitution says this and obviously the government is not abiding by that.” But there was this very restorationist and almost naive I think aspect of it that was… They really did have faith that if we could just elect the right people or we could for example, do a convention of the states or do some kind of mechanism to cut through what was increasingly developing lines in politics and lines of power, they thought they could just cut through that with some quirky constitutional interpretation. I think get to four or even eight years later-

Chris Bedford:

They thought law and order still stood.

Inez Stepman:

[inaudible 00:12:30] those same folks. Those same folks are no longer thinking that way which is interesting because I don’t know about whether the Tea Party politicians who are elected in that wave, if they are sticking or not in exactly the same mentality, but the same people who went to the Tea Party rallies weren’t initially and there’s a lot of data to back this up. They weren’t initially Trump fans, they were mostly in the camp of Ted Cruz, maybe Marco Rubio in those 2016 primaries, but since then, I think they really have lost faith and I think you’re right I think that’s incredibly dangerous when even the Tea Party grandmas in this country no longer really have faith that the constitution is going to be respected at all. That’s an incredibly dangerous place to be for Americans.

Chris Bedford:

That’s one of the things that Lincoln pointed out in his first public address at the ICM, was the dangers of lawlessness that we’re experiencing from our government, the dangers of lawlessness that we’re seeing in our streets that makes the criminals and those people, everyone from common street criminals and murderers and robbers to people who just chased me out of Washington, D.C. after 18 years, all the way up to the FBI, to the IRS, to other aspects of the federal government, they don’t fear consequences and they don’t respect the law and after a while, that makes the people who are patriotic, who do love the law, who want to stand up for start to doubt it as well. So, you’ve got one side that’s attacking it and the other side that says, well, it’s not defending me, it’s not protecting me. And the result is that both sides start to withdraw the lawless and the wannabe law abiding, start to withdraw their affinity for the union that they had pledged to we previously, and they start to withdraw their affinity for the state itself to actually be able to help them at all.

And folks have really woken up to that. There was reason for optimism during the Tea Party. I think Barack Obama was a pretty right, we forget this, of course, in the rose colored glasses of history, but he was a radical president who dramatically changed the American people’s relationship with the government and the Democratic party’s relationship with the activists who now run it. He came in and the right elected a bunch of politicians to try and stop it, like you said, point to the Constitution, you see all these videos coming out of activists going to talk to their Congressman and Senator and quiz them on the US Constitution. But the reality that they’ve found out is not only people not know it, but they don’t care. It’s a dead document to cite. One person who’s more pessimistic than I am.

He said, to watch the political fights in the US right now, is like watching maggots on a corpse where the left is rooting for the maggots and the right are rooting for the corpse. There’s a disconnect here and exactly what they’re able to do and anyone who watched the Trump administration where generals are openly bragging about subverting civilian control, diplomats are openly bragging about subverting the president, the Senate and the FBI, the CIA and all the former heads of intelligence are coming out to undermine the president with the completely bogus accusations of treason in the hog tie, judges are refusing to let the border be enforced and now they’re putting people in prison for over a year for participating in a riot when all other riots went unpunished, putting some people away for six, seven, eight, nine years and you’ve got the former Obama, Eric Holder Attorney General saying that Trump is going to be put in prison.

How could they possibly look at that and say, well, I’m just going to go to Gadsden flag, an American flag and a Bible and go down and just try to talk to people in DC about the Constitution. What [inaudible 00:15:59] realized a long time ago, what some folks have come to realize around that these guys are playing for keeps and I think the moment that snapped my brain and made me say, this is not just political handball anymore, this is really serious civilizational stuff, was at the end of the Obama presidency when ISIS was coring through the Middle East crucifying priests, burning churches and martyring people on camera, at that time, Barack Obama went to the prayer breakfast and he told Christians to quote, get off your high horse about gay marriage which was like not even something that the right was really fighting very hard on him to my disappointment.

At that time, he went there and lectured Christian leaders on this and I thought this guy represents a group of people to have like a civilization, a deep hatred for Christian civilization and a lot of Western values and this is not just Pattycake, this is not just what the Republicans are going to go in here and do, we’re going to cut this tax rate, we’re going to snip that tax rate, we’re going to put more troops in this country. They need to play seriously serious hardball. You can have some people who are good Tea Party folks who may have gotten along very well on a Congress or a Senate that divided by the constitution. Now, Ben Sasse would’ve been a fine US Senator in 1890, but right now, the level of fighting that’s actually going on in our country and the tactics you need to have point more toward people like Ron DeSantis, who’s willing to go in there and say, no, you’re out of power.

No, it’s Disney you can’t do that. I don’t care if you’re a private company, I’m a governor of a state represents of people, you’ve attacked our people, now you lose your tax status. That kind of hardball is what needs to spread throughout the party, but there’s this… Well, the activists I think to your point, know what time it is, some of the candidates really know what time it is. The Republican leadership absolutely do not understand the nature of the threat to this Republican, whether or not we’re going to continue much longer.

Inez Stepman:

It’s interesting, I also have read the live cm address more times since the summer of 2020 than I had in my entire life prior to that. I’d obviously I’ve read it as part of history class, I think I read it once more as an intern for one of the various conservative ink organizations, but for some reason, I really returned to it in 2020 and I just want to read one piece of it that you’re alluding to Lincoln giving the speech and obviously I actually think the run up to the civil war is probably the closest not because I think actually we’re about to be plunged into a civil war, I think that’s actually geographically implausible, but because of the deep divisions as you say on civilizational level, citizenship level questions and Lincoln gives a speech essentially about the consequences of lawlessness.

So, he says by such examples, by instances of the perpetrators of such acts going unpunished, the lawless in spirit are encouraged to become lawless in practice and having been used to no restraint, but dread of punishment, they thus become absolutely unrestrained. Having ever regarded government is their deadliest ban, they make a jubilee out of the suspension of its operations and pray for nothing so much as its total annihilation. While on the other hand, good men who love tranquility, who desire to abide by the laws and enjoy their benefits, who would gladly spill their blood in the defense of their country, seeing their property destroyed, their families insulted and their lives endangered, their person’s injured and seeing nothing in prospect that [inaudible 00:19:28] a change for the better, become tired of and disgusted with a government that offers them no protection and are not much averse to a change in which they imagine they have nothing to lose.

I think that very well describes basically the last two years, really since the summer of 2020, something really seemed to shift in the summer of 2020 when… What you see simultaneously riots everywhere and to your point, no punishment for it and then the corresponding riot in the capital and seeing the book being thrown at people who participated in that riot on January 6th, which I am by no means endorsing, I think riots are bad and I think everybody who participated in a riot should be given their due process, convicted in a court of law of whatever crimes that they have perpetuated, but the fundamental feeling in a lot of part of this country, and I can’t say that it’s false is that there will be no fair justice applied across the board without regard to political affiliation.

That the justice in this country is itself political now, that the very systems of the United States that exactly conservatives were always the most trusting of, law enforcement, the FBI, all of a sudden it’d be very interesting to see specifically what the polling on law enforcement and for example, and specifically bracket out federal law enforcement what has happened to polling in terms of trust in those institutions on the right and the scariest thing is I can’t say that folks who have totally lost trust and that are wrong.

Chris Bedford:

You’re right. Remember probably one of the last institutions to the Supreme court which is still teetering or holding on by a thread, still have conservative respect and it didn’t deserve, it was the US military. The Pentagon does not deserve the respect of the average American citizen because we get all bent out of shape. We don’t like these Ivy League elites who lecture us, people on the right don’t like that. And we don’t realize that’s generally what the political class of generals are. Once you get beyond two stars, it becomes political decision and that’s who these folks are. They’re Ivy League educated elites who are separate from where we are. So, when [inaudible 00:21:46].

Inez Stepman:

To your point earlier, just interject one thing to your point earlier, Obama fired a lot of generals because of political reasons. So, largely what we have now is the Obama core generals. Continue.

Chris Bedford:

Exactly and if I was president, I would fire everyone three stars and above and apologize to those or allow them to retire and resign, take their pensions and apologize to those good ones I got because after two stars, it is just political. But I remember when Tucker Carlson went after the secretary of defense and the head of the joint chiefs and just started attacking them and people on the right were like, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, hold on a second and that was just a few months ago. Now, it’s commonplace to see people attacking them because you’ve got these generals coming out and insulting American people, talking about investigating them, talking about ignoring the president, talking about sabotaging the foreign policies of the presidents. He said to wonder, you look at this, hold on a second, Barack Obama ran on withdrawing from Afghanistan and then Donald Trump ran on withdrawing from Afghanistan and both of them were lied to and both of them were held up by the generals who said, well, it’s this around the corner, we’re going to fix this or fix that.

And when Joe Biden was just like completely out of it enough to actually do it and just completely ignore the generals, well, they made it into a complete total [inaudible 00:23:00] and made sure to embarrass his administration forever even at the cost of American lives, making dumb decisions on the ground and blame Joe Biden for and that people are catching onto this. Now, I’m writing an essay, sorry, it’s hard to have like a downer podcast especially since I’m sitting here and-

Inez Stepman:

This is always a downer podcast [inaudible 00:23:18].

Chris Bedford:

Bone in a minute. I’m generally feeling good, this is positive me. But I’m writing an essay this week about how COVID might have actually been a good thing for the United States in that it really exposed everything. There was that amazing essay. I think it was in Tablet in 2020, it’s called “Everything is Broken,” that just went through how much we don’t realize that our society is just sailing on Wall Street that’s completely full of it. On a hospital and medical system that’s an insurance system that’s completely busted, on American corporations that sell us out to foreign countries. All these things that we just assume like, most of them are just going from inertia and our trust for them is based on ideas of what they used to be. So, you take a look at what COVID did.

You couldn’t have convinced people in 2019 that the government would shut their churches and arrest their preachers and not allow them to see their grandparents or their husbands and wives or their children while they died and not allowed to bury them, who would not allow their kids to go to school, would arrest people in public for coming into meetings without wearing masks. You wouldn’t have convinced people that, but all of that happened and whether it’s the school systems or the universities or the medical systems and the trust, the science and the Fauci people, the government are leaders and their parishes, the charities, the activists, the police and the riots and the politicians that failed on that, all of that was laid there over two years. We saw that like grandmas no longer going to come up with here’s a clause in the Constitution that saves the Republic after she’s seen these politicians that swear to uphold the Constitution and these police officers arresting preachers.

It’s like, well, if they’re doing that, if they’re so completely ignoring the Constitution, then we have to find ways to fight in their own grounds and we have to understand that this is happening. And so there’s some aspect of 2020 has really woken people up that combined with the election, that combined with the Russia hoax has really woken folks up to the level of this, but not Republican leadership. Back to that. Mitch McConnell just released his plan, sneaked it out over July 4th weekend, but how he wanted to quote disengage from the culture wars. It’s like Mitch McConnell, you can’t disengage from the culture wars when the invasion is in your home city. It’s not like we’re not at a point right now where Republican politicians are out there trying to shut down gay bars and transgender bars, we’re at a point where left-wing activists are trying to defund your schools if you don’t let boys into girls’ bathrooms where people are being shut down.

The culture war is a defensive action right now, you can’t simply disengage in that, but politicians are generally cowardly. So, I do have some hope that between the Dobbs decision which was just a real great victory, the first important victory that the right’s had since the end of the cold war, if he can be capitalized on correctly particularly, we’ve had some great things. It’s been a couple of wonderful wins for the American right and if we can capitalize that, then we can make folks move. Mitch McConnell’s someone who is going to do whatever he wants whenever he wants, but politicians like Kevin McCarthy are much more amenable, much more political.

They’ll go with the wind if you push them in the right direction, maybe not as hard as you would like, but they’re not like a John Boehner or a Mitch McConnell that just refused to do what other guys want and just do their own thing. So, there are good reasons for hope. One, just like an addict, the first thing you have to do if you want to defeat alcoholism or drug addiction is admit that you’ve got a problem and we have thank goodness, gotten by this baby boomer generation optimism of, well, don’t worry, the pendulum will swing back and there’ll be a backlash. Doesn’t really work when you’ve gutted the body like we have, the left is done. We have at least awareness of the problem. The next step is going to be trying to fight it and in recovery and there are different paths being laid out.

I think I’ve voiced my approval of the more forward hitting DeSantis style path and Josh Hawley style path. So, this can be done, but we are fighting an uphill battle and hey, at least we’ve got awareness now, at least we know our politicians don’t give a darn, at least we know they’re willing to kick our kids out of school and shut down our churches, but pray to God they’ll never shut down a gay orgy. We know this now so it’s like, this is what we’re dealing with.

Inez Stepman:

I guess the counterpoint to your optimism-

Chris Bedford:

I’m trying to be optimistic.

Inez Stepman:

Is because you just referenced that Tablet essay and that’s actually where I wanted to go next to this conversation. It really seems like nothing works and that is from withdrawal plans executed by the Pentagon out of Afghanistan to just trying to fly from point A to point B these days, or going to the grocery store and to some extent, it almost seems like people have gotten used to because this is something that has shocked me because one of my optimistic counterpoints to my own pessimism has always been-

Chris Bedford:

You’ve always been way of sunshine in that, what are you talking?

Inez Stepman:

But has always been that the American people in particularly the American middle class is not used to sacrifice and is not used to material want, is not used to not having things at their fingertips and I didn’t think that the American middle class would tolerate for example, shortages. I didn’t think that moms in Nova or whatever would be okay with the fact that now you just go to the grocery store and you’re never actually quite sure whether or not the things you want to buy will be there and you see something and it’s almost like a late Soviet style, you’re great, they actually have weave today.

Chris Bedford:

[inaudible 00:29:14] formula today.

Inez Stepman:

I didn’t think that Americans would accept it, but I don’t see any mass rebellion at this point. Yes, there’s push back against inflation because obviously that’s directly hitting people in their pocketbooks and they just can’t afford to do the things that they need to do to support their families, but in terms of some of the larger questions, there seems like more acquiescence than I thought there would be to something-

Chris Bedford:

What happened to give me convenience or give me death?

Inez Stepman:

I thought this was America, this was the land of the customer’s always right. I would expect this kind of acquiescence from Europeans, but not from Americans and I’m shocked to see it, I don’t know. But you do a lot of these trips where you just basically go to pubs between one side of America and the other and you just talk to people.

And by the way, I highly recommend a lot of Chris’s trips, he did them during COVID, he did them during the election and he does them every so often and he just talks to people over beers or whatever and so he really gives I think a great picture of where a lot of people are in the country, but what have you heard not from people who are already quote unquote, know what time it is, not from the part of the right, but what do you hear when you lasted one of these trips where you just talked to people about the state of brokenness of everything because that’s got to be like there’s this just oppressive feeling in America now that you can’t count on anything and nothing is actually going to work as you would’ve expected it to in say 2019?

Chris Bedford:

And this is just so far removed from the average American experience, but here’s how it’s affected even like the fancy Washington, D.C. experience. You go down to the Belgium bar which is a place it’s got mussels and fries and Belgian beer, they can’t get it. They can get mussels and fries, we get those in United States, but they can’t get the products from abroad, they can’t actually stock them. You walk in any of these places, they don’t have it because of supply chain disruptions. You drive around actually… The line was actually surprisingly less bad when I just came over the Bay Bridge over the Chesapeake Bay earlier this week, but you see lines of tanker ships just waiting to try and get in. You see it in California, you see it in the East and the Mid-Atlantic because they can’t unload things.

I’m in Ocean City right now, Maryland and Phillips which has been an institution for decades and decades granted that had declined, had to shut down because they couldn’t hire waiters and waitresses. There is a restaurant right next door to the grocery store that had a sign handwritten sign of the door that says, sorry, we can’t be open until 3:00 PM today, we don’t have the staff. So, people are recognizing this all over the country. People are being even more difficulty than before buying houses which made it so the rental market’s tough. Inflation is hitting everybody. The federal government looks poised to pass something that’s going to increase gas prices at this moment, some of the taxes. Increased prices on coal, increased taxes on energy that across the board, increase Americans energy budgets by 20% or something.

I think Americans or tax reform suggested and politicians have always been able to play a little game where they take credit for the stock market ups and they don’t really take credit for the… They blame other people for the stock market downs. It’s hard to tell exactly who’s responsible for what. Those kind of things can be papered over by other political issues, but with inflation and with this new act, the American Tackling Inflation Act or whatever they’re calling it, that only one in five Democrats have said they think we’ll tackle inflation, that’s how bad the messaging is on this, worse than the Patriot Act, the messaging. I think people are blaming Washington, D.C.

They’re blaming the politicians, will have to wait and see, but well, the culture war is really changing votes among Black men and among Hispanics, men and women, I think the pocketbook stuff and the baby formula stuff might be something that’s going to impact and change the votes of that increasingly fickle group of people that’s eventually going to destroy the Republic, white middle-class women. They’re getting hit by this. So, maybe this election they’ll be more Republican, but back to our initial point, what the Republican’s going to do about it?

Inez Stepman:

The next thing I wanted to ask you is because our financial situation is so dire, because we are living through that charming Carter relic, stagflation whether or not one argues about the definition-

Chris Bedford:

The 70s back.

Inez Stepman:

At least the seventies had more fun drugs. Our version of this is scrolling the algorithm, that’s the Soma of the 2020s which is not nearly as fun I would think a Studio 54, but in any case, doesn’t this just give the establishment right the excuse they need to focus only on economics? Because even Donald Trump, obviously the major enduring wins from that administration if you leave aside the Supreme Court for a moment were tax cuts, regulatory cuts, none of these things I disagree with in any way, I think they are good and they did lead to a booming economy and one of the most important aspects of that economy and actual boom for the lower half of the income spectrum in America.

You actually started to see some improvements among purchasing power and wages for people in the lower half of the income spectrum. So, it’s not that none of that stuff is important, it feels like we’re culturally driving off a cliff and it feels like to Lincoln’s point that I see them address that our institutions are so fundamentally corrupt, politicized, unreliable, that there are deeper questions of that are way beyond dollars and cents as pressing as those are, but because our economic situation seems so genuinely tough for the average American right now, does the Mitch McConnell type just do a victory lap undo some of the tax burdens, maybe open up energy a little bit energy production in the United States. Again, all good things that I’m in favor of and do they just take a victory lap and forget about all of the lessons from 2016 really?

Chris Bedford:

They’d rather treat the cold that you have, not the age that causes it, that’s the way they are. Our Republican senator said to me the other day that we don’t get our fiscal house in order, then we’re going to collapse the country. And my counterpoint was sure that’s true, but if we don’t get our cultural house in order, then maybe we deserve to. What exactly are we powering here in this American Republic? This is going to give the McConnells the excuses. They’ve already leaked that’s what they want to focus on and I think it’s a very stupid strategy for them for a number of reasons. One, this is an off-year election. It’s not a general election so by definition essentially not everybody votes, much less people are going to vote on this.

And the ones that are the base, it’s the base elections. That’s why you’re seeing an uptick in liberal enthusiasm is because the base is driven by some kind of a religious devotion to aborting children, things like that get them really excited. And the base of the right is not driven by corporate tax cuts, no matter what they want to say, the base of the right’s not really driven by war in Ukraine. The base of the right are driven by some of the more cultural wars, the kind of things that pushed Glenn Youngkin by any account like a Mitt Romney-esque Republican into victory in Virginia, a purple to complete pretty much blue state. What pushed them there was some of the battles over the culture wars. That’s what’s changing people who are voting. If you go to Loudoun County and talk to the parents, that’s what’s getting them people who voted for Barack Obama, people who voted for Hillary Clinton to suddenly say, hold on a second, I voted for this, but I don’t want this [inaudible 00:37:35] talk to my children.

Those kind of fights are what motivates the base, it gets people going and those are the fights that win, but McConnell and his consultants don’t want to talk about them. They feel uncomfortable around them, they feel like when you talk about abortion, when you talk about transgender, when you talk about critical race theory, that you’re just going to get a bunch of stupid Republican Yahoo politicians going out there and saying things like legitimate rape, et cetera like they had in previous years. They are so much happier just talking about taxes and things that they feel comfortable in, but they’re not treating our actual diseases, they’re just treating our symptoms and I’m happy with this. But if the Democrats can come in here like they do and hire 83,000 new IRS agents guilty into approve an innocent to attack Americans and the Republicans come back in and change the taxes for four years, what’s the difference?

We need to go at these things with a more systemic idea for how to cause change? How to disempower their institutions? How to take away all these different, wonderful tax exemptions and federal oversight exemptions that we’ve given to different parts of the country, different sectors of economy because they were doing good things for America. Well, those need to be reevaluated. I just remember the other day when we were watching Rand Paul… My favorite time of the year is when Rand Paul and Fauci was going at it and everyone roasted Rand Paul, Fauci owned him again and then three months later, it comes out that everything Rand Paul said was completely true. His last one was him asking, Fauci how much money he made off vaccines? And Fauci said, well, I don’t have to answer that question.

That’s a guilty man right there at least as far as I can tell on the public eye and why is that true? Why don’t government scientists have to report to Congress on where… I don’t mind them making a profit off of their discoveries, but why don’t they have to report that? And why did Fauci discover that anything to do with vaccines? So, these sort of protections that we built around the left-wing university systems around the corporations that would rather sell us out to China, those who need to be dealt with and we need to dispense with the shiny objects like those Republicans that go out there and they feel perfectly comfortable rattling their saber at Taiwan, which is not America if you check the last time.

Will they ignore the fact that China is selling us fentanyl and undercutting our industry and undercutting our jobs. Taiwan’s not the issue, there’s a lot of issues to deal with the China and they don’t want to do it. They’d like to go after the easy stuff, go after the stuff that doesn’t take any actual courage to go after and hopefully, podcasts like this and activists and people out there talking about it and writing about it and the politicians can start to change that, but we do need to get past just like you said, those shiny easy objects and to fight in a more revolutionary way.

Inez Stepman:

There is an entire infrastructure that protects what are essentially political actors on the left and there’s no similar infrastructure on the right and I’m not even in favor of building an infrastructure to protect political actors on the right so much as I am removing essentially public protections and public money from one side. We have been fighting especially the culture war on a completely lopsided field where one team is fully funded by the government, by every major corporation-

Chris Bedford:

Well, I heard Republicans are still sending billions of dollars to the universities, that is insane.

Inez Stepman:

I’ve been asking that question for 10 years, but there is an entire infrastructure surrounding all of this activist work on the left, there’s no infrastructure surrounding it on the right and to your point, Republicans don’t seem to have any interest in actually adjusting that infrastructure at all, but that’s-

Chris Bedford:

Like look at this. Bank of America had pledged a billion dollars to Black Lives Matter, the Ford Foundation gave 100 or something million dollars toward them and they used that money to help instigate riots that saw police officers and civilians murdered. You think that if the Heritage Foundation had given money to something involved in January 6th, do you think for a second that their accounts wouldn’t be frozen right now and they would’ve been raided by armed police officers and their executives probably arrested and dragged out of their homes, their morning raids that CNN had been tipped off to? Why the hell didn’t that happen to Bank of America when they gave a billion dollars to rioting activists and murderous people during the height of riots?

Why not freeze their funds? Are you donating to terrorism or are you not? And this is a dangerous place to get, but we are at a place where our politicians in the left are actively provoking violence against their opponents, cheering it on and arresting anyone who even speaks out or arresting some of the prominent people who speak out against them, persecuting their political enemies like, well, let’s get serious. What are we doing here and are we willing to fight like they are? Are we willing to fight for the country the way that they’re willing to fight to take this country?

Inez Stepman:

I’m of two minds about this question, not only because I’m understandably and I think correctly squeamish about arresting my political opponents, but also because I fundamentally don’t think those systems will work for the right in the same way. Part of the problem is that we have allowed essentially and we’ve created a class of people both in the public and private sector who have basically all have the same cultural opinions. They have some varying opinions on some political issues, but when it comes to cultural opinions, they’re almost universal. And that problem, it’s not just a unit party that would already be something political maybe you would hope that a small democracy would be able to work that out over time, that the people would punish enough of these parties or they would the way that it has worked in American democracy in the past, you have a third party that never fully succeeds, but grabs a hold of a particular issue, think like Ross Barau and punishes one of the two major parties enough that they pick up that issue and it comes into one of the two major parties.

There are ways to deal with recalcitrant politicians within our political system. What worries me more is this cross institutional collusion where you have simply everybody who’s in the C-suite in the Fortune 500 plus everybody who’s in the bureaucracies working in the top parts of the bureaucracies, plus everybody who’s working in Hollywood above a certain pay grade, at a certain point, it’s not just a unit party, it’s a unit culture among all different forms of a nation’s elite even extending as you mentioned earlier into the military at this point and that worries me. I don’t think we can actually implement the same things the left can right now, actually that was my rage on January 7th right after January 6th, I was first of all furious at the people who rioted, because I think they gave a left their Reichstag fire, they gave them the excuse to do what they wanted to do for years and second, I was mad at their naivete.

Did you think that because you saw BLM riot that the same justice system they would turn a blind eye to the damage and destruction and law-breaking that you’re doing, how could you possibly think that? How could you possibly be so naive to think that you will be treated the same way as the preferred activists of this entire class? And that’s why I just fundamentally think we have to agree with it’s a counter-revolutionary to a certain extent project, but I think it has to be more systemic. It can’t be, we just do the same things the left does and then hope that there’s some equilibrium of balance or mutually sure destruction reemerges in this system. I think it has to be more systemic. I think we have to think about, we’re going to have to replace a large part of our elite and that’s not going to be easy, it’s not. I don’t have a 10-point plan to do that.

Chris Bedford:

No, I said, you’re right. These are deep problems where we’re splitting economies and that’s what RightForge is doing is we’re building internet server infrastructure so that where we own the ground underneath it so that people can actually be online and of course we abide by all American laws, but one of those laws we abide by the US Constitution and freedom of speech, something that’s increasingly out of fashion in Silicon Valley. By the way, Google just kicked Babylon Bee off of its application store and that’s the kind of things that they’re doing right now. Creating a new elite class is something that’s a bigger project. I think Marion Smith and some other folks are trying to do some good work at the common sense society, Hillsdale, Claremont Institute, trying to do some strong work on that, but it’s a really uphill fight.

One of the things I think we need to do is just what you’ve been talking about for 10 years is really, we need to help bankrupt the American university system. The American system we have for credentialing who are members of our elite, is a completely and totally busted thing that fails to educate in any way and simply seems to give you credentials for hitting the right tokens and having the right left wing beliefs. If we want to stop that, then we need to help defund it. There’s no reason that money should we go into these universities anymore for them to undercut the American people. We need to go at some of the… The right has done a good job recently in destroying the allure of a lot of the elites. They used to get scoffed at for attacking elites and now, I think that a lot of folks realize. You saw that amazing Ricky Gervais Golden Globes speech a few years ago where he just mocked the Hollywood celebrities right to their faces.

That’s the kind of stuff that I think a lot of folks are really onto. It’s going to take a while to take hold, but one of the first ways that you do it is you de-legitimize them and they were able to do this to the United States in the reverse. If you go back to the 1920s or 19 teens, the beginning of the progressive era, aside from like a smattering of unions and trade groups and maybe some student underground organizations, the left didn’t control the commanding heights in American industry in American military, in American politics, in American business, in the university systems, they didn’t have it. They fought a rear guard action to over 100 years, make it seem like they’re a completely unsaleable front that the right couldn’t even hope to change it.

Teddy Roosevelt [inaudible 00:48:16] those guys were outliers in the elites for wanting to be more progressive. So, we can change that. Again, we have to study some of their tactics learn from some of the ways they do and be at some point as vicious as they were politically in order to get that way. We could do it, but we are short on time right now. The difference between the cyber collapse that we’re experiencing right now and say the 60s is just to your point, the elites of the 60s still generally had an understanding of law and order, still generally had a rule of law line of thinking. The Democratic Mayor of Chicago would be willing to use police to put down riot during the DNC. We don’t really have that anymore because there’s radical children of the 60s and now the leaders. So, there’s no one there to defend you, but these things can change generation to generation with serious hard work and concerted effort. It is difficult to see exactly how much that effort the right is going to be capable of and willing to accomplish on its own.

Inez Stepman:

I keep saying and this is something that I strongly disagree with the IDW style left liberals. A lot of whom who I’ve had on this podcast and respect their work greatly, but they seem to think that this happened maybe in 2015 and I keep saying there is not a dime’s worth of difference between the views of the people I grew up around in Palo Alto all the way back in the 90s and early 2000s.

There’s no difference truly. They’re anti-American and I mean that in the broadest sense possible. Their anti-American views then and now, the difference is those people hold institutional power and they didn’t in 1995. They didn’t even in 2005. If you want to put that tipping point was not when these people came out of nowhere, it’s when they seized institutional power largely from a lot of those left liberals who are now suddenly waking up to the danger of this illiberal woke wing of the left. But even [inaudible 00:50:29] Kennedy’s views are actually that different from a lot of the 60s radicals, the difference is now they run the world, now they run the corporations, now they run agencies, people with those views so it’s the institutionalization of a radical view more than the emergence of it.

Chris Bedford:

Even more than the right destroying them though, is they might destroy themselves. There’s this interesting intercept article I think by Ryan Grim on how [inaudible 00:50:55] think tanks and activist groups have been completely hobbled by internal fighting over well, who comes first on the gay pride flag, the transgender or the Black and Brown people of color or the Black and Brown trans people of color. We don’t really know who comes first and they start to fight each other over these things and become handicaps. And that seems to also be playing out in the American corporate world where if you’re bane and you’re just trying to make money here, but you’re said being hobbled by [inaudible 00:51:25] social justice ideas, or having to move your business out of this city or that city or not being able to do this and have your partners called into struggle sessions where they get screamed at by 25-year-old junior employees and are afraid of human resources.

These things start to hobble stuff and I know it’s happening in the left-wing activism world because some of those Republican friends of mine who are willing to work with left wing to try and confront similar enemies like Silicon Valley shared enemies, have noticed they’ve been able to get no supporting fire from left-wing activist groups because they’re completely hobbled by their own infighting. And I’ve heard from the corporate world, the same thing is happening. So, maybe even before the right ever has to figure out how they’re going to fight this juggernaut or this juggernaut is just going to fight itself off of a cliff.

Inez Stepman:

That’s always a hopeful possibility. Before we wrap this up, you’ve mentioned right board a few times, and I wanted to touch on the project that you guys are trying to do because it’s not just that you are building say like a new social media app or a Parler or a what’s Trump’s one called? Truth Social, but you guys are trying to combat exactly what you just mentioned where Babylon Bee has been kicked out of the actual underlying app platform and then one step underneath that, the actual like guts of the internet. Can you explain a little bit about what you’re building and why this effort will not be canceled like Parler?

Chris Bedford:

Well, because we’re building the highway exactly to your point. We are the servers so we’re not building Truth Social, social media platform like President Trump’s doing, we are the servers that Truth Social runs on, we’re the ones that allow you to click on something and get that information back and there’s been a lot of focus in the American people because it’s such a public place about social media censorship and the dangers that poses to American freedoms. But there’s much more dangerous things going on like people being cut off from financial institutions, people being cut off from fundraising, people being cut off from being able to televise their events or even put them on YouTube and get their political speech out there. The things that change that of the internet service, essentially the highway that the internet runs and drives on, that’s what we do.

We work with all those different kinds of companies to make it so that if you want to start a bank that’s not going to cancel people because they’re pro President Trump, well, then you can’t just open it up into town, you need access to the internet and companies like Amazon Web Services are willing to cancel you and deny you ability to even reach people based on their own politics. We’re not and we don’t just host right-wing folks, we host some left-wing folks too, dissidents of all kinds and we’re willing to host non-political folks as well. Our general idea is that you deserve access to information, you deserve access to the internet and the first amendment should reign good ideas and bad ideas. People should be able to speak their mind that’s was one of the ways that we built this country was that freedom of speech and the willingness to confront bad ideas in the public space into express good ideas without fear and that’s one of the things that RightForge strives to do.

Inez Stepman:

Well, with that, you can find Chris Bedford and you can find RightForge. I think it’s rightforge.com, right?

Chris Bedford:

It is.

Inez Stepman:

And then you can find Chris over at Twitter @cbedforddc as his handle, you can find his work over at the Federalist. You can listen to him frequently on the Federalist on Fox, a lot of other places. Chris Bedford, thank you so much for coming on High Noon today.

Chris Bedford:

Thank you.

Inez Stepman:

And thank you to our listeners. High Noon with you [inaudible 00:55:04] is a production of the independent women’s forum. As always, you can send comments and questions to [email protected] Please help us out by hitting the subscribe button and leaving us a comment or review on Apple podcast, Acast, Google Play, YouTube or iwf.org. Hopefully, those things will not be shutting us down, maybe eventually we’ll be hosted on RightForge.

Chris Bedford:

[inaudible 00:55:23] RightForge.

Inez Stepman:

But be brave and we’ll see you next time on High Noon.