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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Jan 16, 2020

New York Times bestselling author Peter Bergen is our guest for the 171st episode.

His new book is, “Trump and his Generals: The Cost of Chaos”.

In this conversation we examine the first 3 years of Trump administration, both the national security decisions and the players, then we examine ISIS, Syria, Afghanistan, and Bergen’s 1997 interview of Bin Laden.

Jan 9, 2020

U.S. Senator Mike Braun (R-IN) is our returning guest for the 170th episode — brought to you from Washington, DC.

In this conversation we discuss the imminent Senate impeachment trial, the Iranian crisis and the briefing provided to Senators, the state of the U.S. economy, how trade is affecting his state, and what the rest of 2020 looks like.
Jan 2, 2020

The New Hampshire primary is the subject of episode 168.

Our guest is New Hampshire-based Fox News correspondent Paul Steinhauser.

In this conversation, we examine the state of the race with one month to go, which campaigns are prioritizing New Hampshire most, whether Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren have an advantage being from neighboring states, which candidates make up the first tier, how the open primary could affect the outcome, how the Iowa Caucus results could change things, what the campaign organizations look like on the ground, whether endorsements will matter and whether New Hampshire is in play in the general election.

Dec 21, 2019

Impeachment is the subject of the 168th episode.

My guest is Rich Galen, Republican strategist, columnist for, and former adviser to Speaker Newt Gingrich.

In this conversation, we react to the House vote on impeachment, look back to the Clinton impeachment in 1998 as a historical guide, consider what the current impeachment will mean for the 2020 presidential race and battle for Congress, discuss how the Senate trial may unfold, and look ahead to the Democratic presidential primary and Trump’s reelection campaign.

Dec 19, 2019

The British national election is the subject of the 167th episode.

Our guest is Martin Vander Weyer, business editor and weekly business columnist for The Spectator.
In this conversation we examine why the British national election went as it did, what it means for Brexit, why Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn failed, why Boris Johnson is ascending, and what it could mean for the future of the U.S.-U.K. relationship.
Dec 10, 2019

The uprising in Iran is our subject for the 166th episode.

Our guest is Ali Safavi, a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI).

In this conversation, we discuss why the current protests are happening, how broad the opposition is outside Iran, what regime change would look like, how weak the Iranian economy is, why Europe continues to trade with Iran, how the regime will end, what would happen if our guest were to return home today, and what gives him hope.


Dec 6, 2019

Bill O’Reilly is the guest for the 165th episode.

He’s the former anchor of Fox News’ “The O’Reilly Factor” and the bestselling author of 15 #1 books selling more than 17 million copies. His new book is “The United States of Trump: How the President Really Sees America”.

In this conversation, we review his recent interview with President Trump, discuss the narcoterrorists in Mexico, the Ukraine call and impeachment, examine the purpose of his new book, and analyze the state of the cable news industry and consider what it would take for him to return to television.

Nov 27, 2019

Supporting our veterans is the subject of this week’s episode.

My guest is Lindsay Kin, executive director of the national veterans nonprofit Luke’s Wings.

In this conversation, we discuss their unique mission, how they’ve grown 50 fold in ten years, why the need remains, and the many ways that people can get involved to reunited Wounded Warriors and their families.

Nov 21, 2019

The state of the Democratic race for President is the subject of the 163rd episode.

Our guest is CNN contributor Bakari Sellers, a former Democratic state legislator from South Carolina.

In this episode, we analyze the 5th Democratic debate, consider the first tier candidates, discuss electability, look at the general election, and wonder whether a brokered convention is possible.

Nov 15, 2019

Impeachment and the 2020 election are our subjects for the 162nd episode.

Our guest is GOP consultant and corporate strategist Evan Siegfried.

In this conversation we measure where the impeachment story is now, how the story is likely to play out and what Pelosi’s strategy is. Then we turn our attention to analyzing the Democratic presidential primary and look ahead to the general election.

Nov 4, 2019

Alice Stewart is our guest for the 161st episode.

She’s a veteran GOP campaign operative, CNN contributor and resident fellow at Harvard’s Institute of Politics.

In this conversation, we examine the politics of impeachment, what Pelosi’s strategy is, why there were no GOP defections, how impeachment will affect 2020, what she makes of the Democratic presidential candidates, and our guest sizes up President Trump’s political standing and the general election.

Nov 1, 2019

GOP consultant Scott Jennings is my guest for the 160th episode.

Jennings served as Political Director in the Bush White House and is currently president of Run Switch PR and a CNN contributor.
In this conversation we examine the strategy behind impeachment, the politics and legislative ramifications of impeachment, whether any meaningful legislation has a chance in this environment, how the Senate would handle a trial and how impeachment will affect 2020. Then we discussed the 2020 Democratic field and look forward to the general election.
Oct 21, 2019

Kim Strassel is our guest for the 159th episode.

She’s a columnist and editorial board member, and author of the new bestseller, “Resistance (At All Costs): How Trump Haters are Breaking America”.

In this conversation, we discuss why she wrote the book, what the cost of the left’s targeting of Trump will be, what she expects from the forthcoming DOJ IG report and investigation by US Attorney John Durham, why the media has such little curiosity about the Russian collusion hoax, how the Ukraine impeachment inquiry is advancing and what she makes of the 2020 election.

Oct 18, 2019

Syria is our subject for the 158th episode.

Our returning guest for former U.S. Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford, who served from 2010-2014.

In this conversation we examine the cease fire announcement, consider the goals of Turkey, the U.S., Russia and Syria, discuss the sacrifice of the Syrian Kurdish forces, explore the risks of ISIS returning to its former strength, and ask what advice our guest would have for the Trump administration.

Oct 9, 2019

Our guest for the 157th episode is Rich Lowry, editor of National Review and author of the forthcoming book, “The Case for Nationalism”.

In this conversation we discuss impeachment, Syria, 2020, and why nationalism is on the rise in America. Finally, we wrap up with the state of the conservative movement in the Trump era.

Oct 2, 2019

Impeachment is the subject of the 156th episode.

Our guest is Capitol Hill veteran Michael Steel, who served as Press Secretary for former Speaker of the House John Boehner.

In this conversation, we explore where the votes are currently, why the Intel committee has been given jurisdiction, what rights the minority party has, what protections the whistleblower is due, how the Senate might react, whether the polls matter. And how the White House should respond.

Sep 24, 2019

The life and career of Vice President Mike Pence is the subject of the 155th episode.

Our guest is longtime AP reporter for Indiana Tom LoBianco, who has a new biography of Pence out, “Piety and Power: Mike Pence and the Taking of the White House”.

In this conversation, we examine Pence’s first two failed runs for Congress, his time in talk radio, his move up the ladder of Congressional leadership, his decision to run for Governor in 2012, his decision not to run for President in 2016, how he was selected as VP, and what ambitions he still has.

Sep 19, 2019

Medicare-for-All is the subject of the 154th episode.

Chris Jacobs is our guest. He is the founder and CEO of Juniper Research and the author of the new book, “The Case Against Single Payer: How ‘Medicare for All’ will Wreck America’s Health Care System – And Its Economy”.

In this conversation we examine the definition of single payer, how Medicare would change, what the program would cost, how it would affect private insurance, how reimbursement rates affect care, whether middle class tax increases would be required, why California and Vermont scrapped their own single payer plans, how Medicare for All would affect the economy, and what conservatives should be offering as a policy alternative.

Sep 12, 2019

The events of 9/11 are the subject of the 153rd episode.

Our guest is bestselling author Garrett Graff, whose new book is, “The Only Plane in the Sky: An Oral History of 9/11,” which instantly hit #1 on Amazon.

In this conversation, we explore the origin of the book and his writing process, the scale of the response to the attack, what surprised him about what he learned, how United 93’s hijackers came to be overtaken, the ‘shoot-down’ order, what questions about 9/11 still remain and where the author was on 9/11.

Sep 3, 2019

Retired U.S. Army Captain Sean Parnell is our guest for the 152nd episode.

After retiring from military service, he became a New York Times bestselling author for his memoir of combat in Afghanistan, Outlaw Platoon.

His new thriller is called, All Out War. It will be released on Sept. 3, 2019.

In this conversation, we begin by discussing his Pittsburgh roots and military background, recount his experiences in Afghanistan, discuss the process he used for his first book, how and why he transitioned from writing nonfiction to writing fiction, give an overview of the new novel, consider whether our veterans are getting the help they have earned, and talk about a nonprofit that he works with that helps veterans transition to civilian life.

Aug 26, 2019

The CIA is the subject of the 151st episode.

Our guest is bestselling author Annie Jacobsen and her new book is, “Surprise, Kill, Vanish: The Secret History of CIA Paramilitary Armies, Operators and Assassins”.

In this conversation, we explore the history of covert action, track Bin Laden’s movements before 9/11, examine the skills of CIA operator Billy Waugh, discuss what happens when a missions fails, consider whether there is sufficient congressional oversight and whether these missions are legal, and finally discuss sourcing, whether the CIA makes us safer, Hollywood depictions of the CIA, and her writing process.

Aug 21, 2019

Diversity and college campuses are the subjects of the 150th episode.

Our guest is New York Times bestselling author and Manhattan Institute fellow Heather Mac Donald, author of the new book, “The Diversity Delusion.”

In this conversation we examine whether diversity is a virtue, the concept of mismatch, cancel culture on college campuses, affirmative action and white privilege, the social justice movement, policing, and how conservatives can turn back the culture.

Aug 16, 2019

The economy and the stock market are the subject of the 149th episode.

Our guest is author and Real Clear Markets editor John Tamny.

In this conversation, we review a wild week for the stock market, whether the inverted yield curve is predictive, the current strength of the economy, how he views the Trump tax cut, whether indexing cap gains to inflation would be stimulative, what he makes of recent Federal Reserve actions, how a strong or weak dollar matters, and the trade war with China.

Aug 9, 2019

Gun control is the subject of the 148th episode.

Our guest is Dr. John R. Lott, Jr., president of the Crime Prevention Center.

In this conversation, we examine the recent mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton and consider whether future attacks can be prevented by any of the solutions being suggested, including expanded background checks, an Assault Weapons Ban, or a Red Flag law .

Aug 2, 2019

The other side of the Russia story is our topic for the 147th episode.

John Solomon is an award-winning investigative reported and Executive Vice President at The Hill newspaper.

He has been breaking stories on the FBI, the Mueller inquiry, the Steele dossier, and FISA abuse for more than a year.

In this conversation, we explore media groupthink, scrutiny of former FBI Director James Comey’s role, FISA warrants, the I.G. report, the Steele Dossier, Mueller’s testimony, and how U.S. Attorney John Durham’s investigation may move this story in a new direction.

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