Bob Cesca Show

Interviews From Earth One: “Tom Nichols”

Bob Cesca
Written by Bob Cesca

On today's episode of The Bob Cesca Show's Interviews From Earth One: Tom Nichols is a professor of National Security Affairs at the Naval War College and, among other volumes, Tom is the author of one of the most important books of this era, The Death Of Expertise: The Campaign Against Established Knowledge and Why It Matters. He’s also a five time Jeopardy! champion, and the author of a new piece for The Atlantic, Why I’m Leaving the Republican Party. As some of you might know, Tom is a conservative, but based on his book and his article in The Atlantic, I assure you we all have more in common than you might think.

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  • Don P

    Two Days Later…..
    Tom goes back to being who he’s always been. (Linking Driftglass is never a bad idea).

    I’m sorry, I just couldn’t make it through the entire interview, the bullcrap just got too much for me.

    A couple of notes/pushback:
    — Mentions Harry Reid’s dropping of the judicial filibuster, but he conveniently forgets that his Republicans had blocked more of Obama’s nominees than all others presidents COMBINED
    — Nichols doesn’t like rule by Executive Order, he forgets to mention unprecedented use of legislative filibuster (60 senate votes became the new norm, McConnel Vetoed HIS OWN BILLS). Forgets to mention republicans now control WH, House & Senate and STILL can barely pass legislation.
    — He mentions the Green Party, but no mention of Libertarians? Whut? The Greens have been around forever, sure they were a little bigger this time around, but this thought of “IF every Green had voted for HRC..” is NEVER gonna happen
    — Amazing Nichols can just wave away gerrymandering and voter suppression. And frankly SHAME ON BOB FOR LETTING HIM GET AWAY WITH THAT. BTW, youth voter turnout has been pretty much the same, except for the 2 Obama elections, for the last 30 years.
    — “Journalists under Obama were not about finding scoops & scandals” .. props to Bob for pushing back on that. Only so many nights when our top story tonight is a tan suit or The President like Grey Poupon. Dr. Nichols, this is what happens when you cede your party to the RW noise machine: It taints EVERYTHING.

  • pvino

    Great interview. It will be nice if we ever get back to where there can be intelligent discussion between conservatives and progressives instead of the shit show of the current dialog.

    I think Nichols puts too much responsibility on the Democrats to help the fix the mess that the Republicans have become. Even if the Democrats wanted to, I don’t think there is anything they can do to help bring the Republicans back to sanity. There is no way to engage in any sort of productive interaction. It is entirely on the conservatives to either fix the Republican party or burn it to the ground and come up with an alternative. And to make fundamental changes to ensure the strategies that made the fertile ground for someone like Trump are expunged.

    Once that happens, I agree that Democrats should be open to dialog with whatever the conservatives become. I’m not optimistic that this will happen any time soon.

  • Badgerite

    Another one out of the park. This was great. Like, the Marketplace of Ideas great. I actually felt somewhat hopeful about our democracy at the end. I especially appreciated Mr. Nichols assessments of:
    1) the revival of the idea of gatekeepers ( i.e. non-partisan fact checkers and editors – basic journalism)
    2) there is excess on the left as well as on the right ( see Move-On. org adds about General David ‘Betray us’ – I cringe still
    and a list of others I won’t name.)
    A couple of gripes though.
    1) the movement toward alternative energies to replace fossil fuels is not “anti-capitalism” in the least. We are talking a better, less polluting, eminently more sustainable and efficient replacement for an energy system based on exceptionally polluting, finite, as it will run out and have to be replaced at some point in the future, and easily monopolized natural resources. These new alternative sources of energy, once perfected, can and will spur commerce. Not hamper it. The point of the left is, of course, why wait. Whether certain aspects of global warming are exaggerated or not, can we afford to take the risk to maintain a system based on a finite natural resource that will need to be replaced over time anyway and that is making the oceans more acidic ( not theory, provable fact) as well as heating the planet ( not theory, provable fact) ? Why wait? There is no argument I can see for waiting indefinitely for this transition to occur. And there is no argument I can see as to why governments the world over should not be involved and enabling of that transition.
    2) I’m a liberal. Always have been. And some of his description of positions as ‘liberal’ I did not and do not recognize as liberal. I recognize them as fringe left. But not traditional liberal.
    Excellent podcast though. Like you said, ( check, check and check) there is a lot that all sides of the political spectrum should be agreeing on and should act in concert to “preserve, protect and defend.”

    • katanahamon

      You’ve hit on something that I’ve always noticed. The right makes assumptions about the left based on falsehoods, and assumptions about society, politics, economics, environment, (the world, facts etc) that also are simply false. Then, they blame others for catching them in these falsehoods and say that they are unpatriotic, Anti-capitalism, Anti America etc.

      • Badgerite

        Well, he didn’t exactly fit that pattern but since when is the liberal agenda “totalitarian”? What the FFFF is he talking about exactly. The Voting Rights Act was not “totalitarian”. The EPA and Earth Day is not “totalitarian”. The Sierra Club is not “totalitarian”. A regulatory framework to insure that food and products that are put into the stream of commerce in this country which cross state lines is not “totalitarian”. The National Health Institute is not “totalitarian”. What the FFF is he referring to?