×

PopPolitics: Garry Trudeau on the Midterms, Norman Lear on the Clintons (Listen)

Garry Trudeau says that if Republicans take back the Senate on Tuesday, it “would probably be good” for “Alpha House,” the Amazon series he created about four GOP senators who share a Capitol Hill home.

“It would be a nice plot point for us,” he says on the latest edition of Variety’s “PopPolitics” on SiriusXM. “The Republicans would be in a position to get committee chairmanships.”

The show’s four fictional Senators are grappling with the real and present political landscape, struggling to pivot as the GOP veers to the far right, something that Trudeau believes will only be corrected if the party has a “cataclysmic election year,” perhaps in 2016.

“I think they need a much bigger fall the way the Democrats had in 1980 with Carter and in 1984 with Mondale, to have a Goldwater moment where they lose 45 states, which would bump them to the center,” he says. “Because at the moment, they are just getting stretched to the point where the party is almost unrecognizable.”

Whether a stinging defeat comes in 2016 “depends on who emerges,” Trudeau says. “If someone as mainstream as Jeb Bush emerges, I don’t think it would happen. If it is Rand Paul or Ted Cruz, then there is a very good chance of it.”

Listen below:

Alpha House” in its second season features a storyline about a reality series centered around the senators’ children. Trudeau, however, didn’t even know about Discovery Channel’s reality special “Rival Survival,” in which real-life senators Martin Heinrich and Jeff Flake were put on a desolate island for a week. “I’m given far more credit for being prescient than is justified,” Trudeau says.

Listen below:

The show’s second season features cameos from John McCain, Grover Norquist and Elizabeth Warren. Has it been difficult getting GOP senators to appear? “Not at all,” Trudeau says.

Listen below:

In part two of an interview tied to the release of his memoir “Even This I Get to Experience,” Norman Lear talks about his longtime friendship with Bill and Hillary Clinton, and of the time that he stayed overnight in the Lincoln Bedroom during the Lewinsky scandal. He says that the relationship between the Clintons is a strong bond on many levels, and is even “beyond understanding.”

Listen below:

Lear says that he is not in complete agreement with Paul Krugman’s assessment of the Obama presidency as an historic success. If he could change anything, Lear says that Obama “would be the father I was looking for. The country needs a father. Age does not matter to me. The nation needs a father. We need to look at ourselves in the mirror and see ourselves honestly.” He also talks about how he would love for Elizabeth Warren to run for president — but he doesn’t specify when, given that Hillary Clinton is widely expected to run. He says that it is “too bad one isn’t a Republican. We would get to see the two running against each other.”

Listen below:

On The Mix, U.S. News’ Nikki Schwab and USC Annenberg lecturer and journalist Mary Murphy talk about why Al Franken has been successful in Minnesota — by staying away from showbiz.

Listen below:

Another entertainer seeking elective office is Clay Aiken, in a race for a congressional seat in North Carolina. But he, too, is downplaying his “American Idol” past. Schwab and Murphy talk about why Democratic celebrity candidates try to distance themselves from their showbiz past while Republican figures like Arnold Schwarzenegger have embraced their fame and on-screen personas.

Listen below:

PopPolitics” airs Thursdays at 2 p.m. ET and Fridays at 6 p.m. ET on SiriusXM’s POTUS Channel 124, hosted by Variety‘s Ted Johnson. Guests this week include Aaron Sorkin, creator of HBO’s “The Newsroom,” and Lou Cannon, author of “Ronald Reagan: Role of a Lifetime,” on Jerry Brown.

More Biz

  • Tarale Wulff Weinstein trial

    Ex-Waitress Testifies Harvey Weinstein Held Her Down and Raped Her

    A former cocktail waitress wept on the witness stand on Wednesday as she told jurors that Harvey Weinstein pinned her down and raped her in 2005. Tarale Wulff said she thought she was going to an audition. But when she arrived at Weinstein’s office, she was directed to get into a waiting car, which took [...]

  • Pamela Wasserstein CES

    Listen: Pam Wasserstein Brings Her New York State of Mind to Vox Media

    Merging New York Media with Vox Media wasn’t a deal Pam Wasserstein felt she had to make. But she’s glad she did. Now that the New York Media CEO-turned-Vox president is a few months into driving strategy for the combined businesses, Wasserstein is happy to report that her hunch that Vox and New York would [...]

  • John Stankey

    AT&T's John Stankey: TNT, TBS to Boost Unscripted Volume as WarnerMedia Invests in HBO Max

    The march to the launch of HBO Max in May is driving changes across WarnerMedia. John Stankey, AT&T chief operating officer and WarnerMedia chairman, told investors on Wednesday that cable powerhouses TNT and TBS will lean into more unscripted programming as WarnerMedia steers its investment in high-end scripted programming to the nascent subscription streaming platform. [...]

  • Passengers wait to depart for China

    Entertainment Stocks Tumble in Hong Kong as True Cost of Wuhan Virus Emerges

    UPDATED: The Hong Kong stock market tumbled by nearly 3% as it reopened on Wednesday. This was the first opportunity for local equities to be traded since the Chinese New Year holidays and the escalation of the coronavirus outbreak that started in Wuhan, central China. There were steep falls for some of the companies most [...]

  • Ben Smith Buzzfeed

    Ben Smith Stepping Down as BuzzFeed News Editor-in-Chief to Join New York Times

    BuzzFeed News editor-in-chief Ben Smith is leaving the company to join The New York Times as its media columnist, stepping into the role once held by the late David Carr. Smith announced the news today to staff at BuzzFeed minutes before it broke publicly via NBC’s Dylan Byers. His last day will be in March, [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content