S1: I cannot swear to you that there is swearing on this show but there might be.
S2: It’s the kind of behavior I engage in.
S3: It’s Tuesday November 5th 2019 from Slate’s The Gist I’m Mike Pesca and it’s Election Day. Yes it is. And half the Commonwealth’s in Kentucky and Virginia. The Kentucky governor’s race will come down to the unpopularity of the incumbent Matt Bevin’s unless Bevin’s and his supporters can convince bluegrass voters that he’s actually pretty darn good after all.
S4: Oh come on. That’s not their game. It’s 20 19. He’s tried to convince Kentuckians that opponent Andy Bashir is slightly worse than him. That’s all I can do these days. To that end they have hit upon an issue sure to hit home for every coal family struggling to make ends meet. For every former auto plant worker pouring over the family budget at kitchen tables everywhere it’s of course trans teenagers winning all the girls sports all female athletes one is a fair shot in competition.
S5: Indeed this year supports legislation that would destroy sports. He calls it equality. But is it fair. To vote against Andy this year. He’s too extreme for Kentucky.
S4: Three problems with that ad and this tactic one Andy Bashir doesn’t support legislation that would destroy girls sports the Central. I’m actually the only claim in this ad which is run by a non Kentucky group the Campaign for American principles. It’s construed ad of Bashir as general support for trans rights and his support of other pieces of legislation like trans bathroom bills which by the way that group the American principles people found out doesn’t poll that well. So they’re off that and onto the sports. That’s the first problem the second problem is there is no evidence that an accommodation of trans athletes would in fact quote destroy girls sports. The third thing the most shameful thing thing you really can’t get over is that Donald Trump Jr. agrees with this today.
S6: You know it’s sort of the woke goalposts. They keep moving the example I use in the book is obviously as it relates to trans women in sport. Identify how you want. I think it’s wonderful. I don’t care when you start saying I’m a man. I become a woman. I’m now winning national championships setting weightlifting world records you know displacing work their entire lives.
S7: At what point in their careers. I think that’s and that’s the point that’s never stopped moving.
S8: OK. There are three things wrong with Donald Trump Junior’s argument one moving the goalposts terrible analogy if anything the advocates of allowing teens who were declared male at birth to play girl sports is that they want to keep the goalposts. They don’t want to move the goalposts. They just want to let girls who once competed in the boys sports now play the girls sports. Also there are no girls football teams. No one’s objecting to athletes who transition from female to male. I mean I’m sure somewhere someone is but it doesn’t give me a competitive advantage. So using football is a stupid sport to rest the analogy upon two. There are actually no world records in weightlifting that are held by trans women Mary Gregory is a trans woman who competed in the Masters division so not the Olympics for older athletes. And yes she she briefly held some world records and by briefly I mean two days and then her titles were stripped when her status was discovered in three days. I’ll acknowledge this isn’t as totally dumb as the trans bathroom bills which were pure scare tactic. There was no evidence of any harm ever done by allowing a trans person to use the bathroom of their choice. But it is deeply irresponsible to use this sports question as a condemnation of the woke left or whatever this outside political group might call it. Yes state bodies international bodies that govern sports need to think of intentional systemic empirically valid ways when deciding how to deal with this issue and there are ways to do it responsibly and with civility and with science and with care that probably won’t make everyone happy. But we’ll get to a fair solution. The Don junior slash Matt Bevin way is not that as an issue girls sports and trans athletes is in fact an issue. It’s not what I would call though a problem.
S9: No one should vote on it. That’s for sure and it shouldn’t be used as a disqualification of anyone who’s thinking about it seriously and carefully not cruelly and glibly as these two Republicans are on the show today. I spiel about Elizabeth Warren and her health care plan. What the lesson of Vermont can teach her. Oh if Vermont only had fifty two trillion dollars over 10 years to spend. But first blink of an eye is a documentary about the relationship between NASCAR driver Michael Waltrip who is a perennial underdog and Dale Earnhardt Senior the most iconic driver in NASCAR history. We’ll be joined by Michael Waltrip and the documentary director Paul tell bleep.
S10: Blink of an eye. He’s available on iTunes now and those two gentlemen are on the gist.
S11: Fewer than 3000 drivers have ever been behind the wheel of a car in the top tier of a NASCAR race. It’s going back to the 1940s of the top 10 drivers most races ever run. Once a father and son pair the patties and then there are the brothers Darrell and Michael Waltrip Michael Waltrip first ever win was when Dale Earnhardt Senior Michael’s teammate the owner of Michael’s racing team died on the track in fact died. It can be argued and is argued in a new documentary assuring Michael’s first ever win. The new documentary is called Blink of an eye. It’s directed by Paul tabla. Hello Paul how are you. Hello. Hello. And Michael Waltrip is also here. Thanks for coming in Michael. Yeah. Thanks for having us. So I wouldn’t even think the word bittersweet would apply because after you found out and tell me how long it took for you to get word that this monumental influence in your life in the sport of racing had passed away there could be no sweetness to it could there.
S12: No I don’t like using that either. I just think it’s it’s it was a day of tragedy. It began with a great triumph and it was immediately followed by one of the biggest tragedies in the history of NASCAR. So it was it is a difficult day. It’s been a bit of a difficult life since then you know telling the story through a book that I wrote back in 2011 and now with the documentary. People say why why do you talk about it. Well there’s a couple of reasons I live it every day whether I talk about it or not. And my hope was that in making the documentary I could honor Dale and tell everybody what a what a wonderful human being he was and the special things that he did. And then also encourage people we’re gonna have ups and downs highs and lows. Two of my biggest highs or biggest high and biggest low came within seconds of each other. Yeah and that’s difficult to handle but you know whether you’ve lost 462 races and you finally win and then have have it followed by that tragedy you just you can’t quit. You’ve got to keep dig and keep trying. And life all. Everything happens for a reason in my mind. And you just you just learn to be a better person as you move forward and see how it all works out in the end.
S13: And Paul what’s your connection to racing or was it more the humanity of Michael and the situation that brought you to the project.
S14: My background is kind of funny. Many many years ago I was asked by someone could I make some videos about NASCAR and can I go to a race and see about this. And I literally had no idea where they turn left or right. I didn’t know anything about that. And I went down my races two hundred thousand people here and these guys are going really fast and this is crazy. And I was from New York and I had a partner we went down there and then we became an official NASCAR video producer for the for the company and I made about twenty five videos. So I lived around in that area and this was 20 years ago right. Then I moved on to doing other types of movies more and the action sports extreme sports area doing some major feature films. So coming back to this was really kind of wonderful. I had a background I had an understanding. So it was a combination and then the story is Shakespearean. You know what Michael went through and the one thing that that I want people when they see the movie for someone who winning became an albatross and something he had a struggle with to achieve and had this friend and Dale senior and Michael I think and I don’t think of ever having mentioned it to him. He was looking for someone like this in some ways in his life. He you know his brother didn’t really help him. Richard Petty then helped him which is a wonderful part of the movie an icon like that and then someone who is the most unlikely person I mean is tough this guy at least on the outside adopts him in a sense right.
S13: And to give listeners an idea so Dale Earnhardt Senior the year he died was awarded the fan favorite award and was the first one which seemed weird to me because I knew the people loved him but it turns out he withdrew his name from consideration every year before that.
S12: I don’t I don’t I’m sorry I don’t know.
S15: I don’t know that to be true he just seemed that he was the most popular driver. He was the most popular but there was this fan favorite voting award and now is the only time he ever won and your brother won a number of years.
S13: So the point is that he cultivated his persona as the intimidator and not only did he cultivated it was true on the track but then he took a liking to you what did what do you think he saw in you that made of all the drivers out there say I’m going to expand my team beyond my son and I’m going to tap you who’s never even want to race yet.
S12: Yeah he. We were friends for a long time we we first encounter on the track was in 1985 in the southern five hundred and I laid in the race rookie kid just making one of his first handful of starts drifted out of my line in the Dales way and instead of Rick and me he he drove inside of me and pointed his finger and I said Oh no I really messed up here and I think the reason why I didn’t rat me was he respected or appreciate the fact that you know I hadn’t just been handed the keys to the family car. I’d worked my way to NASCAR. I was running in the cup series and he I think he appreciated that. And throughout the 80s our friendship grew even to the point where he has a Bush team on Saturday at a smaller league team and he let me drive that car a couple of times for him. And all throughout the 90s as our friendship but continue to grow. Spending more time together he would always say to me you would win if you drove for me. Come down on my team and I’ll put you in victory lane. And I told him I said Great. You know what we could do it. I’m ready. But it took till 2001 when when he finally put all the pieces together to expand his his two car team to a three car team. And I was the third driver. And throughout that winter all during the off season it was the best time of my life. I had a beautiful new baby girl the family was fine. I was going to Dale Earnhardt Incorporated his big shop and I was listening to Dale talk about how we were gonna win races and you know I didn’t care that I was 0 4 for 62. And I think that’s a great tribute to Dale. I woke up February 18th 2001 and I told my wife I told my family I told my friends I said they ain’t beating me today. It isn’t happening. I’m going to win this race. Had you ever gone to the race with that attitude before. No. I’m sure over the years there had been days when I thought that and and I wouldn’t line up I wouldn’t think maybe I was the favorite but I knew I would have a chance to win at times throughout my career. But this was different. This was me having to wander off an hour or so before the Daytona 500 too to a quiet spot and say okay you’ve got this. Just don’t screw it up. Don’t be too aggressive early. Just be patient. Let the race come to you. I. I had it all the way down to you know to to that detail that I was I was that good and I was gonna be in a position to win the race and and with 30 laps to go there was a huge rack on the back straightaway and we had to go under red flag and we stopped on the front straightaway for the red flag while they cleaned up the debris on the back. One two three. I was first Dale Junior a second and Dale was third and after the restart I got to the front and Dale Junior pushed me and Dale senior was behind Dale biting off a swarm of car.
S8: Well that’s the thing that I wonder about because I’ve read a lot about the event and I knew that you had won that race and that was the race he had died but was it well known what Dale senior’s tactic was which was essentially to play interference for his son and his driver you and Dale Junior Seau and Talladega in 2000.
S16: That race was in October. NASCAR implemented new rules and what it basically did was made the cars more dirty or aerodynamically. So they’re putting off a bigger wake. They’re in the back. And NASCAR’s goal with those rules were that the cars would run closer together there could be better drafting and better passing and if that race and Talladega with about four laps to go four or five laps to go Dale was running 18th and he got hooked up with another driver named Kenny Wallace who got on his back bumper and they just hit Kenny pushed him everywhere Dale went Kenny went with them and Dale won that damn race. And during the off season and part of the talk was with the rules we’re gonna have for the 2001 Daytona 500. We gotta work together we got to use our team to push each other to the front and as recently as Friday before the 500 on Sunday that year he grabbed me and brought me in his trailer and said this is this is how it’s gonna do whoever whoever gets to the front yeah first is gonna be the guy that leads and I’m gonna push and Dale Junior is gonna push or you push if you’re in that position. So that was our strategy for the day because of the rules. So what you’re saying is the moment that he tapped you was the exact moment when NASCAR had become more of a team sport. Well for those events for Daytona and Talladega you’d always look for drafting help but he took it to another level.
S13: It also seems funny that Dale Junior in your documentary Paul seemed pretty skeptical of this tactic. Well I was as well. You went because you’d read they’d never really seen it in racing before to that degree.
S16: Plus when we had that when we had that red flag with 30 to go I look in my mirror and I’m like Damn this is exactly how he said it would be. Yeah there he is push. Then I’d looked in the mirror and never really had a conversation with Dale Junior about any of this. Like it wasn’t a big team meeting. I’d looked in the mirror and I thought I wonder if he told Dale Junior this plane good. Is he going to be on my team. I mean are we all in this together really or not.
S13: Yeah. Now do you think that there was in terms of the dynamic you were friends but he was born in 51 you were born in 63 and Dale Junior was born in 74. So you right in between father and son in age. Do you think he looked at you as a peer as a younger brother or a father and son maybe a second chance to have a different kind of relationship that he did with his own son who’s in a lot of ways it seems to have a different mentality between the two.
S12: Ernie arts Yeah I don’t know about that. I just always thought of him as my friend. You know I would if I had a question or if I needed to know something about if I had a tough decision to make hacky fix me up with my my wife who’s the mother of our beautiful child it just just a buddy. And I think I think he mainly thought that I’d done a I was a good driver and I’d done a crappy job of managing my career right and he was going to take that role over. And so obviously winning the Daytona 500 and getting that trophy that was something that was so special to me. But I tell you during the off season I was thinking about how cool it would be when I didn’t win to have Dale on my side to say Okay here’s where you screwed that up and this is how we’re gonna do this and this is what the car needs in order for you to be able to have that that half success. And so my favorite thing as I think about looking forward to the 0 1 season was was the post race meetings being able to set with him and listen and learn and be a better racer. And unfortunately we never had never had one of those.
S8: And just to just to think I just I look back and wonder what might have been what does it feel like to go 0 4 460 to a psychologically but B could you give me a sense of the economics of it.
S16: Is it like golf like you finished third it’s a pretty good prize money and this is the deal on that. When I started I just didn’t have a car that was capable of winning and then so that’s a couple of years then we get our cars better and we get close to winning. And you know you race a Saturday race and you beat everybody. You win when one of those the same guys at some of the same guys that went on Sunday you’re in that race. Mm hmm. Or think about this. You finished second a few times and you beat everybody but one guy right. I I’m gonna I’m gonna get that sure. I was determined I was gonna get there and I did not that did not beat it out of me getting having those losses.
S14: I I was certain that it was gonna work out one day the way you presented the the cavalcade of I guess losses or non wins like a lap counter visually it was was well done by the way you know when we were looking at that for 62 I had to try to find a dramatic way to do it without spending the same beat 50 times or 100 times right 400 times. So we came up with this montage idea and we tried to show the frustration and how close he was in second place and wrecks and unfortunate things that happened but I really felt the story was more about Michael and his relationship than it was about him and Dale and fate and not giving up. Mm hmm. I was a little worried at the beginning. Here’s a real life guy very articulate he’d written a book. He had a vision of his life. Was he going to try to say well I want to shape history. Yeah but he didn’t. I mean he had great comments things that didn’t work. Technical and structural. So it was really not just a relief but it was a joy to work with a subject who also at times said well I guess you kind of know what you’re doing so I’ll trust you.
S15: But this really bothers me or this person I don’t think I really argued with Paul about anything there is a few things that I didn’t argue with him but I just said that ain’t going in there. And there were some things there was no argument because I want to know that there was was one in Jenin just a couple of pictures of of moments that I didn’t think were hungry or just something that you know didn’t fit into the timeline just minor things. Yeah.
S12: So anything that had to do with structure or creativity the reason being is when I wrote the book back in 2011 I wrote it with a gentleman named Ellis Henican. I would I would tell him stories and he would write them down Yeah and then he’d say I don’t know where it goes yet we’ll fit it in somewhere. He did a really good job of that and he would hand me back the chapter. He says this is what we’ve talked about last week. What do you think. And I would read it I’m like I didn’t say that. And he said Yes you did. I recorded it. That’s where I got this from. I said well that’s not what I meant. Okay. And I would take his chapter of nicely printed paper with typed words on it and in the margins I would add and take away and write it in my with with an ink pen write it the way I would say it. And at first it was really getting on his nerves. But then after a while he’s like yes I kind of see this. And if you read the book it sounds like you’re talking to me. And I wanted the documentary to be exactly the same way. Now obviously I couldn’t control what Dale Junior would say or Mike Keltner or Richard Petty but what meant a lot to me was that all of those individuals that I think mattered in the in the story for the documentary they were all a part of it. And I really it. I could have had this documentary if Dale Junior said I can’t do it right. That wouldn’t make any sense. And the fact that he did it and all the people that we thought were important to the story at the time we’re in it. With with us that meant the world to me.
S8: Paul Talib is the director of blink of an eye. Michael Waltrip is front and center and check out this documentary about the worst day of the best day of someone’s life. Thank you gentlemen. Thank you. Blink of An Eye is available right now on iTunes.
S9: And now the spiel part of a policy proposal being a good idea or a bad idea is if people support it. Duh you’re saying but I’m here to say no duh. You want to go through this a little bit. OK. Da no da da. No da. Anyway I’m actually mean something a little different from the very plain fact that an idea that’s unsupported will be very hard to pass or even the fact that an unsupported idea will imperil the very election of the candidate who’s championing it. Which brings me to Elizabeth Warren and health care. She obviously thinks that fifty two trillion dollars in spending over 10 years is a good idea because it will lead to a better health care system for more Americans. And that it’s worth the risk of passage and also the risk of friction along the way. She could very well be right if we lived in Norway New Zealand or Canada a place where the populous was more or less ready to put up with the uncertainty and the pain. Yes a little bit of pain a little anxiety if everyone were basically all pulling on the same side of the rope in this tug of war. The irony is New Zealand Canada and Scandinavian countries are pretty functional when it comes to health care. Very functional. So they don’t need to all get on board and do the heavy lifting of making this dream possible in this dream. To be clear is the would be the most ambitious government run health care system in the world. What troubles me is that Warren and not so much Warren. But her most vocal backers act as if critics of the plan or even those with questions of the plan are liars or cowards or sexist or acting in bad faith or some other combination of traits that all add up to disqualification for even commenting on the plan.
S4: All these reasons why we shouldn’t listen to the critics who don’t get it who are putting up smoke screens or is the big one who are not daring to think big to think bigger than they even think they can think when someone doesn’t agree with your big plan. They’re not daring to think big but when you don’t agree with someone else’s big plan you’re being cautious prudent risk averse maybe even sane a little sane like sanity.
S9: If Warren’s plan which would mean a doubling of the deficit. Yes even with personal expenses going down. If it were popular I would say let’s go for it. I would say let’s double the deficit and trust that people have bought in and will look at their own savings and look at their tax bill and say because they don’t hate it and they’re not blinded by hatred or worry and they will say yes this is worth it this is worth my taxes going up. But I live in America. I see how things work. I see how they don’t work even when they really do work. Elizabeth Warren is acting as if our system isn’t riven by polarization acting as if our system is one where voters put aside their politics when it comes to a clear eyed assessment of their pocketbook.
S1: But every bit of evidence contradicts that idea of America.
S9: From the day before Election Day to a couple months after Election Day the American economy did not change but Americans opinion of the economy absolutely flipped in one’s state a swing state in Wisconsin GOP voters were asked in October. Couple weeks before the election whether the economy had gotten better or worse over the past year and they said worse. By a margin of 28 points they were asked the same question after Trump won and they said better by a margin of 54 points not the outlook. The actual economy an eighty two percentage point swing. And it’s not just Republicans. So Michigan another pretty important state. They do the consumer expectations index. This is not just a state is the country right. So Republicans. Their number was sixty one point one a month before the 2016 election that is depths of a recession numbers where we’re out way out of the recession by then. All right. Republicans are saying sixty one point one Democrats were at ninety five point four which is pretty close to the highest it was when Bill Clinton was in office. OK. Couple months after that Republicans expectations were at one hundred twenty two point five which is as crazy high as it can be. And the Democrats were lower than the Republicans had been in October. It all adds up to the idea. What I’m trying to say with this is that there are lots of people in America are who are just destined it’s just bite by now in their DNA or at least wired into their thinking that they are going to hate the Elizabeth Warren health care plan ok. You say that’s fine. Lot of people hated Obamacare it was still good for them but Obamacare was passed with at least the notional idea of reaching out to those people and not telling them they’re wrong and they’re idiots but telling them give it time please give a patients.
S1: We understand we tried to get your people on board but it’s not just the Republicans who are against the Elizabeth Warren plan. It’s also moderate Democrats who are really scared of the plan. It’s also center right Democrats and some center left Democrats. So Elizabeth Warren wants to double government spending based on a plan that everyone is totally untrue except Republicans the center right the center and the center left I mean let’s just hope it’s a brilliant unmistakable success immediately right out of the gate when we’ve just demonstrated that in America there is no such thing as an unmistakable success.
S17: I think now of former Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin who by the way he supports Bernie and Warren’s plan he tried to adopt Bernie’s plan in his little laboratory of democracy Vermont which is Bernie’s also. It did not go well.
S18: He went to Harvard and he shared some lessons learned to move from a premium driven system to a tax based system. You have to have an eleven and a half percent payroll tax you’re going to have a top nine point five percent income tax on top of our current state income tax. I don’t think that was even the biggest problem the biggest problem was legislators are quietly saying to me Hey governor right now you have cost for the last 20 years that have gone up in health care seven or eight percent on average a year for over 20 years. Are you telling us that we’re gonna have to raise taxes seven or eight percent every year. And I couldn’t with a straight face turn to them and say No we’ve got this figured out there’s going to be so much cost containment immediately you won’t have to do that.
S17: But that is what Elizabeth Warren is saying with a straight face and realize that the politicians asking the governor these questions in Vermont were politicians from Vermont not Ted Cruz Mike Lee Mitch McConnell and name your fourth horseman of the sick apocalypse Shumlin who I guess wasn’t consulted or listened to in any way said that politics sank him. And I think Elizabeth Warren is acting as if politics any politics at all just don’t exist. And if they exist there’s something to be rebutted rather than acknowledged. But Shumlin had to deal with politics and a public. And remember they were Vermont politics and they the public was comprised entirely of people from Vermont.
S18: It’s very tough to make the sale to legislators and to constituents hey this is a great thing you’re finally giving up health care is a right not a privilege but you can have tax rates that are quite high replacing premiums. So it’s not money and not spending now but there’s winners and losers.
S17: I don’t think Elizabeth Warren and her defenders more her defenders than her are trying to make the sale. I think she’s appealing directly to the section of the electorate that already agrees with her which is fine. It’s called playing to your base. Maybe want to grow your base with passion try to win them over intellectually what I think is happening is that her surrogates at least are blaming and shaming anyone who’s skeptical. What’s the point of not thinking big actually she said that not surrogates. I’m also especially worried that lots of her loudest defenders of this plan scoff absolutely scoff at any concern for the legitimacy of a too high deficit being a thing that you should be worried about that has become an absolute punch line on the left. Akin to fretting about Y2K that there is any such thing as a deficit that’s too big. I do wonder I think back to Shumlin and I wonder if his talk which was titled in pursuit of a single payer plan lessons learned. I wonder if anyone learned any lessons. I do think Governor Shumlin might have also given a warning which will go unheeded a prediction of how the Warren plan might play out if Warren is actually able to get elected.
S18: Most politicians who had a political career would have gone out and said We’ve done the research. Here it is. This is what it would cost. This is how we should do it. I believe in single payer. Legislature go pass it and it would have died in the legislature quickly and the governor would have said that as legislators are so incompetent they’ve got no guts why can’t they pass single payer is the right thing to do. This is Bernie Sanders state. Why are we doing this.
S17: Well maybe that’s destined to be the future of the plan or maybe I’ll acknowledge maybe I’m wrong and that the momentum that sweeps Warren into office sweeps away any legislator who would raise an eyebrow or an issue or a concern or a piece of legislation and that all Americans would be on board on the same page and that the opposition will simply melt away like a tumor that shrinks and withers on its own.
S1: Maybe. But I tend to think if you believe that well then I have a health care plan to sell you.
S19: And that’s it for today’s show that just was produced by Daniel Schrader. More of a Cale Yarborough Junior Johnson Fireball Roberts fan just was also produced by Christina de Josiah. She’s not buying Donald Trump Junior’s goal goalpost moving concerns on the issue of family trusts improper e-mail storage whether there was a quid pro quo or nepotism in general. The gist you know. Between Bobby Allison Bobby Isaac and Bobby la Bonnie why do you need any other favorite NASCAR driver. Just stick with the Bobby’s I say. You’ve heard Deborah Deborah and thanks for listening.