Garrett Mason Political Analyst on Political Brew

Political Brew Appearance

Garrett Mason on Maine’s Political Brew on WCSH News Center Maine discussing the latest on the Israel-Hamas War, the House Speaker Election, and Council Drama in Lewiston, ME. Watch full video here and transcript is below.

Israel-Hamas War

President Joe Biden addressed the nation this week as the war in Israel rages on. Biden vowed to support Israel while also noting a desire to show empathy towards Palestinians. In the coming days, Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine,  is expected to travel with other lawmakers to the region. 

ZACH: “The president is obviously walking a line here. Is he taking the right approach?”

KEN: “He is. And you know, when Brit Hume from Fox News says it’s the best speeches ever made as a president. That tells you something. It was a good moment for him. I think his foreign policy has had some ups and downs. This is a very tough situation for the United States. You have to show strong support for Israel because that’s what the population wants. But you have to have sympathy for the Palestinian civilians who got killed, as well as Israelis. So it is a horrible situation and certainly not a win win situation. And he has to keep our Middle Eastern allies together to stop a battle on more than one front. And he’s got to keep Israel at bay. Not an easy thing to do.”

ZACH: “Garrett, One of the best speeches ever given?”

GARRETT: “I think when you’re comparing Joe Biden against Joe Biden, that’s probably true. You know, I think whenever a president gives an address from the Oval Office, it’s very important to treat it with the respect it deserves. And so I have a lot of appreciation for the president going on TV, addressing the public and saying, you know, this is what I think and this is what we need to do as Americans. Now, that being said, I do have some things that I think I would disagree with or I would I would point to. I know in that speech that he gave last night, he said, you know, that the American leadership is the glue that is holding the world together. And I think that that glue is under some serious pressure or falling apart. You know, the Biden foreign policy has not been great. You look at the withdrawal from Afghanistan, for example. You know, we all have the visions of helicopters flying off the roof of the U.S. embassy there. We remember the Afghanis trying to get on the planes. You know, I think that was a moment where Joe Biden lost some of the confidence of our allies.”

Still No House Speaker

House republicans still cannot get the votes to lock in a speaker. Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, has failed to get the 217 votes needed after several rounds of voting. 

KEN: “He’s not going to get it doesn’t have to support the as he described the crazy aide or at least Kevin McCarthy describes him as that doesn’t want to isn’t going to support him. I think that it was a big mistake not to support Patrick McHenry having the expanded powers of a pro tem speaker of the House so they can get business done. I don’t know. He doesn’t really want to do that. But that’s you got to reset. The Republicans have to reset. Jim Jordan’s got to recognize that his tactics are not going to get him elected. He’s got to either withdraw his nomination or support the pro tem having to spend. Powers reset, come back in January, try it again. I’m delighted that that the Republicans are eating their own. I think this is great. Bring it on because the Democrats are not going to get blamed for this except by Kevin McCarthy. Sometimes. And so but it’s it’s not good government. And I think and I agree, no matter what side it’s on, you don’t want to see this dysfunction.”

GARRETT: “I think I think I totally agree with Ken in that, you know, it’s not responsible governing. You have to have a speaker. The Constitution is very clear on that. I. As far as the expanded powers go, I think there’s going to be some constitutional questions about that. I think Matt Gaetz is going to make sure that those are raised, you know, and some others as well. But you know, I think there is one thing that needs to be pointed out. I think, you know, you watch Hakeem Jeffries and you watch Nancy Pelosi stand back and say, we need regular order. We need regular order. And yet the 212 votes of I think the 220 something votes that were cast to remove Kevin McCarthy were from Democrats.”

KEN: “I agree with you. I don’t know why the Democrats didn’t vote to keep Kevin McCarthy. And I agree with you. I think they thought that they could negotiate and get some concessions from him by him coming back and being nominated again. That was a miscalculation. I agree with you. I don’t think they get blamed for it, but I think that was a misstep.”

Council Drama in Lewiston

Lewiston city councilors voted to oust the council president and another member this week. It comes after now former council president Linda Scott alleged four member violated state open meeting laws when discussing city issues at a local bar. 

GARRETT: “You know, I have a lot of thoughts on this. First off, I’ll say, you know, local government is probably the most difficult government that you can be involved with. And tempers flare, as you can see what happened there. You know, I think Councilor Stephanie Gelinas said it the best. I think she spoke to the Sun Journal. And when she was at the council meeting, you know, she said she was invited to that meeting at the cage in Lewiston, but she chose not to go because she holds herself to a higher standard. And I think as elected officials, as somebody who has been one, you have to maintain that higher standard than everybody else. I don’t I don’t know that I agree.”

KEN: “When you’re elected, you know that you know better than that. You don’t go to a bar with other members of the council and have a private discussion about issues. You just don’t do that. That’s that’s one on one politics, one on one. So I think it’s unfortunate. I think it was I think that her criticism was correct. And I think it’s very unfortunate.”