Beltway Briefing Podcast

The Beltway Briefing is an ongoing series covering the news of the day and constantly-evolving state of play in Washington, D.C., hosted by GOP Strategist and former COO of TARP Howard Schweitzer, Democratic strategist and former member of the Obama-Biden Presidential Transition Team Mark Alderman, and former chief of staff to two attorneys general Blake Rutherford.

Recent Podcasts

Troubled Presidency?

Jan 16, 2022

After a year of promising to lower temperatures, seek unity and demonstrate competent leadership, President Biden has struggled. Unable to bridge the wide gap between moderates and progressives in his own party, he is ending the first year in office with arguably the worst week of his presidency: inflation hit a 40-year high; the Supreme Court blocked the centerpiece of his push to get more people vaccinated; he failed to win passage for both voting rights and his Build Back Better legislation, signature priorities of his first year; and talks with the Russians, aimed at avoiding war in Ukraine, broke off with no apparent progress. Many Democrats are calling for a reset, as they nervously look ahead to the November elections. With his poll numbers falling and his agenda stalled, how does president Biden prepare for Year 2 of his presidency? On the eve of the first anniversary of his swearing-in, Public Strategies’ Howard Schweitzer, Mark Alderman, Patrick Martin, and Kaitlyn Martin discuss the challenges Biden is facing and ponder whether he has a strategy for a course correction.

Have Americans Lost Confidence in Government?

Jan 10, 2022

Nearly two years into the coronavirus pandemic - with Omicron cases surging to record levels, hospitals overwhelmed, air travel disrupted, and widespread labor shortages - criticism and frustration are intensifying over the government’s Covid-19 response as the CDC’s muddy and often-changing guidance has only added to many Americans’ confusion. Meanwhile, recent surveys indicate that confidence in major U.S. institutions has edged down significantly, with over 80% of Americans saying they are worried about the prospects of American democracy and analysts connecting dysfunction in governance to deepening party polarization and Americans’ increased tolerance for political violence. On the anniversary of the January 6th violent attack on the U.S. Capitol, Public Strategies’ Howard Schweitzer, Mark Alderman, Patrick Martin, Towner French, and Tristan Breaux break it all down and ponder what it would take to bring the country back together, restore our confidence in government, and relearn the power of citizenship and community.

Beltway Briefing Holiday Edition

Dec 22, 2021

Build back … in 2022? Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) stunned fellow Democrats on Sunday when said he wouldn’t support his party’s ambitious climate and social spending bill, called “Build Back Better,” effectively striking a death knell to the centerpiece of President Biden’s economic agenda and sparking a blame game among congressional Democrats and White House officials for not reaching a consensus with the moderate-minded senator. Public Strategies’ Howard Schweitzer, Mark Alderman, Patrick Martin, Towner French, and Kaitlyn Martin discuss the uncertainty and intra-party tensions Democratic leaders are now facing as they look for a path forward on a key piece of their legislative agenda. And, as it’s now a tradition, our podcast co-hosts sing and recite their own Christmas carols, as they wrap up this year’s Beltway Briefing series and reflect on key political battles of 2021.

How Will December End?

Dec 12, 2021

The Senate on Thursday voted to approve a one-time exemption to the filibuster on raising the debt ceiling, capping off a months-long fight over the nation’s borrowing limit. Earlier in the week, the House overwhelmingly passed a compromise version of the FY 2022 National Defense Authorization Act, amid a push to get the measure to President Biden’s desk. As the holidays near and Democrats feel an increased sense of urgency to get their climate and social spending bill across the finish line, while Americans continue to worry about surging consumer prices, Public Strategies’ Howard Schweitzer, Patrick Martin, Towner French, and Kaitlyn Martin discuss Congress’ jam-packed December to-do list and remember Bob Dole, the iconic Republican senator who served the country in war and in politics with pragmatism, self-deprecating wit, and a bygone era's sense of common civility and compromise.

How Will Government Respond to Omicron?

Dec 5, 2021

On Friday, President Biden signed legislation to fund the government at the previous year’s fiscal levels through February 18, giving lawmakers more time to hammer out their differences and narrowly averting a government shutdown. Earlier in the week, citing the new and fast-spreading Covid-19 Omicron variant, the Biden Administration imposed new travel restrictions, as scientists race to determine just how virulent, transmissible, and responsive to vaccines Omicron is. On the heels of the November jobs report, which gave a muddled picture of an improving economy, Public Strategies’ Howard Schweitzer, Towner French, Kaitlyn Martin, and Tristan Breaux breakdown the stopgap funding bill and discuss the potential impact of the Omicron variant on U.S. businesses.

Where Do We Go From Here?

Nov 21, 2021

Ahead of the holidays, President Biden has some good news to be thankful for: the House finally passed the cornerstone plan of his agenda, the social spending and climate bill. On the other side of the Thanksgiving table, another huge challenge lies ahead for Democrats: convincing moderate Senators Manchin (D-WV) and Sinema (D-AZ) to sign onto the legislation. As Democrats fight over the scope of their policies and Republicans grapple with the influence of the former President, Public Strategies’ Howard Schweitzer, Mark Alderman, Patrick Martin, Towner French, Kaitlyn Martin, and Tristan Breaux break it all down, while guest-host Jim Davis provides a view on the growing divisions in Washington from Pennsylvania.

Inflation Fears and Biden’s Reality Check

Nov 14, 2021

President Biden will celebrate a victory tomorrow, signing the bipartisan infrastructure bill into law. But as the President heralds his accomplishments, he has also been running into a new economic reality, as inflation has surged 6.2%, the largest increase in 31 years. Not only the inflation fight could make it harder for Democrats to pass their social spending bill, but it also calls into question whether the Biden administration has a handle on this problem. The President acknowledged for the first time this week that inflation is “worrisome” – a response, perhaps, to the political reality, as new polls show Biden’s approval rating has ticked to a new low, largely due to a negative shift among Democrats and independents. As the holidays approach and Americans are seeing higher prices on everything from gas to groceries, Public Strategies’ Howard Schweitzer, Mark Alderman, Towner French, and Kaitlyn Martin discuss President Biden’s performance and the state of the economy, which together send a stark warning to Democrats about their prospects in the 2022 midterm contests.

A New GOP Playbook?

Nov 7, 2021

The results in Tuesday’s elections all but confirmed the Democrats’ tenuous control of government and promoted further soul searching among Democrats about whether they misread the public’s desire for sweeping change. Meanwhile, GOP lawmakers are feeling bullish about their chances next year with the House and Senate both up for grabs. Is the pendulum swinging back towards the GOP? What do the results say about former President Trump’s influence on the electorate? As Democrats point fingers about their election losses, Public Strategies’ Howard Schweitzer, Mark Alderman, Towner French, Jerry Kilgore, Julia Hammond, and Tristan Breaux discuss what lessons both parties should take from the results.

All Eyes on Virginia

Oct 31, 2021

As President Biden gathers with G20 leaders in Europe to tackle Covid-19 vaccines, supply chain woes, corporate tax issues, and the climate crisis, his domestic agenda continues to be in flux and candidates make their final pitch in Virginia’s race for governor. Public Strategies’ regular hosts Howard Schweitzer, Patrick Martin, and Kaitlyn Martin are joined by Jerry Kilgore, a former Virginia State Attorney General and Julia Hammond, former legislative director for Virginia Governor McDonnell, to discuss the state of Virginia race, a potential preview of next year’s crucial midterm elections.

Deal or No Deal?

Oct 25, 2021

Racing to negotiate, Democrats scale back their plans to upgrade the nation’s social safety net and combat climate change. Ending the month of October without anything close to a deal would land another blow on a president already suffering from falling approval ratings that have not been helped by the Democratic infighting over his agenda. As Americans’ worry about the supply-chain back up ahead of holidays, pain at the pump, and rising inflation, Public Strategies’ Mark Alderman, Patrick Martin, Towner French, and Kaitlyn Martin discuss the high stakes for congressional Democrats and the White House to reach a deal in the week ahead.

The Stalemate Continues

Oct 10, 2021

Legislative standoffs are nothing new at the Capitol, but the scope and scale of the current stalemate is as dramatic as it is head-scratching: the drama over raising the country’s debt ceiling is over for now only, as the government faces another potential shutdown in December; House Democrats are holding up President Biden’s infrastructure legislation; and the Democratic Party is still at loggerheads over how to structure its domestic policy bills. Meanwhile, with less than a month until Election Day, the Governors’ races are getting tighter in New Jersey and especially Virginia, where public opinion about Democrats is weighing on candidate McAuliffe’s standing in the polls. As Democrats in Washington struggle to get anything done, Public Strategies’ Howard Schweitzer, Mark Alderman, and Towner French discuss what all the major players do and don’t want out of the domestic spending bills and opine on the two gubernatorial races.

Is the Left the New Power Block in Democratic Politics?

Oct 3, 2021

After a week of frenzy and public infighting - with Progressives holding firm and refusing to support the infrastructure bill and moderates pushing back on the price tag of the reconciliation package, House Democrats again delayed their vote on the Senate’s infrastructure bill as they failed to agree on the separate $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill. Desperate to find a compromise that can win favor in a narrowly divided Congress, White House officials have begun contemplating trade-offs that could result in reshaping or jettisoning key policies of President Biden’s agenda. As deadlocked Democrats go back to the negotiating table, Public Strategies’ Howard Schweitzer, Patrick Martin, Towner French, and Kaitlyn Martin discuss whether there is enough trust left for Biden to make significant cuts to his cornerstone legislation to win support from moderate holdouts without losing votes from the powerful progressive block.

Biden’s Economic Agenda in Peril

Sep 26, 2021

With progressive Democrats holding firm on domestic spending bills, moderates trying to trim the cost, and Republicans largely out of the action, lawmakers on Capitol Hill are hurtling toward a political showdown over President Biden’s vast and ambitious economic agenda. Adding to the challenge, they have only a few days left to adopt a measure to fund the government, preventing a shutdown in the middle of a pandemic. Ahead of one of the most important legislative weeks of Biden’s presidency, Public Strategies’ Howard Schweitzer, Mark Alderman, and Towner French discuss the fraught political landscape Congressional leaders are trying to navigate in the midst of a fast-ticking clock, where any misstep could have dire consequences for the national economy.

Show Me the Money

Sep 20, 2021

Congress is headed for a high-stakes showdown over the debt ceiling. The federal government could run out of funding authority next month if the two sides can’t crack a deal. Will the federal government enter yet another shutdown and create a debt crisis that would rattle global financial markets? Public Strategies’ Howard Schweitzer, Patrick Martin, Towner French, and Kaitlyn Martin discuss the political football around the debt limit and the status of president Biden’s $3.5 trillion spending plan, and ponder the road forward for the GOP following Thursday’s announcement from Rep. Gonzalez (R-OH), one of only 10 House Republicans who voted for Trump’s impeachment earlier this year, that he will not seek reelection.

9/11: 20 Years Later

Sep 12, 2021

A solemn nation on Saturday marked two decades since the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, a milestone that came less than a month after President Biden formally ended the war in Afghanistan launched in response to the attacks. Public Strategies’ Howard Schweitzer, Mark Alderman, Patrick Martin, Towner French, and Kaitlyn Martin talk about their memories of that calamitous day in American history and how the country has changed in the 20 years since, and discuss how August turned into a month of crises for Biden’s presidency – with the Taliban toppling Kabul and the Afghan government, the killing of 13 U.S. service members in Afghanistan, rising Covid-19 cases and deaths, persistent inflation concerns, declining poll numbers, and an uncertain path forward for his sweeping infrastructure agenda.

Beltway Briefing Special Episode – New York: A New Era in Albany

Aug 15, 2021

NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced his resignation on Tuesday, a week after State AG Tish James issued a scathing report detailing accusations of sexual harassment and one day after state lawmakers convened for impeachment proceedings. Underscoring both the tarnished brand of her soon-to-be predecessor and the public’s desire for a reset, Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) is signaling the start of a new era in Albany politics as she prepares to become the Empire State’s first female governor and the first governor since Grover Cleveland to represent Western New York. Public Strategies’ NY team, including Ken Fisher, Stuart Shorenstein, Katie Schwab, Rose Christ, and Jamie Ansorge, discuss Ms. Hochul’s experience and leadership style, how it stands in sharp contrast to Cuomo’s, and what the transition may mean for the future of New York City and State.

Ready, Set, Recess

Aug 8, 2021

A partisan stalemate is poised to drag out Senate efforts to advance the infrastructure bill for days, with GOP Sen. Hagerty (TN) vowing he will block attempts to speed up passage of the legislation. But the Senate still remains on track to conclude its work on proposed revisions, potentially by early next week, putting Democrats one step closer to delivering on President Biden’s economic policy priorities. Ahead of the August recess, Public Strategies’ Mark Alderman, Patrick Martin, Towner French, and Kaitlyn Martin break down the current status of the bipartisan measure and discuss other key political events of the week, including the questions about the fate of NY Governor Cuomo raised by the damning report released by New York AG.

Finally, Bipartisanship in the Senate

Aug 2, 2021

On Wednesday, just days before the House left for its August recess, Senate Democrats and Republicans banded together to advance an infrastructure proposal - including $550 billion in new spending, to improve the country’s aging infrastructure, overcoming months of political deadlock on one of President Biden’s signature economic policy priorities. Public Strategies’ Howard Schweitzer, Mark Alderman, Towner French, and Kaitlyn Martin break down the related developments, and discuss other key issues in Washington last week.

Special Edition : New York, New York

Jul 18, 2021

What happens in New York, the country’s largest and most diverse city, has national ramifications. What is the projected mayoral race winner Eric Adams’ relationship with NY Governor Cuomo, whose investigation by state attorney general’s office has upended his national reputation as he gears up to run for a fourth term next year? What about Adams’ rapport with President Biden, whose ambitious legislative agenda depends on his ability to hold onto Democrats’ slim majorities in the House and the Senate? How does Hakeem Jeffries, who chairs the House Democratic Caucus and has AOC in his backyard, and his fellow Brooklynite Chuck Schumer, help Biden pursue his plans? · In a special edition of Beltway Briefing, moderated by Ken Fisher, New York Public Strategies’ Katie Schwab, Stuart Shorenstein, Jamie Ansorge, and Rose Christ discuss what the NYC mayoral race means and provide other updates on New York’s political direction.

Progressive Populism

Jun 21, 2021

The Supreme Court on Thursday, by a 7-2 vote, left “Obamacare” intact and showed that the conservative majority doesn’t fall along partisan lines as much as the left thinks it does. In other big news this week, antitrust scholar and Big Tech critic Lina Khan – a prominent figure in the “New Brandeis Movement” - which espouses a 21st century version of the populist competition policies once championed by Justice Brandeis, was sworn in as FTC chairwoman, after President Biden elevated her to the agency’s top post. Is Biden, in his early policy moves, developing an answer to Trumpist populism? Public Strategies’ Howard Schweitzer, Mark Alderman, Patrick Martin, Towner French, and Kaitlyn Martin debate this week’s events inside the Beltway and ponder whether Biden is developing a new policy synthesis that is as an antidote to conservative populism.

Trump Redux?

Jun 13, 2021

President Biden is in Cornwall, England, where the G-7 annual economic summit began on Friday with a sense of new unity among the group and an endorsement of the theme that a renewed global alliance and commitment to multilateralism were ready to prove themselves capable. Yet, in an odd dynamic, it was the former president who was in the headlines of all top publications, an acknowledgment he is still the GOP’s engine — even as his actual voice has been diminished - and thus very much still a factor in their news cycle and political coverage. Are we are then really in the post-Trump era? Public Strategies’ Howard Schweitzer, Mark Alderman, Patrick Martin, and Towner French discuss Trump's continued importance in Republican politics and underscore the intensity of current crises around the globe, noting it extends beyond the former president and his efforts to undermine election results.

The Post-COVID Economy?

Jun 6, 2021

The U.S. appears to be trying to close the curtain on the pandemic, as COVID-19 cases continue to fall and increasing numbers of Americans are getting vaccinated. Combined with the latest jobs report, with the economy knocking the unemployment rate below 6 percent, many analysts are hoping for an economic boom this summer as a full “reopening” draws nearer. But is it really that simple, or are there signs that a broader shift might be remaking the economy in ways that make it harder to see the road ahead? Public Strategies’ Howard Schweitzer, Mark Alderman, Towner French, and Kaitlyn Martin discuss the impact of the jobs report on the biggest questions shaping the partisan debate, including Biden’s multitrillion-dollar spending push, and ponder whether we are seeing long-term behavioral shifts or short-term alterations on the road to economic recovery.

Culture Wars

May 23, 2021

Mask-wearing in the U.S. has become another flashpoint in the partisan culture wars. As a result, despite the recent change in CDC mask guidelines, which signaled a welcome shift toward pre-pandemic social norms yet left people across the country scrambling to make sense of the abrupt change, the debate about masks will almost surely continue. On Monday, the Supreme Court agreed to reconsider a controversial Mississippi abortion law. It will be a blockbuster case, which will thrust the court -- with a 6-3 conservative majority -- into the 2022 midterm election debate. Public Strategies’ Howard Schweitzer, Mark Alderman, Patrick Martin, and Kaitlyn Martin discuss the cultural aspect of the rapidly changing mask rules and ponder the implications of the Supreme Court’s decision to revisit an issue that still deeply divides the country.

Biden’s Reality Check

May 17, 2021

A president who prides himself on choreography and planning faced a string of unexpected events last week that showcased the need for political agility: from the Colonial Pipeline shutdown and the resulting surge in gas prices to a rapid escalation of violence in the Middle East, a spike in the costs of consumer goods, and new CDC mask guidance which, although welcome by most Americans, caught the President’s aides off guard and prompted a confusing rush in states to update their rules. Public Strategies’ Howard Schweitzer, Mark Alderman, Patrick Martin, and Kaitlyn Martin discuss the simultaneous foreign and domestic crises that amounted to a reality check for a president who has placed nearly all of his political capital in resolving longer-term issues, such as ending the pandemic and served as a reminder that any manner of crises can intervene to throw the trajectory off course.

GOP at a Crossroads

May 10, 2021

A months-long dispute over Republican principles among House leaders and across the broader GOP landscape is expected to culminate this week with a vote to remove Conference Chairwoman Liz Cheney from her position as the third-ranking House Republican. Meanwhile, Friday’s mediocre jobs report for April puzzled many analysts who expected hundreds of thousands of more new jobs and added fuel to arguments that no more government spending should be approved until the effects of the last package can be understood. Public Strategies’ Howard Schweitzer, Mark Alderman, Patrick Martin, and Kaitlyn Martin discuss the GOP leadership fracas and its impact on Biden’s agenda and address major questions about the economic recovery raised by the jobs report.

The New "New Deal"?

May 1, 2021

On his 99th day in office, Joe Biden pitched an ambitious plan to reshape America in his first major address to Congress, striking a decidedly optimistic tone and ushering in a new era of big government and big government spending. It was a historic evening, as for the first time in US history, two women were seated behind the president addressing a joint session of Congress, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Vice President Kamala Harris. Public Strategies’ Howard Schweitzer, Mark Alderman, and Patrick Martin discuss Biden’s populist, direct appeal to working-class Americans and break down his sweeping proposals which, despite broad bipartisan support among voters, face a partisan reality check.

Special Episode: NYC Mayor’s Race

Apr 26, 2021

The June 22 New York City Democratic mayoral primary, which will likely determine the City’s next mayor, is now less than two months away. Two Republicans and 12 Democrats are running to replace Mayor Bill de Blasio. The new mayor, to be chosen in the general election on Nov. 2, will inherit a city profoundly affected by the pandemic, racial and social inequality, and a spike in shootings. Despite this, New Yorkers are optimistic about their city’s future - with the right mayor. Public Strategies New York team – including Stuart Shorenstein, Katie Schwab, and Rose Christ, with moderator Ken Fisher, discuss the leading candidates and how endorsements and donations are helping to shape up the first New York City mayoral election with ranked choice voting.

Special Episode: Cannabis Legalization

Apr 17, 2021

In 2012, voters in Colorado and Washington made their states the first in the country to pass measures legalizing cannabis. At the time, 51% of registered voters polled said they supported legalization. On March 31 and April 7, 2021, New York and Virginia became the 15th and 16th state, respectively, to legalize adult-use cannabis for residents 21 and older. And a recent survey indicates that support for legalizing marijuana use in the U.S. is the highest it has ever been, as roughly seven in 10 adults surveyed recently said that marijuana use should be legal. Public Strategies’ multi-state cannabis team – including Mark Alderman, Patrick Martin, Ashley Allen, and Jamie Ansorge, discuss the rapid pace of cannabis law changes across the U.S. and provide an overview of the current legalization status by state – beginning with Illinois, New York, Virginia, and Pennsylvania. N.B. Under federal law, the use and possession of cannabis in the U.S. is illegal, by way of the Controlled Substances Act of 1970.

Conscious Capitalism

Apr 12, 2021

For decades, corporations have steered clear of politics. Now, however, there's more of an expectation for big businesses to speak out and weigh in on hot-button social issues, as reflected in their recent response to Georgia's new voting legislation. Public Strategies’ Howard Schweitzer, Mark Alderman, Patrick Martin, and Kaitlyn Martin discuss corporate America’s growing political activism and, as companies increasingly use their clout to speak out on social issues, argue that “conscious capitalism” is here to stay.

The Era of Big Government is Not Over

Apr 4, 2021

On the heels of the just-enacted $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief law, President Biden unveiled on Wednesday his $2 trillion infrastructure plan, a far-reaching program that he will seek to pay for with a substantial increase in corporate taxes. If his full set of proposals become law, they would mark a new era of ambitious federal spending to address longstanding social and economic problems. Public Strategies’ Howard Schweitzer, Mark Alderman, Patrick Martin, and Kaitlyn Martin debate the infrastructure plan, including the challenge Biden has in balancing his big goals and the growing national debt, and discuss corporate America’s willingness to criticize Georgia’s new voting law and otherwise speak out on social justice issues.

How to Talk to the Biden Administration

Mar 28, 2021

With President Biden’s cabinet confirmed, Public Strategies’ Howard Schweitzer, Mark Alderman, and Kaitlyn Martin discuss how to talk to the Administration, the political implications of the new Georgia voting law, and President Biden’s recent press conference.

What's Going On in New York

Mar 21, 2021

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo faces growing pressure to resign in the wake of numerous allegations of sexual harassment. The allegations, which followed a mushrooming scandal around the deaths of nursing home residents, are complicating other political priorities in the state including negotiation of the State Budget, leaving many to wonder how long it will take to complete four ongoing investigations, whether the Governor can maintain popular public support, and how long the three-term governor can hold on. Meanwhile, 2021 New York City mayoral race is heating up, as incumbent Bill de Blasio is barred from running for third term by term limits. The primaries, scheduled for June, will be the first New York City mayoral election to use ranked-choice voting, as opposed to the plurality voting of previous primaries. The new mayor will inherit a city reeling from Covid, high unemployment, surging gun violence, and an exodus of residents. New York Public Strategies’ Ken Fisher, Stuart Shorenstein, Katie Schwab, and Rose Christ guest-host today’s discussion and break down the state of New York politics.

The Rescue

Mar 13, 2021

On Thursday, President Biden signed the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan into law, cementing the first major legislative victory of his presidency that will set off a massive government rescue effort aimed at sending aid to millions of Americans. Is the bill, which had broad bipartisan public support but which no Republican lawmaker voted for, a blueprint for Biden’s legislative agenda? Public Strategies’ Howard Schweitzer, Mark Alderman, Patrick Martin, and Kaitlyn Martin debate the impact of the landmark legislation and discuss other political, economic and cultural issues that have dominated this week’s headlines.

Biden to the Rescue?

Mar 9, 2021

Since January 20, there has been a noticeable change of style in Washington: in sharp contrast with the previous administration, the Biden White House has been more calculable, with extreme message discipline and carefully managed appearances. Public Strategies’ Howard Schweitzer, Patrick Martin, and Kaitlyn Martin discuss whether, despite deep factors in our politics and society that make unity more difficult and the parties’ strong ideological, cultural, and geographical opposition – Biden can achieve success through his governing style.

Promise of Unity, Reliance on Partisanship

Feb 27, 2021

Public Strategies’ Howard Schweitzer, Patrick Martin, Matt Glavin, and Kaitlyn Martin discuss the contentious legislative negotiations over the proposed stimulus package and grade the new administration’s efforts during its first 30 days to meet the daunting challenge to balance Biden’s stated desire for bipartisanship with his sense of urgency to provide the much-needed relief to the economy. Matt provides a unique view of the events inside the Beltway from Chicago and Springfield.

Return of the Old-School Political Scandal

Feb 21, 2021

As an unprecedented winter storm crippled the Lone Star state’s deregulated electrical grid and triggered mass outages - leaving millions trapped without heat for days in freezing homes and putting nearly half of all Texans under a boil-water advisory, Ted Cruz, the junior senator from Texas, made a spectacularly ill-timed decision to leave with his family for a vacation in Cancun in the middle of the energy crisis. Speaking of government blunders, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has been trying to contain political fallout from revelations that his administration had concealed the full extent of nursing home-related deaths during the Covid pandemic. Public Strategies’ Howard Schweitzer, Mark Alderman, Patrick Martin, and Stuart Shorenstein discuss the impact of these scandals and whether they seem to indicate the return to old-school, rough-and-tumble, hardball-style politics.

Does Bipartisanship Matter?

Feb 14, 2021

In the midst of impeachment and the latest coronavirus relief package negotiations, Public Strategies’ Howard Schweitzer, Mark Alderman, and Kaitlyn Martin debate whether bipartisanship still matters if actions ultimately take place along partisan lines, and ponder whether President Biden is a transitional or transformational president.

Making Sense of the Biden Administration and GOP Power Dynamics

Feb 6, 2021

In the shadow of the former president, the GOP is struggling to find its footing, as it continues to wrestle with a deep cultural divide that has moved to the forefront of Republican politics. Meanwhile, the White House is forming a government that must battle a variety of simultaneous crises. Where is the true power in Washington? Public Strategies’ Howard Schweitzer, Mark Alderman, Patrick Martin, and Kaitlyn Martin break it all down.

Grading Biden’s First 10 Days

Jan 31, 2021

Facing twin public-health and economic emergencies, racial justice, climate change, and other urgent and compounding crises, President Biden is working with little, if any, political honeymoon. Since January 20, he has signed more than three dozen executive orders and directives aimed at addressing those crises. Public Strategies’ Howard Schweitzer, Patrick Martin, and Kaitlyn Martin grade the new administration’s first 10 days and discuss Biden’s daunting challenge to balance his stated desire for bipartisanship with his sense of urgency, as he wrestles with contentious legislative negotiations over his $1.9 trillion coronavirus package, a slow confirmation process for his senior team, and the Senate impeachment trial of his predecessor.

Can Biden Bring the Nation Together?

Jan 25, 2021

Joe Biden was sworn in as the 46th president on Wednesday amidst fear and uncertainty and facing a combination of overlapping and compounding crises. President Biden entered the White House hours after the historic inauguration and signed his first executive orders targeting Trump policies on immigration, climate change, racial equity, and coronavirus. Can Biden make the executive branch function effectively and will his appeals for unity bear fruit? Can Congress juggle the Biden agenda and an impeachment trial? Public Strategies’ Howard Schweitzer, Mark Alderman, and Patrick Martin try to answer these questions as they reflect on the most consequential people of the past four years and discuss the thicket through which Biden and his team are navigating in the first week of the new administration.

Upcoming Events

Recent Live Events

The Beltway Briefing Road to the 2018 Midterm Elections – Live Election Day Edition

This live election day edition of our Beltway Briefing Road to the 2018 Midterm Elections podcast, Howard Schweitzer, Mark Alderman, and Blake Rutherford give their final predictions and analysis before polls close. Will the Democrats take the House? Can Republicans keep the Senate? What does that mean for Washington going forward? 

Subscribe to Beltway Briefing Podcasts

Podcast Hosts