“One thing I worry about on the left is forgetting that we need to persuade others.”
Jon Favreau was President Obama’s chief speechwriter. In those days, he was a frequent critic of the political media, frustrated, as many in the Obama administration were, with its focus on conflict, on ephemera, on appearing even-handed even when reality was skewed.
Today Favreau is changing the media from the inside. He’s a co-host on Pod Save America and co-founder of Crooked Media, both of which have seen tremendous growth in 2017.
In this conversation — a condensed and edited transcript of a discussion we had on my podcast — we talk through the first year of the Trump White House (“a day-to-day shitshow”), the Democrats he’s watching for 2020, his concerns about the left (“we need to take the time to persuade other people of what we believe”), and the rot he sees in the Republican Party.
As always, you can listen to the whole conversation on my podcast, The Ezra Klein Show.
I have been more disappointed than I expected to be at how much party allegiance has protected Trump and kept congressional Republicans from exercising real oversight, from demanding competence from his appointees. One of my lessons out of this is that the emergence of very strong, very polarized political parties that act across institutions has done more to break down accountability, oversight, and checks in the system than I had thought.
I wasn’t as surprised about how the Republican Party has behaved toward Trump because, though I badly missed the ultimate prediction of who was going to win in the general election, I believed Trump was going to win the primary.
Having watched it from my perch at the White House during the Obama administration, I thought the Republican Read More Here