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Congressman Tim Ryan’s Pitch to Replace Nancy Pelosi as Democrat Leader in the House

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The Transcript:

HH: Democratic Party at an historic crossroads this week. Will they name Keith Ellison to the DNC chair and take the party further left? Will they retire Nancy Pelosi and put in my next guest, Congressman Tim Ryan of the Ohio’s 13th Congressional District? He’s a longtime friend, and as a friend, I hope he is in fact successful. But as a Republican, I hope he fails, because Nancy Pelosi is who I want to continue to represent the Democratic Party.

TR: (laughing)

HH: I just talked about this with Chuck Todd, and Tim, he said the Democrats ought to put you in the leader’s position, but he doubts they will. They’re kind of stuck.

TR: Oh, Chuck Todd, I wish you could vote in our caucus.

HH: (laughing) So what is your pitch? When you get up and talk to them today, I could do it for you. I could ghost write your speech, which is do you ever want to win again? That’s it.

TR: Yeah, well, the election’s not until, for two weeks, so there’s no speeches or anything at this point. But you know, we are at a point where we saw that the great blue firewall that we thought was Michigan, Wisconsin, even Minnesota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, collapse, because we failed to talk to working-class people about working-class issues. And you know, I think sometimes, we can get very heady, and we talk about job retraining, and workforce development and this kind of thing. People don’t want to learn how to run a computer. They want to run a backhoe, you know? They want to build things. They want to move dirt, you know, and then we’ve got to talk to those folks. And I do think I have a unique ability to do that, because I grew up where you grew up. I mean, my friends work in steel mills, friends I went to high school with. They work in the building and construction trades. You know, they build things. They work at factories. And if you don’t understand how to talk to those people, you’re never going to get them to vote for you. And really, over the course of the last few years, we lost touch with them, and that’s what happened.

HH: You know, Congressman Tim Ryan, I spent yesterday with James Carville, who’s a friend, and the day before with Juan Williams, who’s a friend. And with Juan, I was talking to the Restaurant Association group. Our buddy, our mutual friend, Sam Covelli, employs a whole bunch of people. And those people are in a part of the world where they need to get a first job. And there are a lot of obstacles to getting that first job and expanding those kinds of opportunities for them, that I don’t know that coastal elites understand how important it is to get jobs back into Ohio and Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

TR: Yeah, well, you know, it is interesting that a lot of the money comes from the coasts. And with that, I think, and because money dominates the process, I think a lot of time is spent in those areas raising money, and that’s less time you have to really be with and understand. You know, 90% of life is showing up and being there. And if you’re not there, you don’t quite get it. You can get it intellectually, but you don’t get it, and you’re got. And you know, you’ve just got to drive, I tell people, drive down Route 7 in Ohio. You know, go south on Route 7 and go down the Ohio River and see how these communities have been just hollowed out. and there’s been no strategy. I don’t think, certainly don’t think supply side economics is the strategy, and you know, huge government isn’t the strategy. What we’ve got to sit down and figure out is what’s the sweet spot? What’s that public-private partnership and those kind of big ideas to help drive investment into these communities that can be both helpful to Silicon Valley, you know, the back operations? How do we get those kind of jobs to communities like ours? Yeah, it’s going to take a little bit of government. I don’t apologize for that at all. But it’s going to take smart government, innovative government, and a new version of government.

HH: And here’s what scares me. Secretary Clinton, I believe, had she done my radio show once or twice, where I’m courteous to people I disagree with, would have won the election. She was insulated. She didn’t do what you’re doing right now, which is talk to all media. I’ve never had Nancy Pelosi on this show. Is part of your pitch that you’ll go anywhere and talk to anyone, and you’re a quarterback, you get knocked down sometimes? You’re not worried about it?

TR: Get one of your big linemen to pick you back up and go back in the huddle and call another play.

HH: Yeah.

TR: Absolutely. I mean, I think you know, when you look, we need a leader, if we’re going to take the House back, just strategically, you need a leader who in the next two years can go into red Congressional districts in red states and talk to people about a Democratic message that resonates with them. And you’ve got to go on Fox News. And you’ve got to go on Hugh Hewitt. I mean, there’s some that maybe you shouldn’t go on, just because they’re not going to give you a fair shot, but you certainly aren’t that, and get your message out, because if you believe in the message, and if the message is a uniting message, and if the message is an economic message, most people want to listen to you.

HH: Yeah, wish I could wish you luck, Congressman Ryan.

TR: (laughing)

HH: I want Nancy Pelosi back, but we’ll keep talking to him. Tim Ryan from Ohio’s 13th Congressional District, thank you, Tim.

End of interview.


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