Transcript: I Can See Mexico From My Porch

Paul Orzulak: In a country more divided than it’s been in decades, can Americans on the left and right still talk with one another. Honestly, we don’t know but we’re going to try. This is Bipodisan. I’m Paul Orzulak, proud Democrat and former speechwriter to President Bill.
Mary Kate Cary: And I Mary Kate Cary, a proud Republican and a former speechwriter to President George H.W. Bush.
Paul Orzulak: On this week’s show we’re going to talk about the I word.
Mary Kate Cary: Infrastructure?
Paul Orzulak: No.
Mary Kate Cary: Investigations.
Paul Orzulak: No.

Mary Kate Cary:

The Eagles winning the Super Bowl?
Paul Orzulak: That’s just hurtful?
Mary Kate Cary: Come on, I love the Eagles.
Paul Orzulak:

No, we’re going to talk about the funest I word of them all, immigration. Back in 1790, in a speech to the House of Representatives during the very first Congress, James Madison said and I quote, “It’s no doubt very desirable that we should hold out as many inducements as possible for the worthy part of mankind to come and settle amongst us.” And in every single one of the 220 years since then right up to today in Congress we have fought over the question how do we decide who’s worthy. Mary Cate, I’m glad you were deemed worthy.
Mary Kate Cary: Thank you.
Paul Orzulak: What’s your immigration story, Mary Kate?
Mary Kate Cary:

So my dad’s side, my grandparents were born in Ireland and they came to the United States in about 1910 through Canada. My Grandmother ran a liquor store in New York with her two sisters and all three husbands left on the same night. And so my dad was raised basically by a single mom. Most of my family stayed in Ireland so I have more cousins in Ireland than I do in the United States.
Paul Orzulak: How many?
Mary Kate Cary: 72.
Paul Orzulak: No.
Mary Kate Cary: One of my uncles, Uncle Dan had 18 kids from two different mothers so that’s how I got to 72 cousins.
Paul Orzulak: Wow.
Mary Kate Cary: What’s yours?
Paul Orzulak: My mother’s side actually came from England in 1630 as part of John Winthrop’s fleet. He went on to be the first governor of Martha’s Vineyard, which never conveyed any property rights unfortunately.

Mary Kate Cary:

Can we come visit you this summer?
Paul Orzulak: My dad’s grandparents grew up in small towns next to each other in Poland, didn’t meet, immigrated through Ellis Island in 1923. Settled in towns next to each other in Springfield, Massachusetts and met at a Polish American dance and they were married for 60 some years.
Mary Kate Cary:

Wow. Always go to Polish American dances, you might meet Mr. Right. So joining us today are two friends of ours to talk about immigration. From the left is Moe Vela who was the first openly gay Hispanic man to serve in senior positions in two Democratic administrations, working for Al Gore and Joe Biden. He’s been named one of the 100 most influential people for Hispanics in the nation’s capital by El Tiempo Latino. I understand he was on the short list for People Sexiest Man Alive. Bradley Cooper beat him out at the last-
Moe Vela: Multiple times.
Mary Kate Cary:

From the right is Jean Card who was one of the first women in American history to write speeches for three different cabinet secretaries in one administration. Jean served as a cabinet level speechwriter in the George W. Bush administration writing speeches for the labor secretary, the treasury secretary and the attorney general. Today, Jean’s an opinion contributor for U.S. News and World Report and her freelance writing business is called Jean Card Ink. So Moe and Jean, welcome.
Moe Vela: Thank you.
Jean Card: Thanks guys, great to be here.
Paul Orzulak:

So we have a few ground rules for today’s conversation that we did want to mention. We’re not here filibuster. We’re not here to fight, we’re not here to shout, although mild elbows. We may interrupt you from time to time but we’re here to be honest, to listen and to learn and to hopefully show that red and blue doesn’t have to mean black and blue.
So Jean, let’s start. So what’s your immigrant story?
Jean Card:

[00:04:00] [00:04:30]
Gosh, I love listening to your stories. I have to tell you guys and I feel a little bit boring. My people are from England and came to New England, big deal. I actually love my husband’s family’s story more so I’m going to borrow from his family and that’s why I have the name Card by the way, so I’m Hudson, my maiden name. So the Cards apparently were poor navigators and they also came from England and they were coming across the Atlantic and they really wanted to go to Rhode Island and they ended up in as the legend goes in Cuba. There was an issue in Cuba with some women and some horses and they were asked to leave Cuba. They set sail again, again, poor navigators and they ended up on Block Island, Rhode Island. So they got pretty close.
And there was an issue there with the Native Americans and some women and some horses and the Cards were asked to leave Block Island. And then they finally made it to Rhode Island and they stuck here ever since.
Paul Orzulak: And ironically you own 50 horses today.
Jean Card: Exactly. It’s funny to know. I guess the story must be true because my husband is a terrible navigator.
Mary Kate Cary: D.N.A.

Jean Card:

It must be true. Although weirdly we went on vacation in Bermuda years ago and they’re all these Cards in Bermuda. So I think the story is wrong, I think mistakenly landed on Bermuda and then who knows. How people get here is fascinating, right?
Paul Orzulak: The plot deepens.
Mary Kate Cary: Moe, how about you? What’s your …
Moe Vela:

[00:05:30] [00:06:00]
The irony here is, unlike Jean’s family history and problem with women, as a gay man I definitely didn’t have any problem with women. My family, being a Latino American, so proud of my heritage and my culture much like most Latinos. I say most, I don’t want to get a bunch of ugly mail here but most Latinos as we all know, right, our history starts back in Spain in my case through Mexico which is very common. Over 70% of the Latinos in the United States have a very similar history. My family in the early 1800’s actually settled in South Texas on the Rio Grande border and had a hundred thousand acre ranch, which in Texas that’s considered a small little parcel of land.
[00:06:30] [00:07:00] On that ranch, the Vela family had, we had our own church, our own Catholic Church, we had our own school and the Laguna Seca Ranch, still exists today. It’s been an incredible immigrant story for me in the sense that the Vela family were a pioneer family, we’re pioneers down in South Texas in what we call the Rio Grande Valley. You know what, I know I’m supposed to talk about my immigrant story but I just want to say one thing to both Mary Kate and to Jean as we start this incredible exchange. You both worked for two gentlemen that have roots in my home state of Texas, two gentlemen that I have to tell you I admire and respect at the utmost levels because they represent in many ways what we’re missing in today’s discourse, which is statesmanship and they’re both such honorable men and I’m proud to call them my fellow Texans. And so I want to say that up front as we start a discourse here in this incredible time together.
Mary Kate Cary: Wow, thank you.
Paul Orzulak: So Moe, did I understand, could you see Mexico from your porch in sort of a southern version of Sarah Palin?
Moe Vela:

Yes. Mexico was a way of life for us. We’d cross over back and forth to just have lunch. You could just go have lunch come back and it was like a normal course of business for us.
Mary Kate Cary: Can you do that today?
Moe Vela: No. You can obviously. Technically you can but it’s now become unfortunate with the cartels and the danger involved. You don’t see it happening as much but people would come over shop, go back and vice versa.
Mary Kate Cary: And it wasn’t a problem.
Moe Vela: Not a problem. It was just normal life for us.
Mary Kate Cary: Let’s start off at sort of the 30,000 foot level. What do you think of Moe when you think of immigration? What comes to mind?

Moe Vela:

I think of America. I really do. I think of the fact that every day that I get on the Red Line Metro train or I get in my car and drive on the beltway or go to my casino and play video poker that everybody down the row came from somewhere and that their ancestors all came from somewhere and that we’re such an incredible melting pot. This country is so amazing when you put immigration in context. So that’s what I think of. I think of, wow, everyone has a story. Everyone has an immigrant story, everyone came from somewhere except our Native American brothers and sisters obviously.
So that’s what I think of. I think of all of us coming together.
Mary Kate Cary: Melting pot.
Moe Vela: Yeah, I really do.
Mary Kate Cary: How about you Jean?
Jean Card:

I couldn’t agree more really. I work closely with, one of my former bosses when I was a speechwriter in government is Hector Barreto. He was the head of the Small Business Administration, now he runs the Latino Coalition. Hector and I talk a lot about how he grew up because we both grew up in small business families but his was an immigrant family and mine was a few generations down the road. His father always talked about America and his father was a Mexican immigrant, talked about America as a stew pot. He wasn’t quite melting pot, he was stew pot. I’ve always liked that because it was like you can sort of still identify who comes from where but the flavors are blending nicely and they all contribute to each other. But I agree very much with Moe, maybe that’s our first point of commonality here today is I do, when I think immigration I think it’s all of us.

Paul Orzulak:

We have had long running history with moments when immigration was difficult in this country. In the 1800’s, early 1900’s and during the wars. What’s the nature of that you think? What would you say is just the …
Mary Kate Cary: Going to the James Madison quote. Back to the founding of our country.
Paul Orzulak: What’s the cause of, you know, our old [inaudible 00:09:53] used to say, it’s fear of the other, it’s fear of the other that drives most of the conflicts in the world.
Jean Card: You’re asking why it’s so contentious?

Paul Orzulak:

Why it’s been so contentious for so long. Every generation of immigrant own the country and then everybody else coming in becomes other when you become we and it seems to repeat itself over and over.
Jean Card: Are we saying it’s become more contentious or there’s always been a little grit to it?
Paul Orzulak: Always been.
Jean Card: Always been.
Mary Kate Cary: Do you agree with that?
Jean Card:

I suppose I do. It hasn’t been my personal experience and maybe I just grew up in a generation where there was less grit or I lived in an area where there weren’t a lot of immigrants. But I do think I suppose it has to do with the other. The big picture is that America has melted and blended. I look at the big picture of it. I know that there’s individual pain. Mary Kate that I’m sure can talk about how Irish people were treated.
Mary Kate Cary: I have a sign in my office that says “Irish need not apply.”
Jean Card: Exactly.
Mary Kate Cary: Just to remind myself how tough it was for my ancestors.
Jean Card:

Every group has pain, right? Women have had pain. Jobs for women, something that was true, a generation ago.
Mary Kate Cary: Still going on.
Jean Card: Exactly.
Moe Vela:

To your point Paul, I think there’s a reason there’s a Chinatown and a Little Italy and an Irish section of Boston and Barrios and inner city. It’s because of this grit as Jean has said and this contentiousness. Every time there’s somebody that doesn’t look like us, talk like us, sound like us or is perceived not to believe or feel like we do, I think in the American experience they’re almost treated with some semblance of fear. It’s just fear. It’s I don’t know them, I don’t know that culture, I don’t know that language so therefore somehow it’s threatening to me.
Jean Card:

But sometimes it turns around too. One generation to the next, let’s take Mary Kate’s Irish ancestors. So they’ve been here a generation or two and then perhaps they looked at immigrants from another country and said, we had to deal with this, now it’s your turn. Is there a little bit of that sometimes?
Mary Kate Cary: I think there’s a lot of that.
Jean Card:

One of my best friends is a Cuban American and although she was born here she spoke nothing but Spanish until she went to school and she learned English through immersion and I know that she has a little bit less sympathy for people who expect to be spoken to in Spanish in school because she showed up with zero English and she learned English. She’s not quite an immigrant but a first generation who says hey, it was tough for us, it was even tougher for my parents and now it’s going to tough for you but it’ll be worth it. What do you think Moe>
Moe Vela:

[00:13:00] [00:13:30]
I’m a firm believer in assimilation because that’s what melting pot really means in my eyes. I have a very passionate conviction about the fact that Mary Kate should never ever lose her Irish roots and her heritage. And to celebrate what’s best of your cultural history and your ancestors and so I agree Jean, it’s funny you would bring that up about your Cuban American friend. I’m a fourth generation Texan. So my family came here in the 1830 right, on the Vela side. Can you believe this, in 1970, I was not allowed to speak Spanish on my elementary school campus on the border of Texas.
Jean Card: Interesting.
Moe Vela: We’re 70% Hispanic in my hometown. We were sent to the principal’s office if we spoke Spanish on our campus. So there’s extremes. So in other words, I think there’s a way to create this American family and not be threatened by the fact that if Mary Kate wants to talk about her Irish heritage, I want to learn about it.
Mary Kate Cary: And vice versa.

Moe Vela:

Let’s be honest here. I’ll go drink with Mary Kate any day, the Irish they know how to tip it back a little bit.
Mary Kate Cary: Well, Texans aren’t so bad themselves.
Moe Vela: I know girl, let’s go. I like to find out what’s really so enriching about everybody’s heritage. I don’t find that scary, I find it exciting.
Jean Card: There’s nothing you’re interested in here. The English, boring. So boring, I can’t.
Mary Kate Cary: Well, the whole horses-
Jean Card: Women issue, there’s something there.

Moe Vela:

You’re wicked smart, how’s that.
Jean Card: Wicked smart.
Moe Vela: Wicked smart.
Paul Orzulak:

I had a conversation with my dad this week about growing up in New England raised by his Polish immigrant my great grandparents, his grandparents. He didn’t even realize what he was describing but the Catholic Church in our town, he said everybody would go on Sunday for mass but during the week there was a Polish night and a German night and an Italian night and an Irish night and a French night and everybody would celebrate their own culture and then they’d all come together on Sundays to …
Moe Vela: For one hell of a party.
Mary Kate Cary: Wow, that’s really interesting.
Paul Orzulak: Toss the bread and wine.
Jean Card:

No, there’s something really lovely about it. I grew up in central Vermont. I grew up in Montpelier, the capital of it. Next door is a town which we pronounce Barre, which probably the French would say Barre but anyway. Barre, Vermont, the granite capital of the world has a ton of Italian Americans. They came for the granite quarries, to mine the stone and cut the stone. And through my father’s generation at least, the Italian American traditions were strong and everyone was invited. And my father with his purely English roots would go and enjoy all the traditions, he still talks about the [inaudible 00:15:44]. I don’t know what that means, I don’t know how to spell it, I hope I’m saying it correctly. But it was about a bunch of Italian guys and any friends that wanted to come along, come and eat a lot of Italian food.
It’s nice, right? Exposure to other cultures but in a way that everybody enjoyed it.

Moe Vela:

And that says a lot about your dad and it says a lot about the American experience because he wasn’t scared.
Jean Card: And where I’m from too, keep in mind, the dark people in Vermont are Italian and French.
Paul Orzulak:

We have we have laws about that. Woodrow Wilson spoke about the difference in European cultures back in 1910. Imagine if we had social media when all of this was happening in the early part of the century or Irish need not apply or No Chinese need apply in the 1920’s. Imagine if we had social media then and everything that we have now where you constantly inflame those things rather than trying to find commonality. We talk about immigration in political context all the time and not in the context of families and friends and our life stories. Jean, I’m wondering, if you could give an honest take at what the Democratic position is on immigration right now and how it’s sort of reflecting the country we have now. How would you describe it?

Jean Card:

I do want to start by saying a little bit of pox on both our houses because I think the issue has turned into a political wedge and there’s emotion involved and both sides are fanning the flames of emotion and fear and that’s unfortunate and then we get into an element of accusations of racism. There’s a lot that’s not helpful on both sides. I kind of like to start with a pox on both our houses.
[00:17:30] I would say the cynic in me, the Republican in me would say that the Democrat side I feel you guys want more voters, you want more Democrats, right? I’m just going to say it. That’s what we perceive your side to be the true deep hidden motivation is to get more people who are going to vote for your candidates.
Moe Vela:

Wow, that’s really fascinating, I’m serious. First of all, I concur on scolding both parties and I concur 150,000 percent on the fact that too much emotion has made this a wedge issue. I am being as sincere as I could ever be in my lifetime to tell you the voter thing is the furthest thing from my mind, my heart, my soul on this issue. I didn’t even think about it till you just said it to be really honest with you.
Jean Card: I believe you.
Moe Vela:

I swear. That’s interestingly good to hear because it helps me understand what might be threatening from our side to you. Do I get to answer that in regard to what I think about the-
Paul Orzulak: Yeah.
Moe Vela:

I have to tell you, here’s what I’ve come to a conclusion, this is for my own sanity and my own emotional well being at this point. I have decided that I cannot assume that racism is the reason the Republicans have their stance, I just can’t. I have too many friends that are Republicans who are equality minded and inclusionary and who support just fundamental human decency. And so, I know that they would never advocate or promote or adhere to a racist philosophy.
[00:19:30] Unfortunately for the Republican Party, this is my perception, I think it has become a very divided party. It’s two different parties now really. There’s the Trump party, which is not the Republican Party of George H.W. Bush or a George W. Bush or Bob Dole or any of the other Republican statesman who have contributed so profoundly to our nation. So I think it’s two different ones.
[00:20:00] If you look at the Trump party I think unfortunately it’s become an immigrant stance that is being perceived rightly or wrongly by actions and words that have been said on their part that are just flat out hateful and divisive. There doesn’t seem to be a compassionate conservatism that we once heard from the Republican Party, which I will be honest with you I could adhere to. It sounds like a million dollars right now. That compassionate conservatism please bring it back. That’s the Republican Party I think we could find common ground on and I think that’s what we’re doing right now. We haven’t disagreed on anything yet.
Jean Card:

Well, I’m really curious whether if we went back to the immigration plan that George W. Bush tried to move forward if we wouldn’t have tremendous agreement on it today. I’m quite curious about that. Does anyone know whether anyone in Congress has sort of dusted off that legislation?
Mary Kate Cary: I haven’t heard of that.
Paul Orzulak: And Jean, how would you speak, what’s the difference between-
Mary Kate Cary: How would you describe that plan?
Jean Card: I think it was considered pretty balanced because it was a mixture of security. There was a path to citizenship and there was probably expansion of work based visas and that kind of thing. So it was considered sort of common sense balance package. If anyone remembers it differently let me know.

Moe Vela:

No. That’s exactly how I remember it too. What a shame, we look back so often in history that we don’t do the right thing at the time we might have had the chance to do it. It’s shame on both parties back then, that they didn’t get it through because honestly we wouldn’t even be having this discussion, well, we might be because this man would probably have rolled it back anyway.
Paul Orzulak:

[00:21:30] [00:22:00]
Jean, actually, I’ve always wondered the point that you made earlier about the political side of it. It’s certainly been perceived to be the case and in fact in terms of voting patterns over the last decade. Latinos have certainly supported Democrats more. We used to talk about this Moe when we were in the White House in the late 90’s. If you look at what we called family values then and maybe still do now and the religious values and the emphasis on independence and hard work and small business especially, the Hispanic business owners are like twice the rate right now.
Jean Card: They start more small businesses than any other demographic.
Paul Orzulak: Right, you worked at the Small Business Administration.
Jean Card: I did, I did.
Paul Orzulak: So, all those things to me add up to what I’ve always perceived to be Republican positions and not been happy about it because I feel like Democrats really believe all that too for sure.
Jean Card: Are you asking why Hispanics aren’t Republicans? Let’s talk about it?
Paul Orzulak: Yeah.
Jean Card: Because Mary Kate, I was going to say, Moe is clearly so close to coming over. [crosstalk 00:22:27]

Paul Orzulak:

Just for the record to the audience she’s talking about politically, not amorously.
Jean Card: Got it.
Moe Vela: Coming out is not coming over.
Jean Card: I think you think I’m cute Though Moe. I see you. I’m looking at you too.
Moe Vela: In the #metoo era I’m going to completely abstain from responding to that but you’re absolutely beautiful.
Jean Card: And you guys don’t even know, like Moe and I came in the same outfit basically. We’re both wearing this beautiful teal and black [inaudible 00:22:58].

Moe Vela:

We really are.
Jean Card: We’re prom dates, we’re prom dates. But really, why aren’t Hispanics Republicans? Come on, tell us. I love this question Paul, thank you.
Moe Vela:

I have my own theory. Coming from a long time political family who is, my first cousin is the United States congressman from my home district in Texas. My father was the county judge. My uncle was one of the first United States federal judges in the history of the United States, a federal courthouse is named after him. Middle schools are named after dad and my uncle. And I only share all that just to say a long time public service political affiliated family.
[00:24:00] I have my theory. My theory is that the Democratic Party long ago did an incredible marketing and branding job to convince Latinos back then that they were the party of the “disenfranchised, the voiceless, the underdog.” That immigrant story, speaking of immigration, so when you’re first arriving here, you’re looking for that advocate. You’re looking for that friend who’s going to walk by your side. And the Democratic party right or wrong, good or indifferent did a great job back then with the New Deal, the great society. Everything you say you notice is about the betterment of or at least the argument was, that it was for the betterment of society and humanity as an American family.
Jean Card: The working class.

Moe Vela:

And working class. So I think it’s marketing and branding. Then you get the Kennedys involved and the Catholic Church involved. It’s very complex. Keep in mind today, Latinos in Barrios across America, many of them still have a picture of John Kennedy next to the pope.
Jean Card: Wow.
Moe Vela: Yeah. So, I think there’s a lot of history there in the branding and marketing and creating this affinity.
Paul Orzulak:

That would suggest that it’s generational, that each generation inherits what came before and don’t make really judgments as much now. Do you buy into that? That’s one of the things that gets mentioned.
Moe Vela:

I don’t want to hog up this conversation so I feel bad continuing to talk. I will say just one thing about that. In addition to Jean’s expertise on knowing that Latinos start up more businesses than anybody in America right now, we are also probably the most brand loyal consumer in the world. If the branding and the marketing was done so effectively by the Democratic Party, that generational branding tradition and loyalty continues. It’s passed on. If my dad used Crest, I probably use Crest toothpaste. It sounds silly but it is absolutely factual.
Jean Card: I know this from my work with the Latino Coalition actually. I like to think I’m the honorary Latina.
Moe Vela: You are now.
Jean Card:

[00:26:00] [00:26:30]
But I will say to Paul’s question, there are things that can happen in the life of an American no matter where their people come from that can change their political party. I saw that happen in my family. My family, they were blue collar Democrats. My grandfather was an electrician, he belonged to the union. My father followed in his footsteps, he was a blue collar guy, he was a land surveyor, he was a Democrat. And then he started his own business and next thing you know he was saying, this Ronald Reagan guy seems to like what’s right for my business. And I think that is true with Hispanic families as well and I have known quite a few Hispanic families that have sort of said, once they start businesses say, I’m looking at politics a little different. So we can change.
Paul Orzulak:

That’s a really interesting point Jean because the perceived to Trump voters in this election were blue collar, people that typically associated with Democrats, people that are with him on immigration. I have a lot of friends back home who I talk with about this all the time who are supporters of his and they still are waiting for him to do the things that he talked about. They see immigration differently. There’s a new book out on the white working class that talks about this and actually says that the, and the person talking about his own family saying to throw terms like racist or bigot at people it’s not fair because what really underlies it is fear. A fear of new, a fear of the country changing, fear of economics beyond their control that are going to impact their family that they don’t understand.
[00:27:30] What do you think about that?
Jean Card:

I don’t know if I totally buy that to be honest with you. I think that fits the anti-Trump narrative, you know, that Trump is just saying, he’s taking advantage of the fact that people are scared or don’t like brown people or whatever and he’s taking advantage of that. I don’t know about that. I don’t buy into that narrative myself. I think as we discussed earlier in the show there is a certain amount of just awkwardness when groups of people start to come together but I do think we sort it out. I do. If it is being blown up right now, again, I’m going to put blame on both sides.
Mary Kate Cary:

If you were looking at this from 30,000 feet, not just about the Hispanic population but just immigration in general, what would be your best advice both of you for the Republican Party or in your case the Democratic Party to rebrand this, to take it away from the way it is right now? What’s your best advice? Moe, how would Republicans win over more people on immigration on their stance?
Moe Vela: Let me just answer by saying this first. This is a very personal issue for me. I’m actually conflicted.
Mary Kate Cary: I think many people are.
Moe Vela:

[00:29:00] [00:29:30]
And I was thrilled that you invited me to come here be with Jean and both of you because I’m actually conflicted. As a Latino, it’s a very personal. These could easily be cousins or relatives of mine that we’re talking about here and their livelihood, their futures and their lives. As a spiritual man it really really concerns me and my heart and soul that we may be shutting the door or absolutely ruining the life of another human being, something I was taught that should never occur. As an attorney, they broke the law and I’m conflicted because I know that in law school I don’t remember much Mary Kate at this point because I have [similar 00:29:31] moments.
Mary Kate Cary: Welcome to my world.
Moe Vela:

But I do remember that I was taught to respect the law and as the son of a judge and nephew of a federal judge I have the utmost respect as an attorney as well so I’m conflicted. So let me just say that. To answer your question, I think that, I do disagree with Jean a little bit in that I do believe and I don’t want this to become an anti Trump podcast but I don’t think it’s completely fair to say that the man has not inflamed and absolutely incited more division than we had before he became the president of the country. I think it’s been done with some very stupid frankly, just stupid. Just stupid comments and words. Whether they’re meant maliciously that’s something I can’t judge because I’m not in his conscience.

Jean Card:

Does he sound the dog whistle? Does he?
Paul Orzulak: What do you mean by that?
Jean Card: I mean, does he choose his words on occasion. Does he lack a filter and just stuff comes out that sometimes is whoa, really upsetting and sounds really offensive or is he planning it, is he choosing his words in order to whip up the emotion that I believe is counterproductive.
Moe Vela: Can I be honest?

Jean Card:

Moe Vela: Unequivocally without any hesitation it’s B.
Jean Card: Dog whistle.
Moe Vela:

Yeah. And I’ll tell you I worked for a man who had no filter. I had the privilege of being Vice President Biden’s senior advisor and his director of management for the first couple years of the Obama-Biden administration. Joe Biden has very little filter. But if you look back at when he might have said something he wasn’t supposed to I don’t know that, I mean, I’m sure somebody listening can go find somewhere he made a mistake, somewhere in 35 or 45 years that he’s been in public office but dog whistle is not a part of it. Inciting hatred or division is, look at George W. Bush. He didn’t have much of a filter. He just kind of spoke from the heart.
Paul Orzulak: Didn’t always come out really well.
Moe Vela: I can’t recall, it wasn’t always eloquent but it wasn’t malicious.

Jean Card:

I tend to think that the dog whistle theory is, particularly on the campaign trail there were moments when I thought, I would be the first to say it, not because I read in The Washington Post and not because my liberal friends said it’s me because I would think to myself that the guy is sounding the dog whistle, absolutely. However, I have to take everything with a grain of salt having worked in the government, having worked for public officials who were treated so unfairly in the media I always have to take everything with a grain of salt.
[00:32:30] When I worked for Alberto Gonzales he was treated so unfairly in the media, so unfairly. And there were people who thought that he was a total jerk based on what they saw and read in the news. It killed me. I would ride the Metro to work every day, I was his speechwriter and I would look around the metro and all the newspapers with my bosses face and he was portrayed literally in the photos in the worst possible way as a devil and I knew him personally. He was my friend and he’s a total sweetheart.
Paul Orzulak: Remind us, he was secretary of?
Jean Card:

Attorney general, sorry, attorney general. So I always have to wonder. And I think this on both sides by the way. A lot of people asked me right when the Obama administration started and Eric Holder got a lot of criticism, people said, what do you think of all this stuff about Holder. And I always said, I just I’m not ready to comment because I saw how badly my attorney general was treated in the media and how people that didn’t know the whole story could portray it in a way that was unfair so I take it all with a grain of salt.
That said, yes, [inaudible 00:33:17] dog whistle, I do.
Paul Orzulak: Mary Kate’s question, what would you then based on that say to Democrats? What should we do differently? I hear you saying words matter.
Jean Card: Yes, words do matter.

Mary Kate Cary:

We all agree with that. Words matter.
Jean Card: So the question again what should Democrats … That’s the tagline for my business. Everyone go to my website. Words matter. The question is what should they do differently, what should Democrats do differently if they want me to listen a little more?
Mary Kate Cary: Yeah.
Jean Card: Don’t call my people racist quite so quickly. Even if you’re not calling me personally racist, if you’re calling someone of my team a racist and I think that was unfair, wow, everyone is shutting down, everyone is shutting down.

Mary Kate Cary:

I went last night to see, I was one of three Republicans last night at the Joe Biden live down at the Anthem in Washington D.C. for his book tour. There was a lot of that. He didn’t use the word racist but he basically said silence is complicity and that to me shuts down debate. I have a problem with that on the left, the resistance movement is painting with a very broad brush and lot of times I think hearing things that may or may not have been intended.
Paul Orzulak: What’s the language Mary Kate or Jean that would replace that? Okay, don’t do that but do do this.
Jean Card: So someone’s trying to make a point …
Paul Orzulak: I want you to listen. I won’t say racist but how do I reach you …
Jean Card: To convince me that you have the way forward on immigration?
Paul Orzulak: To see what I see. To help me understand what you see.

Jean Card:

I think that Republicans are equally open as Democrats to this idea that America is the place where people come for freedom and opportunity and to escape oppression. So perhaps more of a conversation about what is it. You can encourage us to have more empathy, why not. Why do people want to come to this country so badly. Appeal to our patriotism.
Paul Orzulak:

Interesting. You mentioned empathy and patriotism and Moe, you just mentioned rule of law a minute ago and some broke the law. Those are opposite side positions.
Moe Vela:

I’ve been waiting for, I’m not kidding you, 10 years to have this discussion. I’ve been on local T.V. a lot and never had a chance to debate immigration. I’ve been dreaming of this moment where I was able to look at a Jean Card and say, I agree with you, we have a problem here because people broke, it is a violation of the law and this country is a country of laws. I think that Democrats are, advice that I would give my own party …
Jean Card: Yeah, let’s hear that.
Moe Vela:

Stop ignoring the fact that we have a violation of the law. Let’s start there. We have a problem. People broke the law. In the case of DACA, those kids didn’t have the cognitive ability to break the law because you have to have actus reus and mens rea. They didn’t have the ability to have mens rea. They couldn’t technically break the law at the age of two. And so, this is where I would say to both sides, can’t we sit down and look at this.
[00:37:00] I want to say one thing. I thought about this a lot when Paul called me because I get asked every time I give a speech, so why did the LGBT movement reach some level of equality faster arguably than any other group in the country. I think it’s a fair question when you talk about immigration, civil rights or any other, women’s rights, whatever it may be. I have come down to this conclusion that applies to this discussion on immigration, what we did in the LGBT community is we personalize the issue. And Jean, you kind of alluded to this. Once you recognize, wait a minute, I go to church with a dreamer, I work side by side with a dreamer. A dreamer works for me.
[00:37:30] That’s what we did in the LGBT movement when we have marriage equality was we started saying, Jean, I could ask you and I’m not going to put you on the spot but I am willing to go right now to the bank across the street, that’s how sure I am you have a relative a friend or somebody you love who’s LGBT.
Jean Card: Of course.
Moe Vela: Of course. Paul, you do too, don’t you?
Paul Orzulak: Of course.
Moe Vela: Mary Kate, you do too.
Mary Kate Cary: Yes I do.
Moe Vela: So it’s personalized and now all of a sudden you’re like, well golly, if I go against that I’m going against my cousin Fifi.

Paul Orzulak:

To your point, we might not have known that a decade ago. You might not have been aware of that a decade ago.
Moe Vela:

So I think it has to be personalized. I say that advice to both sides Mary Kate. Both sides. Let’s personalize this, stop being so emotional about it. We have law violation, what are we going to do about that, you’ve got to be punished, that’s the way this country is set up. You break the law, you get punished, you run a stop sign, what happens, you get a fine. This is why we should dust off George W. Bush’s immigration reform plan and all of us come back to the table again because I bet you if the four of us were together, we could pass it and get it done right here.
Jean Card: I think there’s actually probably a ton of bipartisan agreement on dreamers. Even the president has said we’ve got to take care of the dreamers, right, these beautiful children. Moe’s looking at me like, I don’t know if I believe this guy. I get it, I get it. But, let me say. Let’s call on the president because obviously he’s listening.
Moe Vela: Let’s call his bluff.

Jean Card:

He has such tremendous power. His base, his people respect him and listen to him so much. Gosh, he has a great opportunity to make a deal and to say, hey everyone, this is something we agree on and let’s look at the dreamers and the fact that they didn’t have mens rea, which, why do we know that term because of Legally Blonde.
Moe Vela: Now we’re best friends. You just told a gay guy about Legally Blonde, hello?

Paul Orzulak:

Can we take a quick break and then continue this conversation in a minute? Don’t go anywhere, there’s more Bipodisan coming back and you’re not going to believe what gets said next.
Mary Kate Cary: Welcome back to Bipodisan. Paul and I are talking about immigration with former Clinton and Obama administration senior official Moe Vela and former speechwriter for three cabinet secretaries in the George W. Bush administration, my friend Jean Card. So let’s turn to the debate-
Moe Vela: I’m your friend too Mary Kate.
Mary Kate Cary: You’re my new friend. Yes, thank you.
Paul Orzulak: Moe’s my old friend.

Mary Kate Cary:

Yeah. He’s your old friend, she’s my old friend.
Jean Card: Moe is my new friend.
Mary Kate Cary: You guys are new friends. I’m Moe’s new friend, Jean is Paul’s new friend.
Paul Orzulak: Coming together, Bipodisan.
Mary Kate Cary:

Okay, now we’ve got that straight. Let’s talk about the legislation in Congress about the dreamers. The administration proposed a pathway to citizenship for 1.8 million undocumented immigrants who came to the United States as children in return for 25 billion dollar investment in some people would say border security, others would say the wall. Let’s start with Moe. How do you see this playing out?
Moe Vela:

I’ll tell you what is probably killing this opportunity to find consensus. It’s that damn wall. Here’s the deal. If the Democrats were smart they would absolutely come to the middle and agree that we need improved and enhanced border security, period. People cannot come through a border that’s porous. I don’t know a Democrat, I’ll be honest with you that advocates for that anyway but it’s just the way it’s been presented and it’s painted. I know I don’t believe that, I doubt Paul does either. We have to have a border that keeps illegality out of any sort. From drugs to people to anything else.
[00:41:30] So I think we agree on about that, that border security doesn’t mean a wall, that’s the problem here. The end of the day is about a wall.
Jean Card: Is the problem with the wall perception, cost? Why do people react the way they do to the wall. I’m playing a little bit at the devil’s advocate here.
Moe Vela:

I don’t know. It’s an important question for especially this discussion and I think it’s what’s causing the big problem that they can’t come to consensus. Me personally, again, having grown up where I can see Mexico on the border of Texas, to me, a wall represents, it’s cold, it’s impersonal, it’s hateful, it’s divisive.
Jean Card: It looks like the middle finger. It looks like a big middle finger to immigrants.
Moe Vela: To a country of my heritage.
Mary Kate Cary: How do you feel about a fence?
Moe Vela: We are the most advanced technological country in the world. We can’t come up with something that surveils a border? What the hell is wrong with us.

Paul Orzulak:

[Throw ins 00:42:30] are certainly part of the conversation. But, you know, the wall so I can do anything about the 42% of illegal immigrants who are here now who entered with valid visas through the airport and then overstayed those visas. That’s where 42% of our 11 million illegal immigrants came through the country. Isn’t it an the example of the, the same Democrats who say we can have health care for all and we can have college for all and we don’t have to pay for it, this is a version of something that is symbolic because a wall keeps people out but we know full well that first of all it’s physically impossible to build a wall along that border. If you really want to stem immigration from Latin or South America, the Guatemalan border is important too because there’s a huge flood that comes from two places.
[00:43:30] First of all, you can’t build up a wall all the way across the border because the terrain doesn’t allow it. It’s about more than that. It’s always been symbolic of something that is easier said than done.
Jean Card:

[00:44:00] [00:44:30]
Here’s another point about that. Democrats don’t want to give Donald Trump a win. They don’t want him to get his wall because that is one of things that got him elected and they’re really mad that he got elected. Now here’s the thing and I would tell Democrats and I have a feeling that I know that this is true for Donald Trump. Donald Trump’s going to get his wall and he’s going to make it look like he won even if his wall is only about 100 feet long. He just needs a being big something that frankly is no wider than a camera lens. Once he gets in great pictures of that thing, he’s going to tell the world that he won. He’s going to believe that he won. You know what, just let him have it and then do something reasonable with the money for actual border security as Moe is saying with technology and we have a lot of capability here. Just let Trump take a picture of big wall and move on.
Moe Vela: I could go along with you on that Jean with one caveat. I want to welcome back the Republican who used to worry about our debt and fiscal responsibility. All of a sudden 25 billion dollars is nothing.
Jean Card: The lack of fiscal conservatism in Washington right now is driving me crazy.

Moe Vela:

It’s mind boggling how quickly [crosstalk 00:44:59] There’s two Republican parties. There’s the Trump Republican Party and there’s the traditional Republican party.
Paul Orzulak: Isn’t the president’s military parade going to cost at least 25 billion dollars?
Jean Card: Well, that’s a good question too.
Moe Vela: And ruin the streets of D.C. by the way.
Jean Card: I’d rather see the money go to the military budget.
Paul Orzulak: Moe, you said something between breaks that I thought was interesting. Talk about the wall as a marketing issue from Trump’s perspective.

Moe Vela:

I think Jean just it right on the head. To him, he views governing and all four of us have served, which is just amazing by the way to be among all of you, that we’ve all served at the highest levels our public service in our nation and we all know what that means and we know the sacrifices as well as the rewards of service to our nation. He views it I think differently than the four of us. It’s not this honorable act of serving your nation. To him, I think it’s more like a reality show or just something that is more about marketing and branding frankly.
[00:46:30] I agree with Jean. He’s looking for a “win.” He wants to be able to say he did what he said he was going to do and then wants to go run for reelection based on that. Now, that is not uncommon, our bosses, all of our old bosses would have done the same thing. You try to accomplish what you say you’re going to do on your campaign so that you can run for reelection and you lived up to your promises. But I just think his is coming from a different place. It’s not about what’s really necessarily best for our country. At this point it’s become personal to him in the sense of almost vendetta. I can’t come up with the right word, it’s odd. I can’t even explain it but it’s personal.
Paul Orzulak:

For Democrats, Democrats ceding the wall often means ceding the question of border security that you were just talking about. Us refusing to acknowledge that we think border security is important too because we don’t want to talk about the wall. We just have to acknowledge don’t we that he’s going to call it a victory on the wall no matter. Any money that is put up for border security is going to be called a victory for the wall and he’s just going to say that but we also need border security.
Mary Kate Cary:

[00:47:30] [00:48:00]
I’m getting the feeling, let’s see what Jean thinks here. Moe, you just said you thought there were very few, that most Democrats are reasonable about border security acknowledge that. I hear more and more Jean I think this undercurrent of a far left crowd that is the flip side of the far right crowd with Trump on border security. That side says that somehow keeping certain people out of our country is racist, bigoted and all this sort of thing. And they’re basically making an argument for open borders. Do you sense that too, because it sounds like Moe, you’re sensing that but do you pick it up that there’s a crowd that thinks that we should just have open borders, that it’s a human right to come to the United States for anybody who wants to come here?
Jean Card: I do, I do. I think that that really reached its height during, we had a few weeks of refugees welcome here. Whether or not to let in refugees which is an interesting word. We should talk about that in terms of immigration. What is a refugee? Do people even understand legally, you would know better than I would, Moe, legally what does it take to be considered a refugee here.
[00:48:30] [00:49:00] I talked to a friend of mine, people in my neighborhood started, I live in a very liberal neighborhood and people started putting up signs that said refugees welcome here. It’s funny because a friend of mine who lives in the neighborhood who is a Democrat and she works for ICE and she said, people don’t know what they’re saying. There are people that come here that claim to be refugees and we have no, our government has no way of background checking them. Unfortunately, it’s sad, it’s terrible. We actually have no way because sometimes people are coming from countries that yeah, are a huge mess but we actually have no way because their country is such a mess of knowing whether they’re a good guy or a bad guy. There’s just no paper. They don’t come with documents. They don’t have enough government infrastructure on their end.
So we can have people come to our gates and say, I want to get out of my really messed up country, I’m a refugee and just they could be totally lying.
Mary Kate Cary: And we have a moral obligation to accept.
Jean Card: We have no way to prove it.

Moe Vela:

I find that hard to believe. One of the things that’s been characterized in this debate is that we’ve had no system of doing background checks to this point. People go through endless years and years of background checks and if there’s a close call they’re not coming in.
Jean Card: If the country they’re coming from doesn’t have the infrastructure to provide us with-
Mary Kate Cary: Has no rule of law. It’s just chaos.
Jean Card: Has no rule of law, how do we know? We can’t go over there and surveil them for a year. We can’t even surveil them here.

Moe Vela:

I have good news for you Jean. I’ve never met a Democrat who believes in open borders.
Jean Card: Okay.
Moe Vela: Personally, I never have. I can’t even imagine a Democrat or Republican or independent, even Bernie Sanders. I don’t know where he stands on it so I don’t really care. I think I’m with you 150%, we cannot have open borders, period, end of discussion.
Jean Card: Where is the majority?
Moe Vela: I think that where we’re at.

Jean Card:

Maybe. I don’t know. The extreme voices get the most airtime.
Mary Kate Cary: That’s exactly right.
Moe Vela: That’s our problem.
Paul Orzulak:

In 1980, during the Republican presidential nominating season, George Bush and Ronald Reagan debated immigration where Ronald Reagan actually advocated for open borders. Ronald Reagan did that. It was just at a different time because we saw them in terms of people fleeing communism, it was Sakharov in the 80’s. It was people that were seeking sort of a new home from communism. I don’t know a single Democrat that believes in open borders. We believe in enforcing the law. In fact, you know who actually deported more people in his presidency than any other in history?
Moe Vela: Barack Obama.
Paul Orzulak:

Barrack Obama, 2.5 million people. People called him the deporter in chief. We had more people deported but we don’t hear that story because the extremes on both sides dominate this debate. And running away from the wall for the left means running away from any border security.
Jean Card: Being a deporter in chief does not fit the media narrative for Barack Obama.
Paul Orzulak: There are a lot of things.
Jean Card:

I mean, since we have our own show here why don’t we call out the media narrative and there’s a reason that you guys want to do this because you know that there are narratives on both sides that tend to get elevated and perpetuated in the media that we don’t think are true. We think it’s more complicated than that and so we’re going to talk on our podcast about it.
Moe Vela: It is more complicated.
Mary Kate Cary:

So here’s an example to ask both of you about, is one of the administration’s proposals is to cut back on the immigration of extended families beyond nuclear family. Some people call that chain migration, some people call it family migration. How do you come at that issue? Why is that word getting so polarizing? What is it about that issue that jumps out at you? Moe, why don’t you start.
Moe Vela: An underlying concern I have about all of this stuff immigration reform is I continue to be nagged in my heart and soul really over how quickly people forget where they came from.
Mary Kate Cary: Present company excepted. The people here. Just as we have shown.

Moe Vela:

But if you stop and you look at Donald Trump’s history, there was chain migration. You want to use that ugly phrase. He’s a recipient of chain migration.
Paul Orzulak: The man is a grandson, son and husband to two immigrants.
Moe Vela: Chain migration is such a horrible way to describe this. What happened to my Republican friends who used to call themselves a party of family values? We’re talking about a family, for God’s sake.

Jean Card:

But we’re not talking about a nuclear family. Husbands and wives and children can all, nobody is arguing with that. It’s the fifth cousin, once removed is what they’re talking about.
Moe Vela: So why don’t we sit down together and say where do we stop the degrees of separation.
Jean Card: Right, fair enough, we should have that conversation.
Mary Kate Cary: We should have that conversation.
Moe Vela:

I’m absolutely open and willing to come to the table with both of you and say okay, how far out do we go. Personally, I don’t think you go past second cousin. You’re starting to get a little bit out there, maybe not even past first because.
Jean Card: I would probably stick to nuclear but I could be persuaded I’m sure too.
Moe Vela: And I could be persuaded to stay with nuclear.
Mary Kate Cary: Grandma and grandpa?
Jean Card: Yeah, there you go.
Moe Vela: To call it chain anything, first of all, let’s be honest. Be careful with the dog whistles again here.
Jean Card: Is that why people react to that?
Moe Vela: Chains have a connotation in American history, let’s not forget.
Jean Card:

Isn’t that something? I never heard it that way. To me I literally, I visualize the image of links together being how families are connected.
Mary Kate Cary: I think it’s an old phrase, it’s been used for decades but all of a sudden now, it’s a hot button.
Moe Vela: It’s keeping families together.
Paul Orzulak:

[00:55:00] [00:55:30]
It’s always been called family reunification. Cecilia Munoz in Politico did a story about the myth of chain migration last month where she talks about it being a misleading term. The premise itself goes back to 1965 when America refocused its civil rights laws to establish family reunification as a base for immigration rather than race. It was based more on family and during the Reagan into the Bush administration, the General Accounting Office found that, this is 1998, that the immigration systems waiting lists make chain migration or whatever you call it a theory that doesn’t really happen in practice because it takes at least six to 12 years for any family visa to come through back in the 80’s.
Now it’s much much longer than that. It takes five to 10 to 15 years for anybody to actually become a citizen, and the system for visas is so backlogged right now that it’s not a reality, it’s more perception of somebody comes in and a month later somebody else comes in and a month later somebody else comes in.
Mary Kate Cary: So we’re all whipped up over nothing.

Paul Orzulak:

It feels a little bit like it’s a message to a very specific.
Jean Card: Paul and his facts are so inconvenient, I don’t know what to do.
Mary Kate Cary: Let’s go back and pretend that you two are in the, I think it’s called the commonsense coalition on Capitol Hill. They’ve been meeting every day for the last two weeks, bipartisan group.
Jean Card: Problem solver caucus.
Mary Kate Cary:

Problem solver, not common sense. Problem solver caucus. It sounds like they’re making progress, at least that’s what they’re saying publicly. If you were in that caucus, what looks like a good deal to you? How would you propose a solution to this? Would you say, clean deal just border security in exchange for the DACA kids. Would you make it broader to some of the other things we’re talking about or how would you structure it to make it a win?
Jean Card:

I think that’s a really nice place to start actually, border security for DACA. Apparently, we’re incapable of getting anything really big done, so let’s get a little something done and have some goodwill and have a win on both sides. This sounds very pie in the sky but that’s what the problem solver caucus specializes in and they’re real thing and they really are getting work done. I would be happy with what some might consider a small step forward but the president won’t be, right? Maybe, he’s a deal maker.
Mary Kate Cary: What do you think, Moe?
Moe Vela:

Yeah, I agree with you. I think we would all be well served. Our country would be well served. I think if they do what Jean just said. The only caveat I would throw in there is that I think we just need, where the problem is is what does border security mean. I think that’s where the gray area is and as you point out Jean, to the president I think it just means that’s the first time I’ve ever called him the president.
Jean Card: Let’s have a moment for Moe.
Moe Vela: Yeah, there’s the moment. I waited the entire year. Thanks a lot.
Jean Card:

Do you think we could throw in increased immigration with that. Skills based, merit based, whatever you want to call it, work based. Because that was Republicans get some economic good feeling and then Democrats get some more people coming in good feeling.
Moe Vela: That’s what I was alluding to.
Mary Kate Cary: Let’s add that on [crosstalk 00:58:08].
Moe Vela: So what does the package of border security look like, it means no damn wall but it means all these other things that we can do to make us all feel safer and to know that we don’t have a porous-
Jean Card:

And by the way I would love … my understanding is that if we bring in more skilled workers, the economic benefits are such, I don’t know how much they would offset the cost but I think there would be, I wish I knew the numbers. But I think you can do well by the economy with the right immigration system or the right immigration rules and maybe that helps with the enormous cost of border security.
Paul Orzulak: I’m going to resist going off for 30 minutes on automation and skill based training.
Mary Kate Cary: Please do not do that.
Paul Orzulak: Mary Kate knows I’d like to do it right now.
Mary Kate Cary: Please don’t.
Paul Orzulak:

One of the sticking points in this is legal migration. We are all as Moe said earlier, people that break the law should be held accountable. We’re against illegal immigration and doing something about that. Part of the discussion being driven from the White House is cutting legal migrations by half or more. Should that be part of the final deal? Democrats would argue no.
Jean Card: I don’t actually know what the White House argument for that is. Do you guys know? What is the argument for that?
Paul Orzulak: You don’t want to get Biden voters coming in.
Moe Vela: You don’t want to hear my answer.
Jean Card: Okay, well, it sounds like we have a deal.

Moe Vela:

To answer your question Jean, I bet you agree with me, maybe we should call like Apple and Facebook and Google and Amazon and the major corporations of America who are in need of skilled legal migration to meet the demands of those companies.
Jean Card: And by the way, not just tech but the nursing industry.
Moe Vela: Everywhere.
Jean Card: In desperate need.
Mary Kate Cary: This is the basis of the Canadian system.

Paul Orzulak:

Fiercely Republican position and say let’s train Americans to do those jobs ourselves. Why are we not training people when 46% of the country feels like it’s under employed right now.
Jean Card: It’s just cheaper to get someone already trained. Someone who’s already trained is just cheaper. They just come in ready to go, we don’t have to invest anything.
Mary Kate Cary: Okay. Well, it sounds like we have a deal. We’ll take it down to Capitol Hill from here. Don’t go anywhere, there’s more Bipodisan coming right back.
[01:00:30] We’re back and before we leave the topic of immigration, Paul’s got a final thought for us.
Paul Orzulak:

I would say and I think that every generation we tend to think one party or the other party is fully responsible for a conversation like this but the honest truth is both sides have failed to get this worked out for a long time. I was struck by a quote that I saw this morning and I’ll read this and it’s from a politician. It says and I quote, “After years of neglect, this administration has taken a strong stand to stiffen the protection of our borders. We are increasing border controls by 50%, we’re increasing inspections to prevent the hiring of illegal immigrants and tonight I announce I will sign an executive order to deny federal contracts to businesses that hire illegal immigrants.” Full stop.
Now, if Donald Trump said that in the state of the Union address, just imagine.
Jean Card: People’s heads would explode.
Paul Orzulak:

That was Bill Clinton in his State of the Union address, January 23, 1996. Both sides have been active in this debate and it doesn’t help to think that one side’s bad, one side it’s good, we need to work this out together and that is all.
Jean Card: Thank you, Paul.
Mary Kate Cary: Thank you, Paul.
Jean Card: That was really, really interesting. That perspective was interesting.
Paul Orzulak: A kumbaya moment.
Mary Kate Cary:

To end this on a fun note one of our favorite podcast is Pop Culture Happy Hour which is on NPR. They end their show every week by asking What’s making you happy this week. So in a divided America our homage to Pop Culture Happy Hour is a little twist on it. What’s making you hopeful this week. So Moe, let’s start with you. What’s making you hopeful this week?
Moe Vela: Oh, you’re going to start with me.
Mary Kate Cary: Yeah.
Moe Vela:

[01:02:30] [01:03:00]
What’s making me hopeful this week as cheesy as it might sound but it’s coming from the bottom of my heart, it was doing this podcast with all of you because this has really brought me a semblance of hope that we can find common ground. I often give a speech called Building on our Commonalities and Celebrating our Differences. I think that’s what we’ve done here today and we found common ground and we were able to talk to one another respectfully and lovingly and with a sense of human decency. And so, it brings me hope that, I knew you Republicans existed out there that still had a big heart and a smart mind and a loving and compassionate soul. And so, I’m glad to …
Mary Kate Cary: Wow. Jean’s making heart signs. Beaming them over to Moe right now.
Moe Vela: It really is I’m hopeful. This made me hopeful. I actually would like to see let’s take this on the radio and do a weekly radio show like this because I think that America needs this and Middle America needs it.
Paul Orzulak: Well, Moe and Jean, what are you doing every week for the next 50 weeks?
Mary Kate Cary: Where have you been all our lives. Okay, Jean.
Paul Orzulak: You’ve also convinced us to release this on Valentine’s Day now I think.
Jean Card: Oh my gosh, sweet.
Paul Orzulak: Sorry Jean.

Jean Card:

Well Moe totally took my answer. I have a different one. I loved Moe’s answers but I have a different one. Actually, on Super Bowl Sunday, just a couple of days ago I was at a party in my neighborhood at a small restaurant. We probably had 30, 40 people there. It was all people that live in my neighborhood. They are from all across the political spectrum. We had Republicans, Democrats, libertarians, socialists, we had gay people, straight people. I’m sure if all of them told their immigration story there would be a ton of diversity there too. It was a truly mixed group of people who just happened to live near each other.
[01:04:30] When Pink came on to sing the national anthem this room of 40 very chatty people went completely silent, listened to every note and when the last note was completely finished then the entire room broke into applause. And I was standing next to a friend of mine who is a veteran, who is a naval aviator and he’s got his hand over his heart and I’m patting him on the back. God, it was a great moment.
Mary Kate Cary: Love that.
Jean Card: We all had patriotism. I had the goosebumps. It was really, really beautiful. And it was both, it was loving America and of course loving the artistry of Pink. She’s incredible.
Paul Orzulak: And that’s why we’re going to be okay. That’s why we’re going to be okay in spite of all the division, we’re going to be okay. Mary Kate.
Mary Kate Cary:

Mine’s a little more newsy which was this week it came out that American University has hired its first comedian in residence. I think there is a big need for that. I think a lot of these young people have a fairly humorless outlook on life and could use some lightning up. Her name is Bethany hall and she said that at times it can feel like there’s a wall in our lives and people just don’t communicate with those on the other political side and “a good laugh kind of knocks a few bricks off the wall” she said and very few other things have the ability to do that.
[01:05:30] It was an interesting article on the post about it but The Post coverage had no jokes. In the article, it was a very serious article about the comedian in residence and I’m always looking for more jokes and was disappointed that there weren’t a few examples in the article.
Moe Vela: Baby steps, baby steps. I would say every university in the country could use a comedian in residence and look at the way that laughter and comedy can bring about social change.
Jean Card: Here, here.
Paul Orzulak: Here, here.
Moe Vela: Amen.
Paul Orzulak:

[01:06:00] [01:06:30]
What’s making me hopeful this week, we’re so used to mudslinging here in Washington. My eyes caught a story instead of mud shoveling this week. Right before the Super Bowl, a community in Montecito, California had terrible mudslides and people’s houses were flooded and then full of, feed of mud inside. If they could get the mud out of the houses in time they would save their houses. And on Super Bowl Sunday, 250 or 300 people from the community came together in what they called the bucket brigade and they went house to house and they dug mud out of people’s houses on Super Bowl Sunday when we were watching the game and saved a lot of people’s houses. You can follow I guess the bucket brigades on Facebook, they’re still doing work now to dig out everybody that has property that could be damaged.
[01:07:00] To me, that’s what this country is at its best and we’ve seen that in a lot of different places from Texas to Florida to Puerto Rico and here in California over the last year. That’s when there’s a higher purpose beyond all our differences we we remember as Reagan said, if you go to Turkey, you can’t become Turkish, if you go to China, you can’t become Chinese, but this is the only country where you come from anywhere and become an American.
Jean Card: I’m going to give that one an amen.
Moe Vela: Brilliantly said.
Mary Kate Cary: Moe and Jean, thank you so much for joining us today, it has been a true pleasure.
Jean Card: Thanks guys.

Mary Kate Cary:

We hope we can have you back very soon. To our listeners you can find Bipodisan on iTunes, Stitcher and Google Play. Google Play does not work on an iOS phone so you can only get that online. Here comes the motorcade now.
Jean Card: They’re coming for us. Moe, we got to go.
Moe Vela: We had too much consensus.
Jean Card: Too much fun, it’s not allowed in Washington.
Moe Vela: We agreed on too much.
Mary Kate Cary:

Round them up. If you like what you’re hearing please give us a five star review. Tell your friends. Seel free to send us your questions at and of course you can follow Bipodisan on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.
Paul Orzulak: Moe and Jean, thanks again. This is also one of the few podcasts we know of that records in a bar as the noise that you just heard in the background proves.
Mary Kate Cary: Patty wagons are pulling up. That’s an Irish term by the way.
Paul Orzulak:

[01:08:30] [01:09:00]
We want to thank Chatter Bar and Grill here at the corner of Wisconsin Avenue and Jennifer Street northwest Washington and it’s sports writing legend owner, Tony Kornheiser who records his podcast every day in the very spot where we are right now. We want to say a special thanks to our studio engineers the great Claude Jennings and MarK Stern. We want to say thank you to our website master Lorraine Altschuler of Design strategics and our design genius Brooks King of Daguerre studio. Say a special thanks to the incredible Danny Makki of Danny Makki communications for being the world’s best publicist. And as always our fantastic research assistant Courtney [Kus 01:09:01] for being the world’s best researcher who also happens to be a professional sailor who just had a really successful week in the Caribbean.
Mary Kate Cary: Correct.
Paul Orzulak: Thanks Courtney, thanks Mary Kate.
Mary Kate Cary: Thanks Paul.
Paul Orzulak: See you next week.
Mary Kate Cary: See you next week.