American Greatness weekly contributor, Michael Walsh, joined Dennis Prager on Monday to discuss the ways California is subverting federal laws and resisting the results of the 2016 election as noted in his piece, “Sacramento Democrats Fire on Fort Sumter.” The audio and and a transcript of their conversation follow below. The editors at American Greatness are especially gratified to hear the Dennis Prager rates our site as “one of the ten best in the world.” We hope you do, too.
Dennis Prager: Hi everybody. New bumper music, I like it. It’s upbeat. It’s upbeat. It’s perfect for my guest. Whenever I have this guest on, I realize, I want to name the day “Clear Thinking Day” on the Dennis Prager Show. I hope every day is clear thinking day, but somehow or other, he adds to it, Michael Walsh, the Michael Walsh I might add. Novelist, screenwriter, columnist, former music critic for Time Magazine, and now one of my favorite guys, Michael Walsh are you currently in Ireland, New York, or California?
Michael Walsh: Hi Dennis. I’m in rural Connecticut, where …
Dennis Prager: I missed it.
Michael Walsh: … Until recently the temperature was 10 or 12 below zero, right here at my house out in the woods.
Dennis Prager: God, do I envy you. Oh, my God. Well listen, don’t … Just, I want to be honest, all right? Last night it went down into the 50s here in Southern California, okay, so don’t give me this minus 12 stuff.
Michael Walsh: Well, I’m a native, almost native Californian, so I grew up in San Diego, and then I went to high school in Honolulu, so now I live in the arctic tundra here in the northwestern part of Connecticut.
Dennis Prager: Michael Walsh, you wrote a very powerful piece in American Greatness about California. I was reading, I spent a good chunk of the first hour reading the front page of the New York Times piece to my listeners, about how California is basically declared war on the Trump Administration, and on the, you know, that part of America. The irony is, you and the New York Times agree, and I agree too, that’s right. That’s what it is. You call it Fort Sumter, go ahead.
Michael Walsh: No, I think it’s what we’re looking at here is the same issue. You know, human beings change, but human nature never changes, and history doesn’t change much either. We keep recycling the same arguments, and this one has to do with the states’ rights to nullify federal law. That’s been a back and forth swing in the United States since the founding of the country, obviously, and the 9th and 10th Amendments are the keystones of this, so depending on whose sauce for goose or gander it is, the tates and the feds take alternating positions sometimes on this, but right now California has decided that it’s a sanctuary state, which means it’s effectively a lawless state, and it’s now acting in open defiance of federal immigration matters.
Now you would have thought then that they had settled this with the Arizona issue, where the feds came in and said Arizona cannot make its own immigration standards and we will do what the feds are not going to do. That was in the Obama Administration. I think that was called SB 1070 or something like that, so the Left cheered that then, but now they’re cheering California’s defiance of the federal immigration statutes, and I don’t think this is going to end well for California. That’s my larger point.
Dennis Prager: Go ahead, why not?
Michael Walsh: Well because I think they’ll lose. I think that we settled this in 1865 the hard way, and I’ve just come off reading Grant’s Memoirs, which by the way I recommend to every American.
Dennis Prager: Those are considered to be the finest presidential writings.
Michael Walsh: They’re wonderful. It’s almost entirely about his Civil War experiences, so it’s …
Dennis Prager: I read Ronald White’s biography of Grant, and I found the man so impressive.
Michael Walsh: Well I read that biography too, and I must say, it rearranged my position on Grant, not that it needed much rearranging, but this notion that Grant was an incompetent …
Dennis Prager: Big drunk, yeah, exactly.
Michael Walsh: Boob and a drunk hack, and …
Dennis Prager: Yeah, right.
Michael Walsh: This is the Left’s revenge for having lost the Civil War. Let’s face it, Dennis, the Civil War was Republicans versus Democrats. It’s that simple.
Dennis Prager: Yeah, how many seniors at Harvard would know that?
Michael Walsh: None, I would guess.
Dennis Prager: Right, okay, just curious.
Michael Walsh: I mean …
Dennis Prager: Anyway, I want to know, wait I want to go back because you actually gave me an optimistic thought, which I don’t want to let go.
Michael Walsh: Go ahead.
Dennis Prager: That California may lose in this battle. Why do you feel that?
Michael Walsh: Well, I don’t think the federal government can allow states to decide which federal laws they’re going to choose to accept or reject. As you know, some states’ attorney generals have decided to open “lawfare” against the Trump Administration. New York state, which is a rock’s throw away from me here, Eric Schneiderman has been constantly been involved in suing the Administration on this, that or the other thing, and of course Jerry Brown, you know, is just as anti Trump as can be, and P.S., by the way, I made this point in the piece …
Dennis Prager: Alright, make it … Don’t forget your P.S., we’ll be back in a moment, talking to Michael Walsh and you are listening to the Dennis Prager Show, 1-8PRAGER-776.
Back to my guest, one of my favorite writers and thinkers, Michael Walsh. We’re … What I really want to discuss is the, all the bassoon concertos by Vivaldi, but I don’t want to lose my audience. Michael Walsh is a big classical music aficionado and expert, so it’s unbelievably tempting my friend, since that is the love of mine as well, however we return to the ugly world of politics.
Nevertheless, you have a take on the California, essentially civil war with the United States. I don’t know why that is not a fair term, but tell me why you don’t think it’s going to, this is what we’re talking about, why you think it will not end well for California.
Michael Walsh: Right, well I wrote this piece in the new website, relatively new, called American Greatness.
Dennis Prager: Which let me plug, by the way folks.
Michael Walsh: Thank you.
Dennis Prager: It is superb, period, end of issue. It is one of my ten favorite websites in the world.
Michael Walsh: Oh, that’s very kind of you. I’m in there every Thursday, so . . . writing about cultural Marxism and sort of the larger crisis that we’re all facing, so thank you for the plug, Dennis. What I wrote was, Sacramento Democrats Fire on Fort Sumter, which I think is very apt because it’s precisely what they’ve done. I was going to observe, before the break, that I went to California in 1954 as a four year old boy, almost five, and growing up there, Pat Brown was my governor for much of the time I was in California, and then I left. I came back in 1977 to San Francisco and Jerry Brown was my governor, and then I left, and I came back to work in Hollywood around the beginning of the 2000s, and now Jerry Brown’s my governor again.
You’re looking at a kind of familial oligarchy in California. It’s being run almost like a cowdio system, you know, from Latin America, where one family has dominated the politics now for more than a half a century. This is not good. It’s not good for democracy. It’s not good for California. It’s not good for the Brown family. It shows you the negative value of a Jesuit education now, since Jerry was studying for the priesthood at one point, until, as I point out in the article, he realized it would cramp his style trying to date Linda Ronstadt, so he didn’t study for the priesthood anymore.
Dennis Prager: Well, may I say the Catholic priesthood’s loss is our loss. I should say Catholic priesthood’s gain is our loss.
Michael Walsh: Yeah, well anyway, the point is that I think that California is barking up the wrong tree. I think if you read Grant’s Memoirs, and you see how clearly he understood the stakes. He always refers to it as the war of rebellion. He always refers to it as the rebels. He grants the Confederacy zero legitimacy. He is amused when the Democrat Party runs the most failed General on the Union side, George McClellan, as a Copperhead, peace Democrat to sue for peace, and he understood that Lincoln was in great danger of losing that 1864 election, but luckily Gettysburg came along, Vicksburg came along, and then of course, Atlanta came along, and this really saved the Union in Grant’s view. [crosstalk 00:09:04].
Dennis Prager: Right.
Michael Walsh: I’m sorry.
Dennis Prager: No, no. The administration has threatened to arrest California officials. Should they?
Michael Walsh: Yes. Why not?
Dennis Prager: I’m just asking.
Michael Walsh: Yeah.
Dennis Prager: Of course they should be, but what would happen then? Wouldn’t there be … I think there would then be violence in the streets in the state.
Michael Walsh: Well, what do you think all of the people west of the 405 are suddenly going to rise up? The people that vote for Democrats in California? If you look at California, it’s a giant red state with two sort of blue colonies along the coast. Now granted, it has the majority of the voters in those two colonies, and it’s possible there’d be violence. I don’t know, but I mean, at what point then is [crosstalk 00:09:51].
Dennis Prager: No, it doesn’t matter. No, no. I agree with you. What about drug laws? What about pot? The federal laws are in conflict with Colorado and California.
Michael Walsh: Well California has two senators, the last time I looked. Can’t they sponsor change in the legislation at the federal level? Is there some way to do it other than saying, “No, I refuse to accept your authority here.” The issue isn’t the laws, the issue is who’s to be boss, who’s to be master, as Humpty Dumpty famously said in Alice in Wonderland, you know? Which one is to be master, me or you? Is it California or is it the Federal Government? Let’s get this out in the open. Let’s have the conversation. The always want to have a conversation. Let’s have a conversation.
Dennis Prager: That’s right. This is what we’re living through now. I mentioned, by the way, to my listeners, and I am a California resident, that they periodically, the Left here, talks about seceding from the Union, and I say all the time, I would vote for it. I would then move, but I would vote for it. California is having a toxic impact on the country because of it’s staggering number of citizens or at least the voters, and the values that it stands for are antithetical to normative American values, so I think that if California left the … First of all, it would be a permanent Republican majority.
Michael Walsh: Yes, that’s true. They’d lose 50 some electoral votes.
Dennis Prager: Yes, that would be it.
Michael Walsh: By the way, this sanctuary state act is something, it’s called something like the California Values Act.
Dennis Prager: Yes, I know, which is true. I agree with it.
Michael Walsh: Actually it is …
Dennis Prager: That’s a very fair, yes it’s a fair name for what they’re doing.
Michael Walsh: Yes, but I think, I hope you agree with me. I think the Federal Government has to take this in hand because this challenge, we went through this with James A. Buchanan when he was president. In the run up to 1860 and the election of 1860, the authority of the Federal Government was being challenged by multiple Democrat dominated southern states. It’s no different today except that the Democrats have moved elsewhere.
Dennis Prager: Exactly. Michael Walsh, you are terrific, and we’re putting your piece up at DennisPrager.com.
Michael Walsh: Thank you so much, Dennis, much appreciated.
Dennis Prager: You are much appreciated. When I return, 18-PRAGER-776.