It’s Friday and I’m writing the mailbag from Ft. Myers, Florida, where this evening we will begin a tour of some of our Clay and Buck affiliate radio stations with an event for several hundred people here. I’m down here until tomorrow when I’m flying back to Nashville for the Bengals-Titans game.
If the Titans can beat the Bengals, Nashville will host the biggest sporting event in the city’s history — an AFC Championship Game. Given the fact that I’ve been in attendance for every Titans home playoff game that’s ever existed — including two divisional round playoff losses to the Ravens as the No. 1 overall seed and the betting favorites, losses that kept the Titans from hosting the AFC Championship Game — to say I’m nervous would be an understatement.
I just want one Titans Super Bowl win before I die.
Will it ever happen?
I have no idea.
But this year is a pretty decent chance, given it only takes two home wins to get to the Super Bowl.
And at a minimum I’d like to at least finally host a home AFC title game. So this game is MASSIVE.
In the meantime, here are your questions from Twitter this week:
“Clay, you’re the Chief of Staff + personal advisor to Biden. What 3, 4 or 5 things would you have him do starting Monday to turn around his polling numbers and try to stop the red wave from reaching November?”
If I were given control of the Biden presidency, I’d do the following five things:
1. Acknowledge that COVID is going to be endemic going forward and that due to Omicron evading the vaccines and whatever masks or social distancing policies we have put in place, I am ending all mask mandates — including on planes and in schools — and ending all federal COVID vaccine mandates as well.
I would emphasize that the elderly, the unhealthy and obese should definitely get the COVID shots and would continue to encourage them for all people, but I’d share the actual data and make it clear how safe relatively young and healthy people, especially children, truly are from COVID. And I’d make it clear that the only way to get back to normalcy is by acting normal and that we can’t enter a third year of panic surrounding COVID.
I’d also make it clear that anyone who wants to continue to wear masks or wants their children to continue to wear masks would be encouraged to make that choice if they saw fit, but there would no longer be any federal mandates at all.
2. Announce that my administration was doing everything they could to encourage the production of domestic oil in an effort to combat rising gas prices and the surge in inflation.
I would make my primary domestic focus ending the supply chain issues and pour as many resources as I could into bringing manufacturing production back from overseas to America.
I’d pressure Apple in particular to source their phones in this country and embark on an aggressive anti-Chinese manufacturing policy, encouraging American companies and American citizens to buy American-sourced products.
I would pick a fight with Hollywood and the NBA over their bowing down to Chinese governmental interests in contravention of American values, and I would substantially increase my criticism of China over COVID and their genocide.
3. I’d abandon “Build Back Better” as too costly and unlikely to pass and instead completely repudiate defund the police by seeking more money to hire more police officers nationwide in an effort to combat surging crime levels.
In the process, I would directly repudiate soft on crime district attorneys and say that my administration no longer supported their policies and would be withholding federal funds if too many violent felons were being released from prison or too many felonies were not being prosecuted.
4. Announce that all federal funds for schools would be pulled if any school goes to remote learning.
I’d make it clear that children’s education is my highest priority and that the kids most likely to attend these remote learning schools are overwhelmingly poor and minority students, destroying any claim to equal educational outcomes.
I’d argue that the biggest threat to America returning to full employment again is the number of parents, moms especially, who don’t feel comfortable taking jobs because of their childcare obligations when their children’s schools are pushed to remote learning. And, finally, I’d call remote learning an oxymoron and make it clear that there’s no real learning taking place when remote learning occurs.
5. I’d apologize for suggesting the 2022 mid-terms weren’t going to be trustworthy and immediately embrace a bipartisan bill designed to clear up the confusion on how the electoral votes are accepted in Congress to ensure uncertainty is eliminated in future presidential elections.
I’d say that the only way to “save” our democracy is through bipartisan cooperation so that Democrats and Republicans are both working to make our elections fair and transparent.
I’m sure I could come up with many more plans, but these would be five that would be popular with a large number of independent voters and that I would embrace wholeheartedly.
I have zero doubt that if Biden focused on all five of these things, he would rapidly surge back above 50% approval.
Remember, we are such a polarized electorate that Biden’s most ardent Democratic supporters aren’t leaving him. His issue isn’t on the left wing of his party, it’s everyone else in the country who isn’t left wing.
What Biden has to do is adopt the policies Bill Clinton did in 1994 that led to his re-election in 1996. I don’t believe Biden has Clinton’s political skills, but he needs a Dick Morris — minus the high-end escort problem — to triangulate his policies and Republican policies and steal some of the moderate support as a result of this triangulation.
Essentially, Biden needs to take on the left wing of his party if he wants to avoid complete evisceration in the mid-terms.
I doubt he will do this, but it’s what he needs to do.
“Did the virus go into hiding due to NFL playoffs?”
It is truly amazing that as COVID infections have hit all time highs all over the country, COVID has essentially vanished in the NFL.
I mean, think about it, we went from hundreds of players testing positive for COVID to not one significant player missing any time over Wild Card Weekend. That’s despite the fact that 12 teams were playing and cases are surging.
And now we’ve got eight teams playing this weekend, and at least right now, there doesn’t appear to be any players of significant talent that will be missing games for COVID this weekend either.
Using my hometown of Nashville as an example, everyone has COVID right now in Nashville. I mean it, it’s everywhere. So how is it that the Titans aren’t part of this massive surge in COVID cases? It’s impossible they wouldn’t be impacted.
Unless, that is, one of two things is happening: 1. The NFL saves broken COVID tests they know are going to show only negative tests, no matter what, to use at the end of the year for the playoffs or 2. NFL teams are essentially ending testing.
There’s no other way to explain what’s going on at all.
Because the NFL suddenly cured COVID just in time for the playoffs.
It’s a miracle!
“What assurances do we have that you won’t go the way of 2021 Howard Stern in 20 years? Was there anyway to see this coming with him?”
Howard Stern’s path from most rebellious man in radio to a total pussy spouting off government propaganda talking points is a scary one for anyone who values freedom of thought and creative risk taking.
Stern used to be one of my real radio idols, and now I’m embarrassed that was ever the case. I don’t mind opinionated people, but I hate opinionated people who get their facts wrong. Stern’s facts are consistently wrong on COVID.
The other day, Stern even said that he believed unvaccinated people shouldn’t receive hospital care. Which is just batshit crazy. Primarily because many people in hospitals are there because of some of the choices they’ve made. Would Stern refuse treatment to drug overdosers? After all, if those people hadn’t used illegal drugs, they wouldn’t have overdosed. By his logic, why should they get hospital beds when they caused their own hospitalization with their life choices? What about smokers or the morbidly obese? After all if those people hadn’t smoked or eaten so much, they wouldn’t have needed hospital treatments either, right? Heck, what about people who try to commit suicide, fail and are still alive? Since they tried to kill themselves, should we really use hospital resources to try and save their lives?
The answer, at least for sane people, is we don’t turn hospital treatments into moral quagmires of philosophical analysis. We treat everyone equally, regardless of their own complicity in why they need treatment at the hospital. We try and save all lives.
Of course, I can’t foresee what the world will look like in 25 or 30 years when I’m Stern’s age, but I’d rather retire than end up sounding as idiotic and fearful as he does today.
I hope there’s never a time where a younger version of myself would hate the older version of myself.
So far, my radio career has been pretty logically consistent. The world has gone insane, while I’ve stayed sane. If anything, I think we’re likely to see more insanity than anything else. The craziest thing is I’m considered a threatening rebel now by arguing for the most sane things imaginable.
Would you have ever believed that arguing people should be able to make their own medical decisions would be a radical proposition that got you censored in this country? Yet here we are.
“Will Trump run in 2024?”
I’d be shocked if Trump doesn’t run in 2024.
Now there are some caveats here. Trump isn’t young. He’ll be 78 in 2024. He could have a major health issue or he could decide that he doesn’t have the energy to run a full-on campaign and then serve four more years as president. These things are definitely possible.
But I think Trump will run in 2024, and I think you have to make him a favorite to win based on the current situation in the country.
My biggest fear with Trump running is he takes Biden off the hook for his failures. That is, right now 2024 is going to be a referendum on Joe Biden, and right now the verdict on Biden is that he’s done an awful job. But if it’s Trump vs. Biden, I’m afraid Trump will make the election a referendum on him again.
If Biden is the story in 2024, Republicans win with ease, maybe with a massive landslide. But if Trump is the story, it’s another dogfight. I think Trump would win in 2024, but we know he’d motivate a ton of people to vote against him.
Ultimately let me put it this way, I think Trump is more likely to run in 2024 than Biden is.
And it honestly wouldn’t shock me if we ended up with Trump vs. Hillary again in 2024 because I’m not sure Biden is running.
“Where does it go from here with NIL deals? Will there ever be a consistent nationwide approach? How long until the NCAA isn’t a thing altogether?”
I think NIL is going to destroy the NCAA.
I mean, really, I do.
After all, what’s the point of the NCAA if everyone can pay players as much as they want? Sure, as I’ve long argued, it’s only football and men’s basketball players who have true economic value on college campuses as recruits, but some of them have tremendous value. The money will be substantial for these kids.
But I actually don’t think NIL is going to be as big of an issue with high schoolers as it is with transfers. There’s nothing to stop successful college players from transferring multiple times and seeking out the most money they can every time they make a move. An age of perpetual player free agency makes roster management exceedingly difficult for everyone.
Now as long as scholarships are limited, teams won’t be able to stock talent too much, but it used to be once a player signed with your team, you could pretty much pencil him in for several years as a member of your team. Now we have perpetual free agency in college football, and that means recruiting is less important than it used to be.
And remember, we also have no salary cap. Which I think could be the biggest issue. The best teams are going to have more money to spend than the lesser teams. What’s to stop a billionaire from endowing a hundred million dollars in NIL payments?
Heck, what if Apple’s Tim Cook, for instance, decided to give a billion dollars to Auburn’s football team to pay players out of an NIL fund? At some point, this is going to happen. A billionaire will just turn his favorite team into a default professional team and guarantee six figures a year to every player.
So does Elon Musk have a favorite college football team yet? Because if it ever happens, that football team may never lose.
I’m a capitalist so I don’t have any issue with college players making money, but I do think it will become an issue when some guys are making more money to play in college than they’d make in the NFL. And we’re going to get there with some players in the years ahead, I have no doubt.
Plus, again, the NFL recognized that the best way for their league to thrive was with parity. Every fan base needs to believe their team can win a Super Bowl one day. College football already struggles with parity. But what if we end up in an NIL era where you either have a billionaire benefactor or you have no chance to win? We could get there.
And I don’t think that’s good for the overall health of the sport.
“Do you think King Henry plays the whole game or will he be limited?”
I think he’ll be limited.
Even as dominant of a physical freak as Derrick Henry is, I find it hard to believe he’d be able to go full speed after sitting out for two and a half months with a foot injury.
So I expect he will be limited this week.
By the way, I’m embarrassed by how much I love sports hype videos.
Here’s a great one I’ve watched several times on Derrick Henry.
This Derrick Henry hype video is well done: pic.twitter.com/2HYG074tKQ
— Clay Travis (@ClayTravis) January 20, 2022
“Is Joe Biden on pace to have the worst presidency ever? Handicap his chances.”
I mean, James Buchanan existed. He allowed the South to secede and served only one completely ineffectual term before Lincoln. So I don’t think Biden will be the worst president ever.
But I do think it’s fair to say Biden is on track for the worst presidency of my lifetime.
Right now, I’d rank the presidents of my lifetime thusly:
1. Ronald Reagan
2. Bill Clinton
3. Donald Trump
4. George Bush, Sr.
5. Barack Obama
6. George W. Bush
7. Jimmy Carter
8. Joe Biden
I have George W. Bush as the worst two term president of my life and I have Biden, at least right now, as the worst one term president.
But we’re only a year in, so let’s see what happens going forward from here.
Okay, I’m off to do the radio show. Thanks to all of you for the support.
And let’s go Titans!