Glenn’s one day only Comprehensive Midterm Coverage: Ben Sasse

As you may have noticed, Glenn has been increasingly focusing outside of Washington, DC for solutions. Yes, elections are still important, but the primary battleground is at home and in the culture. That said, it remains vital to elect good people to represent us in DC.

First off, we're introducing you to Ben Sasse, a Tea Party favorite who is running for a vacant Senate seat in Nebraska. Glenn has interviewed Ben Sasse on the program before, and it was on the radio show that Sasse's primary opponent Shane Osborne revealed his relationship with progressive Republican Grover Norquist.

Watch the interview below:

We have Ben Sasse now from Nebraska, running for an open senate seat. He's dirt strong, a constitutionalist. If the GOP wouldn't have destroyed all the other constitutionalists, we would have had more races like this one, I believe. He's now up 20 points. They are not taking polls anymore. It's like why waste the money on the polls. Ben is with us now. How are you?

SASSE: Hi, Glenn. Good to be on. Hope my wife isn't listening because when you refer to me as something to get out of the system she will call and say amen.

GLENN: How are you doing as a family? You never know. It all depends on who goes out to vote. If everyone thinks you are going to win, they may not go out and vote, but the idea of now being the guy going in to the lion's den, how is it sitting with you and the family?

SASSE: We have been blessed this year. We are nearly out of our voices, having lived 13 Mondays out of the campaign bus, so we are tired, but we have had a blast. Our kids, are 13, 10 and 3 and they have gotten to see every nook and cranny of 93 counties in the state but also subsector of agriculture and they have -- it's been an encouraging learning experience for us, so we are doing really well.

GLENN: How's that affected the kids?

SASSE: We live a mile from where I grew up in the eastern part of the state. Nebraska knows that's the row crapping part of the state, corn field, bean fields. Central America Nebraska is becoming cattle country. Nebraska is the largest cattle state now, and my 13-year-old daughter jokes that we spent so much time with ranchers this year, she could deliver a breach calf.

GLENN: The president needs to fill Eric Holder's spot. He nominates someone you think is qualified, but not someone you think believes in the Constitution. Do you vote to confirm, seeing your duty as simple advise and consent or do you vote against someone you don't feel as qualified to be the chief law enforcement officer in the land?

SASSE: The oath of office is to uphold and defend the Constitution against enemies foreign and domestic. So if your hypothetical someone who doesn't believe in the Constitution as actually written is not the right guy to be enforcing the laws. We need a Constitutional recovery in this country. We only have, according to recent poll, 36% of the elect rat even knows we have three branches of government. We have a crisis. The founders wouldn't think we could exist in that vacuum. We need every moment possible to help hour folks understand what the glory the Constitutional system is, so we need to pass it on.

GLENN: Another hypothetical. You are in the senate and the president is pressuring these states to not take and quarantine Ebola victims. This is happening now. You believe that hypothetically speaking, we should stop the air travel even from West Africa, not necessarily to, but from West Africa, without a quarantine. What do you do?

SASSE: I think there are two different parts of that. The first one is we are fortunate to have a federalist system where you have layers of government, so we don't want in the American system to consolidate power at this distant place called Washington, D.C. Washington exists for a limited number of things. There are really important duties, but they are enumerated. So most decisions, wherever possible, should be made at the state and local level. If governors and mayors think a quarantine is in order, they are closest to their people and know the circumstances. So we'd want to respond to the lowest levering of government where possible.

Obviously, on something like a public health pandemic crisis, isn't contained inside some geographic border, so Washington has important responsibilities. Right now the administration can't explain with any clarity why they are opposed to a hiatus and pause on granting new visas from the three most affected countries. It is really bizarre.

Your hypothetical lays out the distinction between travel from and travel to. One someone asks why would we grant new visa, when we don't understand what's happen October ground in Liberia, why risk the pandemic coming here. And the administration responds with this bizarre kind of "run out the clock" by pontificating about how you don't want to solve the problem. The best way to solve the problem is on the ground, closest to the point of origin, so that's in Liberia, the U.S., particularly through the CDC has important responsibilities, and we should deploy folks, public and private sector, to Liberia, but the administration doesn't answer with any coherence.

GLENN: Next hypothetical. Baghdad falls. We have the largest embassy, larger than the Vatican, the largest embassy in the world cost us --

PAT: I think several billion.

GLENN: Hundreds of billions. Maybe three-quarters of a trillion dollars. Most expensive. It's bigger than the mall in Washington D.C., bigger than Vatican City. It's own country.

STU: Real estate in Iraq can't be that expensive.

GLENN: Spent at lot of money, a lot of time, a lot of bloodshed --

STU: $1 billion, by the way. That's a lot of money.

SASSE: It's early Monday morning. Who's going to argue about three more decimal places?

GLENN: So we spent money, time and treasure. We are days perhaps within the fall of Baghdad. What do you do in the Senate?

SASSE: I'm not duck your question, but I think your crisis is a lot bigger than that, so I'll back up one step. I think the crisis is we don't have any coherence about what the medium and long-term U.S. national security and foreign policy objectives are in the Middle East. When you travel all day on a bus, as we have been doing for months, talking to Nebraskans, some people, if they came and rode the bus and listened to our folks on the ground, they may hear isolationism, but that's not what I think our people are saying. They are saying they are really, really aware that the sword a dangerous place and there are blood-thirsty terrorist organizations that will fill vacuums that arise and the kind of miniaturization technology that exists, where you can port nuclear technologies across the globe in stuff the size of a large travel suit case, the U.S. has responsibilities to stop terror networks and jihadi groups of global terror reach, but our folks are skeptical of giving any authority to politicians of either political party that are driven by the next media economical rather than articulating a long-term policy. When we make a commitment, our allies should know they can trust us and enemies should know to fears. Right now we don't have that with Israel. Israel doesn't think they can trust us and our enemies don't fear us. I think the bigger problem is the ungoverned regions in Pakistan, large parts of Afghanistan, and these kinds of places can swallow the vacuums could expand and swallow a place like Baghdad and making a single city decision is not the right choice. The right choice is we need to be articulating a long-term policy that explains that if a jihadi group believes they kill in the name of religion, we opposed to them, no matter on if they are on this side or that side of Afghani-Pakistani border. That doesn't mean we can eradicate everybody, but it does mean if one of the terror groups has global reach, they should know to fear us. Right now they don't.

GLENN: None of these are really hypotheticals. All of these are going to happen with you as a senator, most likely. The election is over, the president decides he's just going to grant amnesty. He's already printed 9 million green cards. More are supposedly on the way, but he's already ordered up 9 million green cards. He grants amnesty. What do you do?

SASSE: Yeah. I sure hope that isn't where we are headed. Hope we are not headed to --

GLENN: We are headed towards that exact place.

PAT: I think it will happen by executive action.

SASSE: His pen and phone a speech from last year sets up the predicate for those kind of actions, but it is a direct attack on his constitutional responsibilities. Our big problem, though, is that the president can say, if the Congress doesn't pass the laws he wants them to, it is not that big of a deal to him because he has a pen and phone. Even bigger than that act is the belief that so much of the American electorate doesn't understand he doesn't have those freedoms.

So we have to have a long-term civic re-education, but the Congress has to start by affirming the three separate but equal branches. And the power of the purse, powers of oversight as well, but the power of the purse is what gives that teeth. Need to begin by only funding those parts of agencies that have the authority to do that. So the president can't do what you are proposing, but executive branch officials also can't execute those kind of edicts if they don't have fund to do it, so we need to be sure we start to bring the American people along, moving step by step incrementally to funding those parts of executive agencies that are aligned with the missions of legislation that reaction gave them the authority to act. According to one recent study, only about a third of all the activities of EPA actually have any legislative authorization. They just used rule-making process to make up law now. That's a crisis, but the bigger crisis is that the public doesn't understand it.

GLENN: How do you feel about -- where's your support coming from? Because you are very, very clear on who you are. The GOP would say you are an extremist. The GOP is not going your way. They are saying people with your point of view is the reason why the GOP is in trouble, yet, you are one of the only senators running that have any real support and real run-away poll numbers. What do you attribute it to?

SASSE: We don't pay a ton of the attention to the polls. There are numbers out there that are pretty gaudy. I have never run for anything before. I'm a 42-year-old nonpolitician, so I won't believe it until the election is over, but we have been running hard in all 93 counties. No one's ever really, in the history of member politics built a field structure in all 93 counties. We have a campaign in every county. I have done town halls in every county. When you travel 93 counties, our people believe great American stuff. They just draw that basic fundamental distinction that all Americans used to be able to draw between federal programs and bureaucracies and the meaning of America. They are not the same thing. Washington has some responsibilities, but America is a lot bigger than Washington's mandates and tacks and prohibitions. The meaning of America is neighbor helping neighbor. It's small business people and farmers and ranchers that build the future. It's what happens on Sunday morning the motivation that has people want to put on the uniform and serve to defend our freedoms and pass it on to the next generation, but all that is so much bigger than the small subset of America. So there's a danger of saying this in a way that sounds -- my 10-year-old was on a bus with us one day, there was a reporter riding with us and she tried to frame up this question. It had so many caveats at the front that it said the only people who must support you are right wing crazy people that want to shut down the government. She framed the question that there was nothing you could really say. She has parsed everybody by gender, race, socioeconomic class and job type and whether they like green or red bicycles. Almost nothing left to say. I just paused. And my daughter looked at her and said ma'am, we want all the votes. And what she was getting at is I really believe that there are lots of sensible democrats in Nebraska. I disagree with them on certain things about federal policy, but you should be able to agree with them about the larger constitutional structure. I think that's what's happening on the ground.

STU: He's going for a unanimous vote here.

GLENN: Ben Sasse from Nebraska, running for the open Senate seat running away with it at this point. We wish you all the best, Ben. Thank you.

SASSE: Benfornebraska.com, if your listeners are interested in more.

GLENN: Thanks.

From the moment the 33-year-old Thomas Jefferson arrived at the Continental Congress in Philadelphia in 1776, he was on the radical side. That caused John Adams to like him immediately. Then the Congress stuck Jefferson and Adams together on the five-man committee to write a formal statement justifying a break with Great Britain, and their mutual admiration society began.

Jefferson thought Adams should write the Declaration. But Adams protested, saying, “It can't come from me because I'm obnoxious and disliked." Adams reasoned that Jefferson was not obnoxious or disliked, therefore he should write it. Plus, he flattered Jefferson, by telling him he was a great writer. It was a master class in passing the buck.

So, over the next 17 days, Jefferson holed up in his room, applying his lawyer skills to the ideas of the Enlightenment. He borrowed freely from existing documents like the Virginia Declaration of Rights. He later wrote that “he was not striving for originality of principle or sentiment." Instead, he hoped his words served as “an expression of the American mind."

It's safe to say he achieved his goal.

The five-man committee changed about 25 percent of Jefferson's first draft of the Declaration before submitting it to Congress. Then, Congress altered about one-fifth of that draft. But most of the final Declaration's words are Jefferson's, including the most famous passage — the Preamble — which Congress left intact. The result is nothing less than America's mission statement, the words that ultimately bind the nation together. And words that we desperately need to rediscover because of our boiling partisan rage.

The Declaration is brilliant in structure and purpose. It was designed for multiple audiences: the King of Great Britain, the colonists, and the world. And it was designed for multiple purposes: rallying the troops, gaining foreign allies, and announcing the creation of a new country.

The Declaration is structured in five sections: the Introduction, Preamble, the Body composed of two parts, and the Conclusion. It's basically the most genius breakup letter ever written.

In the Introduction, step 1 is the notificationI think we need to break up. And to be fair, I feel I owe you an explanation...

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another…

The Continental Congress felt they were entitled by “the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God" to “dissolve the political bands," but they needed to prove the legitimacy of their cause. They were defying the world's most powerful nation and needed to motivate foreign allies to join the effort. So, they set their struggle within the entire “Course of human events." They're saying, this is no petty political spat — this is a major event in world history.

Step 2 is declaring what you believe in, your standardsHere's what I'm looking for in a healthy relationship...

This is the most famous part of the Declaration; the part school children recite — the Preamble:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

That's as much as many Americans know of the Declaration. But the Preamble is the DNA of our nation, and it really needs to be taken as a whole:

That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

The Preamble takes us through a logical progression: All men are created equal; God gives all humans certain inherent rights that cannot be denied; these include the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; to protect those rights, we have governments set up; but when a government fails to protect our inherent rights, people have the right to change or replace it.

Government is only there to protect the rights of mankind. They don't have any power unless we give it to them. That was an extraordinarily radical concept then and we're drifting away from it now.

The Preamble is the justification for revolution. But note how they don't mention Great Britain yet. And again, note how they frame it within a universal context. These are fundamental principles, not just squabbling between neighbors. These are the principles that make the Declaration just as relevant today. It's not just a dusty parchment that applied in 1776.

Step 3 is laying out your caseHere's why things didn't work out between us. It's not me, it's you...

This is Part 1 of the Body of the Declaration. It's the section where Jefferson gets to flex his lawyer muscles by listing 27 grievances against the British crown. This is the specific proof of their right to rebellion:

He has obstructed the administration of justice...

For imposing taxes on us without our consent...

For suspending our own legislatures...

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us...

Again, Congress presented these “causes which impel them to separation" in universal terms to appeal to an international audience. It's like they were saying, by joining our fight you'll be joining mankind's overall fight against tyranny.

Step 4 is demonstrating the actions you took I really tried to make this relationship work, and here's how...

This is Part 2 of the Body. It explains how the colonists attempted to plead their case directly to the British people, only to have the door slammed in their face:

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury...

They too have been deaf to the voice of justice... We must, therefore... hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

This basically wrapped up America's argument for independence — we haven't been treated justly, we tried to talk to you about it, but since you refuse to listen and things are only getting worse, we're done here.

Step 5 is stating your intent — So, I think it's best if we go our separate ways. And my decision is final...

This is the powerful Conclusion. If people know any part of the Declaration besides the Preamble, this is it:

...that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved...

They left no room for doubt. The relationship was over, and America was going to reboot, on its own, with all the rights of an independent nation.

And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

The message was clear — this was no pitchfork mob. These were serious men who had carefully thought through the issues before taking action. They were putting everything on the line for this cause.

The Declaration of Independence is a landmark in the history of democracy because it was the first formal statement of a people announcing their right to choose their own government. That seems so obvious to us now, but in 1776 it was radical and unprecedented.

In 1825, Jefferson wrote that the purpose of the Declaration was “not to find out new principles, or new arguments, never before thought of… but to place before mankind the common sense of the subject, in terms so plain and firm… to justify ourselves in the independent stand we are compelled to take."

You're not going to do better than the Declaration of Independence. Sure, it worked as a means of breaking away from Great Britain, but its genius is that its principles of equality, inherent rights, and self-government work for all time — as long as we actually know and pursue those principles.

On June 7, 1776, the Second Continental Congress met in Philadelphia at the Pennsylvania State House, better known today as Independence Hall. Virginia delegate Richard Henry Lee introduced a motion calling for the colonies' independence. The “Lee Resolution" was short and sweet:

Resolved, That these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States, that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved.

Intense debate followed, and the Congress voted 7 to 5 (with New York abstaining) to postpone a vote on Lee's Resolution. They called a recess for three weeks. In the meantime, the delegates felt they needed to explain what they were doing in writing. So, before the recess, they appointed a five-man committee to come up with a formal statement justifying a break with Great Britain. They appointed two men from New England — Roger Sherman and John Adams; two from the middle colonies — Robert Livingston and Benjamin Franklin; and one Southerner — Thomas Jefferson. The responsibility for writing what would become the Declaration of Independence fell to Jefferson.

In the rotunda of the National Archives building in Washington, D.C., there are three original documents on permanent display: the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and the Declaration of Independence. These are the three pillars of the United States, yet America barely seems to know them anymore. We need to get reacquainted — quickly.

In a letter to his friend John Adams in 1816, Jefferson wrote: “I like the dreams of the future, better than the history of the past."

America used to be a forward-looking nation of dreamers. We still are in spots, but the national attitude that we hear broadcast loudest across media is not looking toward the future with optimism and hope. In late 2017, a national poll found 59% of Americans think we are currently at the “lowest point in our nation's history that they can remember."

America spends far too much time looking to the past for blame and excuse. And let's be honest, even the Right is often more concerned with “owning the left" than helping point anyone toward the practical principles of the Declaration of Independence. America has clearly lost touch with who we are as a nation. We have a national identity crisis.

The Declaration of Independence is America's thesis statement, and without it America doesn't exist.

It is urgent that we get reacquainted with the Declaration of Independence because postmodernism would have us believe that we've evolved beyond the America of our founding documents, and thus they're irrelevant to the present and the future. But the Declaration of Independence is America's thesis statement, and without it America doesn't exist.

Today, much of the nation is so addicted to partisan indignation that "day-to-day" indignation isn't enough to feed the addiction. So, we're reaching into America's past to help us get our fix. In 2016, Democrats in the Louisiana state legislature tabled a bill that would have required fourth through sixth graders to recite the opening lines of the Declaration. They didn't table it because they thought it would be too difficult or too patriotic. They tabled it because the requirement would include the phrase “all men are created equal" and the progressives in the Louisiana legislature didn't want the children to have to recite a lie. Representative Barbara Norton said, “One thing that I do know is, all men are not created equal. When I think back in 1776, July the fourth, African Americans were slaves. And for you to bring a bill to request that our children will recite the Declaration, I think it's a little bit unfair to us. To ask our children to recite something that's not the truth. And for you to ask those children to repeat the Declaration stating that all men's are free. I think that's unfair."

Remarkable — an elected representative saying it wouldn't be fair for students to have to recite the Declaration because “all men are not created equal." Another Louisiana Democrat explained that the government born out of the Declaration “was used against races of people." I guess they missed that part in school where they might have learned that the same government later made slavery illegal and amended the Constitution to guarantee all men equal protection under the law. The 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments were an admission of guilt by the nation regarding slavery, and an effort to right the wrongs.

Yet, the progressive logic goes something like this: many of the men who signed the Declaration of Independence, including Thomas Jefferson who wrote it, owned slaves; slavery is evil; therefore, the Declaration of Independence is not valid because it was created by evil slave owners.

It's a sad reality that the left has a very hard time appreciating the universal merits of the Declaration of Independence because they're so hung up on the long-dead issue of slavery. And just to be clear — because people love to take things out of context — of course slavery was horrible. Yes, it is a total stain on our history. But defending the Declaration of Independence is not an effort to excuse any aspect of slavery.

Okay then, people might say, how could the Founders approve the phrase “All men are created equal," when many of them owned slaves? How did they miss that?

They didn't miss it. In fact, Thomas Jefferson included an anti-slavery passage in his first draft of the Declaration. The paragraph blasted King George for condoning slavery and preventing the American Colonies from passing legislation to ban slavery:

He has waged cruel war against human nature itself, violating its most sacred rights to life and liberty in the persons of a distant people who never offended him, captivating and carrying them into slavery in another hemisphere... Determined to keep open a market where men should be bought and sold, he has prostituted his negative for suppressing every legislative attempt to prohibit or to restrain this execrable commerce.

We don't say “execrable" that much anymore. It means, utterly detestable, abominable, abhorrent — basically very bad.

Jefferson was upset when Georgia and North Carolina threw up the biggest resistance to that paragraph. Ultimately, those two states twisted Congress' arm to delete the paragraph.

Still, how could a man calling the slave trade “execrable" be a slaveowner himself? No doubt about it, Jefferson was a flawed human being. He even had slaves from his estate in Virginia attending him while he was in Philadelphia, in the very apartment where he was writing the Declaration.

Many of the Southern Founders deeply believed in the principles of the Declaration yet couldn't bring themselves to upend the basis of their livelihood. By 1806, Virginia law made it more difficult for slave owners to free their slaves, especially if the owner had significant debts as Jefferson did.

At the same time, the Founders were not idiots. They understood the ramifications of signing on to the principles described so eloquently in the Declaration. They understood that logically, slavery would eventually have to be abolished in America because it was unjust, and the words they were committing to paper said as much. Remember, John Adams was on the committee of five that worked on the Declaration and he later said that the Revolution would never be complete until the slaves were free.

Also, the same generation that signed the Declaration started the process of abolition by banning the importation of slaves in 1807. Jefferson was President at the time and he urged Congress to pass the law.

America has an obvious road map that, as a nation, we're not consulting often enough.

The Declaration took a major step toward crippling the institution of slavery. It made the argument for the first time about the fundamental rights of all humans which completely undermined slavery. Planting the seeds to end slavery is not nearly commendable enough for leftist critics, but you can't discount the fact that the seeds were planted. It's like they started an expiration clock for slavery by approving the Declaration. Everything that happened almost a century later to end slavery, and then a century after that with the Civil Rights movement, flowed from the principles voiced in the Declaration.

Ironically for a movement that calls itself progressive, it is obsessed with retrying and judging the past over and over. Progressives consider this a better use of time than actually putting past abuses in the rearview and striving not to be defined by ancestral failures.

It can be very constructive to look to the past, but not when it's used to flog each other in the present. Examining history is useful in providing a road map for the future. And America has an obvious road map that, as a nation, we're not consulting often enough. But it's right there, the original, under glass. The ink is fading, but the words won't die — as long as we continue to discuss them.

'Good Morning Texas' gives exclusive preview of Mercury One museum

Screen shot from Good Morning Texas

Mercury One is holding a special exhibition over the 4th of July weekend, using hundreds of artifacts, documents and augmented reality experiences to showcase the history of slavery — including slavery today — and a path forward. Good Morning Texas reporter Paige McCoy Smith went through the exhibit for an exclusive preview with Mercury One's chief operating officer Michael Little on Tuesday.

Watch the video below to see the full preview.

Click here to purchase tickets to the museum (running from July 4 - 7).

Over the weekend, journalist Andy Ngo and several other apparent right-leaning people were brutally beaten by masked-gangs of Antifa protesters in Portland, Oregon. Short for "antifascist," Antifa claims to be fighting for social justice and tolerance — by forcibly and violently silencing anyone with opposing opinions. Ngo, who was kicked, punched, and sprayed with an unknown substance, is currently still in the hospital with a "brain bleed" as a result of the savage attack. Watch the video to get the details from Glenn.