GLENN: Senator Ben Sasse, welcome to the program. Senator from Nebraska, we're glad to have you on.
BEN: Thank you for having me. Good to be here, Glenn.
GLENN: So you're reintroducing the born-alive legislation. Let's get to this first before we talk about all the other things that are happening in our world.
Tell me what this is and how we can help.
BEN: Yeah. Thank you. Well, this is a bill that ensures that babies who survive an attempted abortion get a fighting chance. It requires that hospitals and doctors give the same medical attention to an abortion survivor that would have been offered to any premature baby at the same age. And it criminalizes the intentional killing of a baby that was born. So last week I introduced it with 27 other senators, which is sort of a good thing, but you're like, "How in the world is this not introduced with 99 other senators?" It passed the House of Representatives on a bipartisan vote last year, but didn't go anywhere in the Senate. So please let your senators know that this is just common sense legislation.
GLENN: Okay. So I want to make sure I understand this. This is not you can't do partial-birth abortion. This is, if the baby survives the partial-birth abortion or any abortion and is still alive, you can't lock him in a closet so they just die?
BEN: You got it. I mean, there's a lot -- I mean, I'm a solidly pro-life guy on anything we're going to talk about, but this is a different thing than that. Republicans and Democrats obviously don't agree on a lot of things, but everybody should be able to agree on this, that life isn't disposable. And when a baby is born, you can't lock her in a closet and just leave her alone and cold to die, struggling for breath. And, you know, it's crazy that we haven't yet criminalized --
GLENN: Ben, I have to tell you, partial-birth abortion is so far beyond -- I mean, it's into the Mengele territory. It really is.
I don't know -- and the only reason why partial-birth abortion is happening is because people don't understand what it is. There's no life of the mother that is even possible with a partial birth -- she's already given birth to the baby, except for the head. And then they hold the head in the birth canal, while they cut its neck and suck its brains out.
It's horrible, that tactic. I can't believe we need a law to tell doctors that after that, they still can't kill -- because the -- the line that they have in their head is, well, it's still inside the woman's body. So, you know, that head is still in there. So it's still part of her body.
But once she survives that and the baby is born, why do we have to have a law?
BEN: Yeah. I mean, let's back up a tiny little bit too and just talk at the macro level about the fact that so much of the pro-life movement is having real success. And it's outside of the legislative sphere. Really good things are happening as young people are becoming more pro-life than the generation above them. And that's because they're a heavily image-driven culture. There are a whole bunch of places where we'd have debates about deliberation and reading and reflection, where we want all sorts of things to happen in a more orderly way for our teenagers and our 20-somethings that are coming of age.
But one of the good effects of the image-centricity of this culture -- and it's problematic in general, but one of the good things is, people are seeing diagnostic technologies of babies in utero, and they're realizing that that's a baby. It's not a squirrel. So there's a lot of good stuff happening in the pro-life movement, as people are celebrating a culture of life. And frankly, as those of us in the pro-life movement are getting better at making sure that we actually are checking our own energies and zeal and consciences to make sure we're loving moms and trying to persuade them -- not just try to think this is primarily about legislation. Because it's mostly not about legislation.
But in the legislative domain, we ought to be able to start with things that we can agree on. Americans are the kind of people who cheer for the vulnerable. We fight for minorities. We protect the powerless from the powerful. And a little baby boy or girl that's just been born, fighting for their life, I mean, it's the most basic thing that people who are humane defend.
GLENN: Is this happening very often, Ben?
BEN: Well, I mean, we don't know. Highly unlikely that it's happening often. But you remember the Gosnell case a few years ago.
GLENN: Yes, yes.
BEN: So I guess, what? Been four or five years ago, this Philadelphia abortionist -- for those of your listeners who don't know -- Kermit Gosnell was convicted of murdering newborns. I mean, court documents reveal that he made millions of dollars over the course of 30 years, performing as many late-term abortions as he could.
So, again, this is the late-term abortion stuff you're talking about. He had this simple business model: Offer abortions to women who couldn't find them elsewhere because they were too pregnant.
And we know that there are cases where he delivered living, breathing, struggling newborns and killed them with a scissors and just discarded them as waste. And he destroyed his medical files, so relatively few of the cases were prosecuted. But court documents indicate that he induced, you know, abortion on a 17-year-old woman who was seven and a half months pregnant, and a baby there was born, breathing and moving, and weighed about 6 pounds. And severed the baby's spine, and he joked that this baby was so big that the baby could have walked into a bus stop.
GLENN: Jeez. But he's in jail. So why do we need this law?
BEN: Well, we need -- we need clarity in this movement about the fact that people -- I mean, to the point you're making about late-term abortion. Late-term abortion is totally morally abhorrent. And there should be movement on a whole bunch of different domains. But the people who argue against -- the people who argue for all abortion on demand all the time without any questioning ever, we need to be having a debate about what life is. Because the babies in utero are babies. And we need to be able to have that talk, that conversation.
GLENN: Okay. Ben, last night I was on CNN, and what I didn't know is that about an hour later, Milo, what's-his-face, from Breitbart, who is a despicable alt-right guy, who has said we live in a post-fact world, and I revel in that because you can do whatever you want. Wasn't -- had a talk scheduled at UC Berkeley. Then the anarchists -- not the anti-Trump -- the anti-government people, the Occupy Wall Street that said, afterwards, "This was a victory, and we're going to burn the whole system down and take the government down. And this is war."
These two were going at it last night. There's no good party here.
I said last night on CNN, I asked the press, "You guys keep punching Donald Trump. We know that when you punch him, he punches back twice as hard. So that means you're going to have to punch him back, and then he'll punch you back." I feel like I'm the computer in -- in War Games. "The only way to win is to not play the game."
And I asked the question for the left and the right, "How do you see this ending? How do you see one side winning?"
BEN: Yeah. So -- so many things to say there. So let me just start by admitting that I don't know the details of what happened last night. I, you know, saw some headlines this morning about some of the debates at Berkeley and whatnot. But let's just step back from that for a minute and say, America has always been an idea founded on the premise that we're not going to -- thoughtful people -- people who are grappling with mortality and heaven and hell and love and beauty and truth are not going to agree on everything. And so we have to decide, what things do you solve by power, and what things do you not solve by power?
And the vast majority of life is not about power; it is not about politics. The vast majority of life is about persuasion. It's about volunteerism. It's about entrepreneurship. It's about love.
The vast majority of life is the things that you persuade people to join with you in doing, and that you figure out a way to lovingly disagree about with people that you can't persuade on things, often in our own families and in our own neighborhoods and our companies and our own churches, et cetera. Right?
So the vast majority of life is about these places where we debate lovingly, winsomely, but you don't try to solve these problems by power. And so the First Amendment -- the freedom of speech, press, religion, assembly, protest, or the redress of grievances -- all of these things are a way of saying, there's a difference between physical violence, which government exists to protect us from. And you can't let that word "violence" drift into places where we're having debates.
We need to have the debates. A safe space movement is the antithesis of education. If you're never going to encounter an idea that you didn't already know, if you're never going to refine your own beliefs, if you're never going to have to admit, "Hey, I was wrong on this," or come to say, "You know what, I think I'm right on this, and now I know how to explain it with a little more empathy and a little more persuasion with people who disagree with me," I don't know why mom and dad are writing the tuition check. The purpose of education is frankly to be pushed out of your safe spaces.
STU: Yeah, it's so true. As Senator Ben Sasse, we're talking to right now -- senator, can we move to the Supreme Court? You mentioned really our foundational principles as you were speaking there. And, you know, I got to admit, I was a skeptic on whether Trump would come up with somebody who really respected the Constitution to be named to the Supreme Court. I think he hit that mark. And I think he hit it in a really impressive way. Can you tell us about Senator -- Justice Gorsuch, or hopeful Justice Gorsuch?
BEN: Yeah. Let's applaud the president. This is a tremendous pick. This is the kind of guy that the Founders envisioned serving on the Supreme Court. He's a judge's judge.
I really do want to applaud the president and his team on picking somebody off the list of 21. They campaigned about it. They were transparent. Many of us have, you know, disagreed with the president on a handful -- a number of things and whatnot. But on this, he kept his word. He picked somebody off the list of 21. And, frankly, he picked somebody great off the list of 21. I've been -- I've been reading Judge Gorsuch's opinions, dabbling in them for three weeks, when it became clear that he was one of the likely finalists. And I don't have a clue what his policy views are. I don't know what his personal preferences are on things. And, frankly, I don't care. That's not a judge's job. And he gets what a judge's job is. He's a worthy heir to the Scalia seat.
STU: Yeah, and that's really impressive.
One of the things that I think is important is you read this in -- in many of the reviews about it, and I'm sure you can speak much more eloquently on it than I can on it. But the things like the Dormant Commerce Clause, which to me, if it is dormant, it's not in the actual Constitution, which is kind of a problem. And it seems like Gorsuch has that same problem.
BEN: Well, I mean, you guys are pros at mass communication. And, you know, the one thing that I know about a national talk radio audience is the main thing they want on a Thursday morning is views on the history of the Commerce Clause.
So, I mean, let's just say, top line, Dormant Commerce Clause relates to what states can do with regard to taxes and regulations that would impact people in other states.
And there are lots of nerdy debates here. I think I'm one of only a hand of people in the whole US Senate who is not an attorney, let alone the fact that I'm serving on the Judiciary Committee. So like Chairman Grassley from Iowa, we are the non-technical nerds on the Judiciary Committee.
But the big point to be made is that the Commerce Clause has just swallowed up almost everything. So many things, government finds a way to try to claim that it has the authority to get to, through the Commerce Clause, and that's a mess.
Underneath that, there are a lot of nerdy debates about the Commerce Clause in general and the Dormant Commerce Clause, as you flagged.
STU: Our entire audience is a bunch of nerds, so they appreciate the Commerce Clause talk in the morning.
BEN: I really thought you had an audience bigger than 11, but I stand corrected.
STU: Senator Ben Sasse, we actually lost connection with Glenn in the middle of this. But it was really interesting to listen to you. And, you know, I think a lot of people came to -- after the election, were really worried about what Trump might do with the Supreme Court. And not only am I thrilled, I think it's also a real statement on people like yourself who oppose him on some of this, but was able to say, "Look, when he does a good job, we're going to say it. And that's the most important thing we can do."
BEN: Amen. I mean, you know, Gorsuch is the kind of guy that becomes an occasion for us to teach our kids civics.
I mean, this is a guy who -- I mean, he writes really clearly. He says things like, "Judges are different than politicians because we took an oath to apply the law as it is, not to reshape the law as we wish it were."
Well, that's pretty darn good School House Rock right there. You know, Congress is the people -- we're the people who are supposed to make policy, because ultimately, the voters of America are supposed to be preeminent, and they can hire and fire us.
If you're a judge and you have a lifetime appointment, you don't get to make policy because the people can't fire you. That's not the American way. And so a judge has a different job. And this guy guys that.
And, frankly, I really do hope Democrats come around to recognizing that this is the kind of guy that everybody should be applauding. You don't -- when he takes off his robe at night and turns on ESPN, I have no idea what his personal policy views are.
What I know is he distinguishes between the time he had his robe on and the time when he has his robe off. And when he has the robe on, he's not a super legislator.
GLENN: Senator Ben Sasse, I'm actually back. We just reconnected. But I've been listening to the whole thing. I have one more question. Can you hold for just a few minutes?
BEN: I have to run into a hearing -- you know, for two minutes.
GLENN: No. I tell you what, why don't you go. And we'll have you back on next week. Because I wanted to ask you a couple of other questions. Thank you so much.
BEN: Let's do it.
Hey, by the way, when they were talking Dormant Commerce Clause, Glenn, we heard you snoring.
GLENN: No, I was actually fascinated by it. I was one of the 11. So thank you very much. I appreciate it.
BEN: All right. Thanks, Glenn.
GLENN: All right. Senator Ben Sasse.
STU: He's great.
GLENN: And held to his principles, and it's good to hear him say that about Gorsuch.
And now, this. It would be prudent on our part to examine the possible negative side effects of doing away with cash or the possible negative side effects of saying that, "Oh, the problems are all fixed."
I want to talk to you about -- I want to talk to you about a meeting I had here in Los Angeles, with some very big financial people. And I said, "What do you think is coming?" And the gobbledegook that came out of their mouth, "I hope their right." I said to them, "I hope you're right." But they were talking to me about how, "Oh, this $4 trillion that we printed, they can print more, and it's not really going to affect us." Oh, we can have tariffs, and it won't be a big deal. We can pretty much wall ourselves off from the rest of the world, and it won't affect our economy. Oh, this -- the housing market, that's not a bubble, and neither is Wall Street. Those are all -- it was incredible to listen to. It was really incredible.
The next meeting I had was with a billionaire, okay?
And I sat down with him, and he said, "Where do you think the world is headed?"
And I said, "That's what I wanted to ask you." And he said, "Oh, my gosh, the world is headed for an implosion."
I said, "It's really weird because the guys who try to sell people stocks, they don't think so." He said, "Don't listen to those guys."