episode 196: Freedom, CPAC, America and Winning the Next Election with Matt Schlapp

This episode is set in our mountainside house in Rappahannock County, Virginia for a wide ranging conversation with my friend, the always engaging and provocative Matt Schlapp, leader and Chairman of CPAC. We cover a lot of ground, with some of the highlights being: Why we believe we’re in the human flourishing business. Why the “diversity, equity and inclusion” mantra is a false God. How CPAC is finding that America’s founding principles and freedoms are resonating all over the world with its international events in Japan, Brazil, Hong Kong, and this week, Israel. What we think is the most important word in CPAC’s name. Where people who share our values should be investing their time and money. Why a “little bit of voter fraud and corruption” is unacceptable when it comes to our elections. What Ron DeSantis can expect if he becomes the Republican standard bearer. This is a fun conversation, especially as we joust and jest with my director Kenny, as the sun moves around the set.

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episode 196 transcript

Speaker 1:                    Welcome to The Bill Walton Show, featuring conversations with leaders, entrepreneurs, artists, and thinkers, fresh perspectives on money, culture, politics, and human flourishing. Interesting people, interesting things.

Bill Walton:                   Welcome to The Bill Walton Show. I’m Bill Walton. Well, today, we’re doing something a little different. [00:00:30] We’re taping our show from our place out in Rappahannock County, Virginia. And I’m here with my friend, great friend, Matt Schlapp, who’s Chairman of the Conservative Action Project. And we’re going to have, I believe, a more philosophical discussion today about why we’re spending our time doing the things we do to help the country. We talk about what we do, but we’re also going to talk today about why we’re doing what we’re doing. Matt’s got a very interesting personal story and we want to [00:01:00] bring that delight. So, Matt, welcome.

Matt Schlapp:               Great to be with you, Bill, in this house that’s a little bit of a home for us too.

Bill Walton:                   Well, yeah, Matt’s got a place here in… Well, actually, you’re just on the border of Rappahannock County. You’re in Madison and we’ve got all the doors open here. So, we may see a bumblebee fly through here and maybe a dog or two. I’m not sure where the black bears are at today, but we’ll deal with it.

Matt Schlapp:               We’ll deal with it.

Bill Walton:                   We can cope with the left. We can cope with black bears.

Matt Schlapp:               That’s right. That’s exactly right.

Bill Walton:                   [00:01:30] So, Matt, you’ve dedicated your life to politics and now political action and really changing the country with the CPAC. Why are you doing it?

Matt Schlapp:               Well, it’s funny you say that because I never really took a vow. I didn’t wake up one day and say, “I’m going to commit my life to live a certain vocation or whatever.” I just went about like Americans do, taking the next step. I went to school and then I got a job and then I figured [00:02:00] out what I was good at and what I wasn’t good at. And then I got married a little later than some people get married and I started having kids. So, my life hasn’t been all planned out.

Bill Walton:                   Married to the famous Mercedes.

Matt Schlapp:               That’s right, the more famous. I’m more infamous. So, for me, it’s been more of experiencing life and figuring things out and a little bit of reaction and all candor. I mean, like a lot of people that are conservative in mindset, I really thought that I would have [00:02:30] my political views, but be involved in business ventures and marrying those two things, because I just think that’s how we’re oriented. Business ventures have become political. So, you can’t avoid politics.

Bill Walton:                   Well, my background, I came at this all from only more recently in the last 10, 12 years. I was running a public company, New York Stock Exchange, pretty big company. I was not political, but then I began looking at what was happening with [00:03:00] the regulatory state and all the cultural changes, which were changing the people who worked for the company and the kind of people we could recruit. I began really growing concern that the culture and the regulatory state was radically ruining the America that you and I really love. My approach is more utilitarian in that I think that our ideas, whether you call them conservative or Republican [00:03:30] or traditional or whatever, in the first place as a business guy, they work.

Matt Schlapp:               That’s right. They’re practical.

Bill Walton:                   They work. They’re practical. Our economics work. They’ve created tremendous wealth in the last 250 years and our ideas are also moral in that we have a real sense of what’s good and true. And the other thing is I think what we’re doing and what you’re trying to bring about is what makes people happy. [00:04:00] People flourish. That’s really, to me, why I think we’re doing what we’re doing.

Matt Schlapp:               Can I say one thing on there just real fast?

Bill Walton:                   Yeah.

Matt Schlapp:               First of all, you say you weren’t very political, but did you vote Republican?

Bill Walton:                   I voted for Reagan. I loved Reagan and I went to see Reagan in 1980 when he was running. And I didn’t have any real strong point of view, which tells you a lot. And he was just mesmerizing. He was incredible and he epitomized something I thought I [00:04:30] wanted to be with what I thought America was about, right? So, yeah, I voted. Although back in 1972, I did vote for George McGovern.

Matt Schlapp:               Oh, I got one on you.

Bill Walton:                   You do?

Matt Schlapp:               You went through a lot of interesting explaining about what our shared values are. You used the word moral. There was a time when that’s the only word you would’ve need [00:05:00] to use why, because what was moral was considered practical and what was moral was considered enabling of human joy. And because the term moral, I think, through on purpose has been so ransacked by all negatives, that we have to add all these other words to it. But if you really break it all down, if you believe that God created the order of the universe, what God wants [00:05:30] for us, he wants us happy. He does not want us miserable. And the reason why there’s a morality to life, which sounds like me telling you what to do, but what it really means is you finding out the truths of life that will bring you human joy-

Bill Walton:                   Exactly.

Matt Schlapp:               … and human flourishing. Those concepts are so beaten down and graffitied by our modern culture.

Bill Walton:                   My wife, Sarah says the Ten Commandments are not there to tell you [00:06:00] what to do.

Matt Schlapp:               No.

Bill Walton:                   They’re there because they’re good for you. If you do those things, you live a good life.

Matt Schlapp:               And look at the Bible. When Moses went away to Sinai and came back with the Ten Commandments, look what they did, why Moses was gone. The Bible explained this to us. They were pursuing their lust, but it was a chaotic disastrous mess where women were being raped and people’s goods were being stolen by other people. There was chaos. And the whole reason what God, [00:06:30] I think, is trying to teach us is that if you just pursue the things that you think will make you happy and it’s not ordered, you will have misery. And then the Ten Commandments come down and the Jewish people have to go through this whole period of time to rediscover God’s truth.

Bill Walton:                   Right. Well, you just wrote a terrific book, came out about six months ago, called The Desecrators. I highly recommend you all pick up a copy of The Desecrators, because Matt really lays out for us what these principles are all about, what the biblical understanding is of this, Christian understanding. [00:07:00] We talk about the contrast. What works? What’s moral? What makes people happy? My view is that the ideas of the left, they don’t work. There’s never been a socialist system on the planet that’s ever delivered the goods. They’re immoral. We can talk about what that means and they make people unhappy.

Matt Schlapp:               They do. Yeah.

Bill Walton:                   There’s this whole thing now called diversity, equity, and inclusion. And if you break it down, DEI, you take a [00:07:30] look at just equity. I think equity is a code word for envy.

Matt Schlapp:               It is. Yeah.

Bill Walton:                   And they’re just this whole thing about you’ve got your stuff and we want our stuff in the name of what so-called equity. And I think that’s a cancer that’s really ripping us apart.

Matt Schlapp:               What I worry about what they really mean by equity is it’s equal. Everyone gets the same amount. So, it’s redistributive obviously.

Bill Walton:                   Which gets back to the social that doesn’t work.

Matt Schlapp:               It doesn’t work. [00:08:00] What I’m distressed at is I read these titles that people have and equity is that new word, the equity officer, the vice president of equity… This has never worked anywhere. It doesn’t work when you raise children. I have five children. You have children. It doesn’t work if you try to make it the same for all of them, because you can’t. Even as a parent, you can’t have equal love. You can’t have equal experiences for your kids. Your kids are all different.

Bill Walton:                   Well, people have tried to make [00:08:30] this racist if you’re not for diversity, equity, and inclusion. You would know the polls better than I do, but isn’t the Hispanic, Latino community absolutely with us on this that they don’t really want to be part of that DEI?

Matt Schlapp:               Yes, I would say yes.

Bill Walton:                   So, it’s not a racial issue. It’s cultural. What do you believe?

Matt Schlapp:               We used to hit socialism on this idea that Obamacare was bad because it was social [00:09:00] medicine. Where we lost Hispanics and I think New Americans, people on maybe the beginning rungs of life is that they actually needed healthcare and they had healthcare insecurity. And so, that was a tougher argument for us with some communities. Over time, this whole idea of embracing equity, socialism, parents are domestic terrorists, the family is a decrepit ancient concept. [00:09:30] You want the government to do more things. Churches teach intolerance. Churches should be attacked.

                                    It’s okay when they’re burned down and they are attacked, which we’re seeing at an alarming rate with Christian churches after Roe v. Wade. What the Hispanic community I think has woken up to is it’s like, “This is what I heard in the home country. This is why I left. It didn’t work. They destroyed the church. They destroyed families. The government said they would do everything. Yes, we got a few staples in life, but beyond [00:10:00] that, it was a complete failure.” So, they’re seeing America embrace that and I think they’re really worried.

Bill Walton:                   And I believe we’re talking about universal principles that are true all over the earth. CPAC is famous for its annual conference. You’ve taken over CPAC eight years ago.

Matt Schlapp:               I don’t use the term taken over.

Bill Walton:                   Well, I’m on your board. I’m on your executive committee.

Matt Schlapp:               I was elected. You’re making me sound like I’m a fascist.

Bill Walton:                   I’m on the executive committee, [00:10:30] on the board. You work for us.

Matt Schlapp:               That’s right. Fair enough. Yeah, fair enough.

Bill Walton:                   Just remember that.

Matt Schlapp:               Okay. I do. Especially over the last few days, I remember.

Bill Walton:                   The last few days. Yeah. By the way, reason we’re out here is we had a board meeting out here when we’re thinking big thoughts and what we want to do in the future.

Matt Schlapp:               We are and we have big challenges.

Bill Walton:                   We have big challenges, but we’ve talked about it. We started as America Institution of Conservative Political Action Conference and that’s more. We now have a [00:11:00] couple here in America. We’ve got one coming up in Dallas, but we’ve had conferences in Japan-

Matt Schlapp:               That’s right.

Bill Walton:                   … Brazil-

Matt Schlapp:               That’s right.

Bill Walton:                   … Israel.

Matt Schlapp:               Israel, next week.

Bill Walton:                   Coming up, Hungary.

Matt Schlapp:               Yup.

Bill Walton:                   So, what’s the response when we’re seeding those ideas there?

Matt Schlapp:               So, I’ll answer that question, but our traditional name was the American Conservative Union. And what’s funny over time is different [00:11:30] words were popular at different times. You put your finger on this idea of the three words. There’s one that’s the most important and your view is it’s America.

Bill Walton:                   Right, the American idea.

Matt Schlapp:               Why is the conservative not as important as the America? And then I’ll answer the question on why the internationals are so important.

Bill Walton:                   My answer is that America is an idea. We’re the only country with a founding document. And the founding document was based on what I think are first principles about human nature and what works and the realities of power [00:12:00] and how you get good governments when you promote maximum freedom and wealth and wealth that benefits everyone. And so, the idea of America is what I think of when we think of as America first. It’s not hegemony. It’s not telling people what to do. It’s bringing our principles to the rest of the world to say, “Look, this really works.” And so that’s the way I think of America, not just as a place, but as an idea. For everybody watching, you might notice [00:12:30] that Matt and I have grown closer.

Matt Schlapp:               That’s true. Physically, yeah.

Bill Walton:                   It’s because we’re bringing so much on these things, but what really happened for those that haven’t watched this, this location is that the sun shifted here in the lodge since we had to move Matt out of the sunlight.

Matt Schlapp:               Well, you could see the view of what they call Little Washington, but Washington, Virginia, and this amazing scene at the window. We’re battling mother nature, which is okay.

Bill Walton:                   Which is great. We love mother [00:13:00] nature. That’s why we’re out here.

Matt Schlapp:               Mother nature always wins. I don’t know if people know that, but she really does. She wins out. We try to push back, but it doesn’t happen. But let me answer this question on America.

Bill Walton:                   Yeah.

Matt Schlapp:               What’s interesting about where we’ve gone internationally is my experience has been going to Asia, going to now Europe, going to Australia, going to these places, we’re going to be going to the Middle East, is they’re all for the America. And I didn’t know that. I thought we were the ugly [00:13:30] Americans. I thought we were the country that they love to hate. They need our money, but they despise us, because that’s what we read in our media. We’re despised.

Bill Walton:                   Our self-loathing media.

Matt Schlapp:               Donald Trump is despised. Yeah. And then you go overseas at a CPAC Conference and I encourage people to come with us. They love America. Freedom loving people love America. They understand our founding better than we do. When we protested with those students in Hong Kong, they flew our flag and they sang our songs in their broken [00:14:00] English. The people of freedom love this country. They know what this country is. The problem is that people here don’t know what this country is. They’ve been told to hate it. They’ve been told that it’s bad, that it’s wicked, that it hurts people overseas. The people overseas don’t feel that way.

                                    Matter of fact, they all say the same thing to me. When Trump was president, they’d say, “Go back to America and tell the president how much we stand with him.” He was more iconic to them than any American president probably since a Reagan or an FDR [00:14:30] or something like that. So, they’re rooting for us to succeed.

                                    The other thing is that they think a strong America that understands its roots, it’s good for them. So, this piece that America is somehow taking away from the world, oh, we take too much of the Earth’s resources, oh, we take too much of the Earth’s protein, all this crap that we read and you said our self-loathing media, they figured this out a long time ago. They know the media’s lying to them. And when we come to CPAC, it’s probably the best diplomatic [00:15:00] tool we’ve seen recently to rekindle this idea that America’s not done.

Bill Walton:                   We were in Hong Kong. I didn’t know. I missed that.

Matt Schlapp:               Right in the midst of the apex of the protest before the pandemic and they were able to unfortunately really shut it down, kill people, imprison people. But CPAC was invited probably mostly because Gordon Chang is on our board, the great Gordon Chang who everyone sees on TV. He’s the leading, [00:15:30] I’d say, anti-Beijing voice in America and we were invited. We were the only and first Western group to go. Those kids, those young leaders of the protest move in Hong Kong, they didn’t want to be seen as being run by somebody. And they wanted it to be authentically Hong Konger. So, it was Hong Kongers that were doing it.

                                    They didn’t want the perception that somehow this was being pushed by America or something like that. And so, we were invited to go. Bill, it was moving because we’re talking about kids [00:16:00] as young as 12. Why? Why did they do it? They have an advantage to us on the clips of freedom. They knew how long they had. They had 50 years when Margaret Thatcher signed the agreement to pass over Hong Kong or something like that. There were 50 years left.

Bill Walton:                   1979. Yeah.

Matt Schlapp:               Yeah. There’s like 50 years left. And then the Chinese regime caught it back.

Bill Walton:                   Yeah. What’s happening in Hong Kong is terrible.

Matt Schlapp:               So, we’re going to take it back. We’re not going to give you that long. So, if you’re 15-years-old and you know you probably got 10 years left of freedom, you’re going to be 25. You’re going to be in a [00:16:30] goula. You’re going to be told you can’t own this or you have to do that. You’d probably take to the streets. Problem in America is we’re so fat, dumb, and happy. We think we always got this good situation and there’s not enough Americans that realize that the left is destroying this country at such a rapid rate. We could go down as fast as Hong Kong if we don’t watch it.

Bill Walton:                   Yeah. This is The Bill Walton Show, and I’m here with Matt Schlapp, who’s Chairman of the Conservative Action Coalition.

Matt Schlapp:               Conservative Political Action Coalition.

Bill Walton:                   It’s funny. I [00:17:00] got my organizations confused. I’ve involved with the Conservative Action Project.

Matt Schlapp:               Oh, that’s a good one too. We like that one.

Bill Walton:                   We’re CPAC. We like that one too.

Matt Schlapp:               We like that one, but we recently changed our name. So, that’s why it’s a little bit… We were always known as the American Conservative Union. Now, we think it’s better to call ourselves Conservative Political Action Coalition, because that’s really what it is, bringing people together with some diversity of viewpoints.

Bill Walton:                   Well, the coalition now is extended around the world. [00:17:30] What’s next for CPAC?

Matt Schlapp:               Yeah, I think what’s next for CPAC is trying to figure out within this whole idea to save America, what needs to be done. We were talking this morning. We have one of our board members here with Bob Beauprez from Colorado, who was a former chief-

Bill Walton:                   We wanted to get Bob on the show. He’s here on the set.

Matt Schlapp:               He’s too handsome. He would’ve made us look bad.

Bill Walton:                   Kenny told us it would ruin all our camera. He’s too good looking.

Matt Schlapp:               He’s got that rugged John Wayne thing.

Bill Walton:                   Yeah, he does.

Matt Schlapp:               He raise his bison out there in [00:18:00] Colorado. I think he said he has 1,700 acres. I’m like, “1,700 acres? That’s downright bragging.” I mean, that’s a lot of land.

Bill Walton:                   Not out there.

Matt Schlapp:               Not out there, but he’s got a big hat and a lot of cattle. But the thing we’re trying to figure out as an organization is, “Where do you go to save America?” We’re going to get to the conservative thing again. I’m not dismissive of the term conservative. I’m a conservative, but you can’t describe what type of American [00:18:30] you are if the whole idea of being an American is being so attacked. So, we got to first win this argument that no, America is a good place. And so, that’s the fight where we’re going any place we can go. And Bob was bringing up this morning, there was a Gallup poll that just came out saying that 78% of the American people have lost confidence in the public education system.

                                    That’s a terrible indictment on it, but it’s good that people have woken up to how rancid it is. It’s rot. [00:19:00] One of the things that we could consider doing, Bill, as a grassroots movement is ending the funding with a new Republican majority coming in November. I’m not being cocky, but I’m going to tell you something. There’s going to be a new Republican majority come November. I’ve never been so confident about politics. I’m a little less confident about the Senate, but I’m pretty confident that it’s going to be a big majority in the house and I’m pretty confident there will also be a majority in the Senate. This poll shows it. The American people are disgusted by woke [00:19:30] and they’re disgusted by the impractical policies of the Biden administration.

                                    What if the Republicans, when they get power, actually did things like… We talked about defunding Planned Parenthood, which is a noble cause. Why don’t we defund the colleges and the universities in the system who are the incubators of the America hate, which is being pushed on our kids?

Bill Walton:                   Well, we’ve got K-12 problems. I mean that historically has been issues with reading, writing, and arithmetic. Right now, they’re teaching to hate America.

Matt Schlapp:               That’s right. [00:20:00] Hate your parents, hate America, hate your gender.

Bill Walton:                   You got Howard Zen’s history being taught in all the schools and now critical race theory, which is we’re supposed to be self-loathing Americans because of original sin of racism. And of course, we did happen to fight a civil war, which ended the slavery. Now, I’m wondering about that poll. Who are the 28% that’s thinking it’s good job?

Matt Schlapp:               Yeah, that’s right.

Bill Walton:                   I think [00:20:30] this is something in order to unite people on both sides of the aisle, because if you come back to everybody’s issue, you always end up at education-

Matt Schlapp:               Always.

Bill Walton:                   … and children and the future. And if we’re not teaching skills, we’re not teaching about America, we’re not teaching that we’re a pretty good place, the country’s in trouble.

Matt Schlapp:               So, I have a contrary view of that poll, which is this minority of the minority. [00:21:00] So, with all your business experience, this must be something that happens within business structures and boardrooms and stuff where it just takes a couple of very strategic board members to probably destroy a company or to make a company into something wonderful. A few voices can make the difference. And I think what we’re seeing in America is the minority of the minority on the left. It’s not even a majority of Democrats. They’re winning these arguments. [00:21:30] Am I wrong?

Bill Walton:                   No, you’re right. The great Diana West I had on the show a couple years ago, the interview still hold up very well. And she says that great revolutions happen basically with a handful of people. Two or three people can change an organization. You’ve got much experience of this as I do. In the big corporations, you had the people working their way into the HR departments with woke and then the community affairs department and then the [00:22:00] foundations that support things. The next thing you know, you’ve got a handful of people, those ideas have been toxic in the entire culture.

Matt Schlapp:               Think about how crazy this is. They’re funding the destruction of the future of their companies. They’re funding the destruction of the civilization society that has allowed that company to flourish. And they’re funding the destruction of it, because over the short term horizon, they think they buy a little bit of peace [00:22:30] and they buy a little bit of loving. We talk about the couple of voices that can make a difference. I’m just shocked there haven’t been more voices within the corporate community if there is such a thing, the CEOs that would say, “This is enough.”

Bill Walton:                   I do think that’s changing, because I think the woke world overplayed its hand. They overplayed its hand with Disney, Florida. I think they overplayed their hand. We were involved with this with Major League Baseball [00:23:00] and Coca-Cola and Delta Airlines when the Georgia legislature passed the law that-

Matt Schlapp:               That’s right.

Bill Walton:                   … they didn’t think was right. I think Americans are waking up to that. I think there is going to be a pushback. And of course, we’re part of that pushback.

Matt Schlapp:               Yeah. We have these themes for these conferences. Maybe themes don’t matter. Maybe titles of book don’t matter.

Bill Walton:                   Have we settled on a theme? We’ve been going back and forth.

Matt Schlapp:               I’m getting into that, but our theme in Orlando was Awake, Not Woke. [00:23:30] Very intentional. CPAC is viewed as a Republican thing and viewed as a conservative thing. And I think what we’re trying to do as a leadership for the organization is say, “Look, no, it’s an American thing.” You don’t have to be a Republican or a conservative to say, “Yeah, I’ve woken up to the fact that woke is a terrible thing.” I mean, there’s a lot of Democrats who love cops and have married to cops or people who put on a uniform in the morning or their names are on the front of their shirt. What’s wrong with that? We should be celebrating [00:24:00] that, not destroying that. So, it was Awake, Not Woke.

                                    And so, we’ve been batting around the theme. You might not like this theme, because Bill doesn’t know the theme. I’m going to say it in real life, but I tend to be more get to the point guy than some others in politics. And so, our theme is going to be Fire Pelosi, Save America. Why is that? Because there is nothing that can be done in the pursuit to save America if Nancy Pelosi gets two more years. I’m going to tell you something. Two more years of this and I don’t think we’d [00:24:30] recover. We’ve got to stop it all.

Bill Walton:                   Well, I love it. Let me give you an immediate. You haven’t run it by your board yet.

Matt Schlapp:               I haven’t.

Bill Walton:                   But this board member loves it.

Matt Schlapp:               Do you think the board will be watching the show? Because I can be in big trouble.

Bill Walton:                   I hope so. No, you won’t be.

Matt Schlapp:               Okay.

Bill Walton:                   Here’s why I love it. Number one, Pelosi is the most unpopular politician in America. Well, maybe not anymore. We’ve got others.

Matt Schlapp:               And she’s the center of power.

Bill Walton:                   And she’s the center of power. Number two, I think we saw this with Trump. [00:25:00] We have to win elections. I mean, it’s enough for us to say, “We got to do this. We got to do that.” But when you get right back down to it, there is the political realities that these people get into office. They pass laws. They change things. They kick decisions over to the EPA if they don’t want to do it themselves, but the politics really matter and you got to win elections.

                                    I’ve been involved in this actively since maybe 2010. And the most consequential thing I saw was when Donald Trump [00:25:30] got elected president and people had no idea what he was going to actually do. They knew what he’d promised and then he proceeded to tick off all the things on the agenda that most of the people like us wanted to have happened. He did it.

Matt Schlapp:               That’s right.

Bill Walton:                   He got it done. He was consequential. We need to have that consequential election coming up in November.

Matt Schlapp:               People have fast forwarded too quickly.

Bill Walton:                   We got to win in November.

Matt Schlapp:               That’s right. The media-

Bill Walton:                   So, I love it.

Matt Schlapp:               … is all 2024.

Bill Walton:                   You got my third point. My third point is right now. [00:26:00] That’s something we can do in the next four months.

Matt Schlapp:               That’s right. And I tell everybody, once again, you don’t have to be a Republican to agree we got to fire Pelosi. You don’t have to be a Republican to say this woke stuff has to stop. You don’t have to be a Republican to say we don’t need to alter the second amendment. We don’t need to attack churches. We don’t need to say that religious faith is wrong. We don’t need to say that we don’t trust states to set abortion regulations. We don’t all have to have the same membership card to come together in a coalition to make this [00:26:30] stuff stop.

                                    And that’s why Hispanics are just flocking to these Republican candidates. I don’t think they’re all registered Republicans. Some of these Hispanic candidates are newly minted Republicans. They all agree on one thing, which is I think I trust moms and dads a lot more than I trust the Department of Education.

Bill Walton:                   You bet.

Matt Schlapp:               I think I trust cops a lot more than I trust the Secretary of Defense, who’s from what I can see a first class moron and an America hater or a general mil of these people. So, why don’t we get back to this idea that these Americans are [00:27:00] having a good effect on the country and on families and on society?

Bill Walton:                   Well, that gets back to the first theme. We’re in the human flourishing business.

Matt Schlapp:               That’s right.

Bill Walton:                   And when you focus on the family and a healthy family and parents involved in their kids, their kids’ education and the schools and you put the parents back into the schools to help shape that, that’s a win for everybody.

Matt Schlapp:               That’s right.

Bill Walton:                   That’s what we’re about. There’s nothing nefarious. We just want people to be involved in [00:27:30] the life of their children and all the other.

Matt Schlapp:               So, let me push you on this a little bit. So, we look about the same age, but it’s just not true. I’m a lot younger than you.

Bill Walton:                   Really?

Matt Schlapp:               Yeah. It’s true. It really is true.

Bill Walton:                   That is true. I didn’t get the gray hair for it.

Matt Schlapp:               When you look at your country and you look at what’s going to go on hopefully for generations to come, you’re a generous person. [00:28:00] You give to groups. You’re trying to figure out what you can do to solve the problems and save the country. Where’s your head at on what do you invest in and is it worth it or should we just have a big river boat cruise because it’s all going down?

Bill Walton:                   Well, let me tell you a story. My whole life for whatever reason, I’ve been made treasurer of every organization and then sometimes president.

Matt Schlapp:               Because you didn’t steal and stuff like that.

Bill Walton:                   I didn’t steal. But in fourth grade, I was made treasurer. But anyway, in high school, we had a club [00:28:30] that we disbanded. And we did spend the treasury the night before graduation on…

Matt Schlapp:               I might not want to know.

Bill Walton:                   … a party. That’s not what we should do here. We’ve got to take our limited treasure and invest in the future. Where I’m putting my money and this is going to be an ad for CPAC is I think we do need to be involved in winning elections and winning elections with the right people and [00:29:00] with all the people I love and all the think tanks and the good work they’ve done and the ideas that they’ve articulated. I think we already have all the good ideas.

Matt Schlapp:               We already know what to do.

Bill Walton:                   All the best ideas, we know what they are.

Matt Schlapp:               That’s right.

Bill Walton:                   We’ve got the playbook.

Matt Schlapp:               And Trump reminded us.

Bill Walton:                   Trump reminded us. And so, I think we got to dedicate our resources to winning elections and having fair elections. And I’m still worried about November, about whether we’re going to have that. God help us if we [00:29:30] have some repeat of the distrust that was created in 2020.

Matt Schlapp:               Well, a couple of points in that. The first thing, the reason why I’m more optimistic on House wins is because it’s reliant on the criminal behavior of big city mayors, right? So, most of these districts where we’ll win, they might be in suburban areas, but it’s not like that inner city core, which is almost run by completely radicalized Democrats who have embraced socialism, Marxism, communism. You come up with your ism. [00:30:00] By the way, if you’ll attack cops, burn down your cities, what’s a little voter fraud? In the scheme of things, this is the least bad of the things that they talk about. I tell a little boy he’s a little girl. Now, that’s a serious moral thing. Oh, you stuff a few ballots in the ballot box. It seems less harmful.

Bill Walton:                   Well, hasn’t that become the new trope that there’s always been a little corruption and then the question is-

Matt Schlapp:               Yeah, come on.

Bill Walton:                   … how much corruption’s okay?

Matt Schlapp:               Yeah. I always like to tell CNN, ” [00:30:30] Well, do you think there’s corruption in voters?” Jim Acosta and these people always say the same thing, “Of course.” Chris Cuomo, yeah, of course. I was like, “Well, how much?” Well, we don’t know. I was like, “Well, then how do you know it’s not enough?” You can’t know. This cavalier attitude of, “Yeah, there’s murders going on and rapes going on, but I guess we’ve always had murders and rapes.” Well, does that discount the need to get the murderers and the rapists and put them in prison? So, it doesn’t impact your wife or your daughter. I mean, this is an insane way of looking at voter fraud.

Bill Walton:                   Well, this is a family [00:31:00] show, but I have to repeat this joke from Winston Churchill. He was sitting in a dinner with some woman who we didn’t like much. He tried to put her on a spot and he said, “Would you sleep with me for 25 pounds, British currency?” I’d never do that. How about 500 pounds? And then he said, “I’d never do that.” How about a million pounds? She paused, she paused. [00:31:30] And he says, “Well, now we’ve established what you are. Now, we just need to find out the price.”

Matt Schlapp:               Find out what price is. Exactly. Yeah.

Bill Walton:                   And that’s the world we’re in right now.

Matt Schlapp:               That’s the world we’re in right now.

Bill Walton:                   Just a little bit of fraud is not okay.

Matt Schlapp:               That’s true.

Bill Walton:                   You got to be true or not.

Matt Schlapp:               No, that’s exactly right. Look, my view on all of this is that when you have Oprah Winfrey saying, “There’s my truth,” and the whole #MeToo thing, which was in many ways a very good movement, but the part [00:32:00] of it was bad was this idea that we all live in a world in which we create what the truth is. What that allowed these very radicalized, mostly godless people to do is say, “Anything’s moral in the pursuit of stopping Trump.” And so that justified doing anything you could. You lie about him and his business dealings. You lie about his family. You stuff ballot boxes. You do everything you can to ascribe negative [00:32:30] motives to what he’s going to do and it’s all valid in the pursuit of Trump.

                                    For all of my friends and I’d say there’s a lot of them who were saying, “Gosh, I love Trump, love his policies. He’s too toxic. Give me a younger version of Trump,” I just warned them that this tactic of demonizing whoever is our standard bearer, it’s been going on since Richard Nixon was the vice president to Dwight Eisenhower. They have a good track record of destroying every national Republican.

Bill Walton:                   Well then let’s take DeSantis [00:33:00] as the next new guy. You’re right. They’ll deconstruct him in a heartbeat.

Matt Schlapp:               Get ready, Ron.

Bill Walton:                   Get ready, Ron.

Matt Schlapp:               You’re so brave and you’ve done such a great job as governor. You’ve been built up and they will lie about every aspect of you to stop you from getting more power.

Bill Walton:                   Let me turn the question you asked me around. You’ve been doing this your whole life. You know all the think tanks, you know the action, you know the Republican politics. [00:33:30] You believe like I do. Where would you put your money? Obviously, we want to put it with CPAC, but where do you think our resources ought to go? Okay. Well, I just want to add though that Matt and I have grown apart again.

Matt Schlapp:               I’m not putting this in though.

Bill Walton:                   Yes, you are. Yes, look, I’m paying you.

Matt Schlapp:               All right. All right.

Bill Walton:                   It’s staying in because we’ve had a little sun adjustment here anyway. It’s fun.

Matt Schlapp:               So, you asked me about what I would do with my-

Bill Walton:                   We’re not doing Fox here. We’re doing [00:34:00] Real America.

Matt Schlapp:               You asked me what I’m doing with my money and I don’t have much to do things with it as I’m raising these children and everything else, but seriously, I have an answer for you. CPAC needs more money, of course, but all of us who are running organizations, we have to be thoughtful about how much money we really need. What I’ve seen on the right… I say the right, because that’s what the rest of the world says. We say conservative in [00:34:30] this country. That word doesn’t necessarily translate well all over. But what we’ve done in this country is unfortunately, our philanthropy isn’t necessarily going to where the battle is. It goes to where we think we need to build a fortress, right? And where I would put the money is where the battle is. Always look at where the battle is.

                                    Where’s the gunshots? When you’re out here in the country, in the mountains of Virginia, you always hear gunshots. Sometimes Black Power. [00:35:00] Sometimes someone’s trying to kill a turkey or trying to do their target shooting, but I’d want to go to the battle. And so, CPAC can only use so many resources. We’re only going to be able to metabolize so much. And every one of our institutions or organizations needs to think that way. It can’t be about building more institutions, because that was a failed strategy. We’ve got to focus on saving America.

                                    So, when it comes to this election, firing Pelosi, save America, right? If you said it longer, you’d say, [00:35:30] if we can fire Pelosi, we have a shot to save America, right? That’s basically what that means. What I would say to folks is please don’t listen to any of the committees about where to give your money, because it’s not their fault-

Bill Walton:                   By committees, you mean the National Republican Committee, the senatorial, the congressional?

Matt Schlapp:               The House Committee and the RGA, because it’s not their fault, but they’re going to have an insurance model. They’re going to say, “Look, if we can raise millions of dollars for these five Senate races, we’ll get just enough. So, that we’ll have a majority by one.” It’s not a terrible strategy, but you [00:36:00] have to think about the environment in which that election’s occurring. And in this environment, the only Republicans who will lose, if they are obnoxious personalities or the district is just way too Blue to win. We’re going to win 90% of the other races. So, what I actually encourage you to do is be a dreamer, be a dreamer.

                                    When the candidate calls you this time or you’re reading about a candidate this time and it’s a Democrat plus 12 district and it’s a very hard thing for a Republican usually to win that district, I’m just going to tell [00:36:30] you, if they’re a decent candidate, they’re going to win this time. So, give them your money.

Bill Walton:                   So, we, CPAC, and I say, we are going to be focusing on those races to make a difference at the margin.

Matt Schlapp:               That’s what we’re going to put our money, millions of dollars.

Bill Walton:                   We’re going to identify those races. So, everybody who’s taking this in can know where to focus.

Matt Schlapp:               That’s right. Yeah. So, what’re going down. When you’re picking stocks, let me try to put it in your parlance of what you’ve done in your career, it’s easy to pick all [00:37:00] these big guys up here that everyone’s picking that have a good return rate. Sometimes you want to see, “Okay, what is no one seeing? What’s the trend?” The trend this cycle is that once again, if you’re an obnoxious personality that’s grading and people just don’t like you, maybe you’re not going to win in that overwhelming Democratic district. But boy, this young woman who was just nominated on the border, in Texas, who’s this young Hispanic mom who Nancy Pelosi swatted away and her daughter and her swearing in-

Bill Walton:                   Wasn’t that something?

Matt Schlapp:               Amazing. [00:37:30] Be a believer. I’m not a wide eyed optimist, but this year, be a believer. The $100,000 that goes to that Senate candidate in the state that everyone says isn’t winnable could win it. Don’t just overly fund the same old candidates.

Bill Walton:                   So, if we get control of the house, we control the purse.

Matt Schlapp:               We do.

Bill Walton:                   And then the budget becomes the issue. And then our battleground going to the battle is to make sure we stand tough on the budget.

Matt Schlapp:               [00:38:00] Here’s the problem. We control the purse. But when we control the purse, the children are mad at the person holding the purse. So, when Republicans show fiscal discipline, the lesson learned is we infuriate the country because we want to restrain spending. And so, Republicans no longer really want to control the purse. We have the purse if we have the house majority, but we basically hand the purse back over to the Senate and to the White House to make the decisions. We say, “Well, [00:38:30] we’re only a part of the decision. We can’t really control it. So, we have to give in.” And if we do that this time, I believe it will so dishearten this coalition that we’ve put together, not all Republicans, not all conservatives.

Bill Walton:                   So, you’re describing historical behavior. We can’t do that.

Matt Schlapp:               We can’t do it again.

Bill Walton:                   We got to be tough time.

Matt Schlapp:               We got to unlearn that behavior.

Bill Walton:                   I’ll say this, you don’t have to say, we need Kevin McCarthy-

Matt Schlapp:               To understand this.

Bill Walton:                   If he becomes a leader, he’s got to understand this.

Matt Schlapp:               Yeah, because Senate Republicans and senators don’t [00:39:00] believe in any spending fights. That philosophy has destroyed the career of Paul Ryan and John Boehner, two speakers in a row. I might have them in reverse order, but they’ve destroyed their careers because they had to go along with the calm overspending.

Bill Walton:                   This is not the time for calm.

Matt Schlapp:               Can’t do it. Can’t do it. You will so dishearten this coalition that’s been put together. That actually is going to risk 2024.

Bill Walton:                   We’ve got some work to do that.

Matt Schlapp:               We’ve got some work to do. And so, the other thing [00:39:30] I would say on where you invest your money is think about the kind of candidate it is. This is not the time to pick that sturdy, establishment, careful Republican. This is the time for people that understand that our backs are against the wall. They understand America could be Hong Kong if we don’t make the right steps. Those are the candidates to invest in. They still got to be able to win the general election. We have a few primaries left, but that’s what we need. We need people that got [00:40:00] to come to this town to change this town.

Bill Walton:                   Matt, we’ve got to wrap up.

Matt Schlapp:               Wait a minute. We got through 45 minutes?

Bill Walton:                   We did.

Matt Schlapp:               Wow. That’s shocking.

Bill Walton:                   I know. We’ve got a lot more to cover.

Matt Schlapp:               Yeah. I think we’ve asked you enough questions.

Bill Walton:                   We’ll do this again.

Matt Schlapp:               We’ll have to do a continuation.

Bill Walton:                   If we can just move around in the sun properly, so Kenny, our director, is happy.

Matt Schlapp:               That’s right.

Bill Walton:                   Anyway, this has been The Bill Walton Show and I’ve been here with the great Matt Schlapp, Chairman of the Conservative Political Action Coalition. We’re [00:40:30] doing great things. I’m on his board and I think it’d be helpful for all of you to tune into what CPAC is doing. And as always with our show, you can find us in all the major podcast platforms, Rumble, YouTube. I don’t think we said anything that YouTube’s going to pull this week, but we’ll see.

Matt Schlapp:               Well, then we didn’t do our job.

Bill Walton:                   We didn’t do our job. Okay. We were a little too bland, anyway. So, anyway, thanks for joining. And as always, send us your ideas about other shows you’d like to see and we’ll definitely put it into the hopper so we can make this our [00:41:00] collaboration in saving America. Stay tuned for what’s right, what’s true, and what’s next.

                                    I hope you enjoyed the conversation. Want more? Click the subscribe button or head over to thebillwaltonshow.com to choose from over 100 episodes. You can also learn more about our guests on our interesting People page and send us your comments. We read everyone and your thoughts help us guide the show. If it’s easier [00:41:30] for you to listen, check out our podcast page and subscribe there. In return, we’ll keep you informed about what’s true, what’s right, and what’s next. Thanks for joining.

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