Frustrated with the distance between politicians and the voters they represent in Washington, Wisconsin Rep. Sean Duffy is taking a different approach to bridge that gap.
“I think if you look at what’s happening in the country right now, you see this incredible political divide, you see Americans demonizing people that they don’t agree with and a real dislike and distrust of Congress,” Duffy told The Daily Caller, saying that he understands why Americans are frustrated with Congress. “But I think it’s important to humanize people,” he said.
Duffy’s solution: Plaidcast — the name of his new podcast.
“The media have a narrative of Congress and the members of Congress, and I think the American people have a narrative of Congress and this is a way to bring neat, cool members of Congress to my constituents and to other people who watch it in a way that is humanizing and interesting,” Duffy said.
“In a world of tweets, our podcast is a way to get power players of Washington to sit down for 20 minutes and have time to talk about why they ran for Congress, what they’re working on, what drives them.”
A former reality TV star, Duffy is used to being on camera. The podcast’s name and its rapid-fire segment (“Buzzsaw”) are a nod to Duffy’s past career in lumberjack sports, where he won a world championship.
Plaidcast’s second episode, a conversation with freshman Nebraska Rep. Don Bacon that went live on Wednesday, covered political topics like the Iran deal, tensions with North Korea and ways that Congress can better help Gold Star families. (Bacon, a former Air Force general, has a passion for military and national security issues.)
But the podcast also gives viewers a look into the personal, human details of congressmen they might not otherwise learn.
Duffy presses his guests on everything from their most embarrassing story in Congress — Bacon’s answer: when he poured what he thought was gravy onto his steak at a congressional Bible study, only to find out that it was chocolate — to their favorite cheese. (“Any cheese that’s served with a cabernet or a good Wisconsin beer,” Bacon says.)
Duffy doesn’t just want to have Republicans on his show — he wants to humanize both sides of the aisle, he says.
One guest Duffy wants to have on his show: California Democrat Maxine Waters, who has been calling for Trump’s impeachment since before he was even sworn into office.
“Maxine and I don’t agree on much of anything. I’m a strong defender of the president and she’s someone who’s trying to with every breath destroy him and take him down,” Duffy told TheDC. “But I think Maxine is a nice person, I think Maxine is a good person and if you get to know her like I have — again, it’s humanizing people.”
“Just like I think it’s important to do with Republican members, a lot of Republicans will demonize people like Maxine Waters because we disagree with her politically, which I do too. But if they get to know her on a personal level, like Democrats do, I think you’ll find redeeming qualities.”
You can find Plaidcast on iTunes here.