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Alabama GOP chair says thinking of America as a democracy “leads to socialism”

Several Republican officials discussed current events, including presidents’ new wide-ranging legal immunity, on a Tuesday broadcast.

ALGOP Chairman John Wahl Facebook/John Wahl
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On Tuesday, 1819 News editor-in-chief Jeff Poor had three Republican officials on his radio show/podcast: Alabama Republican Party chair John Wahl, Congressman Jerry Carl, and state Rep. Shane Stringer.

Each spoke at length about their opinion on current events, including the state of the Democratic Party.

Wahl opined about the effects of last week’s presidential debate on President Biden’s re-election chances before launching into a discussion of the Democratic Party’s belief in democracy.

“Now, if you go back and you watch Ronald Reagan, every time Ronald Reagan spoke of our nation, he said ‘our republic,’” Wahl claimed. “Even our Republican elected officials say democracy far too often and we are not.”

Despite Wahl’s assertion, though, President Reagan frequently referred to America as an “experiment in democracy” and called American government democratic.

In a proclamation honoring Bill of Rights Day in 1985, he wrote that “democracy has provided the best and most enduring expression of man’s search for individual rights.”

Wahl continued: “The mainstream media wants us to think of ourselves as a democracy because that leads to socialism.”

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Poor responded by pointing to the failure of the gambling bill in the state legislature.

“It’s just like the gambling bill and giving the people a right to vote,” he said. “Well, because we don’t do direct democracy, it’s a canard.”

“In Democratic Party politics, they emphasize democracy, emphasize democracy, emphasize democracy because that gets you where you want to be towards socialism,” Poor stated.

“Correct,” Wahl responded. “It’s a move towards socialism but it’s also where Democrats have always been. When you think about a democracy, it’s mob rule.”

When Carl joined Poor’s show, the Congressman spoke about the Supreme Court’s recent landmark decisions, namely overturning the Chevron doctrine and granting presidents wide-ranging immunity for official acts.

With its origins in a unanimous 1984 ruling by the Supreme Court, the Chevron doctrine held that courts should defer to administrative agencies’ legal interpretations so long as they are based on a “permissable construction of the statute.”

Legal experts say the decision will likely lead to significant uncertainty around federal regulations and increase the power of federal courts.

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Carl focused his comments on the potential effects of the ruling on environmental groups.

“It’s usually the environmental groups that find out where that little glitch is at and they will sue the government based on that,” Carl said. “So they’ll get these huge settlements and by the law, we can’t find out how much they got.”

“Maybe a million, maybe 20 million. Could be a hundred million. We have no idea. But that money goes back to this environmental groups to do it over again.”

It’s unclear what Carl was referring to as most lawsuit settlements are public. He went on to say that overturning Chevron will “give us a chance to push back on the bureaucrats.”

Carl then elaborated on his previous statements about the Supreme Court’s ruling on Trump v. United States.

Released on Monday, the majority opinion declared that the president has presumptive immunity for all official acts and absolute immunity for a large subset thereof.

“We were really, really, really close to becoming a third-world country,” Carl said. “If [a president has] to make a decision, they need to make that decision on what’s best for the country, not what’s best for him.”

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Echoing Chief Justice John Roberts’ opinion, Carl said that the decision was necessary to stop a wave of tit-for-tat prosecutions of ex-presidents.

Poor compared the hypothetical to politics in Brazil. Current Brazilian president Lula da Silva was charged and convicted of corruption in 2017, but the conviction was overturned in 2021 before he successfully ran for re-election.

Lula’s opponent in the 2022 election, Jair Bolsonaro, allegedly had a memo drafted overturning the election results and his supporters stormed the Brazilian government a la January 6th. While Bolsonaro is under investigation, so far he has only been disqualified from holding public office in the near future.

Unlike Wahl and Carl, state representative Stringer almost exclusively focused on local issues while he spoke with Poor.

Speaking about the legislation pre-filed by state senators Ingram and Barfoot to allow interim police chiefs to be appointed when cities’ crime levels are above a certaim point, Stringer said he “[thinks] their concept would work.”

Stringer also harped on gun control not being the solution to what he perceives as a pressing crime problem.

“I’ve had to remind people over and over the the Second Amendment is not a group right,” he said. “It is not where, you know, a handful of thug individuals go out and cause problems and rob and steal and kill people and so we take everybody’s guns.”

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A former member of law enforcement who was fired for supporting permitless carry, Stringer then touched on Alabama’s prison overcrowding problem.

“We cannot continue to let these inmates out early regardless of the overcrowding in the prisons. We have got to find a way to address the problems within the prison system,” Stringer said.

He suggested hiring part-time judges and prosectors as one potential solution.

The Tuesday broadcast of the Jeff Poor Show is streaming on the FM Talk 1065 website.

Chance Phillips is a reporting intern at the Alabama Political Reporter. You can reach him at [email protected].

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