Presidents Often Backtrack On Isolationism, Supreme Court Women Interrupted More Often, Trump Wisconsin Visit, ‘The Dollop’ Podcast

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President Trump makes his first visit to Wisconsin today since winning the election. We hear what he had to say to supporters at a Kenosha tool manufacturer. A new study finds that the women of the US Supreme Court are interrupted three times more often than male justices. A law professor joins us to discuss how this could affect the Court’s deliberations. While President Trump has adopted a more hawkish tone on foreign policy after touting isolationism in his campaign, a guest says that’s been the case for many US Presidents. Plus, a Milwaukee native talks about his podcast that blends American history with comedy. We also look into a top headline.

Featured in this Show

  • Trump Isn't The First To Back Away From Isolationist Campaign Rhetoric

    Throughout his campaign, President Trump emphasized “America first” policy and opposed involvement in foreign conflicts. Now, with less than three months in office, the U.S. has authorized air strikes in Syria and also dropped a bomb on an ISIS cave complex in Afghanistan. A political scientist tells us what causes presidents to shift from isolationist to “hawkish” foreign policy.

  • Political Scientist: Presidents Often Change Their Tune On Foreign Intervention

    On the presidential campaign trail, then-candidate Donald Trump focused on jobs for Americans, often criticizing the immigration patterns and trade agreements that he said he believed led to the loss of domestic employment.

    In his inauguration speech, Trump was clear about where his priorities lie.

    “We assembled here today, to issue a new decree to be heard in every city, in every foreign capital, and in every hall of power. From this day forward, a new vision will govern our land. From this day forward, it’s going to be only America first. America first,” Trump said in the speech.

    And much like the presidents before him, Trump criticized unpopular wars and foreign intervention, said Julia Azari, an associate professor of political science at Marquette University.

    “One of the things that was a continual bit of rhetoric from Trump was his criticism of Obama … and previous presidents for over-involvement in the Middle East. That was part of his case for how America will come first, and (how) we won’t spend money on other countries’ conflicts,” she said.

    Long before he entered the White House, Trump was vocal about his opposition to intervention in Syria. But after being in office for less than 100 days, it seems Trump has broken from earlier campaign rhetoric, especially after he authorized a missile strike in Syria earlier this month.

    Azari said that break from earlier campaign rhetoric isn’t a first, especially since the United States strike on a Syrian airbase was in retaliation to a deadly chemical attack believed to be committed by the Syrian government.

    “What was really interesting about the justification for the airstrike … was this description of humanitarian impulses,” she said, describing Trump’s recounting of the chemical attack as one that hurt children and civilians. “It actually really captures what often happens with presidents. There is this pressure during a humanitarian crisis to do something.”

    There is a long list of presidents, Azari said, who have also had a tone shift about foreign intervention from their time on the campaign trail to their time in office.

    “The starkest example of this is of Woodrow Wilson running in 1916 on the slogan, ‘He kept us out of the war,’” she said, adding Wilson eventually did decide to join World War I.

    The pattern is also one she said was present in the 1960s, during the Vietnam War.

    “Lyndon Johnson ran in 1964 on kind of a peace message, he claimed that his opponent, Barry Goldwater, was a warmonger. Then he jumped in and escalated … U.S. involvement in Vietnam by a significant degree, to the chagrin of many people that had voted for him.”

    And while each case is different, with presidents operating under individual circumstances and with different political forces at play, Azari mentioned more recent foreign interventions that showcase the pattern, too.

    “Obama criticized (the) Bush administration for its approach to policy in the Middle East, and then by 2011 (the Obama administration became) involved in the situation in Libya.”

    Azari said part of the reason presidents’ foreign policies shift from the campaign trail to the oval office is in part because of the additional security information a candidate-turned-president gets once they are in the Situation Room.

    So what ultimately determines what leads a president to intervene abroad? For the most part, it seems to be circumstance. While she said a portion of the equation depends on the president’s personal beliefs and values, like many decisions made in public office, public opinion, economic impact and other strategic factors are considered, too.

    “This is a political office, and there are ethical and moral considerations that go into those calculations, but I think it’s also often a political calculus,” Azari said.

  • Study Finds Women On SCOTUS Interrupted More Often Than Men

    A new study finds that women justices on the Supreme Court of the United States are interrupted three times more often than men serving on the court. We’ll find out how the disparity could have far-reaching impact on legal decisions and the deliberative process.

  • Study Shows Female Supreme Court Justices Get Interrupted More Often Than Male Colleagues

    A 2014 study at George Washington University found men interrupted women they were talking to 33 percent more often than they interrupted men they talk to. That figure underscores the fact that for many women, being interrupted is a frequent part of life.

    As women rise to top positions, conventional wisdom might dictate the frequency with which they’re interrupted would go down. But a new study looking at the rates of interruptions in the nation’s highest court shows high-achieving women may not be immune to interruptions.

    The four women who have served on the Supreme Court of the United States. From left to right: Justice Sandra Day O’Connor (retired), Justice Sonia Sotomayor, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and Justice Elena Kagan in the Justices’ Conference Room, prior to Justice Kagan’s Investiture Ceremony on October 1, 2010. Steve Petteway/Supreme Court of the United States (Public Domain)

    Tonja Jacobi is a professor at Northwestern Pritzker School of Law and co-author of the new study, which looked primarily at court transcripts beginning in 2004 through present day.

    Jacobi and her colleague, Dylan Schweers, found female justices were interrupted far more frequently than male justices.

    “Even though (women) are less than a quarter of the people on the court, they get interrupted at about 32 percent,” Jacobi said. “But (women) are only responsible for about 4 percent of the interruptions. So women interrupt a lot less but they get interrupted at disproportional rates.”

    According to the study, the majority of interruptions came from the male Supreme Court justices and male advocates — those who argue cases before the court.

    Jacobi said she was surprised to see advocates, in particular, interrupting female justices, given court rules dictate they stop speaking when a justice is talking.

    She said male advocates account for 10 percent of the interruptions whereas their female colleagues accounted for zero percent.

    In addition to looking at the frequency with which the female justices were interrupted, the researchers also looked at the language being used in the court. Jacobi said linguists and psychologists have researched a style of speaking called the “female register.”

    According to this theory, women frequently use questions to modify a statement or overly polite language when interacting with other people.

    Jacobi said they found female justices using that language.

    “One thing I noticed — anecdotally — is that I’d heard women say, ‘May I ask?’ or ‘Can I ask?’ or ‘Excuse me’ before asking their question,” Jacobi said. “It’s a very polite way to enter the discussion. And I was curious as to whether women would stop saying that as much over time because they were quite often interrupted at that point because they hadn’t got to the substance of their question.”

    However, the researchers noted females justices would use polite language less frequently the longer they were on the bench.

    “They would come onto the court using that polite language quite a lot and then they gradually drop down to the level that most men use when entering the court,” Jacobi said. “So there’s a sort of equilibrium point at which the men naturally speak — with low levels of polite phrasing — and the women gradually learn to be less polite. I think because they’re being interrupted so much early on.”

    Jacobi notes political leanings also tend to influence whether or not a justice is being interrupted or doing the interrupting. She found more conservative-leaning justices are more likely to interrupt liberal justices on the court. This is exacerbated too if the justice is both male and conservative.

    Though, she pointed out, that while a fair amount of blame for interrupting has been cast at the late-justice Antonin Scalia, this trend existed before he entered the court.

    The interrupting of female justices isn’t just an annoying part of court proceedings. They can have unintended consequences with how cases are argued and how opinions are rendered. According to Jacobi, the oral arguments are the best time for justices to learn from the advocates and try to influence other justices.

    “If women are being constantly being interrupted and they’re not able to ask their questions, they’re being kept out of both that information role and that influential role,” she said.

    Furthermore, Jacobi said she believes these constant interruptions are a damning critique of our society at large.

    “I think it matters socially,” Jacobi said. “If we see that even when you reach the highest pinnacle of a high-status profession such as the law, and you’re still being interrupted because you’re a woman, then that says something about the extent of to which our society has progressed as well.”

  • Trump's First Visit To Wisconsin Since Taking Office

    President Trumps visits the Kenosha headquarters of tool manufacturer Snap-on Inc. for his first trip back to the Badger State since his election. We get the details from a WPR reporter.

  • The Dollop Podcast Combines American History With Comedy

    We talk to a Milwaukee native who co-hosts, The Dollop, a popular podcast that combines American history and comedy.

  • Milwaukee Native's Podcast Combines History With Comedy

    Gareth Reynolds admits it: his career thrives when he’s not paying attention.

    The Milwaukee native is the co-host of “The Dollop” podcast, which combines comedy with American history.

    He doesn’t play the expert. Reynolds goes into the podcast knowing nothing.

    Each episode, co-host and comedian Dave Anthony reads a lesson from American history. Reynolds, also a comedian, reacts. Blindly.

    “There is an avoidance, and it is hard,” Reynolds said. “But it’s not like I have a sponge for a brain, so we’ll be OK.”

    The podcast takes wild turns, exploring topics in each episode that are sometimes not well-known. For example, Andrew Jackson had 103 gun duels in his lifetime.

    “There are stories that are just hidden in our history that are just bizarre, crazy, hysterical, tragic, all that,” Reynolds said. “It just seems like there’s an endless amount of crazy things that have happened in America.”

    Reynolds first got his start as a comedian in Milwaukee. When he moved to Los Angeles, he said, “podcasts were not even a thing.”

    It soon became something he and Anthony gravitated to. The duo put out their 259th episode Thursday.

    “The second people started to enjoy it, we leaned in,” he said.

    He’s modest about the educational side of the podcast, joking that his listeners can’t learn history from someone who knows so little. But he sees a thread connecting the historical topics to modern day.

    “There’s such a correlation between the world we live in now and the world we feel like we left behind,” Reynolds said.

    The podcast is on a United States tour through July and was at Turner Hall in Milwaukee on Wednesday.

Episode Credits

  • Rob Ferrett Host
  • Veronica Rueckert Host
  • Haleema Shah Producer
  • Veronica Rueckert Producer
  • Judith Siers-Poisson Producer
  • Karl Christenson Producer
  • Julia Azari Guest
  • Tonja Jacobi Guest
  • Chuck Quirmbach Guest
  • Gareth Reynolds Guest
  • Veronica Rueckert Interviewer

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