Spread Great Ideas Podcast

I was on a podcast recently discussing state and local politics in Tennessee. It is called Spread Great Ideas, by Brian David Crane. Here it is:


The video version is here.

Please welcome Mark Pulliam, an award-winning lawyer, writer, and activist living in East Tennessee.  His work has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, the L.A. Times, the Federalist, and many other publications.  He writes regularly at Misrule of Law and is also a contributing editor at Law and Liberty.

As a “political refugee” from blue Austin, TX, today he’s joining me to discuss the ups and downs of building a grassroots conservative movement as a local activist in a supposedly “friendly” area.  After all, the part of East Tennessee in which he lives, Blount County, voted by a 71% to 27% margin in 2020 for Donald Trump.  Yet in building this grassroots movement which, you’d think, would be welcomed by the political establishment that purports to also be “conservative” he has run into the local version of “The Swamp” – a long-standing good ole boy network filled with RINOs that demonstrates the same clannish behavior which the original Scotch Irish settlers of East Tennessee brought with them.

Is it possible for an “outsider” to inject a sense of urgency into the local populace and wake them from their slumber to defend their values and way of life from local leaders who say one thing and do another?  Let’s find out.

Who Is Mark Pulliam?

Mark Pulliam is a legal commentator and writer known for his conservative viewpoints on law, politics, and society. Pulliam has made a significant impact through his writings and public commentary. His work often focuses on critiquing the liberal bias in legal academia and the judiciary, advocating for a return to the original principles of the U.S. Constitution and the rule of law.

Pulliam’s articles and essays have been featured in various reputable publications, including Law & LibertyThe Wall Street Journal, and National Review, among others. He is recognized for his ability to dissect complex legal issues and present them in a way that is accessible to a broad audience. Pulliam’s critiques extend to topics such as affirmative action, judicial activism, and the administrative state, highlighting his commitment to conservative legal principles.

Aside from his legal commentary, Pulliam is actively involved in grassroots movements and conservative activism. He often speaks about the importance of local political engagement and the need for conservatives to be more active in influencing policy and legal education. Pulliam’s dedication to his beliefs and his efforts to mobilize others speak to his role as not just a commentator but an active participant in the political and legal discourse.

Throughout his career, Mark Pulliam has established himself as a thought leader in conservative legal circles, championing the causes he believes in while encouraging others to take a stand for their principles. His work continues to inspire and provoke discussion among legal professionals, students, and the general public interested in the future of American law and governance.

Key Takeaways

  • Grassroots Movements in Politically Homogenous Areas: Even in areas where political leanings seem homogenous, establishing a grassroots movement can face significant challenges from established local networks and political establishments.
  • Adaptation to Digital Platforms for Advocacy: Traditional forms of expressing opinions, like writing letters to editors, have evolved. Activists and individuals now leverage blogs, social media, and digital platforms to voice their opinions and rally support.
  • Local vs. National Influence: The impact of activism can vary significantly between local, state, and national levels. While national platforms might offer a larger audience, local activism can directly affect community policies and the daily lives of individuals.
  • Election Integrity and Participation: Confidence in the election process is crucial for active political participation. Efforts to ensure election integrity and encourage voter participation are essential, especially in the context of concerns over election security and fairness.

Favorite Mark Pulliam Quote

Final Thoughts

My interview with Mark Pulliam provides invaluable insights into the realm of political activism, grassroots movements, and the importance of broad-based community participation in effecting change. Pulliam, through his experience and actions, underscores the limitations of individual efforts in transforming political landscapes and the critical need for collective action. He emphasizes that significant shifts in politics require not just the vision of one but the concerted efforts of many, rallying together for a common cause.

Pulliam’s reflections on his journey from focusing on local issues to engaging with national and state matters shows the dynamic nature of activism. It’s a reminder that while local engagement is crucial, maintaining a balanced perspective that encompasses various levels of governance can amplify impact.

  • “Mark Pulliam is one of the few truly fearless, devastatingly incisive, original and yet deeply learned commentators on the contemporary legal scene.  His new blog is a welcome addition and a splendid and provocative resource.”
    Professor Stephen B. Presser
    Raoul Berger Professor of Legal History Emeritus, Northwestern University School of Law
  • “Mark Pulliam is the Walt Longmire of legal conservatism. You don't want to be on the wrong end of his pen. His commentary on law, politics, and policy is not to be missed.”
    Richard Reinsch II
    Director of Law and Liberty, Liberty Fund, Inc.
  • “Mark's blistering criticism of the foibles of the lawyering class and crackpot judges is a worthy penance for a recovering attorney. And it is our gain.”
    Michael Thompson
    Shareholder, Wright & Greenhill, P.C.
  • “Maybe this man’s degree is written in crayon."
  • "Mark Pulliam fancies himself a Paul Revere of the right."
    Froma Harrop
    Syndicated columnist
  • “With the flourish of a pen, Mark Pulliam makes bad guys rhetorically bleed and weak guys physically cringe. It's awesome.”
    Michael Quinn Sullivan
    President & CEO, Empower Texans
  • "Mark Pulliam, writer and thinker extraordinaire, has a new blog. Make sure to visit and register. Mark Pulliam's new blog is a thing of wit and intelligence."
    Bradley J. Birzer
    Professor of History, Hillsdale College, President of the American Ideas Institute, and editor at large of The Imaginative Conservative
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