Politics & Policy

A Series of Own Goals

U.S. national soccer team players celebrate winning the Women’s World Cup at Groupama Stadium in Lyon, France, July 7, 2019. (Lucy Nicholson/Reuters)
A discussion of Biden, the U.S. women’s soccer team win, and much more.

This is the transcript from Episode 155 of The Editors.

Rich: What to make of Joe Biden after he gets schooled or was it school bused by Kamala Harris in the first debate? Why did Jeffrey Epstein get such a light deal in Florida? And how much should the women’s national soccer team get paid? We’ll discuss all this and more on this week’s edition of The Editors. I’m Rich Lowry, and I’m joined as always, or most of the time by the right honorable Charles C.W. Cooke, the pride of Tennessee, David French, and the notorious MBD, Michael Brendan Dougherty. You’re listening to a National Review podcast.

Rich: So, we had a lot of events since we podcasted live. We had an intervening July Fourth podcast, most important of which were the democratic debates and the fallout from them. And the leading conventional wisdom was that Joe Biden looked like he had lost the step, looked very old, and badly lost an exchange with Kamala Harris over school busing. So David, we’re finally able to free and easy discuss Joe Biden on this podcast with you again because now, your extreme bullishness on Joe Biden looks totally ridiculous and now MBD and I look as though there are percentage chances of Biden’s odds to getting nomination look much better in retrospect. So, we’ll go to you first, David French. Are people now overly discounting Joe Biden or what did you make of the debate? What do you make of the state of the race now?

David: Now there’s a little bit of revisionist history. Extreme bullishness is a little strong. But yeah, I still remain relatively bullish on him for a couple reasons. One, I think that Kamala Harris fired her best shot in the very first debate, when there’s still plenty of time for Biden to shore up his support to handle the fallout from it. Second, Kamala actually then blended the effect of her shot, when she later went ahead and adopted basically the same position on busing that she condemned in Biden in the debate. I mean, this is one of the more remarkable things about her campaign, how she’s consistently shooting herself in the foot by flipping around in her position.

In the debate, she raises her hand and says that she would get rid of all private health insurance. Later she says she misunderstood the question, which by my account is now the second flip flop on this position in the last couple of months. She excoriates Biden for opposing federally mandated busing. Then after flirting with this idea that federally mandated busing is a good idea in 2019, she says, no, she’s not for it. And so, she steps all over her good news cycle.

Then the third thing I think that helps Biden is in a kind of a repeat of 2016. Except on the Democrat side. You have some weaknesses in the front runner that are obvious for people to see. But there’s no real. . . there is at least not yet coalescing behind a second candidate. Yeah, Kamala Harris was helped, but if you look at the polls, it’s still Biden above, and then you’ve got Bernie, Warren, Harris, grouped underneath. They all have their partisans. Nobody’s willing to give up their favorite candidate.

Then the one last thing that I would say is, we’ll see about by next time, because I’m reminded of a phenomenon we’ve seen time and again, with people who have been. . . Biden wasn’t president, but it’s a phenomenon we’ve seen most notoriously with presidents as sort of their first debate back in the arena, they really stumble. I mean, there was the domination Mitt Romney, how Mitt Romney dominated Barack Obama in the first debate in 2012. I can remember all the way back to ’84, when Mondale seemed to just really beat the stuffing out of Reagan in the first debate raising all kinds of questions about Reagan’s age. And then Reagan responded so brilliantly to start the second debate.

So, there’s a possibility that Biden with expectations lowered and all eyes on him could rally for the second debate, or maybe not. I mean, maybe the fact is that he has lost a lot on his fastball. He’s just not ready. The other candidates will swarm him. But I still think the dynamics of the race if he can run a good race, which we’ve. . . there’s a little fact we’ve never really seen him do that. But the dynamics of the race, if he can run a good race are still in his favor.

Rich: So Michael, what I would say is I take David’s point about Kamala’s position on busing being a mess, because it’s just totally ridiculous, the idea that we’re going to in any widespread way revive busing from the ’70s, or ’80s. But the point of that exchange was just to get attention for herself, show that she can be tough, that she can be agile on her feet. Although she wasn’t really agile on her feet, everything was practiced. But she looked agile on her feet and to take Biden down a notch. On that level, it was completely successful.

I think David’s point at the end, is the key one, is the question, is Biden comparable to a president whose office game gets punched in the mouth in the first debate and it gets much better? Or is it comparable to Jeb Bush were just, he did improve some in the debates, but not a lot. I forget whether it was a second or third. But there was finally one debate where Jeb tried to wheel on Rubio and pull something on him. And Rubio said, “Oh, your advisors told you to say that.” And it just went horribly for Jeb. At that moment, you really knew that was just never going to happen for him, and there’s no way he could win the nomination. Remains to be seen, and we’ll see it from Biden in the debate here a couple weeks.

Michael: Yeah, I think. I think Biden is closer to Jeb, than to, say Obama in 2012 in these debates. Partly because Biden’s been lackluster on the hustings so far. I think that he’s been really underwhelming. Biden is the candidate of the head. I mean, Biden is the candidate where people are saying, either I know this guy, I’m familiar with this guy, and so I support him. Or I think he can win. I think he has a connection to the gettable swing voters we need in the important states, we have to swing. So, I support him for that reason. And so, his rallies aren’t nearly as passionate as the more ideological candidates like Sanders or Warren. But passion matters and passion translates, and my theory of the race is that we’re in an era where it’s maybe not best to look right away and try to vet for the centrist regional performer in that way.

I think maybe the first thing is to look for his passion. In a way Donald Trump had both. Donald Trump was moderating Republican positions on economics, and he also had this really intensely passionate conservative base. I just don’t see that happening on the Democratic side. I just see Biden. I just see the air coming out of the balloon at a rate that is unsustainable for him, and will naturally benefit someone beneath him, either Warren or Harris, maybe Buttigieg at some point. We’ll see.

Rich: Yeah, Charlie, this is where I just still can’t get my head around on Biden, and the polling stabilized a little bit from the immediate post-debate surveys, but how do you win a major party nomination in this day and age without inspiring people? Without engaging their passion, and there’s just been zero sign so far, that Biden can do that.

Charlie: But that’s why I agree with you rather than David, in that I don’t think that Kamala Harris’s reversal will hurt her. Because, I don’t think that the intention was to advance a policy position. I think what she did to Biden shows both why she’s quite effective, and why she is a terrible, terrible person who doesn’t believe in very much. She wanted to demonstrate two things, and she succeeded in demonstrating both of them.

The first is that Biden has been around a long time. He’s old. He’s not necessarily that good at running for president. If you can take somebody on like that, you diminish the argument for electability. She also reminded people that he was white, which discussions of busing tend to do. The second thing she did was to attack Bernie without attacking Bernie. There is a contingent within the Democratic party, and especially among Democratic primary voters, that is desperate to be the most progressive, the most annoyed, the most angry, the most anti-establishment.

Anyone who ends up beating Biden is going to have to take those people along because they are not Biden’s base. And by essentially saying “you were on the wrong side of history,” which was the meta argument that Kamala Harris was making, she was making an appeal to those people. “Look, I am the one who understands that all that has come before is bad. That we don’t need to retread the past.”

I think it was pretty effective. As you say, if Biden were inspiring, if he were deft, if he were quick on his feet, he would be able to deal with it well. But Biden has never been that guy. There’s no signs that he can become that guy. Ronald Reagan was mentioned. Reagan was always that guy. Reagan had a bad debate in 1984, but within moments of the second debate, he showed wit, the ability to deliver a line. That light-hearted quality that people liked in him. I don’t think Joe Biden has that. I would be surprised if he acquired it in his mid 70s. I think Kamala Harris knew that, and she did some damage to him. Damage that might take some time to come to fruition, but damage nevertheless.

Rich: So David, obviously feel free to respond in the horse race thoughts that you’ve just heard, but also curious what you make of the merits of the busing debate and controversy.

David: Yeah, I mean, as far as the horse racing prognostication, and the impact. I mean, look, I find what Charlie and MBD said is compelling and persuasive. We just don’t know. I still think that Biden has a degree of goodwill, particularly in the African-American community that those of us who live our lives online, are going to continually underestimate. I think that he’s banking on that level of goodwill. He’s going to wrap his arms around the Obama legacy. So, he has some underlying strengths, and then every single one of these national polls that comes out, that show him beating Trump by ten points is almost like another campaign ad for him.

I remember the electability arguments for Mitt Romney that, in many ways, ultimately triumphed over Rick Santorum’s argument from passion in 2012. Even when making the electability argument for Mitt Romney, there was never polling showing the kind of trouncing that the polls show right now between Biden and Trump. Now, I don’t believe that a race between Biden and Trump would be a ten point race. I think it would be substantially more narrow than that, but there is an electability argument that he has that’s far stronger, at least based on the polling, than some of these electability candidates. And so, I do think that, that is something that generates a reservoir of goodwill for him beyond the existing reservoir of goodwill that in particular, black voters have for him.

Rich: I wonder David, just really quickly. Sorry to interrupt.

David: Sure.

Rich: I just wonder whether that will hold true or whether at some point, it’ll become obvious that he’s using Obama as a shield and a crutch, and it will lose some of its effectiveness?

David: It very well could. I mean, it absolutely could. But it also depends on how dramatic. . . how much he’s attacked from the left in a way that ends up attacking the Obama presidency, and attacking the Obama presidency aggressively from the left. If he’s circling his wagons around some of the more popular, if there were that many popular Obama policies, he could be on some pretty strong ground. But as far as the busing controversy, I mean, look, we still have a segregation problem in public schools, absolutely. But the busing point to me seems virtually moot, because nobody likes it. This is a policy that to this day, nobody likes it. I would love. . . there has been some rumblings about some of the rezoning and redistricting that’s taking place in some of these super deep blue districts like in Brooklyn.

People get deeply, deeply upset when they can’t go to their neighborhood school. And this is just a human. . . This is a very human reaction as you want your kids to be going to the neighborhood school. The very idea that this is coming up. Yes, I agree that desegregation is an important value. But busing, we’re talking about busing, really? It was really stunning to me that that debate spilled over, and that there was some sort of Twitter consensus for 48 hours that if you weren’t for busing, there was something wrong with you.

Rich: Yeah. Michael.

Michael: I just wanted to add, I do think the one strength I’ll give to Biden is I actually, unlike Rich, I actually think the more he can defend Obama, the better. I think the underrated constituency in the Democratic party, are the people that were basically satisfied with Obama’s performance as president and would like to see more of the same, the return to normalcy aspect of that campaign.

I just think that the left-leaning candidates who are more ideological and making the more explicit pitch of let’s move on from the Obama era. Let’s get beyond it. There were mistakes in that era. Compromises with insurance companies, we don’t want to repeat. I think that is people playing to Twitter. I think that it’s a political class that is like the C suite class in corporate America, paying too much attention to this one platform of social media and not to the actual state of play in the country.

Rich: So Charlie, what do you make of the relative rise of Elizabeth Warren? She is almost on par with Bernie, is actually past Bernie in some polls. I think there was a YouGov poll yesterday that had Bernie actually in fourth. And these are very small differences, obviously, between second, third, and fourth in this field, but I was pretty dismissive of her. Well, first of all, the Pocahontas thing, and the DNA test seemed to be a huge mistake. And signal weakness, and a willingness to let Trump get inside her head.

Then I just thought when has a candidate ever accomplished anything with a bunch of policy proposals? We actually had, in our plus call with Marco Rubio two weeks ago, and I was like, “What surprises you about this race?” And he was like, “Elizabeth Warren is advancing policy proposals, and the media is covering them. How does that work? That didn’t happen to any of us in 2016.” But actually, the policy proposal has become part of her brand, part of her persona, and she’s gotten some traction.

Charlie: Well, I’ve been dismissive too. I remain somewhat dismissive. I think she will struggle to get up into the 40s and 50s. I’m often wrong. I think there are a couple of things happening. Bernie won in 2016, in one sense, in that his ideas have become mainstream in the Democratic party, and that makes him less useful. He’s no longer the only person calling for, for example, Medicare for all. He’s no longer the only person calling for the writing off of all student debt or a lot of student debt. Which means that candidates who have picked up that mantle who are perhaps more attractive in other ways, are now more attractive to the people who want those things. It’s a pyrrhic victory, if Bernie wants to be president. If he wants to advance his agenda, though, it’s a real victory.

Elizabeth Warren has some things going for her that Bernie doesn’t. She is a woman, and there is a real appetite for a woman, not only to become president for the first time in American history, but to replace Donald Trump. I think a lot of Democrats feel that there would be some poetic justice in that, especially given Trump’s attitude toward women historically. She is more detailed and more interesting; as you say, she has ideas that are discussed and reiterated in the press. And Bernie, to me at least sounds quite boring now, and almost cranky. He says the same thing every time. He’s aware that he says the same thing every time he’s asked. He has talked about it on Twitter saying, “Look, yes, I’m repetitive. But that’s because the millionaires and billionaires. . .” Then he goes into the same speech as he made before.

Elizabeth Warren is a novelty. She has not run for president before. She hasn’t been seen as a loser ever. She’s never lost a race for Senate. She didn’t, unlike Bernie lose to Hillary Clinton in 2016. And so, there’s always that feeling, “well maybe she’s the one.” So, I think she’s the beneficiary of the groundwork that Bernie did in 2016 in turning, if not all of the party, at least a good chunk of the party into a different party. And he’s suffering from it, and Warren is benefiting.

Michael: I think the contrast in 2020 is more muted than it was in 2016, on the Democratic side, and that’s affecting both the moderate, and the left wing, which is that in 2016, you had Bernie running against Hillary Clinton. And so, Hillary Clinton is someone who spent her time outside of politics going from six figure speeches at public colleges, to seven figures speeches in front of Goldman Sachs. That was a dramatically different illustration of elite politics. Elite political capture of the centrist Democratic party. And so, Bernie’s message plays extremely well against that.

You can say Biden has this cozy relationship, more than cozy relationship with credit card companies and other financial institutions that are in his home state. You can point out that Pete Buttigieg gets a lot of high-dollar donors. But you basically, now you have several candidates on the left talking about policy. Then you have a couple of candidates that are little bit toward the middle. They’re unwilling to say they’re against capitalism or something like that. It’s in a weird way that I think the left wing of the party doesn’t benefit as much without that clear contrast between, with a corporate sellout like Hillary Clinton. I mean, that’s what she was. Maybe this is something David French is always reminding us. We have to remember what a gift it is for anyone to be running against Hillary Clinton, and no one has that gift this time-

David: The kingmaker.

Michael: The Democratic or Republican side.

Rich: David French, exit question to you. Percentage odds that Joe Biden will be the Democratic nominee and please do not repeat your ridiculous answer the last time this question was asked of I believe 45 percent.

David: 41.4 percent.

Rich: 41.4?

David: 41.4. Yes.

Rich: Charlie Cooke.

Charlie: It is about 50 percent chance.

Rich: You’re still at 50?

Charlie: Yeah, I’m a 50.

Rich: Wow. MBD I think you were at 2.5.

Michael: 2.5 percent last time. I’m significantly higher than that. I thought he would be crushed a little bit more than he was, 9 percent? 9 percent.

Rich: I’m going to budge a little bit. I’ll probably hate myself afterwards, but I was 15 percent. I’ve spent a month or so thinking that was low. And after days, I was like no, I was just right. But I can say like 15 to 20. I’ll go up just a little bit. I still like the field. I still think there is. . . I think Harry Enten has written this piece, there is a good chance that someone who’s under 5 percent in Iowa will win. Iowa. So, I think still it’s pretty wide open, and there are opportunities for people to figure things out still that are being dismissed. Pete Buttigieg figured something out. He had a moment on CNN, and then he realized he had this message that resonated with coastal elites, and he could raise a boatload of money.

Elizabeth Warren figured something out with the policy. Not that either these candidates have transformed the race, but they’ve changed their standing. And I think there’s still plenty of opportunity for that to happen with a couple of people who aren’t really part of the conversation now. I think Biden’s structural weaknesses are. . . As we’ve seen, he can’t make many mistakes. The performance has to be there, and there’s a big question about whether the performance will be there. And can he inspire people? I just think that’s an absolute necessity. I’m very skeptical with these establishment front running campaigns, the way they’re always set up at the start, usually does not work. Usually you have to throw out the script. You got to show your heart and find a way to actually claw your way to a nomination, and I think we’ll still see that moment with Biden. I don’t discount that he’ll be the nominee. It’s just I’m not as bullish on him as David and Charlie are.

Rich: So, David another a big story this week. A legal story with major political implications. Leaches major political implications for the makeup of Trump’s cabinet, and for labor secretary Alex Acosta, the SDNY are swooped in to indicted Jeffrey Epstein, who could be looking at 45 years behind bars for conduct that everyone has been aware of for a very long time, which has raised the question, why didn’t this happen ten years ago, when Alex Acosta was the federal prosecutor down there in Florida. And Acosta, an attempt to get out in front of it, give a press conference yesterday stood, answered an hour’s worth of questions and basically said, “well, the state prosecutor was going to let him off the hook with no jail time whatsoever.”

“So, we swooped in and took up the case and our priority was getting a sure jail time for him. These cases are difficult. They were more difficult back then, when it was easier for the alleged criminal to victim shame women at a trial. The contradictions in their testimony weighed more heavily against them than do today when we have a better understanding of traumatic memory. And it was complicated case and we got him a jail term. We got him to register as a sex offender. And we got a setup where the victims could get restitution from him. And oh, yeah, by the way, it was not my fault that Florida came up with this ridiculous scheme where he was on a work release program.” What do you make of it?

David: Yeah, well, first full disclosure. Alex is a law school classmate of mine. So, I knew him in law school. Really haven’t talked to him in years. But I do know him a little bit. But let me say this, I’ve found it partially convincing and partially unconvincing. The part that I found convincing was I think, the accurate notation that he’s not really responsible for how lenient Florida was in its sentencing. He wasn’t responsible for how lenient Florida was in the way that it treated Epstein. As I understand it, he was allowed to leave the jail virtually every day, to go to work. Incredibly lenient, especially given the gravity. . . Not so much the gravity of what he was convicted for, but the gravity of what he was initially accused of.

So, holding Epstein or holding Acosta responsible for Florida’s conduct for me isn’t all that convincing. What is also not convincing, though, as far as Acosta’s defense is. . . And I think one of the least convincing aspects was this idea that when all this occurred, 2006, 2007, we just had this fundamentally different view of sex crimes, and fundamentally different view of how to handle and deal with victims. That’s just not true. I mean, in 2006 were not the Dark Ages. I mean, this was relatively recently. There are is, as multiple people pointed out in response to the press conference. There’s example after example, after example, in federal prosecutions of sending sex criminals away for very, very long times. Particularly those criminals who are engaged in sex crimes against children.

I mean, that was really unconvincing. And it struck me as the kind of thing that you say when you’re buying into all this recency bias that we have about Me Too that Me Too changed everything. Me Too hasn’t changed the law. Me Too hasn’t changed the rules of evidence in court. So, that was very unconvincing to me. And also, as the Florida prosecutors pointed out in response, their prosecution doesn’t really have anything to do with the federal prosecution. If the federal government wanted to proceed with the case it could proceed with the case.

In fact, Acosta’s office drafted a 53-page indictment of Epstein that it did not pursue and instead entered into this non prosecution agreement that, by the way, was a very oddly written non prosecution agreement. Most non-prosecution agreements are very, very, very explicit as to their terms. That they apply to the specific district. The crimes may be committed in that district only. They’re very carefully limited. This non-prosecution agreement was far more ambiguous, giving room for Epstein’s lawyers to potentially wield it in the Southern District of New York. I don’t think they’ll do so successfully. But it’s very ambiguous.

I have a lot of questions about this. It could very well be the case that there were problems of proof, there were problems of consistent testimony that led to this being reasonable prosecutorial, and a reasonable act of prosecutorial discretion. We just don’t really know yet. And it’s important to remember that there is an OPR, Office of Professional Responsibility investigation undergoing at the Department of Justice that Senator Sasse demanded this back in 2018, after the initial Miami Herald reports. Demanded the DOJ do a comprehensive investigation of the decision not to prosecute Epstein. To make sure that it was not only done in accordance with the rules of ethics, but DOJ guidelines and DOJ policies and OPR is looking at that right now.

It could very well be the case that OPR gives Acosta’s office a clean bill of health, it’s possible. But it’s also possible that they could identify real wrongdoing or departure from DOJ best practices, in which case, absolutely, there should be accountability. But parts of Acosta’s press conference just didn’t quite add up to me. In particular, the notion that it was somehow fundamentally different time. And in particular, the actual non-prosecution agreement itself, which oh, by the way, was entered into without the victim’s knowledge. And there’s already a court that has condemned that. So, there’s a lot of smoke here. We need to know if there’s fire.

Rich: So, Michael, I don’t believe any of the conspiracy theories or some sort of insider deal, and that was the reason why Acosta wanted to give Epstein this plea agreement. But it just seems very hard to push back against the notion that this does speak to economic tiers in our justice system. Because it seems clear the prosecutor was a little intimidated by Epstein’s lawyers. He didn’t want to deal with all the flack they are going to throw at them, all the defenses that they’re going to make. Just how dug in and good his lawyers were going to be, which was surely a matter that he had the means to hire Alan Dershowitz and Ken Starr and Jay Lefkowitz, and a lot of really talented people that any of us would want to be represented by if we’re accused of a crime, but that aren’t available to a lot of people. Whereas your average schlub, who was doing this to girls and raping girls is hard to think that schlub would have gotten the same outcome that Jeffrey Epstein did.

Michael:  Oh, yeah. It’s impossible. I mean, this is Tale of Two Cities-type stuff. I mean, he got to keep doing his job from jail. And his level, his wealth, and prestigious, it weirdly survived this jail sentence. People are looking into how Epstein exactly makes his money. There’s a lot of conspiracy theories floating around about maybe he’s blackmailing these people to invest with him after they get involved in with underage girls. Who knows? But I mean, he left prison and immediately could get on red carpets in Hollywood. Could immediately be invited to top media parties in New York. Get people to come to his house in New York with its heated sidewalk. One of the dozen or so heated sidewalks in New York that you don’t have to shovel in the winter. It just melts the snow away. I mean, yeah, this guy had a totally. . . I mean, whatever you think of a Acosta’s role, there’s no doubt that Epstein got favorable treatment, because he could afford to buy it from our justice system, essentially.

Rich: Charlie.

Charlie: I think in a sense my view on this echoes my view on economics, and that is that the way to best work around inevitable inequalities is to focus on the bottom, not on the top. By that I mean this: It is a good thing that Jeffrey Epstein received an excellent defense. We should not want him to have received anything else. That’s the ideal. When somebody is accused of something they deserve as much help in attempting to refute the case as they can get. What is important is to make sure that people at the bottom also have as much help as they can get. And also, that in such cases as a man of resources and influence has tiptop representation, the government doesn’t take its foot off the gas. The government is not intimidated. The government tries as hard as it can to fight at that level. What worries me here is the possibility that that’s not what happened.

I don’t like this talk of “buying your way out.” I think it’s good, the more people who have good lawyers defending them the better — within our system of justice — but only if the government works hard. I’m nervous here that what we’re going to discover is that Acosta and his department were intimidated.

Rich: Yeah, David, there is-

Charlie: At that that point, you have a problem.

Rich: There was a letter I saw posted in a Daily Caller story from a woman, I guess, the woman line prosecutor, in this case, I believe to Jay Lefkowitz. And I just thought it was shocking. There was a phrase in there, bent over backwards, that I think was being exploited the way the Daily Caller spun it, and the way that people were tweeting about it, which wasn’t quite what it sounded like an isolation. But there’s a pleading nature to this, “Jay, I’ve been so good to you. But you’re still saying all these mean things about me, and being so nasty. Why? Come on Jay, we’re friends, how could you be doing this? I’ve been nice to you, even though you’ve done this thing.”

She lists half a dozen down and dirty tactics. I think one of them is actually, “Oh, yeah, you’re not even abiding by the deal.” You know, the agreement. It’s just you hope to Charlie’s point. At some point, you just say F*** you, we’re going to nail you to the wall. But it seemed as though that attitude was lacking.

David: Yeah, there was this very interesting piece by my friend, Ken White, in The Atlantic, who’s a former U.S. attorney, and presently a criminal defense lawyer. He was talking about this case, and was remarking on the extent to which the defense team took a direct punch them in the mouth approach to the actual U.S. attorneys involved in the case. In that there was word or thoughts that there was efforts by the defense team to try to dig up personal dirt on the actual prosecutors, and that this kind of very direct confrontation of the prosecutors themselves is not what U.S. attorneys are used to, and they found it very unsettling.

And so, I think that could be one part of this story is that the defense was extremely aggressive, not just in sort of the legal sense of mounting all of the legal defenses they could imagine, but very aggressive in its conduct towards the prosecution team itself. I think that, that might be something that is an underappreciated aspect of this.

And something that I think that OPR should look into, to determine to what extent were the U.S. attorneys, the AUSA is involved in the case impacted by defense tactics that were directed at them personally. Because AUSAs are not used to. . . I mean, they’re kind of the lords of the courtroom in normal life, and they are not used to this kind of. . . I’m not going to say that it never happens. Of course, it does happen on occasion. And some of our AUSA listeners might remind us on Twitter of what happened to them. But this is not something that’s the normal typical court practice. I think it may well have had an effect and that letter could be evidence of that.

Rich: MBD. Go ahead.

Charlie: One more quick thing on this, and that is that this person is Gatsby-esque. I’ve been reading as much as I can on him. No one quite knows how he made as much money as he did. There’s no record of him making big currency transactions, although apparently that was part of his business. He lives in this extraordinary house in New York in Manhattan, but seems not to have bought it; it seems to have been transferred into his possession. It is quite difficult, when you’re dealing with Batman, to build a case, and I do wonder what’s going to come out about his entire life in the next few years.

Rich: Yeah, I mean, one of the lessons here-

David: I mean, this is something that, it’s because of the mystery surrounding him, it is absolutely right for conspiracy thinking theorizing. But, I would not want to see this investigation of him cut off prematurely by a plea deal. I would much rather see this fully unwind, so we can figure out exactly what happened here, and who this guy really is.

Rich: And Michael it seems to be a big upside just pretending that you’re wealthy. I guess this one of the secrets to life I never got or understood. But you pretend you’re wealthy, hook or crook, you get a private plane. Then get all these friends who are wealthy and influential, and maybe they’ll make you rich, even if you weren’t. I know.

Michael: I know. It’s true. I have used this act as if philosophy in other domains of life besides wealth. But it hasn’t worked in the wealth department. But yeah, it’s no one knows how he got his money, or even if he has it. I mean, the latest reports today in the New York Times are like, maybe this guy isn’t even a billionaire. But then how does he have this house? How does he have this plane? How does he have this island to himself? It is. . . Yeah, I want to know too. And what’s interesting is one of the nice things about the Epstein story is that partisans on both sides like the story because they think it’s going to hurt someone that they don’t like. And so, there’s just all this energy to get.

Rich: Just maybe an example of this right here. But I just can’t believe Clinton was on that plane that many times. And these guys, they all know what the other one is about, really quickly.

Michael: Oh, yeah, that’s what’s funny. What’s interesting is I think this could be very bad for Acosta, which is bad for Trump. But Trump does seem to be licking his chops at the idea of Clinton getting damaged by this in a way that Clinton doesn’t seem to be licking his chops that Trump maybe, so we’ll see how it comes out.

Rich: So Charlie, exit question to you. At the end of the year, Alex Acosta will still be Trump’s labor secretary? Yes or no?

Charlie: I think probably not. Because the overwhelming temptation will be to turn this into a story to embarrass Trump, and to get rid of a labor secretary that is unpopular on the left. And the anger that is justly felt toward Jeffrey Epstein, and his alleged crimes may be redirected toward Acosta.

Rich: David French.

David: No, I don’t think so. I would be surprised if he’s still in the cabinet three weeks from now.

Rich: MBD.

Michael: I think you always bet against Trump’s cabinet members staying in their position.

Rich: Yeah, who’s actually stood by through a controversy. The family yes, but really no one else. At least not anyone else in the cabinet. So I’m going to also say no. With regret, I still have not gotten my head around what I really think about how Acosta handled this, but I like him as a general matter. I think he’s a serious guy and is good to have there in that position in Trump cabinet. But it’s hard to see how he survives.

Rich: So, Charlie, let’s talk women’s soccer. I guess you’re. . . maybe some competition from MBD, but you’re the biggest soccer or football fan on this very podcast. And so what did you think of their performance? I did not watch one minute of any game but sounds pretty good if you’re leading the entire. . . never trailing in the entire tournament. And the issue that has come to define the team, and I would say some of its noxious behavior, which is that they are supposedly getting ripped off, and a prime example of how there isn’t equal pay for women in sports or anything else in America.

Charlie: They are an excellent soccer team within their field. I was turned off the whole thing if I’m honest. I am, as listeners of this podcast will know, a strong defender of dissent. I’m a free speech absolutist. I’m not easily offended by people who disagree with the mainstream. Quite the opposite, in fact: I think politicians are there to be berated and laughed at, and hung in effigy if necessary — sorry, John Jay. But I do think when you play for your national team, and when you go abroad to do so, the dynamic changes.

I think that the true dissenter says “I’m not going to put on the uniform of my team, if I find the country it represents lacking.” I think the halfway house that Megan Rapinoe staked out was cowardly, and also it was grotesque to watch her making that moment at the beginning of each game about her when it’s not about her. There are many, many channels — and should be — in our world for expressing yourself. She is not going to want, and has never wanted, for a chance to tell Stephen Colbert how she feels. I think though that for her to take the moment she did, and hijack it was, at least for me, a real turnoff in general.

Now we’re debating equal pay. This is not an equal pay debate. The numbers involved are not equal. It is not the case that women’s soccer brings in as much as men soccer. Men’s soccer 50 years ago didn’t bring in as much as it does now. These things are fluid. As a percentage of the overall revenue, the women are actually paid more. I have very little time for the argument that this is unjust, that this is a scandal. I don’t think that we should look at these questions as absolutes. I think they’re relative, and I think that men are paid X amount of a very, very large part. Women are paid X amount of a much smaller part. The women’s soccer team is excellent, and the game is getting bigger and bigger, and when it’s built up to the level of the men’s soccer team presumably there will be the same amount of money involved. Until that time, let the market work, build it up. And here’s the last thing, maybe actually talk about soccer for once. Maybe show some pride in the game, maybe focus on sports.

Rich: Do we have to talk about soccer? We could talk about [crosstalk 00:50:41]. I thought we’re talking about equal pay in soccer.

Charlie: Well, you were, but she’s a professional soccer player. These are professional soccer players, this is their life, and the whole thing has been overshadowed by debates that are voluntary. Yeah, we’re not pushing people into camps.

Rich: Yeah. Well, there is a fact check in the Washington Post the other day on the whole question. And it’s really complicated. Once you get beyond just the sheer size of the two pots in the World Cup, the men’s and the women’s, because the men’s game generates so much more revenue than the women’s. After that it gets complicated. Men and women have different employment agreements, and there’s just all sorts of moving parts to it. But there was just this astonishing sentence in this fact check that said in 2018, the women’s team made more than the men’s team. They already have various incentives and things built into their agreement. And Michael, I delved into this a little bit because I wrote about it.

There is a Women’s Professional League, which most people probably aren’t very aware of, and they’re nine teams. The one in Portland does well. They draw 18,000 people on average a game for whatever reason, Portland is really into supporting the women’s soccer team, and then Utah for some reason, and everyone else is under 5,000 a game. There’s a team in Piscataway, N.J., of all things that draws on average 1,400 people a game. So, you just can’t be a professional athlete in that league and expect to make very much money. Now, a lot of them, they’ll make money and endorsement deals and more power to them.

I was also very surprised because I’ve had a dim view of men’s soccer and my entire adult life, there have been men’s soccer leagues that have come in and gone. But men’s soccer is catching on. The team in Atlanta for some reason, four highest drawing games, almost 70,000 people. So, somehow they’ve found a fan base and developed it as some of these other teams are. But just there’s no comparison, though between those four games I mentioned that in Atlanta, the men’s team that accounts for the entire audience of all women’s games this year. Now, they play fewer games, but still, it’s just not on the same order of magnitude.

Michael: Yeah, I mean, women’s soccer in the United States, women’s participation in soccer in the United States is much higher than it is in other countries. Our best female athletes, many of them go into soccer whereas our best male athletes tend to go to football, basketball, and baseball. And so, US women’s soccer has basically dominated in the international stage from the ’90s and onward. It’s a product of Title IX, and other systemic things we’ve done in America. It’s a product of our culture. But yeah, as a commercial proposition, it’s not nearly as lucrative.

There’s a whole hidden history of women’s professional and semi professional sports, and the way women have been shuffled around. I mean, in the ’90s, there was the first attempt at a Women’s Basketball League, the ABL, which had a team in Connecticut that did very well, and went to places where, say women’s collegiate teams had. . .

Rich: I think that’s part of the reason the Portland women’s team, as I said university there was strong.

Michael: Where they had success, and basically, David Stern teamed up with ESPN to strangle this thing, and its crib so that they could have a summer-based women’s basketball league attached to the NBA that would play in a different. . . That wouldn’t compete with NBA games during the winter. That would play with a different looking ball, different looking uniforms. And yet it portrayed itself as. . . The WNBA portrayed itself as this kind of attempted equality when in fact, it was almost an attempt at protecting men’s basketball from competition from women’s basketball, and making it subordinate to it.

I agree with what Charlie said. I’m not a fan of Megan Rapinoe, and I think her final gesture, where she was getting to the point that Charlie always suggests dissenters do, which is, she’s getting to the point of embracing the flag or embracing her American identity. And that’s healthier than where it was before.

Rich: David

David: Well, one thing is, I hate for the team to be defined by Rapinoe. There are more players on that team. I was reading a story not too long ago about how some of these players were really outspoken Christian young women who are doing great things in their community. The Rapinoe has kind of become a symbol for the whole team in large part because a huge part of the left Twitter sphere, and the MSNBC left views her as a new hero of the resistance. I hate to see a team made up of a bunch of different people from different walks of life with different viewpoints being defined by this one person who really does seem to go out of her way to almost be like a caricature of the in your face resistance feminist.

So, yeah, I find her annoying, but I also find it annoying that she’s overshadowing other people and overshadowing sometimes, it almost seems as if she overshadows the team itself, which is a real shame. I mean, what they’ve done is remarkable. I was rooting for them the whole way. I don’t really follow soccer that much, although I do agree with MBD that. . . or I do agree with you Rich where you’re talking about how MLS is catching on. Nashville’s about to get an expansion team. I was actually in Atlanta the night that the Atlanta team won the MLS title, and the town was going nuts. It was amazing. I mean, The Mercedes Benz stadium was packed to the rafters, 70,000 plus fans. Celebration spilling out into the streets, singing, chanting. It was really unbelievable. So something is happening to catch on.

Michael: It feels like [crosstalk 00:57:13]. David, it feels like those cities in the south like Nashville, Atlanta, and then Portland in the Pacific Northwest, those are all growing cities. It feels like as newcomers come in they’re available to these newer sports teams whether it’s the Preds in Nashville who are way more successful than Florida teams in attracting a fan base. It seems like there’s something going on there where these growing cities, a new team is able to catch on fire with them.

David: Well, yeah. I mean, there’s a couple of things going on. One, every time you get a major league franchise in a southern city not named Atlanta. This doesn’t necessarily apply to Atlanta because Atlanta is known as the city where professional teams except for the brief, blazing enthusiasm around the Braves. A lot of professional teams are known there to have really lackluster fan bases. The Atlanta Football Club is different. But yeah, Nashville, you get in a major league franchise, even a soccer major league franchise in a growing energetic optimistic city and people fall in love with it almost immediately.

But yeah, something is going on in the soccer world. We’re still not getting our top athletes playing soccer. I mean, that much is obvious. It was so frustrating to watch the men’s World Cup the last time we were in it. I mean, we were knocked out by a minor Caribbean country, if I recall last time, but if. . . Last time we were in it watching the athletes on . . .

Michael: We just lost the Caribbean sponsors.

David: Is it called a pitch? Watching the athletes on the pitch, and I was just thinking, I can only imagine what this would look like if you had a Russell Westbrook-quality athlete on the field. And we just don’t have that. Or if you had an athlete comparable to some of our defensive backs and wide receivers and running backs in football. We would be dominant, but we don’t, and we’re not, and that makes it a lot less fun to follow.

But yes, as far as the equal pay issue, I found your article, Rich, really interesting. Once you explain to people, the revenue disparities in the different sports, basically everyone, aside from an idea log instinctively understands that. If you’re generating a ton less revenue, there’s just less money available to be paid. That’s just the way this works.

Charlie: I think what bothers me the most about the pay disparity is that it just strikes me as an attempt to fast forward the progress that women’s soccer has made. I grew up watching soccer — it’s the biggest sport in England — and one of the things that always fascinated me was how much more money people made in, say, the late ’90s and early 2000s, than in the ’60s and ’70s, when my dad first started watching it. And so, you end up during, say a World Cup with two analysts on the panel that the BBC takes to wherever they’re going. And one of them retired in 2011, and the other retired in 1990. The guy on the panel who retired in 2011 is worth 50 million pounds, 100 million pounds just in salary, and sponsorships with Nike and Adidas and whatever.

The guy who retired in 1990, until he got the job at the BBC being a soccer analyst, he maybe ran a company. Maybe ran a Home Depot or something. And you look at it, and you think, well, that is in a cosmic sense, a little bit unfair. I wonder if the guy who retired in 1990, who was probably a wonderful player, looks at the guy to his left and thinks “my goodness, you’re worth 100 million dollars. You live in this enormous mansion and you drive a Ferrari, and you did the same job as me.” Yeah, and if he does, you wouldn’t blame him for thinking it’s unfair.

But it’s also just a fact that until the early 1990s, with the advent of satellite television, huge money pouring into the sport in Britain, and foreign owners coming in, and so on and so forth, the internet — until that point, there just wasn’t that much money in English soccer until it exploded. And when it exploded, suddenly people were signing these enormous contracts and these enormous sponsorship deals, and so on and so forth. I mean, it would be a little bit silly, if the players who retired in 1990 turn around and said, “You know, I think we should have some of that money from the other side, because it’s not fair. It’s not equal.” You would say, “But then you took from the available pool at the time.”

That’s how I feel listening to the women’s team leaving aside the fact that as a percentage, they’re higher and all that. I just think that it is a rejection of reality, and it’s a slightly ungrateful unwillingness to realize that they are the trailblazers and that they’re the ones who are changing how the sport works. And they can’t have it both ways.

Rich: One thing I find really annoying is you see it all over the place in headlines that the women’s final game out rated the men’s final game without noting the key difference that the United States was playing in the women’s game, but not in the men’s game. But MBD.

Michael: They weren’t even in the tournament the last time.

Rich: Exit question to you.

David: Knocked out by a minor Caribbean country.

Rich: Rate from zero to ten how transformative the Women’s National Soccer Team success will be for women’s sports zero a nullity, ten revolutionary.

Michael: It’s a nullity. Maybe it’s a two, in that it’ll get people that are watching the news maybe interested in it, and they’ll watch next time. But, the soccer team’s success is a product of America’s already existing interest in these sports. That’s not going to change. The threat to women’s sports is men starting to play them.

Rich: Charlie Cooke.

Charlie: I think that this team has put itself and women’s soccer on the map, not just this year, but four years ago. I think it’s done so by being excellent, and by exciting people, and by winning twice. I think this political fight doesn’t detract from that, especially in the eyes of most people, and it probably doesn’t help either. I should say, I wouldn’t be surprised if they won this political fight because it sounds unfair. And so, that’s often how we resolve things these days. But this team has done itself a huge favor by being excellent. And that’s what I wish we had focused on.

Rich: David French.

David: Well, I’m going to say it’s going to do some marginal good, maybe more than marginal good. I got jaded for a while because it seemed like every four years with the Men’s World Cup, you would see this surge of interest in soccer, and then the media would say soccer is here. Finally, soccer is here, and you’d roll your eyes and everyone would go back to watching football, basketball and baseball. But you know what? Soccer’s kind of getting here finally. I mean, when you see. Yeah, I mean, when you see a city like football crazy Nashville, really, really happy to land in MLS franchise, something has changed. Something’s definitely changing. So it’s a process. It’s not going to be the kind thing where each new World Cup you can say soccer’s definitely here. It’s one of the major sports but this moves the needle, no question about it.

Rich: I’m going to say a five because they’ve won before. And to Michael’s point, there’s a little chicken egg thing where they’re good because women are interested in this. But there’s been a lot of interest in this. I think probably the controversy even if we find it annoying, and I think a lot of people are misled about it probably has helped. I’m not sure there would have been. . . There wouldn’t have been as much tension without the controversy, and it won’t be transformative for the Women’s Professional League, but it will grow interest in the game from girls, and that will strengthen it over time.

Rich: Let’s do one last special bonus double barreled exit question to you first MBD. Will there be a citizenship question on the census? Yes or no? And should there be a citizenship question on the census? Yes or no?

Michael: No, there won’t be. Yes, there should.

Rich: Charlie Cooke.

Charlie: There absolutely should be. If we’re going to have a census as the Constitution provides for it’s preposterous not to know who is a citizen and who is not. There won’t be in 2020. There may be in the future though, especially if the Democratic party keeps moving in the direction it has of late. I think that this citizenship question is extremely popular. Has 67 to 70 percent support in polls that I’ve seen, and that will maybe grow as the contradictions become starker.

Rich: David French.

David: No, there won’t be. I don’t see the legal path. Yes, there should be for all the reasons that Charlie outlined. To know who is in your country, to include knowing who is there. Who is a citizen, who is not a citizen. I mean, this is the basic process of counting a nation. I think it’s an absolutely proper question. I don’t see legal path for it getting there.

Rich: I think it’s a consensus. I think it’s unanimous. It’s a no and a yes. So, let’s hit a few other things before we move on. Charlie Cooke, you’ve been watching 30 Rock.

Charlie: I have. I’d never seen it before. I tend to watch things after the fact, and it’s very good. It’s very good. But the biggest revelation in it is Alec Baldwin. I shouldn’t say revelation. I’ve always thought Alec Baldwin was a great actor, but he is a comic genius. He is one of our great comedians in America. I used to defend him. He used to get into all sorts of trouble, and I used to defend him and then Media Matters would denounce me for defending him, which was this weird political mix up. But one of the great jokes in the show is that he plays this conservative corporate CEO, and if you know his real politics that makes it even funnier.

Rich: David you of course have been consumed by NBA free agency.

David: Yes, absolutely. But just to echo Charlie on 30 Rock, one of my favorite lines in the whole show. Baldwin plays a guy named Jack. Tina Fey says to him, “Jack, why are you in a tuxedo?” And he responds, “It’s after six o’clock? What am I, a farmer?

Charlie: I think that some of the lines in there you just can’t imagine them being written now. He says to Liz Lemon at one point, he’s talking to her about her finances, and she says, “Well, I have $10,000 in a checking account.” And he goes, “Good Lord, what are you, an immigrant?” I can’t imagine that being written now.

David: But back to free agency. Yeah, this last period of NBA free agency, there’s been such an unbelievable frenzy if you’re a basketball fan, that I would find myself waking up in the morning, and being shocked by what I saw popping up on my phone alerts. I would be remiss rich if I just didn’t take a little bit of time to pour one out for your hapless New York Knicks.

Rich: My Knicks? When did I become a Knicks fan? I’m a Nets fan, David, I’m a Nets fan now. [crosstalk 01:09:37]. With Reihan, I’m a Nets fan. No, I’m not a. . . I cannot. . . I was briefly a Knicks fan for like 20 games during the insanity as we talked about, but David, I hate to have to correct you yet again on a basketball matter but the biggest story-

David: Oh, no.

Rich: . . .last couple weeks in the basketball world has been Tacko Fall. And if Tacko Fall got on the Knicks, I would become a Knicks fan. What a compelling performer David. You have to admit.

David: I have to say that I do enjoy watching a guy dunk the basketball without jumping. That is. . . But see Rich, I’m slowly winning you over, [crosstalk 01:10:14]-

Rich: Yeah. And he also to his credit almost single handedly beat Duke if it weren’t for that bad call on Zion Williamson’s multiple fouls right at the end there. But MBD you’ve been watching-

David: How right you are.

Rich: You’ve been watching a Chernobyl documentary?

Michael: Yeah, there’s some. . . Obviously, there’s been a ton of interesting Chernobyl after HBO’s excellent series. On the disaster on Netflix there’s a documentary by Nova called Building Chernobyl’s MegaTomb. It’s one of these one hour programs, and it’s brilliant. A one hour program about the second containment unit that was built in the last couple of years, and pushed over the Chernobyl reactor that exploded in 1986. And this engineering feat is amazing in itself to watch if you’re the type of person that passes a show about a major engineering endeavor, and just stays locked into it. I’m that type of person. And you see in a sense, it’s a great parable, in a sense for state directed market solutions. Because this is Ukraine and the surrounding nations obviously needed this solution because the old. . . what is called the old sarcophagus that was basically, concrete poured over the reactor is falling apart. It was built hastily and improvised. There was no foundation, and if it falls apart, the reactive material would start poisoning the air around it, and the environment in a much more serious way.

So, they had to come up with this huge thing to encompass the whole building, inclusive of an internal crane that would begin disassembling the entire reactor with remote controlled parts. It’s brilliant thing to do. You see that it’s French engineers that designed the solution. It’s an international team that’s building it. It’s American engineers that design the crane that is getting put in, and it’s just a fantastic testament to international coordination, and cooperation in science for a very worthy endeavor, sad as it is.

David: MBD waxing eloquent on globalism, the day has come.

Rich: So I was very lucky couple nights ago to be at a small dinner with Dan Murphy, who’s the father of Michael Murphy, who posthumously won the Medal of Honor for his heroism and operation Red Wings, which has been memorialized in pop culture in the movie Lone Survivor. Marcus Luttrell was the sole survivor of these three or four guys. I guess maybe four guys, David, you probably know more about it than I do. [crosstalk 01:13:25]. But what a family what an amazing guy Dan is in his own right. He was in Vietnam and shot up, and nearly killed and obviously this service is something runs very deep for this family.

He tells an amazing story about Michael where he was based in a Navy SEAL based in Hawaii. And after Easter, he was flying back, and I guess to save on airfare. I’m not sure, and please forgive me if I’m messing up any details of the story. But had five stops on his way back from Hawaii from Long Island stopping in Minneapolis, St. Paul, and then in Omaha. So, just something ridiculous. Dan and his wife were just. . . Mike, just let us when you get there. He’s this crazy one, make sure you got there safe, and he did. Then he gets deployed, and this horrific thing happens. They find his body on July Fourth, very tellingly, he comes home. There’s an amazing funeral, and they bury him in a very private ceremony. And literally as his mom is turning away from the grave, where he’s just been buried, a text message comes through on her phone, and she’s like, “Everyone knows I’m here. Why is anyone bothering me?”

It is a text message from Michael that says, “Mama, home safe and sound.” And it was the text message that he had sent months earlier when he had got to Hawaii that for some reason never came through until that exact moment. And you can just understand the incredible comfort that Dan and his wife took from this amazing incident. Anyway, Dan is building a museum, a Navy SEAL museum named after his son in Long Island and you can check it out online and support it if you feel so moved. It’s time now for editor’s picks before we go. Charlie, what’s your pick?

Charlie: My pick is David French on the Second Circuit Court of Appeal’s decision that ruled that Donald Trump is not allowed to block Twitter users. This is another example in my view of what David calls Trump law of decisions that would not be made absent this president having won. David explains why in this case the court got it wrong. Where they erred, and is part of a series of David’s in dispassionately looking at what the law actually says stripping out the political context that I. . . I think David doesn’t say this, but I think is informing some of these decisions.

Rich: MBD, what’s your pick?

Michael: My pic is Kyle Smith, in a piece titled “Jeffrey Epstein Should Cancel the Culture’s Humbert Humberts,” and it’s a piece about basically what Kyle describes as a 50 year period, in which tastemakers, and powerful people in the culture basically celebrated the idea of mature men having sexual relations with girls barely over the age of consent. He documents how thoroughly this was drenched in our culture, and all the examples in pop culture of romanticizing these kinds of relationships or pushing for them, and how it’s all coming to an end now. It’s quite a good piece.

Rich: David French, what’s your pick?

David: Well, first man, Rich that story. That’s unbelievable. Thanks for sharing that. My pick goes right back to Charlie. He gave me a sneak peek of his print piece about his varmint shooting expedition in the Great Plains. It was a delightful explanation of not just what he was doing, but why it was necessary, and with a nice little ode to America attached in the middle of it. I’ll just note for the record that Charlie’s migration to Oxford-educated redneck is nearly complete.

Michael: It was like the Somme he says. He might be the first person to compare the shooting of little rodents in South-

Charlie: No, not the shooting. No, no, no. That’s what they do to the ground [crosstalk 01:18:03]. It look like it’s been shelled long before you show up and shoot them. That’s why North Dakota and South Dakota, and indeed the federal government, that’s why they’re gassing them, poisoning them.

David: Yeah, I took a lot of. . . I was very glad that that piece Charlie ended up not really being about shooting prairie dog so much as about America. It was a great celebration of the beauty and the vastness of the country, and was a little light on the prairie dog shooting which I thought was appropriate. [crosstalk 01:18:35].

Rich: But also I loved how you, after four days of hard work out all day shooting these prairie dogs, we’d come back, and eat a hearty dinner. Worked up such an appetite.

Charlie: I didn’t want to upset you Rich, so I kept it light.

Rich: Well, the cover of our next issue is my pick, and it’s a Kevin Williamson book excerpt. Kevin will soon be out with his new book, The Smallest Minority: Independent Thinking in the Age of Mob Politics. And it is as clever, compelling, deep, and wise as you would expect of anything written by Kevin Williamson. That’s it for us. You’ve been listening to a National Review podcast. Any rebroadcast, retransmission, or account this game without the express written permission of National Review magazine is strictly prohibited. This podcast is produced by the incomparable Sarah Schutte who makes the sound better than we deserve. Thank you, Charlie. Thank you, David. Thank you, Michael. We are The Editors, and we’ll see you next time.

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