The Corner

Politics & Policy

Cooties and Conscience

At the close of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, July 21, 2016 (Rick Wilking / Reuters)

In Impromptus today, I have some thoughts on Joe Biden and race, Beverly Sills and philanthropy, and other issues.

Wait, Beverly Sills and philanthropy? Yes, I talked to the great soprano about this one day, some years ago. She raised $100 million for the March of Dimes. That was a lot of money back then. (Sills had two severely handicapped children.) She also raised money for the arts. And she defended this kind of philanthropy, eloquently.

(You may wonder why I included this subject in Impromptus. The late Doris Buffett — sister of Warren — said she did not give to “the SOBs”: symphonies, operas, and ballets.)

Mainly, however, my column is about the Republican Party. One emblem of it is Bill Hagerty, the Tennessean who won his state’s Senate primary yesterday. He was a friend of Mitt Romney, going back to the 1980s, when they both worked in finance. When Hagerty announced for the Senate, Romney immediately wrote him a check. Hagerty returned the check, considering it toxic.

In GOP-land today, Romney has cooties.

Hagerty proceeded to bad-mouth his old friend on the campaign trail (“indistinguishable from Barack Obama,” etc.). While renouncing Romney, he clutched Diamond & Silk close. The Trump family, too.

I am singling out Bill Hagerty, but he is utterly typical. There are conservatives who think that the GOP needs a thorough drubbing, chastening, and rebuilding. I can understand them.

My own view is this: People ought to vote their conscience in the House and Senate races before them. In all races, really. (You may remember that “vote your conscience” was an incendiary phrase at the 2016 Republican convention.)

Okay, enough politics, for this little Corner post. I have done a Q&A podcast with David Normoyle, here. David is an old friend of mine and an exceptional person. He is a golf historian, who has carved out a fascinating career for himself. He is married to Dottie Pepper, the LPGA great. Recently, David took a 40-day car trip across America — COVID, polarized America. He chronicled his journey every night, in missives to an e-mail list. In our podcast, David and I talk golf and life.

Finally, some music — another podcast, a Music for a While, celebrating music for four hands. Or two pianos. In any case, duets. Have a listen, here.

And hit ’em straight.

P.S. I just got an e-mail in response to Impromptus today. I adore its opening sentence — its opening two sentences: “Why not vote Libertarian, Jay? I mean, aside from the fact we’re nuts and we don’t win.”

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