Ben Sasse is the freshman senator from Nebraska, elected last year. He’s a conservative Republican. He’s also an intellectual (though he’d quickly deny it, I bet). The Atlantic recently dubbed him “the Senate’s most interesting egghead.”
Have we had the word “egghead” in politics since Adlai Stevenson?
Today, I recorded a Q&A with him. (Sasse, not Stevenson.) We covered a lot of ground. Recently, he gave his maiden speech in the Senate, having waited a year. He said that the world’s “greatest deliberative body” was essentially broken, and explained why.
We talk about this. And “entitlements.” And the “administrative state,” which Sasse calls a “fourth branch of government.” We also talk about the new reality of employment. And about cyberwar.
In an interview some months ago, John McCain told me that cyberwar is the great danger that people know relatively little about.
With Sasse, I bring up the recent explosion of censorship and bullying on campus. He is well positioned to speak on this, given his background: He studied at several colleges, earning several degrees; he has been a professor; and he has been a college president.
Naturally, we talk about the Republican party and conservatism. We even address the E-word (meaning, “Establishment”). And I ask him why he is against abortion. He gives a beautiful answer.
At the end of the show, I ask him to name the greatest Nebraskan: Willa Cather? William Jennings Bryan? Tom Osborne? He will not name a greatest, but sings a hymn to Coach Osborne, and the Nebraska spirit that, according to Sasse, he represents.
It was almost enough to make my Wolverine heart want to be a Cornhusker, for a day or so.
(Again, the podcast is here.)