Magazine | November 25, 2019, Issue

The Week

(Roman Genn)

• When they said Katie Hill represented a swing district, we had no idea . . .

• Election Night was grim. Kentucky’s conservative governor, Matt Bevin, lost reelection, paying a price for seeking pension reform even as other Republicans in the state swept their races. Democrats carried both houses of the Virginia legislature, confirming the state’s drift into the blue — especially since the election took place less than a year after scandals hit the Democratic governor and lieutenant governor. What’s ominous for Republicans is that the realignment in Virginia appears to be part of a national turn by the suburbs. President Trump, and Republican senators, should heed this warning rather than try to explain it away.

• Beto O’Rourke dropped out of the presidential race. His basic mistake was running in the first place — and that mistake was itself based on the false assumption that the press adulation and national Democratic swooning he enjoyed during his Senate campaign against Ted Cruz would continue once he was competing with other Democrats instead of a conservative. When he announced for president, liberals started zinging him for the moderate aspects of his record and for being a white guy. He compensated by turning ever harder to the left on guns, abortion, and religious freedom. Not so long ago held up as the next Kennedy, he will now have to console himself with good looks and money.

• Catholics who have committed grave sins are supposed to repent, and receive the sacrament of reconciliation, before presenting themselves for communion. Doing a serious injustice to other human beings, by advocating for their exclusion from the basic protections of the homicide law or acting to ensure that exclusion, certainly qualifies. So Joe Biden, who frequently advertises his Catholicism but believes that abortion should be legal and subsidized, should not be receiving communion until he conforms himself to the Church’s teachings. A priest in South Carolina, acting in accordance with the policy of his bishop, denied Biden communion for this reason. The move has outraged some people, and not only hard-core pro-choicers, who think it amounts to a church dictating public policy to a would-be public official. But the Church neither claims nor has that power. It is setting the rules for its own sacraments. In the 1960s, Archbishop Joseph Rummel of New Orleans went so far as to excommunicate obstinately segregationist public officials. Biden is getting off easy.

• California congresswoman Katie Hill has resigned her seat after admitting to a sexual relationship with a young woman who was, at the time, a staffer for her election campaign. The freshman Democratic representative also was under investigation by the House Ethics Committee for an allegation that she was having a sexual relationship with her legislative director. Hill and her media allies attempted to portray her resignation as the consequence of nude pictures leaked by her estranged husband in an instance of “revenge porn.” She and others insisted that the treatment of her was unfair, and evidence of a double standard against female public figures. A prohibition on having sex with subordinates is in truth easy to understand, and the double standard in this case has to do with the excuses made in some quarters for liberal women.

• “If he continues to focus on that white whale,” said Tom Bossert, “it’s going to bring him down.” Bossert was President Trump’s first homeland-security adviser. He was talking about the president’s apparent obsession with a conspiracy theory, which holds the following: Ukraine, not Russia, meddled in the 2016 American election; it did so in order to benefit Hillary Clinton; Ukraine, not Russia, hacked the servers of the Democratic National Committee — and then tried to make Russia look like the culprit; CrowdStrike, the California-based company that investigated the hacking, is owned by a Ukrainian oligarch; and “the server” — this unidentified but highly important server — is hidden in Ukraine right now. In his infamous, consequential phone call of July 25, Trump asked Volodymyr Zelensky, the new Ukrainian president, to get to the bottom of all this. Zelensky must have been completely flummoxed. As Tom Bossert says, this theory has been “completely debunked.” Trump pursues it, because he is irked at the suggestion that Russian interference helped him win the presidency. We can understand full well this annoyance. But there are ways to express it without signing on to nonsense. The people who have whispered into the president’s ear about CrowdStrike, Ukraine, and the rest have done him no favors. 

• At the end of October, President Trump tweeted about Never Trump Republicans: “Though on respirators with not many left, [they] are in certain ways worse and more dangerous for our Country than the Do Nothing Democrats. Watch out for them, they are human scum!” In fact almost all the president’s critics within the Republican party and the conservative movement have either become his cheerleaders (Lindsey Graham) or realists, calling balls, strikes, and hits as they come. Angry at his Ukraine predicament, Trump can only summon the taunts most of us left behind in elementary school. One could reply, in exasperation, Grow up. But that, too, would be rude, besides evidently asking the impossible.

• Barack Obama, speaking at a conference sponsored by his foundation, addressed the mores of partisanship in our hyper times. “Certain young people, and this is accelerated by social media,” aspire to be “as judgmental as possible about other people. . . . That’s not bringing about change. If all you’re doing is casting stones, you’re probably not going to get that far.” He framed this advice in pragmatic terms, and he is surely right. His former secretary of state called her opponent’s supporters “deplorables,” and how did that work out? But Obama’s advice has a moral dimension, which he also touched on. “People who do really good stuff have flaws; people who you are fighting may love their kids and share certain things with you.” Wokeness, by contrast, denies what the Romans called “filiatio” — literally, descent from a common father: our bonds of nationalism/patriotism/citizenship. At a deeper level, woke culture denies our common humanity. All men, as another Democrat said, are created equal.

• Republicans led by Senators Josh Hawley of Missouri and Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee have introduced legislation that would relocate the great majority of federal workers in ten cabinet-level departments from the District of Columbia to other parts of the country. The legislatively forced exodus would be intended to have two effects: to bring high-paying federal jobs and the economic activity that goes with them to less robustly flourishing parts of the country, and to reduce the concentration of government interests in Washington and thereby counteract the capital city’s increasing centrality in American life. This would constitute the amplification of a minor trend already under way, e.g. with the relocation of the Bureau of Land Management to Grand Junction, Colo., and the Department of Agriculture’s moving some facilities to Kansas City. The same bill would ask the Office of Management and Budget to consider departmental mergers and restructuring. It is a little funny to hear Republicans talking about all the good a bigger government payroll can do for the local economy, but the proposal here is fundamentally sound. The American Federation of Government Employees is of course complaining already that the move would not be cost-effective or practical. The American Federation of Government Employees is not cost-effective or practical. And Grand Junction is pretty nice. 

• The Hechinger Report, a respected source in education research, predicts that by the year 2025, the University of Chicago will become the first college to charge $100,000 a year in tuition and fees. (The next three, close on UChi’s heels, are predicted to be Columbia, Southern Methodist, and Harvey Mudd.) The long row of zeros is eye-popping, but as every parent knows, education inflation has been going on for quite a while; after accounting for inflation, the average price of college has already doubled since 2001. Does it really cost twice as much nowadays to teach calculus or analyze Moby-Dick? Nope. The main reason colleges are charging so much is simple: They do it because they can, thanks to extensive government financial aid and loans. The Democratic candidates’ competing plans to airdrop even more money on their campus supporters would only accelerate the cost spiral.

• As we go to press, California is finally getting two major wildfires under control. The Kincade fire destroyed 374 buildings and forced 180,000 from their homes; the Maria fire burned about 10,000 acres. The state resorted to intentional blackouts to reduce the chance of compounding the problem. The blazes’ direct causes are still under investigation, but as the state’s conservative critics have been pointing out for years — and as President Trump recently laid out in a characteristically from-the-hip Twitter rant — the state’s fire problem stems largely from policy choices: California legislators have been overly hesitant to thin out forests, leading to a buildup of highly flammable biomass. On top of that, the state’s utilities, most prominently PG&E, have suffered from severe mismanagement despite operating in one of the most regulated sectors of the economy, with their equipment causing numerous fires in the past. It’s easy to blame these disasters on climate change and capitalism generically, as California governor Gavin Newsom is happy to do, but what the state really needs to do is use the many tools at its disposal to reduce both the incidence of these fires and the damage they do when they occur.

• The American Bar Association rated Lawrence VanDyke “not qualified.” He was an editor of the Harvard Law Review, has served in the Justice Department, and has been the solicitor general of two states. The ABA’s rating cited his alleged laziness, arrogance, and closed-mindedness, based on interviews with people who have worked with VanDyke. It turned out, though, that the evaluation was led by someone who had donated to an opponent of VanDyke when he ran for the Montana supreme court. Several lawyers stepped forward to say that their interviews had been cut short when they praised the nominee. If anyone pays a price for ideology and arrogance, let it be the ABA.

• Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was an Iraqi religious fanatic who created the ISIS caliphate in the wake of America’s ill-advised draw-down from Iraq during the Obama administration. His domain was a death and rape cult clothed in Sunni fundamentalism. At its peak it controlled much of northern Iraq and eastern Syria, slaughtering “infidels” — Shiites, Christians, Yazidis — at home, while inspiring rootless sadists to commit acts of terrorism abroad. Congratulations then to President Trump and America’s intelligence and military for pursuing this corsair to his lair and causing him to kill himself (and, tragically, his final victims, two children). How did this operation, so long in planning, fit with Trump’s own draw-down of American forces from Kurdish Syria’s border with Turkey? On the surface it looks like a vindication. Yet America’s relations with Turkey are so strained that our forces had to deploy from Erbil in Iraqi Kurdistan, not Incirlik, our base in Turkey, when they carried out the raid. Kurds helped us pinpoint the brute. Let us hope we have not abandoned a useful ally for an increasingly unreliable one.

• It is natural to avoid reading about the Uyghurs — the Turkic people in northwestern China who are being brutalized by the Chinese government. The reports are too awful to bear. More than a million people have been rounded up and thrown into “reeducation” camps. Some are tortured and killed. All are forced to renounce their culture, their faith, their past. Mosques are demolished and cemeteries bulldozed over. Han Chinese men are sent to live with Uyghur families, whose fathers and husbands have been imprisoned. The Chinese government has perfected a surveillance state in this part of the country, truly Orwellian in its scope. Fred Hiatt of the Washington Post wrote, “Workers in the world of human rights tend to be highly reticent when it comes to Nazi analogies. The Holocaust was a unique event.” And yet the Holocaust keeps coming up as “the only adequate point of comparison.” Jerome A. Cohen, the dean of China scholars in America (born in 1930), said much the same to our Jay Nordlinger in early 2018. Years from now, almost inevitably, people will say, “We didn’t know” about the Uyghurs. But everything is now known — reports are ample and undeniable. What can be done to save the people who can still be saved? Free-world governments can draw attention to this horror, and cry against it, and make the Chinese government answer for it. Business as usual can be disrupted. Western companies that aid the repression of the Uyghurs can be penalized for it. Beijing is scheduled to host the Winter Olympics in 2022 — why? The reports are unbearable, but reading them is nothing compared with what the Uyghurs themselves are experiencing.

• For decades, it has been an issue: Should the U.S. Congress declare itself on the mass killings by Turks of Armenians in 1915? Should Congress declare these killings a genocide? Suddenly, on October 29, it did so — at least the House of Representatives did so, by a vote of 405–11. (The Senate has not addressed the matter.) Why now? The answer is, Democrats and Republicans alike were revolted by Turkey’s invasion of Syria for the purpose of assaulting the Kurds there. And they are worried that the ethnic cleansing of the World War I years will be repeated now. We do not often think Congress should adjudicate historical matters, but Turkey, at this juncture, deserved a black eye from Congress.

• New York’s Eastman School of Music almost took marching orders from China, but its students and faculty weren’t happy with the beat. The Eastman Philharmonia, a musical ensemble of around 80 students, was planning a concert tour of China when two of its members, of South Korean nationality, were denied visas. Administrators intended to continue the tour without those students, but protests from other students and alumni eventually led to the trip’s cancellation. There is speculation that tensions over South Korea’s decision to deploy an American missile system in 2016 led to the visa refusal, although the Chinese foreign ministry denies it. There’s been a lot of kowtowing to China lately, so Eastman is to be congratulated, after its initial hesitation, on doing the right thing. 

• We can remember when “Hispanic” was a common and useful term, broad enough to embrace a long list of national origins. But now “Hispanic” is a slur, it seems: “It erases people’s mixed heritages, their families, their stories by making people identify with the whiteness of Spain,” explains Teen Vogue. (We also remember when Teen Vogue wrote about lip gloss instead of ethnolinguistics.) Exactly how the 1990s switch from “Hispanic” to “Latino” was supposed to solve this problem was never made clear, but it doesn’t matter, because now “Latino” is hopelessly offensive too. Why? Because the -o ending is masculine, which excludes Latinas. Next up was “Latino/a,” then “Latin@.” Now the latest iteration is “Latinx,” which solves all possible inclusion/exclusion offenses by being boldly, defiantly meaningless. The only trouble with all this to-and-fro is that in a recent survey, only 2 percent of respondents of H******c origin wanted to be called “Latinx.” The term’s maximal wokeness is matched by its minimal appeal. 

• The NCAA board of directors has voted unanimously to allow college students to maintain their athletic eligibility while earning money from endorsements and sponsorships. Governor Gavin Newsom (D.) of California had been advocating such reform, and Governor Ron DeSantis (R.) of Florida was quick to add his support, as were elected officials nationwide, Republicans and Democrats alike. “It’s about time,” Governor Phil Murphy (D.) of New Jersey said after the announcement from the NCAA. “The status quo was clearly unacceptable.” The NCAA’s longstanding rule prohibiting students from seeking financial reward for their athletic accomplishments had its origins in an old-school notion of amateurism, which means the doing of something for the love of it. That ideal clashed with the natural aspiration to earn your livelihood from doing what you love and are good at. Governor Murphy is right: It’s about time that student athletes were granted admission to the free market. 

• David Rosenhan’s 1973 study “On Being Sane in Insane Places” forever altered the course of psychiatry. Rosenhan instructed eight anonymous “pseudo-patients” to feign auditory hallucinations and seek admission to mental institutions. The subjects returned with stories of abuse and neglect, and apparent evidence that psychiatric professionals across the country had been unable to distinguish sanity from feigned insanity. Antipsychiatry activists successively deployed the findings in their effort to catalyze a national wave of deinstitutionalization whose effects are still manifest. In a new book, author Susannah Cahalan questions the veracity of Rosenhan’s study after having found massive discrepancies in his account. One subject contradicts the study’s findings outright. He told Cahalan that his experience at the hospital, far from the characterization levied by Rosenhan, was “positive,” and described the institutional setting as “a benign environment.” She also discovered discrepancies between the study and Rosenhan’s records that indicated that the subjects may have presented themselves as far sicker than the final report let on. Cahalan had intended to write a book praising Rosenhan’s work but was forced to concede the possibility that “some of the other pseudopatients he mentioned in his study never existed at all.” A study, in other words, that facilitated one of the most destructive changes in 20th-century domestic policy appears to be withering under scrutiny. What other public-policy disputes have we farmed out to our benevolent betters in the academy?  

• Washington, D.C., is on its third major-league franchise since 1900. The first one, the Senators, won the World Series in 1924. That was it until the Champagne poured in the visitors’ clubhouse after Game 7 at Minute Maid Park in Houston on October 30, breaking the 95-year drought. For the first time in World Series history, both teams lost all their home games; lucky for the Nats that the Astros had home-field “advantage.” Nationals manager Dave Martinez observed that “often bumpy roads lead to beautiful places.” An anonymous Houston fan took out an ad that ran in the Washington Post after Game 4, to thank Nats fans for their good sportsmanship. The sentiment was reciprocated, on the ground as well as on Twitter. (Boston, New York, and Philly fans: Please take note. That’s how you do it.) Congratulations to the best team in baseball.

• With two men aboard, the Iron Scow, as it was later dubbed, went careering toward the Niagara Falls after a tether connecting the vessel to a tugboat snapped. The two men opened the bottom of the scow to flood it and slow it down. It lodged between rocks about a third of a mile from the edge of the Horseshoe Falls. U.S. and Canadian officials rushed to rescue the men but ran into complications. They reached shore the next morning. It was August 1918. Last summer, officials of Niagara Falls State Park observed the centennial. The scow, a monument to the event, had never budged. No one had ever tried to move it, the waters being so dangerous. A storm dislodged it on October 31, and it was on course to take the plunge down the falls when different rocks arrested its course after a few hundred feet. Park officials say they’re keeping an eye on it. In the contest between the elements and the Iron Scow, root for the scow.

• The Belgian Malinois has been a popular work and companion dog for years; Herbert Hoover owned one named “King Tut,” and the Secret Service uses them to guard the White House. Most famous of the breed now is Conan, who was injured chasing down Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in the terrorist’s last blast. Conan is scheduled to visit the White House before redeploying to the Middle East; the Daily Wire photoshopped a picture of President Trump placing a Medal of Honor around Conan’s neck, which Trump retweeted, causing some initial gasps and grumbles from dour literalists. Dogs are not eligible for human medals, but some of the men who live and work with them in the military think they should be. “They’re out there with us every step of the way,” former Ranger and Iraq vet Michael Bollinger told the New York Post. The moral distinction between humans and animals, though sometimes questioned, is worth preserving; but if an exception is to be made, let it be for man’s best friend.

• David French has written for us for a good 15 years, and came on staff in 2015. He is one of the most versatile of conservative thinkers, writing on cultural affairs, foreign policy, the military, law, religion, sports, and more. A Reagan conservative since he was 14, he is principled and brave, taking many arrows from Left and Right and flinging a few back. To our regret, David has left NR for The Dispatch, where we will be reading him, wishing him all the best.

• Refusal to compromise with Communism made Vladimir Bukovsky a hero of his time and a surefire entry in the history books. He was fully prepared to sacrifice himself in the cause of freedom. On and off for twelve years, the Soviet authorities kept him in prison or labor camp, also confining him to psychiatric institutes that were under KGB control. Unable to break his spirit, they finally deported him in 1976 in exchange for the leader of the Chilean Communist Party. Settling in Great Britain, he was a truth-teller first and foremost, predicting that Communism would not survive its human harm. After the Soviet collapse, he spent some months in the Russia of Boris Yeltsin. For that brief period the state archives were open, and he was therefore able to write Judgment in Moscow, a book documenting collaboration with the Soviets on the part of Westerners whose moral outlook was very different from his. The French edition was published in 1995, but English-language publishers thought it prudent to delay for some 20 years. He campaigned against European integration on the grounds that it had Soviet roots, and he greatly regretted the faux-Communist Russia that Vladimir Putin put in place. In 2007 he himself stood for office, but the Kremlin made sure that he remained the best president that country never had. Died aged 76. R.I.P.

• Detroit voters elected John Conyers to the House of Representatives in 1964 and reelected him 26 times, making him one of the longest-serving members in the history of Congress. He cosponsored the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and in 1971 cofounded the Congressional Black Caucus. His criticism of U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War upset Presidents Johnson and Nixon; to the presidents Bush, his opposition to the Gulf War and the Iraq War could not have been any great surprise. On any given issue, Conyers, who represented his district back in Michigan but also, informally, the left side of the national Democratic party, could be counted on to come down strongly on the side you would guess. Mired in ethics controversies toward the end of his career, he resigned in 2017 after two women, former staff members, accused him of sexual harassment. The dean of the House of Representatives, as he was known on Capitol Hill, died in October, age 90. R.I.P. 

• Like many of us, Peter Collier was a young man of the Left and then matured. In 1966, when he was in his 20s, he began a seven-year editorial stint at Ramparts, a glossy magazine that was an organ of the New Left. There he worked with David Horowitz, with whom he moved rightward over the years. They co-authored nine books, including acclaimed histories of the Rockefeller, Roosevelt, and Kennedy dynasties. In the 1970s, the brutality of the Khmer Rouge and of the Communist victors in Vietnam made Collier and Horowitz “second thoughters,” as they called themselves, meaning that they reassessed their political affiliations. In San Francisco in 1998, Collier founded Encounter Books, which overnight became one of the leading publishers of conservative American writers; he handed over the reins to Roger Kimball in 2005, and the operation moved to New York. Collier’s oeuvre includes biographies of Jeane Kirkpatrick, for the Washington-minded, and of the Fondas, “a Hollywood dynasty” (the book’s subtitle). He taught on and off from the 1960s through the ’80s, at institutions including Berkeley, his alma mater. The fame he achieved was limited; the admiration he elicits is wide. Dead at 80. R.I.P.

• You could find Allen Sidor at home on an NR Cruise, sitting back quietly and cheerfully, people-watching, puffing a fine cigar. There was a gentleness and humility to the California entrepreneur, a selfless man, ever generous with his means and his friendship. Sooner rather than later, seafaring editors, writers, fellow cruisers, cigar aficionados were drawn to him: His company was warm, his camaraderie very real. Eventually, the directors of this institution, aware of his business acumen, asked Al to join the board. He agreed immediately and happily: This coincided with a desire to start a new chapter in his life, of passing leadership in his company to his beloved son Ryan and helping put NR on a sounder business footing. And then too there were socialism and socialists to beat back, and boy oh boy did Al ever want in on that. But coinciding was a slow-growth cancer that last year turned aggressive. And fatal. There was a prolonged, determined fight, a brutal one of high-grade chemo, of severe pain and sleepless nights, waged against impossible odds, aided by the care and compassion of his son, his former wife, and his close friends. Through it, his sweet nature held, but in his last days Al tried to resign his NR position. He claimed he was not contributing. The gesture was refused. Al passed away on October 27, age 63, we expect into God’s comforting arms, which he prayed would be open to him. As do we: Dear friend, R.I.P.

POLITICS
Paying for Warren

Senator Elizabeth Warren has just unveiled what purports to be a plan to pay for the costs of Medicare for All but is really a plan to hide them. A massive tax on all workers, including the middle-class ones she claims she would shield from new taxes, would be disguised by the fiction that it applies only to their employers — a point her own economic advisers have in other contexts shown they grasp perfectly well. The press has indicated it is ready to play along.

Drug prices will be controlled, with consequences in reduced innovation that will cost lives and health but will not appear in a ten-year budget. Payments to doctors, especially specialists, and to hospitals will be cut too. If the press covers the inevitable consequences for access to care at all, the issue will be presented as a she-says/he-says matter of opinion.

Warren expects increased tax enforcement to raise $2.3 trillion over ten years. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that a dramatic increase in the enforcement budget would produce . . . about one-fortieth of that amount. This part of her plan should be treated as a fudge factor and statement of political positioning, nothing more.

That’s also true of her 6 percent tax on billionaires’ wealth. It is not only many times higher than European wealth-tax rates. It amounts to an extremely high tax on the income from wealth: At a 6 percent return, for example, it would be a 100 percent tax.

For what purpose does Warren ask Americans to risk reduced national income and declines in access to specialty care? Why should they be prohibited from having private health insurance? It can’t be in order to cover the uninsured: There are many ways — good and bad, conservative and progressive — to expand coverage without forcing everyone into a government-run system. Is it because Americans, even those who are well off, must be saved from having to pay deductibles and copayments? That hardly seems like a crisis demanding a sweeping governmental response.

Warren’s plan, heavy as it is on taxes and controls, is alarming in its own right. Still more so is the ideological fanaticism it expresses.

IMPEACHMENT
A Failing Defense

True to his smash-mouth style, honed in years of litigation and tabloid wars in New York City, Trump has insisted he did nothing wrong, in fact that his call with Ukrainian president Zelensky was “perfect.” His most loyal allies have taken up this line, and supporters wearing “read the transcript” T-shirts have been arrayed behind Trump at his rallies.

The problem with this defense on the merits is that the call wasn’t perfect. It was so clearly inappropriate that most of the professionals listening in real time were alarmed. The problem as a practical political matter is that maintaining the “perfect” line allows the president’s critics to score easy points every time another insider emerges to say he was disturbed by the call.

Meanwhile, Republicans have leaned heavily on the “no quid pro quo” argument that quickly emerged after the rough transcript of the call was released. The call doesn’t include an explicit quid pro quo, but it is suggestive of one, certainly combined with the unexplained withholding of defense aid to Ukraine. Here, too, more and more evidence has emerged — EU ambassador Gordon Sondland’s revised testimony is the latest example — that the aid package was conditioned on Ukraine’s committing to investigations that Trump wanted.

Overall, the White House and Republicans have been violating the first rule of a good defense counsel, which is not to deny things that are undeniable. It erodes your credibility and makes it harder to mount a better defense on other grounds.

It’s also important to distinguish between the things Trump was asking of the Ukrainians.

He was within his rights to urge the Ukrainians to cooperate with Attorney General Bill Barr’s probe into the origins of the Russian story. What crossed a line was pushing them to look into the Bidens, and leveraging U.S. resources to do it. The focus on this front became Burisma, the energy company on whose board Hunter Biden sat. There’s no doubt that the company has a shady past. But the contention that the president was merely interested in pursuing Ukrainian corruption is clearly pretextual, since this concern hasn’t been evident elsewhere in his foreign policy.

The ultimate question regarding all this is whether the president’s conduct constitutes a high crime and misdemeanor justifying Trump’s impeachment and removal from office. This is where Republicans are on firmer ground: The answer is “no.” It has to matter that, at the end of the day, the harm of this episode was minimal or nonexistent. The Ukrainians got their defense aid without making any statement committing themselves to the investigations. Indeed, the administration’s effort to get them to do it was ambiguous, confused, internally contentious — and ultimately abandoned.

Many Republicans feel, for understandable reasons, that Ukraine is just the latest excuse for Democrats who never accepted Trump’s election to try to pry him from office before the end of his term. They’d do themselves a favor in resisting this push if they adopted a sound, truthful defense.

NR Editors includes members of the editorial staff of the National Review magazine and website.

In This Issue

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Culture

‘Epstein Didn’t Kill Himself’

It was just one more segment to fill out the hour, and thereby fill the long 24 hours of Saturday’s cable news on November 2. Or so it seemed. Navy SEAL Mike Ritland was on the Fox News program Watters World to talk to Jesse Watters about trained German shepherds like the one used in the raid that found ... Read More
Film & TV

The Manly Appeal of Ford v Ferrari

There used to be a lot of overlap between what we think of as a Hollywood studio picture (designed to earn money) and an awards movie (designed to fill the trophy case, usually with an accompanying loss of money). Ford v Ferrari is a glorious throwback to the era when big stars did quality movies about actual ... Read More
White House

Impeachment and the Broken Truce

The contradiction at the center of American politics in Anno Domini 2019 is this: The ruling class does not rule. The impeachment dog-and-pony show in Washington this week is not about how Donald Trump has comported himself as president (grotesquely) any more than early convulsions were about refreshed ... Read More
Politics & Policy

ABC Chief Political Analyst: GOP Rep. Stefanik a ‘Perfect Example’ of the Failures of Electing Someone ‘Because They Are a Woman’

Matthew Dowd, chief political analyst for ABC News, suggested that Representative Elise Stefanik (R., N.Y.) was elected due to her gender after taking issue with Stefanik's line of questioning during the first public impeachment hearing on Wednesday. “Elise Stefanik is a perfect example of why just electing ... Read More
U.S.

What Happened to California Republicans?

From 1967 to 2019, Republicans controlled the California governorship for 31 of 52 years. So why is there currently not a single statewide Republican officeholder? California also has a Democratic governor and Democratic supermajorities in both houses of the state legislature. Only seven of California’s 53 ... Read More