Dear Weekend Jolter,
First the tremor, then the earthquake.
At last, the seismic shock to America’s political system hit Friday, nearly two months after the draft decision in Dobbs leaked (read the final decision here). Abortion policy-making will be returned to the legislatures, where the battle shifts next.
From NR’s editorial:
Decades of work, the efforts of tens of millions of Americans, and persistence through many disappointments were necessary to bring us to this day of correction. Overturning Roe does not guarantee justice for the unborn: Pro-lifers know the work must continue. What the Court has done is give pro-lifers the chance to make their case and prevail in democratic fora. Our fundamental law will no longer effectively treat unborn children as categorically excluded from the most basic protection that law can provide. It is a mighty step forward for the rule of law, self-government, and justice.
While the decision is momentous, its audacity is being overstated by some. Zachary Evans rounds up here the more over-the-top reactions, including from Congresswoman Maxine Waters: “The hell with the Supreme Court—we will defy them.”
Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s concurrence offers perspective for the Twitter class suggesting this was a coup requiring institutional purging:
The issue before this Court, however, is not the policy or morality of abortion. The issue before this Court is what the Constitution says about abortion. The Constitution does not take sides on the issue of abortion. The text of the Constitution does not refer to or encompass abortion. . . . The Constitution is neutral and leaves the issue for the people and their elected representatives to resolve through the democratic process in the States or Congress—like the numerous other difficult questions of American social and economic policy that the Constitution does not address.
Vote, persuade, advance your agenda. That’s how policy is made. As Kyle Smith suggests, the Court should not be viewed as a dependable backstop absent those steps.
The democratic process will continue, and President Biden, to his credit, called for the inevitable protests accompanying it to remain peaceful in the days and weeks ahead. Let’s hope those words are heeded.
NAME. RANK. LINK.
Once more, NR’s editorial on the Dobbs ruling: A Stain Erased
The January 6 hearings are making it only more evident that Donald Trump was not and is not fit for office: The January 6 Show
More evidence that the president is out of ideas: Biden’s Gimmicky Gas-Tax Holiday
On the Court win for religious education: The Fall of the Wall around Religious Education
Dan McLaughlin: We Lived to See It
Alexandra DeSanctis: What Comes after Roe?
John Fund: Desperate Democrats Meddle in GOP Primaries
Kevin Williamson: Here Comes Fiscal Armageddon
Kevin Williamson: Joe Biden Should Take More Vacations
Charles C. W. Cooke: Progressives’ Grunts Are Growing Desperate
Charles C. W. Cooke: The Supreme Court Strikes a Historic Blow for Second Amendment Rights
Nate Hochman: Against QR-Code Menus
Rachelle Peterson: Beware the Confucius Institute Rebrand
Jay Nordlinger: Before We ‘Move On’
Kyle Smith: Reservoir Progs
Kevin Hassett has a plan: How to Fix Inflation
Andrew Stuttaford highlights a challenge for the European Central Bank: Jitters in the Euro Zone
LIGHTS. CAMERA. REVIEW.
Kyle Smith explains the appeal of, and the remarkable box-office response to, the new Top Gun: America Is Craving a Reset
Armond White praises a movie-star documentary that serves to correct a myth: Monty Clift and the Art of Distraction
Brian Allen takes us on a tour of the best of the big art show in Venice. There will be tapestries: Forget What the Chatterers Say. These Are among the Best Pavilions at the Biennale
FROM THE NEW, JULY 11, 2022, ISSUE OF NR
Shawn Regan: Running Dry in the American West
Dan McLaughlin: Lessons from the January 6 Hearings
John McCormack: Scorched Earth in Arizona’s GOP Primary
Andrew Follett: Too-Political Science
WE’RE TOLD WE’VE GOT TIME FOR A FEW MORE
Dan McLaughlin reflects on Roe’s demise:
We lived to see it. Many of us never thought we would. This day should be celebrated for generations to come.
The overturning of Roe v. Wade is a momentous milestone in American history. It is the largest single step forward for human rights in America in well over half a century. It is the largest stroke against the arbitrary taking of human life in America since the abolition of slavery in 1865.
True, by overruling Roe, the Supreme Court did not ban abortion; it only restored power to the elected governments to do so. State governments will have to take the next step. So will the federal government, to the extent permitted within its enumerated powers. But they have been denied that power for 49 years.
This morning’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization swept away those restrictions just as abruptly as Roe erected them. But whereas the seven men behind Roe assaulted our system of democracy and the rule of law, wiping out long-standing laws in nearly every state without a shred of legitimate basis in the written Constitution ratified by We the People, Dobbs restores the supremacy of the democratic Constitution and the sovereignty of the American people.
Shawn Regan’s cover story in the latest issue of NR grapples with the on-the-ground reality behind the stunning images you might have noticed in recent months of a parched American West, and examines how the region can adapt:
The western United States is in the grip of a deep and prolonged drought, causing unprecedented water shortages. The Southwest has just experienced its driest two decades in 1,200 years, according to one recent study. This year is more of the same, if not worse. California just had its driest first five months on record. Ninety percent of New Mexico is in extreme or exceptional drought — the two worst categories on the U.S. Drought Monitor. As of press time, the city of Albuquerque had gone 75 days without measurable rainfall.
The drought is especially pronounced in the Colorado River Basin, which supplies water to 40 million people across nine states and irrigates 4 million acres of farmland. Water levels in Lake Mead and Lake Powell, the basin’s two largest reservoirs, have dropped to their lowest levels since they were filled in the early to mid 20th century. In response, the federal government recently issued its first formal “shortage” declaration for the river, triggering mandatory water-delivery reductions to Arizona and Nevada. Additional cutbacks are likely coming soon.
The region’s water supply has plummeted to levels unanticipated even just a few years ago. At the start of the 21st century, Lakes Mead and Powell were nearly full. Now both are below 30 percent capacity. If water levels drop much farther, officials warn, the dams’ turbines will no longer be able to generate electricity, creating additional power-supply challenges for a region already at elevated risk of rolling blackouts this summer because of extreme heat and increased reliance on intermittent wind and solar energy. And if they decline farther still, the reservoirs could reach “dead pool” conditions, in which water is unable to flow downstream from the dams.
The consequences of the drought are being felt throughout the West. In Utah, the Great Salt Lake dipped to a historic low last year, exposing the lakebed to windstorms that pick up dust containing arsenic and other toxic elements and blow it to nearby cities on the Wasatch Front. New Mexico’s parched landscape is fueling the largest wildfire ever recorded in state history. And in California, a lack of surface water is accelerating groundwater pumping that is depleting aquifers and causing the land itself to sink in some areas. . . .
There are more water rights on paper than there is actual water to go around, and everyone is lawyered up with arguments for why cuts should fall on others instead of themselves. But if the arid West is to adapt to its even drier future, it’s going to have to find ways to use its limited water resources more effectively through cooperation instead of litigation, and nearly everyone is going to have to do with less.
Charles C. W. Cooke observes how remarkably unadaptable the progressive narrative is in the face of a changing electoral reality:
Confused, alarmed, and unbalanced by the changing world around them, America’s erstwhile progressive class has been eventually reduced to the grunt. The proximate stimulus doesn’t matter a great deal, for, whatever the question, the answer is always the same: “Racism! Sexism! LGBT!” . . .
In May of this year, Ron DeSantis’s reelection campaign spent $5 million on Spanish-language commercials in Florida, the purpose of which was to capitalize on the ongoing shift of Hispanic Floridians toward the Republican Party. In 2020, Donald Trump won a majority of Florida’s 1.5 million Cuban Americans, a majority of Florida’s one million Colombian Americans, and a majority of Florida’s 100,000 Venezuelan Americans. Trump improved on his performance in Miami-Dade County, losing it by seven points in 2020 compared with 29 points in 2016, and he won two-thirds of the vote in Hialeah, the most Hispanic city in the United States. The last time Florida had a midterm election, in 2018, the Washington Post predicted that the election would be a battle between “older white voters” and “the state’s rapidly diversifying youth.” Instead, DeSantis gained 44 percent of the Hispanic vote in the governor’s race, and Rick Scott won 45 percent in his Senate race — a touch shy of the 48 percent that Marco Rubio won in 2016. This time around, DeSantis aims to win Hispanic voters outright.
But what use are all these facts when there is tribal wittering to be indulged? We are dealing here with a habit so impervious to reality that it is able to transmute the news that an immigrant from South Africa has voted for a Mexican-born woman to represent an 84 percent Hispanic district into a story about “white supremacy and authoritarianism.” “When the facts change, I change my mind,” John Maynard Keynes once said. Increasingly, progressives try to change the facts. After Trump outperformed expectations with Hispanic voters in 2020, they simply recast Hispanic voters’ role. “These days,” the Washington Post’s Eugene Scott submitted a few days after the election, “you do not have to be white to support white supremacy.” “Latino,” wrote the New York Times’ Nikole Hannah-Jones, “is a contrived ethnic category.” “Cubans,” offered up activist Andrea L. Pino-Silva, “have been sold a narrative that they have a guaranteed path to whiteness, and many will sell out every other minority to get it.” To avoid introspection, anything goes.
More from NR’s editorial on the January 6 committee:
For all the problems in its design and operation, the committee has done important work. The January 6 Capitol riot and the associated “stop the steal” effort to prevent Joe Biden’s election from being certified is an important moment in our history, and there remains value in documenting it for posterity with evidence and testimony under oath. The subject of what the president did after the riot started, and why the Capitol was not secured more swiftly and decisively, was under-explored in the second impeachment, and has produced some revealing testimony.
The public record of Trump’s conduct has been damning, and his inability even to this day to let go of his false claims about the 2020 election — claims by the official constitutionally sworn to uphold the laws, claims that deluded and enraged his supporters, inspiring the more unhinged among them to storm the Capitol — are further evidence that he shouldn’t hold any public office again. Trump was warned in no uncertain terms by people who had long been loyal to him that, in seeking to overturn Biden’s electors, he was pursuing an unlawful strategy based on lies. Too deeply invested in his own delusions, he ignored them all. . . .
Amidst all of this, however, there have also been heroes. Mike Pence stands out for his principled refusal to cooperate in Trump’s scheme to object to Biden’s electors, a stance that was painful for Pence to take and put him in the crosshairs of an angry, threatening mob that came within 40 feet of coming upon him. Pence admirably stood his ground, refusing to leave the Capitol so long as the electoral-vote count remained unfinished. . . .
Moreover, say what you will of Liz Cheney’s political judgments; she has shown great courage in taking on this role at great cost, ending her tenure in House Republican leadership and quite possibly resulting in the loss of her seat.
Christine Rosen, at Commentary: The Mainstream Media Damaged Our Children
Michael Hartney & Renu Mukherjee, at City Journal: The Asian Recall
Tom Rogan, at the Washington Examiner: Did Russian hackers blow up a Texas LNG pipeline on June 8?
Andrew Solender, at Axios: Oz drops Trump branding in general election shift
From our friends at NRI:
Calling all mid-career professionals! National Review Institute’s fall 2022 regional fellowship program is headed to Chicago and Dallas.
The Burke to Buckley Program is an eight-week, graduate-level series designed for mid-career professionals to gain a deeper understanding of conservative thought and to build a network of talented, like-minded individuals who can assist one another professionally and personally for years to come. Each class will be composed of 20–25 participants who represent a wide variety of professions and industries. Candidates should have between ten and 25 years of professional work experience and ideally be between 35 and 55 years old. This program is not intended for recent graduates or people working in the fields of public policy or politics.
The fall programs generally run from mid-September to mid-November of each year. Accepted participants will gather over dinner to discuss foundational conservative texts. Each week, an expert (often an NR writer or fellow) will guide the discussion, providing a unique opportunity for participants to engage with, and to learn from, one another.
Does this sound like something that might interest you or someone you know? Check out the Burke to Buckley webpage for more information and applications. Apply by July 15.
For jazz people: Did you ever wonder what it would sound like if a few of the guys (well, one of them anyway) from the Bitches Brew sessions snuck into a small studio in the back and kept playing? That’s the sense I get listening to the title track on guitarist John McLaughlin’s debut album, “Extrapolation,” an old copy of which I recently found at a Philly record shop. The reality, it turns out, is the inverse of that timeline — McLaughlin and a few other musicians recorded it in early 1969, months before he participated in that historic album with jazz giants. This debut contains the seeds of what was to follow. Neat.