In addition to my bumbling at NR, I serve on the board of The Frontier Lab, a not-for-profit run by Anne Sorock, a marketing-analysis guru whose methods, applied to politics and policy and cultural trends, gets to the core of deeply held values. The information and understanding discovered by these methods pose significant opportunities and applications.
Working with another pal, John McLaughlin, the Bronx-born pollster supreme and occasional NR author, Anne has conducted and just released the results of an important survey of 1,000 likely voters — it’s titled Down Periscope #SwampPoll — gauging views on “the D.C. Swamp.” Read the survey’s executive summary here. Check out its actual data results here.
An intrepid reporter could find a dozen stories in the survey’s responses. Not being an intrepid reporter, let me share one or two things. The first, the idea that instigated this survey. Says Anne: “We wondered: Is the Swamp concern more than rhetoric? Does it represent real angst, anger, and distrust — or is it an easily tossed-aside slogan? How do Americans of all political affiliations relate to a concept of the Swamp?”
The second, the results, which show it’s a lot more than rhetoric:
More than half the country — 55% — say they are concerned about the DC Swamp (36% say “very concerned”). Amongst Republicans, that number rises to 66% who say they are concerned. Conservatives felt more strongly about the Swamp than Liberals or Moderates: 59% of those who identified as very conservative say they are “very concerned,” whereas 38% of those who are very liberal, and 26% who are moderate, are “very concerned.”
You’ll discover all that and more for yourselves by diving into the numbers, which I encourage you to do. And don’t be surprised when you learn that the Republican Congressional leadership does pretty poorly when it comes to perceptions of whether they are actively preserving or draining the bog.
1. As SCOTUS reviews Hawaii’s challenge to the Trump Administration’s travel ban orders, NR reflects upon the “unfolding judicial defiance of the Trump administration’s decision to rescind” DACA. From the editorial:
Taken collectively, court rulings on DACA look less like judicial interpretations and more like political holding actions. Each of the judges know full-well that their orders will take months (if not years) to fully review. Their nationwide injunctions represent a delaying tactic. Vex the administration just enough, and they may actually run out the clock — until a new Congress (or perhaps a new president) arrives to save the day.
2. Really, there has got to be a special place in Hell for some people. From our editorial on the torturing of baby Alfie Evans:
Doctors in Liverpool forbid the child to be removed from their watch, however, and British courts have backed them up, holding out the possibility that at some point the parents will be permitted to take him home to die, but batting down the idea that he will ever be allowed to leave the country. The courts have offered no compelling or even plausible reason for blocking his transfer to the Italian hospital. We support his parents, Tom Evans and Katie James, in their resolve to keep the case before the public until Alder Hey corrects course and releases Alfie so they can place him in the hands of medical professionals who will provide care that the Liverpool doctors will not.
3. We contend the obvious: That Mike Pompeo deserves to be confirmed at secretary of State. From the editorial:
So the fight over his confirmation isn’t about his abilities, but instead is a raw power play to deny President Trump a top cabinet official. The reasons that Democrats are coming up with to oppose him are transparently weak. New Hampshire senator Jeanne Shaheen, who supported his nomination as CIA director, says she can’t support him for secretary of state because he opposes gay marriage and is pro-life. By this standard, we’ll never have a secretary of state again who doesn’t have the endorsement of NARAL.
4. Make the tax cuts permanent. From the editorial:
Any such bill would need support from Democratic senators to pass, and ideally would preserve the provisions mentioned above, the benefits of which redound to middle-income earners. If it passes, the GOP will have shepherded through permanent tax relief for most Americans. If it doesn’t, Republicans will have forced Democrats to vote down middle-class tax cuts. We would obviously prefer to see the former, but Republicans staring at the prospect of a bloodbath in the midterms should be happy with either outcome.
I Know What You Are Doing in December
You are going on the National Review 2018 Buckley Legacy Conservative Cruise. It’s scheduled for December 1-8 on Holland America Line’s MS Oosterdam. Get complete information here.
1. Book Week Boy still finds time for The Remnant with Jonah Goldberg. On (alleged) Episode 34, Ian Bremmer, author of the new book Us vs. Them: The Failure of Globalism, joins our intrepid host to discuss, yep, globalism. You gotta listen, here.
2. Mirabile dictu, here comes yet another Remnant episode (#35 if you are keeping score), this time starring Michael Brendan Dougherty. It is a really terrific conversation, and not only because Jonah mentions Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn. Anyway, grab the headphones and listen here.
3. Les Éditeurs discuss the US visit of French President Emmanuel Macron, as well as the ordeal of Alfie Evans, and the DACA court rulings. Écoutez ici.
4. “Gaul is divided into . . .” On the new episode of The Great Books, John J. Miller chats up Julius Caesar’s The Gallic Wars with Cornell prof Barry Strauss. Render unto your intelligence, right here.
5. In the latest episode of The Jamie Weinstein Show, Ben Smith, BuzzFeed’s editor-in-chief, talks covering Trump, conservatives in media, publishing the Steele dossier, and much more. Catch it here.
6. The title of the new episode of Ordered Liberty is “Nutpicking.” I’ll say no more except this: Listen to Alexandra and David chat about California’s latest attempt to suppress free speech (and Christian speech) right here.
7. Radio Free California bad boys Will Swaim and David Bahnsen crank out a new episode, discussing a state bill to ban LGBTQ-offensive book sales; a Depression-era program that kills California jobs (and illustrates the dangers of Trumpian protectionism); and the growing protest against California’s sanctuary state laws. Catch it here.
8. Ellen Carmichael brings a delicious jambalaya of wisdom on to the new episode of Political Beats, where she discusses Dire Straits with hosts Funk Master Jeff and BeamMeUp Scot. Go ahead and grab a heapin’ helpin’ right here.
10. And as we go to press I see a special episode of Ordered Liberty has just gone up, with Alexandra and David discussing the sickening ordeal of baby Alfie Evans. You’ll find it here.
A Dozen Delicious and Nutritious Slices of NR
1. My dear colleague Nick Frankovich has an exceptional piece on the 50th anniversary of the student protests that shut down Columbia University in 1968, when the New Left ditched working-class whites. From his piece:
Meanwhile, in the world outside the iron gates at Broadway and 116th Street, George Wallace was running for president. In polite circles, his campaign was accurately seen as a snarling statement against racial desegregation in the South, but he ran strong also among blue-collar workers up north, in the Rust Belt (as we now call it), because he gave voice to whites who recognized that the Old Left — in America, that was primarily the Democratic party of Franklin Roosevelt, Truman, Kennedy, and organized labor — was giving way to the New Left, which looked like the Columbia protesters and had no use for hardhats.
2. Academic Sam Harris doesn’t believe Charles Murray is a racist, as the Lefty mobs have howled. Of course, that is evidence — to the insufferable Ezra Klein — of Harris’s own racism! Kyle Smith has the play-by-play. From his piece:
Because of The Bell Curve, Murray has long been demonized on the left as a racist and a white supremacist. Harris hadn’t paid much attention to the book in the quarter-century since it was published but said in the debate with Klein (this is the transcript) that he had been under the impression that “it must be just racist trash, because I assumed that where there was all that smoke, there must be fire.” After reading The Bell Curve, though, he came to think that Murray “was probably the most unfairly maligned person in my lifetime” because “the most controversial passages in the book struck me as utterly mainstream with respect to the science.” Harris doesn’t necessarily agree with Murray’s policy ideas, but wouldn’t rule them outside the boundaries of discussion.
3. More Smith: Kyle deep dives into New York Times reporter Amy Chozick’s campaign memoir Chasing Hillary: Ten Years, Two Presidential Campaigns, and One Intact Glass Ceiling, which provides overwhelming evidence of a liberal media heck-bent on protecting the Democrats’ harpy/nominee. From his piece:
Chozick says that perhaps 18 out of 20 reporters on the Hillary beat on a typical day were women, and she makes it clear that this wasn’t an accident: The crew were excited about the prospect of what they dubbed the “FWP,” for First Woman President. When awaiting an offer from the campaign to take a group photo with their idol, Chozick relates that the reporters excitedly chattered amongst themselves about the prospect in text messages. It doesn’t make the women look great. Nor does Chozick do the sisterhood a favor when she describes what happened when the campaign sent a Clinton-backing actor, Tony Goldwyn of TV’s Scandal, to talk to them and his “feral grey eyes” caused the women “to abandon whatever story we were working on to flip our hair and ask useless questions like, ‘What did you think of Iowa?’” After Clinton’s defeat, these “Girls on the Bus” were “in some stage of a breakdown . . . we comforted each other with pats on the shoulder” because “hugs would have been too conspicuous.” Lisa Lerer of the AP angrily said, at Clinton’s concession speech the morning after the election, “It was the all-female press corps. The country couldn’t take it.”
4. Even more Smith! Kyle goes through Chozick’s reservoir of campaign anecdotes to paint a portrait of a truly misanthropic candidate. Read his analysis here.
5. Victor Davis Hanson takes account of the death-language rhetoric of Donald Trump’s enemies. From his essay:
Everything from the NFL to late-night comedy shows have become Trump-hating venues. Almost every sort of smear from scatology to homophobia has been voiced by celebrities to turn Trump into a president deserving such abuse — and worse. Late-night television host Steven Colbert was reduced to incoherent and repellant venom: “You talk like a sign-language gorilla that got hit in the head. In fact, the only thing your mouth is good for is being Vladimir Putin’s c*** holster.” Actor Robert De Niro has become deranged and dreams of pounding on Trump’s face. But then so does former vice president Joe Biden, who on two occasions boasted that Trump is the sort of guy that a younger he-man Biden used to take outside the gym to give a whippin’ to.
6. Federal judges are starting to take an active role in the #Resistance. Rich Lowry is troubled, and damned right to be. From his new column:
The source is federal judges who are making a mockery of their profession by twisting the law to block the Trump administration’s immigration priorities.
If the judges get their way, there will, in effect, be two sets of law in America — one for President Donald Trump and one for everyone else.
In this dispensation, other presidents, especially Democratic presidents, get a pen and a phone. Trump gets a judicial veto — even when he is simply trying to undo the unilateral moves of his predecessor.
7. Marco Rubio wants to build a national American conservatism. Accusations and questions, from his essay:
The American community — a nation sharing a common homeland and destiny — has been abandoned by the political Left and Right. It has been replaced by a democracy of the fittest, which pits Americans against one another on the basis of purchasing power, religion, race, ethnicity, or even who they voted for in the last election.
What happens to a nation when the only economic-policy options offered are narrow economic growth without redistribution, or narrow economic growth with redistribution? Or when the social security provided by strong families is replaced by accumulating wealth or by becoming dependent on government programs? What happens when what is right and wrong is relative instead of rooted in absolute truth found by faith? What happens when citizens of a nation abandon their shared inheritance for the identity politics of wealth, race, or ideology?
8. Robert VerBruggen looks at a GOP bill on food stamps and a Democrat bill that claims to guarantee jobs. He finds that they share something in common. Read his piece.
9. Yes, you read that right: Penn State finds that its nearly century-old “Outing Club” members shouldn’t be allowed to do things outside, because it’s just too dangerous out there (unlike the football locker rooms I guess). Kat Timpf has the story. And just to pile on, Drew Cline . . . piles on about the Nittany Pussycats. From his piece:
Students in the Outing Club shoulder the responsibility of their own survival without the guidance and supervision of university officials, without the backup of EMTs waiting around the corner. If only for a brief, beautiful weekend escape, they make themselves fully independent.
Such fleeting ventures into adulthood cannot be allowed. There are too many risks, not for the students but for the educational institutions that have been redesigned as safe spaces where childishness is to be nurtured, protected, and defended.
10. Arthur Herman sizes up the breathtaking events in US / North Korea relations, now at a “tipping point.” From his column:
Of course, there are still important grounds for caution. “Never trust and always verify” has to be the watchword of the day, and not just in dealing with Kim. It will be incumbent on the Trump administration to watch China’s every move during these proceedings. Beijing would like nothing more than to see the defusing of Korean tensions take away the rationale for continuing the U.S. troop presence in South Korea — troops who have guarded this vital East Asian strategic perimeter since 1950. Put another way: China has consistently used a rogue North Korea to divide and distract the U.S. and its allies in the region. It will be happy to look for ways to use a defanged North Korea in the same way, especially to get the U.S. to leave South Korea, so that Beijing can dominate two Koreas both eager for reunification.
11. Among his many areas of expertise, Jay Nordlinger keeps a watch on individuals and families being targeted by governments because of their yearning for freedom. I heartily recommend this magazine piece, “Why Are They Doing This to the Bitkovs?”
12. Paul Krugman is on another tear about all-renewable energy. On NRO, Robert Bryce calls out the New York Times columnist’s delusions about wind power (you know, those bald eagle Cuisinarts). From his piece:
Even if we ignore the deleterious health effects that low-frequency noise produced by wind turbines can have on humans and the murderous effect that turbines have on birds and bats, the idea of covering a land area larger than California with nothing but wind turbines is ludicrous on its face. It’s doubly absurd given that over the past few years, rural communities from Maine to California and Ontario to Scotland have been rejecting the encroachment of Big Wind. Among the latest examples of the rural backlash: On April 10, in South Dakota, the Davidson County Commission unanimously rejected a permit for a proposed nine-turbine wind project.
Jonah Jonah Bo Bonah . . .
Banana-fana-fo-fonah: What a week for the author of Suicide of the West: How the Rebirth of Tribalism, Populism, Nationalism, and Identity Politics Is Destroying American Democracy, which launched into the national debate on Tuesday. JG is all over discussing his thesis. Some clips:
1. He hangs with JJM on The Bookmonger.
2. JG spends a goodly amount of time on Morning Joe.
3. Ditto, for The Daily Show.
4. He joins Bill Kristol to have a Conversation.
5. In The Weekly Standard, Adam Keiper hands Suicide a very positive review. Here’s a slice:
Goldberg examines several threats, historical and present-day, to the perpetuation of American political and economic institutions. In a chapter on the Progressives of a century ago, he explains how they believed, broadly speaking, that it was time to evolve beyond the Founders and their ideas. A chapter on the administrative state shows how the alphabet soup of regulatory agencies, insulated from politics in a way that distorts our constitutional order, contributes to a complexification of life that can especially harm the poor and poorly educated. A chapter on populism — including “Trumpian” populism — rightly links it to demagoguery and the erosion of norms. A chapter on the changing nature of the family is an opportunity to remember that that smallest of social institutions is civilization’s first line of defense against the nonstop “barbarian invasion” we call “children.” (Goldberg has for the last two decades attributed that gag to Hannah Arendt, although his formulation is, no surprise, much more charming and pithy than Arendt’s original.)
6. Heck, let’s just cram these together: Interviews with Hugh Hewitt, Andrew Klavan, Glenn Beck, Morning Edition. Want more? Indulge your Jonah/Suicide media addiction by visiting here. Indulge your Make Jonah Happy addiction by buying a copy of Suicide of the West here!
Contrary to myth, teachers are generally not foregoing higher salaries by staying in the classroom. Data from the Survey of Income and Program Participation show that teachers who change to non-teaching jobs take an average salary cut of about 3 percent. Studies using administrative records in Florida, Missouri, Georgia, and Montana showed similar results; the Georgia study found “strong evidence that very few of those who leave teaching take jobs that pay more than their salary as teachers.”
2. Cone Heads: At the University of Southern California, “teepee-like” structures have been deemed . . . wait for it . . . “culturally inappropriate” and “culturally insensitive” by the chooches of the school’s student government. As you’d expect, the College Fix has the story.
Yale allows the Christakises, actual grown-ups who took education and maturity seriously, to be driven away from campus by a shrieking mob of woke children, and now allows those children to bring dogs to class so they don’t have a nervous breakdown. Unbelievable.
5. Kanye West is MAGA Tweeting, and at Reason, Brian Dougherty explains the co-foundedness of it all. From his piece:
For Trumpsters thrilled that at last there is a successful, iconic pop culture figure now unabashedly on their side, it is worth remembering that the very definition of Kanye’s brand, going back at least as far his notorious interruption of Taylor Swift at the 2009 MTV Video Awards, is “that out-of-control arrogant, insane asshole who everyone hates.” By 2013 I was writing that despite his huge manifest talent as a pop musician, nearly everyone, whenever West comes up, feels compelled to let you know how much contempt they have for him. Even President Obama felt free to publicly call him a “jackass” while granting his talents. He’s been the target of a cultural far-more-than-two-minute hate long before Trump.
In other words, in the eyes of the culture’s Trump-haters, Kanye coming out as a MAGA man is totally on-brand and gives no added cool points to Trump fandom. It’s just the sort of thing that arrogant loon Kanye West would do.
6. James Davis of Freedom Partners takes to CNN to explain why in Koch Land, anger is mounting. From his piece:
We are prepared to support candidates who champion public policies that benefit the American people. But we’re finding that these champions are few and far between and our support will not be forthcoming for those who hang back or obstruct good policy.
Congress, whether under Democratic or Republican control, no longer appears capable of reining in out-of-control spending, ending corporate welfare, or reforming our health care system to provide access to quality and affordable care for everyone.
One More Book(let)
The other night I bumped into my pal-stress Sally Pipes at The New Criterion’s Burke Award gala in NYC and she told me about her recent Encounter Books “Broadside” (#55 to be precise) — The False Promise of Single-Payer Health Care. I promised I would give it some WJ love, and hereby do so, happily. Sally is a big brain on health care (she is also the author of Broadsides #47 The Way Out of Obamacare and #33 The Cure for Obamacare), so I urge you to read her.
Follow follow follow . . .
That dreams were kept beside your pillow: Sam Harris, Ian Bremmer, Barry Strauss, Ellen Carmichael, Lenore Skezany, Drew Cline, Robert Bryce, Sally Pipes, Andrew Biggs, Raymond Ibrahim, and Rod Dreher.
The first time I ever went to Yankee Stadium was June 6, 1965, with the Bronx Bombers playing a Sunday doubleheader against the Chicago White Sox. Of memory: We arrived early, and I shook hands with the Sox coach, Tony Cuccinello, who nearly won the AL batting title in 1945 (there’s a solid case that the title was stolen), his last season. But of greater memory: In Game Two, which the Yankees won 12-0, shortstop Tommy Tresh clocked three home runs. The 1962 American League Rookie of the Year, Tresh, a two-time All-Star, would smack 153 in his nine-year career (he also hit four World Series homers).
That one-game slugging output actually topped the total number of home runs Tresh’s dad, Mike — a highly regarded catcher who played in the 1940s (“selected” for the never-played unofficial 1945 All-Star Game) for the White Sox and Indians — compiled in his career. In a dozen seasons, playing in 1,027 games, in 3,169 official at-bats, Mike Tresh hit a total of two lonely four-baggers.
Yes, there is a God for Whom we must be thankful, if only for this: Abba is reuniting. See you in May, and until then, pet the dog, hang up your clothes, don’t hit the SEND button on that snarky email, tip generously, and follow Jim Geraghty’s sound advice about the ongoing NR 2018 Spring Webathon: Donate here.
God bless ye and yours,
Ever reachable at email@example.com.