The Weekend Jolt

NR Insider

There’s Got to Be a Worst, and He’s It

Dear Jolters,

And how are you on this lovely Saturday afternoon? Bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, and all that’s good and dandy I hope. Even those of you who live in the Land of Lincoln, which folks like me — who live in that other fiscal basket case of Connecticut — consider kinfolk victims of state government gone bonkers.

Which leads me to the cover story of the new issue of National Review, which is out today. Do you have a subscription to the magazine’s digital edition? If you do, you can read John J. Miller’s essay on Bruce Rauner, titled “America’s Worst Republican Governor,” right here. Wow, is this ever a discouraging story of promises broken. And to me, proof once again that the claim of “I’m a social moderate but a fiscal conservative” is hogwash.

Anyway, you should be subscribing to NR in some form. You can order the digital subscription here. Good ol’ on-paper National Review was good enough for Bill Buckley, so maybe it should be for you too: Order it here. And — Ho, Ho, Ho — you’ll kick yourself if you don’t send NR subscriptions as Christmas gifts. Do that here. Now let’s get on with the pernt (as the Bronx old-timers would say) of this here thingamajig.


1. On “Net Neutrality” we opine, with brilliance, that this is a matter for Congress — long overdue to address the issue — to decide, not the FCC. From the editorial:

A roving FCC that is all over the place and an Internet that is under more stringent government control seems to us the precise opposite of how things should stand. We’d much prefer to see a freewheeling Internet, ugly as that can be at times, and an FCC that is narrowly constrained by the law. [Chairman Ajit] Pai, it should be noted, does not oppose net neutrality per se, but believes that the FCC does not have the authority to impose it on its own. Other, more enthusiastic net-neutrality advocates have come to the same conclusion: that this is a matter for Congress, which last revisited the question of Internet access in a meaningful way two years after the first commercial web browser hit the market.

2. Yes, President Trump was right to appoint Mick Mulveny to run the horrid Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, instead of grandstanding bureaucrat wanna-boss Leandra English. So NR stated, and more, in a strong editorial. Here’s a worthwhile piece of our argument:

We have three branches of government, and the CFPB is in one of them: It is an executive agency, not a court or a legislative body, and officers of the executive branch are answerable to the president. There are a few other agencies that have similar quasi-independent directors, and they, like CFPB, are constitutional chimeras, though most of them are obscure and enjoy nothing like the princely powers of the CFPB. The simplest solution would be to dissolve the bureau entirely. Its legitimate functions are better handled by bank regulators and other financial-oversight agencies, and its deeply political nature — already on such dramatic display — renders it less than credible as an evenhanded regulator.

3. As the weekend approached, we weighed in with an editorial recommending how the Senate tax bill could be fixed to ensure passage and wise policy. Here’s how it wrapped up:

Simply as a matter of math, reining in the growth of entitlements is much more important to our long-term fiscal balance than paring back this tax cut. If Republicans are going to take the latter course, however, they should do it without resorting to yet more gimmicks. The GOP is tantalizingly close to passing a bill that makes federal policy less hostile to investment in businesses and families and delivers middle-class tax relief. They need to remember these goals as they cut their next few deals.


First off, Charlie hopes some of you NR podcast listeners might take this take this survey. Second, I hope you will follow @NatRevPodcasts on Twitter. OK — with the business done, let’s get on with the show.

1. The new episode of The Editors features Rich, Charlie, Michael Brendan Dougherty, and Dan McLaughlin discussing the fight over the CFPB, Trump’s outrageous day on Twitter, the details of tax reform, and the ongoing sexual harassment scandals.

2. Let’s happily announce yet another Jay Nordlinger podcast. This one is home-grown (not from the Kingdom of Ricochet) and titled Jaywalking. We’ve already been graced by two episodes. In the debut podcast, our host talks Roy Moore, Sweden, judo, and plenty more. In the meditation-focused second episode, Jay sets out a smorgasbord: Subject matter includes Fritz Kreisler (the violinist), Fritz Crisler (the football coach), Nazis, slavery, North Korea, the American Dream, and plenty more

3. Another two-fer. The last WJ hit the press just as a new episode of The Jamie Weinstein Show rolled out: It featured an excellent interview with George Mason University law school prof Jeremy Rabkin, who discussed Donald Trump, the state of the conservative movement, his new book on cyber warfare (co-authored with John Yoo, it’s called Striking Power: How Cyber, Robots, and Space Weapons Change the Rules for War, and you can order a copy here), grad school classmates Bill Kristol and Alan Keyes, advisee Ann Coulter, and much more.

4. And then there’s Jamie’s newest podcast, where he interviews Andy Marshall, who for over 40 years led the Pentagon’s internal think tank, the Office of Net Assessment. Marshall, one of the most significant defense thinkers you never heard of, discusses the threat from China, U.S. politics, EMPs, and much more. This is a rare event (Marshall doesn’t give interviews) so do listen.

5. So we are thrilled to announce the launch of the fortnightly podcast, Projections, in which NR movie critics Ross Douthat and Kyle Smith will look at a movie new, a movie old, and random cinema scuttlebutt. In the debut episode, they opine (not too favorably) on Justice League, and of course Weinsteinian misdeeds rocking the industry. A great listen.

6. John Miller never sleeps. This week on The Great Books, he jabbers with Hillsdale prof Kevin Portteus about Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass. And yes, it’s by Frederick Douglass.

7. And then JJM transforms into The Bookmonger: He interviews author Forrest A. Nabors about his new book, From Oligarchy to Republicanism: The Great Task of Reconstruction (Studies in Constitutional Democracy).

8. On the new episode of The Liberty Files, David French and Alexandra DeSanctis discuss the sexual-misconduct double-standard for liberal icons, explore why politicians from both parties get a pass when titans of industry do not, and lament a terrible abortion ruling from a Texas federal court.

9. Who let the dogs out?! After a bit of a hiatus Mad Dogs and Englishmen is back. Ken and Charlie do their thing right here. Woof Blimey!

10. Radio Free California is back too: In the new episode, David and Will discuss the Trump tax plan, the growing controversy surrounding U-Cal president Janet Napolitano, state Senate leader (and U.S. Senate hopeful) Kevin de Leon’s roommate problem, and Prince Harry’s just-announced marriage to Californian/Angeleno/actress Meghan Markle.

11. But wait! As your Intrepid Writer is heading out the door the Horn of Upload has sounded — there is yet a newer episode of The Liberty Files, as Xan and David take on two terrible arguments — addressing first a philosophy professor’s case for Roy Moore and then deceptive attacks on free speech and religious liberty from the Left.

12. The Horn of Upload toots yet again: These is a new episode of The Remnant with Jonah Goldberg, iin which our host, armed with bitcoins, journeys into the international marketplace, alongside Cato Institute trade scholar and trade lawyer Scott Lincicome, as they jointly defend free trade and try to answer its critics.

A Dozen NR Pieces You Must Read (or at Least Click On) or I Will Cut off the Mattress Tag

1. First they came for my gun, then they came for my fish and chip: London’s mayor calls out the Fat Police. Julie Kelly is watching. From her story:

It’s the latest facile attempt by politicians and self-proclaimed public-health advocates to stop people, especially children, from getting fat. From imposing soda taxes to reforming school-lunch programs to labeling every dimple-causing ingredient in food, the global food police are trying everything to stop — and blaming everyone except the individual for — the world’s obesity epidemic

2. This column by Victor Davis Hanson, on why many thrill to Trump the loudmouth messenger, had lots of resonance over the world wide web. Here’s one juicy paragraph:

We pundits talk about being “presidential” and “elevating the office” over the lowest common denominator of the mob. Perhaps. But what if after $20 trillion in debt, unwon wars in the Middle East, the 2008 meltdown, nuclear missiles 20 minutes from Portland and San Diego, and a country without borders and torn apart by race, the proverbial people do not want an aspirational president who leads only to more such lofty aspirations? What if they instead prefer someone who is in some sense unpresidential or at least anti-presidential, if being status quo “presidential” got us where we are? Perhaps half the country wondered whether Bill Clinton’s alleged assaults or George H. W. Bush’s sneaky photo-gropes were part of being presidential and post-presidential? Or they asked whether Washington was any less immoral because it frequents the Four Seasons rather than the Motel Six? Stylistically or politically, what exactly would acting unpresidential these days consist of — politicizing the IRS, allowing the VA to decay, surveilling, unmasking, and leaking communications of U.S. citizens, or inviting into the White House misogynistic and profane rappers whose lyrics are about hating the police?

3. The ox is goring something new, and Jonah Goldberg can’t help but notice how the liberal media’s glee for sex scandals at Fox News is abated for naughtiness at “their” organs (no pun intended). Here’s a slice:

Where there was barely constrained glee in the voices of many pundits and reporters when it came to exposing the sins of Ailes and O’Reilly, there’s equally obvious remorse when it comes to Matt Lauer, Mark Halperin, NPR’s David Sweeney, and, obviously, Bill Clinton. It speaks well of the media that it’s reporting these things anyway. But it would be a good thing for the press to meditate on what that remorse (and glee) says about its own tribalism.

4. Kyle Smith reviews over-the-top liberal Oscar-bait, The Shape of Water.

5. Henry Hyde, the congressional hero of freedom and innocent life, and a great friend of Bill Buckley and National Review, died ten years ago this week. Chuck Donovan writes a wonderful remembrance.

6. Sham feminist Nancy Pelosi has made a career of ignoring sexual harassment by Democrat lawmakers. Michelle Malkin nails the hypocrisy in this must-read column.

7. Very related: Rich Lowry says that John Conyers is the Democrats’ richly deserved albatross.

8. You cannot get enough of folks exposing Elizabeth Warren for being a massive phony. Which is exactly what David French does in this terrific piece. From it:

Warren is a bit of an academic grifter. She’s willing to fake her way to the top. When she came to Harvard Law School, she was — believe it or not — considered by some to be a “minority hire.” She listed herself as a minority on a legal directory reviewed by deans and hiring committees. The University of Pennsylvania “listed her as a minority faculty member,” and she was touted after her hire at Harvard Law School as, yes, the school’s “first woman of color.”

9. Vlad and Woodrow may be long dead, but a century later, their impact persists, and not for good. Arthur Herman reflects via an adaptation for NRO from his new book 1917: Lenin, Wilson, and the Birth of the New World Disorder. A snippet:

All the same, by that date the leadership of America in the world financial system, which Woodrow Wilson had made possible and on which entry into the First World War had put the final seal, was now evident to all, and was permanent. After the 1920 depression, the American industrial economy and trade with the United States had become the sustaining engine of world growth, even in the darkest days of the Great Depression of 1930–32. No country would ever again rise to prominence by ignoring or snubbing American financial interests, or without calculating the United States’ economic clout — not even the Soviet Union, whose own rebirth as an industrial economy under Stalin was made possible only by American engineers and business interests, from the United States’ iron and steel industry to its mining, oil, and natural gas to its railroads and hydroelectric-power grid.

10. We College of the Holy Cross alumni have to stick together. And I do here with Dan McLaughlin, who takes on the efforts by namby-pambies up in Worcester to discuss deep-sixing the beleaguered Crusader mascot, which causes vapors in many academic quarters. Read it all here.

11. Advent is upon us. Kathryn Jean Lopez looks at Christians in the Middle East and the challenge of keeping the faith there alive.

12. It’s time, writes Wilson Shirley, to move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem.

LOWRY BONUS: The Trump presidency isn’t nearly as bad as it sounds. It somewhat echoes VDH’s analysis. Now here is a bit from Rich’s piece:

But the tweets don’t constitute the sum total of the administration. It’s possible that Trump sees Twitter — and his other provocations — as a way to stir the pot, entertain himself, stoke his base, flog his enemies and vent his frustrations separate and distinct from decisions of government, undertaken under the influence of, by and large, impressive, well-meaning advisers.

Trump’s presidency is much better than his Twitter feed. Although he stands ready and willing to convince you otherwise, 280 characters at a time.

Ten Articles from Jolly Good Friends that We Think You Might Wish to Read

1. Yeah, of the many things I love about The College Fix, one in particular is how the headlines make shake your head. Like the one from this story by Andrew Johnson: “Brown University to allow students to ‘self-identify’ as persons of color.”

2. Which reminds me of this College Fix headline from March 2017, about the Alpha Sigma Chi lades: “Sorority accepts men: ‘A transgender woman is just as much of a woman as I am.’” Sigh.

3. Maybe Gomer would be surprised, but you wouldn’t be by this Reason piece on how taxpayer-funded film subsidies offer little bang for the buck. Here’s a slice of A. Barton Hinkle’s commentary:

To be fair, having a major motion picture filming on location in your hometown brings non-monetary benefits, just like having a pro sports team in your hometown does. Many Richmonders thought it was cool when Daniel Day-Lewis was spotted having lunch in Shockoe Bottom six years ago, dressed in character for the film “Lincoln.” But was it cool enough to justify shelling out $4.6 million in taxpayer support for the movie?

4. Along similar lines trashing corporate welfare, The American Conservative’s Matthew Robare serves up a smart piece on why municipalities whoring after Amazon’s up-for-grabs HQ expansion have no clue about the financial benefits (none!) that will be produced by their offered tax breaks and incentives.

5. The Popestress, if you will, of the Church of Sweden is Antje Jackelén, and the multicultural icon is going gaga for Islam. As ever, Gatestone Institute’s Bruce Bawer has the maddening goods.

6. More from Gatestone on Europe’s demise at the hands of the Muslim tsunami: Soeren Kern reports on increasing violence against German cops. He writes in part:

Violent attacks against German police have reached epidemic proportions, and Chancellor Angela Merkel’s open-door migration policy is to blame, official statistics show.

7. Across the pond, in The Spectator, Ron Liddle warns against making U.K. divorce laws easier. Because? Because it’s “a disaster.”

8. The University Bookman hosts this very worthwhile review by the great George Nash of the as-great Lee Edwards’ memoir, Just Right: A Life in Pursuit of Liberty. I encourage you to order a copy. Here’s a slice from George’s review:

Edwards concludes his memoir on a confident note. Although conceding that “the future of conservatism remains difficult to discern,” he nevertheless contends that “conservatives have every reason to be optimistic.” The conservatives, he assures us, “will prevail,” sustained by “the power of their ideas — linked by the priceless principle of ordered liberty.” Conservatives, he insists, are “well positioned” to overcome the challenges ahead.

9. Yes, China is still very Red: Christianity Today reports that the ChiCom regime wants Christians to replace Jesus images with those of President Xi Jinping.

10. The Fall 2017 edition of The Hedgehog Review (published by the University of Virginia’s Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture) includes a lengthy essay by Notre Dame prof Patrick Deneen titled “The Tragedy of Liberalism.” Exercise that egghead muscle and read it. Here’s a thick slice:

Liberalism is failing not because it fell short but because it was true to itself. Liberalism is failing because liberalism succeeded. As liberalism has “become more fully itself,” as its inner logic has become more evident and its self-contradictions manifest, it has generated pathologies that are at once deformations of its claims and realizations of liberal ideology. But because our normal politics have led us to operate entirely within the liberal frame, we assume that the various ills of our politics can be cured by applying a better liberal solution — whether a classical or progressive solution to an ill that is viewed as arising from the ills of the opposite. Rather than see the accumulating evidence of rolling systemic blackouts as a failure to live up to liberalism’s ideals, we need to see clearly that the ruins liberalism has produced are the very signs of its success.

Eye Candy

1. Peter Robinson discusses The Second World Wars with author Victor Davis Hanson in the first of a two-part interview for Uncommon Knowledge. You can watch it here. And go ahead and order the book here.

2. Why should every American stand for the National Anthem? Joy Villa explains why over at Prager University. Watch the video here.

3. My daughters, please forgive me: Thank you Powerline for sharing this joke video titled “The Millennial Job Interview.”

Keeping Up with Appearances

Two reasons to go to church early on Sunday: Rich Lowry will be on ABC’s This Week. And Ramesh Ponnuru will be on CBS’s Face the Nation.

Tonight (well, really very early Sunday for us East Coasters), C-Span 2 will broadcast Rich Lowry’s talk in NYC with VDH about The Second World Wars. To get more info, go here.

Follow follow follow

Let me call you tweetheart: Victor Davis Hanson, Hans von Spakovsky, Mia Love, Grace Marie Turner, Christian Schneider, Kirsten Haglund, Cal Thomas, Shirley & Banister Public Affairs, David Freddoso, Tevi Troy, Uncommon Knowledge, Benjamin Weingarten, 1970s Baseball, House Freedom Caucus.


I saw an image of Don Money, that reliable All Star infielder for the Milwaukee Brewers (where he came into his prime in the early 70s following a few years of penance with the Philadelphia Phillies), and it brought me back to that chaotic 1976 games (I was listening on the radio) when his walk-off grand slam to beat my New York Yankees was called back. It’s quite a story.

A dios

There may be poorhouses, but suppress your inner Scrooge and be generous when they cometh the ask. Leave some Who Hash. Be generous with the tips. Don’t be a jerk and take up two parking spaces. On escalators, wouldja stand to the right already?! And visit us at NR if you are ever near West 44th between 5th and 6th. We’d love to see you.

God bless you and yours,

Jack Fowler


The Latest