Need To Know with Mona Charen and Jay Nordlinger
Episode 33: The Indispensable Man

Guest: Robert George
May 25, 2013
Direct Link to MP3 File

Direct link to MP3 file

This week on Need To Know, Mona and Jay are joined by Robert George, Visiting Professor at Harvard Law School, and the McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence, and Director of the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions, at Princeton University.

They discuss Professor George’s new book, Conscience and Its Enemies: Confronting the Dogmas of Liberal Secularism. Also, the attacks from the left on the First Amendment and the Republicans’ tepid defense (Professor George holds out hope, however); a fascinating discussion on the definition of marriage; the massive CYA operation going on in Congress over the IRS scandal; the future of the relationship between President Obama and the media; and why Republicans best not utter the “I” word. Finally, we close with a podcast first: the guest plays us out. In addition to being a world class academic, Professor George is also an accomplished banjo player. That’s him picking and strumming in the closing song. 

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  1. Astonishing

    Wonderful podcast. I agree with George that Mitt should have been bolder addressing issues other than economics. That’s water over the dam, and although I admire Jay’s stubborn loyalty, perhaps we can all learn from the lesson. (If Prof. George is ever cloned, the first copy should be emailed to Rob Long.)

  2. Peter Fumo

    I think Romney ran a somewhat timid campaign and did not do enough to go after working class and traditional voters. However, I tend to agree with Jay. This is a different country now and is becoming increasingly unrecognizeable to me. A generation ago, Sandra Fluke would have been laughed at as a spoiled sanctimonious brat, and a poltician who cavorted with the likes of Reverand Wright, Bill Ayers and Rashid Khalidi would not have been let anywhere near the Oval Office, especially within 7 years of 9/11 no less. The country has fundamentally changed for the worse and will continue to do so. Hopeless.

  3. A Beleaguered Conservative

    We can clone Prof. George, in a manner of speaking.  MOOC him  (Massively Open Online Courses). 

  4. Leslie Watkins

    Jay is totally correct, to my mind. The American people are not a vast swath of eagerly expectant souls just waiting to be enlightened–and most especially not  when it comes to issues of liberty and morality. From what I read about the election, Romney lost because his base didn’t show up. Had Romney and Ryan focused on Sandra Fluke et al., the ticket would have lost a lot more independents as well, and we would have had to listen to a lot more nonsense about second-term mandates.

  5. Snirtler
    A Beleaguered Conservative: We can clone Prof. George, in a manner of speaking.  MOOC him  (Massively Open Online Courses).  

    Seconded.

  6. genferei

    How is Jay’s theory that “the American people voted for the progressive worldview and now they deserve to get it good and hard” different from Obama’s theory that “the government is just us”?

  7. Hartmann von Aue
    Leslie Watkins: Jay is totally correct, to my mind. The American people are not a vast swath of eagerly expectant souls just waiting to be enlightened–and most especially not  when it comes to issues of liberty and morality. From what I read about the election, Romney lost because his base didn’t show up. Had Romney and Ryan focused on Sandra Fluke et al., the ticket would have lost a lot more independents as well, and we would have had to listen to a lot more nonsense about second-term mandates. · May 25, 2013 at 7:00pm

    And the base didn’t show up because he did not convince them that he would stand for them on abortion, gay marriage, reducing the size of and scope of the federal government. And because he did not take Obama on. The only excitement in the base came when he burnished his conservative bona fides by picking Ryan as VP and by smashing the crap out of Obama in the first debate. If he had hammered him just as badly in the other two, he would be president. Fazit: Jay hat Unrecht (wie fast immer bzgl. dem Thema).

  8. J Flei
    Astonishing: Wonderful podcast. I agree with George that Mitt should have been bolder addressing issues other than economics. That’s water over the dam, and although I admire Jay’s stubborn loyalty, perhaps we can all learn from the lesson. (If Prof. George is ever cloned, the first copy should be emailed to Rob Long.) · May 25, 2013 at 1:57am

    Edited on May 25, 2013 at 4:03am

    I also found myself agreeing with both George and Jay.  On the one hand, the Republican leadership (Mitt) didn’t really make the moral issues clear enough and focused only on the economy.  They let the O campaign walk all over them.  On the other hand, Jay is right:  how could the American people not have seen through that? 

  9. Nerina Bellinger

    To my mind, Robby George is correct (and I am a big Jay Nordlinger fan who is very sympathetic to his “Eeyore” view of the voting public).  I remember when the SC decision came down about “Obamacare” thinking, “well, now we’ll hear something from Romney about the issue” (if I recall correctly, he made a ton of money following the decision from on-line donations), but he came out with some tepid statement about what he would do as president.  Total missed opportunity.  I think another missed opportunity was Romney’s failure to address the frustration on display in the aftermath of the “Chick-fil-A” boycott (or anti-boycott since so many supporters showed up to buy chicken).  Anyway.  Romney didn’t need to come out and be antagonistic towards gay marriage, he could have focused on the fact that so many democrats were willing to use the power of the state to impose their views of what is acceptable (recall several mayors – Rahm Emanuel and Tom Menino to name two – who blatantly said they would do everything they could to keep Chick-fil-A out of their cities). 

  10. Nerina Bellinger

    An added bonus would have been for Romney to restate the historical and societal importance of traditional families (more than the lip service given in one debate).

    In the end, I think the R/R campaign was hurt by its timidity.  The Democrats “doubled-down” on their ideology.  We back away from ours so as to make it more “palatable” to the ever elusive middle.

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