Lucretia and I decided to pour triple shots and host an open bar episode of our regular whisky-drenched dialogue with two special guests, Power Line co-founder John Hinderaker, and Charles Lipson, frequent contributor to The Spectator and other publications. Partly this is because Steve wanted some company in the weekly “getting-thrashed-by-Lucretia” moments. And also because we taped this episode with a live virtual Zoom audience of Power Line VIP members, which kind of made it an open mic edition.

Naturally there was only one topic: how to think about this disastrous week in Washington, and where do we go from here? Steve and Charles are critical of Trump, while John and Lucretia urge us not to look beyond the massive hypocrisy and bad faith of Democrats and the media (but we repeat ourselves). What messages and strategies ought conservatives—and the reeling Republican Party—adopt going forward? What does the political landscape look like now that the Democrats control the Senate? Do we really want to repose our fate into the hands of Joe Manchin?

Charles Lipson

Can American democracy walk and chew bubble gum at the same time? Charles Lipson thinks so, arguing in the Wall Street Journal today that normal transition activities can and should take place even as President Trump pursues his legal challenges to the election results. Lipson, professor emeritus of Political Science at the University of Chicago, is no shrinking violet when it comes to thrashing the left; he’s been arguing for months that the FBI attempted coup against President Trump is the biggest scandal in American history, nonetheless thinks that proceeding with a normal transition process will “show that amid deep political division, we can rely on constitutional norms, procedures and institutions.”

This week’s Power Line Three Whisky Happy Hour finds Charles Lipson bellying up to the bar for a flight of whiskys that begins with a tale of his mis-spent youth discovering the “bootleggers and Baptists” hypothesis in the course of violating numerous federal and state laws, as well as his legendary Henry Kissinger impression.

We take up three topics to go with three shots of whisky: the rapid transition from “broken windows” policing to “break our windows” policing, as Charles explained in his terrific RealClearPolitics column on this topic late last week. Then we turn to analysis of the surprise announcement of the Israel-UAE rapprochement last week, which took everyone by surprise. More to come perhaps? Finally, what does Charles make of the presidential race, and Biden becoming Kamala Harris’s running mate? We all agree that Harris “doesn’t wear well,” but that doesn’t mean the Harris-Biden ticket can’t win.

Barack who? Is it just me, or is Obama the incredibly shrinking president, destined already to be remembered in the same league as John Tyler or Warren Harding? Charles Lipson, emeritus professor of politics at the University of Chicago, is out today with a terrific article at RealClearPolitics, “Trump’s Methodical Destruction of Obama’s Legacy,” that walks through how President Trump is step-by-step dismantling Obama’s presidency, culminating with last week’s revelations about the FBI and Justice Department going after Michael Flynn in ways that may yet become one of the greatest scandals of presidential abuse of power in our history.

We also talk about the election scene and why neither of us can conceive of Joe Biden winning the election—all things being equal, which they may not be, and we even indulge a little sports talk at the end.

This week Steve Hayward talks with Charles Lipson, the Peter Ritzma Professor Emeritus of Political Science at the University of Chicago, about how to talk and argue about matters amidst the increasingly bitter polarization of our time. But along the way we revisit his idiosyncratic intellectual odyssey that brought him from rural Mississippi to the Ivy leagues. In addition to his academic work on international relations, you can read Charles’s popular writing on current events at RealClearPolitics, where his most recent article explores how the spying on the Trump campaign in 2016 may come back to haunt Joe Biden’s candidacy.

The main takeaway from our discussion is “no ad hominem arguments.” If we all strove to live by this rule, this would be a better world. But you’re going to want to stick around to the very end of the conversation, where Charles indulges us with his spot-on Henry Kissinger impersonation.

The University of Chicago dropped a very pleasant bombshell this week: a letter to incoming freshmen, announcing that the university honors freedom of expression, and that it will not put up with any of the “trigger warning” or “safe space” nonsense. Well.

To discuss this with Jay is an illustrious Chicago professor, Charles Lipson, a political scientist. He was born and raised in little Marks, Mississippi. They talk about this, too. He went on to Yale and Harvard – and has been teaching at Chicago for some years.