This is the week we learned that there is a reason we’ll miss Jen Psaki at the White House (plus a shout out to the forgotten Dee Dee Myers, who looks pretty good in retrospect); that the Anthony Scaramucci duration-in-office scale remains useful for marking the tenure in office of Nina Jankowitz (who nonetheless lasted longer than CNN+); that the Defense Production Act can apparently solve our baby formula shortage by ordering Northrup Grumman to make it; that the Roman Catholic hierarchy still has some spine left when it comes to pro-abortion politicians like Nancy Pelosi; that the left and the media (but we repeat ourselves) have no shame when it comes to exploiting a mass shooting; and that as far as monkeypox goes, we’ll wait for something really scary.

And as for the under-the-radar boomlet for Hillary to run again in 2024 after Biden gets pushed aside, well not so fast. The Durham investigation just might finally rid us of her.

There are so many things that seem . . . wrong about the 2020 election, and now comes the new documentary film “2000 Mules” offering some visually compelling circumstantial evidence, along with a few examples of direct testimony of voting misbehavior in nursing homes and other locales. A lot of readers and listeners have been asking about the film, so Lucretia and both took it in this week, and try to give an overview what conclusions are possible and which suspicions lack a solid foundation.

Before examining the evidence presented in the film we review the “macro” indicators that the 2020 presidential election is a distinct outlier in many ways that would make any reasonable person suspicious that it was a normal election. And right there is the nub of the problem: so many states changed their election laws under the cover of COVID—often illegally, but the judiciary was either in on the fix (at the state level) or refused to review the matter (on the federal level). Thus it makes it difficult or impossible to prove that the ballots seen being deposited in scattered drop boxes were necessarily illegal ballots, or that they were enough to account for Biden’s margin of victory (at least in Pennsylvania). Even if every ballot cast was narrowly speaking legal, our election laws need to be tightened up, as indeed is happening in many states. (I’ll suggest we emulate France, which has no early voting, no vote-by-mail, and absentee voting under very strict and limited conditions. Funny how Francophile liberals never charge France with “vote suppression.)

Owing partly to travel schedules that prevent our normal and proper Friday evening happy hour to debrief the week, combined with the shocking leak of the prospective Supreme Court opinion in the Dobbs case, we decided to declare a special mid-week happy hour with Scott and John joining in the libations, along with a special guest, the noted Whisky-McRibb pairing expert, John Yoo, coming to us from outside his favorite squash court in San Francisco—all recorded before a live audience on Zoom (and thank you to everyone who tuned in).

We begin by revisiting several predictions we made about the Dobbs case in our podcast of December 10, where we not only nailed the dynamic of the likely decision based on how the oral argument went, but also discussed the probability that the opinion would leak, in an unprecedented attempt to blow up trust and public esteem for the Supreme Court. In fact, as the show notes for that episode record:

We also speculate on whether there might actually be leaks from somewhere inside the Court ahead of the decision—something that rarely or never happens—because the liberal justices are desperate to do anything to derail an overturning of Roe (which, Steve argued to John, is the “McRibb sandwich of modern jurisprudence: a compressed confection of offal cuts slathered with sauce to disguise its true awfulness”).

This is the week the world was introduced to the O’Brien of the 21st century, Ms. Nina Jankowicz, aka the “Mary Poppins of disinformation” (her own term), who is going to lead the Biden Administration’s new Ministry of Truth in the Department of Homeland Security—the very same government agency that leftists once despised because it might be able to spy on our library books because of the Patriot Act. Good times, good times!

This was also the week we discovered that Joe Biden can’t say “kleptocracy,” though that is admittedly a difficult word for any Democrat since it hits so close to home. It’s almost like it’s kryptonite for the left.

Reading the tea leaves, Steve sees signs of a plan coming together to oust Ron Klain from the White House after the November mid-term election, and blame him for President Biden’s poor performance.

Jordan Peterson took the intellectual world by storm in 2016, bursting on the scene in a way not seen by a non-leftist thinker since Allan Bloom in the late 1980s. His idiosyncratic mix of Jungian psychology, existential philosophy, and common-sense self-help advice (also lobsters!) as expressed in his best-seller 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos, is hard to sort out at times.

Glenn Ellmers, one of our favorite recent authors (who also got a long notice from Thomas Byrne Edsall’s latest New York Times column this week), took a deep dive into “the Jordan Peterson phenomenon” in the Claremont Review of Books back in 2018, having attended one of Peterson’s live appearances in Washington DC. Above all, we marvel at how Peterson cooly flummoxes his critics and media interlocutors, as in the justly notorious TV interview with the obtuse Cathy Newman in Britain in 2018.

First, we are pleased to appoint Lance Izumi, a previous guest on this show, to be the official whisky master of the 3WHH, even though he doesn’t drink whisky (or anything else for that matter), because anyone who can pull off this look deserves the recognition.  And we’ll have him back soon to talk about the latest on K-12 education. (Notice Laphraoig front and center in his lineup—a point for Team Steve.)

Meanwhile, as promised—or was it threatened?—last week, Lucretia and Steve head back to the seminar room this week to demonstrate how the left is lying about Critical Race Theory by the underhanded means of simply quoting what they say it’s all about.

From there we have a spirited disagreement about the meaning and usefulness of Max Weber’s famous 1919 lecture “Politics as a Vocation,” which Steve has recorded a not-yet-released long podcast with the young guns at The New Thinkery (stand by for updates). Steve thinks that despite Weber’s defects, the lecture has some merits, and when you know some of the backstory of how Weber came to give the lecture amidst the chaos and revolutionary violence of the immediate post-World War I scene in Munich, it takes on an additional poignancy.

Steve and Lucretia intended to head back into the seminar room in this episode, with a treatment of Critical Race Theory (because why should the 1619 Project get all the love?), and some reflections on the puzzle presented by the head-scratching fact that Bill Clinton claims that Max Weber’s famous 1919 lecture “Politics as a Vocation” is his favorite “book” about political life.  But we never got to either topic!

We got diverted by a couple of late-breaking headlines about the collapse of the federal government’s cases against the plotters of ludicrous Gretchen Whitmer kidnapping scheme, and simultaneous acquittal of one of the January 6 detainees. Not to mention the no good, very bad week that several colleges and universities are having just now, starting with Oberlin College, which looks like will have to pay up $33 million to Gibson’s Bakery for indulging campus insanity. More of this please!

Historian Richard Samuelson turned up for Friday evening happy hour this week, with 14-year-old Oban in hand, to kick around this week’s less-than-neat headlines. Is it merely a coincidence that Jen Psaki chose April Fools’ Day to have the news come out that she’s going to join MSNBC? Irony is truly dead.

Meanwhile, on the great existential question of the week—”Team Smith” or “Team Rock”—Lucretia disdains either choice, while affirming the general principle that “violence is always the answer.” Steve offers up that “King Richard,” the film for which Will Smith won his best actor Oscar, is in some small ways a conservative film, though it suffers the typical over-exaggeration of all sports movies, so it gets no better than a C.

Is Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson an originalist? Of course not. In no possible universe will we get a Justice Jackson who turns out to be a closet moderate or even conservative. The last Democratic Supreme Court pick who moved to the right was Byron White, appointed by President Kennedy. But for some reason she felt compelled to say this in her confirmation hearing:

“I believe that the Constitution is fixed in its meaning. . . I believe that it’s appropriate to look at the original intent, original public meaning, of the words when one is trying to assess because, again, that’s a limitation on my authority to import my own policy.”

Freshly resupplied with Laphraoig and Glen Livet, Lucretia assumes hosting duties this week to examine—and cross-examine—Steve about his new biography M. Stanton Evans: Conservative Wit, Apostle of Freedom, which comes out officially on Monday.

Lucretia walks Steve through how he came to know Evans (41 years ago now!), and why he think Evans is “the perfect conservative,” both in theoretical and practical terms.

In addition to his legacy as a tutor for a generation of young journalists and writers whose ranks include Ann Coulter, Greg Gutfeld, John Fund (and Steve!), Evans was instrumental in several key turning points in the conservative movement in the 1960s and 1970s (such as providing desperate life support to Reagan’s faltering campaign in 1976), as well as writing The Sharon Statement, the founding document of Young Americans for Freedom.

Lucretia and Steve review the week’s news, and conclude that there’s a gathering storm of doom for the left. First, the incompetence of the Biden Administration from top to bottom is impossible to disguise effectively much longer. The attempt to blame inflation on Putin (because they can’t blame it on Trump after claiming for so long that it was merely a “transitory” supply chain issue) is destined to fail, and the infelicity of his pronouncements on the Ukraine crisis are surely unnerving our allies in Europe. (And that’s before he sent Kah-maaaallla over to underscore the shallowness of the administration.) Just wait till the recession hits in a few months. Steve lays out a few scenarios about how and why the coming recession may be one of the most unique and difficult to remedy in our history. Even Jimmy Carter belatedly figured out inflation in 1979, but the Biden crew seem imperious to experience.

Beyond the White House, there are scenes of a leftist crackup taking shape. Just as the left greeted the news of Asians defecting to the Republican Party as a sign that Asians had bought into “white supremacy,” the evidence that Hispanics are defecting from Democrats to the Republican Party in growing numbers has prompted the predictable response: Hispanics are becoming “white nationalists.” Seriously: Axios says so.

The Ukraine crisis isn’t going away, and with recriminations on all sides making the rounds here at home, it seemed propitious to check in with Michael Anton, who, among other things, served on the National Security Council in two administrations. To say Michael is not happy with the state of play here at home is an understatement, and Lucretia and I fully join in.

It doesn’t take long for us to wander on to other territory, settling on the terminal confusion and weakness of the Republican Party establishment. But what else is new?

Lucretia added to her intrepid legend by venturing into the asylum at Berkeley this week to record this episode in person with Georgetown Law Professor Randy Barnett about his new book (co-authored with Evan Bernick), The Original Meaning of the Fourteenth Amendment: Its Letter and Spirit.

To remind listeners, Barnett argued the Gonzalez v. Raich case that challenged the unlimited reach of the Commerce Clause, and was one of the principal architects of NFIB v. Sebelius that challenged Obamacare back in 2012.

Before getting into the main topic of the 14th Amendment, we open with some intellectual history, as Prof. Barnett began his legal career as a prosecutor, and taught contracts in law school before being drawn into constitutional law mid-career. Since then he has published a series of highly regarded books that have helped revitalize constitutional originalism.

This week we’re joined once again by the historian, political theorist, and borscht-belt comedian Richard Samuelson to break the 3WHH deadlock on “the FDR Question.” But fear not weary listeners, we dispose of that question in short order, and move on to other things. (“Team Lucretia” will be pleased with his tie-breaking verdict.)

Among our other topics include the San Francisco school board recall, how the latest perversity of environmental law has suddenly landed hard on UC Berkeley in ways the left never anticipated, and of course a few recent COVID highlights, including especially the perverse incentives that lead CDC and “public health” bureaucrats to want to keep COVID panic going forever.

Even without the Canadian truckers providing the St. Crispin’s Day rally point against the Branch COVIDians, you have the feeling that this was the week the edifice started to crumble, when our betters started to contemplate the fate of Nicolae Ceaușescu when they look in the mirror. The science changed, you say? I think that must mean opinion polling science.

Steve and Lucretia also have a polite but spirited exchange over Mitch McConnell (two guesses who’s on each side, and the first one doesn’t count), and we also have updates on Steve’s progress with his 12-Step recovery program for his Deficient Meat Loaf Appreciation Syndome. (There’s been a short hiccup in the steps because Steve discovered, to Lucretia’s dismay, a significant prog rock connection to Meat Loaf’s career breakout moment!) And we are able to announce some good news about the worrisome rumors of supply chain issues for certain peaty single malts.

Last week’s episode with Conrad Black defending his pro-FDR thesis generated a lot of reader interest and comments, so Lucretia and I decided to return to the boxing ring to argue out the matter de novo. It will not be a surprise to regular listeners to hear that Lucretia is not persuaded, even by the serious arguments of another of our favorite thinkers after Lord Black, the late scholar John Adams Wettergreen, who argued that FDR’s liberalism and policy architecture was different in degree and kind from the liberalism of the 1960s and after.

In fact, fans of Team Lucretia will likely enjoy this smackdown, though we do save time at the end for some quick reflections on the week’s main news, including our handicap of who has the greatest faceplant this week: Facebook, Zucker or Zuckerberg, or Caryn Johnson (better known as “Whoopi Goldberg”), and some worrying news about whisky!

As regular listeners will know, Lucretia and I have debated “the FDR question” a lot, amidst a flurry of new reconsiderations among a few thinkers and places on the right who think we should hold FDR in higher esteem. But over and over again in this running argument we keep coming back to Conrad Black’s magisterial biography, Franklin Delano Roosevelt: Champion of Freedom . 

While there have been several serious right-leaning thinkers over the years who have offered favorable views of FDR, Black’s is the most capacious and also the most curious. And so we thought, why not go to the source himself, and hash it out with the best. To our great delight, Lord Black accepted our invitation (though insisting we call him Conrad), and hence, this episode’s wide ranging conversation, which is as much about how political life is to be understood as it as about FDR.

This week Lucretia really takes it to Steve for his advanced case of DMLAS (Deficient Meat Loaf Awareness Syndrome—and we’re not talking the baked dish here), which surely must make the next edition of the DSM.

But from there we quickly pivot to a recap and demolition of the highlights of this week’s news, starting with Biden’s disastrous press conference, but moving quickly to the heart of the matter—that Biden’s errors stem from the luminous lightweights he listens to that have appealed to his narcissism. (Yes, we’re pointing at you, Jon Meacham! Meacham is reported to be the person who wrote Biden’s appalling lines about how everyone who doesn’t agree with him is Bull Connor.)

Both Steve and Lucretia get through three different whiskys each in this gala episode, recorded with a live audience on Zoom, celebrating the Biden-Harris administration’s worst week in office yet, though as the noted political analyst Homer Simpson might say, “their worst week—so far.”

It took Jimmy Carter three years to hit bottom in the summer of 1979, when even The New Republic declared that he had “packed it in” with his pathetic performance in the “malaise” speech. It’s only taken Biden one year to sink to Carter-levels of incompetence and public disapproval. At least he had a plausible Vice President, even if he was a bit dull (get it—Walter Mondull, as Rush used to call him). Mondale, by the way, considered resigning in July of 1979 he was so distraught at Carter’s collapse. Sadly we have no such hope that our current Vice President might consider the same step.

We open this first episode of the 3WHH of 2022 with the existential question: why is Lucretia so mean to Steve? Actually she has a really good reason, but you have to get all the way to the end for the reward—or is it a redemption? (Steve attempts to mellow Lucretia with a Snickers Bar of an op-ed in the middle, with some success.)

In any case, we try to offer some original and comparative perspective on the relentless leftist narrative about January 6, which somehow reminds Steve of . . . climate change. (You’ll just have to listen to learn the parallel, but it works!)