What does Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse think about the results of the 2020 election? The answer might come as a surprise: Even though the Democrats took the White House, on balance, Ben thinks the election proves that “We are a center-right nation, and even if people don’t have a philosophical embrace of limited government, [that idea] has a broad, functional embrace.” During this talk—originally part of The Dispatch’s post-election program What’s Next: Election 2020 and Beyond – Jonah asks Ben about how responsible Americans might stop our national politics from being run by political addicts, as well as asking him what he thinks about the assertion that he went through a “quiet period” in his Trump criticism, and addressing his controversial connections to Big Runza (Nebraska’s finest delicacy™).

 

As we close in on the end of the year, Jonah’s rumination proves to be a pretty sizable roundup of all the news that has been fit to print throughout the week. In addition to discussing attempts to relitigate the series of unfortunate events surrounding Jeffrey Toobin, the inaccuracy of our current Cold War metaphors in regards to China, and the ongoing conflict over wealth inequality, Jonah also finds the time to dip into several classically nerdy topics. Such subjects include the accidental genius of bad Kung Fu movies, how They Live isn’t nearly as Marxist as the academy would have you believe (and the fact that they try to prove that it is “just helps to prove how dumb Marxism is”), and how David French’s taste in films has made Jonah a nihilist.

 

House Democrats are heading into next year with the slimmest majority either party has seen in two decades. How might this shape intra-party relations among Democrats moving forward? “The new dynamic will force Democratic leaders to change their tactics, both in drafting bills and in reining in the rank and file,” Haley Byrd Wilt writes in her debut piece for the website. Haley joined Sarah and Steve on today’s show to forecast these shifting dynamics as we approach the 117th Congress. Stick around for a breakdown of the latest drama in the House Republican conference, Donald Trump’s NDAA veto threat, and whether Congress can avert a government shutdown.

 

AEI Fellow, author, and Washington Free Beacon founder Matt Continetti comes back to the program, and Jonah gets to pick his brain about… well, a ton of different things. From his expectations for the Biden presidency, to the shockingly progressive staff of the incoming administration, to the Georgia runoffs and a critical reappraisal of the neoconservatives’ role in deradicalizing the left, Matt provides deep and nuanced answers to the biggest stories of the day as well as the issues of bigger philosophical significance to conservatives. He and Jonah also dial in on some of the upcoming decisions that those on the right will have to make in the near future – decisions that may define basic points of conservative doctrine for a long time to come: What should be counted as a conservative “win,” either in politics or culture? Is conservatism going to be big-tent or selective in its coalition-building? And what should the conservative position on China be, as it becomes clearer that the nation may have grown into a superpower that shares very few of our values?

 

In the weeks following November 3, a surprising number of state Republican parties have made it their mission to attack any high ranking GOP officials in their state who have certified or somehow acknowledged Joe Biden’s electoral victory over President Trump. How will this GOP infighting play out over the next few months? Declan joins Sarah, David, and Jonah on today’s show to discuss his new piece on the site explaining this strange phenomenon, with a close look at Arizona and Georgia in particular. Stick around to hear our hosts discuss the 2021 races they are keeping an eye on, all things Hunter Biden, and Joseph Epstein’s controversial Wall Street Journal op-ed about Jill Biden.

 

Jonah is joined by Scott Winship – the director of Poverty Studies at the American Enterprise Institute, and fresh off the heels of his position within Senator Mike Lee’s Social Capital Project. Jonah asks Scott about the persistence of poverty in American society, and what progress has been made both recently and over the long term. Then, they get into why some of the obstacles that have to be removed in order to lift poor people up are more intractable than others. In part, Scott thinks that these difficulties “show how we’re hardwired to think about these problems in economic terms rather than in terms of social bonds,” and that certain data may blind us when searching for the real issues.

 

Yep, it’s time for another jaunt through pop culture with the men of GLoP. But fair warning: we do discuss politics in this show, so if you are not interested in some Rank Punditry®, you can skip from 3:12 to 23:48 in this podcast. So let’s keep the garment rending in the comments to a minimum, deal? After the political talk, the guys cover a movies that are so bad, they’re good, John makes a bold statement about Jimmy Stewart’s performance in It’s A Wonderful Life, Jonah professes his love for a more recent Christmas movie, and Rob confesses to possibly causing bodily harm to a legendary comedian. Also, should Ph.D’s be called doctors? The GLoP-pers have thoughts. Leave yours in the comments below.

After describing the inner workings of a longstanding lunch among his friends that has become an institution unto itself and envisioning what his ideal “no rules” podcast might be like, Jonah asks the fundamental political question of our moment: What’s the matter with Texas? Jonah talks about how the state’s election lawsuit has released another swathe of intellectual dishonesty among right-wing tastemakers, as well as the “Kraken Caucus” (or is it the Kraken Kaukus?) more generally, and how the Constitution endorses trial by combat for picking elector slates (well, kind of). This is followed by a rumination on “corruption” in both its classical and modern sense, the updated Hunter Biden story (and the reaction to it), and how imprecise language mars our debates about censorship: “We use ‘censorship’ to mean both a government action as well as the exercise of editorial judgment that we don’t like.”

 

How might the Supreme Court respond to Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s lawsuit contesting the results of the election? Why did so many House members and state attorneys general file amicus briefs in support of the lawsuit? Is Paxton’s legal effort just a political stunt? On today’s episode, Sarah and Steve are joined by Ilya Shapiro—director of the Robert A. Levy Center for Constitutional Studies at the Cato Institute and publisher of the Cato Supreme Court Review—for the breakdown.

 

Conservative commentary has managed to find at least one point of withering criticism when it comes to America’s cities. This critique points out that, while cities are the places where unique innovation and exciting things are happening all the time, the local Democratic political machines (and, strangely, their voter base within the city) are constantly trying to zone, regulate, and tax that innovation and excitement out of existence. But here he comes—a knight in shining armor, making a glorious return to The Remnant: Reihan Salam, president of the Manhattan Institute. Reihan talks to Jonah about how conservatives might be able to envision a way out of obstinacy in America’s metropolitan centers, as well as addressing concerns about the GOP’s electoral future in cities, and explaining why politics often take a more radical left-wing form in cities compared to everywhere else in the country. (“Democrats are living in places that are immensely unequal, so arguments around redistribution carry a lot more purchase.”)

 

The Supreme Court denied injunctive relief on Tuesday to Pennsylvania Rep. Mike Kelly in a one-sentence order that unceremoniously ended the Republican lawmaker’s bid to overturn his state’s election results. “What distinguished this case was it actually had an interesting question of law in it,” David argues on today’s show, in reference to the Pennsylvania state legislature’s alleged violation of the state’s constitution in 2019. That Rep. Kelly brought this lawsuit after the presidential election was another question entirely, David concedes, as was Kelly’s requested remedy. On the menu for the rest of today’s episode: Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s new Supreme Court election lawsuit, Biden’s latest Cabinet picks, and the origins of “believe-Trump-no-matter-what” syndrome among once-respected GOP figures.

 

On this edition of The Remnant, Jonah went around the (metaphorical) corner of the (also metaphorical) office and got colleague Sarah Isgur to come on the program for all sorts of legal-beagle nerdery. Sarah explains the constitutional provisions kicking into effect that are helping to slow down the chaos surrounding the November election results, what on earth is going on in Texas, and much more. Classic Remnant wonkery is then balanced out in the latter half of the show, as Jonah and Sarah both share their spiciest takes on The Queen’s Gambit and why it may not live up to the hype.

 

Jonah flies solo once more in a podcast filled with the hottest of takes: Biden’s foot-breaking story is not only totally true – it’s also just kind of lame, weed saved George H.W. Bush’s life, and, most controversially of all, The Walking Dead still has some redeeming qualities. He also discusses why you should take John Bolton’s advice in The Dispatch seriously, and “Eurosclerosis,” the fanciest word of the day.

 

After Georgia election official Gabriel Sterling asked GOP lawmakers to tone down the unsubstantiated claims of vote fraud in his state earlier this week, the Trump campaign shared a 90-second video on Twitter alleging another Georgia related election conspiracy theory. “Video footage from Georgia shows suitcases filled with ballots pulled from under a table AFTER supervisors told poll workers to leave room and 4 people stayed behind to keep counting votes,” the tweet said. Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp and other GOP figures have since demanded a signature audit of the presidential election in the Peach State.

 

We have another Remnant first-timer on the show this week, as Jonah is joined by old friend, well-traveled military writer, and Marine veteran Bing West. With a discipline that only a Marine could muster, Bing joins the program to talk about his upcoming novel, The Last Platoon: A Novel of the Afghanistan War, which uses Afghanistan as a backdrop to tell the story of men in combat who “do their duty, even when it becomes clear that there will be no reward.” Jonah also probes Bing’s brain about the overall strategic value of the Afghanistan war, the abiding faith of American soldiers in an era of secularism, how to break up the perverse friendship between the Taliban and al-Qaeda, and most important, how a small, tri-fold shovel is sometimes the most valuable piece of equipment a soldier can have.

 

During an interview with the Associated Press on Tuesday, Attorney General Bill Barr said that “to date, we have not seen fraud on a scale that could have effected a different outcome in the election.” In what seems to be a clever attempt to appease the president, Barr also said during the interview that he had appointed John Durham as special counsel to investigate the Russia-Trump probe in October. Will news of Durham’s appointment appease Republicans? Is there a legal defect in the Durham appointment? Sarah and the guys give us the breakdown. On today’s episode, our podcast hosts also analyze Trump’s election litigation madness, the ethics of COVID-19 vaccine prioritization, and last week’s killing of Iranian nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh.

 

Today, Jonah is joined by Virginia Postrel – former editor-in-chief of Reason magazine and author of many of the latter-day holy tomes of libertarianism, such as The Future and Its Enemies – to talk about her new book, The Fabric of Civilization. Virginia and Jonah do a deep dive into several moments in which the changes in textile manufacturing created giant, revolutionary, consciousness-shifting ripple effects regarding how civilizations viewed their relationship to markets and the economy. In particular, Virginia addresses how the un-guilded spinners of Europe were like the Luddites before it was cool, why textile-making would be one of the most laborious processes in the world without advanced technologies, and what made cotton fabric from India so special that “the French treated it much the same as the American government treats cocaine.” At least that kind of wild protectionism confirms a long-held American instinct: Never trust the French.

 

This is the GLoP Culture Podcast description for episode #156, published on 11/30/20. We record Jonah Goldberg, Rob Long, and John Podhoretz on a software application that enables real time communication over the internet and discuss topics mostly drawn from pop culture: music, TV, movies, theater. Sometimes they stray into politics because they are first and foremost pundits. Occasionally, they make silly and sophomoric jokes. There may even be a couple in this very podcast. Thank you for listening.

On this episode, Jonah is joined by Charles C.W. Cooke of National Review. It’s an eclectic mix today, as the duo gets into a good deal of punditry surrounding the Trump campaign’s election challenges and then move onto the future of conservatism (or “conservatarianism” in Charlie’s case) as a whole before tying the whole thing up around the Thanksgiving theme of gratitude. As a freshly minted American living through a relatively chaotic period in our politics, what is Cooke grateful for when it comes to the U.S.? During this holiday season, Jonah thinks we might all do well to be grateful for the fact that “we still live in a country where following politics is essentially a hobby … and isn’t a matter of survival.”

 

After filing a more-spirited-than-average G-File, Jonah joins us for the weekend Ruminant. Today, he talks about how certain individuals associated with Trump seem determined to end their careers in ignominy, as well as discussing many other phenomena, such as America’s oversaturation of elites, the necessity of reading people with whom you disagree, the inadequacy of applying the left-right spectrum to American politics, what the possible consolidation of fringe-right news stations might look like, and how genuine post-Trump conservatism “is almost, in certain way, the same as [if it was] pre-Trump.” And, of course, the most exciting news in Jonah’s world right now? How a calmer political environment means that he can write about more interesting stuff.