In this week’s COMMENTARY MAGAZINE Podcast, we (Noah Rothman, Abe Greenwald, and I) examine the bizarre fact that all four of the leading candidates for the presidency are in problematic shape—Trump (Mr. High Negatives) and Clinton (Mrs. Lost Six In A Row) having been shellacked in Wisconsin by contenders who have significant weaknesses of their own. They say Clinton can’t lose, but on the other hand, she keeps losing. And now people say Trump can’t win, but does that mean Ted Cruz can win? Will the madness never end? Enjoy!

Manfred Honeck is the music director of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and one of the best conductors in the world. He has been in New York this week, to guest-conduct the Philharmonic. Jay caught up with him for “Q&A.”

They talk about music and the musical life. What does it take to be a conductor? What are the differences, if any, between American orchestras and European ones? (Maestro Honeck is an Austrian and, indeed, a Manfred_Honeckformer member of the Vienna Philharmonic – where his brother is a concertmaster.) What about new music? How about the future of classical music (a much worried-over question)?

Greg Corombos of Radio America and Jim Geraghty of National Review enjoy Greg Gutfeld needling his colleagues over their soft “town hall” interviews of Donald Trump.  They also blast the notion promoted by GOP operatives and donors that House Speaker Paul Ryan will somehow emerge as the nominee at a contested convention.  And they groan as Trump says it’s “very unfair” that he has to win a majority of the delegates to become the Republican nominee because the original field was so big.

A trip to Sin City prompts thoughts of the one thing people usually don’t think about when they think of Games, but something absolutely essential: sound. Music. Melody. The burbles of the casinos to the chimes of pinball to the soundtracks of computer games – it’s an essential part of losing yourself in another world.

President Obama sat down with Jeffrey Goldberg of The Atlantic for a series of interviews. Those interviews concerned foreign policy and America’s place in the world. Goldberg wrote them up, here. And Jay wrote a couple of columns, critiquing Obama (here and here).

elliott-abrams1Wanting reinforcement, he has called on Elliott Abrams, the conservative foreign-policy guru, and veteran of the Reagan and Bush 43 administrations. The two men talk about Reagan-era events and people – Grenada, the Contras, Gorbachev – and more recent events and people: the Iraq War, the Syrian Civil War, Putin . . . Mainly, they talk about our current president, Obama.

The man who wrote the supply-side playbook for President Reagan is back with The Scandal of Money: Why Wall Street Recovers But the Economy Never Does.

In a 10-minute conversation with The Bookmonger, George Gilder describes what’s gone wrong with the U.S. economy, why the hope of returning to the gold standard is outdated, and who is the single 2016 presidential candidate with an actual understanding of the world’s chief financial problem.

It’s no secret that Russia is and has always been a propaganda state. Their efforts to control information and influence public opinion at home and abroad are are aggressive and extensive. But Putin’s Russia has a greater goal: to control the internet–the greatest tool in bringing about a total surveillance state.

But there’s another side to Big Comrade. It’s a legion of brilliant programmers and hackers who serve as a counterbalance to Putin’s goal of totalitarianism. It’s an epic struggle waged not with guns and bombs, but with mouse clicks and websites, disinformation, misinformation and leaks.

Greg Corombos of Radio America and Jim Geraghty of National Review discuss how state conventions and arcane rules matter a lot in the final GOP delegate math.  They also groan as many members from the tea party wave of 2010 are already planning to leave and resume their normal lives.  And they unload on Bernie Sanders for his 1981 comment that he doesn’t “believe in charity.”

Well, it’s another week that we must bring you yet another sobering meditation on the state of the Grand Old Party. Today, the Wall Street Journal’s Dan Henninger stops by to discuss his recent column Obama’s Greatest Triumph (it’s paywalled, but the gist is that The president is “is now close to destroying his political enemies—the Republican Party, the American conservative movement and the public-policy legacy of Ronald Reagan.”). Then, the Mad Dog himself, Kevin Williamson joins to discuss chaos in the family, and chaos in the state, his Twitter battles, and of course, The Donald and the corrosive effect he is having on the party and politics in general. But it’s not all bad news – Could Tom Cotton be the solution to a contested convention? We sure hope so…

Music from this week’s episode:

Greg Corombos of Radio America and Jim Geraghty of National Review react to both of their organizations being acquired by the Trump Organization.  They’re also stunned as FBI Director James Comey says his questioning of Hillary Clinton not only closed the investigation but revealed her to be the the most truthful polygraph subject he’s seen. And they react to a new study showing the judgment of Nevada voters far exceeds citizens in the other states.  Quite a start to the new month.

No guest this week, just Jay and Mona catching up on the overlooked nuggets of the week’s news. They speak of Cruz — does he have an authenticity problem? – and Kasich (who has an ego problem). Jay has an unusual take on Trump’s abortion comments. Lewandowski and the man he serves are subject to a good filleting. And much more.

Music from this week’s show: “The March of the Siamese Children” from “The King and I” by Richard Rodgers, arranged and played by Stephen Hough, piano.

Greg Corombos of Radio America and Jim Geraghty of National Review applaud CNN’s Jake Tapper for calling out Obama’s hypocrisy on media coverage of politics and reminding viewers that Obama has stiff-armed the press more than any president since Nixon.  They also shake their heads as a new Clinton vs. Trump Electoral College projection shows Hillary with an easy win.  And they groan as Fox News and BuzzFeed fail to redact Michelle Fields’ personal information before showing her police report, leading to harassing phone calls to Fields who no longer feels it’s safe to be in her apartment.

Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R., Fla.) watched President Obama’s trip to Cuba with keen interest. She was born in that country. In 1960, when she was eight, she came to America with her family. She still has her return ticket, issued by Pan Am. The airline is long dead. The Castros live and rule on.

With Jay, Congresswoman Ros-Lehtinen talks about Obama’s trip: What does Ileana_Ros-Lehtinenit mean? She speaks of the FARC, the Colombian terrorists, who, amazingly, attended that baseball game with Obama and Raúl. She speaks of the dissidents who are largely ignored and demoralized. And she asks, in essence, “Are we still America? Are we still the leader of the Free World?”

On this week’s podcast, Commentary editor John Podhoretz asks his colleagues Abe Greenwald and Noah Rothman whether there are signs and portents indicating that at long last the Republican party is souring on its frontrunner. One supporter calls him a 16 year old. Anderson Cooper calls him a 5 year old. Women don’t like him. It appears Wisconsin Republicans don’t like him. Yes, it’s all good news until Podhoretz comes with the requisite pail of icy cold water to splash all over your good mood. But—unlike last week—we end with a joke again!

This week, Larry Kudlow and Tim Pawlenty tackle a plethora of topics: California’s hiking the minimum wage to $15/hour, the upcoming Wisconsin primary, the Wisconsin GOP establishment unites against Trump, the battle of the wives, is Cory Lewandowski innocent, does Obama love Ché, and if he does, does he know the difference between Communism, Socialism, and Capitalism? All answers are contained within the attached MP3 file.

Support Our Sponsors!

Greg Corombos of Radio America and Jim Geraghty of National Review react to all three Republican hopefuls refusing to promise they will back the eventual GOP nominee.  They also discuss Donald Trump’s comments on Michelle Fields after Trump’s campaign manager is indicted for grabbing Fields earlier this month – and notice how Trump’s comments on women seem to be unnerving some of his most ardent supporters.  And they react to the way Ted Cruz handles questions from a hostile press.

Earlier this week Californian legislators reached a “landmark deal” to become the first state to proceed with a $15 minimum wage, the fifteenth to initiate minimum wage increases this year. While some California municipalities had already moved in this direction, this measure would mean a raise for one in three California workers. And in some low-wage areas still struggling post-recession,  it would mean a raise for one in two workers. But in the country’s most populous state – where the economic recovery has been almost completely a product of Silicon Valley – many fear this massive experiment will devastate already weak sectors and the general business climate, and mean major job losses for those who need jobs most.

To figure out just what the prognosis is for California, I talked with my AEI colleague Michael R. Strain.  Strain is the deputy director of economic policy studies and resident scholar at AEI, focusing on labor economics, applied microeconomics, public finance, and social policy. He publishes regularly in academic journals and policy journals,  is a regular contributor to The Washington Post, and often writes for The New York Times, National Review, The Atlantic, and other publications. Prior to AEI, he worked at the US Census Bureau and the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. He holds a Ph.D. in economics from Cornell University.

Greg Corombos of Radio America and Jim Geraghty of National Review react to Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker endorsing Ted Cruz.  They slam Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal to caving to liberals and big business to veto religious freedom legislation.  And they do a double take as the National Journal’s Ron Fournier suggests prosecutors must meet a higher standard before charging Hillary Clinton because she is running for president.

Logan West wakes up, answers a dead man’s phone, and embarks on a rollicking adventure in one of this year’s hottest thrillers: Overwatch, by Matthew Betley.

In aoverwatch 10-minute conversation with The Bookmonger, Betley describes how he went from serving in the Marines in Iraq to writing a novel, what he saw in Fallujah, and how his own battle with alcoholism helped him create his hero–in a book that Stephen Hayes of the Weekly Standard calls “an exceptional read.”

Greg Corombos of Radio America and Jim Geraghty of National Review warn GOP voters that most polls show Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders clearly defeating Donald Trump in November.  They also rip Pres. Obama for trying to blur the lines between capitalism and communism.  And they unload on parents for turning a kids’ Easter egg hunt into a brawl.

Another week, another set of brand name guests to debate the issues of the day. This week, first up is Karl Rove who stops by the discuss his terrific new book, The Triumph of William McKinley: Why the Election of 1896 Still MattersHow is an election held a 120 years ago relevant today. “The Architect” spills the beans. Then, our old friend David Limbaugh (AKA El Rushbro) cruises by to educate us on why Ted Cruz is the GOP’s last best hope. Also, some thoughts on Good Friday. Thank goodness.

Music from this week’s episode:

Jay and Mona welcome RealClearPolitics guru Sean Trende, who sheds light on where we’ve been (what about those famous “missing white voters”?) and where we’re going. He recognizes the desperate 110950_1_state of the Republican Party but takes the long view – and it’s not apocalyptic.

Mona and Jay then turn to President Obama’s trip to Cuba, and the state of the nation with their usual combination of dismay and hope. Ok, heavy on dismay. But if Sean Trende is calm, all is not lost, right?

This week, Larry Kudlow and Tim Pawlenty have plenty to talk about: the bombings in Brussels, Obama’s Middle East policy, the election, and of course, will Larry answer the phone when President-elect Trump calls? You’ll have to listen to find out.


Greg Corombos of Radio America and Ian Tuttle of National Review react to a new poll suddenly showing Ted Cruz with a narrow lead in Wisconsin.  They also rip Obama’s reaction to the Brussels attacks and for continuing to assert that keeping Guantanamo Bay open is somehow more dangerous to Americans than letting detainees go.  And they react to the latest salvo over wives in the Republican presidential race.

The Ricochet University School of Law values diversity — and nowhere is that more evident than in this episode’s topics. Professors Epstein and Yoo tackle the Brussels terrorist attacks, President Obama’s detached attitude towards the ISIS threat, and Donald Trump’s pledge to do “so much torturing it will make your head spin” (note: not an actual quote … yet). Then it’s on to Merrick Garland’s nomination to the Supreme Court: Is he qualified? Does it matter? Are Senate Republicans inviting a backlash? After that, in a Law Talk first, the professors parse the (legal) details of the Hulk Hogan sex tape and the resulting lawsuit against Gawker. Finally — are you ready for this? — is it possible that Epstein and Yoo agree with Donald Trump about revisiting libel laws? Tune in to find out.

Support Our Sponsors!