Welcome to the Harvard Lunch Club Political Podcast for June 13, 2017 – it’s the Those Damned Old People edition of the show. We set out clearly and distinctly, at the top of the show, to delineate clearly our topics. and then we just talk about James Comey and the failing battle against the deep state.

We do, after all, talk about TrumpCare. Question number one in that context is: does the folderol of the Russian collusion theater actually make a difference on the progress — or lack thereof — of Trump’s legislative agenda? Seems like Paul Ryan thinks that even if the White House burns down the folks on Capitol Hill, they will continue moving forward (though no doubt at their glacial pace). To wit, it looks like, all of a sudden, certain liberal outlets (e.g., Josh Marshall’s Talking Points Memo) are getting frantic that Obamacare is actually about to be repealed and replaced. I have no idea if this is the good repeal and replace, the dreaded Obamacare-lite repeal and replace, or something in between. But I am not particular. Any repeal and replace will make me happy — just a question of degree.

We say we’re going to talk about a recent article on reflections on the Vietnam era and the imperative for a national service program …which sounds like a title of one of those symposiums your alma mater puts on when you come back for reunion weekend. Which is appropriate, because the guy who wrote the article is being prompted by his Harvard 1967 reunion. But hell, we don’t even get to it — so why am I babbling on here?

Anyhoo … we have, as always, our shower thoughts and our hidden gem for the week is Liza Minnelli and the Pet Shop Boys (who knew?) performing “Losing My Mind.” Enjoy!

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Members have made 9 comments.

  1. Profile photo of Mike LaRoche Thatcher

    Back in my day….

    [waves cane]

    • #1
    • June 12, 2017 at 7:43 pm
    • Like1 like
  2. Profile photo of Eugene Kriegsmann Member

    I read National Review on a regular basis as well as listening to all of their associated podcasts. I am yet to hear or read any one of their writers wishing that Trump fails. They don’t like him, don’t feel he represents the conservative movement. They largely count balls and strikes, as anyone with any integrity should, but wanting Trump to fail simply to be right in their choices during the 2016 election cycle, definitely not. When someone makes claims of that sort, one should have actual data to support the claim.

    I have long been a fan of Dr. Hanson. I have read most of his books, and a good many of his articles. I find it distressing to hear that he feels disrespected. I don’t agree with his assessment of Trump, but he does make good points. I think it is very unfortunate that Trump has become such a divisive figure in the Republican party that we cannot talk to each other in a rational and productive manner. That isn’t Trump’s fault. It is the fault of those who won’t have honest and open discussions, like those who threaten to leave Ricochet because so many of its podcasts are critical of Trump. That two alleged conservatives would applaud the demise of National Review, a major pedestal of the conservative movement for more than 50 years is a sign of how little you really understand about the history of the movement and those who fostered it.

    Unlike the above mentioned, I continue to support Ricochet, and I will continue to listen to this and all other podcasts, as well as, Radio Derb which has ideation similar to this podcast. Hearing all sides is important for maintaining a rational perspective on all issues.

    • #2
    • June 13, 2017 at 9:08 am
    • LikeLike
  3. Profile photo of Michael Stopa Podcaster

    Eugene Kriegsmann (View Comment):
    I read National Review on a regular basis as well as listening to all of their associated podcasts. I am yet to hear or read any one of their writers wishing that Trump fails. They don’t like him, don’t feel he represents the conservative movement. They largely count balls and strikes, as anyone with any integrity should, but wanting Trump to fail simply to be right in their choices during the 2016 election cycle, definitely not. When someone makes claims of that sort, one should have actual data to support the claim.

    I have long been a fan of Dr. Hanson. I have read most of his books, and a good many of his articles. I find it distressing to hear that he feels disrespected. I don’t agree with his assessment of Trump, but he does make good points. I think it is very unfortunate that Trump has become such a divisive figure in the Republican party that we cannot talk to each other in a rational and productive manner. That isn’t Trump’s fault. It is the fault of those who won’t have honest and open discussions, like those who threaten to leave Ricochet because so many of its podcasts are critical of Trump. That two alleged conservatives would applaud the demise of National Review, a major pedestal of the conservative movement for more than 50 years is a sign of how little you really understand about the history of the movement and those who fostered it.

    Unlike the above mentioned, I continue to support Ricochet, and I will continue to listen to this and all other podcasts, as well as, Radio Derb which has ideation similar to this podcast. Hearing all sides is important for maintaining a rational perspective on all issues.

    Hi Eugene,

    Sorry, are you saying that *we* applaud the demise of National Review? Not so. We argued that NR should replace about 50% of their staff with pro-Trump writers and have a great big debate. That hardly seems to be applauding their demise. Indeed, it seems rather to be taking your suggestion about hearing all sides of an issue. The biggest problem is that the two sides don’t talk (civilly) to each other.

    Being on one side of the Trump divide I am sensitive to the utter disdain expressed by the other side for Trump and by extension his supporters. Professor Hanson, if I read him correctly, appears to feel that disdain from the other side as well. I don’t think we are fabricating it in our brains.

    • #3
    • June 13, 2017 at 9:32 am
    • Like1 like
  4. Profile photo of bill.deweese Coolidge

    I do agree for certain with Todd Feinburg’s assessment of the Comey parade. I am a skeptical Trump supporter, and wouldn’t normally be quick to trash an FBI Director in general as they should be your garden variety bureaucrat (Coolidge’s warning notwithstanding). Nevertheless Comey’s testimony was made for press moment designed to trash Trump’s reputation while being forced to openly exonorate him. It revealed a great deal about him.

    The key thing I had noticed (and posted to my five friends), that you also specifically point out, was the point of testifying that Trump was a liar. Not that Trump said something that Comey asserted was a lie, but that he was a liar (one who perpetuates lies). Not a disagreement of fact but a declaration of his character.

    I too checked the NYT digital front page early in the testimony as a barometer of liberal left messaging and spin. They ran early with the same and not that Comey accused him of telling a lie, but that he was a liar.

    And at the end of the day, what was the lie that was used to convict him of being liar? He made a purely subjective assessment of the Bureau being in disarray under Comey’s leadership. That’s not lying under oath, to Congress, to a spouse, on taxes, covering up an investigation etc. That is a subjective statement regarding the operational state of the Bureau.

    Both Trump and Comey’s assessment of the Bureau are their assessment, neither can be used to suggest the other lies as a character deficit. Yet that’s what the left machine ran with. Sadly, Trump’s organization did little to combat that and they should have. Trump paid a price to get Comey to finally confirm on public record that he wasn’t personally under investigation, he should have been better prepared to manage the fallout.

    • #4
    • June 13, 2017 at 10:30 am
    • Like1 like
  5. Profile photo of Michael Stopa Podcaster

    bill.deweese (View Comment):
    I do agree for certain with Todd Feinburg’s assessment of the Comey parade. I am a skeptical Trump supporter, and wouldn’t normally be quick to trash an FBI Director in general as they should be your garden variety bureaucrat (Coolidge’s warning notwithstanding). Nevertheless Comey’s testimony was made for press moment designed to trash Trump’s reputation while being forced to openly exonorate him. It revealed a great deal about him.

    The key thing I had noticed (and posted to my five friends), that you also specifically point out, was the point of testifying that Trump was a liar. Not that Trump said something that Comey asserted was a lie, but that he was a liar (one who perpetuates lies). Not a disagreement of fact but a declaration of his character.

    I too checked the NYT digital front page early in the testimony as a barometer of liberal left messaging and spin. They ran early with the same and not that Comey accused him of telling a lie, but that he was a liar.

    And at the end of the day, what was the lie that was used to convict him of being liar? He made a purely subjective assessment of the Bureau being in disarray under Comey’s leadership. That’s not lying under oath, to Congress, to a spouse, on taxes, covering up an investigation etc. That is a subjective statement regarding the operational state of the Bureau.

    Both Trump and Comey’s assessment of the Bureau are their assessment, neither can be used to suggest the other lies as a character deficit. Yet that’s what the left machine ran with. Sadly, Trump’s organization did little to combat that and they should have. Trump paid a price to get Comey to finally confirm on public record that he wasn’t personally under investigation, he should have been better prepared to manage the fallout.

    Bill, I think that the word “liar” has become essentially diluted by being bandied about (largely by Trump himself) so much lately. I think our ordinary understanding of the word “lie” is a spoken thing that the speaker knows to be false and says with the intent to deceive. And I think the reason it used to be rarely imputed to anyone in the political world is the natural reservation to attribute to someone a motive and to assert a knowledge of someone’s inner state.

    But now when you can (in front of the nation) accuse someone of a lie for their evaluation of an obviously subjective situation, as you describe, the word is well on the way to losing any real meaning at all.

    • #5
    • June 13, 2017 at 11:35 am
    • Like1 like
  6. Profile photo of soccerlad14 Member

    Re the drop off in Commentary subs…this is anecdotal but I read from John Podhoretz on Twitter that their subs were UP 40% this year, not down.

    • #6
    • June 15, 2017 at 9:40 am
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  7. Profile photo of FredGoodhue Coolidge

    Before the Trump controversy, National Review changed its website to be as slow and resource intensive as Macedonian click-bait site. It’s almost painful to visit. That sure did not help the bottom line either.

    • #7
    • June 15, 2017 at 2:25 pm
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  8. Profile photo of Sleepywhiner Member

    I want to know what other podcast VDH was on where they treated him rudely, or with disrespect?

    • #8
    • June 19, 2017 at 12:27 pm
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  9. Profile photo of outlaws6688 Coolidge

    The less influence NR has, the better for the Conservative movement. Not ideas wise necessarily although I disagree with them on immigration, but in a battle sense. Or in other words, NR has never met a principle they weren’t willing to sacrifice.

    • #9
    • June 23, 2017 at 9:31 pm
    • Like1 like