Welcome to the Harvard Lunch Club Political Podcast number 179 (!!) for June 14, 2018, it’s the Korean Condo edition of the podcast with your hosts, radio guy Todd Feinburg and artificially intelligent (but naturally blue-eyed!) Mike Stopa over here on the left coast. We get together with you every week to peel back the onion skin of excruciatingly complex events and happenings in the public square. We are, you might have already figured out, the embodiment of the marketplace of ideas, yessirrreeee.

And speaking of the marketplace of ideas, we have our good friend Heather MacDonald on the show who knows a thing or two about ideas (both good and bad ideas, for that matter). Heather will give us her perspective on the North Korean Deal (Condos, beach and all) and will spout off about The Donald in the process and then we get into the meat and bones of #NeverTrump and question where we might find the synthesis between sycophants like ourselves at HLC and lunatics like, oh, Jennifer Rubin – just to throw out a name that pops to mind. Heather is, as you mostly all know by now, the Stephen Curry of conservative political punditry – moves like liquid light and scores from *way* downtown.

We will have our shower thoughts of course and (are you ready for this?) we will have a DOUBLE hidden gem with two Tom Waits tunes (sounds like a Ben and Jerry’s ice cream flavor: hidden double gem Waits). The (completely random) choices: Whistling Past the Graveyard and I Hope That I Don’t Fall in Love with You.

Enjoy!

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There are 28 comments.

  1. Member

    If he fires Sessions, Rosenstein becomes Acting AG not just for Mueller but for immigration and everything. Even two months of that is way too much. And it would be more like two years.

    Why do otherwise sensible people not get this?

    • #1
    • June 14, 2018 at 1:21 am
    • 1 like
  2. Member

    Heather McDonald is a gem and sadly right about most everything she said. The notion of upgrading Kim’s artillery reminds me of Fail Safe, the novel in which JFK blows up NY to convince Khrushchev we didn’t mean him ill.

    • #2
    • June 14, 2018 at 10:22 am
    • Like
  3. Podcaster

    I Walton (View Comment):

    Heather McDonald is a gem and sadly right about most everything she said. The notion of upgrading Kim’s artillery reminds me of Fail Safe, the novel in which JFK blows up NY to convince Khrushchev we didn’t mean him ill.

    I remember that well. As I said I know it is a kooky idea. But it seems clear to me that the key in this negotiation (all negotiations) is to give Kim an incentive to cooperate. And the key of keys is to give Kim an assurance that cooperating doesn’t get him killed (and then, doesn’t land him in prison, lose him the whole regime,…).

    • #3
    • June 14, 2018 at 11:34 am
    • 1 like
  4. Member

    Ms. MacDonald’s principal complaint about the president is that he makes a poor role model for young men. I realize that issues around masculinity are a particular area of interest to her, so she is likely to see the world through that prism. However, the president’s principal function is not to be a role model or a moral leader. Leave that to religious leaders and philosophers.

    I don’t look to Washington for moral guidance, nor should anyone else. The political sphere is about the last place one should expect to find upstanding individuals of integrity. That’s not to say they don’t exist in that realm; it’s just not an important trait in politics, albeit a desirable one. Arguably, it’s counterproductive to political success.

    • #4
    • June 14, 2018 at 12:28 pm
    • 5 likes
  5. Podcaster

    drlorentz (View Comment):

    Ms. MacDonald’s principal complaint about the president is that he makes a poor role model for young men. I realize that issues around masculinity are a particular area of interest to her, so she is likely to see the world through that prism. However, the president’s principal function is not to be a role model or a moral leader. Leave that to religious leaders and philosophers.

    I don’t look to Washington for moral guidance, nor should anyone else. The political sphere is about the last place one should expect to find upstanding individuals of integrity. That’s not to say they don’t exist in that realm; it’s just not an important trait in politics, albeit a desirable one. Arguably, it’s counterproductive to political success.

    Interesting point, dr, that success in politics (or business? or Hollywood?) is negatively correlated with integrity of e.g. masculine behavior. I have wondered a lot at the number of sexual harassment cases in the news lately and usually I think: “*I* don’t know anyone (in my company, in my department) who engages in sexual harassment…where are all these people?” And I don’t think I am being blind – I really am hard pressed to think of a colleague that I think there is any likelihood that they do that kind of stuff. But maybe when you get to the peaks of society there’s some kind of selection effect.

    • #5
    • June 14, 2018 at 12:48 pm
    • 2 likes
  6. Thatcher

    The discussion was supposed to be about N. Korea, not Jeff Sessions. 

    • #6
    • June 14, 2018 at 1:11 pm
    • 3 likes
  7. Podcaster

    Goldwaterwoman (View Comment):

    The discussion was supposed to be about N. Korea, not Jeff Sessions.

    We mostly had Heather on to talk about the #NeverTrump movement – kind of as a counterpoint to Conrad Black’s appearance on last week’s show. It was only the importance of North Korea that led us to discuss that with her at least a little.

    • #7
    • June 14, 2018 at 1:22 pm
    • 1 like
  8. Member

    Michael Stopa (View Comment):

    drlorentz (View Comment):

    Ms. MacDonald’s principal complaint about the president is that he makes a poor role model for young men. I realize that issues around masculinity are a particular area of interest to her, so she is likely to see the world through that prism. However, the president’s principal function is not to be a role model or a moral leader. Leave that to religious leaders and philosophers.

    I don’t look to Washington for moral guidance, nor should anyone else. The political sphere is about the last place one should expect to find upstanding individuals of integrity. That’s not to say they don’t exist in that realm; it’s just not an important trait in politics, albeit a desirable one. Arguably, it’s counterproductive to political success.

    Interesting point, dr, that success in politics (or business? or Hollywood?) is negatively correlated with integrity of e.g. masculine behavior. I have wondered a lot at the number of sexual harassment cases in the news lately and usually I think: “*I* don’t know anyone (in my company, in my department) who engages in sexual harassment…where are all these people?” And I don’t think I am being blind – I really am hard pressed to think of a colleague that I think there is any likelihood that they do that kind of stuff. But maybe when you get to the peaks of society there’s some kind of selection effect.

    I wouldn’t lump politics, Hollywood, and business together in one big, sleazy category. OK… maybe Hollywood. Most businesses,including Hollywood, need to deliver. Politicians, pundits, and journalists (i.e., the political class) don’t. If you make a bad business decision, you might find yourself out of a job. This is rarely a danger of that in politics. In other words, they have no skin in the game.

    Also, my impression was that Ms. MacDonald was not exercised about Trump’s sexual behavior. Indeed, she specifically disavowed interest in that topic among politicians and denied that Trump was a sexist. Her beef was, specifically, about his lack of civility and politeness, as exemplified in Trump’s treatment of Mr Sessions. The consequence of this that seemed to disturb her the most was the effect it had on young men. Again, no one should look to the political class for role models. Mr Sessions is a big boy and he can resign if he wants to; it’s between those two men. Who knows, maybe they’re pals.

    This hand-wringing about Mr Trump’s degradation of the culture is pretty-much the last thing the Nevers have to cling to. Hey, I’m not crazy about it either. But if this really is a flight 93 situation,* seize the beverage cart and let’s roll! Stop complaining about the smudged makeup on the flight attendant.

    *as Ms. MacDonald acknowledged

    • #8
    • June 14, 2018 at 1:22 pm
    • 3 likes
  9. Podcaster

    drlorentz (View Comment):

     

    This hand-wringing about Mr Trump’s degradation of the culture is pretty-much the last thing the Nevers have to cling to. Hey, I’m not crazy about it either. But if this really is a flight 93 situation,* seize the beverage cart and let’s roll! Stop complaining about the smudged makeup on the flight attendant.

    *as Ms. MacDonald acknowledged

    Now every time I’m noticing smudged makeup on a flight attendant I’m going to think of Trump boasting about groping women…thanks dr!

    • #9
    • June 14, 2018 at 1:32 pm
    • 3 likes
  10. Thatcher

    Basically, Trump does not act like she thinks he should act, and as such, it is problem.

    I thought politics was downstream from culture. Trump is not corroding public virtues. They have been corroded already.

    • #10
    • June 14, 2018 at 1:32 pm
    • 2 likes
  11. Thatcher

    Well that edit wiped out the first part of the comment. Whoops. 

    • #11
    • June 14, 2018 at 1:40 pm
    • 1 like
  12. Thatcher

    This podcast was not the place for her rant, but, more importantly, her near hysteria over Trump’s treatment of Sessions was most unbecoming. Politics is politics, Ms. McDonald, a game best played by those with fairly thick skins. Jeff Sessions misses the boat it many ways, not the least of which is his total inability to communicate effectively as an advocate for the credibility of the justice department. 

    • #12
    • June 14, 2018 at 3:13 pm
    • 2 likes
  13. Member

    Goldwaterwoman (View Comment):
    Politics is politics, Ms. McDonald, a game best played by those with fairly thick skins.

    Scott Adams has observed that politics is an insult contest. I mean, it’s not as if the Left is shy about calling anyone to the right of Bernie a Nazi, racist, sexist, homophobic, Islamophobic, xenophobic nativist.

    Did I leave anything out?

    • #13
    • June 14, 2018 at 5:48 pm
    • 2 likes
  14. Podcaster

    drlorentz (View Comment):

    Goldwaterwoman (View Comment):
    Politics is politics, Ms. McDonald, a game best played by those with fairly thick skins.

    Scott Adams has observed that politics is an insult contest. I mean, it’s not as if the Left is shy about calling anyone to the right of Bernie a Nazi, racist, sexist, homophobic, Islamophobic, xenophobic nativist.

    Did I leave anything out?

    Jackboot, bloodsucking octopus, capitalist roader, troglodyte…

    • #14
    • June 14, 2018 at 6:49 pm
    • 4 likes
  15. Thatcher

    drlorentz (View Comment):
    Did I leave anything out?

    Nope. We’re finally learning to give as good as we get, only because we have an alpha male who is unafraid to buck the establishment.

    • #15
    • June 14, 2018 at 7:26 pm
    • 2 likes
  16. Member

    Michael Stopa (View Comment):

    drlorentz (View Comment):

    Goldwaterwoman (View Comment):
    Politics is politics, Ms. McDonald, a game best played by those with fairly thick skins.

    Scott Adams has observed that politics is an insult contest. I mean, it’s not as if the Left is shy about calling anyone to the right of Bernie a Nazi, racist, sexist, homophobic, Islamophobic, xenophobic nativist.

    Did I leave anything out?

    Jackboot, bloodsucking octopus, capitalist roader, troglodyte…

    Hey, you’ve been cribbing again off my business card.

    • #16
    • June 14, 2018 at 7:59 pm
    • 2 likes
  17. Thatcher

    I haven’t trusted Heather MacDonald’s judgment since she endorsed Obama in 2008.

    • #17
    • June 14, 2018 at 8:33 pm
    • 2 likes
  18. Thatcher

    Mike LaRoche (View Comment):

    I haven’t trusted Heather MacDonald’s judgment since she endorsed Obama in 2008.

    Did she? over McCain?

    • #18
    • June 15, 2018 at 4:28 am
    • 1 like
  19. Thatcher

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    Mike LaRoche (View Comment):

    I haven’t trusted Heather MacDonald’s judgment since she endorsed Obama in 2008.

    Did she? over McCain?

    Yes, indeed.

    • #19
    • June 15, 2018 at 4:33 am
    • Like
  20. Thatcher

    Mike LaRoche (View Comment):

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    Mike LaRoche (View Comment):

    I haven’t trusted Heather MacDonald’s judgment since she endorsed Obama in 2008.

    Did she? over McCain?

    Yes, indeed.

    She ever said “Sorry” for that? What was the reason?

    • #20
    • June 15, 2018 at 4:38 am
    • Like
  21. Thatcher

    I was favorably impressed with the Heather MacDonald appearance. Her position on Trump mostly mirrors mine, including her take on the Hollywood Access tapes.

    Two points on her reservations on Jeff Sessions, and his overly faux masculinity.

    His attacks on Jeff Sessions make him (Trump) look impotent — since he won’t remove him — and only enhance Sessions. As a mostly Jeff Sessions fan, I’m not concerned about his attacks.

    His faux masculinity isn’t influencing as many men as MacDonald seems to think. I cheer him on not because I think normal men should act like him, but because he’s a counterweight to feminists attempting, and too often succeeding, to emasculate boys and men. Most middle class men know not to act like Trump if for no other reason than they know that Trump has a talent for getting away with things that normal people don’t.

    I’ve seen opinions, and I agree, that state that #MeToo would not have happened without Trump. The double standard where conservatives can’t get away with bad behavior in that area but progressives can, seems to have ended.

    It’s not like Trump intended this, but that’s what has happened. Another example of a counterweight.

    • #21
    • June 15, 2018 at 10:10 am
    • Like
  22. Thatcher

    I’d like to take a moment to compare Heather MacDonald with Mona Charon.

    Mona Charon sounds unbalanced when talking and writing about Trump. She really should listen to MacDonald to get her balance back.

    • #22
    • June 15, 2018 at 10:13 am
    • 3 likes
  23. Thatcher

    Mike LaRoche (View Comment):

    I haven’t trusted Heather MacDonald’s judgment since she endorsed Obama in 2008.

    I didn’t know she endorsed Obama. 

    • #23
    • June 17, 2018 at 5:53 pm
    • Like
  24. Thatcher

    Goldwaterwoman (View Comment):

    Mike LaRoche (View Comment):

    I haven’t trusted Heather MacDonald’s judgment since she endorsed Obama in 2008.

    I didn’t know she endorsed Obama.

    There were conservatives that endorsed Obama in 2008, and recanted within six months of his assuming office. They did so because of the “first black president” thing. Christopher Buckley (with questionable conservative bona fides) did.

    While I thought it was wrong, I can sort of forgive it and a one term Obama presidency would not have been as harmful. I’d say that the harm would have been one fourth what it was with the second term. The question is, did she endorse him in 2012?

    • #24
    • June 18, 2018 at 9:14 am
    • Like
  25. Member

    Al Sparks (View Comment):

    Goldwaterwoman (View Comment):

    Mike LaRoche (View Comment):

    I haven’t trusted Heather MacDonald’s judgment since she endorsed Obama in 2008.

    I didn’t know she endorsed Obama.

    There were conservatives that endorsed Obama in 2008, and recanted within six months of his assuming office. They did so because of the “first black president” thing. Christopher Buckley (with questionable conservative bona fides) did.

    While I thought it was wrong, I can sort of forgive it and a one term Obama presidency would not have been as harmful. I’d say that the harm would have been one fourth what it was with the second term. The question is, did she endorse him in 2012?

    Anyone who was following Obama closely knew exactly who he was in 2008. The attacks on Milt Rosenberg’s show showed what a thug he was and is. Sorry, but I don’t buy that excuse in a pundit. If their judgment is that poor there’s no reason for me to pay any attention to them.

    • #25
    • June 18, 2018 at 10:13 am
    • 2 likes
  26. Thatcher

    Richard Easton (View Comment):
    Anyone who was following Obama closely knew exactly who he was in 2008.

    True. And I did not go gaga over him like some conservatives did. But that was 9 years ago. Short of murder and equivalent actions, I’m not going to hold a decision like that against them.

    We all change in a nine year period. While I don’t know her, I guarantee Heather MacDonald has. I’d even posit that you have.

    • #26
    • June 19, 2018 at 6:54 am
    • Like
  27. Member

    Al Sparks (View Comment):

    Richard Easton (View Comment):
    Anyone who was following Obama closely knew exactly who he was in 2008.

    True. And I did not go gaga over him like some conservatives did. But that was 9 years ago. Short of murder and equivalent actions, I’m not going to hold a decision like that against them.

    We all change in a nine year period. While I don’t know her, I guarantee Heather MacDonald has. I’d even posit that you have.

    You make reasonable points. I lived in Illinois in 2008 and my wife had talked to Obama circa 1996 for about fifteen minutes in her office at WBEZ. Milt Rosenberg was a friend of ours. So I naturally knew more about Obama than the average person. But it was painful to see the cognitive dissonance in 2008 among some supposedly conservative pundits about who Obama was.

    • #27
    • June 19, 2018 at 7:38 am
    • Like
  28. Coolidge

    I am hard pressed to remember the last time I had to turn off this podcast before. Mrs. MacDonalds continued whining on and on and on, was just to much.

    The moment that I turned off was when she said, ‘Why doesnt he just fire Sessions” then explains why it would be a dumpster fire if it happened. But continued to complain about it.

    UGH.

    • #28
    • June 20, 2018 at 4:28 pm
    • 2 likes