Welcome to the Harvard Lunch Club Podcast for July 11, 2017 it’s the Long Never Trump edition of the podcast with our special guest Rob Long (or as we call him at Ricochet, The Big Cheese)!

As the followers of this podcast know, we are (often enthusiastic) supporters of the President and have been since before the Republican primaries began. We recognize the strange aspects of his personality and the absurdity of some of his PR, but we don’t think that particularly undermines the policies of the administration.

So obviously we stick out a little in these conservative meadows.

From our point of view the NeverTrump movement has therefore been misguided at best and pathological at worst. So Rob, who is in a unique, obsessively pondering position, is the perfect guest to help us get to the bottom of what is going on here.

Hope you love the interview as much as we enjoyed doing it!

We will have our shower thoughts as usual, and our hidden gem for the week is a song by Red River Dave McEnery from 1939: Amelia Earhart’s Last Flight, performed by Ronnie Lane and Slim Chance.

Subscribe to Harvard Lunch Club in iTunes (and leave a 5-star review, please!), or by RSS feed. For all our podcasts in one place, subscribe to the Ricochet Audio Network Superfeed in iTunes or by RSS feed.

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Members have made 124 comments.

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  1. Profile photo of Mike LaRoche Thatcher

    Well now, this should be quite a listen!

    • #1
    • July 10, 2017 at 7:09 pm
    • Like3 likes
  2. Profile photo of Bishop Wash Member

    Mike LaRoche (View Comment):
    Well now, this should be quite a listen!

    Agreed. Looking forward to it.

    • #2
    • July 10, 2017 at 7:40 pm
    • Like1 like
  3. Profile photo of Henry Castaigne Member

    This was fun.

    • #3
    • July 10, 2017 at 10:36 pm
    • Like1 like
  4. Profile photo of dicentra Member

    THE WALL DOESN’T MATTER????

    What if the “Trump effect” on illegal immigration is predicated on people fearing he’d be a hard-nose, and when they see no movement on the wall or anything else, they call the bluff and start pouring over again?

    • #4
    • July 10, 2017 at 10:42 pm
    • Like2 likes
  5. Profile photo of Mike LaRoche Thatcher

    Who exactly is Rob arguing against? His characterization of Trump supporters as slavish automatons is analogous to how leftists were describing Bush supporters a decade ago. It is a depiction completely divorced from reality.

    • #5
    • July 11, 2017 at 12:10 am
    • Like8 likes
  6. Profile photo of Michael Stopa Podcaster

    dicentra (View Comment):
    THE WALL DOESN’T MATTER????

    What if the “Trump effect” on illegal immigration is predicated on people fearing he’d be a hard-nose, and when they see no movement on the wall or anything else, they call the bluff and start pouring over again?

    I only meant that *if* illegal aliens leave then the wall doesn’t matter. I have always thought that internal enforcement (e.g. E-Verify) is more important than border patrol. But sure if the wall isn’t built and nothing else is done and the deluge starts again that is a catastrophe.

    • #6
    • July 11, 2017 at 2:51 am
    • Like5 likes
  7. Profile photo of The Cloaked Gaijin Member

    “I think of Reagan as a big government guy…” — Todd Feinburg

    The Bookmonger podcast just had an interview with Henry Olsen, author of The Working Class Republican: Ronald Reagan and the Return of Blue-Collar Conservatism — “his heart a New Dealer as well as the fact that President Trump is more an inheritor of Reagan’s legacy”

    Federal Spending Grew More Under Reagan and Bush43 than Under Obama

    “In 1980, …the federal government spent a whopping 27.9% of ‘national income’… So how did the Reagan administration do? At the end of the first quarter of 1988, federal spending accounted for 28.7% of ‘national income.’ Even Ford and Carter did a better job at cutting government. …there has been a 60% increase in government spending, thanks mainly to Reagan’s requested budgets, which were only marginally smaller than the spending Congress voted. The budget for the Department of Education, which candidate Reagan promised to abolish along with the Department of Energy, has more than doubled … Social Security spending has risen from $179 billion in 1981 to $269 billion in 1986. The price of farm programs went from $21.4 billion in 1981 to $51.4 billion in 1987 … Medicare spending in 1981 was $43.5 billion; in 1987 it hit $80 billion. Federal entitlements cost $197.1 billion in 1981—and $477 billion in 1987. Foreign aid has also risen, from $10 billion to $22 billion. Every year, Reagan asked for more foreign-aid money than the Congress was willing to spend. … Reagan has tripled the Gross Federal Debt, from $900 billion to $2.7 trillion. Ford and Carter in their combined terms could only double it. It took 31 years to accomplish the first postwar debt tripling, yet Reagan did it in eight.”

    https://mises.org/library/sad-legacy-ronald-reagan-0

    Where exactly were the Reagan and Bush cuts? With the exception trying to bring some privatization into social security, George W. Bush never seemed to care one bit about government spending.

    If you don’t like Mises.org, here’s a guy named Jonah Goldberg in January 2004:

    “George W. Bush has increased federal spending on education by 60.8%, increased federal spending on labor by 56%, increased federal spending on the interior by 23.4%, increased federal spending on defense by 27.6%,… created a massive department of homeland security, signed a campaign-finance bill he pretty much said he thought was unconstitutional (thereby violating his oath…); signed the farm bill, which was a non-kosher piñata filled with enough pork to bend space and time; pushed through a Medicare plan which starts with a price tag of $400 billion but will — according to every expert who studies the issue — go up a gazillion-bajillion dollars over the next decade… not vetoed a single spending — or any other bill, and he has no intention of eliminating a single department …this is the spendiest (yes, that’s right, “spendiest”) president in American history, second only to LBJ.”

    • #7
    • July 11, 2017 at 4:02 am
    • Like4 likes
  8. Profile photo of JeffHawkins Coolidge

    Mike LaRoche (View Comment):
    Who exactly is Rob arguing against? His characterization of Trump supporters as slavish automatons is analogous to how leftists were describing Bush supporters a decade ago. It is a depiction completely divorced from reality.

    This is my problem with those in the Long, and even moreso, Podhoretz camp: There’s “fair criticisms” and there’s standing on the sidelines with your arms crossed saying “impress me.”

    They don’t give enough credit for the little wins because the image of the ideological perfect President in their mind has these big sweeping wins for conservatism (Podhoretz) or even weirder, “moderation” (Kristol), and there’s far more praise in being critical.

    This Presidency and the future of the GOP is about whose narratives will win out. I don’t think you have to go full apologist for Trump, but I do think given the choice of self-criticism and being critical of the other side, you need to push against the Times and Post, and that might mean tempering your personal affront that the guy wanted didn’t win.

    Here’s my question: where are the Podhoretz NeverTrump wing’s consistency in calls for Congress to get off their ass and fight to help a Republican presidency succeed, or even better, push this party to the more ideal they seek? To cancel these investigations instead of having “faith in the system” that politics won’t be pursued over truth.

    The Kristol wing just merely needs more Collins/McCain in there to be the Conservative Democrats. I honestly think he has too ideal vision of lawmaking as compromise between two sides that respect one another.

    • #8
    • July 11, 2017 at 4:49 am
    • Like10 likes
  9. Profile photo of The Cloaked Gaijin Member

    Rob seems to be very upset with Trump’s trade ideas.

    I would keep two things in mind.

    1.  “There are no solutions. There are only trade-offs.” — Thomas Sowell
    2.  As Larry Arnn has essentially pointed out, President Lincoln also did not believe in free trade. Who is prepared to call Lincoln a tyrant?

    I remember seeing some documentary about how some Mexican workers who replaced American workers only got paid about $1.50 an hour or a day. All documentaries seem a bit biased though.

    Here’s one quote from the Carrier plant situation from last November: “Carrier will pay Mexican workers a base wage of $3 per hour, $23 an hour less than the highest-paid workers in Indianapolis.”

    I guess I always figured that these two figures would move closer together at some point sort of like when I buy something over the Internet — the price is cheaper, but I have to pay postage that is close to the price difference. NAFTA was passed about 23 years ago.

    I think I sort of laughed at Ross Perot’s “giant sucking sound” phrase years ago when he described the future affects of NAFTA regarding American jobs, but I think most of the people who supported NAFTA did not have family members who worked in these manufacturing-type jobs. Bill Clinton, Al Gore, and George H. W. Bush were from the South, a region which normally favored lowered tariffs as a way to export farm products.

    I was also told back then that NAFTA was supposed to stop illegal immigration. Well, that didn’t work!

    As I mentioned here last year, “I think when Obama was elected, the United States had 17 aluminum smelters while China had 34. I think China now has about 121 and the United States will be down to about 3 1/2 aluminum smelters when Obama leaves office.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_aluminium_smelters

    • #9
    • July 11, 2017 at 5:06 am
    • Like3 likes
  10. Profile photo of Curt North Member

    Downloading and will listen today. It’ll be nice to see Rob get some push-back from the hosts, on the flagship it’s more him and James ganging up on Peter whenever Trump is brought up.

    • #10
    • July 11, 2017 at 6:44 am
    • Like2 likes
  11. Profile photo of muckfire Member

    I’m halfway through this, I think what has crystallized in my mind is how creepy I find the whole “Dear Leader” vibe of ardent Trump supporters. The one host (Todd) brought almost no arguments to the table, every point was an observation of about feelings, impressions, or mood.

    • #11
    • July 11, 2017 at 6:56 am
    • Like3 likes
  12. Profile photo of Penfold Member

    First off, I really enjoy Rob. What I got out of this podcast is that Rob is desperate to remain relevant after the shock of the election. He’s in good company. Many were shocked. If I was asked for advice I’d tell him to relax and remember this is only a movie. You’re a pundit, at least part-time. And pundits can’t get it right every time.

    • #12
    • July 11, 2017 at 7:48 am
    • Like1 like
  13. Profile photo of Theodoric of Freiberg Member

    The Cloaked Gaijin (View Comment):
    “I think of Reagan as a big government guy…” — Todd Feinburg

    The Bookmonger podcast just had an interview with Henry Olsen…..

    Yes. But let’s not conveniently forget that Reagan never had a Republican congress. The Democrats controlled the House throughout his tenure and he only had a small Senate majority for the first six years. There was no way he was going to be able to cut government with a Democrat House. Spending rose considerably because Reagan wanted big increases in military spending to finally put an end to the Soviet Union. I’d say that was money well spent.

    • #13
    • July 11, 2017 at 8:32 am
    • Like2 likes
  14. Profile photo of drlorentz Member

    muckfire (View Comment):
    I’m halfway through this, I think what has crystallized in my mind is how creepy I find the whole “Dear Leader” vibe of ardent Trump supporters. The one host (Todd) brought almost no arguments to the table, every point was an observation of about feelings, impressions, or mood.

    Much like Mr. Long’s arguments about feelings, impressions, and mood. Scratch the surface of a Never or fellow traveler and you will always find complaints about tone. I stopped counting how many times Mr. Long mentioned how much he didn’t like the guy, while protesting that it doesn’t matter. But he really doesn’t like the guy. Did I happen to mention that I really don’t like the guy?

    The other point Mr. Long kept emphasizing is that things have to be done in a certain way. Mr. Trump hasn’t changed the nature of the presidency so he must follow the rules if he’s going to succeed. This is oddly reminiscent of Mr. Long’s arguments during the campaign when we were lectured about the way campaigns work: Trump has no ground game, he says the wrong things, he hasn’t raised enough money. Therefore, he can’t possibly win. Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.

    I’m disappointed that the hosts did not call him on this obvious inconsistency. It’s not that Mr. Long made a wrong prediction about the outcome of the election. It’s that he is using the same reasoning to make predictions about the outcome of Mr. Trump’s presidency. Therein lies the loss of credibility that he and the punditry have suffered. Until they acknowledge this failure and open their minds to the possibility that their methods are wrong, no one is interested outside their echo chamber. I see no evidence that Mr. Long has learned from his mistakes. Or perhaps he has learned from them so well that he he can repeat them exactly.

    • #14
    • July 11, 2017 at 8:36 am
    • Like9 likes
  15. Profile photo of drlorentz Member

    The Cloaked Gaijin (View Comment):
    With the exception trying to bring some privatization into social security, George W. Bush never seemed to care one bit about government spending.

    Was Mr. Long loudly and repeatedly criticizing Bush during those years? It’s an honest question because I wasn’t reading his columns back then. If he wasn’t as enthusiastic in his critiques of Bush, I’d have to attribute the difference to Mr. Long’s visceral dislike of Mr. Trump.

    Mr. Long needs to disconnect his revulsion from an objective assessment of the facts if he’s to regain credibility. He’s welcome to continue to complain about Mr. Trump’s tone as long as he doesn’t confuse tone with actions. Even though Republicans controlled both houses of Congress for four years during Mr. Bush’s presidency, precious little of the conservative agenda was achieved. Yet Mr. Long complains about the lack of legislative accomplishment in the six months that Mr. Trump has held office. Keep in mind that Obamacare was passed in March 2010, more than one year after Mr. Obama was inaugurated.

    JeffHawkins (View Comment):
    This is my problem with those in the Long, and even moreso, Podhoretz camp: There’s “fair criticisms” and there’s standing on the sidelines with your arms crossed saying “impress me.”

    Yeah, that.

    • #15
    • July 11, 2017 at 9:06 am
    • Like9 likes
  16. Profile photo of Joe D. Lincoln

    We may not agree with all of these, but to me Trump so far has:

    1. withdrew from the Paris accord (albeit with the ways for some future bad President to get us back in – to me this is the biggest achievement)
    2. gives good speeches (I liked the inauguration speech and the Poland speech)
    3. reigning in epa, and getting the keystone pipeline back on track (not sure how on track it is)
    4. appointed Gorsuch
    5. got his temporary travel ban in force (finally)
    6. got anti-ballistic-missile deployments back on track in poland
    7. theoretically implemented harder fight’n in iraq, getting iraq back under control (not sure how I feel about this one though – or if I believe it)
    8. implemented ageneral rule on regulations (withdrawing 2 for every 1 new one) – though I don’t know how effective this rule has been

    I would like to see him go on a rampage firing federal employees in the deep state so we could really seriously cut back on regulations. Then he could just refuse to hire anyone and he would independently cut the budget in a small way at least.

    • #16
    • July 11, 2017 at 9:34 am
    • Like11 likes
  17. Profile photo of JeffHawkins Coolidge

    Theodoric of Freiberg (View Comment):

    The Cloaked Gaijin (View Comment):
    “I think of Reagan as a big government guy…” — Todd Feinburg

    The Bookmonger podcast just had an interview with Henry Olsen…..

    Yes. But let’s not conveniently forget that Reagan never had a Republican congress. The Democrats controlled the House throughout his tenure and he only had a small Senate majority for the first six years. There was no way he was going to be able to cut government with a Democrat House. Spending rose considerably because Reagan wanted big increases in military spending to finally put an end to the Soviet Union. I’d say that was money well spent.

    I’m not the guy to make it (yet), but there is an argument to be made that these Democrat Congresses absolutely played Reagan regarding his want of spending cuts for tax cuts and on illegal immigration, so his “legacy” is big government.

    He may not have wanted it, but it’s what he got for the victories.

    • #17
    • July 11, 2017 at 10:00 am
    • Like2 likes
  18. Profile photo of JuliaBlaschke Coolidge

    Why this constant yearning from you Trumpers to bring people who simply can’t stand the guy, onto the Train? For me, Trump can never overcome his disgusting life or his disgusting campaign. And no, I didn’t want Hillary. And yes, there have been a few positive things. Also a ton of stupidity. I will say when he does well, but I will be critical when he acts like a fool.

    • #18
    • July 11, 2017 at 10:15 am
    • Like4 likes
  19. Profile photo of outlaws6688 Coolidge

    Joe D. (View Comment):
    We may not agree with all of these, but to me Trump so far has:

    1. withdrew from the Paris accord (albeit with the ways for some future bad President to get us back in – to me this is the biggest achievement)
    2. gives good speeches (I liked the inauguration speech and the Poland speech)
    3. reigning in epa, and getting the keystone pipeline back on track (not sure how on track it is)
    4. appointed Gorsuch
    5. got his temporary travel ban in force (finally)
    6. got anti-ballistic-missile deployments back on track in poland
    7. theoretically implemented harder fight’n in iraq, getting iraq back under control (not sure how I feel about this one though – or if I believe it)
    8. implemented ageneral rule on regulations (withdrawing 2 for every 1 new one) – though I don’t know how effective this rule has been

    I would like to see him go on a rampage firing federal employees in the deep state so we could really seriously cut back on regulations. Then he could just refuse to hire anyone and he would independently cut the budget in a small way at least.

    And unlike a lot of nevers predictions he has not been a pro-abortion president at all to this point. In fact he reinstated the Mexico City Policy.

    • #19
    • July 11, 2017 at 10:52 am
    • Like3 likes
  20. Profile photo of drlorentz Member

    JuliaBlaschke (View Comment):
    For me, Trump can never overcome his disgusting life or his disgusting campaign

    I appreciate the clarity and honesty. I might even agree with the sentiment had I any interest whatsoever in celebrities or reality TV over the years. For me, only Trump’s official acts count. You can find those listed in a comment above.

    My complaint about Mr Long and his colleagues is that they deny that their visceral dislike of Trump dominates their thinking about his actions as president. In unguarded moments all they can do is complain about Trump the vulgarian whilst simultaneously averring that their personal feelings don’t matter.

    We’d all prefer a president that implemented policies we like and who also was a paragon of virtue and erudition. When you find one that can get elected, lemme know. In the meantime, you go to war with the army you have. Rumsfeld was criticized for saying this but he was exactly right. The question of whether or not to go to war in the first place is a separate issue.

    Edit: Full Rumsfeld quote fits our current situation to a ‘t’: “As you know, you go to war with the army you have, not the army you might want or wish to have at a later time.”

    • #20
    • July 11, 2017 at 10:57 am
    • Like9 likes
  21. Profile photo of Curt North Member

    Joe D. (View Comment):
    I would like to see him go on a rampage firing federal employees in the deep state so we could really seriously cut back on regulations. Then he could just refuse to hire anyone and he would independently cut the budget in a small way at least.

    I read a piece stating that the VA secretary has quietly but methodically fired 500 VA employees that were not doing their jobs right or weren’t needed. Not sure if they’re being replaced, but 500 from the deep state is at least a start.

    • #21
    • July 11, 2017 at 11:04 am
    • Like9 likes
  22. Profile photo of Quake Voter Thatcher

    Expecting Rob not to disdain Trump is like expecting Frazier not to disdain Norm.

    Rob pitched his tent with the Never Trumpers but decided to call his area Camp Not Trump Yet Forever.

    He’s been swapping out the tent pole for ten months. First the colossal loss of the GOP in November, then the Schumer-buddy NY liberal scoffing and now trade (even though he opposed Ryan’s ready made border adjustment tax and was willing to befriend the Chinese if they would control their psycho proxy state).

    If Rob’s deep personal disgust with Trump is irrelevant, why does he lead nearly discussion with it? Because it’s central to his entire evaluation of the man.

    Whenever a conservative critic of Trump focuses on his tweets and erratic personal conduct, they are typically more concerned with their personal brand and distaste for Trump.

    He’s simply too pugnacious, vulgar and lower-middlebrow for the coastal conservative crowd and their amour-propre is still deeply wounded that he doesn’t need them.

    • #22
    • July 11, 2017 at 12:23 pm
    • Like8 likes
  23. Profile photo of Umbra Fractus Coolidge

    JuliaBlaschke (View Comment):
    Why this constant yearning from you Trumpers to bring people who simply can’t stand the guy, onto the Train?

    This.

    Rob Long doesn’t like Donald Trump.

    So the [redacted] what?

    Why are people so obsessed with NeverTrump? Why does the fact that certain people on the right don’t like one particular politician bother people so much? This obsession with stamping out dissent is why people like Rob use terms like “slavish automatons.”

    • #23
    • July 11, 2017 at 1:42 pm
    • Like1 like
  24. Profile photo of outlaws6688 Coolidge

    Umbra Fractus (View Comment):

    JuliaBlaschke (View Comment):
    Why this constant yearning from you Trumpers to bring people who simply can’t stand the guy, onto the Train?

    This.

    Rob Long doesn’t like Donald Trump.

    So the [redacted] what?

    Why are people so obsessed with NeverTrump? Why does the fact that certain people on the right don’t like one particular politician bother people so much? This obsession with stamping out dissent is why people like Rob use terms like “slavish automatons.”

    Goes both ways and many Trump supporters are fine criticizing him, we are just sick of hearing about CHARACTER.

    • #24
    • July 11, 2017 at 1:44 pm
    • Like3 likes
  25. Profile photo of Umbra Fractus Coolidge

    outlaws6688 (View Comment):
    Goes both ways and many Trump supporters are fine criticizing him

    That’s not been my experience.

    • #25
    • July 11, 2017 at 2:08 pm
    • Like1 like
  26. Profile photo of Karl Nittinger Coolidge

    “Most conservative president since Eisenhower….” holy moly.

    • #26
    • July 11, 2017 at 6:25 pm
    • Like1 like
  27. Profile photo of Mike LaRoche Thatcher

    Karl Nittinger (View Comment):
    “Most conservative president since Eisenhower….” holy moly.

    Mike Stopa is right.

    • #27
    • July 11, 2017 at 8:02 pm
    • Like3 likes
  28. Profile photo of The Cloaked Gaijin Member

    Karl Nittinger (View Comment):
    “Most conservative president since Eisenhower….” holy moly.

    Regarding immigration and Operation Wetback, he certainly is.

    “President Dwight D. Eisenhower appointed Gen. Joseph Swing as INS Commissioner and charged him with resolving border control issues… command teams of 12 Border Patrol agents, buses, planes, and temporary processing stations began locating, processing, and deporting Mexicans who had illegally entered the United States. A total of 750 immigration and border patrol officers and investigators; 300 jeeps, cars and buses; and seven airplanes were allocated for the operation. Teams were focused on quick processing, as planes were able to coordinate with ground efforts and quickly deport people into Mexico. … While the operation included the cities of Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Chicago, its main targets were border areas in Texas and California. Overall, there were 1,078,168 apprehensions made in the first year of Operation Wetback, with 170,000 being rounded up from May to July 1954. In addition, many illegal immigrants fled to Mexico fearing arrest; over half a million from Texas alone. The total number of apprehensions would fall to just 242,608 in 1955, and would continuously decline by year until 1962, when there was a slight rise in apprehended workers.”

    1962? I guess Democrat presidents were more conservative than Republican presidents too.

    • #28
    • July 12, 2017 at 3:32 am
    • Like4 likes
  29. Profile photo of ToryWarWriter Member

    I havent listened to it all. But for someone who supposedly doesnt like Trump or his tone. @roblong, seems to have no problem behaving just like President Trump. He came to the immigration portion of the podcast filled with ignorance and bluster and was crushed by Stopa who actually knew what he was talking about. When engaging in a debate I have always found its best to be armed with facts. Talking over someone who is answering your question because you dont like the answer is incredibly rude. For someone who is priding himself on civil running a site for civil conversation, he doesnt seem to engage in it.

    Ill comment more after work and after I finish the podcast.

    • #29
    • July 12, 2017 at 4:11 am
    • Like8 likes
  30. Profile photo of Karl Nittinger Coolidge

    Mike LaRoche (View Comment):

    Karl Nittinger (View Comment):
    “Most conservative president since Eisenhower….” holy moly.

    Mike Stopa is right.

    In a universe that is separate from the one most people inhabit, perhaps.

    • #30
    • July 12, 2017 at 5:38 am
    • LikeLike
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