Build That Wall

This week, we present a super-sized edition of the Ricochet Podcast (75 minutes plus of thoughtful jabbering!) where within, we attempt to answer a few burning questions: First, is Peter Robinson in the tank for Trump? Rob Long and James Lileks investigate.

Then, Tevi Troy stops by to opine on his recent Politico piece, How GOP Intellectuals’ Feud With the Base Is Remaking U.S. Politics. Then, our old pal Mickey Kaus (aka The World’s Most Unlikely Trump Supporter) joins to take a victory lap. Why? Because he’s been saying for years that immigration would be a make or break issue for Republicans and he was right. But how does a liberal Democrat square his support for The Donald. You’ll have to tune in to find out.

Music from this week’s episode:
You Only Live Twice by Nancy Sinatra

The brand new opening sequence for the Ricochet Podcast was composed and produced by James Lileks.

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There are 51 comments.

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  1. Grendel Member
    Grendel
    @Grendel

    Rob’s desire to see Wall-Street types walking around in barrels and jumping out of windows is misplaced. The 2008 “financial crisis” was entirely a government production.
    At the root of the “financial crisis” were sub-prime mortgages underwritten by Fanny and Freddie at Congress’ insistence. Fanny and Freddy sold mortgage-backed securities (MBS) that were an impenetrable mix of good and bad mortgages. When the resulting housing bubble began to collapse, some people stopped payments on their mortgages, and no one knew what any particular MBS was really worth. Hence, there was no market for MBSs; their values were essentially zero.
    Two financial firms got in trouble because the government required that securities be carried on their books at market rather than face value. The rest of Wall Street were bullied into accepting “bail-out” funds that they didn’t need and that they paid back as soon as they were allowed to.
    All the concurrent indignation and outrage at credit default swaps and other technical financial instruments were smoke screen.  Notwithstanding the predictions of catastrophe from the scolds, the financial system reconciled all that smoothly.  There were no panicky headlines because there were no problems.
    The people who should be flogged at the cart-tail are the politicians and regulators, not the financiers and bankers.

    • #31
  2. Nick Stuart Inactive
    Nick Stuart
    @NickStuart

    Meanwhile, as auto-renew switches flicker off all over Ricochet, at PTB Headquarters in Belmont, the realization slowly begins to dawn “Trump supporters’ money spends too.”

    • #32
  3. Peter Robinson Contributor
    Peter Robinson
    @PeterRobinson

    RyanM:That was the most depressing first several minutes of a podcast… haven’t listened to the whole thing.

    Peter, I’m led to believe one of two things: 1) you haven’t read a word I’ve written on all your recent posts, 2) I’m not nearly as convincing as I thought.

    I’m personifying for effect, but many people have been making these arguments, and people I know you’re reading.

    I think Rob’s point was amazingly spot on when he said that we just can’t have a man like that- even if he actually followed through on what he says- we can’t be a nation that finds it acceptable to elect a man of Trump’s character and disposition into that office. (My paraphrase)

    This baffles me.

    We’re even, because the #NeverTrump position is starting to baffle me. Say whatever you’d like about Donald Trump’s character, you can’t persuade me–or, polls indicate, some large number of Americans–that he’s as bad as Hillary. You can indeed persuade me that he’s bad–and I have indeed been keeping up with my reading here at Ricochet–but you can’t persuade me he’s that bad. I cite only one instance of Hillary’s perduring bad faith, because it’s enough: In 1978 she put up only $1K to trade in cattle futures at a level that would ordinarily have required $12K in cash–and in ten months turned than into $100K. Which is, of course, nonsense. The traders working with her were in one way or another paying her off, and everyone who has looked at the trades has come to the same conclusion. In brief, she has been lying to us all for almost four decades–for so long that we’ve all become inured to it.

    Hillary may be polished where Trump is vulgar, but that’s purely a matter of taste. She’s a determined, inveterate liar–and one who’s determined to expand federal power and continue abortion on demand. The idea that anyone would sully himself by voting for Trump while remaining pristine in voting for Clinton–well, as I say, I’m baffled.

    Anyone who says Trump’s character categorically disqualifies him for office must, as a matter of simple decency and logic, say the same of Hillary. But one or the other will most certainly take the oath of office in about ten months. Sit it all out if you’d like. I myself still feel I have a duty to think it through as best I can, and then…to vote.

    • #33
  4. Mate De Inactive
    Mate De
    @MateDe

    Peter Robinson:

    RyanM:That was the most depressing first several minutes of a podcast… haven’t listened to the whole thing.

    Peter, I’m led to believe one of two things: 1) you haven’t read a word I’ve written on all your recent posts, 2) I’m not nearly as convincing as I thought.

    I’m personifying for effect, but many people have been making these arguments, and people I know you’re reading.

    I think Rob’s point was amazingly spot on when he said that we just can’t have a man like that- even if he actually followed through on what he says- we can’t be a nation that finds it acceptable to elect a man of Trump’s character and disposition into that office. (My paraphrase)

    This baffles me.

    We’re even, because the #NeverTrump position is starting to baffle me. Say whatever you’d like about Donald Trump’s character, you can’t persuade me–or, polls indicate, some large number of Americans–that he’s as bad as Hillary. You can indeed persuade me that he’s bad–and I have indeed been keeping up with my reading here at Ricochet–but you can’t persuade me he’s that bad. I cite only one instance of Hillary’s perduring bad faith, because it’s enough: In 1978 she put up only $1K to trade in cattle futures at a level that would ordinarily have required $12K in cash–and in ten months turned than into $100K. Which is, of course, nonsense. The traders working with her were in one way or another paying her off, and everyone who has looked at the trades has come to the same conclusion. In brief, she has been lying to us all for almost four decades–for so long that we’ve all become inured to it.

    Hillary may be polished where Trump is vulgar, but that’s purely a matter of taste. She’s a determined, inveterate liar–and one who’s determined to expand federal power and continue abortion on demand. The idea that anyone would sully himself by voting for Trump while remaining pristine in voting for Clinton–well, as I say, I’m baffled.

    Anyone who says Trump’s character categorically disqualifies him for office must, as a matter of simple decency and logic, say the same of Hillary. But one or the other will most certainly take the oath of office in about ten months. Sit it all out if you’d like. I myself still feel I have a duty to think it through as best I can, and then…to vote.

    Drop the mic, Mr Robinson!!

    • #34
  5. TKC1101 Inactive
    TKC1101
    @TKC1101

    When  things were going better and the focus was on surviving Obama, this podcast was required listening.

    Now that there is a path to victory for a conservative position with a national interest foundation it has become a series of psychodramas on unacceptable personalities. There is a lot of “not our kind of people” flavor to the talk.

    Please consider expanding the offering of Ricochet to embrace different flavors of conservatism and enlarge the increasing contributor extreme monoculture.

    • #35
  6. Owen Findy Member
    Owen Findy
    @OwenFindy

    Rob:  Outstanding, astute extrapolation from your own fear of making wrong predictions about Trump, to the likelihood of an even greater such weakness in pundits whose livelihood is making predictions.

    Thanks for shining a light on that.

    • #36
  7. Max Ledoux Coolidge
    Max Ledoux
    @Max

    Jim Beck: many folks have replied that if it takes that man to stop the status quo of corruption, governmental deceit (rule by activists and side deals), a leadership who finds America distasteful then we will vote for that man.

    What I don’t understand is why anyone thinks that Trump will “stop the status quo of corruption, governmental deceit (rule by activists and side deals), a leadership who finds America distasteful.”

    I do believe that Trump is patriotic. But he has never shown that he’s in any way interested in ending “the status quo of corruption.” To the contrary, one of his major selling points is that he has bought politicians over the years and can supposedly navigate the (“corrupt”) system.

    • #37
  8. Jim Beck Inactive
    Jim Beck
    @JimBeck

    Morning Max,

    Thinking about the bureaucratic corruption, will there be more Lois Lerners under Trump?  I don’t see how the bureaucracy joins with Trump to punish enemies.  The bureaucracy has a long alliance with the Democratic Party, each rewarding and covering for each other.  Concerning corrupt labor, why would the major unions think that Trump would appoint NLRB members more sympathetic than Clinton.  Concerning, crony capitalism where as the Clinton Foundation benefits from the media cloaking device, the media will do the full Abu Ghraib, 50 front page stories on any Trump crony deal, “rich man cheats little man for rich pals”.  Also the media will make heroes of whistle blowers who expose Trump, and the media will allow Clinton to crush whistle blowers like they have allowed Obama to silence whistle blowers.  In international politics, I think Clinton would make quid pro quo alliances which I think are more dangerous than the alliances Trump would.  Clinton would have more tendency to work with Iran and Saudi Arabia, and the Muslim Brotherhood, she has already done so both publically and privately.  Clinton would tend to bind us to multinational treaties which are harmful to us like climate and trade.  Trump I imagine would make more one to one country treaties, which I think would be less secretive. Again the media would like nothing more than to show that Trump has made a bad or corrupt treaty.  The media will make corruption harder for Trump, they will and have covered up for Clinton.

    If I am missing the path where Trump’s ability to cause damage is greater than Clinton’s in the area of governmental corruption, show me how that works.

    • #38
  9. Max Ledoux Coolidge
    Max Ledoux
    @Max

    Jim Beck: The media will make corruption harder for Trump

    I don’t know what you base this assumption on.

    Jim Beck: they will and have covered up for Clinton.

    Sure. I don’t disagree.

    Jim Beck: If I am missing the path where Trump’s ability to cause damage is greater than Clinton’s in the area of governmental corruption, show me how that works.

    That’s not the argument I made. You appeared to be making the argument, or at least possibly agree with it, that Trump would “stop the status quo of corruption, governmental deceit.”

    • #39
  10. Carey J. Inactive
    Carey J.
    @CareyJ

    James Lileks:

    Aaron Miller: James’s point that “a president can’t say that” (can’t say outrageous things) is strange. A year ago, you would have said “someone running for President can’t say that.” It seems wishful thinking to believe that Trump would censor himself in office.

    Things were different a year ago.

    I think he would be able to censor himself in office; we have been assured that he can be Presidential, and we won’t believe how Presidential he can be.

    It depends on which president his “Presidentiality” is modeled after. Andrew Jackson had a bit of a temper, and he didn’t much care for wannabe nations dissing America. He was also the only president ever to pay off the national debt.

    We could use a President like Andrew Jackson, again.

    • #40
  11. Jim Beck Inactive
    Jim Beck
    @JimBeck

    Afternoon again Max,

    Maybe a clearer wording would be that the current type of corrupted governance where the IRS, EPA, HUD, DOJ are torqued to punish your enemies, and reward your friends (and get donations as well) will dramatically change under Trump. Not because Trump is a warrior for honest government but that he has no natural allies with which to work and he holds no IOU’s on anyone to nudge favors.  Corruption for him will be harder because the bureaucracy will try to grind his policies to a stand still so he will not have any successes.  The bureaucracy will do this to empower their patron (or Patreon nod to our super host James).

    As I see it playing out now, the media narrative is that Trump (as many here have noted) is the perfect caricature of Republicans, greedy and rich, egotistical, racist, xenophobic, a rich Archie Bunker, Clinton flawed but with her heart in the right place and in the normal range of past presidents, and with her beliefs inline with the direction of history.  And being a progressive with the correct and proper beliefs, Clinton will get press indulgences, and they will hide her unmatched avarice and deceit.  To upend Trump would put you up with Woodward, even better than Couric.

    How do you see the media neutral with Trump, not making his smallest errors into Second Coming disasters?  Any chance to dig up a hint of corruption on Trump would put a journalist or whistler blower government worker into the progressive hall of fame.  How will the media make it as easy for Trump to be Clinton Foundation corrupt?

    • #41
  12. Fresch Fisch Member
    Fresch Fisch
    @FreschFisch

    Can you guys stop with the Lileks in the Speedo thing? Hugh? Come on.

    I finally got the sight of Lileks sleep on a king size mattress out of my head and now the Speedo. Yikes.

    • #42
  13. Rightfromthestart Coolidge
    Rightfromthestart
    @Rightfromthestart

    ‘We could use a President like Andrew Jackson, again.’

    And our old LaSalle ran great.

    Sorry, couldn’t resist.

    • #43
  14. Aaron Miller Inactive
    Aaron Miller
    @AaronMiller

    Jim, let’s not forget which is the stupid party.

    Whenever Trump proposes actions agreeable to the Left, odds are that neither Democrats nor media hippies will oppose him on it. While they benefit from making Republicans look evil, they also benefit from praising pseudo-conservatives for “bipartisanship” and using such “reasonable compromise” to paint other Republicans as extremists. Bureaucrats likewise would be happy to work with a Republican who moves the middle left.

    Certainly, Clinton has more political resources and contacts, both domestically and abroad. But Trump would not meet heavy resistance in many cases. The few policies discussed during a campaign represent only a fraction of any president’s potential influence.

    • #44
  15. Jim Beck Inactive
    Jim Beck
    @JimBeck

    Evening Aaron,

    I think there are reasons that alliances between Democrats, the media and Trump are going to be difficult to form. Trump is the ultimate hazard to the ruling class myth that political leadership is different, more nuanced, more far sighted,  requiring a certain education from certain schools, a certain experience, certain connections.  If this wack-job Trump can come in and do a passible job at leading this country then all bets are off, anybody can be considered for the job.  The ruling class, if Trump is elected wants Trump to fail spectacularly,  imagine the glee certain folks would have both Dem and Repub, maybe even here.

    For Dems, voting with Trump is especially risky.  Say Trump were to propose to make Obamacare single payer.  What is the safe vote for a Dem? What if single payer makes the program less workable and more unpopular, well you voted with this idiot. You would be gone in the next primary.  If single payer was successful, Trump would get the credit and unless you as a Dem could fund raise for him, you would get little credit from either the public or Trump.  Also you would be labeled as the guy who voted with Trump and even if single payer worked out, any primary challenger would tar you as a turn coat. And in general terms what liberal policy could any president pass which would work, free college?  I think that leftist policies fail and I don’t think the media would try to cover the failures.

    The media is even less likely to see or speak success of any Trump proposal.  Woodward did not become Woodward for saying how wonderful Nixon was for establishing the EPA.  Woodward became Woodward for bringing Nixon down, every journalist knows this and starts drooling at the thought that for every Trump failure there is a Cindy Sheehan who could be the start of your great career.

    If you could show me how a certain policy might cause an alliance between Dems and Trump, I would be glad to listen.

    • #45
  16. RyanM Member
    RyanM
    @RyanM

    Peter Robinson:We’re even [snip]

    Anyone who says Trump’s character categorically disqualifies him for office must, as a matter of simple decency and logic, say the same of Hillary.

    It’s a perfectly respectable position, but here’s my problem. Hillary is a person of bad character (though not overt, which I actually think is important), obviously. But she’s not associated with conservatives.

    You wrote a wonderful book about how Ronald Reagan changed your life (I read it), and it was a book about intangibles. It wasn’t about tearing down the wall, trickle-down economics, or appointing supreme Court justices. It was about the man’s character and how that created lessons for your own character (as well as how that informed and drove his policies).

    We’ve had Bill Clinton and Barack Obama showing this country all about what democrats require as far as character goes. Infidelity, pettiness, bitterness, divisiveness… it’s what has created a national attitude that gave rise to someone like trump. It validates and encourages the demons on our shoulders. Hillary will be similar, but still on the side of liberals.

    Supporting Trump means justifying all of that by doubling down on it. It means the demon isn’t on one shoulder anymore, but both.

    If the goodness and strong character of Ronald Reagan changed your life, how will our lives be changed by all the opposite in Trump??

    That worries me far more than anything Hillary can do.

    • #46
  17. RyanM Member
    RyanM
    @RyanM

    Peter Robinson: The idea that anyone would sully himself by voting for Trump while remaining pristine in voting for Clinton–well, as I say, I’m baffled.

    By the way, I do agree with all of this, but I think we need to think more about the intangibles. Why was it different the way Bill Clinton was openly sleepy vs. JFK’s hidden sleeze? It was…

    We don’t expect president’s to be perfect, but there is still importance in the symbolism.

    And I’m not voting for Hillary because I think she’s better. I’m not voting for her at all. I’m abstaining because neither is better, and because one will be far worse for conservatism.

    As I said to Rachel, it’s not an A-B race, it’s an A-B-C race, where C is for the intangibles, and refusing to support either of these characters does indeed send a message.

    • #47
  18. Aimee Jones Inactive
    Aimee Jones
    @AimeeJones

    I just posted this in reply to a thread on the Member Feed, but thought it would be appropriate here too…

    After reading some of these comments, I must say I am saddened by the tone and almost nastiness directed at Rob, Peter and James. They have given us a wonderful gift here at Ricochet that fosters a spirit of conversation and give-and-take. Maybe I’m just old school, but I think there should be a level of respect for those that envisioned and created this space – if for no other reason than they did this.

    I don’t agree with Peter’s decision to begrudgingly vote for Trump, but I also don’t feel like he has betrayed me, as it seems others do. Perhaps Rob and James did get a little emotional with Mickey, but the way I look at it is they have long been friends and we just got a glimpse into a true conversation between them. I enjoyed the back-and-forth.

    I don’t want Rob, James and Peter to be looking over their shoulder during every podcast wondering if they said exactly the right thing in exactly the right way at exactly the right time for fear they will get some scathing note from a member threatening to drop his or her membership. It will change the dynamic, and not for the better.

    If we’re not careful here in our bitterness over this election and all the difficult questions it is forcing conservatives to work out, we’re going to lose something pretty terrific. No politician – particularly not Trump – is worth that.

    • #48
  19. Paul Erickson Inactive
    Paul Erickson
    @PaulErickson

    Aimee Jones: After reading some of these comments, I must say I am saddened by the tone and almost nastiness directed at Rob, Peter and James.

    Hmm.  I’m not picking it up here.  There’s been some nasty stuff in recent threads, but this one seems pretty tame and respectful to me.

    • #49
  20. RyanM Member
    RyanM
    @RyanM

    Aimee Jones:

    I don’t want Rob, James and Peter to be looking over their shoulder during every podcast wondering if they said exactly the right thing in exactly the right way at exactly the right time …

    If we’re not careful here in our bitterness over this election and all the difficult questions it is forcing conservatives to work out, we’re going to lose something pretty terrific. No politician – particularly not Trump – is worth that.

    Sez you, Trumpkin!   ;)

    Really, I hope nothing I’ve said has given you the impression that I hold Peter, Rob and James in anything other than the highest of respect and (as much as is possible with political pundits) adoration.  I’m actually exceedingly flattered that Peter replied to my comment (see above!) and is considering the arguments made on his post.  It can be frustrating, listening to the podcast, because we’ve been hashing this stuff out in all of the comments sections; you half expect them to throw in the occasional “I know (member X) has been arguing that… xyz … but,” and you find yourself talking to the podcasters “Exactly!  I’ve been saying that all week!” or “Damnit, have you not been listening?!”

    Ricochet is funny like that, because it’s a conversation going on pretty much constantly, and then guests come on who aren’t privy to all of it.

    Regardless, I agree with your comment Aimee.

    • #50
  21. Ed G. Member
    Ed G.
    @EdG

    I’m not much moved by the Kremlinology analogy. Isn’t that always the case that we have to divine what a candidate really wants and what a candidate will be willing to compromise? Yeah, we had a pretty good idea of what Reagan wanted, yet he was willing to deal with the Democrat controlled congress. Currently, I think there is increasing doubt both about what the Republican establishment wants and about their competence to compromise (though there’s little question about their willingness to compromise, all those nasty consequences they saved us from notwithstanding).

    • #51
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