For and Against

With the election just about upon us, (hooray!) we strive to bring both points of view to the candidate. Representing the #NeverTrump position we’ve got Wisconsin talk radio show host Charlie Sykes, who takes us through his reasons for opposing Trump. On the other side, it’s Victor Davis Hanson, who makes his case with his usual clarity and logic. Fair and balanced, that’s what we are. Also, the Al Smith dinner, the impact of Wikileaks, and a recap of last week’s meet up in Manhattan. Personal to Mr. Charles Berry of St. Louis, MO: a hearty and happy 90th birthday, sir, and thanks for all the great tunes. Many more of both, please.

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Music from this week’s podcast: Too Much Monkey Business by Chuck Berry

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

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  1. Peter Robinson Contributor
    Peter Robinson
    @PeterRobinson

    I’ll say it again: EJ is a genius.

    • #1
  2. James Lileks Contributor
    James Lileks
    @jameslileks

    Peter Robinson: I’ll say it again: EJ is a genius.

    Agreed, except I look like Dr. Loveless.

    • #2
  3. Basil G Inactive
    Basil G
    @BasilG

    Won’t name names but one of these three is their typical ‘too cute by half’ in their sanctimony.   Can’t buy a product from him anymore.  VDH was straight-up amazing.  Sykes is a Mensch.  Robinson is his typical class act.  Rob is Rob, never taking himself too seriously and always entertaining.

     

     

    • #3
  4. Bruce M Coolidge
    Bruce M
    @BruceM

    I would say that I respect VDH and his opinions but his stated case for Mr. Trump revolved around Mr Trump’s stated positions vice HRC stated positions.  I think his argument fails to address  the concerns of a voter like me. I have voted for the GOP nominee in the last 10 elections, but Trump’s  foreign policy positions (NATO, Iraq War Bush accusations, Nuclear proliferation  etc), and his temperament and character scare me.  Nothing in his case for Trump Alliviated those concerns. I spent my entire career working with the military. The folks that I know are similar in their views and voting patterns.   Almost universally, the opinion of folks in that community who should be naturally sympathetic to the GOP nominee is that we all think that she is a crook but she is not crazy.  The opinion of Mr. Trump to put it bluntly, is that he is unstable and scary.  VDH case did not address this concern that exists among regular GOP voters. I don’t know how he can make a persuasive case without addressing that elephant in the room.

    • #4
  5. EJHill Podcaster
    EJHill
    @EJHill

    So.

    The national GOP doesn’t listen to the people, misleads them on what they’ll do once elected and Charlie Sykes says Trump’s popular revolt is the fault of talk radio. And our hosts nod like the dog in the window of the ’64 Chevy.

    Meanwhile, VDH relays exactly how corrupt and incestuous even the right wing media is.

    Sometimes I feel like I’m on a different planet.

    • #5
  6. Pete Inactive
    Pete
    @petermdaniels

    Great podcast, guys!  I feel for VDH — I know he writes some great stuff at NRO, but he’s not in the majority there.  He doesn’t deserve to be called a fascist, because he isn’t.  I’m pretty sensitive, and I hate being called liberal or a Clinton-supporter, because I’m not.  The point is, I sympathize, and it stinks that we’re stuck in this difficult situation where I have to disagree with people I respect.

     

    However, I will disagree that the comparison of the nasty comments exchanged.  We’re all getting insulted by the punky people on the other side.  It’s to be expected with all our elevated emotions as we work our way through this.  Does VDH get many death threats from anti-Trump conservatives?  Do people send threatening imagery to him?

     

    This, in my opinion, is a different sort of thing.

    • #6
  7. Annefy Member
    Annefy
    @Annefy

    Hey: didn’t you guys promise to get Prager on a podcast?

    • #7
  8. SParker Member
    SParker
    @SParker

    Great outro (overlooking the typ0 in the title).  Where’s CB’s Nobel Prize?

     

    • #8
  9. Egg Man Inactive
    Egg Man
    @EggMan

    Great podcast. I found myself mentally nodding in agreement with both guests. VDH had the good sense not to take the pro-Trump argument to some absurd extreme. I would give serious consideration to his case if I thought I was going to be in a swing state.

    This is a welcome change from, say, Dr Arne, who cited some never disclosed research indicating that Trump was interested in preserving the rule of law. We’ve watched Trump for well over a year and know such thoughts barely cross his mind.

    • #9
  10. Blue Yeti Admin
    Blue Yeti
    @BlueYeti

    SParker:Great outro (overlooking the typ0 in the title). Where’s CB’s Nobel Prize

    Fixed!

     

    • #10
  11. James Lileks Contributor
    James Lileks
    @jameslileks

    Basil G: Won’t name names but one of these three is their typical ‘too cute by half’ in their sanctimony. Can’t buy a product from him anymore.

    I might be too sensitive, but I suspect you mean me. Don’t let my wrongheadedness keep you from getting a great razors or togs or apps.  And I’m genuinely curious about what sounded sanctimonious. Was the comments about the “alt-right”?  Or just general insufficient admiration for Trump?

    • #11
  12. rico Inactive
    rico
    @rico

    The professor always amazes me with his intellect, but  in this podcast he also gave us a bit of his heart. What an inspiration.

    • #12
  13. James Lileks Contributor
    James Lileks
    @jameslileks

    EJHill:The national GOP doesn’t listen to the people, misleads them on what they’ll do once elected and Charlie Sykes says Trump’s popular revolt is the fault of talk radio. And our hosts nod like the dog in the window of the ’64 Chevy.

    Meanwhile, VDH relays exactly how corrupt and incestuous even the right wing media is.

    Should David French be disqualified from writing about the election? No. Would a line at the bottom of his pieces stating that he briefly considered running for President change anything? No.  Should spousal ties to other campaigns be noted in a footnote? Probably. But “corruption” is a big smelly word, and suggests that if you’re married to someone connected to a different tentacle of the Leviathan, that corrupts your work and your opinions. I can’t take his arguments against Trump seriously! His wife works for a lobbying group that deals with an agency Trump might eliminate!

    If that’s the case, was everything that person wrote before was just for show? Just a pose, words for bucks? Is the entirety of their work now dismissed, because you believe their opposition to Trump stems not from principle, but self-preservation?

    Hey, could be true for some, I suppose, but most of the writers in NR and Weekly Standard are opposing Trump on principle, because – as they see it – he is injurious to the cause. You can argue with their conclusions, but once we decide they’re all incestuous bubbly Beltway cocktail-circuit Eloi who meet at Duke Zebart’s to spit at the Moorlocks, we’re left with Hannity and Ingraham and Gallagher telling us that Jonah Goldberg isn’t really a conservative. Which is nuts.

    Talk radio IS to blame, in a sense; at its best, it strives for clarity and perspective. At its worst it amplifies the sense that the listeners and host have grabbed the live wire of truth, and need only communicate the received wisdom to the dullard sheep, whereupon enlightenment will occur. At its best it dissects the events of the day and takes into account the shifting demands of politics in a Republic; at its worst, it constructs a narrative where dissent or compromise is proof of collusion, perfidy, and secret agendas.

    That’s their schtick. I don’t know if Hannity et al believes it, and I don’t care. But it’s strange to say that a few magazine writers should be cast out beyond the walls, yet advocates for a man who contravenes most of their previously held ideals are immune from similar critiques.

     

     

    • #13
  14. RufusRJones Member
    RufusRJones
    @RufusRJones

    “Paul Ryan considers himself to be a classical liberal.” He is, and I agree with that. The problem is, you can’t do any of that under a discretionary Fed policy. Spending can’t be fixed, entitlements can’t be fixed, and dependency, rent seeking, and corruption pays under this system. The old system “worked” until the Soviet Union collapsed, globalized labor came about, and deflationary technology  took over. Now the GOP is screwed because more and more have to vote Democrat to survive.

    The GOP has to dissect what David Stockman is saying and operate accordingly. I pay huge money for hedge fund analysis of this stuff and he’s 100% right.

    David Stockman

    David Stockman

    The other thing is the GOP has to switch to a two stage national primary to weed out the vanity candidates. Ben Carson just makes us look stupid.

    Best article ever

    Fiscal Dominance   

    Also, Charles Murray’s UBI plan is a great way to transition out of the old inflationist system, but he never explains it that way. Very good idea.

    Fact: There is no combination of growth and inflation that will start a  mitigating trend for all of our public and private debt. The GOP has to get ready for this.

     

     

     

    • #14
  15. RufusRJones Member
    RufusRJones
    @RufusRJones

    Also Rep. Tom Emmer and Rep. Steve Scalise are doing their best to overhaul the financial system in the sense that I’m talking about. Related to that, it’s critical that Jason Lewis win in MNCD 2. this year. He knows this stuff backwards and forwards.

    • #15
  16. RufusRJones Member
    RufusRJones
    @RufusRJones

    Now I’m on the abortion part.

    The GOP has to drop the abortion threats. It scares women and it grows Planned Parenthood. How many abortions does it take to cover all of their fixed and semi-fixed overhead?

    • #16
  17. RufusRJones Member
    RufusRJones
    @RufusRJones

    re: “Self driving cars killing jobs.” We have to switch to a pre Fed deflationary economy, which is going to be pure hell. The only way out of this is better living through purchasing power instead of inflationist “growth.” The problem is the parasites in government can’t tax deflation generally, plus their FICA slave scam goes away with pitchforks and torches.

    • #17
  18. Brian Watt Inactive
    Brian Watt
    @BrianWatt

    James Lileks:

    EJHill:The national GOP doesn’t listen to the people, misleads them on what they’ll do once elected and Charlie Sykes says Trump’s popular revolt is the fault of talk radio. And our hosts nod like the dog in the window of the ’64 Chevy.

    Meanwhile, VDH relays exactly how corrupt and incestuous even the right wing media is.

    Should David French be disqualified from writing about the election? No. Would a line at the bottom of his pieces stating that he briefly considered running for President change anything? No. Should spousal ties to other campaigns be noted in a footnote? Probably. But “corruption” is a big smelly word, and suggests that if you’re married to someone connected to a different tentacle of the Leviathan, that corrupts your work and your opinions. I can’t take his arguments against Trump seriously! His wife works for a lobbying group that deals with an agency Trump might eliminate!

    If that’s the case, was everything that person wrote before was just for show? Just a pose, words for bucks? Is the entirety of their work now dismissed, because you believe their opposition to Trump stems not from principle, but self-preservation?

    Hey, could be true for some, I suppose, but most of the writers in NR and Weekly Standard are opposing Trump on principle, because – as they see it – he is injurious to the cause. You can argue with their conclusions, but once we decide they’re all incestuous bubbly Beltway cocktail-circuit Eloi who meet at Duke Zebart’s to spit at the Moorlocks, we’re left with Hannity and Ingraham and Gallagher telling us that Jonah Goldberg isn’t really a conservative. Which is nuts.

    Talk radio IS to blame, in a sense; at its best, it strives for clarity and perspective. At its worst it amplifies the sense that the listeners and host have grabbed the live wire of truth, and need only communicate the received wisdom to the dullard sheep, whereupon enlightenment will occur. At its best it dissects the events of the day and takes into account the shifting demands of politics in a Republic; at its worst, it constructs a narrative where dissent or compromise is proof of collusion, perfidy, and secret agendas.

    That’s their schtick. I don’t know if Hannity et al believes it, and I don’t care. But it’s strange to say that a few magazine writers should be cast out beyond the walls, yet advocates for a man who contravenes most of their previously held ideals are immune from similar critiques.

    Thank you, James for responding to this. I thought the criticism of French by VDH was a bit much and something unworthy of someone like Dr. Hanson. Especially in light of the death threats and abuse that David French and his family have experienced in daring to voice his opposition to Trump as he relates today on NRO.

    • #18
  19. EJHill Podcaster
    EJHill
    @EJHill

    James Lileks: But “corruption” is a big smelly word, and suggests that if you’re married to someone connected to a different tentacle of the Leviathan, that corrupts your work and your opinions.

    When who wins and who loses an election determines the size of your household budget, whether your kids go to public or private schools (and how exclusive), when it determines the square footage of your home or whether you can afford that summer place by the lake… Yeah, that big smelly word is just the one I’m looking for. And the stink covers everything and everyone – conservative, progressive and everything in between.

    The biggest sin in journalism is not what you report, it’s always what you don’t report and why. Is your wife working for a candidate? Do you see candidates socially? Are they in-laws? Relatives? Are you giving their children internships of vice-versa?

    It’s bad for journalism, it’s bad for the republic. It’s wrong for Chuck Todd and it’s wrong for George Will. It’s bad in Washington and it’s bad in Cleveland. (Remember when Sherrod Brown’s wife worked at the Plain Dealer and was caught doing oppo work at a rally for his opponent?)

    I have family members in national politics. I’ve met national journalists at social events in their home. I was just as disgusted by that as I was by the Clintonistas talking about journalistic “friendlies” they could count on to advance their lies.

    And that’s my principled stand.

     

    • #19
  20. LowcountryJoe Inactive
    LowcountryJoe
    @LowcountryJoe

    James Lileks:

    Was the comments about the “alt-right”? Or just general insufficient admiration for Trump?

    After this farce plays-out and Republicans get spanked for choosing a bad candidate, what do you envision the ideological purge looking like, Mr. Lileks?

    I mean, some faction has to go, don’t they? I think of the ‘alt-right’ as the faction with the anti-foreign bias: those skeptical of trade and bothered by immigrants. The other faction with considerably less hostility toward both issues which had previously been the bulk of the party.  Now I’m not so sure where the bulk of Republicans are. Maybe I’m wrong about where the split is but it is how I see it.

    Does the post-election system reconfiguration include an ALT-RIGHT-DELETE? Does the ‘alt-right’ become the base? Or do both try to maintain a strained relationship?

    • #20
  21. Brian Watt Inactive
    Brian Watt
    @BrianWatt

    EJHill:

    James Lileks: But “corruption” is a big smelly word, and suggests that if you’re married to someone connected to a different tentacle of the Leviathan, that corrupts your work and your opinions.

    When who wins and who loses an election determines the size of your household budget, whether your kids go to public or private schools (and how exclusive), when it determines the square footage of your home or whether you can afford that summer place by the lake… Yeah, that big smelly word is just the one I’m looking for. And the stink covers everything and everyone – conservative, progressive and everything in between.

    The biggest sin in journalism is not what you report, it’s always what you don’t report and why. Is your wife working for a candidate? Do you see candidates socially? Are they in-laws? Relatives? Are you giving their children internships of vice-versa?

    It’s bad for journalism, it’s bad for the republic. It’s wrong for Chuck Todd and it’s wrong for George Will. It’s bad in Washington and it’s bad in Cleveland. (Remember when Sherrod Brown’s wife worked at the Plain Dealer and was caught doing oppo work at a rally for his opponent?)

    I have family members in national politics. I’ve met national journalists at social events in their home. I was just as disgusted by that as I was by the Clintonistas talking about journalistic “friendlies” they could count on to advance their lies.

    And that’s my principled stand.

    Wait a minute. George Will is wrong because his wife worked on Scott Walker’s campaign? Will made it a point to disclose that anytime he was a panelist on a talking heads show and in his columns on NRO and elsewhere until Walker dropped out. Give me a break! Now who is virtue mongering to borrow VDH’s expression?

    • #21
  22. EJHill Podcaster
    EJHill
    @EJHill

    Brian Watt: George Will is wrong because his wife worked on Scott Walker’s campaign?

    This is an issue that’s not judged on individual incidents but in the totality of its practice. As a cop, would you have taken lead in an investigation of a family member or close friend? Do doctors practice on their families?

    To work, self governance needs both a healthy dose of trust in political institutions and a distrust of the political professionals. To make that work you need trustworthy information. When members of the press are in bed with the political class – and I mean that phrase in every sense, both metaphorically and literally – that’s difficult to achieve. And you should hold media members on both sides of the aisle to the same standard, and I do.

    Journalists who are married to hedge fund managers shouldn’t cover Wall Street and people who cover politics shouldn’t have equally disqualifying relationships.

    • #22
  23. EJHill Podcaster
    EJHill
    @EJHill

    On these pages right now we’re spending more time discussing the source of the Podesta email leak than the actual contents of the leak. Ok, you say, that’s fair game. Question the source, the veracity of the source and the motivations of the source.

    Journalists and politicians alike are saying the truth is tainted by the association. Yet, you’re unwilling to say that all political coverage is tainted by the family and personal associations of journalists and the political class.

    When it’s revealed that CNN employees are sharing debate questions with a certain candidate it should be a scandal. But it’s only made possible by our acceptance of these cozy relationships.

     

    • #23
  24. Brian Watt Inactive
    Brian Watt
    @BrianWatt

    EJHill:

    Brian Watt: George Will is wrong because his wife worked on Scott Walker’s campaign?

    This is an issue that’s not judged on individual incidents but in the totality of its practice.

    And yet you decided to make an example of George Will who behaved ethically and responsibly.

    As a cop, would you have taken lead in an investigation of a family member or close friend? Do doctors practice on their families?

    Perhaps draft legislation should be submitted to Congress that states that spouses of political columnists or spouses of politicians or Supreme Court justices must find employment outside of the public arena of politics or the media. Hell, we’re not much of free country anyway. Let’s go whole hog.

    To work, self governance needs both a healthy dose of trust in political institutions and a distrust of the political professionals. To make that work you need trustworthy information. When members of the press are in bed with the political class – and I mean that phrase in every sense, both metaphorically and literally – that’s difficult to achieve. And you should hold media members on both sides of the aisle to the same standard, and I do.

    Well, good for you. I do, too. But it also requires that Americans keep up-to-date on who’s in bed with whom when it becomes public knowledge while at the same time not instantly demonizing people out of ignorance because a spouse has chosen to work for or otherwise support a candidate.

    Journalists who are married to hedge fund managers shouldn’t cover Wall Street and people who cover politics shouldn’t have equally disqualifying relationships.

    That’s a matter of ethics by news organizations which are often devoid of ethics. So, in the meantime, it’s a matter of crying foul and making a stink of it AFTER the fact, if the reporting is obviously biased and over the top. I think it’s incumbent on reporters to disclose to their employers whether their spouse’s profession may be considered a conflict of interest for the given media outlet and then let the management of said outlet to determine whether this might be a problem for their credibility. Good luck trying to make rules any harder than that.

     

    • #24
  25. Brian Watt Inactive
    Brian Watt
    @BrianWatt

    EJHill:On these pages right now we’re spending more time discussing the source of the Podesta email leak than the actual contents of the leak. Ok, you say, that’s fair game. Question the source, the veracity of the source and the motivations of the source.

    Journalists and politicians alike are saying the truth is tainted by the association. Yet, you’re unwilling to say that all political coverage is tainted by the family and personal associations of journalists and the political class.

    When it’s revealed that CNN employees are sharing debate questions with a certain candidate it should be a scandal. But it’s only made possible by our acceptance of these cozy relationships.

    Who are you talking to in this comment?  I’ve never espoused or signed onto any of these positions or sentiments. Or is it James Lileks you’re referring to?

    • #25
  26. EJHill Podcaster
    EJHill
    @EJHill

    Brian Watt: Who are you talking to in this comment?

    It’s not directed “at” anyone. It’s merely an example of how information can become secondary to its source and why these entanglements are detrimental.

    I’m not saying “there oughtta be a law!” or anything of the type. And asking the bosses to police it is hilarious since two of the big five broadcast news media divisions had siblings with high profile jobs in the Obama Administration. Hell, one of them openly bragged about manipulating the coverage. (Ben and David Rhodes, I’m looking at you.)

    All I’m saying is that, if you direct a suspicious eye towards liberals who engage in this, you need to direct the same suspicion to conservatives as well.

    Now, I have to temporarily bow out of the conversation because I have to go make TV.

    • #26
  27. Israel P. Inactive
    Israel P.
    @IsraelP

    George Will always had a line at the bottom of his column that his wife worked for Scott Walker’s campaign and I never saw anything untoward there.

    • #27
  28. James Lileks Contributor
    James Lileks
    @jameslileks

    EJHill: When who wins and who loses an election determines the size of your household budget, whether your kids go to public or private schools (and how exclusive), when it determines the square footage of your home or whether you can afford that summer place by the lake… Yeah, that big smelly word is just the one I’m looking for. And the stink covers everything and everyone – conservative, progressive and everything in between.

    Names? I’m not being thick, I’m just wondering who you have in mind.  (I do not discount the possibility that I am also thick.)

     

    Journalists who are married to hedge fund managers shouldn’t cover Wall Street and people who cover politics shouldn’t have equally disqualifying relationships.

     

    When I was a Beltway opinion writer my wife was with DOJ. I would never write about anything she was involved with; bureau chiefs know what your spouse does, and you don’t cross the streams. Ditto in my job here in this market. When my wife was an assistant Attorney General I didn’t write about the AG office, but that didn’t mean I couldn’t write about local politics.

     

    I have family members in national politics.

    Should we assume this affects your excellent satirical photoshops? I don’t. But should we be informed who these people are, just in case?

    • #28
  29. Brian Watt Inactive
    Brian Watt
    @BrianWatt

    EJHill:

    Brian Watt: Who are you talking to in this comment?

    It’s not directed “at” anyone. It’s merely an example of how information can become secondary to its source and why these entanglements are detrimental.

    I’m not saying “there oughtta be a law!” or anything of the type. And asking the bosses to police it is hilarious since two of the big five broadcast news media divisions had siblings with high profile jobs in the Obama Administration. Hell, one of them openly bragged about manipulating the coverage. (Ben and David Rhodes, I’m looking at you.)

    All I’m saying is that, if you direct a suspicious eye towards liberals who engage in this, you need to direct the same suspicion to conservatives as well.

    Now, I have to temporarily bow out of the conversation because I have to go make TV.

    It was the “…Yet, you’re unwilling to say…” that must have thrown me off.

    Go in peace. Go make good TV. It’s a rarity. Cheers.

    • #29
  30. James Lileks Contributor
    James Lileks
    @jameslileks

    LowcountryJoe:After this farce plays-out and Republicans get spanked for choosing a bad candidate, what do you envision the ideological purge looking like, Mr. Lileks?

    I mean, some faction has to go, don’t they? I think of the ‘alt-right’ as the faction with the anti-foreign bias: those skeptical of trade and bothered by immigrants. The other faction with considerably less hostility toward both issues which had previously been the bulk of the party. Now I’m not so sure where the bulk of Republicans are. Maybe I’m wrong about where the split is but it is how I see it.

    You’re right – it’s tough. You can’t “purge” anyone, and you can’t say that people who have questions about trade or want immigration controls ought to be booted. I’m not particularly het up about the former, but I am concerned about the latter, and it’s not from “xenophobia” or a sense of racial grievance.

    They’re not alt-right issues, but the alt-right have an attitude and style that needs to be confronted and denounced. I don’t care if they’re just being provocative and un-PC and wear their indifference towards civil discussion as proof they are immune from all the scolding lectures from the left; they’re nasty people.

    We spent a great deal of time and effort portraying the ideas of classical liberalism as supra-racial, – which they are – and the noisy crowd of white-identity maroons has set back the big-tent image 40 years. They may not be numerically significant, but in the game of public image, they’ve been a disaster, and played right into the image the Left has been pushing for decades.

    • #30
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