Pardon Us

Gotta make this brief as we are very, very busy around here: Peter Robinson? Not here this week. Jon Gabriel sits in for him. It’s really cold in NYC today. We break down the dumpster fire Democratic debate. Then, author and New York Times science writer (no that’s not a typo) John Tierny on his book The Power of Bad: How the Negativity Effect Rules Us and How We Can Rule It  We’re positive you are going to like it. Then, our pal Christina Hoffs Sommers from the Femsplainers podcast stops by to talk about Harvey Weinstein, Democratic primary candidate wackiness (and woke-i-ness) and why she thinks Bernie Sanders will be the nominee. Finally, pardon us, but we have to discuss the pardons, and Jon Gabriel humblebrags about reading some really old books. Yawn.

Music from this week’s show: Rose Garden by Lynn Anderson

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  1. Arahant Member

    Nice ending music. Of course with Jon on there, maybe you could have tried something like this:

    • #1
    • February 21, 2020, at 3:20 PM PST
    • 3 likes
  2. kedavis Member

    I’m guessing John Tierny‘s name was supposed to be included in the podcast description. But you just have too much stuff going on.

    • #2
    • February 21, 2020, at 3:50 PM PST
    • Like
  3. Blue Yeti Admin

    kedavis (View Comment):

    I’m guessing John Tierny‘s name was supposed to be included in the podcast description. But you just have too much stuff going on.

    Too subtle a joke, I see. Fixed. 

    • #3
    • February 21, 2020, at 4:30 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  4. kedavis Member

    It’s disappointing, and a little disgusting, that @roblong seems to wish the Democrats would nominate someone who could actually beat Trump in November. But the reality is, even if you could get a Sam Nunn nominated now, even the “conservative” Democrats were bad for the country, and the world.

    And Rob mentions Andrew Klavan’s “very compelling” arguments about supporting Trump, but then appears to just dismiss them, probably because, y’know, “Trump is loathsome.” Which is exactly the claim/argument that Klavan counters.

     

    • #4
    • February 21, 2020, at 5:42 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  5. kedavis Member

    It seems that Blago having received a longer sentence for “corruption” than others might get for murder, seems like reason enough for a commutation. (Note: a commutation is not a pardon.)

    If it were possible, I would prefer increasing the sentences of those who have done worse things. But the president doesn’t have that power.

    • #5
    • February 21, 2020, at 6:26 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  6. kedavis Member

    Blue Yeti (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    I’m guessing John Tierny‘s name was supposed to be included in the podcast description. But you just have too much stuff going on.

    Too subtle a joke, I see. Fixed.

    Even a subtle joke requires some clue to its existence.

    • #6
    • February 21, 2020, at 7:02 PM PST
    • Like
  7. JuliaBlaschke Coolidge

    kedavis (View Comment):

    It’s disappointing, and a little disgusting, that @roblong seems to wish the Democrats would nominate someone who could actually beat Trump in November. But the reality is, even if you could get a Sam Nunn nominated now, even the “conservative” Democrats were bad for the country, and the world.

    And Rob mentions Andrew Klavan’s “very compelling” arguments about supporting Trump, but then appears to just dismiss them, probably because, y’know, “Trump is loathsome.” Which is exactly the claim/argument that Klavan counters.

     

    Don’t you wish that Democrats could find someone with a clue that actually wants what is good for the country and nominate him/her? I do. I don’t think it is very likely but I would dearly like to see it.

    I also wish that Republicans would nominate an informed person who wants what is good for the country. Someone who fights without being “loathsome”. Also not very likely.

     

    • #7
    • February 21, 2020, at 7:39 PM PST
    • 3 likes
  8. Peter Robinson Founder

    Wait. You guys had John Tierney on this one? Man, am I ever sorry I missed it.

    • #8
    • February 21, 2020, at 7:48 PM PST
    • 6 likes
  9. kedavis Member

    JuliaBlaschke (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    It’s disappointing, and a little disgusting, that @roblong seems to wish the Democrats would nominate someone who could actually beat Trump in November. But the reality is, even if you could get a Sam Nunn nominated now, even the “conservative” Democrats were bad for the country, and the world.

    And Rob mentions Andrew Klavan’s “very compelling” arguments about supporting Trump, but then appears to just dismiss them, probably because, y’know, “Trump is loathsome.” Which is exactly the claim/argument that Klavan counters.

     

    Don’t you wish that Democrats could find someone with a clue that actually wants what is good for the country and nominate him/her? I do. I don’t think it is very likely but I would dearly like to see it.

    I also wish that Republicans would nominate an informed person who wants what is good for the country. Someone who fights without being “loathsome”. Also not very likely.

    If anything, it’s far more likely for the Republicans to nominate someone who wouldn’t be a danger to the country – and even the rest of the world – than for the Democrats. And even if the Dems did nominate a Sam Nunn or even another Bill Clinton or whatever, even a “moderate” Democrat is still bad for the country. Far worse than Trump. The economy, court nominations, etc, don’t care if you or I or anyone else think the president is a good person. Especially considering the lessons of history, a “nice” Republican president is just one that the Left can roll over, mow down, choose your simile.

    • #9
    • February 21, 2020, at 8:21 PM PST
    • 6 likes
  10. Samuel Block Support

    Psst…. @rodin. Give this one a listen. 

    • #10
    • February 21, 2020, at 10:19 PM PST
    • 3 likes
  11. James Lileks Contributor

    kedavis (View Comment):
    Especially considering the lessons of history, a “nice” Republican president is just one that the Left can roll over, mow down, choose your simile.

    It’s been a decades-long process: the Republicans accept the premise of the Left, then oppose its full implementation. When it is partially implemented, they rail against it, and promise to roll it back, which turns out to be a 10% cut in the 20% rate of increased funding. Eventually you get to 2042, when a popular Republican president is re-elected and decides to spend some political capital on introducing a private option for health care, alongside M4A. He is savaged for wanting to destroy the current system, the effort dies in Congress, and the idea perishes for good. 

    • #11
    • February 21, 2020, at 10:24 PM PST
    • 16 likes
  12. Samuel Block Support

    I still stand by my claim that Bloomberg did second best in the debate. His jests were well struck – plus they were aimed at the only other person on stage who really mattered. Warren had her moment, but, as was discussed, the feminist’s big moment has passed, and it’s forgettable. 

    • #12
    • February 21, 2020, at 10:29 PM PST
    • Like
  13. Samuel Block Support

    James Lileks (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):
    Especially considering the lessons of history, a “nice” Republican president is just one that the Left can roll over, mow down, choose your simile.

    It’s been a decades-long process: the Republicans accept the premise of the Left, then oppose its full implementation. When it is partially implemented, they rail against it, and promise to roll it back, which turns out to be a 10% cut in the 20% rate of increased funding. Eventually you get to 2042, when a popular Republican president is re-elected and decides to spend some political capital on introducing a private option for health care, alongside M4A. He is savaged for wanting to destroy the current system, the effort dies in Congress, and the idea perishes for good.

    Womp womp! Sounds like being in my 50s won’t be as much fun as I always thought it would.

    • #13
    • February 21, 2020, at 10:32 PM PST
    • Like
  14. RufusRJones Member

    JuliaBlaschke (View Comment):
    Don’t you wish that Democrats could find someone with a clue that actually wants what is good for the country and nominate him/her? I do. I don’t think it is very likely but I would dearly like to see it.

    Given the structure of the government and the electorate what would that look like? We are decades, if not a whole century, past anything like this being possible. 

    • #14
    • February 22, 2020, at 12:13 AM PST
    • Like
  15. RufusRJones Member

    James Lileks (View Comment):

    He is savaged for wanting to destroy the current system, the effort dies in Congress, and the idea perishes for good.

    Explained here.

    Given that the distribution of the income in modern commercial societies tends to be such that there’s a few rich and wealth tend to be a small segment of the population, and the middle class and lower classes tend to be the majority, the best way to get elected is to offer mostly the middle class all sorts of public goods in terms of social programs and so forth, and then have those financed by the well-to-do who would function as the taxpaying class. That way you get your majority and get elected.

    All politicians, whether the left or the right, both sides of the political spectrum do this. Perhaps the left does this with a bit more conviction guiding their efforts, but on both sides of the political spectrum this happens. So politicians engage in this bidding war every time election time comes, trying to offer the majority all these goodies with the idea that they don’t have to pay for it, someone else will. What ends up happening, I argue in the books, is that after a while of this bidding war where politicians offer more and more public goods, someone has to finance this. Eventually you run out of taxpayers or you run into taxpayer resistance. At that point politicians then resort to the bond market and the bond market has proven historically quite eager to lend funds to the government. Government bonds are very attractive investments for a lot of folks because of the safety. This is money that’s backed up by the power of the state, unlike corporate bonds which are not. Corporate bonds are only paid ultimately if the corporation is successful at attracting people to voluntarily buy their goods and services.

    I argue in the book that we now have a kind of financial market-government complex, or a bond market-government complex. The bond market has emerged as a kind of handmaiden to the welfare state, this growth of government. At a certain point, even the bond market will say ‘we can’t lend more’ and at that point politicians will appeal to the money press and they will enlist the central bank to print money, essentially, though it’s more complex how liquidity is injected into the economy, but that’s basically what happens. So essentially democracy leads to fiscal profligacy, too much spent relative to the revenues politicians are willing to collect from people. They then have to go to the bond market; public debt rises.

    • #15
    • February 22, 2020, at 12:31 AM PST
    • 1 like
  16. RufusRJones Member

    JuliaBlaschke (View Comment):
    Don’t you wish that Democrats could find someone with a clue that actually wants what is good for the country and nominate him/her?

    Three minutes.

     

     

     

    • #16
    • February 22, 2020, at 2:07 AM PST
    • Like
  17. Taras Coolidge

    Samuel Block (View Comment):

    I still stand by my claim that Bloomberg did second best in the debate. His jests were well struck – plus they were aimed at the only other person on stage who really mattered. Warren had her moment, but, as was discussed, the feminist’s big moment has passed, and it’s forgettable.

    Warren the Billionaire Killer — realizing the Presidential nomination is out of reach, maybe she’s actually running to be Sanders’ Veep.

    He’ll provide the socialist poetry; she, the socialist programs.

    • #17
    • February 22, 2020, at 3:16 AM PST
    • 5 likes
  18. Rightfromthestart Coolidge

    James Lileks (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):
    Especially considering the lessons of history, a “nice” Republican president is just one that the Left can roll over, mow down, choose your simile.

    It’s been a decades-long process: the Republicans accept the premise of the Left, then oppose its full implementation. When it is partially implemented, they rail against it, and promise to roll it back, which turns out to be a 10% cut in the 20% rate of increased funding. Eventually you get to 2042, when a popular Republican president is re-elected and decides to spend some political capital on introducing a private option for health care, alongside M4A. He is savaged for wanting to destroy the current system, the effort dies in Congress, and the idea perishes for good.

    It then obtains the sacred ‘third rail ‘ status. Of course, it’s only leftist programs that achieve that, for the left nothing is sacred, they’re actually attacking the first and second amendments and no one is saying ‘third rail’ . We’ve gone way beyond whether illegals should be here at all to quibbling over how many benefits they’re entitled to, I’m in NY , I woke up this morning to a discussion of drivers licenses for illegals. 

    • #18
    • February 22, 2020, at 5:57 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  19. Percival Thatcher
    Percival Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    bla-GOY-ya-vitch.

    • #19
    • February 22, 2020, at 7:14 AM PST
    • 5 likes
  20. JuliaBlaschke Coolidge

    kedavis (View Comment):
    If anything, it’s far more likely for the Republicans to nominate someone who wouldn’t be a danger to the country – and even the rest of the world – than for the Democrats. And even if the Dems did nominate a Sam Nunn or even another Bill Clinton or whatever, even a “moderate” Democrat is still bad for the country. Far worse than Trump. The economy, court nominations, etc, don’t care if you or I or anyone else think the president is a good person. Especially considering the lessons of history, a “nice” Republican president is just one that the Left can roll over, mow down, choose your simile.

    I don’t give two hoots for “nice”. I’d like one that can go 2 days without stepping all over his male appendage! I’d like strong and adult. No more orange buffoons or old communists. Seems that is asking too much.

    • #20
    • February 22, 2020, at 7:50 AM PST
    • 4 likes
  21. JuliaBlaschke Coolidge

    James Lileks (View Comment):
    It’s been a decades-long process: the Republicans accept the premise of the Left, then oppose its full implementation. When it is partially implemented, they rail against it, and promise to roll it back, which turns out to be a 10% cut in the 20% rate of increased funding. Eventually you get to 2042, when a popular Republican president is re-elected and decides to spend some political capital on introducing a private option for health care, alongside M4A. He is savaged for wanting to destroy the current system, the effort dies in Congress, and the idea perishes for good. 

    Not so sure, James. I think Medicare for all or some facsimile thereof, is coming. Hopefully I will get my other hip replaced before it happens!

    • #21
    • February 22, 2020, at 7:53 AM PST
    • Like
  22. JuliaBlaschke Coolidge

    RufusRJones (View Comment):
    It’s been a decades-long process: the Republicans accept the premise of the Left, then oppose its full implementation. When it is partially implemented, they rail against it, and promise to roll it back, which turns out to be a 10% cut in the 20% rate of increased funding. Eventually you get to 2042, when a popular Republican president is re-elected and decides to spend some political capital on introducing a private option for health care, alongside M4A. He is savaged for wanting to destroy the current system, the effort dies in Congress, and the idea perishes for good. 

    Maybe if Bernie gets the nomination and loses bigly. But sadly, I agree, the Democrats seem determined to become socialists and go further and further left.

    • #22
    • February 22, 2020, at 7:55 AM PST
    • Like
  23. Arahant Member

    JuliaBlaschke (View Comment):
    Seems that is asking too much.

    Yep.

    • #23
    • February 22, 2020, at 9:44 AM PST
    • 1 like
  24. Leslie Watkins Inactive
    Leslie Watkins Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    @roblong: if you like, I’ll bet you a good bottle of wine that Bernie Sanders will not be the Democratic nominee. (I’m probably wrong, but I hope not. The Democratic Party needs a schism, and nominating someone other than Bernie, will be the spark it needs. I think it’s possible that Klobuchar might suddenly break out of the pack and get the nod.)

    • #24
    • February 22, 2020, at 10:01 AM PST
    • 1 like
  25. Al Sparks Thatcher

    The discussion on Rod Blagojevich was mercifully short. But the short argument was based on a “pardon” that didn’t happen.

    Blagojevich’s sentence was commuted, but the conviction remains. For Rob Long to say that tax cheats shouldn’t get pardoned did not apply here. Legally, he is still a felon (that is Rod, not Rob).

    • #25
    • February 22, 2020, at 10:15 AM PST
    • 5 likes
  26. kedavis Member

    Yes, as I mentioned in #5, a commutation is not a pardon. But he did receive a longer sentence for “corruption” than others might get for murder/manslaughter, so a commutation doesn’t seem out of line. At least until people get longer sentences for actual killing.

    • #26
    • February 22, 2020, at 1:36 PM PST
    • 1 like
  27. Petty Boozswha Inactive

    I think it was Hemingway who explained how someone goes bankrupt – very, very slowly; then very, very quickly. It really looks like Biden is this year’s Jeb!, Bernie this year’s Trump and Warren this year’s Chris Christie doing a kamikazi run at Bloomberg to make sure nothing gets better in this country. Who dreamed up the plan to put Super Tuesday three days after the South Carolina primary? Maybe a divine being is punishing this country for our sins.

    • #27
    • February 22, 2020, at 3:29 PM PST
    • 1 like
  28. kedavis Member

    Divine intervention is not required. Just not stepping in to save us from ourselves. Or from some of ourselves, anyway.

    • #28
    • February 22, 2020, at 3:51 PM PST
    • 1 like
  29. Petty Boozswha Inactive

    JuliaBlaschke (View Comment):

    James Lileks (View Comment):
    It’s been a decades-long process: the Republicans accept the premise of the Left, then oppose its full implementation. When it is partially implemented, they rail against it, and promise to roll it back, which turns out to be a 10% cut in the 20% rate of increased funding. Eventually you get to 2042, when a popular Republican president is re-elected and decides to spend some political capital on introducing a private option for health care, alongside M4A. He is savaged for wanting to destroy the current system, the effort dies in Congress, and the idea perishes for good.

    Not so sure, James. I think Medicare for all or some facsimile thereof, is coming. Hopefully I will get my other hip replaced before it happens!

    Having children in their twenties gives you a much different perspective on issues. I’d recommend Trump supporters or real conservatives that oppose medicare for all look at Reddit or Imgur – 95% is non-political but the items that do get upvoted are almost all concerning some outrage about denied medical care or asinine billing by medical providers. Some fundamental reform of our medical/industrial complex is inevitable, and in the very near future. The longer conservatives deny that reality the longer we will be in the wilderness. 

    • #29
    • February 22, 2020, at 4:03 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  30. Leslie Watkins Inactive
    Leslie Watkins Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Petty Boozswha (View Comment):

    JuliaBlaschke (View Comment):

    James Lileks (View Comment):
    It’s been a decades-long process: the Republicans accept the premise of the Left, then oppose its full implementation. When it is partially implemented, they rail against it, and promise to roll it back, which turns out to be a 10% cut in the 20% rate of increased funding. Eventually you get to 2042, when a popular Republican president is re-elected and decides to spend some political capital on introducing a private option for health care, alongside M4A. He is savaged for wanting to destroy the current system, the effort dies in Congress, and the idea perishes for good.

    Not so sure, James. I think Medicare for all or some facsimile thereof, is coming. Hopefully I will get my other hip replaced before it happens!

    Having children in their twenties gives you a much different perspective on issues. I’d recommend Trump supporters or real conservatives that oppose medicare for all look at Reddit or Imgur – 95% is non-political but the items that do get upvoted are almost all concerning some outrage about denied medical care or asinine billing by medical providers. Some fundamental reform of our medical/industrial complex is inevitable, and in the very near future. The longer conservatives deny that reality the longer we will be in the wilderness.

    Most folks I read say Republicans lost the House in 2018 because of Trump. But that’s not what I heard and saw in NC. It was the fact that Republicans had voted against Obamacare in such a way that their Democratic challengers were able to claim—without any rebuttal—that Republicans are against covering preexisting conditions. That vote is what killed them, not the president’s first two years. Even folks who don’t like the idea of Medicare for all are still interested in trying to find a dynamic way to address the issue of preexisting conditions.

    • #30
    • February 22, 2020, at 5:26 PM PST
    • Like