Long and Lileks are away, but that’s OK — we’re in extremely capable hands with guest hosts Troy Senik and Need To Know’s Mona Charen. This week, we’re joined by Senator Tom Cotton to discuss the Iran deal (or lack thereof). Then, the Weekly Standard’s Andrew Ferguson stops by to discuss Hillary, Trump, and Buster (his dog). Andy’s participation makes it an official quorum of White House speechwriters, so you can listen in and hear what an actual writer’s room sounds like. Also, yes, we talk about Trump, chat about Natural Cathedrals, and close with another installment of Who’s Dog Is Mas Macho? featuring Crusoe the French Poodle versus Beau the French Bulldog. Leave your vote below. Woof.

Music from this week’s episode:

How Much Is That Doggie In The Window by Lita Roza

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

Carriage return, EJHill.

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There are 46 comments.

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  1. Casey Inactive


    • #31
  2. Troy Senik, Ed. Contributor
    Troy Senik, Ed.

    Commodore BTC:Also, Troy conspicuously left off Cruz/Paul from his list of up-and-coming senators.

    Not intentional (it’s generally a mistake for people to read grand designs into extemporaneous remarks, especially when someone’s just listing off names). Cruz and Paul certainly belong there — they’ve probably had a bigger impact that any other two from that cohort. Once I realized how long the list was going to be, I just decided to shut up. I could have also mentioned Tim Scott, Deb Fisher, and Pat Toomey as well.

    • #32
  3. Troy Senik, Ed. Contributor
    Troy Senik, Ed.

    BuckeyeSam:The celebration of McConnell, the concern for the lack of enthusiasm for Jeb’s candidacy, and the unceasing Trump-bashing without accounting for his points on illegal immigration make this a depressing podcast.

    The contempt for Cruz is palpable.

    I’ve said before, in both posts and podcasts, that Trump is making (albeit in an unhelpful fashion) legitimate points about illegal immigration and that the GOP has only itself to blame for providing him that lane given that most of our politicians are too afraid of the issue to touch it. It’s beginning to grate on me a little though that everybody commenting on Trump is expected to preface their remarks with those kind of lawyerly qualifiers while no one demands the same level of nuance from Trump himself.

    Re: McConnell and Cruz, I think both are oversold by their admirers and both are excessively criticized by their detractors.

    McConnell may be more conservative than you’d generally get in a congressional leader (it’s not a position you acquire by being ideologically consistent, folks), but he’s still a transactional politician. The cave-in on the Export-Import Bank (on which I fully agree with Cruz) demonstrates that.

    Cruz is immensely smart — and I supported him in his primary race for that Senate seat — but he’s also highly opportunistic, sometimes to the point of cynicism.

    As for Jeb, the only thing that surprises me about the lack of enthusiasm for him is that other people are surprised by it. He’s carrying the weight of two presidencies, his father’s and his brother’s, in which many conservatives felt that they were sold a bill of goods. He’s rubbing up against an anti-dynastic mindset that I regard as a healthy sign of republican virtue. Finally — and this is probably most important — there is a sense amongst conservatives that he’s kind of ashamed of them. I think it’s overstated, but he’s also responsible for cultivating it with all the “lose the primary to win the general” talk. True or not, they look at Jeb and see the same thing they saw in John McCain or Jon Hunstman: a self-loathing Republican.

    • #33
  4. Troy Senik, Ed. Contributor
    Troy Senik, Ed.

    Charlotte:Troy, you have surprisingly long fingernails.

    Isn’t it creepy how people on the internet whom you’ve never met feel perfectly comfortable making such observations?

    You know how you always forget one thing when you pack for a trip? Nail clippers. Subsequently remedied, but I’m glad that it’s out there now so that Ricochet can sustain itself over the weekend with speculation about my guitar-playing/drug-using habits.

    • #34
  5. Grit Inactive

    The three big votes since McConnell took over have the same results as they would have had with Harry Reid. They passed the “cromnibus”. They refused to defund Obamacare. And McConnell blocked Rubio’s amendment to the Corker deal. He has blocked any amendments that would make this mess more conservative. He lied outright about not making a deal with the dems about the export import bank. He needs to GO. I may move to Kentucky just so I can work to defeat him in 2020.

    • #35
  6. user_199279 Coolidge

    Charlotte:Troy, you have surprisingly long fingernails.

    Isn’t it creepy how people on the internet whom you’ve never met feel perfectly comfortable making such observations?

    But they’re also uniformly trimmed, as if he put time and effort into making all of them so similar.

    So now it’s officially creepy.

    • #36
  7. Troy Senik, Ed. Contributor
    Troy Senik, Ed.

    Chris Campion:

    Charlotte:Troy, you have surprisingly long fingernails.

    Isn’t it creepy how people on the internet whom you’ve never met feel perfectly comfortable making such observations?

    But they’re also uniformly trimmed, as if he put time and effort into making all of them so similar.

    So now it’s officially creepy.

    Good God.

    People …

    It’s a Friday evening …

    Go have a cocktail

    • #37
  8. Casey Inactive

    Friday night contest. Chug a six pack and clip your nails. Best nails win.

    • #38
  9. Sabrdance Member

    I shall rise in defense of my state’s senior senator.  He is a Senator of the old definition.  He knows and uses the rules, but he is bound by the constraints of his caucus, which is highly diverse and fragmentory, and much harder to buy off than the Democratic caucus.  Could McConnell have done something like the Cornhusker Kickback or the Louisiana Purchase?  His caucus members would have revolted at the insult.

    He has stopped cap and trade, dead.  He has defended free speech from the Senate and the Court.  He has killed gun control measures in the wake of 4 shootings.

    If the price of that is buying off a few moderate Democrats and Republicans with the Ex-Im bank, and listening to Ted Cruz for 20 minutes, so be it.

    When we say that the results of the Senate are no different than when Harry Reid was in control, we are not saying much about McConnell, but about the Senate.  For all the abuse Reid made to the Senate’s rules and orders, abuse McConnell is correcting, he still had to deal with a Senate filled with factions -ideological and regional -which limited his powers.  Those same factions limit McConnell.

    The dispute with McConnell is entirely about how hard to press those limits.  McConnell sees no reason to push them hard today in the face of veto threats.  I do not know that he is correct.  I would push harder.  But the decision is prudential, not ideological.

    • #39
  10. user_144170 Inactive

    Kingsmen settled almost this exact dog debate earlier this year.

    • #40
  11. RufusRJones Member

    “Subsidizes the dysfunction.” That is dead-on and that is the same thing that is going on in Minnesota. It’s unbelievable.

    It will end the hard way.

    • #41
  12. user_140613 Member

    This is Mona’s natural cathedral at Whistler BC:


    More pictures from this flight at:

    • #42
  13. Flossy Inactive

    Commodore BTC:Listening to Peter sing the praises of Mitch McConnell was too much, I had to turn it off.

    How does this guy get such positive press in GOP media? He’s a skillful tactician and master of senate procedure? Where is the evidence of this? I remember McConnell promising to make Democrats take unpopular votes and Obama veto unpopular bills. Why hasn’t this happened?

    His legislative vision seems to be limited to Keystone XL, giving Obama trade negotiation authority, and passing appropriations bills. It reads like a Chamber of Commerce wishlist. Is there any doubt McConnell will try and get the Chamber’s precious corporate welfare Export/Import bank refunded the moment he can sneak it into a spending bill?

    Also, Troy conspicuously left off Cruz/Paul from his list of up-and-coming senators.

    I do not enjoy being the bearer of bad news… but you’ve touched on the core problem facing conservatives in the twilight of the West:

    We are living in a troubled time where many conservatives in the media are compelled to protect the Old Oder in Washington.

    For some strange reason, the once-great National Review in the post-Buckley era, has come out against Reagan conservatives… and has worked overtime to insulate the GOP establishment from accountability. Post-Buckley National Review (PBNR) is a sponsor of Ricochet… and the publisher has enforced a strict pro-establishment agenda across the board.

    These are dark days for the conservative movement.

    • #43
  14. Charlotte Member

    I once read those burnt-grass mountains described as “California’s tawny hills”. (Wish I could remember where in order to attribute; suffice to say I didn’t come up with it myself.)

    This is a perfect phrase. I think of it every time I am there.

    • #44
  15. J Climacus Member
    J Climacus

    The podcast praises Mitch McConnell as the clever, savvy Senator who manages to get the most conservative result from any given situation. And that’s the problem – he takes situations as given. Obama and the Democrats set the agenda, the terms of the debate, and define the rules. The contest is rigged so that no matter what happens they win – the only question is how big. All McConnell’s “savviness” does is change an immediately catastrophic defeat into a merely incrementally fatal one. McConnell needs to be the leader of the vocal opposition – Nigel Farage, for example – refusing to accept the choices forced on him by Obama. Instead he passively accepts the agenda as defined by the Democrats and loses the game before it even starts.

    “Reestablishing regular order” in the Senate is a good example. This just means that Republicans will play nice while in charge and give Democrats all the privileges and prerogatives that were denied Republicans while they were a minority, and will be denied to them again as soon as the Dems again become a Senate majority.  But at least McConnell is a nice guy and works hard.

    • #45
  16. Stad Coolidge

    Frank Soto:

    Grit: He is no better than Harry Reid. The output of the senate since he took control is no different than it would have been if Harry Reid were still in charge.

    Provably false. ACU lifetime ratings:

    McConnell: 89.95

    Reid: 5.32

    But what about the missing 10.05?  Those things are huge – Obamacare, illegal aliens, spending, illegal executive orders, fast-track trade authority . . .

    Anyone can get a high conservative rating by voting for things.  I want to see a Speaker fight tooth and nail to stop this President.  The last 10.05 makes McConnell a 00.00 overall in my book.  At times, he doesn’t even talk like a conservative.

    And “we don’t have the votes in the Senate” is no excuse . . .

    • #46
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