It’s never a dull moment with the Trump administration and to parse everything that happened this week, we call on our good friend, former podcaster, and the newly minted host of Washington Week In Review Bob Costa. After that, we take a look back at the 2016 race with Jonathan Allen, co-author of Shattered: Inside Hillary Clinton’s Doomed CampaignAlso, taping, vaping, and narrative shaping. Yeah, we went there.

Music from this week’s podcast: Shattered by The Rolling Stones

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

Yes, you should absolutely subscribe to this podcast. It helps! And leave a review too!

You prime the pump, @EJHill.

Please Support Our Sponsors!

Podcast listeners: Now become a Ricochet member for only $2.50 month! Join and see what you’ve been missing.

Members have made 20 comments.

  1. Profile photo of Kent Lyon Member

    Editor Note:

    This is veering into conspiracy theory territory.

    The suggestion that Merit Garland would be a good FBI director is insane. You seem to have forgotten that he was the judge in the Terry Nichols trial and spent his time there suppressing all the evidence that Lionel Tiger tried to bring up relating to government involvement in the Oklahoma City bombing. Garland’s efforts garnered him great stature among the Clintonistas and corrupt Democrats (and hence his judicial advancement for his role as judicial consiglieri in that trial) but his efforts also convinced the jury that there was a lot of information that the government was suppressing. hence, as explained by the jury foreman in a press conference after the penalty phase, the jury refused to give the death penalty specifically due to suppression of evidence by Garland. So, tell me Peter, who was John Doe No. 2? Since your a fan of Garland….or maybe you could check with Mike Lee to find out if you haven’t been privy to that information. Or maybe you can tell us what happened to that surveillance videotape showing part of the shoulder and arm of John Doe No. 2, that seems to have disappeared. Or maybe you could tell us why Garland was so eager to suppress information, or why the Clinton administration was so eager to have information suppressed? Come on Peter, let us in on these secrets…

    • #1
    • May 12, 2017 at 12:13 pm
    • LikeLike
  2. Profile photo of BD1 Member
    BD1

    “Ben Sasse was on board to support the president.”

    When was that?

    • #2
    • May 12, 2017 at 12:59 pm
    • Like2 likes
  3. Profile photo of Leslie Watkins Member

    I’ve come to feel that people don’t really want change because it makes them uncomfortable, especially when tumultuous change is needed. Trump became president for the very reason that he said he would not do the job of president as it had always been done before—that and the fact that Obama voters did not vote for Hillary as he beseeched them to do. (I so wish a reporter would ask the former president if he did in fact take it personally, as he said he would.) The slate of primary candidates was full of people who are more emotionally and maturely suited to be president. They all lost. Badly. And looked foolish doing so. Trump acts pretty much like I expected him to after having heard about his much-publicized, crude, rude, and socially unacceptable public feuds over the years. Not saying it’s good, how he’s behaving, just that I don’t get why people are still so surprised by it.

    I voted for Johnson-Weld and, like Norman Podhoretz, do not listen to anything the president says. I wait to see what happens that will affect those who are not attached in any way to the government-media-pundit teat, and from that standpoint, it’s been pretty good. But many who are nourished by that milk cannot seem to stop mooing about how sophomoric he is (“He can’t do that!” Groan.) or recognize the reality at hand: Conservatives will never be able to stop the progressives from ruling with iron hysteria exactly because of their reserve, their civility, and their expectations of same (and because, for some strange reason, and despite their talents, they cannot seem to argue for their values). I think Kasich (whom I loathe) is the only Republican who could have beaten Hillary because he’s a social and financial moderate (both Rubio, whom I voted for in the primary, and Cruz are simply too overtly religious to win over the mainstream crowd). Had Kasich beaten Hillary, things would be much calmer, but change would be nil. (FWIW, I’ve edited this a few times since posting.)

    • #3
    • May 12, 2017 at 2:09 pm
    • Like3 likes
  4. Profile photo of Justin Hertog Member

    I have no problem with Trump tweeting about Comey or anyone else. It’s wonderful to see journalists hanging on his every word and endlessly asking for clarifications and explanations and details, looking so serious, just chasing their tails.

    I agree with James that Washington insiders overestimate the importance to voters of following protocol. My goodness, Trump was elected because he had little use for protocol and political correctness, the language of elites.

    In the absence of evidence about collusion with Russia, this is all fake news that has been drummed up by people who want to take down the President. Washington has shown itself to be rotten to the core. Trump needs to hang tough.

    • #4
    • May 12, 2017 at 2:15 pm
    • Like3 likes
  5. Profile photo of BD1 Member
    BD1

    James Comey appointed Patrick Fitzgerald, who tried to bring down Dick Cheney through Scooter Libby. After Libby was convicted, Comey said Fitzgerald would make a great Attorney General. Democrats punish their enemies. Republicans help Democrats confirm them 93-1.

    • #5
    • May 12, 2017 at 4:30 pm
    • Like4 likes
  6. Profile photo of KC Mulville Inactive

    I wanted to comment on what Rob and James said about the job of president being what it is, and that no one is going to come in and change it. My reaction was, yes, that’s true … but why?

    In Washington, the substance of the town is all about voting (in one form or another) and in turn, voting is driven by perception. Washington is the major league of manipulation. Everything about Washington is grounded in manipulating perception.

    Not substance. Perception. In Washington, perception is substance.

    This explosion over Comey’s firing has kind of summed things up for me. Most of the commentators agreed that on the substance, Trump probably got things right. Comey had to go. But what had Washington up in arms? The perception. The way it was handled. The appearances. Trump didn’t explain it very well, and even though both parties wanted Comey canned, instead of a consensus on the substance, the whole town is going crazy over perceptions. As I passed a TV in the hallway at work, some CNN guest was literally screaming that the real meaning of the Comey story is how the White House Press Office was incompetent and why that endangers the country. (The FBI? Yeah, I guess they’re important too.) That’s crazy. It’s insane to agree on the substance but go to war over the perception.

    Which leads me to wonder how you can change Washington when there’s no there there.

    • #6
    • May 12, 2017 at 7:35 pm
    • Like5 likes
  7. Profile photo of Mrs. Ink Member

    Wow, a roller coaster podcast! I understand that you don’t like Trump, but I get tired of hearing it. It’s boring.

    Also, you still don’t seem to understand that the Donald won because he is not Hillary. Hillary and the “Resistance” are not our political opponents. They hate us, and want us murdered or enslaved. Just like inconvenient babies, we should be eliminated. They truly believe this, and they mean it when they say “by any means necessary”. “Live and let live” is not a concept that they can understand, because they don’t want to.  The language Hillary and her allies use when they talk about the “deplorables” is exactly the same language that Hitler used to dehumanize the Jews, and Stalin used for the kulaks. Do you not see the danger? Trump could be twice as bad as he is, and still be better than Hillary because he doesn’t hate his country or her citizens.

    The congressional Republicans, with a few exceptions, think of themselves as part of the elite. I predict that they will have the role of the Menshevicks, when the Left actually seizes power.

    As for James Comey, I am glad he was fired. The Dems were going to shriek no matter what or when, so it doesn’t matter. If Mr. Comey had had any actual integrity, he would join a Trappist monastery, and never speak another word for the rest of his life. That he is still running his mouth and has not gone onto seclusion speaks volumes about his integrity.

    Kudos to Mr. Lileks for his statements regarding Democrat hypocrisy. You forgot the great steaming pile of corruption that was(is) Barack Obama’ on-line fundraising, and the Clintons’ China fundraising, pardons for sale, and general monetizing the White House.

    • #7
    • May 12, 2017 at 8:44 pm
    • Like7 likes
  8. Profile photo of Pepe LePew Member

    You missed a chance to question your guests on the topic of the day— is anyone colluding with Russians or is it all a pretext for avoiding blame for Hillary’s failure? Bob Costa argues the Russian collusion controversy will continue until its absence is proven, which is logically impossible. Jonathan Allen’s book asserts Podesta and Mook seized on unfounded Russian interference theories right after the loss as Hillary’s excuse. I didn’t hear either guest presented with the other’s position, so you missed a chance to have the guests illuminate us.

    • #8
    • May 13, 2017 at 1:08 pm
    • Like3 likes
  9. Profile photo of Dirtbag43 Listener

    Great episode guys. I just have a general comment after being a year-long listener and now becoming a brand new member:

    Thanks for providing such a smart, conservative viewpoint y’all. I wish that there was more of your type of commentary on conservative radio and FoxNews. I believe that there’s a great opportunity to win centrists, moderates, whatever-you-wanna-call-’ems in this current political climate but, not surprisingly, the Mark Levins and Bill O’Reilly’s (remember him?) are not connecting with these folks. This leaves late-night hosts, celebrities, athletes, etc. to funnel young and youngish people like me toward even more liberal outlets completely unaware of sensible conservative viewpoints. In a previous comment above, Leslie mentioned that conservative candidates as of late have been unable to even argue their values. I agree. This is a shame and the conservatives in this country better figure out where they stand soon or else Trump could run it all into the ground and we might actually see a true breakup of the Republican party in his wake while an incoherent Democratic takeover, unified by only their hatred of Trump and lust for revenge, fills the land.

    Until next time.

    • #9
    • May 13, 2017 at 4:14 pm
    • Like2 likes
  10. Profile photo of kylez Member

    I knew what the song would be the moment I saw the title.

    • #10
    • May 13, 2017 at 4:35 pm
    • Like1 like
  11. Profile photo of DHMorgan Coolidge

    Mr. Long’s reference to LBJ and his ability to move big legislation through Congress reminded me of a line from Robert Caro’s book The Path Ahead: “God you’re stupid,” (LBJ) would yell at one assistant. “You couldn’t find your (rear end) if you were using both hands.” If only he could have seen Pres. Trump in action.

    Pres. Trump has no advantage on LBJ in crudeness, rudeness, and dishonesty but at least LBJ had some stroke with Congress before he overreached and tried to finesse the truth about the Vietnam War.

    How is Pres. Trump going to move legislation?

    By persuasion? Really?

    By arm twisting? OK, what’s his leverage?

    By relying on his close, personal friends in Congress? Who might those be?

    I believe Mr. Long’s assessment is accurate. Pres. Trump is incurious and seems lazy. He doesn’t sleep much and would serve us better by turning of the television and “hitting the books.” Try to learn something (anything) about the history and function of the office that you hold.

    From what I gather LBJ had, and Pres. Trump has, a problem with feeling disrespected. LBJ worked around that by learning how to manipulate, cajole, and even flatter people and as a result had some lasting accomplishments (although not necessarily to our betterment as a country).

    With the Democratic Party solidly against him, and with divided loyalties among Republicans, I see no evidence that Pres. Trump has any of the Johnsonian skills, or that he is even interested in developing them.

    And if his “inner circle” in the White House has a hand in shaping some of the decisions that we have so far seen, another quote comes to mind – Casey Stengel on the 1962 NY Mets: “Can anybody here play this game?”

    It didn’t take me long to miss George W. Bush. And – God help me – how long will it take before I miss Barack Obama?

    • #11
    • May 13, 2017 at 6:55 pm
    • Like1 like
  12. Profile photo of James Lileks Contributor

    Mrs. Ink (View Comment):

    Also, you still don’t seem to understand that the Donald won because he is not Hillary.

    No, of course I understand – during the election the Pr0-Trump enthusiasts advocated for his election because his agenda and insight was superior. The Relucto-Trumps said that his flaws were manifest but ultimately irrelevant in light of the certainties an HRC presidency would inflict.

    The point is also irrelevant now, because “Not Hillary” is no longer the standard against which Pres. Trump is measured.

    Hillary and the “Resistance” are not our political opponents. They hate us, and want us murdered or enslaved. Just like inconvenient babies, we should be eliminated. They truly believe this, and they mean it when they say “by any means necessary”. “Live and let live” is not a concept that they can understand, because they don’t want to. 

    So if HRC had been elected, we’d be sent to the camps?

    No. That’s preposterous. But if that’s the case – the Democratic Party intends to murder and enslave conservatives – then aren’t we morally justified in taking pre-emptive action? If we decide that “live and let live” no longer applies to the neighbor who puts up a Hillary sign on the lawn, because his political choice means he wants me murdered and enslaved, then why not cut to the chase and get down to the inevitable business of purging the wreckers?

    • #12
    • May 14, 2017 at 12:02 am
    • Like2 likes
  13. Profile photo of Mrs. Ink Member

    James Lileks (View Comment):
    So if HRC had been elected, we’d be sent to the camps?

    No. That’s preposterous. But if that’s the case – the Democratic Party intends to murder and enslave conservatives – then aren’t we morally justified in taking pre-emptive action? If we decide that “live and let live” no longer applies to the neighbor who puts up a Hillary sign on the lawn, because his political choice means he wants me murdered and enslaved, then why not cut to the chase and get down to the inevitable business of purging the wreckers?

    Purging the wreckers means civil war, and no sane person wants that. The Democrat Party does not equal “the Resistance,” because most people are well aware that violence is liable to beget violence. However, there is a dangerous strain in the Democrat party that is determined to impose its will on the rest of us, by force.

    You cannot deny that violence is escalating. Republican congressmen are being verbally, and in some cases, physically attacked, at town halls, on highways, and at their homes, and the Democrat party leaders are notably silent. Conservative speakers are prevented from speaking on college campuses, or, if they are brave enough to attempt to speak, riots ensue. Few of the rioters are arrested, and almost no one is prosecuted or reprimanded in any way for these behaviors, which have resulted in property damage and assaults on speaker supporters, and even on bystanders. Again, total silence on the part of Democrat leadership, except for Mrs. Clinton, Paul Krugman, Tom Perez, and some others, who apparently support this behavior.

    I doubt that Mrs. Clinton would have been so blatant as to send people to camps, but she certainly would have tried to force Catholic doctors and hospitals to perform abortions or go out of business. Progressives have already forced a pharmacy to sell abortifacient drugs, despite the presence of many other pharmacies willing to sell such drugs in the same area. Bakeries and photographers have been forced out of business because they refused to work at gay weddings. The operative word is force. Government now has the power to deprive you of livelihood because of what you think or believe, so we are well into the realm of being punished for thoughtcrimes. Outside of government, progressives have used threats and intimidation to force businesses to bend to progressive policies or close. These are not isolated incidents, they are a coordinated effort, often done by paid agents.

    It is a very small step from economic violence to physical violence, and it is a technique that totalitarians use often. The wreckers who are being purged are conservatives.

    Mrs. Clinton would have done everything in her power to remove Second Amendment, freedom of conscience, and free speech protections. Once those freedoms are gone, how do you think conservatives, or any one else who won’t toe the Progressive line, are going to fare?

    • #13
    • May 14, 2017 at 10:52 am
    • Like2 likes
  14. Profile photo of RufusRJones Member

    Mrs. Ink (View Comment):
    However, there is a dangerous strain in the Democrat party that is determined to impose its will on the rest of us, by force.

    The ACA was passed with a parliamentary trick and no GOP votes. It made an already bad situation worse. It is the perfect Cloward and Piven strategy. Look at the town halls. Pure Alinsky. It can’t be undone in a meaningful way, but it’s killing the economy. It’s unfair because it’s regressive taxation: the socialization is forced into premiums, not taxes. Single payor is purely funded by progressive taxation.

    So we will get single payor without any GOP votes.

    All the Democrats I talk to on this either don’t give a damn–they like it, really– or are unfathomably stupid about the dynamics of health insurance. Look at the Democrat messaging on the ACHA / ACA. It just makes everyone dumber.

    Force (the stupid “regulation” of compensation in WW2 leading to this mess) begets force (see above) until it all collapses. You can’t have permanent ***2%*** GDP and expect to pay for this utopian lunacy without something really bad happening.

    Obamacare is the Reason for Anemic Growth-Karl Denninger

    • #14
    • May 14, 2017 at 12:53 pm
    • LikeLike
  15. Profile photo of RufusRJones Member

    Leslie Watkins (View Comment):
    recognize the reality at hand: Conservatives will never be able to stop the progressives from ruling with iron hysteria exactly because of their reserve, their civility, and their expectations of same (and because, for some strange reason, and despite their talents, they cannot seem to argue for their values).

    We have so much centralized government power (including the Fed) mucking everything up that “iron hysteria” works and “arguing for values” doesn’t. It’s hopeless. Other than moving away form a really poorly governed locality or state, what power do people have now? It’s very reduced. It’s the structure of the economy.

    • #15
    • May 14, 2017 at 1:10 pm
    • LikeLike
  16. Profile photo of RufusRJones Member

    Great show and comments. If you ever need a lighter topic I would love some coverage of the Fyre Festival. LOL Seriously.

    • #16
    • May 14, 2017 at 1:13 pm
    • Like1 like
  17. Profile photo of RufusRJones Member

    If you want clarity on the state of the nation, have Victor Davis Hanson interview David Stockman. The messed up financial system is driving bad government and (eh, hem) perplexing voting patterns. It’s making us all crazy and poor. I’m dead serious.

    After that, Angelo Codevilla.

    Pure illumination. Perfect.

    • #17
    • May 14, 2017 at 1:43 pm
    • Like1 like
  18. Profile photo of Tom Meyer, Common Citizen Contributor

    @jameslileks, solid Robert Graves allusion.

    • #18
    • May 15, 2017 at 9:52 am
    • LikeLike
  19. Profile photo of Henry Castaigne Member

    James Lileks (View Comment):
    So if HRC had been elected, we’d be sent to the camps?

    No. That’s preposterous. But if that’s the case – the Democratic Party intends to murder and enslave conservatives – then aren’t we morally justified in taking pre-emptive action? If we decide that “live and let live” no longer applies to the neighbor who puts up a Hillary sign on the lawn, because his political choice means he wants me murdered and enslaved, then why not cut to the chase and get down to the inevitable business of purging the wreckers?

    I don’t know what would happen Mr. Lileks. If things were really bad then the first amendment would be effectively appealed to ban hate speech which would mean conservative speech. That is what Britain and Canada have now and it’s horrible but it isn’t Hitler-like camps. But this kind of leftism is quite different from former variants of leftism. It is upper-class ‘well-educated’ whites who most propose this kind of thing on behalf of ‘oppressed peoples.’ Mao and Stalin were from the upper class but they channeled the (at times justified) resentment of the lower classes.

    What would a leftist takeover of angry feminist social justice warriors look like? I don’t really know. Admittedly this is an extreme scenario but I feel one worth asking.

    • #19
    • May 18, 2017 at 2:33 am
    • LikeLike
  20. Profile photo of DJ EJ Member

    Pepe LePew (View Comment):
    You missed a chance to question your guests on the topic of the day— is anyone colluding with Russians or is it all a pretext for avoiding blame for Hillary’s failure? Bob Costa argues the Russian collusion controversy will continue until its absence is proven, which is logically impossible. Jonathan Allen’s book asserts Podesta and Mook seized on unfounded Russian interference theories right after the loss as Hillary’s excuse. I didn’t hear either guest presented with the other’s position, so you missed a chance to have the guests illuminate us.

    Yes, with Bob Costa there the hosts missed an opportunity to push him on the Washington Post’s reporting practices. Do they publish stories based solely on anonymous sources? Do the sources have to actually offer proof that what they’re saying is true and does a reporter attempt to verify their claims with other than anonymous sources before they publish a story? If Mr Costa’s answers to these questions are “yes” to the first and “no” to the second, my next question would be – how do I know that anything he writes is factual and not merely he-said-she-said or a friend of a friend of a friend told me speculation? “Trust us, we’re the press, we can’t tell you who they are but they’re good sources” just doesn’t cut it for me.

    • #20
    • May 25, 2017 at 1:17 pm
    • Like1 like