Episode 162: Prager, Wilson, and Jaws

Direct Link to MP3 File

This week on the podcast, a double shot of big guests. First, our old pal Dennis Prager stops by for some cogent views on SSM, religion, and why it’s important to link and fight for both.

Then, Ricochet contributor Rick Wilson gives perhaps a more pragmatic view on the issue from the perspective of someone whose job it is to win elections. Who is right? Tell us in the comments.

Also, Rob Long’s personal Jaws, and James Lileks’ ongoing contretemps with his French brother-in-law.

Music from this week’s show:

The Beast by Milt Buckner

EJHill has us wired. 

The Ricochet Podcast opening theme was composed and produced by James Lileks

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  1. Israel P.

    Sounds like Rick Wilson and Rob Long would have future GOP candidates treat the redefinition of marriage like the designated hitter – “I don’t care for it, but I am not going to try to change it.”

    (Surely they don’t want candidates to lie and say they like the idea – or worse that the GOP exclude candidates who don’t truly believe it.)

    But seriously, does anyone think the press will allow that kind of thing to stand? They will hammer and hammer. And let’s not forget, “cares about people like me” carried the day in November.

  2. Nick Stuart

    The puzzle piece Rick Wilson continues to miss is that the Republican Party generally and Republican candidates specifically, will have to figure out just they will offer Social Conservatives for their support.

    “Vote for us, we’re not as stinky as the other guy” has been oft tried, rarely successful (although there are exceptions, consider Mark Kirk here in the Peoples Republic of Illinois whose campaign pitch was essentially “I’m not a crook like Alexi Giannolous”). Judy Biggert, fiscal hawk, social moderate-to-liberal never missed the opportunity to stick her finger in the eye of SoCons, and when it came time she really needed their help to beat Bill Foster she didn’t get it. 

    The Dems at least deliver something to their special interests, they don’t flip them off walking away and expect them to stay on the plantation regardless.

  3. Brian Clendinen

    Wrong about the damage in Seoul. Between the rockets and artillery maybe 16k dead in Seoul in a few hours based on most studies. The amount of Artillery to level a place takes a lot of time and tonnage.  I don’t know how many billion dollars of damage. Now a nuke is another story. 

  4. The Mugwump

    We oppose SSM because we recognize the issue is yet another attempt by the left to change human nature.  By definition any such effort will produce something unnatural.  Mary Shelley warned us, and there is a reason why Frankenstein is now a literary archetype.  The society the left envisions is truly monstrous.  It’s just a damn shame that conservatives have not one politician who can explain our position with vigor and clarity.  As goes the family so goes the nation.      

  5. jeffp

    So at about 6:50 this becomes the Surrealist Ricochet Podcast Ever. Glad I was there for it.

  6. Joan of Ark La Tex

    EJ Hill, our days are not complete without looking at your artwork on this site. 

  7. Peter Meza

    From Wolfram Alpha, total divorces in the United States divided by total marriages in the United States from 1990 to 1998.  There are any number of criticisms of this graph.  Still in all the percentage would be much lower than 50% if divorce was rare over time, wouldn’t it?

  8. Ed G.

    Mike Murphy and Rick Wilson, both experts pushing the same thing. I’m not sure whether it’s intentional or not, but both either miss or gloss over a key distinction. We all acknowledge that the Republican message hasn’t been selling. Some of us, usually derisively referred to as purists, would like to try adjusting our message and our messenger so that our ideas are more appealing – focusing on substance and pragmatic effects on people’s lives. Others like Rick Wilson, usually claiming themselves to be realists, instead want to change the ideas so that we’re able to present our own version of what people are already buying. Polling is probably pretty good at telling us where people are, but I’m skeptical that it’s much useful at telling why people are where they are and what it would take to change.

  9. Ed G.

    Regarding Rob’s 1964 argument, I read things a little differently. The Democrats may have successfully gotten the Great Society passed into law, but the price was a negative reaction the other way for the next 40 years in which the Democrats lost their status as a majority party. It’s true that we haven’t had much luck rolling back alot of 60′s leftist achievements, but there are at least four instances of major self inflicted wounds that set back our cause despite enormously favorable winds and they all center around squishiness, low character, and bad messengers: Nixon pandering and scandal, Bush 1 and unnecessary flip flopping on economics (making room for Perot), Gingrich poor image and overreach on impeachment rather than simply censure, and Bush 2 failing to defend himself in the media and being spectacularly wrong on WMD’s (whatever the reasons). Would we have made more progress without these setbacks tarnishing the Republican brand so much? Maybe. But this all supports the idea that we need better messengers and better ways to relate our ideas to people, not that we need to change our ideas to meet people where they are now.


  10. Ed G.

    cont. from #9

    Also, Rick Wilson says that Clinton would have destroyed his party if he didn’t triangulate and move to the right (on welfare reform, for example) and so advises that we do the same. Again, I read things differently. I think that by triangulating Clinton did destroy his party as his base didn’t like the triangulation strategy and it became difficult to hold the coalition together; this was compounded by average people genuinely not liking the low character – despite Republican overreach. Clinton lead directly to total Republican control. I’d say that certainly didn’t help the Democrats. Too bad Bush and the Republicans in Congress flubbed the opportunity so badly. The Democrats didn’t get back in the game until they started making clear ideological points distinguishing themselves from Republicans as opposed to moving right. As for right now, I think Obama overreached with Obamacare; again too bad we nominated a candidate who couldn’t take advantage of the opportunity.

  11. Benjamin Glaser

    While Dennis is technically correct about Protestantism’s thought on marriage/divorce vis-a-vis there being only really two Biblical reasons for divorce (adultery/abandonment) the reality on the ground is far different. 

    Your average Protestant is all about no-fault divorce. 

  12. Red Fish, Blue Fish

    New York was one of the last hold outs on no fault divorce.  NY only adopted no fault divorce in the past 3 years.

  13. Edward Smith

    Obama overreached with ObamaCare, but was careful to make sure the true costs and disappointments it brings have not come to light until after his reelection.

    He is a good campaigner.

    The Republicans and Conservatives do need to listen to people like Rick Wilson.  We do need to understand how to run good campaigns.

    The good news is that Obama won, but lost votes between 2008 and 2012.  His Eternal Campaign is wearing thin.  Republicans need to be better campaigners but don’t need a Reagan Landslide either in 2014 or 2016.  They need to get more people onto their side.  Buy not everybody.  Not yet.

    Mind you, they should try for a Reagan Landslide anyhow.  And get it the way Reagan got it – by being themselves, only more articulate and better are communicating what they want to say.

  14. Edward Smith

    I do wish that Churches had kept themselves truly separate from the State.

    That way, Marriage in Church would never have been on the table in the first place.

    Prager is right when he say Marriage has been Man & Woman for so long for a reason.  And he is right to keep fighting.

    My sense of it is that were I an employer, I would rather everyone name their spouses and children explicitly rather than saying “wife and children”.  Not because I would want to be a jerk about it, but because I think people really ought to think these legal matters through thoroughly rather than letting the legal definition do it for them.

    I would hold that standard for Traditional and Same Sex couples.  Don’t assume that I understand anything.  Spell it out so I don’t make any assumptions, which, as we all know have a way of making everyone a donkey.

  15. Zach Franzen

    So glad Rick Wilson is here to tell us that Conservatives won’t get much traction if they propose sending liberals to re-education camps.  Finally someone is speaking out against those millions of conservatives who don’t exist. 

    Also, it’s really important to hear someone say that conservatives need to engage the culture.  That’s the first time anyone has ever said that.


  16. Blue State Curmudgeon

    Thank goodness for a voice of reason like Rick Wilson.  We want SoCons to help change the culture beacuse we can all agree it’s sick but arguing for legislation against the popular will is not only futile but damaging to conservatives of all stripes.  Change the culture the way the left does it, through popular cultural institutions and electoral success is sure to follow.

  17. Benjamin Glaser

    The “Who would you rather have as mayor on 9/11…” line was a major cop-out. 

  18. On The Tony Kornheiser Show picking NFL games with Reginald The Monkey. 

    Duane Oyen: Where was Ron Jaworski?  · 12 minutes ago

  19. Pseudodionysius

    So glad Rick Wilson is here to tell us that Conservatives won’t get much traction if they propose sending liberals to re-education camps.

    There goes my dream of debating Libs in Latin.


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