The Catholics say hope is a theological virtue, and while none of the four participants in a special Need to Know is Catholic, all are upholding it this week.

Peter Wehner joined first, Wednesday morning, for reflections on the challenge to conservatives of a Trump presidency. On Thursday, Jay and Mona welcomed David French. They talk Supreme Court, Obamacare, and then, inevitably, foreign policy and character. It’s a bizarre stew, cooked up by history.

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Jay and Mona wonder what the next four years will look like now that the Republican Party has taken on so many of the features of the Democratic Party. Is demography destiny? Does anyone still uphold good character and deplore the “coarsening of the culture”? They close with light and dark: A note of fortitude about our task, and dark foreboding from Shostakovich.

Music from this week’s show: End of Shostakovich’s Fifth Symphony, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Bernard Haitink

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Did Citizens United hand the US electoral system to nefarious corporate interests and “dark money”? We ask former FEC chairman and free speech advocate Bradley Smith. His lucid explication makes even this murky realm of the law very clear.

Jay and Mona then consider emotionalism, tribalism, and extremism in American politics. Also, is it just the women angle that makes Trump unacceptable? Bob Dylan gets a shout out that he might not like.

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Presidential historian Tevi Troy drops by to talk about crises. He’s written a book titled Shall We Wake the President? Wilson was a flop at responding to the 1918 flu, but Reagan responded well to the Tylenol poisoning case. This much is certain: Every president will have to respond to a crisis, so . . .

After Tevi departs Jay and Mona consider the crisis of the election and the hypocrisy of the right. How did we get here? Will we all come back together after November 8? 

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Note: This podcast was recorded before the Trump video story broke. 

Mona and Jay talk about him and her – you know, the major-party presidential nominees. They also talk about some other things: including the Nobel Peace Prize, Captive Nations Week, Bill Cosby, and music.

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The match of the century? Hardly. Jay and Mona speculate on which Republican could have done what Trump failed to do in the first debate – really take it to Hillary Clinton. They talk trade, Lewinsky, taxes (did Trump admit he doesn’t pay them?), “trickle down” economics, demeanor, and more. The closing music is emblematic of the Republican Party this year.

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It’s a Need to Know two-fer. First Mary Kissel of the Wall Street Journal editorial board joins Mona to talk trade, economics, Trump outsmarting the press, birtherism, and Venezuela. Then Jay joins to talk Baltic Nations, Mike Pence, “Chelsea” Manning, Colin Powell, a little baseball, and who’s deplorable.

Music from this week’s episode: Õnnis on Inimene – Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir

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Mona and Jay talk about Hillary and Trump – and Putin and some other unsavory folks. Conservatives are strong on freedom and strong against dictators, right? The hosts also talk about the outcome of the election: Big Hillary win? Little Hillary win? Little Trump win? Big Trump win? Who knows?

Near the end of the podcast, they talk about two movies, one concerning the First Couple, the other concerning a pilot hero. And they close with comments on two figures out of the musical-entertainment past: Victor Borge and Peter Schickele.

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Evan McMullin, independent candidate for president, joins Jay and Mona with surprisingly encouraging news about his efforts to offer a choice to those dismayed and disgusted by Trump/Clinton. He explains the p’s and q’s of ballot access and write-in campaigns and then talks some policy.

Jay and Mona then mull their mixed feelings about banning the burkini. They discuss Georgetown’s affirmative action for the descendants of slaves the university sold generations ago, a teacher who denied Shakespeare to her “diverse” students, a few words about a truly heroic doctor, Denis Mukwege, and some reflections on childhood in the summertime.

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WTMJ’s Charlie Sykes – the radio host whose incisive interview with Donald Trump before the Wisconsin primary made headlines around the world — joins Jay and Mona to discuss how a conservative non-Trumpian copes with the Alice Through the Looking Glass world we’re in.

Jay and Mona then catch up on some Hillary anathematizing. A certain university gets some praise, along with another podcaster.

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A two-part Need to Know this week begins with the American Enterprise Institute’s James C. Capretta, who knows everything there is to know about Obamacare and related questions. Mona asks him about the Aetna decision to withdraw from exchanges and what the state of the law is generally. He’s not optimistic, but then, who is?

Jay then joins from Salzburg (within sight of Mozart’s home) to discuss Louisiana flooding, Bill Clinton, music, what we expect of politics, and many other subjects. The one topic not covered: Trump. Everyone needs a break from time to time.

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That was the name of a Mel Brooks flick. And that’s how many people think of Election 2016 – including Mona and Jay. They go over the latest. Trump and Hillary. The media. McMullin, Johnson, and Stein (yes, Stein). At the end, the hosts leave off politics to talk about an extraordinary incident in Rome – involving a quarreling old couple and their tender, sweet treatment by the police. The closing music is Respighi’s “Pines of Rome,” conducted by the great Fritz Reiner, leading his Chicago band.

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What is up with the relationship between Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump? Michael J. Totten of World Affairs Journal joins NTK to talk about the connections. They go way back.

Jay and Mona then discuss the Kahns, partisanship poisoning, rigged elections, economic growth (remember that?) and “Article XII” of the Constitution, among other topics.

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51G93vyEl5L._SX326_BO1,204,203,200_J.D. Vance joins to discuss his fantastic new book Hillbilly Elegy, a book that gets to the heart of the troubles of working class white Americans, which could hardly be more topical.

Jay and Mona then speak of Democrats – who continue to act like themselves, sowing racial disharmony, for example – but have added odd moments this year because it’s a year like no other. And nothing will ever be the same.

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Mona and Jay welcome Wall Street Journal foreign affairs columnist Bret Stephens to pick over the wreckage, er, evaluate the Republican National Convention. Putin seemed the big winner, both in style (we all worship strong men now) and substance (Trump kicked the Baltic ySzcskV-States away in a NY Times interview).

They consider whether the Republican Party is any longer the freedom party, and where this leaves conservatives.

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It’s the Ides of July. Trump has chosen Mike Pence and Jay and Mona have chosen to withhold laurels. They consider the state of the Republican Party – is there room for Reaganism anymore? – as well as who’s being asked to pay for the big show. (Hint: The guy who claims to be worth $10 billion ain’t the one.) The week saw another horrific terror attack, a discouraging Obama speech in Dallas just when the moment demanded largeness of spirit. Mona and Jay disagree about W’s performance at the memorial service for slain officers, wonder about who is the biggest liar this year, and note the Pokemon craze.

Music from this week’s episode: Berklee Percussion Ensemble, “Ogoun Badagris”

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It has been a week heavy with news, most of it bad. Shootings in Louisiana, Minnesota, and Texas. The FBI/Hillary drama. On hand with Mona and Jay is Andrew C. McCarthy, the onetime prosecutor and a friend, as it happens, of the FBI director.

McCarthyIn due course, Mona and Jay talk about the presidential race: Trump and Saddam. Trump and Newt (who was once immensely proud of NAFTA). The Libertarian nominees, Johnson and Weld.

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Hugo Gurdon, editor of the Washington Examiner, English born and bred, joins Jay and Mona to talk about Brexit and the slightly lurid accounts of internecine battles within the Tory party in the aftermath of the vote.

Gurdon-3Mona and Jay then speak of Loretta Lynch’s meeting — on the fly, as it were — with Bill Clinton, the Benghazi report, how conservatives size each other up in the Trump era, the Labour Party’s Jewish problem, and why Republicans should think twice before rejoicing at the idea of a Hillary indictment.

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Corey Lewandowski was fired on Monday (and quickly hired by CNN). Michelle Fields, late of Breitbart, now of the Huffington Post, joins Jay and Mona to recount her experiences with Lewandowski, Trump, and some of his more vicious followers.

90Jay and Mona then speak of Brexit (Jay isn’t happy about how the debate was conducted in the UK), the EU, immigration, trade, multiculturalism in Europe and here, and the DOJ’s boneheaded decision to redact the Orlando shooter. They are beyond dismayed by Donald Rumsfeld – among other things. But there are still great concerts to attend, and ballets to love.

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That’s the question former CIA officer Herb Meyer answers on this podcast. Meyer was one of the only people, maybe the only person, to predict the fall of the Soviet Union, and he offers insights on Orlando and the terror threat generally. They also discuss his brand new booklet, Why Is the World So Dangerous?

HerbMeyer1Jay and Mona then consider the left’s unwillingness to confront homophobia if it comes wearing a hijab, what killed JFK, the “see something/say something” fraud, Muslim allies in the fight against extremism, boots on the ground, and, naturally, some Clinton/Trump.

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