Mona begins with a guest: Walter Olson, of the Cato Institute. They talk about the Libertarian party and the Libertarian ticket of Gary Johnson and William Weld. Then Jay joins wolsonMona for some Trump talk: Trump U, the “Mexican” judge, and so on. For the remainder of the show, Mona leads a discussion of some big problems facing America: runaway entitlements, debt, a feeble foreign policy. Jay chimes in dyspeptically. Mona is indulgent. In conclusion, Jay relates an unusual lunchtime encounter.

Music: The final section of the final movement of Beethoven’s String Quartet No. 9 in C, Op. 59, No. 3

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Screen Shot 2016-05-20 at 3.44.59 PMDavid French — lawyer, writer, soldier, father — and decent, humane man joins Mona and Jay to discuss matters of conscience and how to cope with the Republican Party’s embrace of an unstable, fascistic showman. The only good thing to emerge from the Year of Trump may be the demonstrated integrity of those who staunchly oppose him.

Music: “Ombra mai fu” from Handel’s opera “Xerxes” by George Frederich Handel. The voice sounds like a woman, but is actually a male countertenor.

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IMG_1484Jay and Mona begin with some Memorial Day reflections and then turn to the grim business of politics. This podcast is a protracted answer to those who say that this election is just a contest like all the others, a choice of the lesser of two evils, a hold-your-nose-and-pick one case. They think it’s different, a hinge moment that could destroy conservatism, and possibly much more. The week offered a perfect contrast: Gov. Susana Martinez, they urge, is the antithesis of Trump. Little good cheer this week, but honesty aplenty.

Music is the Marine Corps hymn in honor of Cpl. Nicholas Thom (whom Mona mentioned) and all those who gave their lives for this country.

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Jay and Mona are actually in the same place for this edition of Need to Know — on a boat on the Danube courtesy of National Review. With the river (which is not blue) as backdrop, they discuss travel, and the state of things in the post-Trump inevitability world. NR senior editor Screen Shot 2016-05-16 at 5.33.57 PMRamesh Ponnuru joins to discuss whether the people are to blame, how and whether to reform the primary system, and whether conservatism was rejected. Jay announces that he has left the Republican Party. Mona is unusually indecisive. Even Ramesh (unlike the river) is a bit blue.

 

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There are too many people to condemn to fit into one podcast, but Jay and Mona do their level best to race through some of the most deserving: John Boehner, Bob Corker, Terry McAuliffe, Will Ferrell, Mike Pence, and Hillary Clinton. But there are a few bright spots: the late Harry Wu, a hero, former Senator Tom Coburn, ditto, and well, that’s it for heroes. These are not good times. Still, this podcast sets some records for sheer number of topics covered – and with pizazz!

The music is from Tom Lehrer’s That Was The Year That Was.

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The Wall Street Journal’s Mary Kissel joins Need to Know to take a tour of the remaining candidates’ approach to foreign and trade policy. Take your Prozac first.

Jay and Mona then discuss the bathroom wars (Mona’s ready to man – you should forgive the expression – the barricades), CPT, Swiss Muslims and handshakes, backdoor amnesty, Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill, and more.

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Donald Trump and his army are not too happy about Colorado. Mona and Jay are not too happy about Trump and his army. They discuss.

They also discuss Ted Cruz, about whom they have sharp disagreements. And Bill Clinton, about whom they are in harmony. And Paul Ryan (ditto).

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The Weekly Standard’s Steve Hayes joins Need to Know to talk about the critical Wisconsin primary (he’s a native), the state of the Republican race, conservative media, and the condition of the Republican Party.

stephenhayesJay and Mona then consider Bernienomics, the pageant of the presidential primary season, George W. Bush, charity (pro and con), and a visit by a certain political figure to a matzah factory in New York, among other topics. There is the usual complement of stories, book recommendations, plus a bonus – a Bill Buckley quote Mona hadn’t heard before. It’s a good one.

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No guest this week, just Jay and Mona catching up on the overlooked nuggets of the week’s news. They speak of Cruz — does he have an authenticity problem? – and Kasich (who has an ego problem). Jay has an unusual take on Trump’s abortion comments. Lewandowski and the man he serves are subject to a good filleting. And much more.

Music from this week’s show: “The March of the Siamese Children” from “The King and I” by Richard Rodgers, arranged and played by Stephen Hough, piano.

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Jay and Mona welcome RealClearPolitics guru Sean Trende, who sheds light on where we’ve been (what about those famous “missing white voters”?) and where we’re going. He recognizes the desperate 110950_1_state of the Republican Party but takes the long view – and it’s not apocalyptic.

Mona and Jay then turn to President Obama’s trip to Cuba, and the state of the nation with their usual combination of dismay and hope. Ok, heavy on dismay. But if Sean Trende is calm, all is not lost, right?

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Mona and Jay have a guest, Russ Roberts, the economist and podcaster. He talks about, among other things, immigration. There is hardly any topic today that generates more liveliness. Roberts is lucid on the subject, and Mona and Jay contribute their own lucidity, in their fashions.

Charles W. Calomiris and Stephen H. Haber, authors of "Fragile by Design," speak at the Hoover Institution's Washington office during a podcast of "Econtalk," hosted by Russ Roberts on Feb. 5, 2014. Photo: Jay Mallin jay@jaymallinphotos.comThen Mona pays tribute to Marco Rubio, who has just ended his campaign. Jay agrees entirely, except for a jot or tittle here and there. Then the topic is the fate of America: What’s it all about, Alfie? How will it turn out?

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National Review’s Charles C. W. Cooke joins Jay and Mona to speak of the campaign, the citizenry, the candidates, the press, incitement to violence, and other matters, including whether he, as an America-loving immigrant, has had any second thoughts about his adoptive nation due to this campaign – or rather what this campaign has revealed about the state of the nation.

Jay and Mona then discuss Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton, confiscating other people’s property, and the comforts of music among other topics. The podcast closes with a Richard Rogers song that Jay thinks many an opera composer would have been proud to create.

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It’s the morning after the “small hands” debate. Mona is joined by the Ethics and Public Policy Center’s Henry Olsen, an expert on elections and politics. They pick over the pieces of what was once a great American political party. Can it be saved? Is it worth saving? What about a contested convention – is that even possible? How in the world did this happen?

Note: We had some technical difficulties with this show and the recording abruptly cuts off at the 32 minute mark. Do not adjust your listening device. We apologize and promise to do better in the future.

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Barbara Comstock is a longtime conservative political player, and is now a member of Congress. She represents the tenth district of Virginia. She is also a longtime friend of Mona’s. And she is the guest on this “Need to Know.”

Later, Mona and Jay get to talking about the election: and the Big Question, namely Donald Trump, the Republican party, and the future of the Republic. Mona points out that she and Jay have talked a lot aBcZjKPeabout Trump in a lot of podcast episodes.

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Well, maybe not this year, but someday, it could well happen. Senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska, is, after all, one of the new stars in the conservative firmament.

D7idMyaSHe joins Need to Know this week to talk about the coming battle over Justice Scalia’s replacement, the state of the Republican Party (and the party system in general), and across-the-aisle comity, among other topics.

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Mona welcomes the Daily Caller’s Matt K. Lewis to Need to Know this week. They discuss the Democratic debate, Bernie Sanders and socialism, and Matt’s new book Too Dumb to Fail. Matt’s book, a critique of some aspects of the right (“con$ervative” media, for example) couldn’t have been better timed.

MattLewisHeadshotTalk of the right and its woes leads naturally to theRepublican race. Could “con$ervative” media have given us Donald Trump? Is Ted Cruz the only man who can stop him? What is Jeb Bush’s legacy? Can Rubio still come back?

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A liberal has stormed the ramparts of Need to Know! Well, not really. Wall Street Journal columnist and Brookings Fellow William Galston was galston_1x1invited. He’s Mona’s guest on this special podcast. The two discuss the rule of law, the role of evidence in politics, executive power, and Bernie Sanders. There is some disagreement and some major agreement, proving that civil conversation across the aisle is possible even in this most polarized era (and polarization comes up too).

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Just a few hours before the last pre-Iowa caucus debate, Jay and Mona talk Trump. Whose fault is it that he has risen so high? Will he show up at the Iowa debate? Was it smart or a blunder to skip the debate? And how in the world is it possible that everyone – even the hosts of Need to Know – find it hard to speak of anything else?

Other topics do come up though – CNN’s unconscious concession about guns, Cheryl Mills’s unconscious concession about wages, Harry Reid’s endorsement, the WASP “establishment” (may it rest in peace) and Jay’s encounter with a movie star. Do join us.

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Mona and Jay welcome a guest, Fred Barnes, the veteran political journalist. Jay remarks that, year after year, Barnes is a source of good sense. Indeed, a model. So it proves on this podcast. He discusses the presidential campaign, especially Hillary Clinton.

UnknownThen Mona and Jay discuss the campaign, especially the agonizing GOP primaries. Bob Novak wrote a book, after 1964: “The Agony of the G.O.P.” Mona and Jay concert on Trump, basically. They differ sharply on Cruz. They both like Marco (though Jay’s for his friend Ted). Other candidates get honorable mentions.

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Jay and Mona are back together and conversation ranges far and wide: from rape in Sweden and Germany to immigration to the words “neocon” and “isolationist” and much more. Did Hillary just forget, in the moment, about Bill when she said all women who make accusations of rape are to be believed? Jay speaks of the use and abuse of symbols. There is praise of London — as Samuel Johnson said “If you’re tired of London, you’re tired of life.” There is discussion of populism and Trump and immigration pro and con, and some closing thoughts on the damage Obama can still do in the year remaining in his term.

Jay saw and loved Star Wars. Mona confesses to having been a Trekkie. We close with — who else? — John Williams.

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