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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Mona is joined by special guest host Rob Long this week filling in for a vacationing Jay Nordlinger. They consider the state of Christmas observance, conservatism in the age of Trump, the nature of Republican primary voters, weather free market solutions to our problems are what people really want or not, and other reflections on the state of the world. As Rob notes “everyone’s a pundit!” (Though actually running and winning ain’t so easy.)

The podcast closes with some observations about Hollywood from Rob, and some recommendations for your viewing pleasure.

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The podcast begins with Stuart Taylor, co-author of an important book on an important subject. That book is “Mismatch: How Affirmative Action Hurts Students It’s Intended to Help, and Why Universities Won’t Admit It.”

Then Mona and Jay discuss a variety of issues, including, of course, Trump (and the rest of the GOP field). Also, the threat from radical Islam. Will Democrats recognize that threat? If not, why not?

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That’s the way things tend to be framed in 2015 America. The left was all over the Planned Parenthood shooting – and Mona recounts her experience discussing it on NPR earlier this week – but when San Bernardino happened, official organs were reluctant to “attribute motive.” Jay notes some basic truths he discovered long ago about gun control.

The Democrats have painted themselves into quite a corner with their refusal to face the reality of jihadi violence. But then, Republicans may not be able to take advantage of that if they nominate Trump.

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When you say Paris this week, one thinks of jihadi killers – but that’s not what President Obama thinks about. He’s looking forward to the great summit on climate change set to begin there next week. Jay and Mona welcome Steve Hayward, the right’s most astute analyst of the folks he has christened the “climatistas,” to fill us in on what to expect. Will it be a second Kyoto? More end runs around Congress perhaps? Steve explains what it means to be a “luke-warmer” on climate.

Next, the conversation moves to John Kerry and his staggeringly gross comments about the terrorists and murder (some are “understandable” apparently), an update on the collective nervous breakdown on American campuses, memories of Bill Buckley’s unsuccessful mayoral race in 1965, whether you should shake hands with a dictator, and what will happen if the Republican party actually nominates you know who.

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Dan Rather was once the voice of establishment liberalism. He reigned on the CBS Evening News and on 60 Minutes. Was he different from the rest of the liberal pack? Only in this respect: He got caught. The person who caught him is our guest, Scott Johnson of Powerlineblog.com. Scott reviews the history of “Rathergate” in light of the movie bearing the absurd title Truth.

Jay and Mona then speak of Hollywood’s other distortions of history, the “land of enchantment” New Mexico, Bernie Sanders, the CNBC debate, the perils of serving as a police officer, the moment in American history when the middle class sought to improve itself, and the wonderful life of Fred Thompson, RIP. It’s vintage NTK. Not to be missed.

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That was the title of a book by Bob Novak in 1965, about the previous year’s election. In this new podcast, Mona and Jay talk about Trump, the GOP, and the Right. They also talk about Hillary: her brazen lies about Benghazi, and her quaint charges of sexism. Because Bernie thinks a woman’s place is in the kitchen, you know?

Speaking of women – or something in that ballpark – Mona brings up Caitlyn Jenner, who is Glamour magazine’s Woman of the Year. She also addresses the Great Bacon Panic of October 2015.

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rameshponnuru300x410Ramesh Ponnuru joins NTK to discuss Trump and the state of the race. Ramesh tries to cull some lessons from Trump’s popularity, as should we all. But let’s face it, if Trump is the nominee, it will represent the suicide of the Republican Party. Jay has decided to delay panicking until Thanksgiving.

After Ramesh’s report, talk moves to Bernie Sanders, the Democrats, and socialism, Iran’s test of a nuclear-capable missile, the Obama administration’s disgusting moral equivalence between Israelis being stabbed in the streets, and the Palestinians who rejoice in it. “Clock boy” pays a visit to one of the world’s genocidal murderers (remember Darfur?).

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Mona and Jay begin their latest hour by talking about the House leadership race: curiouser and curiouser. Then they olsenheadshot-150x150are joined by Henry Olsen, a scholar of politics, and in particular elections. He gives his analysis of the presidential campaign (on both the R and the D sides).

The hosts do some talking about presidential politics themselves. And about Russia and Putin. Speaking of the Soviets, the City Council of New York has honored Ethel Rosenberg. Why in the world did they snub Julius? Sexism?

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We’ll never know, because most scholars agree that Hitler had no offspring. But as Jay Nordlinger relates in his gripping new book, Children of Monsters, there was a man, a Frenchman, as it happens, who was told that he was Hitler’s illegitimate son and believed it. It distorted his mind and his life.

41llHxZtW9LThat’s where Jay’s book journey begins, and where this podcast, devoted to the book, begins too. Discussion then touches on the stories of some of the other children of monsters. There was Vasily Stalin, who wasn’t raised by the dictator, but by his bodyguards, and Svetlana, who defected and came to America. There were the Mussolini kids – one of whom, daughter Edda, stayed loyal to papa even after he executed her husband.

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Pope Francis disappoints Jay and Mona, by turning his back on Cuban dissidents, and Scott Walker surprises by dropping out of the race. Jeremy Corbyn is a certifiable red, now heading the Labour Party in Great Britain. Leopoldo Lopez is a genuine hero in Venezuela. So is Karen Gaffney, a young lady with Down Syndrome who swam the English channel. What would be the ideal job for Republican frontrunner Donald Trump? Jay has a suggestion.

CNN, Dr. Ben Carson, Carly Fiorina, The New York Times’s Jew-baiting, Need to Know gets to all of those things in a rousing rush of conversation.

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