With this episode of the Three Whisky Happy Hour, the great John Yoo joins up as a permanent co-host along with Steve and Lucretia, having spent the last several weeks in Triple-A podcast instructional league while Steve was drinking his way across the British Isles.

Perfect timing, since John worked in the Justice Department once upon a time, and has insights into its internal political dynamics, and as such the ideal person to analyze The Great Raid on Mar-a-Lago. Needless to say, Lucretia’s outrage meter goes to eleven on this week’s leading story, while John provides the voice of reason, while Steve does his best impression of a potted plant.

If I stay overseas any longer, it’s pretty clear the usurpation of the 3wHH will morph into the “The McRibb Happy Meal Podcast” if I don’t put a stop to it, so I made sure to disrupt this week’s episode once again from London, this time while finishing off a bottle of Poit Dhubh (potch-goo), as fits the real show.

I didn’t stick around for long as it was the dinner hour over here in London, but I managed to get in my licks on the Joe Manchin Sellout, in which I find more and more mischief with every page. Turns out the Democrats are trying to amend the Clean Air Act to undermine the Supreme Court’s recent West Virginia v. EPA case, but trying this in a spending bill is likely impermissible under the Senate’s reconciliation rules. But what are “norms” among dreamy progressives?

After I took my leave, John and Lucretia continue their ongoing conversation about how to understand that apparent moment of revolution in jurisprudence, which John thinks isn’t merely the culmination of the Reagan-era initiative to restore constitutional originalism, but perhaps even goes beyond it.

I can’t believe I had to crash my own podcast today to blunt the slow-rolling coup that Lucretia and John Yoo started last week in my absence, but by the miracle of the internet I did just that, dropping in for a few minutes between drams of whisky and dishes of haggis. We kick around the Joe Manchin news, whether the White House will invent a new term for economic distress—”recessionyx” (seriously, who could doubt it)—and whether the J-6 committee is leading inexorably toward a Justice Department indictment of Donald Trump—and thus a further step toward making America a banana republic.

I can’t believe I left the car keys to the podcast sitting on the kitchen counter when I left for overseas, and now Lucretia and John Yoo have snatched them up and usurped the usufructs of the 3WHH. After they finally get clear of their ritualistic but obligatory abuse of me, they get down to important subjects, like Philly cheese steaks and other delectables, President Biden’s latest ailments and how the 25th Amendment would work if invoked, more reflections on the latest Supreme Court term (just drop it straight into my veins please!) the J-6 hearings, and other current topics.

If this coop proceeds I may just have to cut short my vacation and return early to restore order! Meanwhile, back to the pub for some more rare whiskies not available in the States.

In this second half of my conversation with Geoff Shepard (part 1 here, if you missed it), we walk through the famous “smoking gun” Oval Office tape of June 23, 1972, which was the final straw that led to Nixon’s resignation in August, 1974. Except we’ve got the facts all wrong about what was actually being discussed. Shepard walks through the matter, and then moves on to his devastating evidence that the special prosecutors behaved unethically and perhaps illegally (such as committing “Brady” violations in not sharing exculpatory evidence with Nixon’s defense team). Much of this evidence Shepard has been able to pry loose only in the last few years, and there is more to come soon.

Finally, we draw some parallels to the January 6 investigation today, noting what social scientists might call “pattern recognition” about certain aspects of the way politics is driving the scene more than the law.

For more on the whole matter (including the original documents that Shepard uses to build his case), see his excellent website.

The big news story this week was the appearance of the fetching Fawn Hall Cassidy Hutchinson before the Watergate January 6 select committee, which somehow put us in the frame of mind of “Cassidy” by the renowned poetic duo of Weir/Barlow:

Lost now on the country miles in his Cadillac
I can tell by the way you smile, he is rolling back [to the West Wing]
Come wash the nighttime clean
Come grow the scorched ground green

Writing about the Watergate scandal in the 1980s, political scientist John Marini said “The passage of time has not resulted in greater clarity concerning what it is we should have learned from the event, perhaps because we still lack an authoritative account of it.”

Having reached the 50th anniversary of the most famous “burglary” in history, we may be coming closer to have a complete understanding of Watergate through the original work of Geoff Shepard. Shepard was a young lawyer on the White House staff through the entire Watergate agony, and is one of the last insiders from that saga still living.

Has there been a more momentous week for the Supreme Court ever? The Court went three-for-three on the key cases this week (Carson, on school choice; Bruen, on gun rights: and Dobbs, overturning Roe and Casey), not simply on the decision of the specific cases at hand, but the broader reasoning behind the decisions. Indeed this week may come some day to be be seen as the equivalent of the infamous “revolution of 1937” that saw the Court move left in response to New Deal political pressure. (And there may be more good news that partially undoes 1937 next week—stay tuned.)

John Yoo joins Lucretia and me to break down some of the larger significance of the Bruen and Dobbs decisions, which we celebrated with pledges to splurge on really great whisky, or in John’s case, a double-quarter-pounder with cheese (as seen nearby). Now that’s living it up!

When it comes to energy, is the Biden administration simply stupid, or blindly ideological? Yes—we should embrace the power of “and,” because these possibilities are not mutually exclusive. Indeed the Bidenistas appear to be both dumb and ideological.

Yesterday I ran into energy expert extraordinaire Robert Bryce—we’re at a murky gathering at an undisclosed location—and we sat down for a hearty rant about the derangements of the Biden regime, but on the wider scene how fast reality has finally asserted itself with the prospect of electricity shortages this summer, and the rapid return of coal. And electric cars? Fuggetaboutit.

With Steve and Lucretia still locked in mortal combat over how best to understand equality, equity, prudence and related issues, and divided as bitterly over Edmund Burke as they are over whisky styles (with Steve recklessly wading in with a new piece on the Burke question just this week), this week’s episode brings on a neutral party to serve as a tie-breaker: Jean Yarbrough, the Gary M. Pendy Sr. Professor of Social Sciences at Bowdoin College, and author of several fine books, especially one of the best books ever about Theodore Roosevelt’s political thought, Theodore Roosevelt and the American Political Tradition.

Prof. Yarbrough stands firmly with Steve over Lucretia on the paramount question of single malts, preferring peaty, smoky Islay malts over Lucretia’s more syrupy Highland and Speyside whisky, but after that Steve pretty much gets shut out and routed on the other questions.

The penultimate chapter of my recent biography, M. Stanton Evans: Conservative Wit, Apostle of Freedom, summarizes the enduring literary, philosophical, and historical contributions of his last two books, The Theme Is Freedom, and Blacklisted by History: The Untold Story of Sen. Joseph McCarthy.

Digging into the audio archives of the Philadelphia Society, I found two talks Stan gave—one in 1994 that displays his theological insight, and a second around 2004 that reviews some of the untold history about Soviet penetration of American government during World War II, and its legacy for today (including how and why we no longer take internal security seriously).

In addition to some history you’ve never heard, you’ll get yet another sampler of Stan’s great dry wit, including his explanation of “why it’s bad to have Communists in your government.”

A frequent recurrence to the fundamental principles of the Constitution, and a constant adherence to those of piety, justice, moderation, temperance, industry, and frugality, are absolutely necessary, to preserve the advantages of liberty, and to maintain a free government.

—Massachusetts Constitution of 1780

When Arizona Governor Doug Ducey appointed the noted libertarian lawyer Clint Bolick to the Arizona Supreme Court in 2016, the left freaked out (so what else is new), calling his appointment “chilling.” The Center for American Progress gasped, “Mr. Bolick has spent the last quarter century working — at times quite successfully — to make the law more friendly to anti-government conservatives. Thanks to an appointment, announced Wednesday by Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R), Bolick will now bring this agenda to his state’s supreme court.” That’s all the endorsement I need!

Actually I’ve known Clint (er . . .  that’s Justice Bolick to you buddy!) for more than 30 years, and caught up with him recently in person for the first time in a long while. Which could only mean one thing: we have to do a podcast! And so here it is.

Two favorite guests and friends join us at the bar for this week’s happy hour, to hash out bar fights they started in less reputable watering holes.  Jeremy Carl argues in The American Conservative that there needs to be “A Republican Counter-Elite,” while Glenn Ellmers continues to spark controversy with his article a year ago, “Conservatism Is No Longer Enough,” and now, last week, a sequel (channeling his Lordship Kevin Bacon in Animal House)—”‘Remain Calm, All Is Well’; How Not to Save the Republic.”

What we’re really after is a response to two great axioms from classic authors. The first is G.K. Chesterton, who wrote 100 years ago: “The business of Progressives is to go on making mistakes. The business of Conservatives is to prevent mistakes from being corrected.” How is it that we’ve taken so long to catch up with his perception? The second is from Eric Hoffer, and bears on the dissatisfaction expressed today in the phrase “Conservatism, Inc”—”Every great cause begins as a movement, becomes a business, and eventually degenerates into a racket.”

The 20th anniversary is known as the “China anniversary,” and can you still use that if your predominant mode is breaking China? In any case, the Power Line crew assembled for a live (by Zoom) VIP webcast this week that featured a rare appearance by our technical director Joe Malchow, who is usually our behind-the-screen Wizard of Oz figure.

Among other things, Joe shared a sacred relic, a signed copy of Tom Wolfe’s last novel, as it turned out Wolfe was an occasional Power Line reader. We decided after the hour was over that our general readership might enjoy the conversation (though everyone should still sign up to be a Power Line VIP member—new premium VIP content coming soon!).

A lot has changed in 20 years, from the technical aspects of websites which saw Power Line early on coping with the problem of site crashes from sudden surges of traffic (we were one of the first to figure out how to cope with that), to changes in the format and character of the online media world. We still have “blog” in our title because of the difficulties of changing domain names. The term has become archaic, but like ’57 Chevys, maybe it will come back into fashion again. We also review a number of milestones along the way—no, not that one, because we’ve told that story too many times by now, instead focusing on more recent topics, such as why Scott Johnson’s picture is on a dartboard in the employee break room at the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.

This week’s review of the news is more wide-ranging than usual, starting with the question of whether the release of Top Gun: Maverick will turn out to be one more small indicator that the backlash against the cultural left is gaining steam. After all, the left hated the original Top Gun in the 1980s, because it was said to be an emblem of Reaganite jingoism, and since the sequel involves attacking a nuclear installation of an unnamed country that is surely meant to be Iran, well. . . Meanwhile, along the way, Lucretia makes reference to getting event tickets from “Ticketron,” drawing derisive snorts from Steve, who wonders why the MCU people haven’t made Ticketron a wingman for Iron Man or something.

When it comes to mass shootings, we observe a rule of not commenting for at least 48 hours, for the simple reason that early reports are often wrong, and usually incomplete. And in fact we still lack a number of important details about the Uvalde shooting. We do our best to offer a few observations that have so far not received much airing.

This is the week we learned that there is a reason we’ll miss Jen Psaki at the White House (plus a shout out to the forgotten Dee Dee Myers, who looks pretty good in retrospect); that the Anthony Scaramucci duration-in-office scale remains useful for marking the tenure in office of Nina Jankowitz (who nonetheless lasted longer than CNN+); that the Defense Production Act can apparently solve our baby formula shortage by ordering Northrup Grumman to make it; that the Roman Catholic hierarchy still has some spine left when it comes to pro-abortion politicians like Nancy Pelosi; that the left and the media (but we repeat ourselves) have no shame when it comes to exploiting a mass shooting; and that as far as monkeypox goes, we’ll wait for something really scary.

And as for the under-the-radar boomlet for Hillary to run again in 2024 after Biden gets pushed aside, well not so fast. The Durham investigation just might finally rid us of her.

There are so many things that seem . . . wrong about the 2020 election, and now comes the new documentary film “2000 Mules” offering some visually compelling circumstantial evidence, along with a few examples of direct testimony of voting misbehavior in nursing homes and other locales. A lot of readers and listeners have been asking about the film, so Lucretia and both took it in this week, and try to give an overview what conclusions are possible and which suspicions lack a solid foundation.

Before examining the evidence presented in the film we review the “macro” indicators that the 2020 presidential election is a distinct outlier in many ways that would make any reasonable person suspicious that it was a normal election. And right there is the nub of the problem: so many states changed their election laws under the cover of COVID—often illegally, but the judiciary was either in on the fix (at the state level) or refused to review the matter (on the federal level). Thus it makes it difficult or impossible to prove that the ballots seen being deposited in scattered drop boxes were necessarily illegal ballots, or that they were enough to account for Biden’s margin of victory (at least in Pennsylvania). Even if every ballot cast was narrowly speaking legal, our election laws need to be tightened up, as indeed is happening in many states. (I’ll suggest we emulate France, which has no early voting, no vote-by-mail, and absentee voting under very strict and limited conditions. Funny how Francophile liberals never charge France with “vote suppression.)

Owing partly to travel schedules that prevent our normal and proper Friday evening happy hour to debrief the week, combined with the shocking leak of the prospective Supreme Court opinion in the Dobbs case, we decided to declare a special mid-week happy hour with Scott and John joining in the libations, along with a special guest, the noted Whisky-McRibb pairing expert, John Yoo, coming to us from outside his favorite squash court in San Francisco—all recorded before a live audience on Zoom (and thank you to everyone who tuned in).

We begin by revisiting several predictions we made about the Dobbs case in our podcast of December 10, where we not only nailed the dynamic of the likely decision based on how the oral argument went, but also discussed the probability that the opinion would leak, in an unprecedented attempt to blow up trust and public esteem for the Supreme Court. In fact, as the show notes for that episode record:

We also speculate on whether there might actually be leaks from somewhere inside the Court ahead of the decision—something that rarely or never happens—because the liberal justices are desperate to do anything to derail an overturning of Roe (which, Steve argued to John, is the “McRibb sandwich of modern jurisprudence: a compressed confection of offal cuts slathered with sauce to disguise its true awfulness”).

This is the week the world was introduced to the O’Brien of the 21st century, Ms. Nina Jankowicz, aka the “Mary Poppins of disinformation” (her own term), who is going to lead the Biden Administration’s new Ministry of Truth in the Department of Homeland Security—the very same government agency that leftists once despised because it might be able to spy on our library books because of the Patriot Act. Good times, good times!

This was also the week we discovered that Joe Biden can’t say “kleptocracy,” though that is admittedly a difficult word for any Democrat since it hits so close to home. It’s almost like it’s kryptonite for the left.

Reading the tea leaves, Steve sees signs of a plan coming together to oust Ron Klain from the White House after the November mid-term election, and blame him for President Biden’s poor performance.