On this week’s episode, the Substandard discusses the Clint Eastwood oeuvre. Sonny reviews The 15:17 to Paris and finds himself strangely drawn to it. JVL tears into the coverage of North Korea at the Olympics. Why is Vic wearing a trenchcoat to the theater?

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Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America welcome a new Politico/Morning Consult poll showing more Americans now plan to vote for a Republican congressional candidate than for a Democrat, which is a big swing since in recent weeks. They also roll their eyes as Democrats and pundits fret that President Trump hasn’t given specific orders for the FBI to thwart Russian attempts to meddle in the midterm elections, when FBI Director Christopher Wray says they are on the case because it is their job after all. And they look at the Valentine’s Day tradition of columns by liberal women blaming men for their own relationship frustrations and the decline of modern romance.

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The bizarre celebration of North Korea’s regime—through its representative, Kim Jong Yo, and its cheerleading squad—leads the COMMENTARY podcast crew to wonder at the degradation of the U.S. media and the continuing foolishness of the very idea of the “Olympic spirit.” We also consider the White House domestic-abuse mess and the dangers of conflict between Israel and Iran. Give a listen.

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The wry and witty Andrew Ferguson joins NTK to report on The Post, which he had just seen, and on the Washington world, which he’s seen through the years.

Jay and Mona then speak of Rob Porter, bias, Riccardo Muti, and much more.

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First, let it be known that we recorded this podcast before The Memo® was released. We’ll dissect that (assuming there’s anything left to dissect) on next week’s show. Instead, we’ve got the great Bari Weiss from the New York Times to discuss the shaming of Nikki Haley, Aziz Ansari, and other cultural touchstones. Then, our old friend and consummate insider Haley Barbour talks immigration, memo speculation, and what exactly happened at the airport early this week.

Music from this week’s podcast: Ballad of Paladin, Have Gun Will Travel by Johnny Western

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Text-gate. FISA-gate. Mueller-gate. FBI-gate. Unmasking-gate. What’s real? What’s nutso conspiracy theory? What’s to be concerned about? What deserves a fuller investigation? We try to sort this out on the second COMMENTARY podcast of the week. Give a listen.

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David Byler crunches numbers about the 2018 elections and explains his impressive degree. Jay and Mona then talk deportation, immigration, and telling it like it is. They also ask who deserves credit for serving in the Trump administration. They close with music jokes.

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Bill conducts a new exclusive interview with Steve Wynn, Chairman and CEO of Wynn Resorts and Finance Chair of the RNC. Wynn announces that all of his employees will get an increase in their take-home pay because of tax reform. Then, Bill talks with House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte about his important legislation to fix DACA, build the wall and restore border security. Finally, Brian Kennedy of the American Strategy Group joins Bill to talk about Russia’s secret assistance to North Korea and how Pres. Trump boldly confronted them about it. He also reviews Pres. Trump’s first year in office and explains how to defend the president’s record.

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In this latest mega-episode, the Substandard discusses the works of director Paul Thomas Anderson—JVL reveals himself to be a PTA scholar. Sonny reviews Phantom Thread. Vic reveals his favorite bathroom in D.C. JVL is writing Eagles fanfiction. And Sonny still hates coconut.

The Substandard is sponsored by Casper mattresses. Get $50 toward any mattress purchase by visiting Casper.com/substandard and using promo code SUBSTANDARD at checkout.

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Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America enjoy learning that the Democratic National Committee is still mired in chaos and that the liberal establishment and the Bernie Sanders supporters are still feuding more than a year after the 2016 campaign and just months before the midterm elections. They also groan as the threat of a government shutdown looms and some Republicans think they can win the public relations battle, even though the media always pin the blame on Republicans, regardless of the circumstances. And they shred CNN for co-opting the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. to advance progressive environmental policies and for suggesting King was a socialist “before it was cool.”

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Philip Hamburger describes what he calls the most pressing civil-liberties issue of our time in The Administrative Threat.

In a 10-minute conversation with The Bookmonger, Hamburger describes the problem of the administrative state, why Woodrow Wilson deserves much of the blame, and whether President Trump is providing a solution.

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Donald Trump wants a “Deal of Love” for the Dreamers, and is willing to negotiate—WAY to willing, in fact.

Meanwhile a judge says that Obama is the only president allowed to use his phone and his pen on immigration policy.

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First podcast of 2018 so we wanted to out our best foot forward. We’ve got Commentary’s Sohrab Ahmari on Iran and The Washington Examiner’s Byron York on The Book, collusion, and Congress. Buckle up, it’s going to be a bumpy year.

Music from this week’s show: Everyday I Write The Book by Elvis Costello

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Patrick Deneen isn’t talking about merely Democrats and progressives in his new book with a bracing title, Why Liberalism Failed — he’s talking about the American political regime, including conservatives.

In a 10-minute conversation with The Bookmonger, Deneen describes why he thinks liberalism’s days are numbered, how Americans have become more individualist and more statist at the same time, and whether there’s actually a viable alternative to the liberalism we’ve come to know, even with its weaknesses.

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On the final Law Talk of 2017, Professors Richard Epstein and John Yoo are taking a look back at the year that was. First, an assessment of President Trump’s first year in office, on matters both foreign and domestic. Is it possible that our dynamic duo is warming to The Donald? Then, what do the Kate Steinle verdict and recent terrorist attacks in New York tell us about the shortcomings of American immigration policy? What does the future hold for the Mueller investigation? What will be the biggest legal stories of 2018? What are the professors’ New Years resolutions? And why did the 1980 Philadelphia Eagles nearly derail the construction of Richard’s house? Tune in to find out!

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NTK reviews the week’s news – and 2017’s, and then reflects on a little known Romanian heroine, a New Jersey senator who stood up to Andrew Jackson (his descendant is in the House today), and some thoughts on the heavens (UFOs and the Milky Way).

Music from this week’s episode: Ain’t It a Pretty Night by Dawn Upshaw

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Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America cheer House and Senate passage of tax cuts and tax reform, noting the vast majority of Americans will see bigger paychecks while the Obamacare individual mandate gets repealed and energy exploration in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is given the green light. They also recoil at reports that Senate Republican leaders may have agreed to Obamacare bailouts and taxpayer-funded abortions in exchange for Sen. Susan Collins voting for the tax bill. And they discuss Rosie O’Donnell offering two million dollars apiece for Collins and Sen. Jeff Flake to vote against the tax legislation.

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On this special year-end episode, the Substandard reviews (criticizes), dissects (tears limb from limb), and discusses (goes off on) Star Wars: The Last Jedi. JVL shares his thoughts on missed payoffs. Sonny tries to explain astral projection. Vic wonders why Snoke is wearing a gold lamé tunic. Plus a “Gene” review.

The Substandard is sponsored by Casper mattresses. Get $50 toward any mattress purchase by visiting Casper.com/substandard and using promo code SUBSTANDARD at checkout.

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He was the first modern Republican, says Robert W. Merry in his new biography, President McKinley: Architect of the American Century.

In a 10-minute conversation with The Bookmonger, Merry argues McKinley is more important than most people recognize; that his lack of recognition is partly the fault of his colorful successor, Theodore Roosevelt; and that McKinley pioneered a form of “non-colonial imperialism” that holds lessons for American foreign policy today.

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What’s in the tax bill? How will it impact the economy and, thus, the 2018 midterms? The COMMENTARY Magazine podcast hosts answer those questions and more. Also, both pro- and anti-Trump partisans have some strange preconceptions about what Robert Mueller’s probe is doing and what conclusions it is going to reach with regard to the president. Finally, a remarkable story in Politico reveals the extent to which the Obama administration was willing to sacrifice American national security in service to the Iran nuclear deal.

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