« Commentary Magazine Podcast

Commentary Podcast #3

2016-02-17 | 🔗
Editor John Podhoretz and Assistant Online Editor Noah Rothman try yet again to decipher the Donald Trump strategy—this time his decision to relitigate the War on Terror and the War in Iraq as a means of winning Republican support for his candidacy. What sense does this make for someone attempting to seize control of the very party that embraced both a decade ago, and still views itself as the better of the two parties when it comes to national security? Also on tap: Is Hillary Charlie Brown? Is the Democratic nomination the football? Is Bernie Sanders Lucy? And a tribute to Nino Scalia.
This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
Welcome to the third comment, agree magazine podcast. This is John POD on the editor of commentary magazine, which you can read and probably are already reading, if you're listening to this, Commentary magazine, dot, com, a monthly. Seventy one years and go and strong half a million readers a month come to our website for enlightenment outrage, hygiene good fun serious analysis and despair with a certain level of despair. I introduce Nora Then our assistants online editor, who, as is true of you b is sitting watching the Hindenburg slowly. The sand unto Tee Peterborough New Jersey, perhaps Noah. How are you today I well. I think we were a little dark last week. I'm feel
a little bit better about the state of the nation of affairs this week inexplicably. I have some evidence to support that. There's a reason you have evidence. Because I know what you're evidences, even though we're speaking to everybody we're taking this at five o clock when this day February. Six, seventeenth and, as we speak. Undue pole is out NASH. Oh Paul, the first one in months, actually not the first one ever NBC News Wall Street Journal Paul that shows a cruise add of Donald Trump, nationally twenty eight to twenty six marker Rubio at seventeen, Kasich at eleven Ben Carson at him and job and Bush somewhere. In the year, sad single so, This is a very notable develop
but not necessarily because it's true it may not be true polling his bad there's. A canopy act pole today that, as Trump solve, in the thirties nationally may not be true, but it will have a man honourable and observable effect on the behaviour and conduct of the man who this pole says or who the pulse says, is the former front runner Donald Trump? No, Maybe we can go through a little bit. What sort of things Donald Trump has done in the last week that suggest he either knows something about the nature of american and conservative and republican politics and the crack up therein, or are that he is flying blue I end with a strategy of perpetual outrage and sucking out the
subject from the new cycle from everybody else like is eaten for five things that I think are worthy of note. You probably have a better less than I do, but my my immediate take on this pole is the backdrop as it's all posed, to base its deeds Valentine's day. The fourteenth the sixteenth is when this was taken Sunday through Tuesday meant that there was a debate in South Carolina which place on Saturday night. So this Paul was taken in the wake of the South Carolina
bade nationwide- and it wasn't a good debate for Donald Trump. Everybody agrees on that, but why wasn't a good debate? He went off the handle liking normally does he was bombastic and he got and fights and was belittling JEB Bush and attacks TED cruising all that stuff. We ve come to be really familiar with over the last six months, but he took a different tactic this time than in normally does and he's sort of married to it. Now he's embraced something of that something similar to nine eleven truth: tourism that you gotta call it. What it is he's decided. To make South Carolina a referendum on the Bush administration, a referendum on the Iraq war, he's he's a very much attached and on and on the warrant error and on the warrant.
In the end, these imbracing nine eleven truth there is a real full full red used. Ie is decided now that he is aware of some quote very secret papers that suggest that the Saudis were behind the attacks, the most investigated attack in the history of mankind, we're talking about something: that's that's really quite unhinged, and it would be. It would be shocking that we're coming from anybody else, but we're all sort of blowing it off, because its Donald Trump and he's got this this baked in core level of support and authorities somewhere in the thirties, and so we really feel like that. This new conceit, the original conceit, was Donald Trump, can't possibly when the nomination he's not a conservative. The new conceit is well, nothing herds, Donald Trump, so you must be in vulnerable both of those two things are inaccurate, but we don't necessarily a wire how so this feels like if there is a backlash- and I hope there is frankly for the sake of the republic- but if there is it can't possibly,
be divorced from what we are witnessing. Donald Trump engage and right now, which is this real kind of melt down over the Bush administration in the Bush legacy in South Carolina of all places. I don't know whether it it pays off for him in the long run. I certainly hope it doesn't, but if this is a little bit of smoke on the horizon to suggest that it won't its it, certainly hardening I what has torn between the notion that He has a discerning deciphered and come up with a strategy according to which he needs to up the ante at every debate, with an outrageous aim that will offend and drive regular republicans crazy.
And in the process, as I said, suckle the oxygen out of the room make himself the only story of nominating process and essentially win in part by crowding, nobody else out or force. Everybody else into his down draft, and that's why we have this bunching effect these poles with TED crews, a little ahead of Job Bush, marker Rubio and John K, sick with Ben Carson, a little behind But there was something entirely different about what he did in that debate and this question of relegating the ambiguous support. It would appear that most Republicans in the nominating process had at the time and going forward for George
w bushes conduct of the war on terror now it may well be that the war in Iraq is largely view as a mistake, but the idea that Bush was worth possible. Four, nine eleven, because he was the president and he didn't stop it from happening. Was a classic democratic party. Liberal talking point in two thousand and four the exposure and belittling of which and the refusal to accept was crucial to Bush winning real action An essentially what trumpet saying to Republicans is you were all taken for a ride. Your all buncher Patsy's, the Democrats were right. The demo it's on the nine Eleven Commission and Joint Congress. Committee that studied this matter were correct. It was all bushes. Faulty gotta intelligence
briefing on August six that said that Al Qaeda was determined to attack inside U S and should therefore magically have been able to decipher that there were nineteen people in the I did states some of the butterfly it's some of them elsewhere, who were going to take two planes three planes and try to fly them into landmarks in the United States, so they're all a bunch of boobs because they believed this and then, of course, he lied us into Iraq, which was the other leftist democratic talking point not that the inability to find weapons, a master, direction meant that the war in Iraq might well have been a mistake, which has one argument. You can say well, he was reckless or he he Bush went too far
he didn't have enough information or he used the wrong information, but the notion that he knowingly chose to go into Iraq despite the fact that he knew that there were no weapons of mass destruction. Is. It is a talking point that was decisively rejected throughout the last decade. By Republicans. So this is where I got interesting. The question was of things gun gotten, so bad has has the time between nine eleven and today has the spread I've been so long as the fifteen almost fifteen years been so long. That Republicans are willing to look back retroactively and say the entire decade, the approach of the Kate was a delusion, an illusion and he Trump has effectively made the South Carolina primary reference on that number one and number as involve the National Republican Party. Now, in this theory
In this area, logical notion and so in some sense it makes sense that the first major pole done after the debate nationally would have people say, hey, wait a minute wait, a minute buddy, Don't believe that we don't mind you're, saying you know they're all stupid in Washington and we're losing to China, we don't like Muslims and we don't like Mexicans but you're, going to turn around us that you know we the entire power, persecution of the war on terror and the way we behaved in Iraq were based on No conscious and knowing fallacy on the part of the Republic in administration, most Republicans believe that Democrats or a lot of labour grants were disloyal that they work in a police. They were going after Bush for political points that day that this security,
safety demands, it could not have been entrusted into their hands after nine eleven and that's what they think. I'm not even talking about whether or not it's true and either he was leading either. He saw something that suggested that this was tired. For it was time for Republicans to turn away from this, and they were ready to where he was. Flying off the handle? And, and I was just finding a target because he knew the George, Bush was going into North Pharaoh South Carolina to campaign with his brother, and he didn't want to have any of that. He didn't want that. Dominate two new cycle, so he was going to muddy the waters created. Thus storm do what he does as Loki the Lord of Misrule. He was going. To confuse and heightened and have everyone a lot. So
Something very important is going on here and we, the jury, is out on what the effect is gonna be well. I don't want to say that there is no logic to this approach, although I am not entirely convinced that there's much logic to just about any approach that Donald Trump embraces in his in his campaign is disorder seems to fly by his seat. But you had some reporting by Byron Goerck, who is in the audience of a Trump events serving people there, whether or not but with their verdict, was on the Iraq war, and understandably, you saw pretty pretty mixed verdict. Alot of people feel like that the war was not worth it and that it was of a foolish approach to the post, I'm leavin environment that made things worse and that's a rather justifiable approach as you
noted justifiable, if not necessarily true, as you noted, that the electorate in South Carolina, if, if there of a certain age, theyve voted for George W Bush, they voted for John Mccain. They voted for Mitt Romney. They voted for candidates who, up and down the line, have have held the position that not only was erect on a mistake, but the Bush administration's approach to the coastline of eleven environment was perfectly justified, if not justified and then actually righteous, and for them to two bulk at that too. To reject that in a cast into cast their ballot for four Donald Trump seems a bridge too far, and I don't think he's gonna lose necessarily. I mean it would take a spectacular reversal of the poles based on whether at today for him to lose the state, but I would be surprised if they held at their current pace, because it is these very much asking Republicans to reject such a
the premise of the last decade, a very format of political decade, for a lot of people, people my age, I'm I'm thirty, four people, my age came of age in the post. I live an environment that was you're, the crucible in which your political believes were were formed and then turn they're, probably not going to change wave whence he gets too to my aid. So I think a lot of people in there in the late twenties, mid thirties and their forties really have the Republicans. They have a pretty far rope collection of the Bush administration, in particular. The Bush administration first term devoted get for Donald Trump would be very much a rejection of that. It's gonna be tough, tough to pull that for a lot of people went and let's talk about South Carolina itself south Senor senators, of course, Lindsey. Graham who made headlines during the republican primaries by calling on America to put ground for then to Syria and to the fight against ISIS and
You know that this is not a state of it which there has been any evidence of a retreat into brand Paul. Why, isolationism, and that is what the that is, what the the logic of the trunk position To some degree it is everything went wrong and its bushes fault and we it's a regrouping retraction throw everything now. The other thing is, it seems to me that trumps campaign has been Very forward directed Trump says: I'm gonna make us great again. He doesn't. They have our he says, he's gonna, punish China is gonna, punish. Muslims are gonna, published, Mexico, make them build the wall, but the ideas you follow me. Things are just going to be absolutely great in the future, a future. This campaign about the future suddenly he's talking about fifteen years ago,.
And this is something that has been going on in the democratic race, where every single debate between Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton that moves. To the subject of foreign policy it sounded like two thousand and for the fight between Obama. And and Hillary Clinton, two thousand eight over her vote for the war. In two thousand and two and its internal auditors is its nineteen, seventy two right, but it's two thousand- and sixteen I mean the war, is over. We lost, we we lost it that we wanted. Then we lost it again. We can debate why that happened. I think you and I agree on what had happened but The war is over five years now I mean it's five years, so there is something very odd about the fact that its being we litigated and the fact that its being we litigated in the absence of disk,
really serious material discussion on the weaknesses in the republican candidates, positions about what exactly they're gonna do too. Reverse the tide of ISIS and the and the March of IRAN and and various other things that you know even the hot most hawkish marker Rubio. Can't quite get himself to say that there is no way to reverse ISIS this control without ground troops, doesn't want to say that he knows it doesn't look good in them owing to say it it's the logic. Where he is and then to the crews of course speaks this week. Dickie was nonsense about how we can for ices to retreat by using carpet bombing, which has said
play way to punish somebody where he is but is no way to make him retreat into some other spot, which actually sense once you start stop vomiting, they can just come right back. The only way to Remove someone from territory is to push them out and then to build a fence. You know and have your own people their preventing them from coming back in so these are real weakness there and reporters could exploit it and even Trump could exploit it if he were able and is the cave enough to do it? He doesn't really want to so he tries to tough it out. With genuinely same claims that you know what you do as bomb the oil in Iraq. I guess and then take the oil you bomb the oil and take the oil. How how you bomb oil and then take it without destroying so these nets pretty to remove it from the ground and somehow get it from where it is?
into your hands is never made clear So that's why he that's why you can't take on TED crews, because his disposition is very much it's completely incoherent, as you know, but it's also military adventurism. If anybody here to drill down into his approach its essentially to invade, occupy and virtually annex vast swathes of territory and exploit the resources for decades on end. That's that's his strategy right, which is you riches, and that is nineteenth century imperialism, and he running as the twenty first century marking to list protectionist he's, not doing this to open trading routes and make it possible for fur below a man too big a lot of money, he's trying to build walls everywhere to prevent America from trees with a lot of places and
this notion that you know you, you go around bombing things and then running away is an isn't. Is an interesting one. Sounds alluring, to sort of militaristic right wing Maybe who love the idea of you now punishing people without having to do the hard work of food the job. So you know he clearly has been onto something. People aren't aren't angry about at him for four that income since its the turn. As I say into the past, that seems very puzzling to me why I yeah sorry doesn't think the WMD issue kind of loom largest in the minds of
liberals and Democrats who really lost that argument that went first. It was a twenty two month run up to the Iraq war. There were United Nations resolutions after resolutions or votes in Congress, thrower ample opportunity to halt that train, and it was. There was a formative moment for a lot of liberals because they lost in argument over the course of a year and a half which, as you know, is its is similar to what you saw. Bernie Sanders engaging in that debate when he went through this. This retrospective,
I tried attacking Kissinger and the next in administration and he was real reliving a very formative period in his past, and that's that's feels. But what is happening here with a very liberal Donald Trump? Who is it in fact, was a democrat thirty eight minutes ago and is reciting what he believes to be very effective, talking point against the Bush administration: that is the last one he remembers making right. Well, I think they love the argument because they got the better of it later. Of course. That's one of the reasons that whenever we have conversations about foreign policy in the United States and the open servant of say week do this or we should do that, they say there was no doubt of WMD in Iraq. Why should we listen to you do you volume, discredit yourselves. There were no wmd in Iraq in Strangely enough, of course, there is now
odd evidence coming out of the Middle EAST and out of areas Iraq areas now controlled by ISIS that they are finding at least some stockpiles of mustard gas or have common, Here are some stockpiles of mustard gas, which aren't the new fangled weapons of mass destruction that we thought were being built between nineteen, ninety, six and two thousand and two but were certainly banned under the, U N resolutions and are obviously evil weapons of mass destruction that David using them against Kurds, and that that has the possibility of
reopening or we lit a gaping. Some of these matters that people puts arrest itself. The groundwork HANS. The New York Times had spread two years ago about the chemical weapons that that had affected troops in Iraq, who were being covered up by the Pentagon, their pre ninety one weapons and they were supposed to be destroyed, but the left has SK conceded that they WMD argument. Because of that rule it hasn't conceded that, because the the general conviction we were the the the
The idea behind the war was that Saddam had sophisticated contemporary means by which he was making chemical weapons and and and seeking to procure nuclear material for nuclear weapons that he had mobile labs, which turned out to be a lie that he had all sorts of equipment that he was using to evade inspection and all that and let that appears not to have been true, but that, but that there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq that went and found in it after the war and that may have been buried or transhipped, or something like that. That seems to be true,
That's not what they consider the whether those are the weapons they consider the justification for the war and neither does Trump, obviously, but I think that even the fact that we are talking about this suggests not only what up what it air, what a whip and the fabric of the nation. It was to fight this war to a completely unsatisfying and purposeless conclusion, but also you know what what that means going forward, even for Republicans that we ve just like after Vietnam, it has become a kind of them were now making reference to. Obvious: acts of of their email in the national interest as though they are in possibilities for us to say things that might have to be done. It might be
Complete and possibilities for us to do like put ground troops on the ground a couple thousand ground troops whatever. So we don't where this is going. We don't know what the impact is going to be, but but we know two things other campaigns now have a reason to believe that Trump over stepped himself and that he and then he made a real mistaken judgment that may have national consequences and they go with him hard and and triumphant Office going to react to a pole that has, second and how He is going to react. God only knows I mean, will know after we. After we finish reporting this, you know he's gonna, be on television for an hour in prime time with Joe Scarborough and he will probably lead us.
Pretty soon now he is going to try to shift the shift the discussion, but you know there is that bizarre fact that much of what passes for his camp a strategy. You say I'm winning, I'm I'm going to win cuz, I'm winning in the polls and after months and months of it we all fall prey to it. Cuz you look at you. Look at you looking to see that nothing is changing and and and yet now. Suddenly there is a moment of change it. Maybe the illusory. It may not match other poles. It may be a bad sample, but he will act. He will not rest this: is this camera it out? This cannot stand if he was a more, I guess settled soul. He would take solace and the fact that the state level poles are just perfect for him. In fact, they show the nightmare scenario. For the current quota. Stable
Republicans, which we were talking about earlier, which there is a Bloomberg pull out now, which shows Rubio Ambush bunching up against each other in the state. Basically, within the margin of error case is not far behind and in tat crews. Doing relatively well, but Donald Trump ahead by nineteen point C is very much in command of his thirty to thirty five percent of the vote right. So he should be ok with that right now, substantively substantively. The question is will substance have an effect. Will the fact that he brought up issues that are discomfitting too many Republicans have an effect on hysteria or is the so much a campaign of personality and have? And how have Republicans
so gone down the road to believing that what they really need is a jerk who is gonna, get things done that they will overlook this or will they say, I don't know he's a little. You know he's going too far. No, it's ok! If he says you know the Bill Clinton, because a rapist, but it's not ok. If he says the George Bush was a liar. You know that how he can say anything he wants to about Democrats and what's more, you can even say that you want so that job was JEB wishes of the race against them, but he can't say that we, the republican electorate of the last fifteen years we're a bunch of morons who got taken by this. You know Texas, con man and I think that's that's where things are now moving on to the other events. Coming up on Saturday, the democratic carcass in Nevada?
we find ourselves in situation in which the classic Democratic Establishments party position is that Hillary Clinton, cannot possibly lose this race, and that is beginning to look more and more delusional with every passing day, as, of course Bernie Sanders likely one eye away. He one New Hampshire by the largest March if anyone has ever won anything, and they are now I'd in Nevada, Hard stated: a Caucasus are hard to Paul, but their tied in Nevada and he their tied in Nevada. You know when it women insurgent is tying the incumbent that always means at the windows at his back. Meanwhile, yesterday Sanders the centres campaign released one of them most brilliant.
Tv and internet adds. I have ever seen with the daughter of AIR garner the the man from Staten Island who was put it a chokehold by by police and twenty thirteen and died on the street on us on a street in instead my island explaining she that she's, an activist she has a daughter, her daughter, doesn't know her grandfather. She, MRS Her father- and you know this- is you know what Martin Luther, started has not been finished and that's why she wants Bernie Sanders and then there's a cut to Bernie Andrews, giving a speech about the tragic young black men incarcerated and- and terrible circumstances of african Americans and this general proposition has been that Hilary will win. The selection will win this nomination because as she has a fire wall with african Americans, and seeing that commercial, I would say she has no firewall
There is no reason to think that this goal. Utter criminal from suburban Chicago, a Wellesley grad. You know whiter than white is gonna seen any less authentic. As a defender of of the african american interests of the Democratic Party then Bernie Sanders. The democratic socialist. I hears the counter argument. I like that argument. I think it holds a lot of merit. There's been a lot of movement in this raised that we haven't really seen in any poles go. There have been all ten a great democraticals, but the counter argument TAT South Carolina is: she is the candidate of Barack Obama. She has wrapped her arms around this president. She has made it very clear that Bernie Sanders was no friend of this president wanted in primary. In fact, which is true. She has the power not only of the just the established african American democratic base behind or in South Carolina, but she's got,
very mobile, bold mobilized machine in Nevada independence have to register in Nevada. They ve got the culinary unions and about all of which are very important democratic constituents. She out Bernie Sanders and divided by a lot. So if she loses and either of those two plates or its close raise, it shows that this campaign doesn't have a whole lot backing it up besides fundamentals. Besides these none of these traditional pillars of support in our money unions, entrenched interests, but the enthusiasm is cutting against her in a way that is just striking to the point where it would demonstrate that there will be a collapse in the very near future. All those things are really working for her and if the momentum cuts against her that strongly, then that this whole thing was illusory to begin with, what exactly you could see in her manner, in her behalf
over the last two weeks, you can see desperation behind her eyes at the thought that this might be happening again, that she is Lucy at the democratic nomination, no. She is Charlie Brown. The democratic nomination is the football and Obama was Lucy and now Sanders is Lucy and she's going to run off to that ball, and it's going to be pulled away from her go down right on her back with the law, this double humiliation in american history, or maybe next to oddly Stevenson, I mean this is very serious business, and she, I dont think, is handling it very well. Her behaviour on the stamp and in relation to all of this, and what's more, the very questionable and peculiar behaviour of Bill Clinton who yet again went off on some points. Our peroration about how we're all mixed ray, so you can't so it's fine to say that Hilary is black or something and
she is rapid yourself around Obama, which is fine and democrat democratic voters, about Burma and African Americans love Obama, but that doesn't mean that going forward they don't like somebody who say, I'm gonna throw bankers in jail, they might really like that. You know it's going for this he's gonna say: look I've been I've been aware. I've been a stark left us my entire life. We wait. What do you think my politics are toward the african American through their exactly what you would think they were in a priest, You'll bring up rat black panthers that he did. You know during during the sixties outs that that kind of thing that he can do that she can't anne- and you know that seems to have real resonance. So I I I don't know. Obviously, if you were gonna bet, you had to bet you'd, better Hilary, but
this is a very odd year and the same trends that are blowing Donald Trump swear. Blowing Sanders is way. Democrats don't like politics: either they don't like politics as usual: either they think the system is broken. They think that people are screwing an sanders. Is the voice of that and Hilary keeps saying lucky Guy a realistic there. Some things you can do something they can't do I'd the voice of realism, and there is a real question about whether or not any but he is interested in hearing that this year. Now moving on to the final topic of our discussion here, we have, of course, the tragic sudden loss of antonyms Scalia on the Supreme Court for thirty years, the longest serving justice on the court and arguably the most important, intellectual conservative force in Washington of the past half century,
knew him a very little bed. I met him when I was in college at the university Chicago and he was a professor at the law school. He. Call me and asked me to come. See him in his office, which I did with heart funding and it was holding, our magazine counterpoint, and he said this is really good, but you know trying to be too stuffy. That's a problem with the schools very stuffy and that was neither Scalia. He was a! U no solid serious Catholic believe believer that you know the culture was getting barbaric and disgusting and immoral and fragmented, but he was free, He had an amazing sense of humour. He had a real sense of the roundness and shape of life and how it was to be enjoyed.
I perfectly remember an interview with my friend Jennifer Senior in New York magazine a couple of years ago, who Jennifer said I mean you can possibly believe in the devil, and here, of course, I believe in the devil, I'm a Catholic. What do you think we believe Jesus believed in the devil. Why wouldn't, I believe, in the devil and is Jennifer set in the peace and has said to me this Surety about very, very deep, serious beliefs, is something that is so inimical to the general notion of a reasoned skeptical. Intellectual the approach to the law that you know he brought something entirely new and, of course, was. I think, by
formation was the greatest writer of prose of Supreme Court opinions that their ever has been. Maybe next Oliver Window homes, but but, but I think he was probably a little back. It's a great loss, the politics that follow are the politics that follow butter, but I think it's worth focusing on the contribution he made and the fact as rushed out of the New York Times said that, the year with the rise of trump and the death of school, yeah seems to mark and end of something about conservatism. Some sense of it Of a conclusion to a period of intellectual dynamism on the right that is now very much threatened by the right emotive, resentful and
post, modern approach to politics and the presidency, so that sir. I think that's where we're gonna leave it, I'm sorry to have swallowed up, bother, Julia oxygen. We know about the it's, it's been a great third but a great third session will meet again next week for a fourth and maybe we'll have happier used to share with you. My night next week will probably be talking about the the prospect of the Democrats nominating a outlandish crazy candidate and Republicans getting sober. That's that's my fondest wish make it happen amount, thanks very much pleased that a commentary magazine dot com for all the latest twenty four seven and
talked him next week.
Transcript generated on 2020-02-27.