In the second of this week’s COMMENTARY podcasts, the hosts try to wrap their heads around a series of events that defy logic. Why would Donald Trump try to rehabilitate people who align themselves with torch-lit rally goers chanting racist slogans? Why would the left go to the mattresses to defend their own violent elements? And what the heck is Steve Bannon thinking in general? And does the country now share our crushing morosity? Give a listen and find out.
This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
Welcome to the commentary magazine podcast today is Thursday August 17th. Two thousand and seventeen. I'm John Podhoretz, the editor of Commentary magazine the seventy two old monthly of Lyrical Analysis, intellectual probity and cultural criticism from a conservative perspective join us a commentary magazine dot com, where we give you a few free reads and then ask you to subscribe, one thousand nine hundred and ninety five for a digital subscription. Two thousand and ninety five for an all access subscription, including a beautiful monthly magazine, your mailbox right now you can read both on
an online. We have an article by Harvey Mansfield called the vulgar manliness of Donald Something is going viral. Even as we speak, come take a look subscribe. You will be illuminated and delighted and horrified and learn a lot and contribute to the intellectual life of the country by doing so with me, as always,. Senior editor, eight Greenwald High Abe, Hi John, an associate editor know: Rothman, hi, Noah, Hi John, so guys what you talk about, there's it's the end of summer there's you know a lot of people think you should put the corn in the water before you start the boiling and then take it out after it put some people say, put it in with after the boil and then turn the water off. That's one thing: we we could talk about gardening, my lawn
is just over. Your lawn is overrun and Abe, I think, is a busy practicing the piano and he could give us some good tips on how to practice the piano in the the warm months. You bet the importance of scales and Gail Trozo elder size guide. That's right because we're trying to avoid we're spending just a few blissful moments, avoiding the topic of how to parable. Everything is right now so We're just going to just sit here in silence for a minute. While we decide what we what we try to avoid the topic all right. Silence over moment of silence for the for the a loss of normality. I really wasn't really thinking about my lawn, no good. Well the I'm, I'm excited for you. As you know, I don't have a lawn, so I I'm very envious of your of your lawn, but so so is this, you know not cease Fratelli
that the President, United States has had some difficulty, let's say deciding how negative he really wants to go on the fact that white supremacists descended on the Charlottesville VA two Protests nominally protest, the removal or moving of a statue of Robert E Lee from a park that was aimed Emancipation Park after it was named for a long time, Robert E Lee Park, and we had the famous of course. Over the weekend the there was violence on many sides. That was then more into a condemnation of one side: the clan and the KKK and white supremacists in NEO Nazis, and then we had the impromptu press conference at which
decided to take back his condemnation of these forces. To amend his condemnation of these forces to point out that there were very good people among them. So reporting has since suggested that he had a written statement on Saturday, an ad libbed extemporaneously that on many sides thing, but if you're right and then on, he delivered a written statement to clean up on Monday, and that was apparently under duress, because, according to reports that have since come out, he just decided that he was going to say what he had been saying in the interim that he was really frustrate having to give this stupid statement. He wanted to say what was on his mind was, on his mind, is crazy, uh, so what he said if we need to rehearse what he said
he said that and Steve Hayes, our friend at the weekly standard counted for us, because I we were having some tooth speeds at this in the first three minutes. He said fourteen times in the first three minutes of his twelve minute press conference, I that he like to wait until we got the facts like the media, so we like to wait until he got the fax and he likes to wait. I don't know if you know this, he likes to wait until they get the facts. Let's say fourteen times he likes to wait till he gets the facts. Let's wait till we get some facts like to wait until they get the fax likes to wait till he gets the facts like to wait till it likes to wait till it gets fixed wing effects more than facts like that likes facts. More than me, I'm fake. Those facts very, is that okay, I couldn't even do it fourteen times with this, a face, so I don't know- and it's impossible to know what it was that he was trying to get at, in fact, because he in fact made a statement before he had all the facts as far as one can tell on sat, afternoon, since he decided that that the file
on all sides, thing that he had the ad libbed on Monday was wrong and then on Wednesday it was right. So that was the first thing. Was this bizarre first three minutes in which he was like either a broken record or a loop right like and he was saying it as if lateness was was, at issue that he was that you who is defending, why he took too long or something to to speak in the first place. Was he taking too long to go back on having condemn them? The not sees without condemning the alt left or whatever it was. He called it so. What we had in this spectacle on on on the reason I'm I I. The reason that I am are: are the press conference. The reason I am repeating this stuff about the fourteen times in the first three minutes, which is not been a major thing that people talked about, is that his it was at
least as much the alarm that was raised by this among people who weren't just a horn. Just you know like looking for any reason to come down on like a ton of bricks. I had to do with his me and his tone his demeanor and his behavior. He act he was in raged. He was furious. He was unpleasant, he was combative and for what reason. This whole thing was supposed to be about infrastructure. It was staying there with Steve Mnuchin as Treasury Secretary one side, Elaine Chao. On the other side, Gary Cohn, his chairman of his National Economic Council, serve in the background and he went off
He was asked questions he somebody said to you some reporter said what you know. Do you have problems with the alt right? He said you define the alt right when you define go ahead, come on come on, go ahead and finally outright meaning you don't know what it is, because you're just biased, you're, biased against the alt right think it's perfectly fair to be biased against the alt right. That would be my attitude since they're, a bunch of anti semitic filth. You know who made my life and a lot of people lives a misery in twenty fifteen and two thousand and sixteen with abusive, hostile, horrendous disc
thing tweets and emails and Barb Barrick Low some behavior of a sort that you know is just not common in american life, even the good ones among them did that the very good ones yeah. Well, that's that's, which we should probably focus on, because that's that was the real big offense. The notion that he was saying very explicitly than the night before the torch lit protest, so people were throwing Hitler salutes and saying Jews will not work, so we should. We should lay this out just to make it clear what the predicate is of the conversation were. Having so The rally was planned for Uhm Saturday afternoon in charge Phil Friday night. There was a torch lit March, or something like that to the statue and the pictures that we saw were of clean cut, guys in you polo shirts and dockers
carrying torches making Nazi salutes and then apparently, though, this wasn't in a still photograph, obviously chanting Jews will not replace us or judicial, not replace, blood and soil, which is a phrase with a complex providence. I won't go into, but prefers essentially to the notion that the spell was also right, but is also blood and soil refers in part in the. Both to the notion that land of the south is uniquely possessed by a southern patriots who fought for the confederate cause because it was fertilized by the blood of so many dead southerners who died in the civil war so that was Friday night, and that was the first moment of a large national alarm through, like what on earth is going on here. There's like a Nazi rally and the intro as well and then Saturday came the
unite the right rally with the six or seven speakers, including the pod coast of the podcast the daily. The guy who says that only twenty seven thousand people died in the Holocaust. The guy who said that he wants to start a second civil war, guys who call themselves openly fascist or fashy, fantastic, really, wonderful people and According to Trump, at the press conference, the people on Friday night were there were people Friday, who are very good people who were protesting, who were making a very quiet test and then Saturday bad things happen with the bad people very rough, meaning. I think
that the NEO Nazis showed up and they were. They were a little different right. They look like Hells angels, they have, they have beards, their overweight, they wear t shirts. They have lots of tattoos, you know they don't look like they stepped out of. You know a sort of an ad for Dockers and Izod shirts in the daily Stormer like, if you were going to advertise in the daily Stormer for Izod, shirts and dockers, like that's what you would have somebody where those who would say that were being an affair with note that the President did it condemn Neonazis, because they're, deplorable and condemnable, and but also it was that he condemned the Nazis and said, but also there were some good people with the yeah and Friday night, with the good people right who did not see solutions out, show shall not replace us yeah, but in the Friday yeah, but the Friday people said
add juice will not replace us. They did Nazi salutes, they carried torches and they attacked physically a group of protesters who are pro nearby, who I am as opposed to what the President said that who lied about this, because that's what he does said that they did not have a permit which in fact they did and they did on Friday night and they did on Saturday. And that was a lie, and maybe he didn't know- and maybe he did know. But you know for somebody who spent three minutes fourteen times saying that he tried to get the facts. He got the facts wrong because he doesn't care about the facts, so the alarm hear about that Prescott about what went on has to do with the mean and the fact that he bristled was made uncomfortable by the idea that he needed to pay some obea sense to our national civic culture in endemic,
this racism, Nazism and and and an out and out violence and the provocation of out now violence to the point that and no this is now going to get complicated. But this is one of no is key issues here, so there it's not that there was a kernel of truth in what Trump said, but that in the heat of these conflicts, It is true that uhm violence on both sides on the in the on the extremes of both sides in the United States in relation to our national political discourse and the idea that the Nazis and
these people are alone in provoking violence is not true. There was violence on Saturday provoked and caused and done committed by so called Anti fall forces that were rallying against the NEO Nazis. But it transpired that, because Trump was so awful this that, if you said look. We also need to take a hard look at the violence of these anti fa people. You were suddenly accused of moral equivalence between Nazis and people who protested Nazis yeah. So I'm going to go back
along time. To do this because I've been writing this an UN. You did this in the last podcast, but we need to do it again. We need to talk about it. Well, because I wrote about it that day, noting that this weekend was not the opportunity for moral equivalencies. The opportunity for moral equivalencies was a year ago when we had fascists and communists flying fascist and communist flags knifing. Each in the streets of Sacramento Calvin. Then I spent the following day on Tuesday, on television and on radio, explaining who- and he felt was because people don't know who he they were ok so who so? Who? What constitutes quote Antifa, unquote It's an amalgam of organizations all over the place. They sort of now operate under this banner, but in early two early and mid, two thousand and sixteen they didn't have any kind of unifying
there were a variety of names, the one that I that I noted in that article was easy by any means necessary, which is the organization that attacked NEO protesters outside the Sacramento capital. This was the assessment of police by the way that they instigated and planned violence. The organizer of that full ARCA was a California Middle school teacher who is involved in this organization by any means necessary, which eventually became eighty five of which she was a member and active participant. She was arrested and charged with inciting a riot and I'm
violence in that in that situation, and I contended in that piece that it was incumbent on us to address that moment, look at dead in the eye and really talk about the fact that we have romanticized political violence in an unhealthy way and that there is political violence on both sides of this thing and in this I'm childlike emotional response to what is at a very emotional situation. Obviously, the rise of neo and and violence in the street and the murder of a woman by in a white racist terrorist with his car with his. Our big killer, homicide and the claimant and twenty one people injured right. It was a very dramatic moment for the country and so emotional responses in it one way acceptable and understandable, but what we saw was the
the billet haitian of eighty five b by people on the left, because anybody who is engaged in the attack and by the way people on the right people in the running and John Mccain, who were saying that there is an anti racism exists in a complete different moral universe than pro races and in a way, were white washing some real violence, and I was treated to a tax on my character as being pro not seen, and the the notion that I'm some sort of of of a moral equivalent as I've creek arresting moral equivalencies between and people who are anti fascist and by the way these people are basically the inheritors of the tradition of of the boys. Upon the hawk, the people who are. Landed on D day to attack Nazis and anybody started, started as a jokey meme on twitter and then became something, people took seriously, which was the idea of saying look here. Are some alt leftists?
eating the all right right. It was, and it was a shot of of troops getting off a boat on on to Omaha Beach, basically, at on on D Day now that was a kind of flip Joe That people then started to take seriously as though, as though these people, with clubs and and and and guns are still like. The Warsaw ghetto uprising is what I was actually confronted with. I'm finding it increasingly hard to tease out those who I understand what Antifa is what they do and who are praising praising them Then those who really don't and are praising them as if they are just uh enemies of not so there was a development last night that kind of clarified these things. Now I could talk about this till I'm blue in the face. Nobody cares, but when Jake Tapper talks about it, people take notice, and he last night.
And a couple of tweets, noting that there were at least two reporters journalists who were physically assaulted, one of them needed actual stitches and hospitalization by these anti racist protestors and in their own defense. One of them jumped on Facebook today in Deaf justify the attack on protesters by saying that they were getting and that there was reporters were getting in the face of protesters and it was a perpetuation of rape, culture yeah. I don't. I don't know here, here's what was being said so one of the report, this is Taylor, Lawrence of Buzzfeed, I believe, Buzzfeed or maybe business insider anyway. Tail Lawrence is a woman. There was another guy and they had iphones- are video cameras there walking around and they were told by the anti five people to put their phones away, because they didn't want to be ported doing what they were doing and they were journalists, and so they didn't put their phones away, and so they were physically attacked on Facebook. The anti FA person said we didn't want to be photographed, because this was a
trigger of memories, of how people want to name and shame anyone who says that they were raped and they were true going to try to out us and get us arrested by the by the state and that we, we told them to put the phones away told them they were not allowed to use their phones and record us and they didn't listen. So therefore, they were in effect, justified this by the way, and in almost eight am at occupy right in beating two reporters senseless and that was anti fought now is the difference in my view, why you can't draw moral equivalence? Saturday and Friday night in Charlottesville, between the right and the left, let's say or the far right and the left. Let's say. Everyone who is involved on Friday, night and Saturday in this. In these,
Inspirations on the right is complete is openly complicit at the very least, with NEO Nazism. Look at those posters the to write posters? There are confederate flags on them and not see eagles in the sky, and people you know look. I just wanted to go. Listen to Richard Spencer cuz. He really interest me. Richard Spencer is a white supremacist. Okay, they're all complicit at least in the ideology, and the technology is a violent ideology and therefore they are complicit in the violence. Anti FA came in an ruined in part the counter protest, as we can now see that the counter protest was larger and much more peaceable and much more. You know sort of come by ash right
people standing around singing holding hands all of that being attacked physically by alt Right mix, an NEO Nazis and white supremacy, lists, then this tiny contingent of anti fall comes in and starts a street battle with the NEO Nazis, Thus, handing the white supremacists and their apologists a talking point that is now common talking point so common that the President, United States himself is using the talking point. An his apologists are borrowing from him too, which is there was violence on both sides and you had the alt left and you had the alt right and the alt right and the alt left in the alt left in the alt right. Therefore, what Antifa did here not only shouldn't liberals and people who want who care about these causes not support them. They should understand that their cause is being undermined.
By the arrival of literal Spartacist, Bolsheviks, who carries soviet flags were who were themselves more apologists, for the regime as barbaric as the Nazi regime, the Soviet, the stalinist Soviet totalitarian regime, and they are in superseded and having the worth of their cause tarnished and poisoned. By this association, which they did not seek, they did ask the Anti Father, show up and beat people up that wasn't that that's earned and and start and start having a street war in Charlottesville and there's a distinction that people are making, which is the the melee well on the front lines of this protest between all right and anti fascists has nothing to do with the the peaceful march that occurred blocks away. That was targeted by a guy with the vehicle right. Those are different, good
free circumstances that deserve to be completely cleaved off from one another right. So what does this tell us? So what this tells us is that uh the poison of this event, and the reason that you know the president's behavior is so hardening maddening, upsetting and horrifying is that he is allowed the retroactive justification of the March two against the you know, of the march, which was not designed, which was NAM only nominally designed on the basis that they wanted to protest the statues. Steve Hayes again, our friend the weekly standard, I'm going to try to boot this up, Has an amazing piece today in the standard in which he quotes from a podcast, in which the organizer J,
and Kessler of the of the March spoke to one of the speakers and I'm just translating the March yeah on the Thursday before the March, okay, Jason Kessler promoted the rally, as it quote, as an opportunity to quote search, the white, the right of white people to organize for interests, fine on August eighth, this is Steve riding four days before Rally Kessler joined, white supremacist Chris Cantwell for can't quote radical agenda, unquote, podcast! They spoke four days earlier of possibility that violence would be necessary in Charlottesville in order to accomplish their goals, quote It's a shame that white people have to do this in the country that they founded. But if that's, What it comes down to that we can start getting our rights back and take our country back then. I think that it
Phyllis Isley should be done. On quote. That is the organ. These are of these weekends events. Now. This is so explosive that Cantwell, who is the Houston producer of this radical agenda. Podcast took it down and try to hide it. Okay, he he is removed it from his website so that nobody knows because they are so excited to have the press in states playing blocking tackle for them. And here's another interesting point, because I'm pretty sure, as I said, that the president was drawing a divide between the good people on Friday night and the very rough people on Saturday, because in part of the way they were dressed right as we look at the photographs, they're wearing Dockers and and Izod shirts or polo shirts, and so Chris writes that he at
Christopher Suarez reporter with the Charlottesville Daily Progress. If he saw the people Trump described when he covered the rallies over the weekend, where is couldn't say for sure how many of the people in car last week and we're very finder in the centre unaffiliated with in white, supremacist and neo, but he did point out quote most of Them- were in the White collared shirt and khaki pants uniform of the white supremacist groups. That is this clothing that they were wearing, that is their uniform it's like the new uniform of prep schools in the United States. Were boys no longer where you know like jackets and ties, but they work and they all wear the same. Uniform shirt and pants like a certain type of collared shirt and pants, and that. Is what, as far as I think, it's safe to say that wearing those clothes at a rally like that means. You know exactly what these event, organizers and leaders believe Anna, according to an email that James
into the wall. Street journal got from a source close to the monument Fund, the Charlotte based Nonprofit, dedicated to preserving some confederate theme, monuments quote, opening from our group attended. The protester counter protests we all stayed away as everybody should have done so. Basically, what we have to ask ourselves is: what is it that impact old, the president. Having made the statement that was intended to quiet this down to inflame it back up, why are you do it? I think there's more than one motive. I think one is personal. I think one is that he couldn't stand, having been compelled to make the the the first corrective statement that he read from and had to go out there and say: look I'm nobody's I'm nobody's puppet nose.
The words of my mouth right? Exactly, let me, let me tell you one of the many type of my thoughts of my my I'll give you my unvarnished to very unvarnished take. But then there is a, I think, a more tactical political consideration vault which, which you know but go ahead. Well. Well you it's really your your your baby, get that all right! Well, so he thinks that these people are part of his base. They're part of the reason we got here and he's is going to defend them and he's going to separate the good ones from the bad ones. The good ones are just trying Fen monuments and they're in doctors and pants, and
So they're, a little controversial, looks the band and said the bright part was the platform for the all right. What's so terrible at the all right, I'm telling you what's so terrible that the whole rather told you before they're a bunch of anti semite filth and racist filth and scum and they're people who should not be a political role in the United States and they didn't until very recently. Okay. So that's the deeply horrifying part of all this is. He won did not dog whistle at them not to not to wink at them. He wanted to tell them in no uncertain terms that he was their guy and they heard it loud and clear, David Duke Credit on son on Saturday, which would pizza heard on Monday.
They know what he's up to. They know that he is saying, I'm your in the end you're, okay with me, I you know. I can't really say that I got to say that I don't like violence and I don't like him, all of that, but also who is he to condemn violence he's a guy who was called and people at his own rallies to commit violence against protesters at his rallies. You think anybody takes seriously him saying that we should replace hate with love. Nope Titian american history is actually explicitly called for violence against protesters at his own rallies. Now I would I I know I wrote a piece on this and I think it's incumbent on us to say that not everybody heard that, especially among the Trump voting set, they didn't hear him say: NEO deserve to be condemned. There they're awful people. He said that very explicitly, even when he was riffing extemporaneously in the
is Prescott right? They heard him say that you know they're so going after Robert E Lee now, what's next they're going to go after Lincoln, are they going to go after washing, and I don't know why he put Lincoln in there, but Washington is something that has been said by Republicans for quite some time, because Democrats have been trying to erase from history individuals from the antebellum who were they in the founding of the founding fathers people, like Jefferson and even even Jackson, who were democratic founders, founders of the Modern Democratic Party who nevertheless owned slaves, and their name is being raised from Jefferson Jackson, and what have you and there is no limiting principle there and Republicans have said this a lot and it's not an illegitimate thing to say when there are people are saying this is NEO confederate propaganda. This has been around for a long time and it's not in the old Confederate Sub So here's here's how I would divide this myself, though I'm not a constructor of
monuments nor a particular fan of them. I think there are kind of third rate form of art and they're pretty lousy, and do you know this is kind of a haji use of human beings and their animals is particularly creepy. We want to things like I was reminded of yesterday with all this talk about Robert E Lee. Is this? If you read a lot about the civil war in about Roberty Lee. There is a fixation in southern literature about Lee, not only only but on his horse traveler and his worse, noble, steed, traveler, the wonderful and his horse is buried, is every night right in front of the the sort of the tool of Robert he lied on. I guess is the campus of Washington and Lee University, some like that, like his whole, This is buried there. Is a horse like people are like,
You know treating this horse like it's, you know, Alexanders, Boo, Alexander's, Cephalus or whatever, like this is insane. It's God dam horse. Right. So Robert E Lee becomes this figure of in part because it was useful, so the north. You know he became this figure of reconciliation because he accepted with such ace, the you know he he went and surrendered to grant it APA Mattox with grace and fortitude an all of this and spent the remainder of his life, the five years after the civil war that he survived, saying don't erect statues to me. Don't monuments to the confederacy right, so here's the thing so might might take on this is whether he's a good guy or bad guy, every every human being, whoever owned slaves was a monster. If that's a new attitude, we're going to take them literally, everyone of property in many countries forever is a monster, but whatever so we'll put that to one side.
What's the difference between so Trump is drawing an analogy between Washington, Jefferson, Stonewall, Jackson, property leasing. If you go after Stone Wall, Jack some rob going to go after Washington and Jefferson Next, an it is true that there are people who would like to say that Thomas Jefferson should be extirpated for you, which should no longer be considered a hero because he was a slave owner and, what's more had a you know, had a mistress who was a slave and had children with her and all that, what's the difference between them in historical terms, Washington and Jefferson, built founded a country that had in its dna the very means by which slavery would ultimately be extirpated from itself and created the greatest political system in the greatest country on earth. Levy and Stonewall Jackson attempted to destroy it,
is the difference between them, the what what made Jeff sin and Washington Worthy was not that they were slave owners or that they defended slavery, which, by the way, neither of them did quite the opposite. Jefferson was slavery legislation and he tormented and tortured by it, and so was Washington, and you can say that that doesn't speak to them morally or to their greatness is people, I don't care so celebrate. Washington is a human being or don't or celebrate jacksons you. Maybe we celebrate them as. Visionary men who were possible in part for the creation of the greatest freist, fairest government and system that the world has ever known an we Falsely and improperly, or parts of us have celebrated those who attempted eighty years after the founding of the country. To destroy it through succession through secession.
That succession, succession and those again you're going to draw moral equivalence between between, but Trump, as we know, doesn't have the first idea about any of this. Do you Remember what he said in a sort of off hand. Offhand rambling comment months, back about the civil war. I think it's yeah that Andrew Jackson would have stopped it he's. Saxonian right and Andrew Jackson would have stopped it yeah yeah. So this is what he's but he's giving voice to sentiments that aren't entirely stupid. There is far it's far from being stupid. We have now polling today that suggests the sensible nature of the american people yet again, which is that sixty some percent of the american people believe that is acceptable. For there to be monuments that deal with US history and that they shouldn't be torn down, including so again, we look at these polls no you're gonna none and I just continue what you're gonna say. I'm sorry, that's right so just quickly to sweet, so these polls are by heavily weighted like Republic
things are: eight thousand and twenty in favor of keeping monuments rather than tearing them down independents are sixty. Forty and forty and Democrats are. Forty are basically split evenly forty five around forty five percent, meaning there to this Crazed to remove him, tear down mine, tear down these monuments, which I, which I have great moral problems with was not shared by the people, who think it's perfectly fine to have a monument to somebody. A hundred. Fifty who was morally questionable- because maybe in part, you can stop having conversations about what they did and why they're there, and why we have a statue to them and that's it I mean we don't. Nobody in this room thinks that the president is an especially deep thinker or a conservative, but it is a thoughtful, an conservative position to defend people who don't who don't
aspire toward don't emulate modern values, because who knows how we're going to be judged in a hundred years time? That's something that I think is is a genuine conservative position and people who don't support violence and aren't racist, reject those things, never the last don't support a mob tearing down statues, because it's socially fashionable to do so in the moment. Right now in this time, everybody who was not a vegetarian, it's going to be is going to be judged as some sort of a monster and, if we're all judged by the standard, ephemeral standards of our times, then we're going to be erasing a lot of history yeah. The other way of looking at it is this, which is so you don't read Dick. Is because he was an anti semite. You don't read Tolstoy, because you know you don't read Elliott Yeah TSL, you Eliot. You don't read Yates, you don't read to you, don't prefer you when you ban perform this of the merchant of Venice. I mean you know this is this, is not
This is an irrational, eight historical murdering of history and the, but my problem is that Trump associating himself with this view poison. You know, like everything else, poisons this opinion because how he takes that and he associates it with the fact that it's okay to have a NEO Nazi rally on Friday night. That's it's because they're wearing dockers and and they're wearing the clean cut, uniform of white supremacy. So he poisons a very serious argument and makes it harder to make by associating himself with it, that's the astonishing thing and I don't know what to make of that. If you look at it, here's the weird as we were saying before the show which is like, I am perfectly willing to accept your contention about the memorials and how you don't. Memorials because you're you're simply giving into the femoral of the political moment. At the same time, like I'm not going to be put in a position of.
Pending confederate memorials, the confederacy was an evil confederacy? Was it confederacy lasted for years? It wasn't the confederacy that was an evil, because Percy was came into existence and Any successful it would have had would have had two effects, one of which was it would have perpetual slavery in the south, you know forever. Okay, that's number one or, however long could have lasted number two would have destroyed the United States. There's all this talk about this series confederate on HBO the game of thrones guys are going to produce because we're show, with, country with slavery in another country, and you know the new union in the north and that they have. They have another civil war and there's all these things shouldn't be allowed to do this 'cause they're white and they shouldn't be allowed to show this ok, here's the funny part of this counter history, there would be no such counter history. There was end result of a successful civil war in which the south would have seceded from the north would have been
the total atomization of the north american continent, the south wouldn't have held together, is the how to receive the entire theory. The confederacy would have said would have said that. Any decision that was made collectively by the confederate states that one state didn't like secession from the from the Confederate Union totally acceptable. It would have been built in the dna that the entire pool, and then parts of this states themselves would have succeeded from the other eight, so that would have been like Europe in the ninth century and the union wouldn't have survived either for the same reason that the that the notion of the binding glue, the national binding glue would have been totally about operated by, but you know by by success of the civil war. So the funny part about the confederacy is that, aside from everything else, any commemoration of it is a commemoration of an idea that would have destroyed the united
states, and that was Lincoln's, great brilliance and heartening. That was what he stood. Was the union was import, they they could not be allowed to leave, because the national experiment could not survive the departure of the south. The decentralization the of that the Canon Ising of our line, Ising of States Rights yeah in in in the confederacy made it virtually impossible for the can for the confederate central government to govern the country. When I was a central will because there's so much resistance to it among the governors, there would be no your unified currency. There were again if they had one there would be no unified currency in the yeah. Why would have? Why would you know one part of Tennessee decide they wanted didn't want to secede from the other part of Tennessee. If the political party that won the election, you know different way like that's the point of that, it is it's and it's a little too literal anarchy and the literal
destruction of any Conceit INC form of government. That's just my I've been wanting to say that for a month since this whole confederate series idea came to be because confederate series is a bad piece of counter history. There couldn't have been a confederacy that lasted into two thousand and seventeen, so good piece of counter history. That would be very boring because it would just be Fractal dissolution would be game of thrones. What gamer would literally beef twenty sevens right. Four, forty five principalities, you know in the on the north american continent get out at constantly fracturing Andre fracturing and having wars against each other would have been like you or if it would have been like. You know, you're up in the 13th 14th century, that the other would have been got, you know, there would have been no modern history, there would have been no, who the hell knows anyway. That's a that's a silly thing to talk about,
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well the monstrousness monsters lists of our per moment Ben. Thus, the balance Steve Bannon Creator, the platform of the all right, but the creator of. Once a quick thing about Steve. Before we get to this insane n interview, he gave to the very left wing editor of the American Prospect, Robert Cutner, in the most one of the more bizarre events and of lately is that he just like was the moods called ride. Liz at the new Yorker, a very liberal reporter, as though somehow that was going to be a friendly conversation banning calls Bob Kuttner and seems to think that it's okay for him to say whatever the hell he wants to say. Yours always has a lot of talk. When we get this interview about how bad and you know like he must've known, he was an off the record like he did it on purpose is trying to get fired, is this and that
Because bands of machiavellian strategist loss- this is all nonsense about Bannon. Okay Bannon is a second rate finance guy, who became a third rate. Hollywood guy with some money who ended up taking over bright part after the tragic death of my friend Andrew Breitbart in twenty eleven, and then in twenty. Sixteen, because of his friendship with Robert Rebekah Mercer, who were the few few people who were actually backing trump after they dumped TED Cruz. He ends up for three months, is one of the co chairman of the Trump camp. So he is a novice as a media executive, and he is a novice as a political figure and if he calls Bob Kuttner and doesn't say that it's off the record, that's because he's an idiot That's because he is a know, nothing idiot who was a lousy media executive and a crappy political operative who, surfaced himself
it's constantly being served, first, as a sort of like guy who needs to be isolated and fired in the White House by almost everybody who works before him and with him and around him, so I'm still With this, which is that people need devalue value, word need to start selling band in stock short because he is in much less impressive person than people realize. Having said and, as I said, on, twitter he's like the into troll character in a Harold, Robbins novel. The words he's what Harold Robbins would think was an intellectual, not with an intellectual thinks is an intellectual saying things like you know. My rivals are wetting themselves in the in the state Department. That's one of the great quotes from this interview anyway, Noah tell us about what Bannon said: okay, there were a bunch of great quotes in this interview. My favorite part of this interview is now quote that Steve Bannon gave, but the journalists efforts
two very subtly convince the president that this is an act, gross insubordination by and a dummy who deserves to be defenestrated. It was they there isn't even really a subtle winking. There was like. Why did the Steve Bannon call me knowing my ideological inclinations? Why wouldn't he say, This is on the record. He sounds just like Donald Trump himself and isn't this a gross act of insubordination, wink wink So I really enjoyed that part. There is that part of. I mean that's constant now in every article. Every story about this or any other band thing, there's a lot. You sounding sounding as if he were the chief executive himself,
you've, been in so says, such as, as if there's they're they're sort of trying to push this they're trying to get in Trump's head with this idea that that band in it. No it's not it's, not all. It's not even settle in a temp right, psychologically manipulated read it's up, I'm definitely it it it. It could work. Okay, so now, of course, the question now, let's talk about what he said, is that right? Okay, so among the things he said- and he said quite a bit of things that were very interesting. The first is that- and I'm writing about this, as we speak, is that the United States is effectively an entirely and completely to turn on the korean peninsula. There they've got a gun to our heads. Ten million people die in the first half hour of a war on the korean peninsula. There will be no first strike that has tremendous policy implications and I'm writing about those. Secondly, he talked about white nationalist racists as useful idiots, their their users losers. There I'm easily manipulated he
got no affinity for them, but they serve a useful purpose, is going to affinity for them. That's why I hired Miley Annapolis as long as no affinity for them. I mean, I know that he's speaking to a particular audience and he's tailoring his comments for this particular audience. Nevertheless, I want those comments printed on leaflets, dropped from the air over these rallies just to demoralize the actors on the ground yeah. I have a question, So how do they take? Those comments I mean Ok just ignore them. I think they're going to be like it's like it's like, yes, he's, you know he's got it he's playing five dimensional chess right, he's smarter than all of us right, right, smarter right by the way one of these guys at the rally they love Trump and every but one of these guys at the rally Condemn Trump, for you know, selling his daughter to a Jew all right by the way, just to just the the one of the speakers at the rally
one of the one of the very nice ones or the very bad. Oh, I think I don't know, maybe a little rough it's kind of on the nice side, but trending toward the very rough. So let's talk about North Korea colonies or something. Let's talk about North Korea. It was about North Korea, which is this is the Kinsley gaffe right. So what is the Kinsley gaffe famously name for Michael Kinsley? Is when somebody says the wrong thing at the wrong time, but when they inadvertently tell the truth, so he said something about North Korea. That is in fact correct, which is that the hell?
the abominable held? The position we find ourselves in with North Korea? Is that its ability to strike South Korea in the case of a military conflict with us? It's a building its capacity to inflict unbelievable damage on South Korea is in fact the reason that we have had difficulty for two decades in figuring out what to do about set about North Korea's nuclear program. And it's and its efforts in general right, that's so he's, but what he said was they've got us they've got us we're done. We have to. We have to make peace now. Why does he want to this is where it gets dark and where he needs to go because, first of all, having the advisor to the President say this in north korean earshot, which of course you know, is astounding form of
the trump such a negotiator, so you want to hand them the you've got us. You wanted his lead lead of they're saying this is like this- is like Santino telling you know talking about. You know talking to the slot, so the Turk about week. They might be so that's a lots of fields. You can kill the godfather. Like you, don't you don't you don't signal that you have adopted this position to a lunatic? Who wants to hear it right? That's number one number two is it's also I mean I, that's the main thing but yeah in it undermines, and but I really wasn't into position yeah, but he has also been added as an isolationist. He wants those troops out of South Korea the way once the troops that Afghanistan the way once a he is a. We think that, like rammed all is an isolationist Beverly is now a total isolationist. I mean He probably is against NATO. I mean to you know: I'm saying like this is so so
or two elements whether they got us. So we have to make a separate peace, and the other is every American should be out of the set out of the South Korea out of the korean Peninsula. That is up position. I don't know how Tillerson and Mattis can possibly tolerate. You can have you can't there how many men are there there? Thirty eight thousand thirty, five thousand in Korea, Japan, no in Korea. Another fifty thousand. Now we have We have thirty thousand men who I confuse this, because it's the thirty eighth parallel right, but it's, I think it's thirty thousand men in in in in as a hundred thousand Americans on the on the peninsula. Okay, and what a just and they're standing there and they're standing there and the and the chief political adviser, the president, says we have no military option against North Korea. We should just pulled, make a separate peace and pull them out as the president and the members of the the
an establishment are saying that all options are on the table into including a preemptive pin, strikes and select north korean targets. Obviously, of course, because that is on the table, but it would be very painful option and van, and it's just that it's prohibitively full taking that option off the table and undermining the president. Why doesn't he should absolutely does not remove that result in his defense? He doesn't. He doesn't have the power to take off the table, obviously, and that's where, despite the people try to get into Trump's had about what he's doing so that they can get get rid of them. Trump is a simple matter of self self Self produced in self defense needs to fire or because this isn't subordinate is. It is in fact something that he cannot possibly have done I'll. Tell you a quick story one thousand nine hundred and seventy seven. I think it was Harold. Brown was secretary of Defense and he came to the council on foreign relations and everything at the council on foreign relations, then not so much now, but then
off the record, meaning off off the record, meaning no one leak to couldn't, say no, no one for soul, known a tape, recorders or anything like that, but you couldn't take notes on what people said you have to you didn't have a pen how'd you weren't allowed to do anything, and so I know someone was at this meeting at some point. He said: look if you know Thus- and such happens in and you know, there could yeah thing where this in that that will happen and it'll be bye, bye, oil fields, meaning the Saudis. Will these relatives What is the saddest will shut off oil or the you know, we're terrorists will take over the oil fields and that'll be the end, there's nothing that we can do about it. He said, and people in the room were like. The secretary of Defense is saying that if there is a threat to the Sally Well fields which were then the epicenter of worldwide commerce,
that the United States could do nothing about it. This was an astounding thing for him to say, but no one ever heard about it, because it was off the record and people protected off the record right. So that's a real thing that happened forty years ago this year we just had the guy who was called the bleed political strategist that the president declaring that we have no military option with N Korea. I have a theory yeah when you said Trump has to fire around um. What if Bannon knows he's out he's knows he's. Which way out needs to get this out. There needs to needs to gum up any any hawkish plan need needs to blow up the idea of of military. Trump said. Nice, though it up on the way easy at the crazy Wednesday Press conference about Bannon will see
Trump says he's a good man. Is it yeah, but he, but he also said nice. Little ape theories are really acting working theory because hey the notion that Steve Ban and doesn't know what, on an off the record, isn't didn't bring that is nonsense. You know I d he's not he's not an idiot, he talks reporters. He ran a media shopping knows what on an authorized just begin by saying I disagree with you b he's talking to a progressive reporter. He does not know he's never spoken with before called him up just happens to know that he's going to get an adversarial interview with a guy see he spent the entire time afterwards sort of bizarrely positioning himself as either was Like I didn't know, I was off the record and then also I meant to do this, and it's super great for the president is store, keeps changing. So I I don't think that's an implausible, ingestion and the notion, by the way that two senior level Trump administration officials would have conversations with reporters. They didn't know we're on the record and somehow would just make it into the into the Zeitgeist out of the blue
is near impossible by the way. There's also, this idea, which relates to Trump's nightmare performance. What is part of this is motivated by shoring up the the ban in base out there, so they so they know Trump steps from still from still there guy, when Steve is out, unless the other theory that this is no way for him to get out, but a way for him to. Begun to the president said. Ok, first of all the other- and we haven't even mentioned, is he announced in this interview, the Korea he said as a side show. It was a side show for his purposes in the interview, because he was announcing that we were about to declare a trade war against China right and that, basically, the idea that we were going to be prevented from pursuing this trade war against China. Uh, as of North Korea, was not true because he was going to see to it that we use this
provision in the nineteen seventy four trade act to as China for dumping, or something like that, and that this was going to be the famous thirty five, the thirty five forty five percent tariff on chinese goods. And then, if we didn't do This, and this is a what do you call it? An influx point in world history, and if we don't do this, China will eat our lunch and destroy us, and it would that therefore we're going to do and he called Bob Kuttner 'cause Bob Kuttner is a trade hawk, the left wing trade hawk trade unionists. You know like fantasist about the glories and wonders of you know the I l g w you wouldn't singing died? Dreamt? I saw Joe Hill last night and you know all kinds of six thirteen sixty the nonsense about about trade unions and- and so he thought he was speaking to a
a fellow. This is where he's an idiot and why you don't agree with you. He thought he was speaking to a fellow who would love hearing about his China hawkishness and how we would love to hear about how they were starting to trade work as they were going to be in common cause, and he was recruit these people to their side and it was going to be a wonderful new alliance of the you know: anti trade left in the anti trade right and how glorious this would be, and he is an idiot and I'm still going with he's an idiot. If you think Steve Bannon's, not an idiot. That's fine and I read Joshua Greene's book and I understand he thinks he's a smart guy. Lot of people think there smart guys- and he made money when everybody else made money and he made a good deal that he got some money from Seinfeld and he's a you know, and so I do. I think that it is possible that Scaramouche she is an idiot or rich idiot. An that Bannon is a much less rich idiot. Yes, do I think it's possible. He called him up and thought he was having a conversation
a frank conversation with somebody ever met on the phone without ever thinking that the guy would publish it because he's actually just a pointy headed intellectual who runs an intellectual magazine like me. Yes, I think he thought that so soon after Scaramucci? Did the same thing will scare what she was talking to the new Yorker? He was talking to the american prospecting. You know quarterly, you know you know like is it it's like it would be. I was trying to think of an analogy. This like it would be if Van Jones called me in twenty two thousand and nine to trash and needed done or Valerie Jarrett, or something like that, like what well, is he doing calling Robert Kuttner he's an idiot? I'm sorry, I know it sounds like I'm. You know being stupid and not seeing the machiavellian machinations, but if he's gone by tomorrow. He's an idiot, not it's not there's no plan, and if Trump,
keeps him he's an idiot, because how are these go she ate with the North Koreans and is he going to keep Madison and and Tillerson there when he's got banned in saying their departments are wedding themselves because he's in control of their departments? You know Trump that State m defense right specific, Klay. He says in the interview both state and defense, so I am disagreeing with you. I see no machiavellian machinations here. He had a who knows I thought he was doing and maybe for all we know. Well, that is done this theory. Who knows what? No, what he was doing? I don't know we just said he thought he was used trying to shore up on. How do you know he hasn't had ten thousand conversations like this with the federation of with with the fair trade people who aren't Bob Kuttner like he could have called
they fell CIO. To have this conversation, we could have called Britt Richard Trumka. Have this conversation? He probably got it okay and they because and those who is on the bubble and he's shoring up not to be just an hour old, because if somebody pulled the trigger no because he's right now, because he want he's trying to get them under the tent with him with his grand the gender to destroy China and pull back troops from North Korea and blah blah blah blah blah. But that's still the same thing: we're not disagreeing he's on the bubble. He knows it he's trying in an insurance policy? Together? I don't think, that's all you're missing my point. No, I don't think I think he thinks that he is going to stay there and he is going in two he is going to be mastermind. You know, guy who hines the policy that destroys that creates a trade. With China and he's trying to line up allies on the left to go with him
who who else's talk to besides Kutner, who may not. You know, maybe talk to you, know all Kinds of groups would know when you say insurance policy. Did you mean insurance policy to ensure that he's actually stands up? Staying yes, oh, that's not what I meant at all see what I My theory was that he knows he's gone he knows he's on the way out and he wants to. Love, any hawkish North Korea policy on the way out and maybe and put down a marker about about trade war with China as well, I'm going with idiot and you're going with that and you're going with he's trying to protect himself inside AIDS going outside, and I'm saying he had no plan discount. Shin was a calamitous mistake on his part as a result of his novice, behavior and failure to understand who his enemies truly are He thinks his enemies are like reporters at the Washington Post. Who will keep
he knows to say, go off the record with, but not you know, calls Bob sticky notes and say this is off the record, but when he called Bob Kuttner he didn't know. You know why 'cause he's an idiot, that's why and with that calm, reasoned and back to No, it's going to go back to his lawn. I'm actually reading can right now It's my daughters, reading it for eighth grade and I'm reading alongside are- and you know, I think we all must cultivate our gardens. As Doctor Pangloss said it's fantastic by the way I haven't read it since I was like fifteen years old and among other things that I'm discovering it is filthy dirty. I had no idea. Good. How can the the ends up getting back on his Peregrine nations around? Is that Acuna gone the girl? He loves, sees Dr Pangloss in the bushes, a sickly, great
you know having having forced sex with a chambermaid in which she she learns things about. You know resist. Some resistance and it's all it's all anyway. It's a very unbelievably witty book, which we sort of knew but I've since I haven't read it since I was a teenager, every the real within it eluded me, and I hope I lose my daughter by the way he does not listen to this podcast anyway. So eight Greenwald Ross Rothman Voltaire. I am John Podhoretz, keep the candle burning.
Transcript generated on 2019-11-17.