On the first podcast of 2017, we discuss the first near-scandal of 2017—the quickly reversed effort to overhaul the Congressional ethics process in a manner highly injurious to the public image of the Republicans who agreed to it and then soon after agreed to dump it. The lesson: Trump can challenge norms but other Republicans don't have his Teflon. We also discuss the waning days of the Obama administration and its singularly graceless exit. Give a listen.
This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
Welcome to the first Commentary magazine podcast of the year twenty seventeen today is January. Third, I'm John Podhoretz, the editor of Commentary and with me, as always, Noah C Rothman, are assisting online editor man
bored and a great while their senior editor manning the posted notepad sitting right in front of them. I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday week. I was in London myself with my family, which is maybe the world's greatest vacation that? I commend it to anybody who hasn't been there lately. Unfortunately, others here were sick suffering Christmas flew and apparently that was a common thing going around America. So I apologise to everybody who might might be suffering if who are listening to this podcast? And you are not yet a subscriber to Commentary magazine special offer for you special new year's offer so go to commentary magazine that calm click on subscribe,
And you will, if you enter the coupon code twenty seventeen you can get a annual digital subscription for fourteen ninety five, instead of the usual nineteen and five in an all access subscription, which includes, are beautiful monthly magazine for two thousand four hundred and ninety five. Instead of two thousand nine hundred and ninety five, that's commentary magazine, dot, com, click on subscribe and true the coupon code, to zero one, seven, twenty seventeen, so gentlemen, we had an interesting kerfuffle that started last night around ten p m, when the New York Times reported that the income- new Republican Congress had decided as its first act and over the objections of its leadership to eliminate the office of congressional ethics. As supposedly independent body whistle blowing. Now
able to listen to whistle blowers and sir, do something about potential congressional misconduct and fold its duties into the Ex committee, but denying if any press officer or right to speak to the press or anything like that, and the net result of this was a press, outcry, LOTS Phone calls to congressional offices, a tweet from President Elect Trump that scene to divorce him from the congresses, actions and call into question the validity of those actions and the move was tabled. All in the space of about fourteen hours. So what do you think nor Bosman, we can learn from what happened in this
trains little moment of pics, New York irrational reform. Well, I think you probably have more interesting. Far reaching lessons to glean from this than I do. But when I was drunk when this happened was how little of the? U no natural gravitational force of partisanship was exerted on the right. I mean there was kind of something almost like a legitimate grievances here that that necessitated this idea that the OECD is a party body that it's got individuals in it who leak information to the press in order to get sort of vigilante justice against individuals and, in particular, the republican membership. There I rate over this body. They think that there's its unduly focused on them that it costs them. A lot of money did to pursue litigation to get their good names back after these sorts of things leak, even the sometimes when they league is very good
isn't it actually does some really good work and hemp and enforcing discipline on that please membership, so they had a good, a good sort of cause there that they could have made a case for the fact that they hadn't made a case before they actually made. This maneuver probably precipitated the ages uniform outcry over it, including among members of the conservative commentariat, and that including what we understand to be a deluge of calls into congressional offices ready in some backlash from leadership which had
warned against this manoeuvre, but was ignored, resulted in it being tabled and overturned. I think that was probably the most fascinating from me and again. You have different lessons to learn from this, but the fact that the obvious, politically negative objects associated with this compelled people who found this to be a dumb held to die on to abandon it right with a green wall. Do you think that the incoming Republican Congress may have believed that there was some latitude for it to behave somewhat brazenly in the pursuit of its own interests, because the dynamic introduced into American. Politics in twenty sixteen by Donald Trump, brazen this willingness to sort of them go in the face of what would
to be ordinary congressional rules or ordinary political rules. By just doing it and then daring people to be outraged. Yeah the interesting thing about it is. I think they probably did think that and others onlooker thought that as well, because this morning I saw TAT. I was watching morning Jonah press resort of covering this as a sort of suppression of trumps, sensibility some. Some someone says on effective. Well, if the at the top? Isn't following the rules and a sort of writing things is running his own rules than than whose anyone beneath him nor near him to to do otherwise and then, of course, he came out and seemingly against type tweeted and the sort of non disruptive calming way, whether or not that had any actual effect on on the fact that this was a verse or not is debatable. Why think
The lesson here is that certain things are non transfer. Bowman Donald Trump got forty six percent, four thousand one hundred and thirty states. You want three hundred and six electoral votes or service or electoral votes what he gets who he is and his latitude, simply will not translate to any other republican in the country particularly matter republican, of Congress or the republican carcass in Congress. Congress remains extraordinarily unpopular. Have a press that is almost uniformly hostile to Republicans and will be exceeded extremely hostile to trumpet, certainly hostile to congressional republicans and will jump on. Every possible he served. Malfeasance or seamen bad behaviour to due diligence
eyes the uniform republican power and the pigs Eleven legislative branches. And the idea that somehow we even get a bike has its Trump era has now in literally in the first before him before Congress was even sworn in, has already been in value. David and in fact they better be really careful, because the if Trump has tough one that is safe. It's very hard for the press or of Democrats or people who you. Don't like trumped, guided him the incentives to go nuclear on every ACT of Congress every hearing every slip. The tongue by any kind, Christmas staff, or anything like that just goes through the roof like that that that comes a much easier way to get at Republicans, then going after tromp himself and you know
This is the Caesar's wife situation like Trump can do it every once they better be purer than pure where they are going to be in a world of trouble. I I predicted they won't be purer than pure, at least for some time and it still even it's been invalidated, or today I dont say ethic mischief is still very much in the air and its good. It's going to be hard for them to resist. By the way things can be sort of hard for both sides to resist. I mean every He's been ratcheted up. There's just sort of like this river arms race, of of action going on now also there's this impulse that I don't know if it's really well placed to give trump credit for a lot of things that occur. That are a tribute
other forces in the political universe and in the economic universe. The fact that you know you have morning Joe supposedly saying Lillian of the down trumped we didn't get the legs out from under Republicans. That's true would certainly true, but that probably obscures the impact that, for example, leadership played in this situation, and I think they probably emerge a little bit more strengthened. And now we were not really putting a lot of focus on leadership. They probably deserve more of it than they're getting and then that'll obscure the fact that when something else happens, that's attributable to leadership, we won't be looking in the right place, so that sort of sort of my you'll be focused on trumped that you might not deserve. But you know it's interesting, you know, if he's smart about this, he can see how how much he can benefit by doing so little. You know if he's play comes out on the same side of any given issue or the or what even the saint or side of any given issue because of expectations. Here he will get
cried this with. This was a hard call for him or anybody the below the look of Republicans trying to you know trying to take the teeth the efforts to ensure that the Congress behaves ethically and to do so. The terrible that trumpeted MR drain, the swamp doesn't really have to do very much, except sounds like the look at that ever get that's all he did was an awful for any condemnation of Renault was actually very sober. You knows these two tweed City basically said if they have legitimate grievances. This isn't the way to go about it right. You should. We need to take up warmth things right now and apparently majority leader, Kevin Mccarthy, that number two guy in the house. Leadership sat at a closed door session of the House Republican this this morning who here ran on
issues relating to the office of governor of congressional ethics, as opposed to Obama, care and tax or form in the room, went silent. Is, of course, if they have legitimate grievances. If their fear is that this office, be used as a partisan weapon against them. Then fine, you know the. If those fears they say they can be articulated em. They the Congress now and they ran you know they they re for a long time? I don't understand how How were you know? This office somehow is uniquely hostile to Republicans if it's under the aegis of you know of the other, Passover observes is run by the Republican Party. That doesn't make a lot of sense. Its head coach house Republicans around the house and the end of the beginning of time,
eleven at six years, like I don't know how there any institutional bias office that was set up in two thousand and eight couldn't have been. You know, dealt with more harshly her directly. So I think that's that's the that's. The problem there, and, as I say, I think that was a gimme, but I do think Some lessons can be learned from this for Republicans in Congress, which is that It is open season on them and that that's why they wanted to denude this office of its power, but that they are now threatened by this office. They are threatened by the political realities. Situation. Democrats are off, killed her, they don't know how to attack trump, they dont understand the basis are the source of trumps power and authority. They dont understand, where his weaknesses are yet they fought his way. Says, whereas weaknesses in some of those turn out to be strengths, they will figure this out over time, and this is not everybody always
Has the fallacy of thinking that the current situation will never change in Europe vulnerabilities is the way to get at him and to start harming his neck and making him more unpopular and less powerful will start becoming They are over time. They need to be in reaction to things the dozen things that he says in and the fact that he will have promised things We cannot deliver M M Demo that's, a very able hum and serious pull. Players, they got a lot of money. They get a lot of them, have a lot of money to spend two test, the Jews to go after him and figure where those volume these are now and then work as well as it is for this raises. Questions did didn't Republicans ever figure out Obama's vulnerabilities and exploit them well We forget the democratic parties vulnerabilities over time, and certainly the twentieth.
Tea party uprising was, and it was a direct Understanding of the ones they figured out Obama's vulnerabilities. It was an it was an expression of gum he's getting too big and spending way too much money end, and we are, empowering people who have no sense of personal responsibility over people who are like paying their bills and trying to make their way through this horrible economic situation and their net It was a health care in the auto industry and all of that and. Congress in other house was taken in this giant shall lacking in them Obviously, in twenty fourteen they figured out the By pushing him on certain types of things, people sir forgets outweigh fourteen There was the summer, but was the summer of crisis with ISIS, Emma kids on the border and it
was Obama's. Everything's, fine, don't worry about it. It's J B team and you doctors. The cried nothing's a crisis. Nothing's a crisis in the public, didn't think that There was a crisis. So I don't know if that's splitting his vulnerabilities or that's just the sort of natural outgrowth of the research and stood incompetent or bad governance does what kind of jujitsu? as there was that of com,
mean was, was considered his great asset that he was that he was so even the first Republicans benefited inadvertently in every single time because they thought that they had the political will that their backs and they did, but it was sort of just a response. Again too will bomber was a lot of disaffected Democrats and independence and twenty ten who voted for the two word. Who were tea party populists? Not conservatives. As you say, twenty fourteen the same thing happened. A lot of four frustrated and scared. Individuals voted against Iraq, Obama, an abstention, and in twenty sixteen, you had a populist uprising that was fuelled by a lot of yellow
I'm relieved democratic, voting members of of the electorate who supported a Republican in some cases for the first time ever in this is sort of something that would benefit Republicans in against the Republicans own efforts, psych that, like Republicans, recording dead, the Democrats and independence at all these no these years. In fact, they thought they had a mandate for conservative reforms when they probably didn't so. You know, will Donald Trump faces similar conditions where republicans are forced out of the report coalition and land into the democratic can't buy. You know by default. Well it's hard to imagine that, but it is certainly easy to imagine. The reading of the Trump mandate, everyone's talking about does Trump, have a mandate doesn't need and when the popular vote, all of that doom, and they its ever existed. But it is
certainly easy to see, which is, I think, would cover Mccarthy's point was and yelling at the members of the US cautious that winning the tourism elections doesn't then mean that your handed the keys to everything and can do whatever you want. You're still, a person. A representative circumstance and the public can express its opinion, and if you, if you, if you open, reach you. If you have reached you forced things through without thinking about what the oh, what a practicable that could be in the long term. You could find yourself in a catastrophic situation. You could see a narrative developing had this gone through waste they from the very first day that the republic took power in the house two weeks before before tromp was even inaugurated. They were setting up the conditions under which they were supposed to be impregnable. They were the corruption was not just the potential economic
corruption of the Trump Business you no conflict of interest, but was the political corruption of Republican? trying to solidify their control by making it impossible for them ever to be investigated and ethics matters, and that there could be a very strong why The arguments are taken to a mid term elections. You know and bye, bye, bye, cut That off at the knees, something very salutary happened to Republicans the questions will tenth at lesson, or will they do what they often do? And what Democrats do when everybody does witches of reach and thin? that the election is about issues that it was not about. You know what Lastly, social issues, and I will they push certain
the social issues that are of not much interest to the voters who elected Trump and gave Republicans this unitary control over to the three branches of the government, and you also actually had a that's. That's actually point that Damn Michael Brain Authority, a communist over the week had made earlier was very important point that a lot of people in Trumps administration are conservatives of an activist sort of milk and may find themselves in a quagmire of their own, making that negative. Otherwise, ITALY avoided that you had a better point earlier that I dont want to forget, because you had noted that nobody had listeners scorecard smooth when they were looking at the future. Twenty seventeen- and these are things that happen than they derailed and compensation will all the time. That's the danger politics, a major politics, isn't that you have a nice orderly. First, you do. So then you do that in the new develop support you build coalitions. Unexpected news events are the or
or of the day in politics. Somebody says something stupid and in a lights, the country and fire for a couple of days. Obama says something stupid about skip gates getting arrested in Cambridge suddenly for like five days, the country is talking about whether or not you know bomber likes it up is hostile to the poor these, which he certainly didn't need at the time of that happening, was very helpful by the way to the gather Clouds of the tea part to help solidify the gathering sense of the tea party, that Obama was hostile to ordinary people and was only interested in. You know elites and not two cops him like that, these, these twenty four hour were even weeklong stories. They have spill reverberations that land they come at another there by definition, unpredictable you know than their unpredictable events throughout the Obama presidency there are unpredictable events that you know hardly believe my better nowhere. You know the the deep
horizon oil spill right, the witch Obama had no responsibility for, but none the less there's the oil pouring into the gulf and killing birds and doing off. All that you know just six or eight weeks before the twenty timid terms, and then you have or may at board there or a bola where the whole with a bowl in their response to bowl I mean that's, those are met. News stories you don't: okay, so fine, there wasn't a big old ball outbreak in the United States and a ball wasn't is contagious. People thought it was and all that you know remember how terrified everything was of a bowler. Well, you think we're not Bola, we, TAT office. Congressional ethics scandal. For a day that, if I had had the reversal, not happen, we would be talking about four weeks, and that is ain't, your politics
White houses and political organisations are constantly laying things out in terms of we're going have healthcare week this week and then we're gonna have internal reform, weak and then we're gonna have this and will have recovery summer, and then we'll have will have in Felicity autumn and will have the winter you know and as though you can. Control, the cow, and that was the George W Bush administration's transition policies. They had various a week to week, roll out the contrasted mightily with the Clinton transition process, which was a complete mess. They were defined by inviting they didn't have any sort of policy at four hundred they policy lay out and which presidency is defined, as you know, by by posterity, as the or well liked. I suppose you know it's not the Bush administration. While I mean again order order is all well and good, except the you can't you just can't depend on it. You know a lot of what political
your ship is responding to the unexpected and whether people haven't have a taste for it may have a feel for you now downing of the church, a plane the first couple weeks ago, she Ministration elsewhere. You need to know where it's gonna come from And, of course that is the real test of tromp who has. Literally no experience having to respond to these kinds of crises. As a congressman that the governor as a senator is a state representative is anything you know just. I would submit by the way that this communicating with the electric be a tweet is going to be wholly insufficient when, when that crisis occurs, when he's faced with an actual new cycle that gets away from him he's going to find that his his interaction with the universe be a hundred
characters is woefully insufficient. To meet them meet, need the moment it would be the opposite. I would say that you can imagine how the tweeting could become. More anodyne and helpful in the sense that he could use it to introduce in this light into things, as opposed to simply combativeness, like a nice tweet about zero about the hyena, like a like an Al Roper Willard Scott Tweet, about of Ladys hundreds birthday. You know something like that, so, basically anything that he tweets. Five billion readers. You know he he's mastered the forms efficiently. So you know you can catch flies with honey as well. As knows was being in a wildly combat it. They don't have a lifecycle lifespan to the mines and just had to make this point. That is, if the news I had really truly gotten away from him and he was under the gun and it was a real, controversial new cycle. These state, those tweets that we so we talk about today- that we we we import a whole lot of weight and an
gravity to them. They they don't have a very long lifecycle before we have to move on, but Here's how he could do this. Forever and habits. Of his interests he's. Is Sparrow Agnew by which I mean that you know Nixon use, we're Agnes was an attack dog going. After the media speeches written William Sapphire talking about how terrible to me. You are so he can use twitter, just pick fights with the press all the time or yelled the press or complain about stories them in and stories, and every time. He does that every time he does that it will respond pebble in a pavlovian fashion. They will salivate, they will bark, they will still. They will ya although one either do not talk about it, incessantly and conservatives in particular, who hate the media will feel though you know, he is. He has their back he's he's representing them in, general disgust with
the media's use of its own power to you no further its own liberal agenda and all that, that's that's one possibility to look at how Twitter can be useful to him. Basically, by constantly using the press. As you know, is he he's Mohammed Ali in the press as truck weaponry, another guy who was the model for rocky and adjusted presses upon Bag doesn't even know it's punching. That's how can he added going after First amendment to me you can't say that about cancer than about glimpse, rush of the New York Times. Why he's a fine report- and you know that kind of stuff and in the bay, that they get into that. This normal. You know, I think, you're we're normalizing him can normalize him with you treat this as though its acceptable. You know, I think that the real problem is is when he tweets on serious matters when he's not sort of just defending himself to the press and
uses twitter so frequently? to remain vague on an issue to sort of to sort of confuse and keep you guessing, you know little girl. Recently, there were six others isn't this news broke, but North Korea would be- testing missile that that may or may not be able to reach the West Coast, the United States and from tweeted something to be effective, not gonna, happen What does that mean? What does that mean? Not gonna happen or you are you are you? Is that some sort of threat even stop, or are you not gonna, stop or origin, you just saying that they're gonna be unable to do that now, he's not gonna be able to do that He is present. Of course you can't believe what everyone, but that's the absence of crisis. I mean we're, not that we're not in the middle of a new cycle defined by a crisis on the korean Peninsula, whereas this is just happened, he is created that story from scratch and defining beat that the course of that new cycle with this tweet. If he's forced to respond to events, I think I'd be dead, Right, well, it's also the question of whether or not his solemn system what role
solves ISM itself involvement plays. Oh, is he gonna do this to you now to conduct petty price four fights with people were is punching way down, you know Alec Ball, you know some imitation of me doesn't like or a joke that you know some John Oliver tells on HBO were who I don't know, think somebody says I'm morning Joe annoys him now CNN Buck with his back to the ASEAN member. This picture cause he's upset with a look of the cover photo of the scene and book which is called unprecedented or something like that, and what about the Elect I mean whatever he does. He can do and will see in the whole thing is that one can assume that it? is all improvised and then the question is this: is the thing we don't know how improvise administration is this going to be administered? It's fine president's, find it extremely hard for them not to do
everything in a very studied manner because they can control. What's going on around them unless they. Do it in that fashion? You know that they don't speak off the cuff because it it's more trouble that it's worse to speak off the cuff. That's why they don't give press conferences and they don't want to do themselves because when their themselves, they say things like you know. Cop shouldn't do something stupid and then you get in the week of the Skip Gates story. They go bomber That was a away. Spent use of his time and that ending up having a beer with gates and the key, Let me now that was not helpful to him. And so you dial it back and you get work controlled, were considered, and I I imagine that that will happen with trumped just inevitably, because people are self protected essentially have a sense of a core of self protection.
One it? Yet I wanna get themselves into trouble for no reason unless you're really working out something deep psychologically like Bill Bill Clinton, who, I think, got himself into tat Will they get himself out of trouble because he was board, you know you did? I think I didn't know that not a smart thing to do to like make time in terms of the White House and that he wasn't like risking something terrible by doing it. Of course he did, he did it on but still sort of to raise the takes of classic sociopath behavior. You don't feel anything so you, you know you like you, have to: u have to push buttons and raise the stakes, em the dangerously and maybe strum too, who knows the other things going on is the behaviour of the Obama administration as it comes to a close. Right, so we have this spectre of of the administration.
Having said that, it wanted to have a quiet and common, respectable, Transition, a power peaceful, is instead attempting to create fair outcome, the facts on the ground in policy after policy to make things difficult for the Trump. Administration, as it attempts to reverse some of the practical policies of the, the Obama administration. Some of them are really kind of bizarre. I think Furthermore, authorizing I think awful just on the surface like the the You and vote against Israel and the John Cather Preposterous John Kerry Speech Israel and then some of them are just bizarre, like this thing about now about drilling Ocean, the drilling and that somehow, even though it wasn't voted on by Congress by declaring these fields off limits in this area off limits, has the force of law under at ninety
fifty one statute and can't be reversed, which of course, is ridiculous. Because Trump announced that he is he will deem it reversed and then the question is whether the permanent bureaucracy- will actually listened to try some out of do an end around that, but we ve we're having a dispute here about whether or not this is the standards who conduct for administrations and transition politically, if they're, going to another party or weathers then really new and different, is going on here, nor what you're Gill? I think that the transition has been pretty unseemly, particularly compared to the last transition. We had that the Bush administration's transition to the abandonment distraction, perhaps fuelled by the fact that the Bush administration was well aware that
was not a popular asset and the Obama administration doesn't have that same sense. Brok Obama's going out with fifty five percent plus approval raining something like that. So I think he believes himself to be a little bit above reproach here, but the other. Administration was very deferential to the president. Elects didn't, you know, wishes the handed him control over the remainder of the tart money by January with congressional consent and that was you know that dubbed a real you know feet here. By contrast, we have outright hostile expressions of contempt for what Barack Bomb is doing in terms of executive actions, in terms of contending that he himself would probably have won the election, whereas Hillary Clinton lost Kelleam Conway, suggesting that Bronco Obama doesn't
his country enough, using her words to have an orderly transition and then some actions which I think are actually taking some options off the table for the President Elect which I'm not necessarily frustrated by themselves, because I don't necessarily disagree with the policy, but I am I do I worry about the president and particularly in regard to the idea that we're going to have some sort of a hostile interaction with Russia. On these final days of the Obama administration that I feel like a spurred on not by the result of actions on the ground or new news, but by frustrated Democrats, leaning on the president to exact some sort of retribution for what they believe was interference with the election to appoint,
I think that allowed Democrats actually believe that it turned the election and they and ours as such are engaging in the White House is engaging in overt and covert actions against Russia that will typifying in an color diplomacy in the Trump administration. You can say you can start hostile actions with Russia much easier than you can roll them back and the Trump Administration will inherit. Some of these ongoing operations, and it will perhaps try to roll them back. But that's easier said than done and to the extent that Moscow might feel reciprocity is do that will typify of bilateral relations in the trumpet administration. You know, I think I wonder if Obama didn't have a very late rethink on this rush issue, because if you, The call in the press conference gave before he went on his vacation. He said something like this one, the grand conspiracy
old Putin to knock it off and then the use that any any any right and he did and he should have vaguely blamed the press first for for spreading it. As being a larger deal that was almost and then next thing- you know you, you did it's a few days later and and and he's expelling twenty five She says that goes to the point? Is you re was almost? He was only muscle, relaxed at the press conference right that rats had a real problem. I think you started smarting. Yes, I think you're right as well. It's very hard to know what what what the institutional prerogatives or institutional oppressors Once the intelligence community decided that Russia is now had been Greg Villain, although we have been told that Russia had done this, you know that the Obama known about this in July and decided not to act and why you decide not to act because he thought Hilary was gonna win, so so
It was all you know, silliness and you know, like Putin being being and fussing around and being silly in the american people would put a stop to that. I mean no one here at this table believes that Putin isn't anything but a bad actor on the world stage and that the United States shouldn't be conferred during his bad actions, not just in I were, but you know, on the the ground with with with with serious, now, countermeasures I don't think what Obama's doing serious counter measures in the sense that since they since they have eight lives they basically expire. You're saying that he's setting, know you're, saying he's. Setting things the term can pull back but obviously theirs. Expiration date in the sense that there, over on January twentieth, when a much friend
Your president of Labour Putin is sworn in them, would seem to me to be madness and pollutants part, and he doesn't seem to be mad, though he's many other things too you know continue with a confrontation when he hears someone said was true staying there with an olive branch death. Really trying to be his friend and how much more he can get on the old stage from this notion that the american president has decided? against all evidence that somehow here is a workable partner in helping to Take things off of America's agenda so that he can focus on other things out. Putin already decided not to retaliate to the expulsion of of the of the diplomat, so he
certainly decide matter retaliate because he's play much longer he's got a much longer game in mind about his own interests in Russia's interests in keeping America queer. And unfriendly. I agree, and I think you will challenge Trump in the sense that he's going. Try to get the best of of whatever deal from thinks. He's he's working out with him but that's all along gay mitchell- I don't, I don't think he's gonna retaliate directly for this in the Trump years. Well, if not, it's not though the White House is going to be directing dated eight operations in the event that they inherited cyber war against Russia will be. The ADI duty will be in exacting these. Daily operations, they will be deploying they will be responsible for aid. It deploying conventional forces on the along the front as it were as well. As you know, these ongoing operations against Russia, so it's not as that. What what what I'm anticipating and I could be wrong is that Donald Trump will inherit camp
and of which he is not entirely aware of all the aspects to it and so short Putin can say, you know we're not going to respond to this- that the other thing. But how much can you defer reciprocity to ongoing hostility, Well, there's no way of knowing that and we shouldn't you know we're not gonna, know what we're doing and though only know what they're doing the one thing about trumpet. You know if he wants to be friends with Putin and the one thing the administration will now has he comes in is that he wants to be friendly with Putin and the one thing that Jim This will now when he sworn in. You know when he presumably is confirmed really quickly in the first week of the other. Ministration, so they go over and take over. The department of Defense is that is that his new boss doesn't want to be in a cyber war with Russia and that he can serve declare it ended. I don't think that's that hard work basket. Learned anything from the last three resets we ve
We had a reset with Russia in two thousand and one we had a reset with Russia in two thousand, and eight we're got to have another reset with Russia is that they have a very limited window before conflict occurs. I mean it's sort of inevitable that occur, because american russian Inherently one hopes I mean one one hopes when there's a hope that, where in a conflict, but one hopes that these now the food and the other than that that the war that the truth of the situation will will educate the new president, but we don't know that that is the case now, the other, of course them other major thing That happened as what warrior gone, where these words, this shocking act at the. U, when of abstaining on a resolution effectively declaring that does the Jewish state has no sovereignty over EAST Jerusalem and the settlements, sir.
All settlements are illegal, thus potentially placing Israelis it in legal jeopardy all over the world if they they're from the settlements or in other ways in which, if they live and they live in Jerusalem across the green line, as it's called might take on this, which I haven't been able to write for the magazine. They were aware. Vacation is that, in fact, it was, if you remember but he told Jeffrey Goldberg of the Atlantic a couple years ago. That being that now who was a chicken blank ah, and I believe that the truth of the situation is that Obama's a chicken blank. If he really wanted to go out, Kicking is real and the shins he could have voted with the resolution. Could I voted for the resolution.
Abstaining on the railways resolution is no different from voting out not be either you veto were you vote abstained, doesn't mean anything. Was a fourteen. Zero votes with an abstention in the security council. He meant it than he should have done it and then taken his lumps for it, and so the pretending that he didn't do it, but he did it, but he didn't do it, but he's a friend of Israel, but he's lobbies once wants that. Tough love and sending a message is not sending a message and they try. They tried. So hard has been road said it was baby net. Yeah, whose fault that we got to this point which is its totally insane since booby, then Yahoo froze settlement activity at you know unilaterally in Israel is sort of an enemy for to try and make nice with the administration and but then John carried delivering this in a completely illogical store, uncle and factually inaccurate address about the nature of the problems or dream,
Israel and the Palestinians which, to my absolute shock, eviscerated in a really stunning fact check piece in the Washington Post today by Glenn Kessler, their fact checker, who spent a day long time going through it and systematically takes areas argument apart, piece by piece brick by brick, which we ve done. We done on the blog other people, but it will be interesting to see it from somebody who obvious, became at it without a predisposed wish to fine what what what he found. I commend this peace to very heartily. So the question there is the if emotionally If we try to sell these very complete, this was something else. This was an emotional knee jerk action to an issue that Obama. Himself has been too cowardly to face head to head, which is that he does like is real. He doesn't like to settle
he doesn't like baby. He doesn't away like the way baby to handle, demonstrates him, and he is going to go out, giving B b the finger aspire, considering he never got the best of any exchange between them. He was unable to two to two: do not be offered in the election. He wasn't as an equal to to halt? Is his progress ingratiating himself to various? new allies and quasi allies. So this was his last answer and to support. No your point about the tardiness of the transition there, suggestions off the record around background suggestions that it was down trumps appointment of day, Friedman as the new ambassador to turn to Israel that helped spur this decision. In other words, that because I'm had picked. You know that eventually, a right wing supporter of seven activity. An opponent of the two state solution to be
argues new ambassador that it was therefore even more incumbent on him to take this step to kind of show that America that there were other opinions about this, then we're gonna be expressed in the new administration, which has really kind of barbaric. If you think about it, do that so again, do it well, do it when voters actually are position to judge whether or not what you have done as fair, unfair or whether or not your party should or should not Take the stand remember in the United States, despite the fact that democratic numbers are going way down this is the country sixty one. Sixty percent of the people state support, is real and something like nine to ten percent support Pakistan's if you ask them who they like in whom they don't like ants. Oh Obama doing. This is not only adds a slap in the face of trumpets, also a slap in the face of american public opinion.
Totally happy to do that as long as he doesn't have to pay for it, and even even if his party does have to pay, for it will eventually, maybe it well. Maybe you won't say it happens. You know well before any subsequent election put it, but it also, speaks against this idea of Obama bomb. As this cool, pragmatic, always com, you know perfectly all these are going up. He's a Vulcan right right. Writer, professor, you know if he, if he's for acts, oddness fit of peak on the way out that could damage the future is party. That's not. That's always been the bizarre method of this White House which surrounded itself from the beginning. With sycophants you had one of them is such a lay up that I couldn't even take a swing at it. I just
wanted to let it said there was Valerie Jarrett over the weekend saying a bomb, a prides himself on one thing. Above all- and that is having not embarrassed himself in this white house- and to that I submit the candid interview he gave with a woman who is famous for bathing in cereal. Among among other interests. I s, you jump celebrity right, yes, Let me he didn't Baden Cereal so easily Scott, that going Karswell small favours. But by the way you know this is the other thing about this whole conversation about Trump being the reality tv stories brought in our Our culture is, has been so lower that you know now we can have this guy who, as you know, was on world wrestling, and then he had a reality. Tv show in this is that comes down the escalator you know. With his in out with his says slovenian model, wife and lives in this would garish apartment and all that and
Had it not been for eight years Obama going on John Stuart and going on John Oliver, and going on this and talking goings being between two friends with Zack Elephant Pakistan being interviewed by the lady with the cereal and all that slow jamming the news with Jimmy Fallon He had made himself into a tv star president. The notion that being a tv star president would be problematic there could have been used against Donald Trump, but the world, if you now, basically or gotten so used to sing Brok, Obama, every talk show being you now having his having his feet massaged by every host. Lowered the bar hair, for the notion that its unseemly for us to have a but reality tv president. This is even though Michel has produced that much unlike his kids ember despair that much he has got take
He took out all the stops to you now to basically make himself a tea, the accessible president, If you add accessible press, a very famous republican Anti Obama, two thousand eight celebrity was marked and impugn for its lack of efficacy was a complete with, and it turns out that that's doublet our coasts, both ways, you can be a celebrity president annulled he's going out with a very high brutal rating people like their celebrity president, more people like him then like than like Donald Trump as it happens, and that question that we have to wonder at now is what he's gonna do with that celebrity after he's gone, you know we had the example in two thousand nine of George. W Bush deciding to remain silent, remained silent. Most for almost entirely silent during the day.
Obama years, but in two thousand nine, as the Republican Party at low ebb at its lowest ebb and flow be five years was trying to figure out how to handle this slot from Obama and some of the tea party stuff started happening. All that you, if you remember it was Dick Cheney, not George, We wish came out and started speaking out very plainly hard about what Obama was doing in american foreign power I see, and there was always how this unprecedented and look at this in its own, unprecedented but channel very resolute his rhetoric was very strong. It was very serious. He taught you took this at a high level and you know Obama could do that to tramp very easily very early on he could sort of become the leading opposition figure to trump? If that's, what he wants to do with his post presidency, may I had seems to me,
That is like a fool's errand to do that, because what is he really get out of it? And what can he do that? If he does it as opposed to making more his post presidency than that, but he certainly could be I figure and there is clearly no figure of comparable way in the Democratic party they don't have a house speaker, they don't have a Senate majority leader. They don't have any anybody to stand up Bob all became. The presidential nominee in ninety, maybe six with Republican Party, because the Republicans took the Senate mighty many foreign. He was the him Gingrich, some blowing himself up by winding about being on the police now being put in the back of the poor But there were these two figures: serious actual figures who could who could? oh contest with Bill Clinton and it really elevated dull and I don't know the debts
there will be anybody who will be of that stature to go after Trump? Well, I I certainly welcome. The hum is, I think, is very unlike George George W Bush and that he doesn't plan on staying, quiet and sort of you know drifting off and becoming a memory was while successors is in office? The question is, though, is: is you want? You get the most out of his post presidency. Is that how he thinks he's gonna get? He also has. I think he has a lot of ideas about how he could set the Democratic Party right as well. Oh he's, he seems to want to correct them. Well, you know that I'll. Give you an interesting counter, example or model. Does Walter Cronkite sounds weird model, but you know when Walter Cronkite retired, as the from his perch as the wheels
Erica's anchorman and I think one thousand nine hundred and eighty one and one thousand nine hundred and eighty two and he was finally done being the centaurian voice of reason. And basically he just came out is about now. Leftist me now from tenor, twelve years and just attacking everything from the left having been mostly care, a bath had during, This time behind. The anchors desk All the question about Obama is, you know he spend his life, calibrating his words and being so careful about where he was, and you logically very much on the left, but he never said anything his red was never something that you could like I try to and say, oh my god look. He said this, he can ever be president or that so we responsible or something like that. Well, you know, fifty five years old is out. The presidency can say when every wants everyone's will he be liberated too Spress himself in a way that he has never expressed himself before
What is more or less Seti plans on that immediately went in a recent interview with with our screens Goodwin. He said there things that I can do. I think I can be more effective for certain causes when I'm on strained by the presence of certain things you can't do given. Given the office You know, and I believe I believe that's what he wants to do so, why wouldn't I backfire for the people he's trying to reach? Why wouldn't the progressive left here a progressive on dilute progressive message. Outbreak Obama said: where were you the last eight years because that's, not the way people do it, they would. They would be so happy to have him as a tribune, particularly as they feel, disempowered and alone. In a country that is a veering toward soft fascism that the minimum to popular post president should actually be in their camp and helping them along? I think they would be nice if role, I suppose, you're right there, that there will that there will be support sort of superficial level, but I can imagine that
actually advances now all of travellers and they all of Clinton nobody complaint, but anyone Democrat operating the serious rebuilding effort, democratic parties, decimated ya, know that said that he wants to help rebuild the farm, Tiana Heaps oversaw the decimation thereof. So if he goes out there and starts talking like you know, revenge is progressive. Then how much as his cause gonna be advanced. You know, you're now arguing two different points which is you're saying that for grasses or jack them from upping rest of it after then, you're saying, if he's too progressive, then he won't help the Democratic Party and say. He'll do. If only they can simply, if elaborates himself, he'll do whatever he wants now. The most interesting questions for me in his presidency is this I'm not to say this because I'm a conservative, but he happens to be a very good writer dreams. My father is a very good book, a desk, Help is, and I don't really think he wrote it. He did
I dream from my father. Despite this nonsense idea, the bill airs wrote it since pillars: Ayers, never run eighth and goodness life too good book. He could if he really set his mind to it and focused and wanted to do that produce a classic press. Essential, memoir first, you know first guy in a long time who could really produce a classic presidential memoir enemy, were honest enough to be able to talk about where he might have gone wrong and what happen to his party and all you know that he has the floor. Knowledge to be able to describe that, even if, even if you described in a way that we would disagree with, he could we produce a book for the ages, it will be a test. Of his character, his focus and his independence of thought, whether he will actually do that and I dont know whether he will or not. I would
say the odds are against it, but he will get twenty five million about will get a twenty five billion dollar advance amber. The book will sell, Three four million copies bushes book when he was a nature of his popularity, bushes book decision, point cell two and a half million copies. So it's not like it's not a safe bet. And it's also a safe bet that we're done with this podcast a commentary magazine thee in itself. Second year is America's foremost monthly of insulin, intellectual and political analytical, cultural and policy analysis. Please join The commentary magazine that calm you get some free reason that we ask you to pay. Ninety ninety I for years, digital subscription, two thousand nine five for an all access subscription, including our Ipad, nor beautiful monthly magazine delivered here. Mailbox. A park has listeners today. The commentary magazine that conflict unsubscribe enter the coup. One code,
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Transcript generated on 2020-02-26.