The government shutdown is over. Did Donald Trump “cave?” What does Roger Stone’s indictment by the Special Counsel’s Office indicate about Robert Mueller’s investigation into Donald Trump’s campaign and the “collusion” narrative? And the United States and the Taliban come to terms on a post-conflict agreement. Has the war in Afghanistan been lost? All that and more on the Commentary podcast!
This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
welcome to the Commentary magazine podcast today is Monday January 28th, two thousand and nineteen. I am John Podhoretz. The editor of Commentary magazine the seventy odd year old, monthly of intellectual analysis, political probity and cultural criticism join us. If you will a commentary magazine dot com, where we give you food reeds asking to subscribe. One thousand nine hundred and ninety five for a digital subscription, two thousand nine hundred and ninety five for an all access subscription, including are beautiful, monthly magazine in your mailbox. Eleven times a year with me. As always, twenty
four hours and counting or maybe less, to the release of Noah Rothman. Associate editor his first book, unjust, hi, Noah, hi, John. A green wall, their senior editor, I Abe hygiene- and in Washington, incoming senior writer, steam Rosen HI, Christine Hi John. So the the weekend began on Friday with, if you can say Friday is a weekend day with the early morning raid at Roger Stone's house, followed by Donald Trump agreeing to a. The end of the shutdown with a three man three week continuing resolution, no money for border security for the wall to be negotiated over the next three week So Friday was a pretty stunning day. There is
yet again, as is true of every single one of these, Robert Muller indictments a worse track test. Russia moan experience that you go through when you fall so the plot line. So the and Trump plot line is that the noose is now really really really tightening his closest political Cancellieri for decades,
though nominally not on the Trump campaign in twenty fifteen to twenty sixteen indicted for witness tampering against the talk show host, Randy Credit CO, who we know was in touch with Wikileaks and therefore, in touch with goose of for two point, with the the russian intelligence front. To that got the hacked Hillary and Dnc emails right. So are we actually don't know if they have the Hillary, as we know, they have the Dnc emails. So that's just you know: they're been thirty. Three indictments There is now a plot line that wittingly or unwittingly, connects Donald Trump to russian intelligence, and so this is really bad. On the other hand, you have to poor.
Cotrona or Anti Mall or whatever you want to call them two details. One is that the indictment does not mention Trump Russia or anything. So therefore, it does nothing to harden the trump collusion story and in fact the crane that people like Andy Mccarthy, just proves that there is no collusion because all Miller does is indict around the edges for it's crimes and not for anything having to do with his original writ Second is outrage over the nature of the arrest of Roger Stone, which came very. In the morning, with a raid on his house, which is now been called, you know Gestapo tactics and what did you do? Is a sixty six year old man with no flight risk. All this so these two, these two, these
we're just going to go on like this forever. It's like everyone is not only in their corner but there, but no factoid. Push anybody off. Their jenner track, including let's the the anti Trump side which had to concede in the course of analyzing the MD. The seven count indictment of Roger Stone that there was no Russia in it and therefore you know Mueller up to please playing four dimensional chess because he's not mentioning it. Cuz he's going to mention it later when he puts it all together, like a giant beautiful jigsaw, puzzle. And then the other, the other side test act as though somebody like Roger Stone, who is eight serve known, liar and see a flight risk. Why not? Why? Wouldn't he be a flight risk and they clearly wanted to get their hands on his
devices, electronics, his equipment, which is why you raid someones home, you don't rate someone's home to make a point. You're a someone's home because you want to get you don't want them to destroy. You know the the server that has the thirty three thousand missing emails on it, and so there or stones testified to whatever is testified to, if they get his devices in her and they were able to use them, which is no small thing by the way, because since he indicated and according to him, with that he was using the you whatsapp if he does not supply them with his password for Whatsapp. They can't get in. What doesn't matter whether he have a machine or on that what's whatsapp is not stored on your on your sheen, so they still need his cooperation to get some of this information and. He then hinted on Sunday that maybe he would cooperate, and maybe he wouldn't.
So ok, so that's my that's my summary Christine Roger Stone. Well so my favorite part of this story- and this might seem petty, but it's how much Roger Stone sounds like a teenage, has been caught. Cyber bullying, someone right about his text messages. He saying. Oh well, it's been misconstrued. I was just kidding I'm joking around and I think that reaction combined with, as you noted his now kind of hedging and saying perhaps I will cooperate that's, I won't he's sounding a little panicked for someone is as supposedly you know. Politically savvy is, as he likes to believe himself as to the raid. I I'm I'm a little ambivalent about that. Look. He claims not to even have a unexpired he's this passports and expired. He wasn't a flight risk he's also been in Miller's crossers for some time. So if he was going to destroy evidence, he had has had plenty of time to do that. So I'm not sure why the raid went down.
It did so, I'm a little sympathetic to charges that it might be that might have been. Necessary, but there's He's he's obviously got something Miller once and, and I could my prediction is that he will cave a bit. He's going to cooperate, weather it's going to be enough to satisfy the people who claim that you know really theirs. This is nothing burger, there's nothing there there, I'm not sure. I I I I like you. I've been struck by how this has not altered significantly the proton bed type Battle lines I'm so annoyed by speculation about all of this, because it's just so you have to engage, agent in so much sophistry and really you know, there's not there's not enough there to to analyze with any substance. I'm sort of persuaded now by the arguments that
notion that there's some sort of criminality here by the president is is difficult to support with the exception of the fact that we have this passive voice element of this indictment, where done Roger Stone was directed buy a says, a member of the the campaign who is above senior campaign officials and there's really only one person could that that could be, but again we're speculating to the point where it's ridiculous it doesn't serve anybody's interests and it it puts you out on a limb that is almost every time get sawed off after from under the next indictment or the next. It's it's important to note that that passive voice, that you're talking about is a skull exculpatory of Trump, that is to say, if stone was directed by Trump. The very senior official who so senior and above everybody else, to find out what Wikileaks has. Then
he's not even close with the criminality across thing, though see the drop is live in collusion with the Russian. As you can ask anybody, any questions like he's has free speech rights. The New York Times had a thing, this weekend, where they detailed. What was one thousand seven hundred and nineteen thirty contacts between people on the Trump campaign, an any human being in Russia. I mean this is you know that is an you know that he Mccarthyism it is A crime to communicate with people who have a russian sports in the United States. It never has been it wasn't at the height of the cold war, and it certainly isn't now and the idea that you create a narrative in which you know it's like oh well, you know so and so talk to the. Since I knew their people. This was the core of people in the Republican Party working on the Trump campaign who had sympathies for Russia, which is bad
well. Like I say, I say it's bad and also that it is, you know, crime, that's what needs to and that's what we need to dwell upon you can set, and I'm sort of persuaded that the the this is the idea that this crime, melody here by the president is sort of hard to envision, but the political problem for the president is real and apparent and getting much much worse. The notion that Donald so somehow not invested in dirt on Hillary Clinton, be trays. Everything we understand about this campaign and everything that happened in twenty. Sixteen, the idea that there's some weighty between his campaign and their effort Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton and the Trump Tower Meeting, and all that, and that Donald Trump was never informed of any of this. It's not criminal, but it's absolutely politically perilous. For this guy becomes really real and apparent and demonstrable in twenty twenty. I mean What's perilous is to lie about things, that's the peril, and so it you're not under oath, and you lie then you're not going to get indicted for perjury. However, many people have been under oath. Stone was under oath in front.
The House intelligence committee- I believe, junior manafort was under oath and from the Senate Intelligence Committee. So we have two indictments for lying Underoath. Two Diff committees on the hill Donald Trump Junior was under Oath Jared Kush has been under oath. Also in this indictment with that we can. We know that one of the contacts was see ban in October between Rajasthan and the band when he was on the campaign. We don't know who the July contact with us in the speculation is that if that was Paul Mana for it, then it gets really really close to the campaign. Again lot of speculation, but again there's no real. I am very close to the campaign of its like Tony. Was there and and Mana for was the campaign chairman in July the old point, is that any of these discussions and contacts don't yeah You can make smoke at a fire without ever having a fire, and this is one of the things that's going on here. I am perfect,
be willing to believe that there was some collusion or conspiracy with the the fact the fact Pat that we have here suggests there were a bunch of sleaze is who were sucking up to. Russia is what it suggests which I believe the american people should use as a as an element in judging whether or not Trump deserves a second term, just as it was, and she been an element in judging whether He should have been elected in the first place. I mean I'm wondering if if Trump's you know hardcore enemies. Here are stills, as so invested in the strip collusion narrative or if they would be fine with just sort of you know, Cereal duration of the campaign being stacked, if shady criminally question one. It's got to be
they want him down. They want I'm gonna end. I know I in that phrase the email me all day about this in in in that case, that I then I I find it hard to believe that all this is up politically perilous for him because anything short of that is, you know. In this bizarre position, where his lesser sins sort of get off from from, is greater ones. Anything short The collusion, then, is, is a sort of you know, bizarre a win for him, but if it's a whim, but it could be, it could be. Basically is that the damage I mean here one way of looking at this is the damage, has already been done. Those who believe that you know those with a negative perspective on him. It is going to be incredibly difficult, if not impossible, for him to turn any of
peoples people's opinions around, because there's just been so much supporting evidence over. You know just circumstantial bits and pieces to make sure that he nothing that happens not the economic boom, not this, not that nothing that happens will actually soften their their opinion of him and that's that's politically, very useful for his his enemies, and he, of course, as I think we've seen, we saw over the course of the month of January his political instincts for anybody outside of his or his political interests in anybody outside of his core of supporters very limited, so he's not going to do anything to win them over and they and the the news pattern will keep. Going the way it's going. There is some hopeful detail in the Wall Street. NBC News poll which came out yesterday. That suggests that
ballers negatives, that be able lot of people, don't trust, mauler, think he's being political and that while Trump has disappointed people and he hasn't lived up to even their modest expectations of him. It this is not like everyone, just hates him and wants him gone like it's. Not it's a better poll for him than anybody else than any other poll has been because it seems suggest that he is being viewed in a sort of normal way as being politically pursued by his and tag. To have political interests in pursuing him and aren't just being noble and trying to get at the truth, and all of that I don't know the date and should be noted that that wasn't the only poll that I've seen on the last week that showed him suffering at all from the shutdown or it's right, ABC News, Washington, Post CBS and write every other pulling outfit. That was,
field. It's a good at here's th. What's once again, it's as good a poll for him as he could possibly want. It still hasn't been forty three percent. I mean that is to say you know it's like well. Well, he's not a thirty six and wo people aren't Eighty percent people don't like Mahler, but you know even so hopeful. Forty three is this model is is is not a great number. Then that gets into the question of the shut down of the deal and again not to you know, sit bounce around to give people vertigo. Since I have such a reputation of being so hostile to try, but the the way in which the media and the pundits talk, Chrissy were reveling.
In the idea that he had caved the cave- it was a cave. He caved caving is a word that comes from your own side, the accusation of K. Bing, is the accusation that Ann Coulter made because she thought that he had given into the bad guys saying that the other guy said you know, being a liberal, journalist and saying haha Trump caved is, I think, uh weird formulation, especially It came right on top of the same journalists, be so heartbroken over all the sad stories having to do with the shutdown yeah yeah, so he Yeah. I mean it's, so it's like God how he got where I remember this. In two thousand and five or two thousand six, the David Broder, the dean of the Washington press corps. The most conventionally was the matic machine. The conventional wisdom was ever produced
when on meet the press, and he gave us her whole peroration about how Bush kept getting rolled. He was rolled by the Democrats on this and he was rolled by the Democrats now? I can understand rush Limbaugh, saying that Bush got rolled. I can't understand David Gergen, excuse me, David Broder, saying that Bush got rolled and whole point is to say, see, he's staying season, sucks, he's, incompetent, then and then, and then there, but if you're dead, that he cared that he's darted this confrontation and he lost in every possible way. He the he didn't even get the one point, three billion border security that you had in the c r that he was going to sign when all the Republicans run to it. I now call it anything other than what it was is to display bias, biased towards artificial centrist, I'm saying, there was a glow. I'm not saying that it was not factually the case that he threw in the towel I'm saying that there was a gloat going on. The basically. This is
Now it is now all over that Trump Trump is. You know and he did it to himself and he's and hasn't played the game and he doesn't big, nice and all of that, but he he has gotten, I didn't think It was possible that somebody could end up with a worse press than you know: George W Bush, for example, even though the press core liked him personally or a lot of people in the press core like them personally, but they decided in the second term like he, there is she will not get a fair shake ever now it's over. Or the, and I wasn't not a fair shake though it's the gloating, it's not It's not saying that he surrendered, it is the gloat. It is the tapped dancing on the grave of the Trump shut down. I mean this is, maybe you see like I said it's a mood thing: it's not really it's a sort of a question of they are just joining in
saying boy, this is fantastic. Here's Nancy Polo see you know I mean it's yeah there. Certainly I mean the emphasis would be different if it was Barack Obama same position there would be more or in sorrow and commiserating, with the failure of the president to get anything he wanted out of this convert. He inaugurated, but also you Let's say what it is, which is a complete collapse and uh fire in every possible way right, which is why so so Christy? Let me ask you this. The entire structure of the next couple weeks between Trump and the Senate and the house is to come up with some kind of
border security arrangement, an Mick Mulvaney, the chief of staff or acting chief of staff or whatever the hell. He is well when on tv yesterday and said that it was possible that Trump would shut the government down again if he didn't get. What he wanted is do you think he'll shut the government down again sure I think so I mean I really he's even he said yeah, he's keeping the state of emergency declaration, but that you don't. That has nothing to do that. He would do without shutting the government. Right right, but I mean he would immediately be challenged in court on that, but I I think absolutely I mean this is not. If we know one thing, it's the you know predictable ness of his unpredictability. I think that if you, if you see the next. It will be very important to watch closely the back and forth in the next three weeks, so the Democrats have already kind of you know very vigorously,
it's the Kerry dancing closely back into the capitol building on their shoulders and their announcing all of this progressive legislation, much of which is good. You know has no chance of ever passing in the Senate, but that is that is very important for messaging for for their political posturing, so they're just going gangbusters, but I think I absolutely would not put it past him to shut it down again. He's he's. You know I would not be surprised. Can I posit how Donald Trump can win this thing, which I really think he now can there's going to be the state of the union? Now, in the interim between this, at some point, as likely before the 15th of February, I would think an He can go out now and say I compromised all over the place on this thing and over the course of this month. All of you committed To border security you wanted to fund access roads along the border. You wanted to find more personnel at ports of entry. You wanted to finally verify you talked about every possible border security option that wasn't the wall. Fine, no wall give
all all that border security. Give me twenty five thirty billion dollars whatever it is to find all that border security. I will sign it tomorrow. Give me what you promised I don't want any of that. They were just trying to get themselves out of a tip position, because the public likes border security, Donald Trump- can say no wall, no more wall Give me all the border security I want and if he demonstrated, but you can't he's committed to this macguffin, but if he dropped it, he would absolutely Democrats in a war against each other. Interesting. Maybe I think, Is very interesting else, but in this came up last time, I'm still not sure the degree to She can walk away from the wall promise for among on his own side, I mean even though no one expects it now. I I think it's vivid this symbolic value of it is just it's just high for him. I I don't know, I don't know that he can, that he can sort of go, go in and and and play that sort of good faith did a
game of the Democrats in the wind. Has he ever said. I compromised all over the place, I mean you, don't mean it that it ran how he hasn't said any of this stuff. I'm saying he could say that billing speech and he could have the opportunity that could have gone with infrastructure in the you know, but he did, he did twenty two thousand and sixteen he could have gotten could have gotten. He could have gotten ten. So he couldn't even compromise with Republicans, let alone Democrat I mean over the course of that month in rhetoric and substance. He did back off from his original positions and he could highlight that to the detriment back at all because of his position. He backed off of the the idea that it was a wall. It was a barrier with snow that land he said, and then he said it was a wall again yeah he's all of The you can I in the same speech on Friday and in that event, oval office peroration he gave on Thursday he's but it wasn't a wall? Then he said it was a wall that he said it wasn't a wall that he said it was a wall, so
he it's like, there's a there's a scene- and I may so there there's a scene in the blues. Brothers were John, blue, she is confronted by his ex fiance, who has a like a basically a bazooka she's, aiming at him and they're in a tunnel and she's like you, didn't show up at the wedding. What happened to these like I got a flat tire. I lost my homework, a dog dog dog, what's the road my mother got sick, I had to I had to take a friend of mine to the hospital you know like a possible excuse and then she ends up going home honey. I mean I mean he said everything. He said everything except. I compromised, because I want to get this done and we need to run the country right key the his he thinks compromises death politically, but he did it.
Entertain a compromised in the middle of the shutdown where he said. Ok, you can will do the wall for this. For this three year. Extension of Dhaka to doc eligibles and that let everybody is on, give it right. You have to chase him, you know he and his ran fields and we have Jason Miller. I dj similar, but Steven Miller, see most like you know, we'll stick in there we'll stick in there. The all asylum seekers have to seek asylum in their home countries, which. Is insane. The whole point about asylum is that you have to flee the, but what flee the country you live. In order to claim that you needed to flee the country, because you were in imminent danger was unacceptable, but what it did was demonstrate that his right flank is is, is soft on to the point where they all said all the sudden. Okay- we're not even getting the wall over this. They lied to admit that the wall wasn't even on the table in this shut down that it was just a couple of miles of steel slats
and then that compromise, let people like Ann Coulter to say, wait a minute we're not even getting the wall out of this whole situation. Then there was the hilarious thing about. I know somebody was on MSNBC or something saying, and you know what happened: they build some part of this is this: is steel slapped and the cartels came they sort of sawed through the slats, with uh, with an electric saw, and then they came crossing through that was sort of like an antique. Democrat. So it's like. So what are you saying? There should be uh after saying there should be a wall like can. Can anybody hold tight I will tell you: there were two the two massive unforced errors in the month. Right, one was trump. Obviously shutting the government down, which is a massive unforced error. And the other was Nancy Pelosi saying that the walls are immoral, which was just and which, which is basically what Republicans are going to run on on immigration from now until two thousand and twenty one,
she's, a very skilled politician, she's, a very bad spokesman, and you know they really interesting question for Christine. You raise this, but Democrats. In the house, and we've seen this before, like the the Republicans were constantly passing bills that then vanished into the ether, because there the president was going to sign them and the Republicans were going to be to vote in the Senate on the Senate floor So what do we have? Christy? We've got pay equity right. Yes, the paint that, for twenty years now they've been trying to pass a paycheck fairness ACT, it's just basically a form of comparable worth and it never gets through because free market, but it's but again that's it. This is just political posturing. It sends a good message: they'll they'll use this and and the next election
there's some legislation with well. Actually I was thinking I wanted to add the. When you mentioned Nancy Polo sees error Kamala Harris is saying similar stuff when she kicked off her presidential campaign this weekend. I just want to point out that she was talking about the morality of preventing him asian and walls at that for the Democrats are the main. The main one is going to be this paycheck fairness, it's it's it's something they've used for years will never get through, but it it it does resonate with independent particular suburban female voters. So expect to hear a lot about it. I mean there are so Is there going to go on that are going to raise the question of whether or not democratic behavior two thousand and nineteen is going to look like overkill like the impeachment numbers were bad in that NBC News Wall Street Journal poll. It was clear that the public, according to that body of opinion, does not believe the Trump
should be impeached and, of course, during two thousand and eighteen Nancy Pelosi made it clear to you know her people and her party. They shouldn't run impeachment if they can avoid it, because the polling was bad. So we can assume that that's consistent. I thought that you know. The thing going to happen is these house committees are just going to go to town on Trump like every single one of them is going to launch a major investigation of some malfeasance by the administration. I guess the question is: will enough people be paying attention that it will start looking like like overkill and that it will implicitly support the idea that the Democrats are out on which one looking for villains well, that's the thing I mean- I don't know, that's the thing about it. If, if the the court, the collusion story falls part, because then If you sort of see the Democrats in real time switch to a new target, you know so They couldn't get that now, they're now they're as a graph.
About the about three other Trump oriented issues that looks desperate and unbelievable. I don't know I mean you know, serve what they're supposed to do right they're supposed to in. Arguably Republicans on the hill, you know, were you know, we're engaged. Malfeasance by few bye, bye, slow walking and refusing to get out by research was serving as a block and tackle and things that Congress ought to be exercising oversight toward. It means you know the behavior of World Brian's in Q. The now ousted secretary- and you know, Tom Prices, Playmate AJ, says all sorts of stuff that that the these guys ended up while walking a right way from, but not, but there wasn't much action on Capitol Hill that that led to that
So the other big news, political news this weekend, it's not big, except as a sort of a symbol of something is Howard Schultz, the the billionaire founder, guiding genius behind Starbucks, going on sixty minutes and saying, as I heard him say in twenty fifteen, by the way that he was seriously considering an independent bid for the presidency. I didn't watch, anybody watch was busy watching the horrible rent. It was so bad. The horrible high school gym production of rent that was on Fox, so I missed Howard Schultz, so no one's actually watched. It only read about it. Okay, so I've. I've been in small rooms with Schultz and heard him talk, and let me just say that this is insane. He is a man of no, charisma whose issue is you know centrism in America two thousand and nineteen which, just so
he has no he's no creek. Nobody knows who he is. He has no charisma. I don't know that you know he's got no cult. And he and he has nothing to say except you know yeah, but I mean I it's Perot it's the left, Perot Perot was kind of seen as a non rich. You know weird when he entered the race, but he did you know it does change elections as an independent. I'm salute draws just a small number of voters. I think that the reaction on the democratic side has been fascinating to watch in just twenty four hours. There's a lot of this is really bad. You Neera, Tanden attendant at center, for american progress is announced a boycott of Starbucks. I mean the overreaction tells you that they understand what the margin are likely to be in an ex right. Well, the thing is, though, the Perot Perot electrified the country and Perot had an issue Perot's issue with the deficit, and he had this. You know he he was a very original political figure who had built up like Trump a bay,
among a great many people in the sort of american proletarian 'cause. He had gone and rescued pinot we've gotten paid for. Choose for b remains and he was like a full. Arrow Type and had paid the for that Iranian Queue Mission and so how did people knew? Who he was in? A lot of people were thrilled by this thing he did, and then he gave a speech is on television with the charts and it was. He was electrifying and he did do better than except for Teddy Roosevelt any independent candidate who ever ran for president. If he did get Clinton elected. I believe the there's a lot of fighting about this, but there is a pretty authoritative work of social science called threes, a crowd published in. I don't know two thousand one, two thousand and two that kind of
documents. The way in which you can sort of say that absent Perot would have been very hard for Clinton to get over forty six percent. So and then obviously bushes collapse was his own fault, but anyway, Perrotin program twice, obviously but I'm telling you Howard Schultz, having having read part of his book and having seen him in person. This is a preposterous thing that he's contemplating and uh no, we quite quite know what his. However, having said that all ever hear about is there's this. You know unsatisfied middle and somebody right. It's not showing America, so I'll just put some surprises on more independent candidates that you know that with that word that we would be hearing about it at this point, and you know if, if everyone is so dissatisfied and strange,
populism runs the ones the political spectrum. At this moment, I I think, and and this is sort of Outsiders are not you know, after way in large part because of Trump same way. They they were before. I'm I'm surprised. There's not. This isn't like the year of of of of an independent dental democrats believe that the election of two thousand and the election of two thousand sixteen were thrown to Republicans by the irresponsible and reckless behavior of third party candidates by Nader, in in two thousand and by Joel Stein, and in two thousand sixteen that they got a sufficient number of votes that that, had they not been in the race, Hillary Clinton would have won. An Al Gore would have won. This is like a nightmare. Come true that a self funding I like
chilled, should you know the, but that that this that this should happen? And I I don't know why the thing is he clearly wants to do it. So a lot of weird people wanted to run for President Bob Eiger the head of ABC Disney was or step down from running was going to step down to seriously contemplate running for president and then Disney, decided to buy Fox and he had to stay to do that. But I don't know if it is that these guys like this bug in there or it's like? Well? If Trump did it, anybody can do it. I don't know, but But, as I say Schultz, I I heard him. He was thinking about this and you know it for for twenty sixteen Bloomberg. By the way I am reliably told, Bloomberg may make this doomed run for president as a Democrat, precisely because he's gone through and spent an enormous amount of money on
polling and focus groups and stuff, and he realizes that any any serious bid that he might make outside the Democratic Party will get Trump elected, and he doesn't want to do that. So he do this anyway, I don't know who he thinks he's going to appeal to in the Democratic Party 'cause. You know, they'll just kill him on stop and frisk and stuff like that. But. Now I don't know we're going to weird 'cause we're going away weird moment, because there's literally no reason that anybody shouldn't announce their running for president just to get a couple of days of free you know there was the Michael Bennett Boomlet last week. Michael Bennett, you know because he made a he made a speech on the floor of the house where he started: yelling 'cause he's a very mild mannered senator from you know, Colorado,
but he was just outraged by the shut down. I was dismayed outrage and then like it's like babies, running for prez of. Are you in awhile, but it? But it does. You know they. It's it's interesting to me that that Schultz is being called a spoiler rather than an independent by people on the left right, because you're right that there's long been this dissatisfaction with you know we have a tip. We've had a two party system, there's always been these third parties
they've, never been particularly successful, but we've had the two parties that we've had for a very long time now, and you know there there's always before every election after election, their their predictions about the impending collapse of one party or the other, but I think it throws both parties into a panic whenever at and I well, it's pretty a wealthy independent candidate emerges. It certainly did to the Republicans with Perot, and it sounds like it's to Schultz is doing the same thing to the Democrats, but you know I think, to answer a this question that a brace about why, despite all the complaints about wanting you, know, centrism, we don't ever actually have a rival third party that embraces as values. We probably really don't want. My
it's. It's a lot easier to have these two parties duking it out than it is to have the so called spoilers our independence, but I do think if shields officially runs watching what they'll have the left tears itself apart over? This will be facing the same way that, for example, or talk about Congress, the the bill about Saudi Arabia that the Republicans have rather Canley included some bds language, and is you know with the intention of of dividing the left over an issue that that they haven't really come to terms with? So this divide and conquer strategy is being used by both parties against each other and it'll be interesting to see who's most successful with it. The the bds bill is is is particularly Just think of the all. All all all it does is effectively is empower states to if they choose to end contracts with private entities that support the boycott divestment and sanctions ACT. I'm not
federal, whether I'm not quite sure how it does that, since this is state level, but you know there's this. There's been this terrible confusion going on because you know apparently it's per really ok to deny state can't, on the basis of how of opinions on say, transgenderism, which is what was going on in North Carolina, but it is not ok to do it on the basis. Two views of Israel, one? Is a speech issue apparently for the left, the other isn't, and it's a It's a it's a candy. Much so, and it's so nakedly symbolic, uh I suspect that it will fail in the sense that you know yeah, I'm sure ill. Omar and Alexandria Causey
it in ten or fifteen or ten or fifteen Democrats will vote. Against it on those grounds, but Alexander Kazio Cortez voted against the what was it that she voted against last week, because it had money for ice in it and she wants ice closed. It was a builder reopen the government. I mean so you know we love Alexander. Everybody loves her Kazio Cortez, but she's base. Klay positioning herself that'll be like the Justin, a mass of the of the Democratic Party, that she's going to she's going to use her votes to establish the outside perimeter of what is acceptable in her party in an effort to move the Overton window. Because they also went on a diatribe on twitter, which was interesting, attacking ice for some related abuse of of a child detained at the border. Only to be informed that that was C b p.
Nice. I mean people do do keep saying I'll. I I, I think she's an interesting. I I think dismissing or any Ferguson has a great piece of our current issue, saying you really shouldn't dismiss sir. She knows things about how to use media and all of that- and I think you know what I mean- I despise reviews but she's an interesting political player and suggests you know. However, I mean it really is getting to the point where she get passes like nobody, has ever gotten passes both the best does her critiques critics of fact checkers, because she quite like Donald Trump- doesn't attack the institution of media, but only these these very narrowly defined circumspect Chris terms of her that are designed to be check some facts. But I really normative judgments and want to be like we've been doing this for me on the right with our half
saying how we mark Hemingway at the late lamented weekly standard, how many pieces did Mark Hemingway write about the evils of the the precise the same political game has been. This is not a fact check, but a criticism of a normative judgment and no ones. Packing the right of the free press to be the free press, however, and Donald Trump comes along after fifteen years, when all of us were called blinkered idiots for making these these systems, criticisms and channels the Republican Aiden says. Actually, the press is bad and and capture a sentiment that has been incubating on the right for a quite some time and all the sudden. This is that you know that the institution of the press is still see they're. Just like we said that one okay see that's a great thing to turn to enable. Let me let me let me bring this up with you, so We had a week of the Covington fallout and this fascinating thing, Charlie Cook just wrote a long piece for national review about this about how the move in the media was to sort of jump on the kids and then start fact checking right and then
then the question is: how much do you blame the media for making the story or was the story viral before the media got to it? And the media were very central in airing everything that was wrong with the story, so you shouldn't blame the media however there was this whole sort of sodden self. Righteous. You know how dare you say that, The media did anything wrong ever you know in selter show on CNN, which is basically now of weekly effort to defend the media's. Nobility any efforts to so there was, and then on Friday. This fact that CNN was on location when the Roger Stone Raid happen, Allowed people naturally to say, did Muller call CNN to have them there and then CNN said no. No! No! We because of behave here at the court house and
Thursday. We thought something might be going on, so we had somebody there just in case, but having said that, then about five seconds later. It's like how dare you how Hear you say that we would take a tip from Muller and be you wouldn't take a tip from molar. Don't you don't know? news gathering works. Really, I don't know how newsgathering works when there's a when there's a no knock raid and there's media there and you will generally speaking would think that that was because they were tipped off beforehand. I know how works that's how you know when there's a perp walk is because the- he calls the newspaper and says be there at nine 'cause we're purple, walking him at nine hundred and five, and so. We are just the media's deepening the whole. That is that it has been digging for itself for ten years now I mean it's amazing, because that was twenty. Eight teen was sort of closed out with the media celebrating itself defending itself. You know
about it, selves with the guardians of everything sacred, and you know the tie that in times square than than the new year's Eve celebration was was sort of you know the the the the times under under the dedicated that the the whole thing to to the media, and then Early in twenty nineteen they've, already started off on really problematic foot, beginning buzzfeed weirdness that we don't know quite what to think about right, and then with everyone jumping all over the Covington story and getting it wrong in defending it after getting it wrong and and and and whatever else I mean so, you know its they're they're they're, not already they're not been, cells in in in glory after having been after having celebrated themselves, you know last year,
also one of the things we saw is the is the what what appears to be the implosion of the salvation of the news business. Moving from you know, print to the internet by the by the massive layoffs at two hundred at the two most, I guess most prominent internet news organizations are the ones that spend the most freely Buzzfeed and and Huffington Post Buzzfeed laying off. I don't fifteen percent of its staff, or something like that, and then I saw the numbers which I nearly that that Buzzfeed employees- almost fifteen hundred people, you know at at their peak the New York Times and the Washington Post- did not employ fifteen hundred people or if they did they boy. You know this was because they had forty that they were. They had like five hundred press met me. You know
So not only is there was there self righteousness and and defensiveness, but then there was this. Also, this sir funereal Spirit this week because This was the hope. You know that somehow, okay, we're getting rid of the presses. So now we're really going to make money, and now it turns Did you know these companies aren't built to make money they're built to lose money so that someone will buy them? You know that the he passed along like a kind of disease, the asset to you know each schmuck, who Luckier than the last one to put up a hundreds of millions of dollars. And you know there is no salvation for the media in that sense, for because the Luke was that media but know had twenty, five or thirty years in which they printed money. That has never been the case in the history of
You know news organ of print news organizations. It's always been a small margin business if you made money at all, and then there was this kind of weird out of time moment when all these media companies ended up having monopoly interests in these cities, and just you know, just making hundreds of millions of dollars a year, and then the internet came in and they were, and that was it sort of like one technological development, and 19th century model with this giant industrial plant. With these you know incredibly expensive to maintain, presses and trucks, and this and that just fell by fell by the wayside, so There was also an interesting thing and Christy. Let me ask you about this, but if you saw it, but If I'd really was it David Maraniss somebody, some old Timy Washington, Post guy, wrote it's about how Twitter is destroying newsrooms? Did you
this he said it was like the crystal the Crystal Meth of the newsroom because reporters. Could not cannot contain themselves from jumping in an an revealing things and expressing their views or perspectives on stories this never happened before before the stories come out. This never happened before and the tail search wagging the dog that what's important, is not the story, but the tweet and and just, and you know the incentive, the dopamine structure in your head in the incentive structure of getting attention. I have really screwed up the way, the
type, a news rooms like or the a list newsrooms are handling this. Well, I don't think he's wrong about how the platform is designed to function with the dopamine hits, but it's a little unfair. I mean I'm gonna say something on behalf of the journal. Lucky says remember when right, yeah, exactly when when Twitter became big, what also should media kind of emerged on the scene? It was. It was the you know, the owners and editors these papers, like all we've got to get on that we've got to be. You know, hit to these new media just like when they remember the the fatal pivot to video. The lot of these places did. I. I think that there was this sense and they're still. It is, for example, it try to try to sell a book these days, and you know one of the things they'll tell you is how many to ask you is how many twitter followers you have. What's your so tell me about it, press so exactly so, I think that I mean yes
he's right about the platform. It was designed to do precisely that, but there was a lot of pressure early on placed on journalists, in particular to create a brand that redounded to the larger of yeah. So, like many things that have happened in the last thirty years with the bosses told the people to do was psychotic, crazy and injurious to themselves yeah right. So I mean every move that most of these places have have made. With the exception of my friend, Gordon Crow, it's at the Wall Street Journal were, for you know, putting up a page all the minutes of the journal went. You know, the answer you know went onto the web and then it taking the New York Times, ten or twelve years to do that so the times and the Wall Street Journal have saved themselves in this era. Times now has two and a half million subscribers more than it's ever had and has all these digital subscribers of the journal saved itself and
the body else's script who'd. You know because they're stupid well and and and let's not, let's not also forget to blame someone else who who should you know, go to his grave feeling guilty, regardless of how much money he's giving to journalism, schools and that's the Craigs list Guy this is everybody overlooks the fact that, especially for local news, he Craigslist destroyed these local newspapers that relied on classified advertising to stay afloat and once Craig's list may that all free and unregulated that revenue base disappeared and disappear. That's exactly right, but can I tell you this one name, dropping anecdote, which I told him article I wrote about the the Newseum ten years ago that in in the eighties. At some point, I got to know Katharine, Graham a little bit, and we had. I went inner part of your house- and I got there early and we were having conversation, and I said so- we know, what's going on, she said we're dead one thousand nine hundred and eighty seven.
The future is very bleak, and I said why- and she said well, because that machine, in this machine. These personal computers are going to kill, classified advertising, they're going to kill one, people understand how to get adds up and be able, search for them. You know the way you can search your own documents on the computer we're going to be that this was seven or eight years before the founding of Craigslist list and the head of the what was then deemed- best run media company in the country, the Washington Post company already knew and they had spent million dollars on a on a computer service called data tax. They they've done a lot to try to get. Head of this, but she knew them that class advertising was going to that was going to die and that they had nothing to replace it with so Cray Craig Newmark was just the person who implemented
The obvious, you know, ended up being the ex exactly what people need to do when they're in a crisis is remain calm and that's why I want to talk to you about the about. The app com are ever Kaiser today new year brings an opportunity to reset and establish new habits for healthiest selves, Jim Meeting brother, but improving physical health? Isn't the only resolution to consider we need to resolve to improve our mental well being too, and that's why we're excited partner with calm the number one app to help you sleep, meditating, relax. If you had to calm dot com material, get twenty five percent off a calm premium subscription which includes hundreds of hours of programs, can Odin, guided meditations and issues like anxiety, stress and focus, including a brand new notation each day called the daily com? There are also sleep stories. Bedtime stories for adults
narrated by the guy, who played Sir Bronn on game of thrones and Stephen FRY, the the the great british comic actor. Soothing music, breathing exercises gentle stretches to relax your body and more Greenwald our resident insomniac. Yeah. I was convinced, that's true. I'm a big fan of com. I've recommended it to friends I'm a terrible sleeper and it works both on nights, when I cannot get to sleep initially and on those nights, when I you get to sleep, and then I wake up in the middle of the night, and I find that I go to Carmen and choose a guided meditation of short duration, and it gets me back to There are also I mean, there's the Library of different videos or really audio tracks, is is so large. You can really I I I've not nearly scratch the surface, but they're. Also, these Muse
right, but they're not only music tracks, they are nature, sounds and white noise, If that's your thing of you know, instead of having to buy a white noise machine, you can just listen to. They have white noise on their on their in their library. With some people like to get to sleep so so it's just sort of like all all in one resource for getting back to sleep, which is what I need great. So for the time commentary listeners get twenty five percent off a calm premium subscription at home, dot com commentary that a dot com commentary, get out, lived, access to all of calms content. Today at com com commentary give yourself the gift of calm and happy and healthy. Two thousand and nineteen, so the Big NEWS this morning now that were surveyed moving ahead in time now to actually today Monday was the piece in the New York Times, revealing that the you know its government and the Taliban had agreed to a framework for peace talks as
I'll call, as the veteran diplomat. Long time long time, ambassador the to Iraq, has of everything, the State Department, dealing with the muslim lands. Is the negotiator and interest enough seems to have done this negotiation without the afghan government's involvement, which raises the question of who making peace with whom, where Noah, you are you're annoyed. I think, Doesn't this specially new? This has been going on for many many months and the Trump Administration has adopted the uh my administration strategy in all of negotiating with the Taliban government in exile and do ha the islamic Emirate of Ganas TAN as they call themselves. They do not recognize the legitimacy of the government in Kabul. They can
the v another bring the band back together, they're getting a lot of the people back from who have been in exile, the Taliban to Circa status quo Ante two thousand, and one up to and including the infamous Taliban five who were released from Guantanamo Bay as part of a deal with the Taliban to extract Bowe, Bergdahl from captivity and up to last week they were intransigent transit rather over to demands, from the US side. One is that the Taliban renounce Al Qaeda and two is that they engage in negotiations with the government. Cowboy wish they regard as illegitimate. So we've Seen the latter, apparently that they have agreed to engage in ceasefire talks with capital an they finally capitulated to the request for the former, which was too renounce Al Qaeda and also to implement according to the New York Times, quote: guarantees and mechanisms. To ensure that these the time
man does not return to some sort of an alliance with islamist terrorist elements. I don't know what those are, what they could possibly be. The Taliban is in its strongest position, it's been since two thousand and one they control more territory in the country since at time since the invasion, the afghan government, play feels like it's. It's been left out of this process, it's on its heels and its legitimacy is threatened now by the United States and its effort to extricate itself at any and all costs from this conflict, and while everybody's tired of it and nobody, thinks it's especially windable quote, on quote in a political sense I have no no guarantees here that I see that a Taliban return to the practices that engaged in before two someone shielding terrorists bring. Everybody over the border from from Pakistan and making them a part of the insurgency and eventually trying to lay siege to the government and to in capital and topple it and reestablish the quote: unquote: Ameri.
So. You then entered and was also a haven for terrorism, so you were just a guy who wants the forever war, we're never leaving Afghanistan ever it's been eighteen years. Just like I was a child fact, I'm I'm hoping that we can establish some circumstances that will get us out and keep us out, and this doesn't look like it to me. So I think the problem here is a framing problem. More than anything else, which is that there's. This idea that we're at war in Afghanistan, it's never ending and we're at war in Afghanistan. So so there was an idea that basically, we would end up with seven thousand guys in Afghanistan by March first, or something like that with about four thousand native support staff funk were functioning as a kind of stopper to keep the you know to keep the removing us with them allow some kind of a power vacuum to form or vortex or whatever ridiculous, the physics, physics symbol that I don't
stand that I can throw out reveal that I'm literate in these matters and that so that you know, because we're still we, The claim is that we're at war, which not really, I mean we're not having battles were not lining up and shoot each other constantly and all that, but that you know, because. What what people who don't like it want to say is that we're in a forever war and that the dreaming of this was that we were going to destroy the Taliban right. That was the framing in two thousand, and one we going in to remove from power and destroy them. That once again, we over promised and under delivered. We have kept the Taliban from power for almost two decades. That's pretty good! You know
We tried to establish you know it: it's not. It's not predict corrupt government, it's a legitimate and all that, but it's sort of like a rock like with there is actually functioning. There is a. There is a functioning if incompetent political system that is present, but you know we because we profit we over promise under delivered this all, going to look like a defeat, write him in Ben dominance. This morning said: oh, look, we lost a war. You know I mean and obviously we, if the Taliban coming back into power taking cobol again. That would be a fair statement and some sense I mean because because our aim was not you know, we could not meet all the at the the I here should be to create to transform the Taliban into a parliamentary party in that it would engage in some sort of cooperative governance with the governing institutions
I, but it has no interest in that. It's a paramilitary organizations behaving like an in with a with a sort of a I wing in exile in Doha that we're treating as though it was a responsible NG institution and yeah. I mean the parallels to to Vietnam to me, or just really too hard to ignore. We have this government that in exile that claims to be the legitimate government of the entire country that we're going to go. She ate NG without the government that we're claiming to support this corrupt and inept institution in cabool the agents are on the other side of the border, and we can't really engage with them properly. Distinction to me is that I think the if the fall came, that it wouldn't be all that surprised and it wouldn't have this deteriorating effect on the national psyche, as though we hadn't already lost this thing years and years ago, babe, it's yeah, it's become so hard to make the case
for Afghanistan, because everyone is so sick of it, because that there's there's no good headlines, there's no! It's that there's no traditional, looking victory that we can claim in the week that or or that that appears on the horizon. But I think something very vital does get lost in all this non, the less, which is that we I have successfully kept up some effective pressure on Taliban this whole time and had we not done that it could vary. Likely have redounded to our own disaster. Having kept the Taliban significantly out of power, unable to harbor Al Qaeda, as they were, had been doing before or other groups has been trimmed, endlessly important to us now, there's and there's a whole set of other achievements that have to do with Africa and civil society and women's rights and a whole bunch of stuff that I'm a huge fan of but they were very good arguments against
art even being concerning ourselves with, so even if, set. Those aside, the fact is that even in wars that don't make for nice, easy describe victories with parades and whatnot important national security. Interests are pursued and achieved, and that is better than very hard case to make, and and it's an it's still true and if we pull out and if and if the Taliban stays true to Which is that which is no end? there's no reason to think they won't. We could be infertile, trouble, even though we don't like being there right. Well, I mean we have now two successive presidents who who ran as Anders Enders of WAR and Obama, course coming into Afghanistan. You know ended up a vast number of american troops there, but that also and now seeing the end date of of this. You know larger commitment.
Trump came in saying all these. Every all wars are stupid and we need to. We need to get out of them and so if no one's going to make the case, if no one's going to get up- and you know president going up and say every like six months, you know I want to deliver a speech to explain to you what what's going on in Afghanistan, what we've achieved in what we haven't, and why we're still there literally, nobody is making the case, and literally nobody has made the case since Obama made that speech
in September of was a two thousand nine when he announced the that when he announced the build up of thirty thousand troop buildup. What well and that's why we're hearing from the Taliban? The white? Perhaps the stories are all about frameworks in vague terms like that, the Taliban continues to insist: it will not negotiate with the afghan government. It won't sit down across any table until the foreign troops are removed. I mean this, however, small, the number of troops we still have their and the afghan government is insisting we still need to search here so that that's what it's going to come down to and if you have a president who, as you say, won't even outline a and explain to the american people. Why we even need that small group there people tune it out. I think I'm for it. I also think that you can't look at this and not think that the instructions to sell callers upward get us to get a status. We you know, and this and this- and this is well as you possibly can but ended because we were done, you know so You had help
you know figure out how to end it, which is one of the reasons that he I don't think that he would have been in the position or he would have advocated himself in an earlier moment that the afghan government be cut out of the ation. We cut them out so that we could impose terms the afghan government, which again I'm not even sure, is bad 'cause. You know the afghan government exists, apparel according to this logic, on our suffering. So, therefore, we can dictate terms to it, but but uh we wouldn't. You know why why we scented to. That is because we, the Trump people, have made it clear that the he. He does I my feeling is. He does not want to run again in twenty twenty without being able to say I pulled us out of here. I pulled us out of there. I pulled us out of there. I pulled out of SIRI. I pulled us out of how that helps him that which I don't even know to be honest, because you know it's not
Democrats are going to be saying: oh yeah. Well, we should have stayed in Iraq and Afghanistan, so it's all very confusing anyway, we've gone very long here. So thanks for listening, Itunes and Google play and wherever else, and leave a review and make it six stars or seven stars or whatever. Whatever supposed to remember, it's no longer pre ordering if you by Noah Rothman book tomorrow at one thousand two hundred and one a dot m tonight, you can read it on the Kindle one thousand two hundred and one a dot m everybody, I'm just no Rossman out tomorrow, so for now, I'm able Christine I'm John Podhoretz keep the candle burning.
Transcript generated on 2019-11-10.