I spent some time this summer with high school and college students, teaching courses in the foundations of liberalism and in the intellectual history of postwar American conservatism. It was great fun. The classes were lively, welcoming, and intellectually curious, and taking a break from the 2016 election was nothing less than a joy. I used to think that when I got drummed out of Washington I’d drive a taxi. Not anymore.
The Republicans arriving in Cleveland this weekend will be part of something extraordinary. They will witness not only the nomination of Donald Trump for president, but the reconfiguration of the GOP and American conservative movement. They will legitimize their party’s dramatic shift toward nationalism and populism. They will redefine what it means to be Republican, and who is conservative.
Got an email from Marty Nesbitt a few minutes ago. He’s a Chicago businessman and, in the words of the Tribune, the “first friend” to President Obama. Since 2014 he has served as the chairman of the Barack Obama Foundation, the nonprofit that will build the Obama Presidential Center and library, and it was to the possible architects of the library that his email sought to introduce me. “We have big plans for the Obama Foundation and Presidential Center, friends,” he wrote. Of this I am sure.
“If you keep on blocking judges from getting on the bench, then courts cannot issue decisions,” President Obama said Thursday, in response to deadlock in the Supreme Court over his use of executive authority to liberalize immigration laws. The president blamed the defeat on the refusal of Republican senators to consider his nominee to replace the late justice Antonin Scalia. “That may have been the strategy from the start,” he went on, “but it is not a sustainable strategy. It is a strategy that will be broken by this election. Unless their basic theory is we’ll never confirm justices again.”
The Darwin Awards is a popular website that “commemorates individuals who protect our gene pool by making the ultimate sacrifice of their own lives. Darwin Award winners eliminate themselves in an extraordinarily idiotic manner, thereby improving our species’ chances of long-term survival.” I’d like to nominate a certain political party for one. It should win hands down.
Stephen Gutowski of The Washington Free Beacon had a great story Wednesday. You can read it here. He obtained audio that proves the filmmaker of Katie Couric’s latest politicized documentary, Under the Gun, deceptively edited an interview with gun rights activists to make them look ignorant and ashamed. The evidence he found is clear, it is direct, it is stunning, and it is embarrassing. But it is not nearly as embarrassing as the way in which the filmmaker, Couric, and the New York Times reacted to the Free Beacon’s reporting. They all need to spend some time alone in the corner and think about what they’ve done.