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The Threat of Christian Supremacism

March 1, 2024
Notes
Transcript
David French of The New York Times joins the panel (plus Cathy Young) to discuss the Supreme Court’s gift to Trump; Mitch McConnell’s tainted legacy; and the threat from Christian supremacism.

highlights / lowlights

Mona: Stephen Richer’s interaction with TPUSA activist about her voter registration.

David: Dune 2

Cathy: Yulia Navalnaya addresses European Parliament after Alexei Navalny’s death

Why the Kremlin Tried to Obstruct Alexei Navalny’s Funeral

Bill: Why Americans are still angry about inflation, even as it cools by Heather Long

Damon: Why the Supreme Court Should Grant Certiorari in United States v. Trump

The Consequences of Jack Smith’s Rush to Trial

This transcript was generated automatically and may contain errors and omissions. Ironically, the transcription service has particular problems with the word “bulwark,” so you may see it mangled as “Bullard,” “Boulart,” or even “bull word.” Enjoy!
  • Speaker 1
    0:00:09

    Welcome to Beg to Differ. The Bulwark weekly roundtable discussion, featuring civil conversation across the political spectrum. We range from center left to center right. I’m Mona Charen, indicated columnist and policy editor at Bulwark, and I’m joined by two of our regulars. Will Saletan of the Brookings institution and the Wall Street Journal.
  • Speaker 1
    0:00:31

    Damon Lincoln, who writes the sub stack newsletter notes from the middle ground, and sitting in for Linda Chavez, this week is the Bulwark own Kathy Young. Our special guest is New York Times columnist, David French. Welcome. One and all. Well, we have more news than we can possibly digest this week, but let’s jump in with the news that broke yesterday, namely that the Supreme Court has decided to grant certiorari, regarding Trump’s claim of immunity.
  • Speaker 1
    0:01:03

    Just a little background here. Jack Smith had before the Court of Appeals took this case, Jack Smith had applied for a writ of certiorari before judgment to the Supreme Court asking that they expedite things by deciding this question of immunity finally, and skip the court of appeals altogether, Supreme Court turned that aside. So it did indeed go to the Court of Appeals. The Court of Appeals took its time and finally issued a wonderful ruling saying no presidential immunity, beautiful ruling, David French. A lot of people were saying, okay.
  • Speaker 1
    0:01:40

    The Court of Appeals took a time, but now we know why they were writing an opinion that was so airtight that it would be so easy for the Supreme Court to simply say exactly CERT denied. Let the Court of Appeals’s decision stand. They said everything that needs saying, and that’s not what it. So tell us what you think the court is up to here. Why did they delay two and a half weeks before granting cert?
  • Speaker 1
    0:02:07

    And why did they take it?
  • Speaker 2
    0:02:10

    Well, I think I can deal with the why did they take it pretty easily. The reason why they took it is number one, it is a novel an important legal issue applying to the president of the United States, I think the outcome is a foregone conclusion, but there had been no supreme court authority directly on this point. So they took it for that reason. And also, there’s another very practical reason why they took this case now. Basically, everyone wanted them to take it.
  • Speaker 2
    0:02:38

    In the sense that Jack Smith had already asked them to take it, saying this is important enough for you to take. And then, of course, Trump wanted to appeal because he lost at the DC Circuit. So it would have been a very strange situation for the court to say, wait a minute. Both sides here are wanting us to have have indicated that they want us to take this case, and it’s a novel legal issue involving the president of United states. I’m not at all surprised they took the case.
  • Speaker 2
    0:03:05

    The issue that is surprising to me or disappointing would be the better word, would be the granting, continuing to stay. They didn’t technically grant a stay, but they the case is still delayed, pending the resolution. They didn’t have to do that. They did not have to keep holding the case in abeyance while they decided this outcome. And so that’s the thing that disappoints me.
  • Speaker 2
    0:03:30

    Now for a lot of people who are white hot with rage at the court right now, the one caution I would add to that is Guys, the court was kinda put in this position by not bringing charges until much later in Biden’s term. If the charges had been brought Charlie Sykes kind of briefing schedule would be rightly viewed as expedited. It is an actually an expedited schedule. So that timing is not the court’s fault, but I still believe they should not have stayed the case or not have permitted the case to be delayed. Because nine hundred and ninety nine times out of a thousand, the timing of an election should be totally irrelevant to a court.
  • Speaker 2
    0:04:11

    It has nothing to do with the merits of the case. In this circumstance, however, the timing matters for a legal reason. And the legal reason is that if Donald Trump wins, he could end the case. When you prosecute politicians typically, The politician doesn’t have the ability to end the case. In this circumstance, if Donald Trump wins, he has the opportunity to end the case.
  • Speaker 1
    0:04:35

    Damon David said everybody wanted them to take this case, but I think Jack Smith notionally wanted them to take the case. I mean, he did want them to take the case earlier in the procedural posture in the current moment, he would have vastly preferred that they not take the case for the reasons that David just outlined that the timing is critical here and that this choice by the Supreme Court to get involved. You know, it’s not without real world consequences in the sense that we’re gonna now trump’s strategy of running out the clock looks like it’s gonna succeed, at least on this case, and probably on all of them except maybe the New York hush money case.
  • Speaker 3
    0:05:13

    Yeah. Well, we’re we’re dealing with a with a kind of scheduling logistical nightmare here because, of course, it’s not just that there’s this huge case, which is very complex and is gonna require, they’re gonna be, you know, Trump’s team is gonna be raising objections to things left and right, and they’re gonna have everything’s gonna have to be gone over by the judge. And so even if it were just this case, it would be tricky to get it all done with a verdict by election day. But then, of course, we’re in this truly bizarre situation where Trump is also on trial in all these other cases, and they all have to get scheduled, and they’re not gonna have him on trial in one court in Florida and another court in New York at the same time. They have to scatter them.
  • Speaker 3
    0:06:03

    They have to put them in some kind of an order. And in each case, Trump’s lawyers are gonna be raising objections all the time to try to delay which means you could get one scheduled and then another court case gets delayed, which means the second one has to get delayed. It’s like that that phenomenon when they they analyze how traffic jams happen and you see it from above and you see that what happens is the first car hits the brakes, and then the next car hits the brakes and the next and the next and they all kinda pile up. And before you know it, one car changing lanes, one time leads to a backup that delays everybody for a half hour. That’s sort of where we are, and it is a function as David said of the fact that This all got delayed that January sixth happened, Biden is president, and nothing moves forward.
  • Speaker 3
    0:06:55

    For all that time. And then finally, the attorney general appoints a special counsel into it and then charges are handled. And then you also have the the the the the really strangest case of all because it is so totally self inflicted the documents case, which, you know, when the Trump administration ended, nobody foresaw that is a potential legal jeopardy for the former president, and that got thrown into the mix with Jack Smith handling that as well. So it’s a combination of a guy who is in, like, eighteen legal difficulties at the same time in different jurisdictions with the fact that they’re all coming ripe at exactly the same time with a deadline up ahead of the election. And it isn’t I mean, David’s totally right, of course, that there is the problem that Trump himself can end the trial, the moment he becomes president.
  • Speaker 3
    0:07:51

    If he wishes, What it’s also the fact that it would be nice if the American people could decide who they’re gonna vote for on the basis of whether or not he’s convicted for trying to over through the government the last time he held the office. And the idea that we could be like three weeks from a verdict, but, oh, well, it’s too late. We gotta vote now instead. Is is almost too awful to imagine that we’re in the situation. But then again, I would use those words to describe so much about the trump era and
  • Speaker 1
    0:08:22

    our politics.
  • Speaker 2
    0:08:22

    That
  • Speaker 1
    0:08:23

    is true enough. Okay. Before I get to Bill, I a quick clarification on a legal matter, David, So the justice department has a policy of not issuing indictments or appointing special counsel and so on too close to an election. But If a case is already in process, does the timing of that case? Does that justice department policy apply to a judge?
  • Speaker 1
    0:08:48

    Like, would Chutkin have to say, well, I can’t hold a trial in September because the justice department has a policy about this.
  • Speaker 2
    0:08:56

    No. The Justice Department Policy doesn’t govern the judges at all. So the judges get to decide when the trial is. Okay. So in theory, Judge Chutkin could say Now we’re holding this sucker in October Okay.
  • Speaker 2
    0:09:07

    In theory. However, you know, Trump would stringuously object to that and argue that prejudice is him. He needs to be on the campaign trail, for example. He can’t be in a courtroom for four to six weeks or however long. But the DOJ policy does not govern the federal judiciary.
  • Speaker 2
    0:09:24

    Right. This is telling the prosecutors if you’re seeking a trial date, the sort of the unwritten rule is don’t seek a trial date within sixty days of the election.
  • Speaker 1
    0:09:33

    Okay. So, Bill, do you think that this is, a case of democracy being hamstrung by its own procedures, you know, that that Merrick Garland was so keen to reestablish norms and to say, you know, we’re gonna be super, super cautious about bringing a prosecution against to former president, and we wanna be very, very careful. It would look bad. And Damon argued strenuously actually that they probably shouldn’t do that. And but for prudential reasons, But now that we see how this is unfolding with all of these manifold delays, and it looks like, you know, that that, you know, these are the rules and in a democracy you abide by the rules, but this could also be endangering the democracy by abiding by the rules.
  • Speaker 1
    0:10:21

    What do you think? Catch twenty two?
  • Speaker 4
    0:10:24

    Yep. Among many other things that could be said about it. I’m coming away from all of this. Somewhere between mad at Merrick Garland and feeling sorry for him because I think I can understand exactly what he was trying to do. And of course, what he was trying to do was very consistent with his cautious and judicial temperament.
  • Speaker 4
    0:10:51

    You know, he not only wanted to reestablish the justice department as what he thinks it should be, or it should have been. Not only wanted to restore respect for the rule of law, but also I think as a judge was genuinely and understandably cautious about moving too quickly. But That said, I don’t think he’s going to go down in history as a great or effective attorney general, you know, because He has dithered on many occasions. And on a few others, he has rushed judgment, or at least rushed to act, in a way that I think was unwise, like, for example, in, you know, the question of parents attending school board meetings as potential, you know, terrorists or or or violent interrupters, I think that whole episode played very badly and actually contributed to inflaming the whole culture wars in schools issue So I think what I’m discovering from all this is that to be an effective Attorney General. On the one hand, you can’t simply be an acroni of the president, but on their hand, you can’t simply be a judge either.
  • Speaker 4
    0:12:16

    You know, there is a sweet spot of of temperament and of the balance between judicial judgment on the one hand and the need to act with the expedition on the other, and I’m afraid by those historical standards he will be weighed and found wanting. Bottom line, it’s not just a question of procedures, you know, that are part of democracy helping to undermine proceed. It’s also a series of judgments made by a man in a position of authority that frankly, I think, have not you know, stood the test of time.
  • Speaker 1
    0:12:52

    Kathy, so the other case that, we, as fallen out of public view to a large degree is the is the documents case, which is actually the most slam dunk of all of them in terms of, you know, evidence of severe wrongdoing, clear obstruction of justice, violating all kinds of very important criminal statutes about the handling of classified information. And yet, it’s a measure of the corruption that Trump has introduced into our society that he appointed this judge, Aileen Cannon, who Without saying more than I know because it’s possible that she will turn out to handle this with great judiciousness, but She has given many indications that she’s kind of on Trump’s side and that she’s gonna just run out the clock for him. We’ll know a lot more tomorrow. But the reason I’m raising it is there is an aspect to this that, you know, in a better world or or maybe in the one we’re living in. I’m not sure.
  • Speaker 1
    0:13:58

    The question of presidential immunity is irrelevant to the documents case because it concerns activities that Trump engaged in not while he was president, but when in his post presidency. So this is a case against private citizen, Donald Trump. So what what’s your sense of things?
  • Speaker 5
    0:14:16

    Well, as you said, you know, we will know more tomorrow about the schedule of this case. I really do think that once it goes forward, it is a slam dunk, and I’m really glad, by the way, that Jack Smith made the statement that was very clear that there’s no comparison with the Biden issues because, of course, that’s been sort of the, the the the diversion, the tactic. Like, oh, yeah. This is both sides issue. And, and now let’s turn it into a question of whether Joe Biden has all his mental faculties intact.
  • Speaker 5
    0:14:53

    Right? So it’s, like, you know, is just totally delay and obfuscate. And, and, you know, I was thinking as I was listening to you guys talk about the scheduling this, of the January sixth case, you know, in a better world or at least in a sane world, You know, just the mere fact that we’re talking about, you know, how many cases are there pending again, you know, against this guy who is going to be the Republican nominee for president. And, you know, how many of those cases are gonna go forward before the election? How do you juggle them all?
  • Speaker 5
    0:15:31

    And this wouldn’t even I mean, that alone, the fact that this guy who is running for president has so many cases against him pending right now that we can’t even really keep them all straight and that it appears that his strategy really is just to run out the clock as much as he can. I mean, that itself, you would think would decide the outcome because that, you know, you could just I mean, the the the argument would be, I mean, is this really the guy that you want an office? The guy who right now has you know, god knows how many pending cases against them, and you can’t even really keep track of them unless you’re a legal specialist, but obviously, that same world is not the one we’re living in. So, you know, and I think, although, you know, I do think that it’s going to have an impact. I do think that for a lot of people, the fact that this guy has all these cases against him, and that If he gets elected, he may evade accountability simply by shutting down a row and at least some of them.
  • Speaker 5
    0:16:37

    He may evade accountability simply by shutting down the legal process because now he’s the president and because he can. I think that is gonna have an impact on some voters. I think some voters who are maybe undecided on other issues who may like some of what Trump did in his first term, you know, who may like some of what he’s saying. I think they are gonna just poison think if only because of the, you know, the chaos factor leaving aside the moral issues. I think it’s not gonna be a total impunity on that, I think.
  • Speaker 5
    0:17:13

    I think it is gonna have an impact. Well,
  • Speaker 1
    0:17:16

    voters stopping and thinking is, is all we have now. But, one more for, David, and that is So the Supreme Court felt this is a issue of first impression, very important to get the Supreme Court on record about it. Okay. And there are certain things that maybe you could see an argument for the Supreme Court clarifying. For example, what’s the difference between Barack Obama ordering the droning of Anwar Alalaki while he was president and the kinds of things that trump did.
  • Speaker 1
    0:17:49

    So you could see that. But my question for you is, couldn’t the Supreme Court have said, yeah, those are interesting issues, and they can be submitted after a verdict on an appeal. Why did they have to jump in now?
  • Speaker 2
    0:18:04

    Well, because this was a proper interlocutory appeal, In other words, that there’s a very small category of appeals based on the idea that actually having to stand trial is the injury. Rather than the the conviction is the injury. In other words, just having to stand trial is the injury. And there’s a very small number of legal issues that are truly truly subject to interlocutory appeals. And if this is one of them and this is one of them, then then the interlocutory appeal is proper, but that doesn’t mean you have to stop the proceedings.
  • Speaker 2
    0:18:41

    Mhmm. That that’s that’s a separate issue. Now it’s very common to stop the proceedings, but in this circumstance, you know, one of the there’s this very tricky part of the Supreme Court opinion or the the little Supreme Court order. So it said it was granting Smith’s Smith’s request for Ritter certiorari, and it was denying as moot the stay Now why does that matter? Why did that little tweak matter?
  • Speaker 2
    0:19:09

    It mattered because to grant a stay, you have to find that there is a likelihood or a serious chance of prevailing on the merits.
  • Speaker 1
    0:19:19

    Oh, yeah. Yeah. Yeah.
  • Speaker 2
    0:19:20

    There’s little to no chance he’s gonna prevail in the merits. So a stay was off the table, really, if you’re gonna apply the elements, So instead they went with the Jack Smith cert request. And so this is all a little kinda tricky and procedural. But it’s a way the court took the case without demonstrating in any way shape or form that it agreed with Trump’s argument.
  • Speaker 1
    0:19:45

    Yeah. Look. I mean, it there’s no question that they did him a real solid here. Right? I mean, this is
  • Speaker 2
    0:19:53

    The odds of a trial happening before the election are really, really low at this point. No question.
  • Speaker 1
    0:19:58

    Yeah.
  • Speaker 2
    0:19:59

    But, you know, one thing I wonder is a lot of people are saying, well, this would have been the thing. This would have been a conviction here would have been the thing. I mean, he’s been found responsible for sexual salt. He’s been fined hundreds of millions of dollars for fraud. Yep.
  • Speaker 2
    0:20:13

    We all watched January six. I just I’m just so skeptical of any argument that says, no. No. No. No.
  • Speaker 2
    0:20:19

    This is the thing. Yeah. This is the thing.
  • Speaker 1
    0:20:22

    Except that so many voters are telling pollsters that if he was convicted something they wouldn’t vote for him. But I don’t know. They you
  • Speaker 2
    0:20:29

    that’s But that’s even shifting too, Mona. There was some recent polling showing he still would beat Biden with it a conviction. Okay. So
  • Speaker 1
    0:20:37

    Alright. Well, let us move on now to Mitch McConnell who has announced that he is stepping down as majority leader minority leader, rather. Really interesting reactions. This one is probably the most dismaying, discuss it was from the House Freedom caucus. It’s a tweet.
  • Speaker 1
    0:20:58

    As soon as the word came out, they said, Our thoughts are with our Democrat colleagues in the Senate on the retirement of their co majority leader, Mitch McConnell, d Ukraine. No need to wait till November. Senate Republicans should immediately elect a Republican minority leader. So, Damon, Mitch McConnell arguably spent his entire career dedicated to putting conservatives on the court and helping Republicans win and Republicans are now the one celebrating his retirement and Democrats are rushing to embrace him on the floor of the senate after his after his speech.
  • Speaker 3
    0:21:42

    It’s just amazing. I’m actually going to defer to a Madaglazias who had the the most fabulous tweet yesterday about that House Freedom McCocka’s tweet. Twete. This is what he had this Madaglesias had to say. Another great example of Russian propaganda devouring the Republican party.
  • Speaker 3
    0:22:02

    McConnell cuts taxes, he bans abortion, He opposes immigration, he opposes gun control, but he also opposes Russian conquest of Ukraine, so he’s a rhino. That’s it. It’s just it’s just too much. I just can’t believe this. I mean, I mean, if there were a historic senate leader on the democratic side who had accomplished for the Democratic Party.
  • Speaker 3
    0:22:33

    Everything that Mitch McConnell has accomplished for the Republican Party. I think I I saw someone say something like this last night also online that, like, you’d be like naming Manhattan after him. He would be a a national hero for Democrats. And instead, you have this grumbling and kind of, oh, yeah, good riddens for this guy who I have no love for at all. And that’s even aside from, you know, the the predictable ideological agreements that I have partisan disagreements because I’m not a Republican, or at least I haven’t been for a very long time.
  • Speaker 3
    0:23:09

    And I think he’s done a lot of civic damage to the country with a lot of decisions he’s made down through the years, but especially the way he acted after January sixth and his blocking of what could conceivably with some whipping have actually been a conviction of Trump after the second impeachment, which could have rescued us from our purgatory. We find ourselves in right now as Americans. And instead, he did what he always does, which is side with his calculus, his Machiavellian calculation of what will be better for the Republican Party, which is the only thing he really cares about even as it transforms into something that he has, I think, very sincere and very justified, reservation. About, but Tahiti hasn’t changed his tune, as a result of that shift. So I don’t know what else to say about other than I am not going to support card naming bridges after the guy.
  • Speaker 3
    0:24:09

    But I think as as an analyst to politics, I would say Here’s someone who has had a tremendous impact on this country’s politics and to see so many Republicans responding to it as if we can’t get rid of him fast enough so we can put someone more trumpy in the position is is, you know, exactly what one would expect these days, I suppose.
  • Speaker 1
    0:24:34

    Yeah. David, there’s that that old line. I forget which duchy or whatever it was in Europe, but, you know, that we will astound the world with our ingratitude. That’s pretty much what, what the Republican Party is doing to Mitch McConnell having, you know, he’s been responsible for all of these conservative judges, which they’re happy Trump credit for, but not McConnell, and so on. But I do think, tell me what you’d think about this, that He just never was able to recognize his his loyalty to the Republican Party and his aim of always getting Republicans elected Even came out for Hershel Walker.
  • Speaker 1
    0:25:13

    He just lost the plot. He lost a sense of what you should be trying to achieve in public life. He got swallowed up by partisanship, blind partisanship at the end. And his party was changing under him, and he refused to grapple with that.
  • Speaker 2
    0:25:29

    He was not the man for this moment. Mitch McConnell was a man for the moment until November of twenty sixteen. And then he was not the man for that the everything that followed. So before twenty sixteen and even after twenty sixteen, McConnell still had a lot of strengths as a legislator as a leader of the Senate. I mean, let’s put it this way.
  • Speaker 2
    0:25:52

    Republicans are gonna quickly learn how effective Mitch McConnell was.
  • Speaker 1
    0:25:56

    Right.
  • Speaker 2
    0:25:56

    When he’s not there. Right. Okay. So he he continued to be an extremely effective legislator and and manage the in it very effectively. But as far as understanding the import of the times, no.
  • Speaker 2
    0:26:12

    And you saw that most clearly in the matt of January six. Right. And this is a situation where, you know, I I tend to believe that if he had had the votes to impeach and convict, he would have voted to convict But I got zero indication that convicting Trump was a priority for him at all. It was much more that he was waiting and seeing sort of where the party was. It’s really interesting.
  • Speaker 2
    0:26:36

    McConnell has this extraordinarily low approval rating because the left dislikes him because he’s effective.
  • Speaker 1
    0:26:43

    Right.
  • Speaker 2
    0:26:45

    And the far right hates him because they think he’s ineffective. They’re not both true because the fact of the matter is Mitch McConnell has been a remarkably effective at accomplishing his goals, legislative leader, and the far right that has always been after him, has frequently been proven wrong, and it defiance of McConnell. And this goes back to the tea party era,
  • Speaker 5
    0:27:08

    if number four.
  • Speaker 2
    0:27:09

    I mean, remember Sharon Engel and Christina Donald and all of these winnable Senate races, that the where they pushed through the establishment and they lost. Exactly. And, you know, if if people have more Republicans had listened to McConnell and some of these primary races, it would be a Republican Senate right now in all likelihood. Yeah. But if you want the accurate assessment of Mitch McConnell’s effectiveness, read the left.
  • Speaker 2
    0:27:33

    Don’t read the right.
  • Speaker 1
    0:27:36

    Kathy, yes. He was the great foil, back in twenty thirteen when Ted Cruz, was shutting down the government in order to repeal Obamacare and, you know, which was the sort of the original pointless gesture that has now become de rigueur among Republicans and McConnell, you know, had no patience for it at the time. And, of course, cruise and and his acolytes demonized McConnell for not being willing to go along with their performative nonsense. So while One was inclined to think well of McConnell then, that January sixth, not the January sixth day, but the speech that he gave after voting to acquit Trump was one of the most heartbreaking moments because he said Everything that was true and yet Right. His actions didn’t follow through.
  • Speaker 1
    0:28:28

    And maybe David’s right. Maybe he couldn’t have whipped nine more senators. I don’t know. I think he never tried. That’s my impression from people I talk with.
  • Speaker 1
    0:28:38

    And that could have made all the difference, and it just I don’t know. It for me, that that soils his legacy completely.
  • Speaker 5
    0:28:46

    Yeah. No. I totally agree. But even before that, I really do think that the blocking of the Merrick Garland nomination for
  • Speaker 1
    0:28:53

    the supreme court
  • Speaker 5
    0:28:55

    I think that did You know, even, completely aside from the question of, you know, do you agree or do you not agree with various decisions that the court has made, you know, would Yeah.
  • Speaker 1
    0:29:06

    That’s not the point.
  • Speaker 5
    0:29:07

    You’ve done it good. Yeah. Supreme Court justice, all of that aside. I think that really, really deepened the polarization and partisanship around the Supreme Court, which is really one institution that should be as, you know, shielded from partisanship as possible. It’s never going to be completely shielded from it.
  • Speaker 5
    0:29:28

    But it really should have a maximum non partisan aura. And that was really difficult to maintain after the, blocking of a girl in nomination, which, you know, which he did very blatantly. And, I mean, this the rule that he made up completely out of thin air that you know, when there was really a year left in Obama’s tenure. And of course, they they just aren’t hypocrisy with the AD Cody Barrett. That’s right.
  • Speaker 5
    0:29:56

    You know, all of the people had been saying, well, you know, you wouldn’t say that if the shoe was on the other foot, and he will oh, yes. Of course, I would. I would absolutely apply the same principle. And then, of course, he split some hairs and finds some reason why this is not the same. And of course, that’s always.
  • Speaker 5
    0:30:12

    I mean, when you’re torturing logic for partisan reasons, it’s always, oh, well, here’s why it’s not the same. So I think that really undermined the credibility of the court and, and I think that’s really the first strike against him as far as his legacy. So, yeah, I mean, I think that his legacy ultimately I mean, I’m I’m very happy that he put his knock out for Ukraine so to speak. And, you know, now he’s enduring this infantile sniping from the, so called Freedom caucus, which is really the Unfreedom caucus. The Unfreedom caucus, at least for Ukraine.
  • Speaker 5
    0:30:53

    But leaving that aside, you know, yeah, I do appreciate that he’s sort of tried to be the adult in the room on that issue. But, you know, ultimately, if you’re gonna ask, you know, what is his legacy going to be? I think it’s gonna be the tarnishing of the Supreme Court. With, you know, far more partisanship than there had been before. And the the, you know, serious damage to the court credibility.
  • Speaker 5
    0:31:20

    And, of course, the other fiasco of the, second impeachment. And the fact that right now, we’re apparently going to have a guy on the ballot and possibly the next president who would try to overthrow the government, which is enabling, really, if you think about it, but here there we are.
  • Speaker 1
    0:31:39

    So, Bill, the battles over the Supreme Court go way back. I think Democrats have a lot to answer for in terms of politicizing the Supreme Court was a freshly minted columnist when the fight over Robert Bork was taking place. That was ugly and, and set the tone, I think, for a lot that came afterwards. That much having been said, I do agree Kathy that it was jumping the shark to deny Merrick Garland, a hearing for an entire year. And then, of course, completely flipping when it came time to replace Justice Ginsburg and putting a rushing Amy Coney Barrett right onto the bench.
  • Speaker 1
    0:32:19

    Okay. So anything that you wanna comment there on, McConnell, I know you were very happy about his position on Ukraine, and that voice is now going to go silent. And then I would like you to just say a word or two about the Insurrection Act because both you and David have written about this And I wanna just get that in here before we, before we move on.
  • Speaker 4
    0:32:41

    Oh, sure. And I hope David gets an orient too if there’s time.
  • Speaker 1
    0:32:45

    Absolutely.
  • Speaker 4
    0:32:46

    Because he, you know, he broke some ice with his piece, and that created some clear water for me to sail in behind him. You know, I’m interested in McConnell’s departure for two reasons in addition to the ones that have been stated. First of all, I think that freedom caucus tweet, reveal just how symbolicly and emotionally deep. The Ukraine issue has now penetrated into the heart of the Republican Party. And, you know, that note, I think, explains, you know, in, in substantial measure why speaker Johnson.
  • Speaker 4
    0:33:30

    You know, has had such a hard time moving forward. I hope you’ll find a way. I’ve been writing about that. I have to say my up my optimism is waning. Point number two about Connell.
  • Speaker 4
    0:33:43

    If you look at the p the three jobs who are lined up as the as the alleged front runners. The one the one who commandeers the lion’s share of the anti McConnell vote is gonna be the winner in my opinion. You know, you know, who can get
  • Speaker 1
    0:33:59

    It may not be any of those three.
  • Speaker 4
    0:34:01

    It may not be any of those three, but if it’s not, it’ll be someone even more unlike than any of those three. So I think the competition, you know, for the Holly and the Vanses and the others among The three alleged front runners is not going to be pretty and can lead to no good end.
  • Speaker 1
    0:34:20

    Bill, before you start on the insurrection act, can I ask you to frame it up this way because both you and David make excellent points about the need to reform it? But before you get to the merits, What are the chances that this Republican led house is going to let any reform of the insurrection act out the door?
  • Speaker 4
    0:34:41

    I can’t even understand my own party, let alone the other party. So I’m gonna let David speculate on that. Obviously, You know, obviously, it would be a minor miracle if it happened, but, you know, a boy can hope, can’t he? It would be an uphill climb. On the other hand, I was not optimistic until it began happening that the two parties may be able to get together on the revision of the electoral account act, which was a direct rebuke to Donald Trump.
  • Speaker 1
    0:35:12

    Yeah. But the Democrats were in charge of the house then.
  • Speaker 4
    0:35:15

    Yeah. Look. I think that we may see a much more active discussion of the discharge petition and other ways around the speakers and the rural rules committee’s blockade in the next few months, and we’ll see. But the fact that the fact that these devices haven’t been used successfully for a long time doesn’t mean they can’t be used successfully now. So we’ll see.
  • Speaker 1
    0:35:39

    Okay.
  • Speaker 4
    0:35:41

    You know, on the insurrection act, ironically, so named, I must say. This is a law that goes back almost to the beginning of the republic. You know, it’s an amalgam of, you know, of pieces of legislation enacted from the seventeen nineties all the way up to the eighteen seventies. And, you know, to cut to the chase, It gives the president of the of the United States multiple venues and vehicles. For deploying the US military for domestic purposes without the consent of local authorities, without any restraints that are legislated on what counts as an adequate justification for doing, for doing that without any limits or or or sunshine features to these laws so that once the military is deployed, it’s the president’s sole discretion when it when the deployment will end if ever.
  • Speaker 4
    0:36:41

    You know, it is misused a vehicle for the imposition of martial law on different parts of the United States. There is no legal provisioned for martial law anywhere in US laws, but this would be the martial law that dare not speak speak its name. So to be technical about it, it scares the expletive deleted out of Nate. I can say a lot more, but I’d like to turn it over to David who’s you know, whose piece was outstanding.
  • Speaker 1
    0:37:12

    Yep. David remind me there was a member of Congress who said who who was in on the idea of invoking martial law after the twenty twenty election and only regretted that he had missed spelled it as m a r s h a l l.
  • Speaker 2
    0:37:28

    I forget who did that. But
  • Speaker 1
    0:37:34

    it’s not as if this hasn’t crossed the mind of Trump and, Michael Flynn and other people in his circle in his orbit that they would like this kind of power. And as you point out, he’s actually would have it.
  • Speaker 2
    0:37:48

    Yeah. The the really important part of the insurrection act is, this provision that says the and then here’s the key language. Whenever the president considers that unlawful obstructions, combinations, or assemblages, or rebellion against the authority of the United States, make it impracticable to enforce the laws of the United States. In any state by ordinary course of judicial proceedings, he can call out the National Guard, or the regular army, and the keywords there are whenever the president considers. That is an extremely broad grant of authority.
  • Speaker 2
    0:38:26

    And what’s interesting, Mona, is if you look through the US code, you will find that there are hidden within there a number of sort of poison pills of huge grants of presidential authority, that Some of them are legacies of the Cold War, where there was really kind of never a thought that you could have such incredible corruption in the office of the presidency as we’ve had recently. But there was a concern that the commander in chief would need to act with alacrity in the case of national emergencies and things like this. And so there was a lot of trust placed in the chief executive statutorily, not just the insurrection act. And and as Bill said, that the insurrection act in some form goes way back. To the eighteenth century.
  • Speaker 2
    0:39:11

    But as a general matter, we have a lot of provisions and a surprising number of provisions in the code that give the president a lot of authority. But none is more dangerous than this. None is more dangerous than this because you absolutely he absolutely has the power to call out the hundred first airborne air assault division, eighty second airborne whenever he considers it necessary. And we already know that there are plans drawn up to invoke the Insurrection Act on day one on day one. And part of it has been designed to perhaps suppressed demonstrations in cities.
  • Speaker 2
    0:39:46

    Another part of it is designed to, quote, unquote, secure the border, but The interaction act can’t trump US immigration law. So how is that going to happen? So it it’s a it’s a very fraud. Issue. And then the last thing that makes it even more difficult is because of those keywords whenever the president considers.
  • Speaker 2
    0:40:07

    There’s very good chance that what’ll happen is the Supreme Court, if any given invitation of this insurrection act, is challenged, Will Saletan wash its hands. And say, look, the law says whenever the president considers, if you wanna limit the president, change the law.
  • Speaker 1
    0:40:22

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  • Speaker 1
    0:42:06

    That code beg to differ fifty at factor meals dot com slash beg to differ fifty to get fifty percent off and we thank them for sponsoring this podcast. Alright. We have also seen in the past week a court in Alabama, Supreme Court of Alabama ruled that its wrongful death statute did not contain a carve out for frozen embryos. And therefore, a case involving a wrongful death action by the parents of, some, embryos that had been destroyed. Accidentally that, yes, they could bring a case.
  • Speaker 1
    0:42:46

    And this was mislabeled a lot in the press as, the Supreme Court enacting a ban on IVF, which wasn’t exactly right. It it was not a band, but the practical effect when you say that there is no carve out, and that a, you know, fertilized egg is an unborn child or an extra uterine child as I think the court decision phrased it. It did amount to a ban in the state of Alabama, and the the legislature is gonna have to deal with that. But the reason I bring all this up is not because we’re gonna discuss IVF. But because it is interesting that the concurrence that was written by a judge named Parker.
  • Speaker 1
    0:43:31

    Justice Parker said, there was a lot of god talk in this decision. A lot. Including this line that really jumped out at me, human life cannot be wrongfully destroyed without incurring the wrath of a holy god who views the destruction of his image as an affront to himself. Now that’s not the kind of language you usually see in judicial opinions. And I looked him up, and he is apparently a Christian Jonathan Last, David, you have written, about Christian Jonathan Last, and I gather you well, I know that you are mentioned in, Tim Alberta’s and booked him.
  • Speaker 1
    0:44:09

    Alberto was a guest on our podcast. We discussed this at length. And you’ve written about this and you so you wanted to before getting to the heart of what Christian Jonathan Last is all about. You were at pains to say what it is not. So why don’t we start there?
  • Speaker 2
    0:44:26

    Yeah. So there’s a lot of, I mean, conversation about Christian Jonathan Last, and it really blew up after January sixth because we saw Christian flags there that Bulwark Christian music being played. There was prayers on the floor of this of the Senate with with, you know, the insurrection is having burst through. They prayed. There was just it was before the interaction, there were things like Jericho, March, where extremist Christian nationalist rhetoric was used.
  • Speaker 1
    0:44:53

    David, they were also blowing Shofars. As a Jew, I noticed this. And I have to say this is cultural appropriation, and I’m offended. But anyway, proceed.
  • Speaker 2
    0:45:06

    Yeah. So far as her very common in Pentecostal Christianity now, but the the so, anyway, huge conversations about Christian nationalism, and a lot of it is misguided because there are some folks mainly on the left who would say, well, if you’re pro life, you’re a Christian Jonathan Last? No. No. No.
  • Speaker 2
    0:45:24

    No. The definition of Christian Jonathan Last is not being a Christian who brings their values into the public square. If if that was out of bounds, well, then Martin Luther King was in trouble because he’s a Baptist minister engaging in a it wasn’t exclusively Christian. But look, the civil rights movement was pervasively Christian. It was not exclusively, but it was pervasively.
  • Speaker 2
    0:45:46

    Abolitionism was pervasively. A Christian music movement, not exclusively. And so do we want we want though we want religious perspectives in the public square, but what we don’t want is Christian’s supremacism. In other words, putting Christianity as first amongst American religions. That is what we don’t want.
  • Speaker 2
    0:46:09

    And that can be done in a couple of ways. One is ideologically, in other words, to say that in essence, tying as a matter of formal idealo ideology and theology, the fate of the church to the fate of the nation, And the other one is can be done through identity politics. In other words, Christians should rule. In other words, Christians so one version of Christian nationalism is Christianity is the super Identity in the super theology. Another version of Christian Jonathan Last is that Christians are the super citizens that they are the ones who are supposed to rule.
  • Speaker 2
    0:46:40

    And that’s where just Justice Parker from Alabama comes in. He’s a it appears he’s a seven Mountain Dominionist, which That’s a particularly virulent and dangerous form of Christian nationalism, which essentially holds that Christians are supposed to rule the seven, quote, mountains of culture, whether it’s media, academia, government, you know, if the family commerce. All of those areas are supposed to be ruled by, quote, unquote, mountain kings, which are supposed to be Christian. And so this really is Christian supremacism. And that is something that’s antithetical to our constitutional experiment.
  • Speaker 2
    0:47:22

    It’s something that’s antithetical to our liberal democracy. And by the way, it’s also something that’s dreadful for the church itself. Just dreadful for the church because it’s completely defies the new testament model of Christianity. And so it’s bad for America. It’s bad for our constitution, and it’s bad for the church.
  • Speaker 2
    0:47:42

    And yet, and millions of American citizens have been kind swept up into it.
  • Speaker 1
    0:47:48

    Damon, maybe it’s not ironic. Maybe there’s a causal element here, but, as church attendance is dropping, as as affiliation is dropping. Extremeism is rising. Something like ten percent of Americans now say that they agree with Christian nationalism. Not sure they necessarily know what it is, but maybe they do.
  • Speaker 3
    0:48:13

    Yeah. I sometimes think nobody knows what it is, maybe, except for David French, but, like, you know, when I see journalists banding about the tour, I often kinda cringe and wince a little bit because I I think it’s used largely in polemical senses, instead of kind of precise terminological definition, but I think you’re right that on the one hand, the people as as church attendance drops and kind of regular participation in Christian communities. And the world decline First of all, those who remain tend to be kind of the the purer rump of the true believers. So they tend to be, a little bit more extreme or at least the the middle of the bell curve is drift thing further in that extreme. So the people who remain are are more, politically radical, But there’s also the this shift.
  • Speaker 3
    0:49:08

    I like David’s distinction between ideological and identity based Christian nationalism because what we are living through, especially since the rise of Trump is, is this replacement of, I would say, like, some to occasional Christian nationalism that I was a critic of like twenty years ago when I wrote my first book, The Theo Conz. That was about I thought at the time, signs of Christian nationalism among some intellectuals who are supporting the Bush administration But what we see now is, I think, a more dangerous form of identity based oppression Jonathan Last in which people who think of themselves as as Christians and yet don’t really read the Bible. Don’t really go to church. Don’t really participate in any actual concrete Christian community in the world where people, you know, engage in charity in the name of their faith. And, and also, political engagement and think in terms of public policy following from their Christian convictions, they instead nearly define themselves as Christian.
  • Speaker 3
    0:50:17

    Why? Well, because I’m a I’m a trump supporter. I’m a a diehard Republican, and I vote for these things. And I check off boxes in this list of issues that people who are Republicans under Trump are supposed to believe, and that makes me a Christian. And that is a kind of total reversal of, I think, what David’s right in calling the defensible, version of bringing your faith into the public square.
  • Speaker 3
    0:50:46

    I think, like, the the metaphor, the metaphor I used to use twenty years ago when I was a critic of a lot of these trends, and indeed the more benign forms that they manifested themselves then, was that, you know, it’s perfectly legitimate for devout Christians to say, I wanna see that the table. And we should make room for them at that, as a seat at that table. That’s how I ended up working at first things. In the first place, is because I believe that It’s very different to say, and now that we’re sitting at the table, we’re gonna run the show at this table. We are in charge of this table.
  • Speaker 3
    0:51:20

    This is our table. And we can decide if the rest of you even get a seat at all, and that’s what the more virulent form of Christian nationalism we see now I think is is really in danger of pushing into that kind of an idea. And that judge, with his convictions, I think, is firmly in that direction, and it’s it’s pretty scary.
  • Speaker 1
    0:51:41

    Kathy Young, adjacent to or possibly part of this same phenomenon is this worship of certain figures, foreign figures like Putin and Orban that these people see as being avatars of a muscular Christianity. They’ve told themselves that Putin somehow is, you know, all for the Christian way of life and so on. Can you talk a little bit about that?
  • Speaker 5
    0:52:09

    Yeah. I was, actually, it’s funny because I didn’t know that you were gonna ask me that question. But sitting here listening to Damon just now, I was thinking that the Christian nationalism that he’s describing in America, you know, these Christian nationalists who don’t actually read the Bible or go to church, but, you know, they want a strong Christian hand, you know, running the state. I was thinking, boy, that really sounds like the Russian version of Christian nationalism because a number of people, and I actually read a piece about this for reason and, like, twenty twelve. It was called Putin goes to church.
  • Speaker 5
    0:52:47

    And it even then, a lot of people were commenting that there was this weird form of orthodox Christianity, forming or had formed already by time in, in Russia, where, you know, a huge majority of the population supposedly identifies as orthodox Christian, they will tell you, I don’t know what the exact number is, but I think a majority now say that you need to be, an orthodox Christian to be a good Russian citizen, which is interesting because, you know, Russia does have a large Muslim population.
  • Speaker 1
    0:53:22

    And And they also don’t go to church very much. Do they?
  • Speaker 5
    0:53:25

    Yeah. That’s the thing. Yeah. And you also have polls where these people, you know, like maybe five percent of them regularly attend church. A very, very small number, prey on a regular basis.
  • Speaker 5
    0:53:37

    A lot of them will actually say that they don’t necessarily believe in god. Like, you when you ask them, Are are you convinced that god exists? Like, a lot of them, I think more than half will say no. So these are people from whom Christianity, Orthodox Christianity, in that case, is a form of identity. And, the, I’ve came across a really fascinating quote from a guy who was saying the appropriate guy, I think a political strategist or something who was saying this in a positive way, that, you know, just as in Soviet days, you had to be, you know, to profess to be a good communist.
  • Speaker 5
    0:54:16

    You know, in order to be a good Soviet citizen, now you need to be an orthodox Christian, again, you know, in name only, really, to be a good Russian. And I think it’s very much like that. You see a situation in Russia where the head of the Russian Orthodox Church Beethoric Carroll is, one of Putin’s cronies, and, you know, he’s he has justified the war in Ukraine on all sorts of you know, really spurious, arguments. He’s, justified the persecution of dissidents. He has said at various times that good Christians don’t go to protests, etcetera.
  • Speaker 5
    0:54:54

    So you really have this sort of, symbiosis, between church and state, one in which, by the way, the church is very clearly subservient to the state. Right. So and and I think, yeah, again, as I was listening to Damon, I was can, you know, that sounds really familiar. And, and I think that may be one of the reasons that a lot of Trump supporters feel a kind of affinity for Putin because they really do see him. I mean, they also see him as the sort of anti woke, you know, Stalwart, who is defending traditional values and so on.
  • Speaker 5
    0:55:29

    And and I there are just so many areas in which you could look and say, wait a minute, you know, Russia is really not a very traditionalist society. They’ve been trying recently to sort of curb abortion, but I Russia still has one of the highest abortion rates in Europe and, all sorts of other, and, you know, again, if you start looking at polls where, it it’s really fascinating where a lot of these, you know, Russian Christians will say that, you know, being gay is absolutely an acceptable, but extramarital affairs, you know, they’re really kind of fine. You know, they’re not so bad.
  • Speaker 1
    0:56:04

    Yeah. Thank you. Alright, Bill. I think, the group you’re affiliated with, the Public Religion Research Institute did some survey work on Christian Jonathan Last. And found that Republicans are twice as likely as independent.
  • Speaker 1
    0:56:21

    So fifty five percent of Republicans twenty five percent of independents, and only sixteen percent of Democrats hold the Christian nationalist views. But, yeah, we still have seven out of ten Americans saying they’re either skeptical of these, worldviews or reject these worldviews. And yet, it doesn’t take that many to affect American politics, especially when our primaries are structured the way they are to give a outsized voice to the most extreme people.
  • Speaker 4
    0:56:56

    I was struck by Damon’s comment, that the phrase Christian nationalism is usually used rhetoric when you’re polemically without any clear definition. The the group that you just referred to, the Public Religion Research Institute has now done two surveys in the past year. Which have used a very clear and strict definition of Christian Jonathan Last nationalism with five components And component one is that the US government should declare America a Christian nation. And there are few others, and then component five is Deminionist, straight out. God has called Christians to exercise dominion over all areas of American society.
  • Speaker 4
    0:57:45

    And by the strict definition of Christian nationalism that includes those two components, About ten percent of Americans qualify as Christian nationalists, which is thirty five million people. I could go on because it’s a fascinating the first study that was released in February of last year was fascinating. I was there for the release. But they’ve just put out another one breaking down support for Christian nationalism by state. That report just came out yesterday.
  • Speaker 4
    0:58:20

    And there are a number of states when you look at that report where a clear majority of white Americans meet the criteria of Christian dash Munism. So this is not a fringe phenomenon. It’s not a majority, but it’s a big enough minority to have an effect particularly as you point out. When the set relevant political actors is not a microcosm of the American population, but rather is a very distinct small set of passionate voters who will act when others hang back.
  • Speaker 1
    0:58:57

    David, I just wanna toss one more thing your direction because when we were talking with Tim, Alberta, he said, you know, that there is this tendency that, is very evident in evangelical churches where they kind of started worshiping America and Republicanism over god. And Yeah. As an out cider, I would say, doesn’t that seem sacrilegious? But I guess if you’re not that serious a Christian in the first place, maybe it doesn’t strike you that way. I don’t know.
  • Speaker 1
    0:59:27

    What do you think?
  • Speaker 2
    0:59:29

    Well, you know, we’ve always had that strain in American life. There’s a really interesting book written about the Spanish American War. For example, talking about the religious elements of the Spanish American war. There were, you know, the battle hymn of the republic for example is an example of syncretism. You’ve got your patriotism and your religiosity combined.
  • Speaker 2
    0:59:50

    In that song, There’s a long strain of that in American history. This sort of shining city on a hill that we have a special kind of
  • Speaker 1
    0:59:57

    Providence.
  • Speaker 2
    0:59:58

    Divine purpose, divine providence. There’s a lot of that there. And then it really, Mona got put on steroids during the cold war. Because remember, the cold war had this element that the Soviet Union wasn’t just a a totalitarian empire. It was an atheistic
  • Speaker 1
    1:00:13

    Right.
  • Speaker 2
    1:00:14

    Totalitarian empire. And so this is when you began to see in god we trust getting into, you know, that’s the national motto, the pledge of allegiance is altered to include under god.
  • Speaker 5
    1:00:24

    Mhmm. And
  • Speaker 2
    1:00:24

    it’s showing this distinction. And so for decade after decade after decade, Patriotism was very much mixed with Christianity in a way that was in in many ways designed to distinguish our nation from the so at union.
  • Speaker 1
    1:00:40

    Right.
  • Speaker 2
    1:00:40

    And I think that, you know, our emphasis should have been on religious freedom, a nation of religious freedom versus a totalitarian Empire, not Christianity versus atheism.
  • Speaker 1
    1:00:52

    Yep.
  • Speaker 2
    1:00:53

    And so we’re a nation of religious freedom, but it still continues to this day where you have the American flag right on the church in the stage in the church sanctuary right next to the pulpit sometimes. You’ll have these faith and freedom sundays where churches are surrounded by American flags. You’ll see this where I live quite, you know, commonly. And it’s just culturally ingrained, especially in Southern churches, to a degree that a lot of people don’t appreciate. And I’ve I’ve, you know, I think it’s deep roots historically, but then really doubled down during the cold war.
  • Speaker 2
    1:01:31

    And right now, I think we’re in a transition period where that sort of cold war American Christianity is really not a match for the current times and our current challenges. And as evidenced is what Kathy was talking about, one of our biggest challenges geopolitically comes from a Christian nationalist. Mhmm. Comes from Vladimir Putin, who is melding together church and state in a way that’s, you know, that’s utterly incompatible with our constitution. And that’s our one of our main geopolitical com competitors right now.
  • Speaker 2
    1:02:00

    So it’s a that there are historical roots for it, but for the good of the church and the good of the country, we have to disentangle the church and the we have to disentangle that close identity the church has with the nation.
  • Speaker 1
    1:02:15

    Bill, did you wanna just add something?
  • Speaker 4
    1:02:17

    David mentioned the battle hymn of the republic. Let me read you the final lyrics of the Battle Him of the Republic. In the beauty of the lilies, Christ was born across the sea with a glory in his bosom that transfigures you and me. As he died to make men holy, Let us die to make men free while god is marching on. So we civil warriors you know, are acting as Christ for the nation.
  • Speaker 4
    1:02:53

    Yo, we are prepared to sacrifice for the nation the way Christ sacrificed for humanity. It’s hard to get more interpenetrated and intertwined than that. And, yo, and this was the song that everybody sang. It was the song that yo, for so many soldiers, not the Gettysburg address, it was the battle end of the republic that defined the struggle.
  • Speaker 1
    1:03:17

    Yeah. The historical roots are very deep, and that’s a great point. I do though think something has changed more recently because David, I do think that during the cold war, Yes. It was it was the capitalist religious west versus the godless communist, but there was also a tremendous emphasis on freedom of religion that we had it, and they didn’t. And, that we were free to worship god or not depending on our inclinations and they were not and so on.
  • Speaker 1
    1:03:51

    And, and there was a lot of emphasis on that. So something has been has been lost there. A lot has been lost.
  • Speaker 2
    1:04:00

    Well, you know, we I think we are got the cold war. I mean, obviously, you know, we were on the right side of the cold war, and also we largely got the cold war rhetoric right as freedom versus tyranny.
  • Speaker 3
    1:04:14

    Mhmm.
  • Speaker 2
    1:04:15

    But it’s important to know that that was not necessarily always the message in American church Yeah. Of freedom versus tyranny. It was sometimes Christianity versus communist. Yeah. Now I do think that Christianity is obviously incompatible with atheistic communism, that and there is a deep conflict between Christianity and atheistic communism.
  • Speaker 2
    1:04:37

    But the cold war at its heart was not Christianity versus communism. Although a number of American Christians sought that way, but I agree with you. I think there’s this really interesting thing though about the rise of Trump that gives fundamentalist Christian nationalists ironically enough given Trump is totally secular, that he’s so devoid of ideology. And yet, at the same time, so willing to use power that he is a unique figure for a Christian national because they can supply him with the ideology. They can supply him with sort of the this is how you use power.
  • Speaker 2
    1:05:17

    And therefore, in a weird way, have more opportunity to gain power and authority under a Trump administration than any other Republican a Republican, because other Republicans, with the possible exception of, you know, Ron DeSantis at his worst, they have an actual more holistic conservative ideological view with a strong value in the first And
  • Speaker 1
    1:05:39

    more willingness to play by the rules. Yeah. Excellent. Alright. We will now turn to our highlights or lowlights of the week.
  • Speaker 1
    1:05:47

    With that, I will start with Damon Lincoln.
  • Speaker 3
    1:05:50

    Okay. Thanks. All I wanna do is offer, listeners a couple of pieces they might want to read. On the whole Trump immunity case. There is a lot of severe criticism out there of the court for taking this on and And I I’m with a lot of people on the foot dragging aspect of it, the kind of way in which they took the maximum amount of time to for decision, and and then, you know, that they’re not rushing it.
  • Speaker 3
    1:06:18

    It’s this is not bush v gore, you know, being crashed through in a couple of days. But there are really, as David mentioned, I think, very nicely early on on the pod, some very nice very serious legal issues at stake here, and I’d recommend two pieces by Jack Goldsmith in Law Fair. One from February sixth titled why the Supreme Court should grant cert in United States v Trump, and then another one from February fourteenth. The consequences of Jack Smith’s rush to trial. These are, I think, really ideal pieces that, both set up the the legal issues, the complex legal issues, and try to kind of, it ends up splitting the difference between a lot of the critics on the different sides in a way that’s very thoughtful.
  • Speaker 3
    1:07:06

    So I think listeners might, get something out of them.
  • Speaker 1
    1:07:09

    Thank you, Kathy.
  • Speaker 5
    1:07:11

    I I actually have a highlight and a low light, but they’re gonna be real quick and they’re related. So the highlight is, just the incredible formance of Julia Navalnya, who is the widow of Alexei Navalny, the murdered opposition leader. I don’t know if Any of you saw her speech to the, European Parliament yesterday. It was amazing. This is an incredibly strong woman who really does seem prepared to you know, pick up the, mantle of leadership, so to speak.
  • Speaker 5
    1:07:41

    And real really has the moral authority to do it and the personality. The low light is related because I mean, the way that the Putin administration, well, the Putin gov, the Putin regime has been, just you know, trying to disrupt, the funeral that that they, yeah, a lot of, like, funeral homes are refusing to you know, give, give space for the farewell. And now they can’t find a horse that would take the body from the morgue to the church where they’re gonna have the funeral mass. And it’s really quite obvious that, you know, they’re they’ve been given instructions to, really disrupt this as much as possible. And it’s just, I mean, the obscenity is so blatantly on display that it it’s just incredible.
  • Speaker 5
    1:08:29

    So, yeah, it’s a highlight on the lower light at the same time.
  • Speaker 1
    1:08:31

    Thank you. And another illustration of what happens when church and state are completely Oh, yeah. Intertwined. David French.
  • Speaker 2
    1:08:40

    I’m gonna go a lot lighter than that.
  • Speaker 5
    1:08:42

    Okay.
  • Speaker 2
    1:08:42

    Because I’m going with the highlight of the week, which I’ll just say it first because we’re all thinking at Dune two. I’m going Friday night, IMAX. Row three middle. So I’m gonna be completely encompassed by the arrakis, the desert planet. And If that’s at all intimidating, I’m gonna remind myself as the Benny Jessarette do that fear is the mind killer.
  • Speaker 2
    1:09:06

    And I’m just gonna dive in. I’m gonna dive in to what to what Adrian Villan villeneuve has for us, and I have no doubt it’s gonna be the most epic, epicness that I’ve experienced in the theaters in a long time.
  • Speaker 1
    1:09:18

    Excellent. Bill, I’m sure you’re running out to see Dune too also. Right?
  • Speaker 4
    1:09:25

    I’m afraid. I’m the yang to David’s Yin on this one. I think that’s I think that’s the experience I’m least likely to have in the next week. But moving right on, I have a highlight. Which I rarely do.
  • Speaker 4
    1:09:43

    I think I’ve probably read twenty Paulruitman columns. Where this Nobel Prize winning economist is scratching ahead trying to figure out why ignorant Americans don’t realize how good the economy is. As a conclusive riposte, you know, to those twenty exercises. I recommend in Thursday’s Washington Post, an opinion piece by Heather Long entitled experts boast about a strong economy. Why doesn’t it field that way.
  • Speaker 4
    1:10:18

    Question, Mark. Here are some selected outtakes very briefly. Average hourly earnings up fifteen point four percent, that sounds good. Unfortunately, CPI during the same period went up eighteen percent. Rent went up twenty percent.
  • Speaker 4
    1:10:34

    Use cars up twenty percent. Restaurants up twenty one, groceries up twenty one, airfares up twenty four, electricity up twenty eight, Gas up thirty five, eggs up thirty seven, and motor vehicle insurance up forty four. Aside from that, happy days are here again.
  • Speaker 1
    1:10:55

    That was a highlight.
  • Speaker 2
    1:10:58

    Well, I’m like, where’s the low light?
  • Speaker 5
    1:11:02

    Look,
  • Speaker 4
    1:11:03

    you know, anybody who can refute twenty Paul Krugman columns in five hundred words and a list of twenty statistics. That for me is my highlight of the day. If not the week Oh, okay. Moving right along.
  • Speaker 1
    1:11:17

    Alright. Well, I also have a highlight, which is Steven Richard, who is the Maricopa County Recorder who has been, very courageous in standing up for truth in the state of Arizona and about the, voting, issues and who I had the pleasure of meeting over the weekend. He had a great response to somebody on Twitter, X. This voter posted Maricopa County at its finest. My first time ever voting in a presidential preference election, and I receive not one but two mail in ballots.
  • Speaker 1
    1:11:53

    Thank you at Steven Richard. He wrote back. Hi, Aubrey. Thanks for reaching out. You changed your voter registration on the last day from your Chandler address to your new Tempe address because early ballot must go out on February twenty first.
  • Speaker 1
    1:12:09

    Your Chandler ballot was already set to go, and so it did. Then we sent out a new ballot to your Tempe address, which we processed your voter when we processed your voter registration modification. That’s why you had to redact out different lengths in the address because they were sent to different addresses. And he goes through the and he says, as so you’ll notice that one of the packet codes ends in o one, the one to your old address, and one ends in o two, the one sent to your new address. As soon as the o two one goes out, the o one packet is dead.
  • Speaker 1
    1:12:41

    Meaning, even if you sent it back, it wouldn’t proceed to signature verification, and it wouldn’t be opened. That’s how we prevent people from voting twice. So just use the one with your new address ending in o two. That’s the only one that will work. Hope this helps Have a great night.
  • Speaker 1
    1:13:00

    Happy voting. As the kids say, owned.
  • Speaker 2
    1:13:05

    Mike drop.
  • Speaker 1
    1:13:06

    Mike drop. So good on you, Steven Richard. And with that, I want to thank our special guest, David French, and our regular panel, and also Kathy Young for sitting in. And our producer, Jim Swift, our sound engineer, Jonathan Last, and all of our listeners and now viewers on YouTube. And thank you differ.
  • Speaker 1
    1:13:30

    We’ll return next week as every week.
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