Conversations with Bill Kristol

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Conversations with Bill Kristol features in-depth, thought-provoking discussions with leading figures in American public life.

Bill Kristol


    • Nov 29, 2022 LATEST EPISODE
    • every other week NEW EPISODES
    • 1h 14m AVG DURATION
    • 441 EPISODES

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    Latest episodes from Conversations with Bill Kristol

    Whit Ayres: The Republican Party, Donald Trump, and the Road to 2024

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 29, 2022 60:46


    What did the midterm elections reveal about Donald Trump's strength in the Republican Party? What are the central tensions in the GOP as we head into 2023—and what are Trump's chances to win the nomination in 2024? Might Republican elected officials, donors, and other elites coalesce around an alternative candidate like Ron DeSantis? To discuss these questions, we are joined again by veteran Republican pollster and strategist Whit Ayres. According to Ayres, the unmistakeable pattern of losses by MAGA-aligned, election-denying candidates indicate that Trump's position in the Party is weaker than before. But unwavering support from what Ayres calls the Always Trump faction of the Republican electorate still gives Trump a significant advantage heading into 2024. However, developments in 2023, including decisions of Republican elites to mobilize on behalf of a single challenger to Trump, could prove decisive. Kristol and Ayres also discuss how Democrats might respond to the prospect of a third Trump candidacy, and how that might affect Joe Biden's decision to seek reelection.  

    Ronald Brownstein: After the 2022 Midterms, What's Next?

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 11, 2022 76:16


    What happened in the midterms? What can explain why the 2022 midterm elections defied expectations and countered the trends of recent history? Will Trump be challenged successfully for the Republican nomination? Will Biden run again? To discuss these and other questions, we are joined by Ronald Brownstein, Senior Editor of The Atlantic. In a Conversation after the 2020 elections, Brownstein noted how evenly divided and deeply entrenched the American political landscape had become. Summing up the 2022 midterms, Brownstein argues there has been surprisingly little change in the electorate since 2020, and moreover the country continues to trend toward fewer swing states. Yet strong opposition to Trump and the Dobbs decision overturning Roe v. Wade allowed the Democratic coalition to perform better than expected in midterms. What comes next? Brownstein and Kristol discuss what the data from Tuesday suggest, and what this means for our politics as we look towards 2024.

    Frederick Kagan on Ukraine: Where Things Stand—and the Stakes for the Future

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 26, 2022 64:20


    Eight months into the war, where do things stand in Ukraine? According to Fred Kagan, director of the Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, Ukraine's stunning battlefield achievements have dramatically altered the dynamic of the war. As he puts it, Russians no longer have the ability to conduct offensive operations in Ukraine. That's over. Russians have fundamentally gone over to the defensive. But serious challenges remain. Ukraine can reconquer or secure several strategically significant territories, without which Ukraine will remain highly vulnerable to future Russian attacks. The questions emerging from the war are momentous: What will come of Putin's nuclear threats? Is there an “off ramp” from the conflict? Are we in a new Cold War? Kagan's thoughtful examination of the present situation and reflection on its consequences help us see how a Ukrainian victory is necessary for the free world.

    Ray Takeyh on Iran: Are We Witnessing a Revolution?

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 14, 2022 59:00


    Iran today is in some kind of revolutionary stage…. All social classes are united behind the idea that they want the extinction of the regime, and all social classes seem to be united on the proposition that reform is not possible. So argues Ray Takeyh, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and one of the leading historians and analysts of Iran. In this Conversation, Takeyh analyzes the momentous events in Iran following the killing of the 22-year-old woman Mahsa Amini at the hands of the morality police last month. As Takeyh argues, the regime faces the greatest threat to its rule since the Islamic Revolution of 1979. Takeyh shares his perspective on the complex political, social, and security dynamics in Iran and what to look for over the next weeks and months. Kristol and Takeyh also discuss what the US and the West should do to give the protest movement the best chances to succeed.

    William Baude: On the Supreme Court after Dobbs

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 29, 2022 59:26


    After the historic Dobbs decision overturning Roe v. Wade, what should we look for as the Supreme Court begins a new term? How will the Court handle controversial subjects such as affirmative action and religious freedom? How should we understand the current Court's jurisprudence? To discuss these questions, we are joined by University of Chicago law professor William Baude. According to Baude, with its emphasis on originalist jurisprudence, the Court has become more willing to take bold actions—and likely will continue to do so this year. Yet Baude argues that the centrality of the Court today in settling the most controversial matters in our politics is as much a consequence of the failures of Congress as the judicial philosophy or temperament of Supreme Court justices. Kristol and Baude also discuss similarities and dissimilarities with eras like the New Deal when the Court acted as a counter-majoritarian force against a popular and unified Congress. Kristol and Baude also consider the threat of election subversion, a theme Baude addressed in greater depth in a memorable and important Conversation last year.

    William Galston: The Politics of Abortion after Dobbs, the 2022 Midterms, and Beyond

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 9, 2022 57:11


    How has the Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe v. Wade affected the course of the 2022 midterm elections? How has it affected the standing of the two political parties? To discuss these questions, we are joined by Brookings Institution Senior Fellow William Galston. According to Galston, the galvanizing effect of the Dobbs decision on Democratic voters has eaten into the advantage the out-of-power party typically has in an off-year election. Swing voters who view Republicans as too far from the mainstream on abortion, and other issues, threaten to upend GOP hopes of a “Red Wave” in November. At the same time, Galston reflects on the Democrats own vulnerabilities, particularly on cultural issues, which could hurt their electoral chances in November and beyond.

    Tom Tugendhat on Ukraine, NATO, and Strengthening the Alliance of Free States

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 1, 2022 58:54


    Where do things stand in Ukraine six months into the war? How have the United States, Britain, and NATO contributed to the war effort to this point? What more could we do in the months ahead? What broader lessons should we draw? To discuss these questions, we are joined by Tom Tugendhat, Conservative MP for Tonbridge and Malling and Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee in the British parliament. According to Tugendhat: the end result is clear. The courage and commitment of the Ukrainian people means that Ukraine will not and cannot be a Russian satellite or a Russian colony again. Nonetheless, as he argues, America, Britain, and the rest of the NATO allies must continue to support Ukraine on the military and diplomatic fronts to ensure a successful outcome. Tugendhat and Kristol also consider lessons we might learn from the new geopolitical situation we face following the withdrawal from Afghanistan and Putin's invasion of Ukraine. On this front, Tugendhat presents a compelling case for strengthening the alliance of free states around the world for the sake of our own security and prosperity and for the security of the world at large.

    Ed Glaeser: The Case for Cities

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 27, 2022 62:23


    Why do great cities rise and fall? Why have cities been pivotal to the dynamism and growth of America's economy? What are the threats cities face today—and what can we learn from history about how best to help our cities thrive? To discuss these questions, we are joined by Ed Glaeser, chairman of the Department of Economics at Harvard University, senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, and one of the world's leading experts on the economics and politics of cities. Glaeser explains that cities benefit from and encourage the human desire for proximity to one another, which can lead to new ideas, the transmission of discoveries, and entrepreneurship. But cities also are vulnerable to stagnation and decline, particularly when entrenched interests engage in "rent-seeking”— policies that keep newcomers down or out. Glaeser notes that we should avoid the temptation to develop a rigid set of policy prescriptions for every city, or to believe we know precisely how to plan cities or neighborhoods. Rather, he argues, we should favor policies that encourage innovation and development, and do not restrict the opportunity for people to cluster in the urban areas they choose.

    Whit Ayres: On the Republican Party, Donald Trump, the Midterms and 2024

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 5, 2022 68:47


    What have we learned about Donald Trump's influence on Republican elected officials, candidates, and voters through the primary season? What are the central tensions in the party as we head toward the midterms and 2024? To discuss these questions, we are joined by veteran Republican pollster and strategist Whit Ayres. According to Ayres, Donald Trump remains the center of gravity in the Republican Party and is broadly popular among party regulars. And yet there is a majority of Republican voters Ayres calls “Maybe Trump” who might be willing to consider an alternative in 2024. Ayres points to how some Republican elected officials have successfully managed to avoid Trump's insistence on denying the outcome of the 2020 election—and considers possible paths forward for the party that would allow some distance from Trump. Kristol and Ayres also discuss Republican prospects in the House and Senate in 2022 in light of issues including abortion, Joe Biden's approval, and the quality of candidates in both parties.

    A.B. Stoddard on Biden, Trump, and the Parties: How Crazy Could It Get in 2023 and 2024?

    Play Episode Listen Later Jul 27, 2022 73:58


    Is Donald Trump still the center of gravity in the Republican Party? Will Joe Biden run for reelection? What might our politics look like in 2023 as the races for the 2024 presidential primaries kick into gear? To discuss these questions, we are joined by veteran reporter and commentator A.B. Stoddard. In Stoddard's view, the most likely outcome is Trump announcing his candidacy soon—and Biden not seeking reelection. She forecasts a scenario in which Trump maintains his hold on the Republican Party by exerting pressure on loyalists in the House of Representatives, while trying to fend off challenges from potential rivals like Ron DeSantis. As for the Democrats, Stoddard argues that the party has not yet come to grips with the challenge of attracting swing voters nor fully grappled with the likelihood of Biden not running. Bottom line: more volatility ahead.

    Joe Trippi: The Democrats and the 2022 Midterms

    Play Episode Listen Later Jul 13, 2022 71:13


    In the spring of 2019, when most analysts thought Joe Biden had little chance of winning the party's nomination, Democratic strategist Joe Trippi predicted that Biden would be the nominee. Now, as analysts predict a Republican wave election in the midterms, Trippi again challenges the conventional wisdom by arguing that the Democrats will do better than expected in 2022. As he puts it in this provocative Conversation, the data at this juncture do not point to a red wave tsunami but rather what could turn out to be like a red mirage. Trippi highlights the fact that poll numbers in Congressional races have been decoupling from the president's approval ratings—both in the generic ballot, and in high-profile Senate races like Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Georgia. Along with other factors like partisan engagement, Trippi argues that the 2022 midterms may turn out to be less a referendum on the president's performance and more of a choice election between particular Republican and Democratic candidates in each race. And, in that environment, Democrats could outperform expectations. Trippi and Kristol also consider tensions within the Democratic Party and how these might play out between now and the midterms, and as we look ahead to 2024.

    Eric Edelman on Ukraine, NATO, and Confronting Our Strategic Challenges

    Play Episode Listen Later Jun 23, 2022 82:39


    What is the state of the war in Ukraine? What is the Ukrainian theory of victory? What are Vladimir Putin's current aims? What are the strategic and political challenges facing the US and NATO allies? To discuss these questions, we are joined by Eric Edelman, former ambassador to Turkey and Finland and undersecretary of Defense. Edelman argues there is much uncertainty now that Russia appears to have changed its war strategies—but the Ukrainian resistance remains robust. While praising efforts by the US and European allies to help Ukraine, Edelman notes that war fatigue, declining munition stocks, and some lack of political resolve pose difficulties that must be addressed. In sum, Edelman presents a bracing case for ramping up support to Ukraine. Kristol and Edelman also discuss the importance of strengthening NATO while continuing to address other pressing geopolitical challenges for example in the Middle East.

    Stan Veuger on Inflation, the Economic Outlook, and Public Policies we Need

    Play Episode Listen Later Jun 8, 2022 68:44


    We see inflation in our daily lives from prices at the pump, groceries, and services—and as a major focus in our politics. How have the war in Ukraine, the response to Covid in China, and other domestic and international developments shaped our economic outlook? What policies could we pursue to fight inflation and boost the economy? Joining us to consider these questions is American Enterprise Institute economist Stan Veuger. Veuger argues that, given the turbulence of the last few years, the economic situation of the United States remains stronger than we might have anticipated. But to address the threat posed by inflation and other problems in the economy, Veuger calls for a number of public policies—increasing the supply of goods through reform of regulatory and trade policies, increasing the labor force through immigration, and tapping our domestic energy supply—all of which could help us navigate these uncertain times.

    Jonathan Martin and Alex Burns: the Biden Administration, the Parties, 2022 and 2024

    Play Episode Listen Later May 18, 2022 66:31


    Nearly a year and a half into his presidency, how is Joe Biden doing? What are the key tensions within the Democratic Party? How strong is Donald Trump's grip on the Republican Party? To discuss these questions, we are joined by Jonathan Martin and Alex Burns, New York Times reporters and authors of This Will Not Pass: Trump, Biden, and the Battle for America's Future, a thoughtful and provocative account of the 2020 Elections and the Biden presidency so far. As Martin and Burns argue, Donald Trump has remained the leader of his party to a greater degree than Republicans thought possible after January 6th. Meanwhile, Biden has struggled to navigate the polarized politics of the era—including the internal tensions within the Democratic Party. Kristol, Martin, and Burns consider possible paths forward for the parties, including presidential hopefuls in 2024 if Biden and Trump are not the nominees.

    Michael Luttig: January 6 and the Ongoing Threat to American Democracy

    Play Episode Listen Later May 12, 2022 67:55


    In a recent article, Judge J. Michael Luttig warns that the last presidential election was a dry run for the next. As he explains, since 2020, our political leaders have yet to do what is necessary to protect against future efforts to overturn elections. In this Conversation, Luttig, a former United States Circuit judge, discusses the role that he played in January 2021, when he advised Vice President Pence on the Constitutional arguments for resisting President Trump's pressure to overturn the election results. As Luttig wrote and posted on Twitter on January 5,  and Vice President Pence cited in his letter on January 6, The only responsibility and power of the Vice President under the Constitution is to faithfully count the electoral college votes as they have been cast... and The Constitution does not empower the Vice President to alter in any way the votes have been cast, either by rejecting certain votes or otherwise. But Luttig stresses that serious dangers and threats remain. Given potential loopholes that might be exploited in the Constitution and the Electoral Count Act of 1887, it is possible or even likely that future candidates will engage in efforts to subvert elections. Luttig calls for a national effort to protect the integrity of our electoral system, and explains the urgent need to reform the Electoral Count Act to make efforts to overturn elections less likely to succeed.

    Frederick Kagan on the War in Ukraine: Where Things Stand

    Play Episode Listen Later Apr 28, 2022 73:40


    Two months into the war, where do things stand in Ukraine? What explains the Russian military's failures on the battlefield—and the brave and intelligent resistance of the Ukrainians? How should we grade the response of the US and NATO allies? What geopolitical lessons can we draw from the war? To discuss these questions, we are joined by Fred Kagan, director of the Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute. To explain the complex dynamics of the war, Kagan highlights both the structural failures of the Russian military and the poor decisions of its leadership. Meanwhile, the Ukrainian military has responded courageously and dynamically, which reflects the benefits of a years-long effort to “de-Sovietize” its army. But many dangers remain, and Kagan calls for the US and its allies to ramp up support for Ukraine. Finally, Kristol and Kagan reflect on the broader geopolitical implications of the war and how the US should prepare for other military threats.

    Mark Mills: Energy Realism and Geopolitics

    Play Episode Listen Later Apr 18, 2022 69:16


    Vladimir Putin's war in Ukraine has put the dangers of European reliance on Russian oil and gas into sharp focus. The debate on energy policy in the West is, however, too often built on wishful thinking—particularly regarding our ability to make a transition to a carbon-neutral economy in the next few decades. According to Mark Mills, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute and faculty fellow at Northwestern University's McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science, it simply is inconceivable that the world could move away from hydrocarbons on the time frame casually advanced by politicians in the West. Mills explains—from the vantages of science and economics—that attempting to do so would pad the coffers of the world's most dangerous regimes, like Putin's, without meaningfully reducing carbon emissions. Instead, Mills calls for a two-pronged strategy: In the short term, America and its allies should dramatically ramp up production of oil and gas to increase geopolitical strength. While doing so, we should be more ambitious with investment in R&D for better methods of production and extraction, more efficient consumption of energy, and new technologies.

    Stephen Rosen: Taking The Nuclear Threat Seriously

    Play Episode Listen Later Mar 31, 2022 75:18


    Vladimir Putin has threatened to use nuclear weapons in Ukraine. We need to be prepared to respond to Putin's threats—and to do so effectively we have to understand the role of nuclear weapons in Russian strategy, in American foreign policy, and in the current global order. To consider these questions, we are joined by Harvard professor of government Stephen Rosen. Drawing on his profound knowledge of the Cold War, Rosen explains the role nuclear weapons have played since the Soviet era. Then as now, Russia's threat to deploy nuclear weapons aims to deter its adversaries from intervening to defend an ally. Though we must be judicious in our actions, Rosen explains why the West cannot afford to give in to nuclear blackmail. Beyond the potentially disastrous consequences for Ukraine, he contends that surrendering to Putin's threats would embolden other nuclear states to pursue wars of conquest. Rosen also outlines approaches we should consider to counter Putin's other potential escalations.

    Aaron Friedberg: The War in Ukraine and the Geopolitical Moment

    Play Episode Listen Later Mar 23, 2022 85:52


    Nearly a month into the war, where do things stand in Ukraine? What have we learned from the Ukrainian resistance, the response of America and NATO allies, Putin's ambitions, and China's decisions? To discuss these questions, we are joined by Aaron Friedberg, Princeton professor and author of the new book, Getting China Wrong. Beginning with an assessment of the military and political situation of Russia and Ukraine, Friedberg goes on to explain how the war might lead to fundamental changes in the global political order. Friedberg argues that there likely will be no going back to the post-Cold War international system—in which the West considered Russia and China as potentially responsible stakeholders. According to Friedberg, the war in Ukraine will compel America and its allies to dramatically reinforce strategic and economic resilience in the face of threats posed by Beijing and Moscow. Friedberg calls for America to lead a concerted effort to build an alliance of liberal democracies that can deter the authoritarians.

    Paul Cantor: Shakespeare and Politics

    Play Episode Listen Later Mar 13, 2022 64:49


    Paul Cantor (1945 - 2022) was one of the preeminent Shakespeare scholars of our time as well as a great popular culture appreciator, critic, and teacher. We were fortunate to host Paul Cantor ten times on Conversations with Bill Kristol, covering the whole range of his interests. We are pleased to re-release his very first Conversation, in which Cantor explains why Shakespeare is a political thinker. Though we mourn his loss, we take some comfort in the fact that his work will continue to reach students of all ages, now and in the future.    

    Garry Kasparov: Dictators and Democracies

    Play Episode Listen Later Mar 6, 2022 58:01


    In this Conversation, released originally in 2018, former world chess champion and human rights activist Garry Kasparov shares his perspective on threats to Western democracies from dictators abroad and illiberal movements at home. Analyzing the geopolitical situation, Kasparov argues that the challenge to the West posed by dictators like Putin remains immense. Turning to Western societies themselves, Kasparov diagnoses a dangerous complacency about the effort required to sustain political liberty. Finally, Kristol and Kasparov discuss how America can recapture the will necessary to defend itself and its principles. Kasparov was extremely prescient at the time, and the insights he offers here are worth revisiting now in light of Putin's war on Ukraine.

    Eric Edelman: How the West Should Respond to Putin's War in Ukraine

    Play Episode Listen Later Mar 1, 2022 62:38


    How should the U.S. and others in the West respond to Putin's war on Ukraine? What dangers and opportunities might we face in the days and weeks ahead? How might the war reshape geopolitics? Less than a week into Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine, much remains unknown. To help us get a better sense of where things might go, we are joined by Eric Edelman, former ambassador to Turkey and Finland and undersecretary of Defense. Edelman and Kristol consider where things stand—the impressive Ukrainian resistance, Putin's difficulties, and the response from Europe, the US, and other allies. Edelman argues it is imperative that the West continue to support the Ukrainian resistance to ensure that Putin does not succeed in destroying Ukraine. Looking more broadly, Edelman and Kristol consider what dangers and opportunities may follow from a geopolitical event which already is causing major shifts in how countries in Europe, Asia, and elsewhere view their geopolitical position.

    Anne Applebaum: Putin's War on Ukraine and its Consequences

    Play Episode Listen Later Feb 25, 2022 43:48


    What is driving Vladimir Putin? What wider ramifications might follow from the war? Why should the fate of Ukraine concern us all? To discuss these questions, we are joined by Anne Applebaum, a leading historian and commentator on Ukraine, Russia, and Eastern Europe. As she argues, Vladimir Putin's fear that Ukraine had been advancing toward democracy lies at the root of the conflict. Drawing on her deep knowledge of the region and its history, Applebaum presents a bracing account of the origins of the war and its possible consequences.

    Diana Schaub: Interpreting Lincoln's Second Inaugural Address

    Play Episode Listen Later Feb 2, 2022 91:58


    Lincoln's Second Inaugural Address is considered one of history's most compelling examples of political rhetoric. In this Conversation, Diana Schaub, a preeminent scholar of American political thought and author of His Greatest Speeches: How Lincoln Moved the Nation, argues that while Lincoln's Second Inaugural deserves its reputation, often its true character has not been appreciated. Over the course of her line-by-line interpretation of the dialogue, Schaub draws out some remarkable, counterintuitive, and little-appreciated aspects of Lincoln's March 1865 address. Schaub and Kristol pay particular attention to the theological-political themes, and how the magnificent and subtle rhetoric of the speech presses the nation toward racial reconciliation and a politics of true moderation and greater humanity.

    Jonathan Karl: Why Donald Trump's Election Lies Matter

    Play Episode Listen Later Jan 20, 2022 70:44


    In his recent book Betrayal, ABC News chief Washington correspondent Jonathan Karl writes: We now live in a nation where a large part of the population does not trust our elections. There are many reasons for this, but none greater than Donald Trump and the lies he told about the 2020 election. Based on extensive interviews with Donald Trump, key members of the Trump administration, and other prominent figures in the Trump orbit, Karl shows how the former president tried to undermine the 2020 election at every turn. In this Conversation, Karl shares new details from his reporting about how Trump laid the groundwork for questioning the results of the election in the months leading up to it, and how he responded to the results on election night. And he shows how Trump, after the election, was single-mindedly (if not always systematically) devoted to overturning the results—culminating in his effort to pressure Mike Pence to disregard the results of the Electoral College. Bill Kristol and Karl also discuss why it's important to understand Trump's actions in 2020 for the sake of a healthier politics going forward.

    John McWhorter on Woke Politics, Race, and Education

    Play Episode Listen Later Jan 6, 2022 71:19


    A professor of linguistics at Columbia University and author of the recent book Woke Racism, John McWhorter has been an outspoken critic of woke politics. The appeal to wokeness, he argues, presents a simplistic view of race and attempts to discredit any contrary points of view about ideas and policies. According to McWhorter, the woke end up having disproportionate power simply because of what social media allows them to do to people. He argues that we should stand up to them—and focus on developing policies that can help people rather than shutting down debate.

    John McWhorter on Woke Politics, Race, and Education

    Play Episode Listen Later Jan 6, 2022 71:19


    A professor of linguistics at Columbia University and author of the recent book Woke Racism, John McWhorter has been an outspoken critic of woke politics. The appeal to wokeness, he argues, presents a simplistic view of race and attempts to discredit any contrary points of view about ideas and policies. According to McWhorter, the woke end up having disproportionate power simply because of what social media allows them to do to people. He argues that we should stand up to them—and focus on developing policies that can help people rather than shutting down debate.

    Ashish Jha on Covid-19: On the Omicron Variant and the Outlook for 2022

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 14, 2021 67:53


    Where do things stand with Covid-19? How has the emergence of the Omicron variant changed the situation? What can we expect in the short term and throughout 2022? To discuss these questions, we are joined again by Dr. Ashish Jha, dean of the Brown University School of Public Health. While noting that much still remains unknown about the Omicron variant, Jha suggests that the United States likely will be in for a challenging few months:  We have a lot of data that Omicron is going to spread very rapidly. But that doesn't answer the question as to whether it's more contagious inherently, or is it evading our immune response. It's probably a combination of both. There is now pretty clear data that our vaccines will be pushed to the wall on this. The good news, according to Jha, is our vaccines—especially taken with booster doses—likely will maintain strong protection against hospitalization and serious illness. The bad news is there still are a relatively large number of unvaccinated Americans who are particularly vulnerable. While explaining the situation, Jha also shares his perspective on the public policy and public health choices we have faced in recent months. Jha reflects on what he views as significant failures of the government, particularly the pace of the rollout of boosters and rapid tests. Finally, Jha and Kristol discuss possible paths forward in 2022 and what data we should keep our eyes on from the UK and the rest of the globe.

    Ashish Jha on Covid-19: On the Omicron Variant and the Outlook for 2022

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 14, 2021 67:53


    Where do things stand with Covid-19? How has the emergence of the Omicron variant changed the situation? What can we expect in the short term and throughout 2022? To discuss these questions, we are joined again by Dr. Ashish Jha, dean of the Brown University School of Public Health. While noting that much still remains unknown about the Omicron variant, Jha suggests that the United States likely will be in for a challenging few months:  We have a lot of data that Omicron is going to spread very rapidly. But that doesn't answer the question as to whether it's more contagious inherently, or is it evading our immune response. It's probably a combination of both. There is now pretty clear data that our vaccines will be pushed to the wall on this. The good news, according to Jha, is our vaccines—especially taken with booster doses—likely will maintain strong protection against hospitalization and serious illness. The bad news is there still are a relatively large number of unvaccinated Americans who are particularly vulnerable. While explaining the situation, Jha also shares his perspective on the public policy and public health choices we have faced in recent months. Jha reflects on what he views as significant failures of the government, particularly the pace of the rollout of boosters and rapid tests. Finally, Jha and Kristol discuss possible paths forward in 2022 and what data we should keep our eyes on from the UK and the rest of the globe.

    Shep Melnick on Title IX: Equity, Due Process, and Free Speech on Campus

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 2, 2021 87:14


    In a recent essay, Shep Melnick, a distinguished scholar of American politics at Boston College, writes: Few federal laws have achieved their initial objective more completely than Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. Yet today Title IX is more controversial than ever before. The story of its evolution is a cautionary tale about how good intentions and broadly shared goals can become distorted over time by aggressive cultural combat, and how hard it can be to reverse the damage. In this Conversation, and expounding on themes addressed in his book The Transformation of Title IX: Regulating Gender Equality in Education, Melnick traces the transformation of Title IX from 1972 until the present. Conceived as an initiative that would prevent sex discrimination on campus, Title IX, as Melnick explains, became a catchall source for rules and regulations in higher education regarding sexual assault, sexual harassment, and offensive speech. Melnick argues that the Obama administration's heavy-handed approach to Title IX enforcement created serious threats to due process and free speech on campus. Melnick praises the more recent efforts of the Department of Education in the Trump administration to roll back some of these problematic guidelines. Finally, he considers why the Biden administration—and universities and colleges—are hesitant to return to the Obama-era policies.

    Shep Melnick on Title IX: Equity, Due Process, and Free Speech on Campus

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 2, 2021 87:14


    In a recent essay, Shep Melnick, a distinguished scholar of American politics at Boston College, writes: Few federal laws have achieved their initial objective more completely than Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. Yet today Title IX is more controversial than ever before. The story of its evolution is a cautionary tale about how good intentions and broadly shared goals can become distorted over time by aggressive cultural combat, and how hard it can be to reverse the damage. In this Conversation, and expounding on themes addressed in his book The Transformation of Title IX: Regulating Gender Equality in Education, Melnick traces the transformation of Title IX from 1972 until the present. Conceived as an initiative that would prevent sex discrimination on campus, Title IX, as Melnick explains, became a catchall source for rules and regulations in higher education regarding sexual assault, sexual harassment, and offensive speech. Melnick argues that the Obama administration's heavy-handed approach to Title IX enforcement created serious threats to due process and free speech on campus. Melnick praises the more recent efforts of the Department of Education in the Trump administration to roll back some of these problematic guidelines. Finally, he considers why the Biden administration—and universities and colleges—are hesitant to return to the Obama-era policies.

    Scott Lincicome on the Economy, Inflation, and the Supply Chain

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 19, 2021 62:12


    Why have the costs of basic goods and services been increasing in recent months? Will shortages in stores and delays in orders for durable goods persist—and what is the meaning of the often invoked supply-chain issues? What public policies might help ameliorate the situation? In this Conversation, Scott Lincicome, a senior fellow at the Cato Institute, considers the dynamics of the economy during the pandemic—the fiscal stimulus, accommodative monetary policy, dislocations in the global supply chain—and considers possible paths forward beyond the Covid era. He points to container ships backed up in our major ports as an example of how a sclerotic regulatory framework can worsen a serious problem and increase our vulnerability to a threat like supply shocks. Lincicome recommends modernizing infrastructure via automation, increasing our workforce via immigration, and improving our resilience via deregulation.

    Scott Lincicome on the Economy, Inflation, and the Supply Chain

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 19, 2021 62:12


    Why have the costs of basic goods and services been increasing in recent months? Will shortages in stores and delays in orders for durable goods persist—and what is the meaning of the often invoked supply-chain issues? What public policies might help ameliorate the situation? In this Conversation, Scott Lincicome, a senior fellow at the Cato Institute, considers the dynamics of the economy during the pandemic—the fiscal stimulus, accommodative monetary policy, dislocations in the global supply chain—and considers possible paths forward beyond the Covid era. He points to container ships backed up in our major ports as an example of how a sclerotic regulatory framework can worsen a serious problem and increase our vulnerability to a threat like supply shocks. Lincicome recommends modernizing infrastructure via automation, increasing our workforce via immigration, and improving our resilience via deregulation.

    Linda Chavez: The Border, the Biden Administration, and Immigration Reform

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 5, 2021 72:20


    In recent years, immigration has become a major flashpoint in our politics. Our increasingly rancorous quarrels often serve to obscure rather than clarify policy choices, and make it more difficult to achieve sound policies. As a result, even as attention is given to problems at the border, surprisingly little attention is paid to reforming our broken immigration system. In this Conversation, Linda Chavez, a longtime analyst of immigration and immigration policy, explains that our outdated laws are urgently in need of repair. Chavez points out key areas where the nation as a whole would benefit from new policies, and discusses the obstacles to legislating or implementing them. In particular, President Trump campaigned on immigration restriction and pressed federal agencies to curb immigration in various ways, policies that candidate Biden opposed—but to this point the Biden administration mostly has avoided coming to grips with many aspects of the immigration issue. As a result, important questions like the status of those who were brought to the US as children (DACA), backlogs, delays, unused slots for green cards, problems at the border, and other issues remain unresolved. Chavez outlines an approach to immigration that rejects any idea of open borders but recognizes the value of immigration to the long-term success of the United States—and encourages a streamlining of the immigration process that is beneficial for the economy, good for Americans, and good for immigrants.

    Linda Chavez: The Border, the Biden Administration, and Immigration Reform

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 5, 2021 72:20


    In recent years, immigration has become a major flashpoint in our politics. Our increasingly rancorous quarrels often serve to obscure rather than clarify policy choices, and make it more difficult to achieve sound policies. As a result, even as attention is given to problems at the border, surprisingly little attention is paid to reforming our broken immigration system. In this Conversation, Linda Chavez, a longtime analyst of immigration and immigration policy, explains that our outdated laws are urgently in need of repair. Chavez points out key areas where the nation as a whole would benefit from new policies, and discusses the obstacles to legislating or implementing them. In particular, President Trump campaigned on immigration restriction and pressed federal agencies to curb immigration in various ways, policies that candidate Biden opposed—but to this point the Biden administration mostly has avoided coming to grips with many aspects of the immigration issue. As a result, important questions like the status of those who were brought to the US as children (DACA), backlogs, delays, unused slots for green cards, problems at the border, and other issues remain unresolved. Chavez outlines an approach to immigration that rejects any idea of open borders but recognizes the value of immigration to the long-term success of the United States—and encourages a streamlining of the immigration process that is beneficial for the economy, good for Americans, and good for immigrants.

    Harvey Mansfield on Machiavelli as the Founder of Modernity

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 21, 2021 71:44


    But since my intent is to write something useful to whoever understands it, it has appeared to me more fitting to go directly to the effectual truth of the thing than to the imagination of it. — Niccolo Machiavelli, in Chapter 15 of The Prince. According to Harvey Mansfield, these lines including the phrase effectual truth—a term invented by Machiavelli—are central to Machiavelli's founding of the revolution in philosophy, science, and politics that we call modernity. In this Conversation—our 200th episode!—our first and most frequent guest Harvey Mansfield returns to the program to discuss his recent work on Machiavelli, and presents an incisive and provocative account of some of the more challenging and too-little-understood aspects of Machiavelli's teaching. In particular, Mansfield draws out the world-historical significance of Machiavelli's discovery or invention of the effectual truth and shows why Machiavelli can justly be called the founder of modernity. This Conversation has also been added to the Harvey Mansfield site on Contemporary Thinkers and the Machiavelli site on Great Thinkers.

    Harvey Mansfield on Machiavelli as the Founder of Modernity

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 21, 2021 71:44


    But since my intent is to write something useful to whoever understands it, it has appeared to me more fitting to go directly to the effectual truth of the thing than to the imagination of it. — Niccolo Machiavelli, in Chapter 15 of The Prince. According to Harvey Mansfield, these lines including the phrase effectual truth—a term invented by Machiavelli—are central to Machiavelli's founding of the revolution in philosophy, science, and politics that we call modernity. In this Conversation—our 200th episode!—our first and most frequent guest Harvey Mansfield returns to the program to discuss his recent work on Machiavelli, and presents an incisive and provocative account of some of the more challenging and too-little-understood aspects of Machiavelli's teaching. In particular, Mansfield draws out the world-historical significance of Machiavelli's discovery or invention of the effectual truth and shows why Machiavelli can justly be called the founder of modernity. This Conversation has also been added to the Harvey Mansfield site on Contemporary Thinkers and the Machiavelli site on Great Thinkers.

    William Baude on Election Subversion: How Great a Threat?

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 8, 2021 67:25


    In a recent law review article, University of Chicago law professor William Baude writes, After the 2020 presidential election, the peaceful transfer of power can no longer be taken for granted. How well did our institutions respond to the challenges? What vulnerabilities in our electoral processes and loopholes in our laws represent the most critical threats for the future? In this Conversation, Baude shares his perspective on the 2020 presidential election and its aftermath—and particularly the efforts in certain states and in Congress led by President Trump and those who fought for him to overturn the electoral victory of Joe Biden. Baude explains how these efforts to subvert the election create a dangerous precedent. Baude contends that the courts and other institutions resisted the attempt to overturn the election reasonably well. But, he argues, we cannot be complacent about concerted attempts to undermine the electoral process, and the threats to the rule of law in the years ahead.

    William Baude on Election Subversion: How Great a Threat?

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 8, 2021 67:25


    In a recent law review article, University of Chicago law professor William Baude writes, After the 2020 presidential election, the peaceful transfer of power can no longer be taken for granted. How well did our institutions respond to the challenges? What vulnerabilities in our electoral processes and loopholes in our laws represent the most critical threats for the future? In this Conversation, Baude shares his perspective on the 2020 presidential election and its aftermath—and particularly the efforts in certain states and in Congress led by President Trump and those who fought for him to overturn the electoral victory of Joe Biden. Baude explains how these efforts to subvert the election create a dangerous precedent. Baude contends that the courts and other institutions resisted the attempt to overturn the election reasonably well. But, he argues, we cannot be complacent about concerted attempts to undermine the electoral process, and the threats to the rule of law in the years ahead.

    Joe Trippi: The Biden Administration, the Parties, and Looking Ahead to the Midterms

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 21, 2021 63:05


    Eight months into his presidency, how is Joe Biden doing politically? How should we understand the current dynamics in the Democratic and Republican parties? What key things should we look for as we head toward the midterm elections in 2022? To consider these questions, we are joined by veteran Democratic strategist Joe Trippi, a shrewd and incisive analyst of our politics and our parties. As Trippi sees it, and noting Liz Cheney's removal from House leadership, the Republican Party is locked in to a series of loyalty tests around Donald Trump, which diminish the party's appeal to independent voters. The Democrats' problem is they are divided, and currently facing quarrels in Congress between the moderate and progressive wings of the party. For the Democrats to succeed in the midterms, in Trippi's view, Biden must be perceived as generally successful at managing the concrete challenges the country faces, while the Democrats in Congress must grow up and help Biden pass popular legislation. Further, the Democrats need to broader their tent to include more independents and former Republicans. Kristol and Trippi also consider what the primary elections of the Democrats and Republicans between now and the midterms will reveal about the direction of the parties.

    Joe Trippi: The Biden Administration, the Parties, and Looking Ahead to the Midterms

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 21, 2021 63:05


    Eight months into his presidency, how is Joe Biden doing politically? How should we understand the current dynamics in the Democratic and Republican parties? What key things should we look for as we head toward the midterm elections in 2022? To consider these questions, we are joined by veteran Democratic strategist Joe Trippi, a shrewd and incisive analyst of our politics and our parties. As Trippi sees it, and noting Liz Cheney's removal from House leadership, the Republican Party is locked in to a series of loyalty tests around Donald Trump, which diminish the party's appeal to independent voters. The Democrats' problem is they are divided, and currently facing quarrels in Congress between the moderate and progressive wings of the party. For the Democrats to succeed in the midterms, in Trippi's view, Biden must be perceived as generally successful at managing the concrete challenges the country faces, while the Democrats in Congress must grow up and help Biden pass popular legislation. Further, the Democrats need to broader their tent to include more independents and former Republicans. Kristol and Trippi also consider what the primary elections of the Democrats and Republicans between now and the midterms will reveal about the direction of the parties.

    Donald Kagan: War and Human Nature

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 8, 2021 80:38


    Donald Kagan (1932 - 2021), who passed away this summer, was a preeminent historian of both the ancient and modern worlds. In 2015,  we were privileged to host Professor Kagan for a wide-ranging Conversation about the major themes of his work. We are pleased to re-release the Conversation here. In the Conversation, Kagan and Kristol discuss what humanity's greatest wars—from the Peloponnesian War to World War II—can teach us about the nature of war and the sources of human conflict. Kagan also discusses his education in history at Brooklyn College, his groundbreaking work on Thucydides, and his distinguished teaching career at Yale. Finally, Kristol and Kagan discuss the state of the study of history and the liberal arts more generally in America.

    Donald Kagan: War and Human Nature

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 8, 2021 80:38


    Donald Kagan (1932 - 2021), who passed away this summer, was a preeminent historian of both the ancient and modern worlds. In 2015,  we were privileged to host Professor Kagan for a wide-ranging Conversation about the major themes of his work. We are pleased to re-release the Conversation here. In the Conversation, Kagan and Kristol discuss what humanity's greatest wars—from the Peloponnesian War to World War II—can teach us about the nature of war and the sources of human conflict. Kagan also discusses his education in history at Brooklyn College, his groundbreaking work on Thucydides, and his distinguished teaching career at Yale. Finally, Kristol and Kagan discuss the state of the study of history and the liberal arts more generally in America.

    Aaron Friedberg: On US-China Relations and the Threats We Face

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 3, 2021 101:23


    How will the American withdrawal from Afghanistan influence US-China relations? How should we understand China's geostrategic ambitions—and the threat to Taiwan in particular? How is America dealing with the challenge? To discuss these questions, we are joined again by Princeton professor Aaron Friedberg, author of A Contest for Supremacy and the forthcoming Getting China Wrong. Friedberg explains how Americans often have misunderstood and underestimated the challenge from China on political, economic, and technological fronts. Friedberg calls for an integrated approach in which the US, in concert with allies, develops an alternative to the current paradigm—building and developing networks of industrial, technological, and political capacities in order to defend ourselves and Western principles. This is a timely and important Conversation that can help us think through the many political choices required to sustain a more effective strategy for countering the threat posed by China.

    Aaron Friedberg: On US-China Relations and the Threats We Face

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 3, 2021 101:23


    How will the American withdrawal from Afghanistan influence US-China relations? How should we understand China's geostrategic ambitions—and the threat to Taiwan in particular? How is America dealing with the challenge? To discuss these questions, we are joined again by Princeton professor Aaron Friedberg, author of A Contest for Supremacy and the forthcoming Getting China Wrong. Friedberg explains how Americans often have misunderstood and underestimated the challenge from China on political, economic, and technological fronts. Friedberg calls for an integrated approach in which the US, in concert with allies, develops an alternative to the current paradigm—building and developing networks of industrial, technological, and political capacities in order to defend ourselves and Western principles. This is a timely and important Conversation that can help us think through the many political choices required to sustain a more effective strategy for countering the threat posed by China.

    Eric Edelman: The Crisis in Civil-Military Relations

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 26, 2021 63:41


    Civilian control over the military, and a non-partisan military, have been bedrock principles of American government since the founding of the country. In recent times, however, significant strains have developed in our civil-military relations. Why should we be alarmed about the growing politicization of the military in America? Why must partisan neutrality prevail, and why must civilians avoid using the military to advance their own partisan causes? In this Conversation, Eric Edelman shares his perspective. Edelman organized an important letter in January 2021, signed by all living former secretaries of defense, reminding military and civilians at the Defense Department that the peaceful transfers of power...are hallmarks of our democracy. The need for such a letter, according to Edelman, underscores how the bedrock principles of American civil-military relations have been challenged, especially within the last years, both from within the ranks and in our politics. In this timely and urgent discussion, Edelman explains how we have reached the current situation. He calls for reinforcing the norm of keeping the military out of partisan politics—and politicians not seeking military support for partisan aims.

    Eric Edelman: The Crisis in Civil-Military Relations

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 26, 2021 63:41


    Civilian control over the military, and a non-partisan military, have been bedrock principles of American government since the founding of the country. In recent times, however, significant strains have developed in our civil-military relations. Why should we be alarmed about the growing politicization of the military in America? Why must partisan neutrality prevail, and why must civilians avoid using the military to advance their own partisan causes? In this Conversation, Eric Edelman shares his perspective. Edelman organized an important letter in January 2021, signed by all living former secretaries of defense, reminding military and civilians at the Defense Department that the peaceful transfers of power...are hallmarks of our democracy. The need for such a letter, according to Edelman, underscores how the bedrock principles of American civil-military relations have been challenged, especially within the last years, both from within the ranks and in our politics. In this timely and urgent discussion, Edelman explains how we have reached the current situation. He calls for reinforcing the norm of keeping the military out of partisan politics—and politicians not seeking military support for partisan aims.

    David Epstein: The Political Ideas of The Federalist

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 12, 2021 78:19


    Written by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay to defend the ratification of the Constitution, The Federalist has long been recognized as a fundamental text in American political thought. Yet the complexity and subtlety of The Federalist as a work often is not sufficiently appreciated. In this Conversation, David Epstein, author of The Political Theory of The Federalist, (1984), shares his perspective on why The Federalist should be taken seriously as a work of political thought, and on its enduring importance. Epstein guides us through central themes including representation, the separation of powers, the roles of interests and ambition in politics, and how popular government can be made to be good government. Throughout, we come to see the complex character of The Federalist—and its sometimes surprising point of view on these fundamental aspects of American government. Finally, Epstein and Kristol consider the ways in which The Federalist, irrespective of our own political choices or policy preferences, remains a vital source for learning to think about politics.

    David Epstein: The Political Ideas of The Federalist

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 12, 2021 78:19


    Written by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay to defend the ratification of the Constitution, The Federalist has long been recognized as a fundamental text in American political thought. Yet the complexity and subtlety of The Federalist as a work often is not sufficiently appreciated. In this Conversation, David Epstein, author of The Political Theory of The Federalist, (1984), shares his perspective on why The Federalist should be taken seriously as a work of political thought, and on its enduring importance. Epstein guides us through central themes including representation, the separation of powers, the roles of interests and ambition in politics, and how popular government can be made to be good government. Throughout, we come to see the complex character of The Federalist—and its sometimes surprising point of view on these fundamental aspects of American government. Finally, Epstein and Kristol consider the ways in which The Federalist, irrespective of our own political choices or policy preferences, remains a vital source for learning to think about politics.

    Ashish Jha: On the Delta Variant, Vaccines, and Where We Stand

    Play Episode Listen Later Jul 28, 2021 69:54


    Where do things stand with Covid-19? How has the emergence of the Delta variant changed the situation? How might things look in the US as we had into the fall? To discuss these questions, we are joined again by Dr. Ashish Jha, dean of the Brown University School of Public Health. Jha explains why the highly-contagious Delta variant, coupled with greater-than-anticipated resistance to vaccines, now threatens a return to normalcy that seemed on track throughout the late spring. Today, all Americans have ready access to vaccines that are extraordinarily effective at preventing hospitalization and death. Jha stresses that exposure to Covid now is much more likely than just a few weeks ago, perhaps inevitable, so the choice in America now is binary: to get vaccinated, or get infected. Jha and Kristol consider choices in public policy and in the private sector we face now including whether to mandate vaccines, the role of the CDC and FDA, and the global dimension of the pandemic—and the ramifications of these choices as we look ahead to the reopening of schools, business, and other indoor activities, in the months ahead.

    Ashish Jha: On the Delta Variant, Vaccines, and Where We Stand

    Play Episode Listen Later Jul 28, 2021 69:54


    Where do things stand with Covid-19? How has the emergence of the Delta variant changed the situation? How might things look in the US as we had into the fall? To discuss these questions, we are joined again by Dr. Ashish Jha, dean of the Brown University School of Public Health. Jha explains why the highly-contagious Delta variant, coupled with greater-than-anticipated resistance to vaccines, now threatens a return to normalcy that seemed on track throughout the late spring. Today, all Americans have ready access to vaccines that are extraordinarily effective at preventing hospitalization and death. Jha stresses that exposure to Covid now is much more likely than just a few weeks ago, perhaps inevitable, so the choice in America now is binary: to get vaccinated, or get infected. Jha and Kristol consider choices in public policy and in the private sector we face now including whether to mandate vaccines, the role of the CDC and FDA, and the global dimension of the pandemic—and the ramifications of these choices as we look ahead to the reopening of schools, business, and other indoor activities, in the months ahead.

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