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The Limitations of “Norm” Talk
Plus, what happens after Iran goes nuclear?
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TIM MILLER writes on the limitations of “norm” talk.
Norms are like much else in life: strikes and gutters, ups and downs. Some are good. Some could use some revisiting. Some are so outdated as to be actively harmful. In a healthy country with two functioning political parties, we could judge our political norms on a case-by-case basis as issues come up. Stupid rules and customs shouldn’t be protected out of some anemoia and a reflexive desire to oppose norm-breaking bampots like Donald Trump.
There are plenty of big structural changes the Democrats are proposing that I don’t love. Frankly, I think that simply nuking the filibuster is likely to backfire (it did last time); if I had my druthers, we’d bring back the talkie. The left’s plans for campaign finance reform will almost certainly make things worse rather than better. And that’s without even getting into the problems arising from the vast power of the administrative state; the notion that President Biden could have the CDC tell landlords when they can accept rent payments was preposterous from the get-go.
But none of that has anything at all to do with Donald Trump or blind loyalty to precious norms.
The Trump campaign banked on local Republican officials to help steal the election. But ordinary Americans from all walks of life stood up to the lies. Authors Mark Bowden and Matthew Teague join Charlie Sykes on today's podcast.
CATO's Walter Olson brings his libertarian insight to a discussion of voting rights and wrongs and Biden's first year on this week’s Beg to Differ.
TNB🔐: Charlie, Sarah, Tim, and JVL discuss Biden’s first year as president, COVID, the Biden press conference, and what Democrats should do.
SHAY KHATIRI wonders: What Happens After Iran Goes Nuclear?
Under the current circumstances, the best feasible scenario is that the Biden administration succeeds in reaching an agreement that would slow down the program for some years—until a more resolute future president gets the job done. Yet the probable outcome is that Iran is going to acquire nuclear weapons within the next few years, and the world ought to learn to live with it and plan ahead.
Popular dissatisfaction with the revolutionary, Islamist regime has boiled over in recent years, generating massive protests and unrest. In response, the regime’s domestic oppression is becoming severer and even more brutal. This in return will exacerbate the current resentments and increase violent uprisings. Normally, the American interest—and one hopes, policy—would be to support the people against their oppressors. But when the latter are armed with nuclear weapons, unrests implies a risk of loose nukes, so America will have to adopt a policy of strengthening a leading abuser of human rights and sponsor of terrorism.
In all likelihood, Iran’s proliferation will lead to proliferation south of the Persian Gulf as American partners like Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates seek their own nuclear weapons as deterrents. This would put the United States in the odd position of either using coercive arms control measures like economic sanctions against its own partners—even though America’s own negligence has forced them into proliferation—or condoning their nuclear programs. Either case, but especially the latter, would risk the end of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
Is Ginni Thomas a threat to the Supreme Court? Jane Mayer takes a deep dive at The New Yorker. She convincingly makes the case that Justice Thomas needs to start recusing himself from cases. But will he?
The day after Russia attacks… Alexander Vindman and Dominic Cruz Bustillos on what a war in Ukraine would look like, and how we should respond.
J.D. Vance now believes the election was stolen… Talk about being desperate, read about the new lows Vance is stooping to.
“Meat Loaf was my softball coach…” How the singer stepped up to help a local JV softball team.
Burn the witch! The kooky MAGA right has discovered that a Trump and Cruz critic somehow got a job electing a Republican. (Granted, it is the no-good Greg Abbott) This is a low-flying panic attack. And, in contrast, one of Abbott’s primary opponents won’t fire a staffer who has ties to White Nationalists, because cancel culture.
Bill Kristol and Kim Wehle join Utterly Moderate… A great podcast hosted by our friend Prof. Lawrence Eppard, where they discuss the Electoral Count Act, and how to fix it.
Remember, Ron DeSantis is the “pro-vaccine governor!” But the facts seem to belie that claim from the pundits who love him so.
The faith of Dan Crenshaw… Scott English breaks down Crenshaw’s disastrous town hall, and why you should pay attention to his primary.
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