November 14, 2016
Last night was lovely. Despite the fact that National Review was a #NeverTrump bastion, there’s a palpable sense of relief that Hillary is not in the White House.
Also, unlike the Leftists, conservatives — at least #NeverTrump conservatives — know how to handle defeat with grace. Incidentally, as best as I can tell from a random sampling of conversations with a handful people, those who came for the cruise are Trump supporters.
I suspect that, even though National Review is anything but an Ivory Tower (and thank goodness for that), the difference in outlook between guests and NR staff reflects the fact that the latter lived in a self-reinforcing environment, while the rest of us are out in the world reaching decisions without having to intellectualize everything.
NR has a nice way of handling dinner. Every night, guests sit at different tables with different NR representatives. Last night, I was at a table with eight very nice, very interesting people, one of whom was David French, who is charming and interesting and mind-glowingly smart.
I was giddy to be in an environment in which I don’t have to look over my shoulder lest I say something that brings a bucketful of Leftist opprobrium on my head. Most people, though, seemed to come from Red communities, although they were kind enough to understand my excitement.
Since it was dinner, I didn’t take notes, but I do remember one interesting point that came up: The Leftist insistence that we do away with the Electoral College because it’s just not fair that Republicans keep winning the Electoral College without winning the popular vote and we need to stop that.
My response to that argument has been that the point of the electoral college is to ensure that all states have a say in the election, not just the states with the largest populations. I can envision that, if the Electoral College is abolished, New York, DC, Los Angeles, and Chicago will elect an endless number of Democrat emperors, shutting out smaller states entirely.
David French, however, had a different take, and offered something that had never occurred to me. He pointed out that Dems have extraordinarily effective “get out the vote” machinery. As it happened, Hillary was so bad she couldn’t get the Obama coalition to vote for her, but the fact is that the machinery for flogging Democrat voters into the voting booths is all in place.
In red states, however, there is no get out the vote effort. Since there will always be enough voters to return a Republican, why bother?
What this means is that Blue states, or counties, or cities have maxed out on their get-out-the vote operations, while Red states haven’t even begun. If the EC is abolished, and if the GOP is smart, it will simply go hog wild implementing get-out-the vote operations in places that are reliably Republican. In other words, it has a lot of untapped voters who will be roused to go to the polls in the event the elections are decided by a straight majority rather than the EC.
Anyway, the beach (and, I hope, a wi-fi cafe) call, so I’ll wrap this up.
And now it’s later. Today’s National Review offerings started with a panel about Comey’s decision to reveal all the details of a case that he knew would never go to trial, a decision both John Yoo and Andrew McCarthy thought was unprofessional in that it violated FBI procedure. If I can waylay one of them, I’ll ask what a principled FBI agent (and I’m assuming here that Comey was principled) should do when he has assembled a thousand smoking guns, but knows that a politicized DOJ will not prosecute. That is, did Comey have any good choices?
The second panel, consisting of Jim Geraghty, Heather Higgins, Brian Anderson, and Charles Cooke, asked “What happened?” — a usefully broad question that gave the panel a starting point no matter which candidate won. Heather was the only one on the panel who supported Trump, believing that he spoke to people’s real concerns, stripped of political language, and that he was #NotHillary, two sentiments with which I heartily concur.
The other panelists were not angry or hysterical or depressed. They were, instead, processing their bafflement in intelligent ways. As Charles Cooke said, he’s learned that he’s not good at predicting elections and is delighted that, as a pundit, he first gets to make the prediction, and then gets to explain why he was wrong — and it’s all in a day’s work. I will say that these NR types learn fast, because they reached all the conclusions that we here at this blog reached earlier.
The third panel addressed campus insanity which, as you know, really resonates with me. Given that my daughter is at a crazed liberal arts college in the Midwest, these things hit close to home. Victor Davis Hanson, Katherine Timpf, John Yoo, and Kevin Williamson all had pertinent points to make, and great anecdotes to tell. Nothing they said will ultimately surprise you (less or no federal funding, university disclosures about debt load and income opportunities, less coddling, etc.), but it was presented in intelligent and amusing fashion, so I was happy.
The official presentations ended with Deroy Murdock doing a presentation about the costs of green energy initiatives, and the costs are high: damage to animals, pollution, land waste, extreme expense, and generalized ugliness. He’s a huge proponent of fracking, which he argues is less harmful to wildlife than windmills and solar panels, uses less land than they do, is more cost effective, and is actually very low profile. I was sold.
Dinner soon, which promises to be entertaining, and then I’m optimistically hoping for an excellent night’s sleep.