National Review Podcasts: The Editors Exit Question Transcription

Attorney General William Barr (Yuri Gripas/Reuters)

Bill Barr

Rich: So Charlie Cooke, exit question to you: Rate the seriousness of the current Constitutional crisis from zero to ten:

Zero: This is silly.

Ten: This is a confrontation brewing between the Congress and Executive over their                                 respective powers that could rock the Republic to its foundation.

Charlie: It’s in the minus numbers, because it’s not only a zero but it’s going to make us all stupider as to how our system works.

Rich: Luke Thompson, zero to ten?

Luke: What’s the set of imaginary numbers they have that you divide by zero? “I” or “E” or whatever. It’s a negative ten. I mean, this is normal. This is what normal looks like. People need to grow up.

Rich: David French?

David: Yeah I mean, I totally agree. It’s in the negative range. I mean, the idea that we’re looking at anything substantially different than what we’ve seen from previous administrations – in fights with previous administrations – I’d say the only true substantial difference we’re seeing is that this administration, this DOJ, has been extremely resistant to the precedent and being more transparent than the president himself wants. So, you know, these are guys from Sessions to Rosenstein to Whitaker to Barr who have protected the special councel and then ultimately proved to be quite transparent. So yeah, we’re in the definite negative numbers.

Rich: I’m going real high compared to you guys. I’m going to say two, just because you can see this leading to an impeachment of the president, which, you know, has happened only very rarely in our history.

Trump’s Taxes

RL: Luke Thompson, exit question to you: Rate the blow that the revelation of Trump’s taxes from the 80s and 90s represent to him zero to ten.

Zero: No one cares.

Five: It’s a devastating strike against his image.

LT: Sorry, I’m listening for the tumbleweeds. Nobody cares, and it’s a zero.

RL: Charlie Cooke?

CC: I think maybe a two, because there are people out there who worship Trump and think that we need business men in charge of everything and that he’s the best of all businessmen available. But I don’t think it’s going to make too much difference. If you’re at the point where you’re hero-worshiping Donald Trump, you’re probably not going to be put off by a New York Times report.

RL: David French?

DF: 0.001. I think that there are at the very very very edges at least a few people who are engaged and interested and have a hope in mind who also think that Trump has had a record of unbroken brilliance in business who might be impacted by a report like that. But I think that that number is really really small and very much on the margins.

RL: So just to make up for being off-the-charts high on the last question, to sort of balance things out, I’m going to say negative five.

LT: Wait, it actively helps him?

RL: Maybe it does help him. I’ll go with help.

Social Media Smackdown

RL: Charlie Cooke, exit question to you: percentage chances that government action will be taken against social media companies on free speech grounds over the next two or three years, zero to 100?

CC: I don’t think it’s going to happen. Or, I don’t think it’s going to happen in the next two or three years. So I’d say maybe 20 percent in the next two or three years. I think it’s unlikely.

RL: David French?

DF: Highly unlikely. 10-20 percent chance. I think you’d have to have consensus on what the rules are, and how they’re administered. And I think Republicans and Democrats have extremely divergent ideas about that.

RL: Luke Thompson?

LT: I think we might see some more momentum around regulation or legislation, but I don’t think anything’s going to come into effect.

RL: Yeah, I’m real low. Ten, 20 percent for the same grounds that you guys have said. I mean nothing’s happening over the next two years, because why would the Democrats or the Left, they shouldn’t be exercised about this, you know, the unfairness cuts their way, in maybe three years you know if Republicans hold the presidency and take the House, I think there’s kind of a coalescing consensus on the Right that something should be done about this for better or worse. But you know, once you get into three years out and the technology environment – you know, will the world really look the same? Will there be other services that will have supplanted or eaten into the business model of these companies? No one can really know.

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