488 episodes

Steven Hayward brings you the Power Line Blog's perspective on the week's big headlines. Follow Power Line on Twitter (https://twitter.com/powerlineus) and Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/powerlineblog). Send any suggestions, tips, and fan mail to powerlinefeedback@gmail.com.

Power Line Ricochet

    • News
    • 4.7 • 441 Ratings

Steven Hayward brings you the Power Line Blog's perspective on the week's big headlines. Follow Power Line on Twitter (https://twitter.com/powerlineus) and Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/powerlineblog). Send any suggestions, tips, and fan mail to powerlinefeedback@gmail.com.

    The Three Whisky Happy Hour: Above, Behind, and Below the Law

    The Three Whisky Happy Hour: Above, Behind, and Below the Law

    No sooner do we have a "reunion" episode last week than travel schedules blow it all up again. With John Yoo away on another junket (supposedly teaching a summer law seminar somewhere, but really in search of more elusive McRibs), Lucretia and Steve decided to do a live episode where they pondered what might be called the "meta-narrative" (that would be "McNarrative" to John Yoo) behind the sharply differing constitutional views of left and right. 

    Steve argues that behind the left's primal drive for power that can explain the outcome-oriented constitutionalism of the left on display since the Progressive Era lies a more sinister but less recognized aspect of leftist politics: American leftists are basically socialist revolutionaries, but rather than conduct direct revolution (with certain isolated exceptions), they prefer to use the rule of law to subvert the rule of law.  Steve thinks an important clue to understanding this dynamic (about which too many conservatives and Republicans are clueless) can be found in a reconsideration of . . . the Spanish Civil War. (See Nathan Pinkoski's fine essay reviewing the revisionist literature that essentially says everything you think you know about teh Spanish Civil War is wrong, and just imagine what Franco could have done if only he'd had some helicopters.)

    Lucretia as always is less convinced by Steve's historical analogies and, having had three espressos after lunch and before taping, offers her own special sauce to understanding the problem, yet somehow omitted the usual snark about Steve's whisky of the week, Laphroaig Quarter-Cask.

    Finally, in honor of Pride Month, some topical exit music this week from the great Jonathan Richman.

    And thanks to the many Power Line readers who tuned in for the live taping.  Sorry we didn't get to more of your questions and comments.

    • 1 hr 4 min
    The Three Whisky Happy Hour: Reunion Episode

    The Three Whisky Happy Hour: Reunion Episode

    The Three Whisky Happy Hour bartenders are finally back in the same time zone, and Lucretia fills in Steve and John about what happened while they were away partying in Europe. We mostly skip over doting on Biden's dotage, and take up Jed Rubenfeld's argument that Trump isn't technically a "convicted felon" yet, and might have strong case for immediate relief from the Supreme Court. 

    We finally have a long-postponed update on the situation in Ukraine, where there have been a number of developments over the last two weeks that make the war more volatile. The French are sending in troops ('advisers,' but that sounds too familiar), while we have apparently greenlit Ukraine to attack inside Russian with our weapons—so long as we approve the targets. What could go wrong? (And why is Hungary opposing the NATO position on Ukraine? Not for the reasons you read in the American media. . .)

    Finally, for our Article of the Week we take up the issue of climate change litigation, which John wrote about a few days ago for National Review, and which Steve is working separately on an article about European lawfare in this domain.

    • 57 min
    Classic Format Edition: Scoping the European Election Scene with John O'Sullivan

    Classic Format Edition: Scoping the European Election Scene with John O'Sullivan

    BUDAPEST, June 5: This Sunday the member states of the European Union will be going to the polls to elect their members of the European Parliament. I don't exactly know just what the European Parliament does either, and it has become boring viewing ever since Nigel Farage departed the European Parliament after Brexit. But there is intense campaigning underway. The streets of Budapest are lined with campaign posters, and there was a campaign march last Saturday with tens of thousands turning out.

    Most of the polls suggest that right-of-center "populist" parties are likely to see the largest gains in this round of elections, though likely not large enough to command a coalition majority, but we'll have to see.

    But wait! There's more! On July 4—an auspicuous day for Americans obviously—Britain heads to the polls for a general election, and all of the polls indicate the Conservative Party is heading for an epic wipeout at the hands of Labour. What explains the Tories' dismal prospects just five years after their largest landslide win in 70 years? To say they have underperformed the last five years under Boris Johnson and his successors is an understatement. From COVID lockdowns to Net-Zero energy madness, who needs the Tories when you can get real socialism from Labour? And just how will the Tories dust themselves off and recover?

    I sat down a few days back with John O'Sullivan to sort it all out. John has had a long and distinguished career in journalism and politics, having served as editor of National Review in the late 1980s and 1990s, and as chief speechwriter for Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher for a time. Nowadays he is the president of the Danube Institute here in Budapest, where he overseas an active program of visiting journalists, academics, and political figures from all over the globe.

    • 37 min
    The Three Whisky Happy Hour: "Our President Banged a Porn Star, and We Had World Peace."

    The Three Whisky Happy Hour: "Our President Banged a Porn Star, and We Had World Peace."

    Lucretia hosts this episode from her bunker in an undisclosed bunker in the desert southwest while Steve and John are still galavanting over in Europe. And as hinted in a Power Line post, she is thermo-nuclear furious about the Trump verdict. 

    Rather than rehash the details of the case, which everyone has picked over thoroughly by this point, the whisky bar considers what at means, and what may or should happen next. Lucretia thinks the American republica died on May 30 (USA, 1776 to May 30, 2024, RIP), while Steve thinks this is another dismal turning point comparable to the way the demagogic attack on Robert Bork in 1987 poisoned and embittered our judicial politics ever since. The connecting thread between the two: Joe Biden, who may be the single-most destructive figure in American politics in the last 50 years—worse even than Obama, who was at least subtle in his contempt for the United States. It was Biden who gave in to the progressive left over Bork in 1987, and now giving in to the progressive left's Trump Derangement Syndrome and warping our legal order.

    John looks beyond the appeals in the New York courts to a possible motion for a writ of mandamus from the U.S. Supreme Court, while all three whisky swillers agree that gane theory tells us that the only way to stop this kind of partisan lawfare is for Republicans to teach Democrats that two can play this game. And Lucretia has a list! Do Republicans have the stomach for it? Doubtful.

    • 58 min
    The Three Whisky Happy Hour: Eugene Konotorovich on the Lessons of Oct. 7

    The Three Whisky Happy Hour: Eugene Konotorovich on the Lessons of Oct. 7

    This week's special episode originates in Budapest, where John Yoo and I were presenting at a two-day conference on the decay of the rule of law in Europe. You think things are bad with the U.S. judiciary? It's much worse over here. (I'll post some video highlights when they are available.)

    In any case, because of the time difference and other challenges, Lucretia couldn't join us, so we have a guest host holding down her spot as the third host (and also to maintain the crucial two-against-John ratio), and we have decided to give him his very own Roman-inspired pseudonym, "Hadleius Arkesius." 

    We indulge way too much time with our opening banter and general discussion of our experience pondering the problem of the decay of the rule of law before getting to the main event, which is a conversation with Prof. Eugene Kontorovich, who is professor of law at George Mason University's Scalia Law School, and head of the international law department at the Kohelet Policy Forum, one of Israel's largest think tanks.  Prof. Kontorovich divides his time between the United States and Israel.

    A few weeks back Eugene wrote a bracing article in Tablet on "The Ugly Lessons of October 7," and we review the article with him along with developments of the last week, such as the move of the International Criminal Court (ICC) to issue an arrest warrant for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Our conversation with Eugene begins around the 18 minute mark.

    • 45 min
    The Three Whisky Happy Hour: Bad Lawyers and Worse Decisions?

    The Three Whisky Happy Hour: Bad Lawyers and Worse Decisions?

    Listeners want to know from John: did Justice Clarence Thomas let us down with his ruling in this week's 7 - 2 decision upholding the unique funding structure of Elizabeth Warren's Consumer Finance Protection Bureau (CFPB), which she designed precisely to avoid congressional control as much as possible? John says no, and makes a persuasive three-part case for why Thomas's opinion is thoroughgoing originalism, and good history to boot. If we want to get rid of Warren's regulatory handiwork (AND WE DO!), it will be to be done directly by Congress, rather than indirectly by the courts.

    This week also marked the 70th anniversary of the Brown v. Board of Education decision, which we have deplored before on account of the poor reasoning for the halfway right result, but a our Article of the Week from our friend Shep Melnick of Boston College draws our attention to some ongoing ambiguities of Brown that still afflict our civil rights law. You'd think after 70 years we might have figured it out, but no—and worse, the ambiguity is likely on purpose, because it suits the shifting strategy and tactics of the identitarian left.

    Other topics covered briefly this week include the collapsing case against Trump in Manhattan, Trump's VP sweepstakes (you can scratch Kristi Noem from the list), the latest Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition and King Charles's ghastly portrait (hard to say which is worse here), Harrison Butker's cultural butt kick, and, finally, how to devise some tests to judge whether higher education is truly reversing its multi-decade slide into pernicious leftism.

    • 1 hr 9 min

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5
441 Ratings

441 Ratings

sgdm91 ,


The podcast was so much better before John joined. John’s Republican Party is Mittens Romney and Ukraine Mitch. We don’t need anymore fake conservatives we already have our quota. Joe Wall

Robert C79 ,

Civil War at the Border

A great discussion highlighting the different viewpoints on the border crisis so that individuals can decide for themselves what is right.

WrigleyFieldMarshal ,

Good Show, Host Replacement Needed

Lucretia doesn't seem to know how off-putting her blind Trumpism sounds. I understand that her heart is in the right place, but her viewpoints are just so fringe, that the people echoing her talking points are actively losing the GOP very winnable elections. I think it's time to find a better female perspective for the show. Her analysis on the Kevin McCarthy debacle was cringeworthy and embarrassing. If she can't see how bad this situation is, she does not deserve to be a political analyst on a serious podcast. Edit from Oct 14th: Lucretia said she liked RFK Jr "because he's against the Deep State." That's insane. Edit from December: Lucretia tried to sweep January 6 under the rug. Does she think that 9/11 was just some faked conspiracy with holograms?

Edit from June, 2024. Lucretia really is certifiably stupid. She makes fun of Larry Hogan, who may be the only Republican capable of winning a Senate seat in Maryland. She really wants to live in a world where the Republicans have 25 senators, and never pass a single thing.

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