Rush to Rush Judgment

Dear Weekend Jolter,

As the attending image shows, at NR's 50th Anniversary gala in 2005 (a sensational celebration held at the National Building Museum in Washington), it mattered very much to Bill Buckley that Rush Limbaugh was at his immediate side that triumphant night. The two were close: mutual admirers and supporters who fought the same enemies by different and ...

WITH JACK FOWLER February 20 2021
WITH JACK FOWLER February 20 2021

Rush to Rush Judgment

Dear Weekend Jolter,

As the attending image shows, at NR's 50th Anniversary gala in 2005 (a sensational celebration held at the National Building Museum in Washington), it mattered very much to Bill Buckley that Rush Limbaugh was at his immediate side that triumphant night. The two were close: mutual admirers and supporters who fought the same enemies by different and complementing means. And now they were reveling in Bill's accomplishments, accumulated over a half century by relentless advocacy and hard work and a healthy dose of wit.

Both happy warriors are now gone. Resting in peace, oremus.

Well, not all are oremusing. Down here, the news of Rush’s demise sparked an outbreak of grave-dancing glee, and its harsher cemeterial-urological variations. An example: Yale Law School's Scott J. Shapiro tweeted "I wouldn't say I was happy Rush Limbaugh died. It's more like euphoria." Feeling better now, professor?

Our Brittany Bernstein rounded up the usual suspects to provide a rundown of liberal-celebrity castigating of the departed conservative icon. Do read it: You’ll find the freak flags flying high and snapping in the gales.

Meanwhile, Jim Geraghty, good man, pushes the rock up a hill, calling attention to the practice that should remain in place: We should not speak ill of the dead. A most commendable practice. It should come as no surprise that Big Jim’s essay was vilified by social-media snarks.

Amidst the week’s melancholy (amplified by the onset of the Lenten season) there is much to share. Since you are here, buck up, slap on a smile, and forward march thyself to the WJ.



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Dan McLaughlin: Rush Limbaugh: A Voice for His Time

Jim Geraghty: Rush Limbaugh vs Howard Stern: Remembering the Media's Comparison

Scot Bertram: Rush Limbaugh Had Unbreakable Bond with His Listeners

Jack Fowler: Farewell, Rush Limbaugh: A Voice Like No Other


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Nick Murray: Coronavirus Emergency Powers for Governors Need to Be Restrained

Alexandra DeSanctis: Jen Psaki and the Identity Defense

Howard Husock: Biden's Executive Order on Housing Won't Help Minority Groups

Isaac Schoor: The Dishonesty of Biden's COVID Messaging

Jimmy Quinn: Biden's Confusion on How to Talk about Genocide

Tim Morrison: Will Biden's Nominees Confront Red China

Dan McLaughlin: Trump's Political Movement: The Twelve Flavors

Mario Loyola: Will Trump Voters Lose Trust in Democracy

More Rich: It's a Blacklist, Pure and Simple

Andrew Micha: America's Cultural Revolution Will Leave Scars

Elliott Abrams: The Deterrent Message Iran Needs to Hear

David Harsanyi: Bill Gates' Climate Hysteria

Capital Matters

Brian Riedl on the "T" word: Trillion-Dollar Budget Deficits Are the Largest in Modern History

Daniel Tenreiro finds conservative investing: 2ndVote Funds is a New Counterweight to Stakeholder Capitalism

Timothy Fitzgerald appeals, with tariffs towards none: Oil Tariffs Are Bad for Consumers

From the New Issue of National Review

Kevin Williamson captures the descent: Minnesota Nasty

Sarah Ruden hits a Homer: In Defense of the Classics

Bing West calls Strike Three: Three Wars, No Victory – Why?

Robert VerBruggen is not a minimalist: Minimum-Wage Complexities

Lights. Camera. Review.

Kyle Smith is fine with blacklists. The good ones. Hollywood Double Standards Are the Problem

More Gina: Madeleine Kearns is sure she's not going away. Gina Carano Won't Be Canceled

More Kyle, who praises a painter.  Sin Explores Michelangelo's Unbounded Genius

Armond White weaves on Webb. Jack Webb and Anti-Communist TV Were Better than Today's Woke Fare



1. Our formal remembrance of El Rushbo. From the editorial:

He had an outsize role in conservative politics for 30 years and could instantly elevate a cause or argument. He was especially influential when Republicans were out of power, at the beginning of the Clinton years (the new Republican House majority made him an honorary freshman in 1994) and in the Obama years.

His three-hour program, listened to by 20 million people at its height, represented a crack in the dominance of the liberal mass media and foreshadowed the rise of a broader alternative conservative media.

He loved Bill Buckley — the feeling was mutual — and was friends with many people at this institution. A humble man in person, who performed countless acts of personal generosity that no one will ever hear about, he fought his lung cancer at the end with the heart of a lion. R.I.P.

2. Even a diminished debt-cancellation scheme is a bad idea. From the editorial:

The good news is that President Biden has scaled back the Left's ambitions on both fronts. Where some have called for $50,000 in debt cancellation, Biden seems more comfortable with $10,000, perhaps allowing higher amounts in special circumstances. Biden has also been skeptical of his ability to make this change unilaterally and is asking the Department of Justice to review the law.

The bad news is that even $10,000 of blanket forgiveness is a bad idea, for the same reasons we laid out previously.

Student debt is not a "crisis"; most students graduate with manageable levels of debt, and those with extremely high debt burdens tend to be the folks who got postgraduate degrees or chose to attend expensive private schools. Moreover, if someone has a high debt burden and a low income, he can already, under current law, choose an "income-based" repayment option that forgives the debt after he makes affordable payments for a period. There are certainly sympathetic cases where students were suckered in by colleges' fraudulent claims, or where students attended school but didn't graduate, gaining some debt with no degree — but blanket forgiveness, even limited to $10,000, does not target such cases, much less prevent them from continuing.

3. In this corner, Donald Trump. In that corner, Mitch McConnell. We find some of 45's blows below the belt. From the editorial:

Regardless, the more compelling explanation for the Georgia losses is that Trump divided the party with his outlandish attacks on Georgia officials who wouldn't endorse his conspiracy theories about the election and discouraged Republican turnout in contests where they didn't have any votes to spare.

For good measure, Trump included the smear that McConnell is weak on the CCP because of nonexistent business holdings in China.

It is certainly true, as Trump stated in the abusive terms, that McConnell isn't charismatic; firebrands don't typically rise to leadership in the Senate. McConnell is, to his credit, an institutionalist. He is also canny, tough-minded, and willing to play the long game in advancing the interests of the Republican Party and of conservatism. This doesn't mean that his judgment is flawless. He's made some wrong calls in GOP primary fights over the years, and surely will again.

But he's genuinely interested in building up his party, rather than tearing it down if he doesn't get his way. The same can't be said of his antagonist.

4. That Capitol Hill has become an armed camp is absurd. From the editorial:

To be sure, there are fewer troops: On Inauguration Day, there were some 25,000. Now it's around 6,000. But already there have been worrying changes to initial assurances, as well as public statements that suggest a more permanent military-style footprint for the Capitol.

Even the original plans called for a continued troop presence in the thousands into March. But according to a D.C. Fox affiliate, assistant secretary for homeland defense and global security Robert Salesses is considering plans to maintain some level of National Guard presence on the Capitol "at least through fall 2021." And in late January, acting Capitol Hill Police chief Yogananda Pittman suggested that at least some of the current security measures be made permanent. It's worth remembering, in this context, that the perimeter fencing erected the day after the riot was supposed to be up only for 30 days. We're past that benchmark, and there is no sign of its coming down anytime soon.

The idea of extending the current extreme security measures on the Hill indefinitely has done the seemingly impossible — achieved bipartisan condemnation. D.C. congressional delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, a Democrat, and Michigan representative Lisa McClain, ...   READ MORE


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