National Review Podcasts: The Editors Exit Question Transcription

Attorney General William Barr testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., April 9, 2019 (Aaron P. Bernstein/Reuters)

Barr Controversy

Rich: So Xan, exit question to you on this one. If Bill Barr is ousted as attorney general, you’d like to see him return as:

  • Trump’s off-the radar whisperer
  • White House council chief of staff
  • Vice President

Alexandra: I’d like to see him as White House council. I definitely trust him a lot; he’s been around a long time, and I think [he’s] a very trustworthy guy. I trust his judgement more than I trust Trump. So I’d love to see him in there.

RL: Luke Thompson.

Luke: If Bill Barr gets ousted, I think he deserves a nice retirement with a teaching gig at a law school in the D.C. area. C’mon, why do you hate the man so much Rich, that you want to inflict these evils on him?

RL: Charlie Cooke.

Charlie: I don’t think he’ll get ousted.

RL: The correct answer if vice president as Matt Continetti pointed out in a column today, we do really well with terse vice presidents that the left are obsessed with and consider raging a**holes. So I’m all in favor of it.

Biden Presidential Run

RL: So Charlie, exit question to you: If you had to choose from two entirely arbitrary categories thrown out by me, would you say at this moment that Joe Biden is a place-holder or the one Democrats have been waiting for?

CC: I think he’s at the moment the one Democrats have been waiting for, and they may decide prior to voting that he’s not. How’s that for a cop-out?

RL: Yes, deft cop-out. Xan?

AS: I think he’s the one Democrats have been waiting for, but not the best that they could do. He’s the best available option.

RL: Judicious. Luke?

LT: I think he’ll flame out. I do. I do. I just can’t get past the fact that he’s done this before, and that everybody knows that they’ve got to beat the hell out of him. And I don’t think he’s a good debater. Look, this is my heart going against my head. My head says he’s got enough, but my gut tells me that he’s going to step on something.

RL: Yeah, I say placeholder, with a huge dollop of hopefulness thrown in there. I do think he would be a pretty good general election candidate. I mean, no one really knows anything about electability. That’s one thing we’ve learned over the last decade. But at least at this juncture on paper, you’d think he’d be [a] really strong matchup against Trump and speak to the Democratic party being more reasonable than we’ve been led to believe over the last two years by some of its most prominent voices. But, I have a hard time believing he’s going to lead this thing from pillar to post, and they’re going to come at him, and a couple people are going to rise up. And I don’t whether you’re going to buy this, Luke, but I was having a conversation with a reporter friend, and I think there’s something to this. I think Cory Booker might be an undervalued asset at the moment, just because he . . .

LT: I mean, he’s trading at one cent, so, I mean, it’s pretty easy to be undervalued in that.

RL: He needs some other things to happen, he needs some other people to fall away. He’s got the faith-wrap, he’s not totally over on the left, and he’s an African American, and that’s a vulnerability Biden’s going to have is who can take that vote away from him.

LT: I think Cory sucks. I don’t’ think there’s anything there. I think Kamala Harris is a much bigger threat to Biden with the African American vote. She’s a graduate of an HBCU, she’s very well-networked with the black fraternity and sorority networks that make a lot of organizing decisions and back-bone them in places like South Carolina. No, I think Cory is a stuffed shirt.

Venezuela Crisis

RL: So Charlie, exit question to you: percentage chance that the United States uses military force in Venezuela?

CC: 1 percent.

RL: Xan.

AD: 15 percent

RL: Luke Thompson.

LT: I mean, I hope it’s 1 percent. There are some people who are really braying for it, and so I’ll say given those folks it’s 25 percent, but I hope it’s one.

RL: I’m at 20 percent. I think it’s unlikely. I think what happens is we’re going to crab-walk our way into it. And I hope it doesn’t happen.

Members of the National Review editorial and operational teams are included under the umbrella “NR Staff.”

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