Unfair as it may be, the core calculation now will not be whether the charges are true (we don't know) or whether the timings and assumptions are fair (they are not), but what the various players consider the least dangerous course politically.
Oh, my. To modify my old gag from the Obama years, Republicans are so good at folding they should be Chuck Schumer's valet. If you were Judge Kavanaugh, would you want to bet your future on the spines of GOP senators?
~The midterms? I hate having to write about the horse-race stuff, so let me slide by with a general point:
Presidential elections are (in American terms) high turnout, so what matters is the sliver of "moderates", "centrists", "independents" who can be persuaded to vote as they did not do last time.
Midterm elections are low turnout, so what matters is motivating the base, and persuading them to turn out at a slightly higher rate than the other guys' base turns out.
How's that going? According to Reuters, the Number One issue for Republican voters is immigration: 21.1 per cent consider that the most important in determining their vote as opposed to, say, 3.8 per cent for taxes. So what's Congress doing?
Republicans Surrender on Trump's Border Wall to Push Paul Ryan's 'Tax Reform 2.0'
Gee, it's almost like they want to lose.
But don't worry, assuming any of them are still around, they'll get right on it come the second week of November:
"We still want to get funding for the wall," McConnell told Fox News last week. "But we think the best time to have that discussion is after the election."
The border wall funding the GOP leadership wants to approve after the midterm election is tied to a slew of open borders policies, as Breitbart News's Neil Munro reported, that will inflate immigration levels while only providing a sliver of funds to construct the wall.
Because, when Republican voters say their Number One priority is "immigration", they mean they want more of it. I see Florida now has fast-food emporia where no one will take an order in English. But what's the big deal when the GOP leadership won't take your order no matter what language you're speaking.
As I said back at the dawn of the new Administration, Trump has a base and the Democrats have a base, but it's not clear to me the Congressional GOP has a base. Ryan and McConnell seem inclined to test that thesis. I guess they got tired of winning sooner than Trump might have expected.
~In The Spectator the seventh Marquess of Salisbury reviews a new biography of the former British Foreign Secretary and Nato Secretary-General Lord Carrington. As Viscount Cranborne under a writ of acceleration (don't ask), Salisbury was Leader of the House of Lords in the mid-Nineties. When John Major offered him the gig, he called up Carrington for a spot of advice:
'I'm sorry to bother you, Peter, but you were a famously successful Leader of Their Lordships and I wondered whether you had any tips before I took it on.'
'All you've got to remember is that you are the headmaster of a second-rate public school.'
That's "public school" in the English sense (as in Decline and Fall). Patrician wit is not to everyone's taste, but I like my politicians to have a sense of proportion. After the absurdly pompous and self-regarding senatorial blatherings that attended the obsequies of John McCain, and all the other guff about "the world's greatest deliberative body", I appreciate the leader of an upper house who compares his job to being head of a second-rate boys' school. In the case of Mitch McConnell, even that's overstating it.
~On Friday Maxime Bernier, the former Conservative cabinet minister, launched a new political party, the People's Party of Canada. As M Bernier himself tweeted:
Want to know what I believe in? Watch this 35min interview with the great Mark Steyn.
So here it is. We spoke back when "Mad Max", "the Albertan from Quebec", was standing for the leadership of the Conservative Party in the Tories' interminable two-year election campaign. Come the big night, he won every single elimination round - from ten to nine to eight, etc candidates - until the final showdown, when Andrew Scheer came out of nowhere and emerged victorious. Since then M Bernier has questioned multiculturalism, attracted the ire of Stephen Harper, and finally decided Canada needs a wider choice of political parties. Back when he seemed on course to be the next Leader of Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition, he talked with me about changing his mind on identity politics, what it means to be a conservative francophone in rural Quebec, and Canada-US relations. Click below to watch:
~A briefer video clip, but also not unrelated to identity politics. This is from a decade ago during the British Columbia "human rights" trial, after we'd adjourned for the day. Me on the courthouse steps in Vancouver with a gaggle of reporters:
@MarkSteynOnline on the 'Islam is a race' myth:
"Islam is the fastest-growing faith in the Western world precisely because it's not a race...so if you say 'Islam is a race', you might as well rule that 'a blueberry muffin is a race' because at that point everything's a race." pic.twitter.com/DM1RhYYISz— The Confessions (@TheConfessions8) September 17, 2018
~A week ago, à propos the de-flagged First Man movie, I mentioned that the first (human) music to be played on the moon was a Bart Howard song, arranged by Quincy Jones for Frank Sinatra and Count Basie: "Fly Me to the Moon". Our guide to the more arcane byways of boomer pop, Dan Hollombe in Los Angeles, writes:
The only big hit I know of that makes mention of the impending moon landing that would take place four years later, is Petula Clark's 1965 perennial "Round Every Corner", in the second bridge at the 1:07 mark.
Jon & Robin put out a flop called "There's An American Flag On The Moon Tonight" and not coincidentally Bobby Dimple (actually Bob Crewe working under an alias) released this wacky similarly-titled novelty tune shortly thereafter.
Finally, although it's not exactly about the Apollo 11 crew, I don't think it's a coincidence that Elton John put this out in early 1970.
Dan in Los Angeles
I'm not sure it was ever any kind of bona fide hit (although Thelma Houston made a fine record of it), but the song I always associate with the moon landing is by Jimmy Webb ("MacArthur Park", "Wichita Lineman", etc). "Everybody Gets To Go The Moon" catches the spirit of 1969:
Isn't it a miracle
That we're the generation
That will touch that shiny bauble with our own two hands?
As I say in After America, whatever happened to that?
~We hope our many readers on the Carolina coast survived the worst of Tropical Storm Florence. Over the weekend at SteynOnline we had some Carolina-themed entertainment, including our Saturday movie date Cape Fear and a Song of the Week medley, "Carolina in the Morning" ...and the Charleston. But our big programming event was the launch of the new autumn season of The Mark Steyn Club's monthly audio adventures, Tales for Our Time. We're kicking off Season Two with John Buchan's classic and highly pertinent tale of great-power maneuvering and Islamic insurrection, Greenmantle. Click to hear me read Part One, Part Two and Part Three. If you were too busy fleeing to higher ground this weekend, we hope you'll want to check out one or two of the foregoing as a new week begins.
The inaugural Mark Steyn cruise sets sail from Montreal to Boston in just under a fortnight. If you've ever fancied the Canadian Maritimes and the New England coast at the height of leaf season, then please join me and my guests for some live seaboard versions of The Mark Steyn Show, Tales for Our Time, Song of the Week and other favorite features. Don't leave it too late, as the price is more favorable the earlier you book. Any queries? Please call Cindy on 1-800-707-1634 (or, from beyond North America, +1 770 952-1959) or email us here.
For more information on The Mark Steyn Club, see here - and don't forget our special Gift Membership. Catch you on the telly tonight with Tucker live across America at 8pm Eastern/5pm Pacific - and just before that for Part Four of Greenmantle.