August 22, 2019

The Exemplary Conservatism of Mueller

“This week, two eminent Republicans did something quite novel in 2019. They committed conservatism. By conservatism, I mean a philosophy of limited, constitutional government, individual rights, trust in tradition, love of country, prudence in foreign policy and restraint at home. Restraint means not doing something that you could. It means conceding the right of your opponents to run the country for a while — for the sake of the common good. It means admitting that sometimes you’re wrong. It means give as well as take. It often means compromise.

First up, Robert Mueller. I think it’s worth reiterating how impeccably he has behaved in what has become an extremely tense constitutional moment. He kept his cool and maintained his silence in an era of massive and deafening oversharing. His bland affect is attuned to the role he plays: as a neutral enforcer of the rule of law. He strikes me, in this sense, as a classic conservative — dedicated to existing institutions and liberal democratic norms. And he felt the need to explain this week, in the wake of the obfuscations and misdirections of William Barr, what his report actually outlined, its reach, and, most importantly, its limits.

Any objective reading of the report would come to the conclusion that the president clearly obstructed justice — several times. In fact, Volume II is proof of the president’s multiple attempts to rig, stymie, pressure, and prematurely end the investigation into Russian interference in our elections — including witness tampering, and alteration of documents. Mueller did not need to go into all this, but he restated why it matters: “When a subject of an investigation obstructs that investigation or lies to investigators, it strikes at the core of their government’s effort to find the truth and hold wrongdoers accountable.””

Read more

JJ Editor's Picks

"The United States and Russia are entering a new arms race, and the costs aren’t just monetary. On August 8, Russian civilians around the remote village of Nyonoksa found themselves downwind of a military nuclear propulsion experiment gone wrong..."

"I don't know about you, but for me "Having more people run for president and effectively doubling the number of primary contests" is not up there with "Michigan beating Notre Dame in the playoffs" and "A new deluxe edition of Barbara Bush's..."

"A growing body of research suggests that, rather than posing a threat to individual wellbeing, adopting a more sustainable lifestyle represents a pathway to a more satisfied life. Numerous studies have found that people who purchase green..."

"What should a parent do when a 2-year-old shrieks inconsolably because her string cheese wrapper tore “the wrong way”? Increasingly, the answer is “snap a photo, add a snarky caption and upload it to Instagram.” Publicly laughing at your..."

"The yield curve’s inverted! The yield curve’s inverted! That was the news I awoke to last Wednesday on CNBC as the 10 year Treasury note yield dipped below the 2 year yield for the first time since 2007. That’s the sign everyone has been waiting..."

"Even a casual observer of the entertainment industry knows that Hollywood is hooked on established intellectual property at the expense of original ideas and awash in more money than it knows how to sensibly spend. But three stories about the..."

"One of the formative texts of the Safed myth, which first portrayed the town as a unique place and which was responsible for spreading word of it all around the Jewish world, is the four letters that Rabbi Solomon Shlumil of Dreznitz sent, in..."

"There are lots of reasons to patent something. The most obvious one is that you’ve come up with a brilliant invention, and you want to protect your idea so that nobody can steal it from you. But that’s just the tip of the patent strategy iceberg..."