What In Conservatism Should Be Conserved?

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This painting is one of my favorites. It’s in the U.S. Capitol, and was painted in 1872 by William Henry Powell. When my boss was the GOP Senate Whip it was right outside his office on the stairwell between the gallery and the floor.

It’s of Commodore Perry, who has a monument at Put-In-Bay, who built ships from scrap and beat the shit out of the British on the Great Lakes. Below the painting is the quote: “We have met the enemy, and they are ours.”

In Ohio, especially those of us on the lake, we fly “DON’T GIVE UP THE SHIP” flags. That’s because this was the battle flag of the USS Niagara, led by Perry.

In the battle of Lake Erie, Perry abandoned the Lawrence for the Niagara, and finished the fight.

A year or so ago, a favorite high school teacher of mine (a liberal and a Bulwark reader) came by for dinner and gifted me one of these flags for my desk. I think of it every day.

My thought was that he gave it to me because he wanted to encourage me, since knowing me as a young Republican, to fight for my party and what is right for our country. Even if it means that sometimes you do have to abandon the flagship, as Perry did.

It’s like putting country over party. Sometimes you have to abandon the flagship to win the battle. And like Walt Kelly’s interpretation in Pogo of Perry’s quote, which George W. Bush adopted jokingly as I noted a few days back, sometimes when we meet the enemy, he is us.

Leading The Bulwark

What In Conservatism Should Be Conserved?

Martin Skold and J. Furman Daniel offer “thoughts on the future of American conservatism and the Republican party, broken into a series of questions that run through a range of options: What can’t we change? What shouldn’t we change? What could we change? What should we change? And finally: What must we change?”

On the Pods…

Here’s what we have for you on the podcasts going into the weekend:

Politico’s Tim Alberta joins the BTD panel to talk about changing suburbs, the Middle East breakthrough, Electoral College woes, and perp walking ex-presidents.

Listen Here

On today's Bulwark Podcast, Jonathan V. Last joins Charlie Sykes to discuss Joe Biden's CNN town hall, how Team Trump sets the Biden bar too low, and what you need to know about Bulwark+.

Listen Here

Sonny talks to Feeding the Dragon author Chris Fenton. For seventeen years, Fenton served as president of DMG Entertainment Motion Picture Group and GM of DMG North America, internationally orchestrating the creative and business activities of DMG—a multi-billion dollar global media company headquartered in Beijing. He is currently CEO of Media Capital Technologies and a Trustee of the US-Asia Institute.

Listen Here

From the Bulwark Aggregator

Also in The Bulwark

Don’t Let Iran Get Away with Murder

Shay Khatiri writes: “The IOC and FIFA should ban Iranian teams from international athletic tournaments for the regime’s killing of athlete Navid Afkari.”

Why Sweden Should Join NATO

John Gustavsson: “Sweden has avoided joining the alliance for decades, but the partnership may be too fruitful for either side to pass up.”

Dress for Success, Even in Distress

Matthew Stokes: “COVID is changing everything about us, including how we dress. What does that mean for our state of being?”

Editorial comment: Ever since I left the suit culture of Congress I have worn one of two types of CostCo pants and Shaker Heights Country Club polo shirts since 2012 pretty much every day and I don’t regret it one bit. But Stokes makes a lot of good points, especially this one:

…like other important virtues—thrift, temperance, patience, diligence—we should try, because to be thoughtful in one’s dress, or in one’s housework or yard work, inevitably entails other virtues.

A brief pitch for Bulwark+

If you missed yesterday’s launch, yes, this looks a little different. Why is that the case? Well, we’ve created a membership program to expand our content and you can sign up right here.

In case that didn’t come through clearly, here is a button:

Sign up for Bulwark+

But if you missed the other newsletters, here is our official line on why we’re changing things up a bit.

My newsletter is going to be one of the free ones. I’ll be making the pitch for our B+ (An average my parents wished I had after fifth grade) from time to time, but TheBulwark.com is going to remain free. Same with Charlie Sykes’s and Mona’s podcasts.

We’ve gotten tremendous feedback since we launched Bulwark+, and we’re so happy that a few thousand of you have have opted to join us so quickly.

If you have any questions, concerns, etc., drop me a line: swift@thebulwark.com.

🚨 Overtime 🚨

Can somebody tell Herman Cain’s staffers to log off? I know they’re not that obtuse, but that they choose to be is maddening.

The Claremonsters are at it again. This time, publishing Newt Gingrich accusing (checks notes) FOX NEWS of silencing his George Soros conspiracy theories.

Joe Buck goes to Canton. A lot of people hate Joe Buck. I respect the hell out of Joe Buck and am glad he gets to join his dad in the hall, just down the road from where our Westie, Gus, grew up, in Canton, Ohio. Congrats.

The man who made the Constitution relevant again. Yesterday was Constitution Day, and I was remiss in not promoting this AEI video about the late, great Walter Berns.

Who is Frank Pavone’s Bishop? As an ardent pro-life Catholic, it’s clear to me that rogue clergy who go “Bishop shopping” like Frank Pavone should be defrocked. The Amarillo Diocese is distancing themselves from his recent (deleted) comments. Who is his bishop? I will pray for him, but I will also pray for whoever his bishop is, so that they muster the courage to defrock this man from the clergy. Catholics deserve better.

In Defense of Proceduralism… Andy Smarick has a smart item in National Review that you should read. Nerd that I am, I suggested it in a meeting with a county official visiting my local HOA about a very obscure forestry issue.

“All the Dems had to do is not be insane.” A primer in anti-anti-Trumpism. Really? Come on.

This kid is going to be a star. I wish I had these skills at his age.

Editor’s Note: Substack is telling me that my email is too long at this point and GMail will clip it. They’re probably right. First two people who respond who have read this far get an extra month of Bulwark+. Email me at swift@thebulwark.com with the subject line “HEY JIM I READ THIS FAR.”

Is LeBron an Illuminati Wizard? That’s what Canadian Evangelist Sheila Zelinsky seems to think.

I regret to inform you… Mark Levin has lost it.

Here’s what you need to know about registering to vote online… A thread.

MORE ON BULWARK+: Ben Parker was the first employee of The Bulwark. He was also an intern of mine, twice, at The Weekly Standard. I remember when he and Sarah Longwell and Bill Kristol launched this site, we talked about how we could make it a thing. This was many months before I, or anyone who once worked at TWS realized this would be our USS Niagara. Here’s a thread of our OG Bulwarker (#AHOY) on the launch of Bulwark+. Thanks for your support.

Is this really how the president should be spending his time?

Graphic design is my passion…


That’s it for today. And I am 100% serious about an extra month subscription for the first two people to tell me they’ve read this far. Just email me at: swift@thebulwark.com with the subject line: “HEY JIM I READ THIS FAR. NO, REALLY.”

And while I have you, you can share this newsletter with your friends here:

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