Hello and happy Saturday. In the past few years, the Ohio bureau has undergone some big renovations. We finished our basement and put in a media room about four years ago, and once we’d recovered from that upheaval and investment, I realized I’d had enough of our horrible kitchen floors. In true If You Give a Mouse a Cookie fashion, we ended up with a whole first-floor remodel two years ago.
Such projects are time-consuming and inconvenient, but in the end you sit back and say, “Wow, pretty cool.” And you can’t wait to show it all off to your extended family, friends, neighbors, the Amazon delivery guy … (Kidding on the last one.)
We’ve been working on our own remodel at The Dispatch for the last few months, and on Wednesday we were able to do the big reveal. We hope you like our new look. Now, no big project like this goes perfectly—right after the contractor leaves, you’re going to find a cabinet that looks a little crooked or an outlet that doesn’t work. We hope you haven’t had any issues, but if you have, please read our FAQ here to see if that answers your questions.
We wanted a website that matched the quality of our work, one that is more visually pleasing and offers you a better experience. As we said before the changes, this is an iterative process and we will be tweaking and improving as we go.
One area that deserves a special note is our comments. When Steve and Jonah first hauled around their presentation for “NewCo” to prospective investors three years ago, “community” was one of the three pillars on which they proposed to build the company (newsletter and podcasts were the other two.) Substack offered a rather basic comment section that was a far cry from the architecture we wanted to build a real online community, but it was simple and functional as we looked at possible improvements. What we have now on this new site is best thought of as a stand-in for the stand-in—a bridge to something better. We have something special in The Dispatch community and we are committed to creating an online space where it can grow and flourish. Thank you for bearing with us.
With all of that, I’m going to keep this short this week: We’ve been burning the midnight oil getting ready for the relaunch, the kids need my services as an unpaid Uber driver, and the laundry piles are becoming an obstacle course. We had plenty of great articles and newsletters this week, so I’ll let you get to it.
Thanks for reading, and have a good weekend.
Sometimes, you gotta see something to believe it. So it’s a good thing that Andrew was in Georgia this week to witness what happened at a Herschel Walker campaign event. The man who manages the property where the event took place offered a prayer that included the following plea, “May Herschel be a man raised up in Georgia for such a time as this, a time when babies are allowed to be slaughtered in the womb for reasons of convenience.” Um, well. Awkward. Walker has, of course, spent the last two weeks denying credible claims by the mother of one of his (until recently secret) children that he encouraged her to have an abortion in 2009 and paid for it. While the scandal hasn’t really hurt Walker with his base, he’s trailing in the polls and so needs to win over voters in the middle. Can he count on support from other Republicans running in Georgia? Andrew posed the question to Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, and he declined to answer, focusing instead on the larger election. “What we’re doing in our ground game—that hasn’t been done in this state from a Republican in 10 years—is gonna support the whole ticket,” he told Andrew. “But I got to win my race too. And I know if I do a good job and win my race, and we turn our people out, it’s gonna be good for everybody on the ticket.”
Pennsylvania Democratic Senate nominee John Fetterman cruised to victory in his primary in May despite the fact he was in the hospital recovering from a stroke he’d suffered only days before. But lingering health concerns have become an issue ahead of the November election, and it all came to a head this week when NBC News’ Dasha Burns interviewed Fetterman. The interview was pre-recorded, and before it aired, Burns said, “In some of the small talk prior to the interview before the closed captioning was up and running, it did seem that he had a hard time understanding our conversations.” In her report, Audrey talked to a Republican operative who said, “We were just dumbstruck at how he was just fumbling for words.” But some reporters criticized Burns for her comments, and his supporters are not dissuaded. “I think his determination surpasses his physical limitations,” one voter told Audrey.
I read the G-File for years long before I had the privilege of editing it. (Though “editing” might be a bit of an overstatement. If Jonah wants to spend 300 words talking about potted meat before jumping into his analysis of a Donald Trump interview, I feel like he has his reasons.) And the ones not pegged to a particular news cycle were always my favorite. If you’re like me, you’ll appreciate hearing one of his favorite stories about the Brits in World War II, his ruminations on the QWERTY keyboard, “path dependence” and market failures, and his affection and respect for tradition. “I think one of the reasons our culture is so unsettled these days is that too many people think that offering some superficially plausible explanation for why this or that tradition, custom, or phrase needs to go is enough cause to tear it down,” he writes.
We can only hope the war in Ukraine is over long before it could be a major issue in the 2024 U.S. presidential election. But recent comments by a couple of politicians got Nick thinking: “Assuming we avoid a Trump coronation, will there be any loud-and-proud Ukraine boosters in the next Republican presidential field?” Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo might be one. But who else? Trump’s isolationist populism was contagious among his supporters, as evidenced by Tucker Carlson and various members of Congress expressing vocal opposition to U.S. assistance for Ukraine. Nick thinks a lot depends on how Ukraine fares in the war, and he retains a sense of optimism, kind of. “A campaign in which Joe Biden gets to play leader of the free world by championing Ukrainian self-defense while Donald Trump offers to gift Ukraine’s version of the Sudetenland to Putin if he’ll kindly not nuke us would be … uncomfortable for the right. Isolationists, especially the anti-anti-Putin strain, are willing and sometimes eager to appease authoritarians, but you’d sure better not call them appeasers.”
And here’s the best of the rest.
* Dispatch members: Tune in to hear Sarah and Alec discuss all things microbes, from sealife to, um, feces, on the latest Dispatch Book Club podcast. If you haven’t already read the book that launched the discussion, I Contain Multitudes: The Microbes Within Us and a Grander View of Life, their conversation will inspire a trip to the bookstore. And if you’ve already read that, maybe pick up the latest selection, Humankind: A Hopeful History, so you can join in the members-only discussion here.
*Adam White notes that Biden has created a legal mess for himself with his student loan relief. The president is selling it as a measure to help lower-income and middle-class families. But his administration’s legal justification is the pandemic national emergency, and that is unlikely to be a winning argument if it makes it to the Supreme Court.
* Is Joe Biden’s pardon of anyone convicted on federal marijuana possession charges a big deal? What would it mean to “reschedule” the drug under the Controlled Substance Act? Would Congress return the issue to the states, many of which have legalized pot at least for medicinal use? Price has all the answers.Regardless of how dotty it might have been for Biden to raise the specter of nuclear Armageddon at a political fundraiser, Kevin would like to remind everyone that, no matter how unlikely a nuclear strike on the U.S. might be, we’ve not done nearly enough to prepare.
* Russia’s mounting failures in Ukraine might seem like good news for the West—and it’s certainly preferable to the alternative for the Ukrainian people—but it creates a different headache, Arthur Herman argues. It has left Russia as a vassal state of China, and that’s not good for anyone.
* In The Current, Klon has two cheers for the Biden administration’s announcement that it is “aggressively limiting China’s access to American technologies that are critical for semiconductor development, artificial intelligence (AI), and advanced computing.”
* No, I didn’t forget the pods: Come to The Dispatch Podcast for the discussion of ideological diversity (or the lack thereof) on college campuses, stay for an important manatee update. The Supreme Court will hear a case this coming week on pig farming regulations, and so Sarah and David welcome two guests from The Humane Society to Advisory Opinions to talk all things pig. Kevin joins Jonah on The Remnant for a wide ranging conversation on keyboards, markets and democracy, and a heaping helping of rank punditry. And on Good Faith, David and Curtis talk about our societal anxiety crisis and, not coincidentally, Curtis’ new book, The Anxiety Opportunity.