A Podcast of Christmas Music; a Podcast on U.S. Politics

In front of Grand Central Terminal, New York City, December 2021 (Jay Nordlinger)

A couple of links for you — starting with this one, to my latest Music for a While, which is a Christmas episode. This year, as usual, I have a variety of music associated with the season: from the Baroque era on up to, oh, Oscar Peterson jamming on “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town.” Besides Oscar, performers include Marilyn Horne, E. Power Biggs, and the Blind Boys of Alabama.

It occurred to me the other day: Doesn’t “E. Power Biggs” sound like the name of a gang leader, rather than an organist?

Here is another link: which is to my latest Q&A, whose guest is Josh Kraushaar. Josh is one of the best political journalists in all of America — one of the best reporters and analysts. He writes the “Against the Grain” column for National Journal. Incidentally, his name is pronounced “KRAUSE-hahr” (i.e., “curly hair”).

Josh was bitten by the political bug early. When he came home from summer camp in 1992 — age ten — he was glued to the political conventions: the one that nominated Governor Bill Clinton and the one that renominated President Bush. On Election Night that year, Josh taped CNN’s coverage on a VHS machine.

By the way, I listened to the Republican convention of 1976 — Ford vs. Reagan — on the radio. (I was twelve, and therefore a late bloomer, by Kraushaarian standards.)

For his tenth birthday, Josh’s parents got him a copy of The Almanac of American Politics, a.k.a. the bible (of American politics, that is). His first job in Washington turned out to be researcher for a later edition of the almanac, the bible.

In our Q&A, Josh Kraushaar and I talk over many things: Biden — is he all there? Harris — does she have what it takes? Trump — are he and the GOP at one? The leaders on the Hill: Pelosi, McCarthy, Schumer, and McConnell — what are their strengths and weaknesses? And so forth.

We also talk about the media, which, of course, play such an important role in our politics. Changes in our media have changed our politics, as Josh points out. No one agrees on basic facts (forgetting opinions). Everyone is in his own silo — going to his favorite Facebook pages, listening to his favorite talk-radio hosts, or what have you. This has made a huge difference (and not a positive one).

Josh Mandel, the frontrunner for the GOP Senate nomination in Ohio, recently tweeted, “General Flynn is a patriot, Adam Kinzinger is a traitor.” Does this style attract voters? Plenty of them, yes.

At the end of our podcast, I ask Josh Kraushaar to name some politicians he finds interesting and worth watching. He says he likes politicians who go against the grain (as in the name of his National Journal column). Who demonstrate independence of mind. On the Democratic side, he mentions Jared Polis, the governor of Colorado, and Eric Adams, the incoming mayor of New York. (Incidentally, isn’t “Polis” an extraordinary name for a politician?) On the Republican side, he mentions Congressman Mike Gallagher of Wisconsin, Senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska, and Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas.

Man, does Kraushaar know a lot about politics. He’s an encyclopedia, as you will hear. And he makes sense out of the information he garners. Again, to hear our pod, go here. And to hear the Christmas show: here.

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