Everyone knows Tolstoy’s famous opening of Anna Karenna: “Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.”
This certainly applies to the Power Line family right now.
Now, I am an old-fashioned WASP that doesn’t like to talk about family matters in public, but having precipitated this crisis, I think I owe some answers to readers who have been writing directly to me and commenting on our site.
I am gratified at the hundreds of people who have written directly to me (or posted on other sites, since this has become a wider spectacle—we’ve even heard from one U.S. Senator) asking me to please stay on. I’ve tried to answer as many as I can personally, but I can’t keep up with my email in-box. One thing I can tell you as a member of the profession of solitary writers is that you can never tell how much readers form a bond, even if you write a best-seller. So this has been very touching. Thank you to one and all.
I want to address first the many of you who have written to me to ask if there is anything wrong in my personal life, because my blast at Paul seems so out of character with my “happy warrior” persona. I appreciate the sincere concern (some from well-attuned clergy, among others), and I can assure you that things are going great for me—and my family—right now. My wife is totally killing it in her current endeavor (which I might feature on a podcast soon), and while I don’t talk much about my missionary work as an “inmate” at Berkeley for a bunch of prudential reasons, I so wish you could all join me in the small seminar I’m team-teaching this semester with Judge Janice Rogers Brown on natural law jurisprudence. We’re only four weeks in, and it is absolutely thrilling. I drive home from class twice a week elated. Now that we are back in person (though masked), students hang around after class to talk more. Very rare at a big place like Berkeley. Intense class prep is one reason I don’t have time for more Power Line posts. My large lecture class last semester on the presidency was equally fantastic. Things can hardly be going better.
I did have significant cancer surgery back in September (which, because it was on a Friday, meant I had to post Week in Pictures two days early), and came through with flying colors. I’ve started running again now that I’ve recovered from that. It is another Baby Boomer lie that “60 is the new 50,” but I can hardly be happier than right now.
The reason I said last weekend that “this may be my last post on Power Line” is precisely that it came out of nowhere, and moreover was completely outrageous and unacceptable in the abstract. Perceptive readers will guess that this has been building for a while and didn’t happen all at once, but I’ll say no more about that. But it is doubtful you can stay on in a small organization after making a blast like that at a colleague. Even if I think Paul deserved it (and I richly do), to come with no warning is at the edge of propriety, if not beyond. My line that I’d sock in him in f—— face if he posted another stupid, ignorant, wrongheaded post about Steve Hanke (who has more ability in his little finger to analyze the COVID scene than Paul will have in 100 years) was meant to channel William F. Buckley’s famous blast at Gore Vidal in 1968, but I think it misfired for anyone not deeply steeped in conservative folklore.
So: I’ll post Week in Pictures on Saturday, because I think the earth might spin off its axis if I don’t. And this afternoon I taped a new episode of the Three Whisky Happy Hour for Saturday with special guest Richard Samuelson that I think was one of our best ever. Reveal: for people who think “Lucretia” interrupts or beats up on me too much, it’s partly schtick folks! But today’s episode was very orderly, and also hilarious because Richard was on his game, big time. Look for it Saturday.
Two more things. I think Paul’s posts on civil rights and related issues (where he has serious expertise) are rock solid. I enjoy his baseball posts, and wish he’d write more about the current MLB season when it is under way. I don’t care much about soccer, but would love to hear him review Ted Lasso. He’s fluent in French: I wish he’d cover the important French elections in April in person.
But I’ll also be blunt. Paul has no clue how much he gratuitously pisses off so many of our readers with his repetitive posts on Trump. He costs us readers, with the Trump posts and also his inscrutably equivocal posts on COVID. (And there are other issues I won’t air here.) More: Paul has no clue how much he pisses off his fellow Power Line writers. Sorry to say this publicly, but it is necessary.
There. There’s our dirty laundry, for everyone now to see. I’m sorry to do this, especially to John and Scott, the founders of the site who certainly don’t deserve this drama. They’d be entirely within their rights to kick both me and Paul off the site, and I’d owe them no ill will at all if they decide to. Paul is a drag on the site, and I crossed a line. In the meantime, not sure whether I’ll continue posting articles here or not, because I share Scott’s struggle with anger management issues when it comes some of Paul’s posts. But I’ll keep up with TWiP and the podcast, which has a growing audience.
Note to Paul: Please don’t comment on this post, and add “WITH COMMENT FROM PAUL” in the headline. You’ll just fuck it up worse than it already is. In fact I think it better if you don’t comment at all, anywhere. Don’t email me either. I won’t open it.