Josh Hawley has received some interesting commentary from the right. For background, Wikipedia tell us Josh:
is an American lawyer and Republican politician, currently serving as the junior United States Senator from Missouri. Hawley previously served as the 42ndAttorney General of Missouri from 2017 to 2019, before defeating two-term Democratic incumbent Claire McCaskill in the 2018 Senate election. He is currently the youngest member of the Senate at age 39.
Michael Brendan Dougherty at NRO is having a bromance with Josh in Josh Hawley versus the Aristocracy. Michael concludes his article with
[Josh] staked out new territory for Republican politicians, based on some of the bleeding-edge conservative thinking on issues of tech and labor policy. For the first time in a long while, I’m excited for what’s coming next.
David Bernstein writing at the Volokh Conspiracy has a very different outlook. David is the University Professor and Executive Director of the Liberty & Law Center at Antonin Scalia Law School, George Mason University. Both writers have impressive conservative credentials but they couldn’t disagree more. David’s title is, “Senator Josh Hawley is becoming a first-class demagogue.” How can two people with such great conservative credentials disagree so completely?
First question: are Michael and David talking about the same thing? The answer is in part. David limits his discussion to Josh’s questioning of The Donald’s federal judge nominee. Michael’s brief is more wide ranging but he approves of Josh’s questions:
Hawley also got some conservatives’ attention by blasting Michael Bogren, a Trump judicial nominee to the U.S. District Court in western Michigan. Hawley hammered him for his legal work defending East Lansing’s ban against a Catholic farmer’s participation in a public farmers’ market because the farmer announced his intention on Facebook to continue renting his orchard for weddings, but not same-sex ceremonies. As part of his legal arguments, Bogren had said there was no distinction between the Catholic family running their orchard in accordance with their faith and the Ku Klux Klan persecuting non-whites. Hawley grilled the nominee, saying that his unflattering comparison failed the test that Justice Anthony Kennedy had outlined in the Masterpiece Cakeshopcase, in which anti-religious animus was deemed to be at work in Colorado’s application of non-discrimination law.
Second question: Who wins the argument from a conservative perspective? David. Don’t forget that Josh is a lawyer and former Missouri Attorney General. David doesn’t address Michael Brendan directly but you can see that Michael Brendan has made an enormous error. Michael, the prospective judge, was working for East Lansing. His job was to advocate for his employer. The legal system doesn’t work if one side throws in the towel. Josh knows that.
Third question: What are the implications? It is clear to us that Josh wants to replicate The Donald in one of the upcoming presidential elections. He will be the progressive Republican who will support some conservative positions.
Sidebar One: What makes a person a conservative? Who gets to decide? MWG, of course! Seriously, labels can be a problem. We see conservatives as being more concerned with process than outcomes. That is why conservatives often disagree more often than the left. The latter even has a name for it, BAMN. Thus, conservatives support the Constitution and rule of law. We see personal and economic freedom as part of that but, unlike libertarians, we don’t see freedom as the only good. End Sidebar One.
Elections are always about choices and those choices depend on the opposition but it is highly unlikely that we would vote for Josh in the Republican presidential primary.
Sidebar Two: Marco versus Josh would be a tough primary call. They are two young and pretty Republicans but not reliable conservatives. End Sidebar Two.
We voted for The Donald in the general and it is highly likely we would vote for Josh in in the general given the folks we see running for the Democrat nomination now.