And if Ryan has any policy goals, would he be more likely to achieve them as speaker or as chairman of Ways and Means? If he stays there, he has a hope of crafting a bill that, if the Republicans win the White House, has a chance of reforming the tax code. However, if he's speaker, he'll spend a year fighting no-win battles over tactics with the conservative wing of the party and then have to go wounded into a no-win battle with the President. He wouldn't achieve much. And, if a Republican wins the White House, he'll be relegated to having to support that president's agenda and his fate will be tied to that person rather than being his own man because that is what the speaker does when the same party controls the White House. It would be all downside and no one owes his party that sort of sacrifice. Friends and family of Paul Ryan should be urging him to stick to his young guns and stay out of leadership. For someone who reportedly worries about dying young as his father does, being speaker at this time is no way to live a lower-stress, healthy lifestyle.
As Parker points out, the House conservatives have now gotten rid of their top fundraisers. Of course, they were the top fundraisers exactly because they are the party leaders.
Methinks those who protest way too much will miss the generosity of those they stabbed in the back. Ryan, meanwhile, would do well to let history guide him. No good deed goes unpunished with this crowd. Soon enough, the Freedom Caucus gang will make life miserable for the next speaker, and then what?
Whoever takes the job had best have no further aspirations. This isn’t to diminish the office, which is a noble position and no meager endgame. But few think Ryan has no higher aspirations. Thus, the question isn’t should he run for speaker but why should he?
James Arkin weighs some of the concerns facing Paul Ryan.
Still, at age 45 he has a long career remaining, and has said that he doesn’t intend to spend the entirety of his adult life in the House, where he’s already served for nearly 17 years. A post as Treasury secretary in a Republican administration or a future White House run are seen as possible scenarios for him.Probably one of the clearest signs that Ryan is a smart guy is how he's been resisting the pleas that he give in and run for speaker.
But the speakership could be a roadblock to those ambitions. Ryan would have to contend with a fractured party conference that even those urging him to run admit he might not be able to fix. Members of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, eager for Republicans to aggressively push their agenda even if it means triggering government shutdowns or a default on the nation’s debt, wield a tremendous amount of power. They repeatedly bucked Boehner and forced him to work with Democrats to get through must-pass legislation, which only frustrated them further. It’s not clear that even Ryan would be able to change that.
Salena Zito reminds us that we have seen ugly fights over speakers before. I love it when someone provides some historical perspective.
Between 1840 and the beginning of the Civil War, our nation and its political parties were so divided, so raucous, so driven by populist passions, that the House — the chamber in Washington that most reflects the temperament of the people — changed speakers every year.
Could you imagine the social-media exchange back then?
Nathaniel Banks won the House speakership in 1855, but only after fighting off 20 rivals, 133 ballots and two months of bickering.
Wouldn't you just love to see the hashtag for that?
In 1922, after Republicans lost nearly 100 seats to Democrats in that year's midterm elections, Frederick Gillett's speakership was on the brink; the two dozen Western progressives who survived the midterm slaughter were upset over the shortsightedness of Old Guard Republicans toward their hardline brand of conservatism.
They revolted and, despite their minority status, held up Gillett's speakership unless demands were met for greater distribution of House power to their cause.
An intraparty impasse began; leadership underestimated the rebels' stubbornness; eight ballots were cast, some compromise demands were met, and Gillett eventually was re-elected as speaker.
The House always has operated in chaos.
And David Harsanyi reminds us that the House is supposed to be chaotic.
Does anyone believe the Democrats’ lockstep with the executive branch (other than in rare instances of political expediency) is healthier for the country? Is that sort of deference to partisanship and power what the Founders envisioned for Congress? Or is “chaos” preferable to political subservience?
No, Republicans are not united. But there are those who argue—with little evidence—that Democrats are more ready to compromise, and this sort of stubborn GOP infighting proves this thesis. So it’s worth mentioning that unity does not necessarily tell us anything about a group’s is inclination towards bipartisanship. Though it might tell us that there’s more ideological harmony or discipline among Democrats these days.
Whether this fight will be politically detrimental for quarreling Republicans is yet to be seen. (I’ve long argued that Boehner hasn’t gotten the credit he deserves.) Maybe it’ll be an electoral disaster. But real chaos, it surely isn’t.
One of things that makes D.C. stable is the broad Right-Left consensus that is reached prior to an election. That’s not about to change. Another way the House helps to stop banana-republicanism is by acting as a counterforce to the activism of other branches of government—or, what partisans like to call ‘obstruction’ when they’re in power. That, too, is not going anywhere.
The most important way the House creates stability is acting as bulwark against activism from other branches of government....
Sooner or later, though, after someone else takes over, that new leadership will strive to maintain intraparty stability and demand disciple. That’s its job. And a bunch of newcomers will show up and want to change things, as they always do. In 1994, there was a Republican revolution in the House. By 1998, there was another House rebellion, this one overthrowing Newt Gingrich. That tension will never go away. It’s not a good thing for professional partisans, but hardly a tragedy for the rest of us. Or, at least, it’s a lot healthier for a republic than watching unprincipled politicians uncritically take orders from their leadership.
The House most directly represents the American voter, yet the political class sees pandemonium when the representatives of those voters no longer want to be managed and “governed,” but also have a voice. As news and rumors broke about majority leader dropping out, millions of people around the country were undoubtedly saying, “Who the hell is Kevin McCarthy?” They weren’t lamenting the end of the republic. And McCarthy’s lose doesn’t indicate that Republicans are on the verge of ceasing to function as a national political party. Though, you’re free to dream.
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This is what happens when a presidential administration doesn't prioritize the lives of American citizens. With all that negotiating for a year with Iran, we couldn't have made his release a condition of talking? Nope, because Obama wouldn't let anything stand in the way of his dream of a deal.
An Iranian court has handed down a verdict in the espionage trial of jailed Washington Post journalist Jason Rezaian, the semiofficial Iranian Students' News Agency reported on Sunday, quoting the judiciary spokesman.
The verdict and the sentence are not yet known.
Rezaian's family said the lack of information "follows an unconscionable pattern by Iranian authorities of silence, obfuscation, delay and a total lack of adherence to international law, as well as Iranian law."
ISNA quoted the judiciary spokesman, Gholam-Hossein Mohseni Ejei, as saying that "this person has been sentenced, but I don't know the details of the verdict."
Mohseni Ejei said the ruling may be appealed by Rezaian or his lawyer in the next 20 days.
Rezaian, The Washington Post's bureau chief in Tehran, was detained in Iran in July 2014 and has languished in jail for over a year despite an international outcry.
Uncertainty continued to reign on Sunday. The statement from his family called it "another sad chapter in his 14-month illegal imprisonment and opaque trial process."
And Doug Jehl, the foreign editor of the Post, said on CNN's "Reliable Sources" that the mysterious announcement shows that "what we're seeing unfolding here is sham."
"For Iran to say that there's been a verdict but it's not final simply suggests, again, that this is not a matter for the courts, it's a matter that's being decided in the political spheres in Iran," he said.
John Kirby, a spokesman for the U.S. State Department, said the U.S. government has no firm information on the apparent ruling.
And, as Noah Rothman points out, Iran has already starting violating the deal thus spitting in the eyes of all those who convinced themselves that Iran was a trustworthy partner.
Throughout the debate over the Iran nuclear deal, critics of the agreement did more than point out its weaknesses. They also argued that given Iran’s long record of violating existing agreements, it was almost certain that Tehran would ignore many, if not most of its restrictions at the first opportunity. This claim was pooh-poohed by President Obama and his supporters who asserted that the safeguards in the pact would prevent cheating. More importantly, the mindset behind the decision to essentially grant international approval to Iran’s nuclear program was based on the notion that the Islamist regime could be trusted and would, given enough encouragement, ultimately change to become a partner for the West. The jaw-dropping naïveté that was the foundation of administration policy is part of what led to what polls showed to be most of the American people and large majorities in both the House and the Senate to oppose the deal (though not enough, thanks to partisan Democrats, to stop it). But critics didn’t have to wait long for their predictions to start coming true. As the New York Times reported today, Iran announced a long-range missile test in violation of the restrictions on their missile program that was promised by the administration.
One of the many shortcomings of the nuclear deal was its failure to address Iran’s building of intercontinental ballistic missiles, a weapons system that illustrated that their nuclear program was a threat to the United States as much as it was to Israel. But the deal did leave in place the restrictions on missile testing. Indeed, the United Nations Security Council resolution that lifted most of the sanctions on Iran (prior to Obama sneaking the deal through Congress) left in place previous the measures previously passed that made missile tests illegal. Thus, the announcement by Iran’s state news agency that the test of their Emad guided missile is an obvious violation of the deal.
Yet what is most significant about this event is that it allows us to see exactly how the nuclear deal will function in the future.
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Jonah Goldberg notes something obvious, but little remarked. No one believes Hillary Clinton when she says things. She came out against the TPP despite her repeated support of it as "the gold standard."
As Vox’s Timothy Lee notes, Clinton is either making up reasons to oppose TPP now, or she was utterly ineffectual then — i.e., when she could have made a difference inside the administration.
I think this is a false choice; both things are probably true.
In fact, finding evidence that Clinton operates this way is like looking for evidence that fire is hot. In 2008, when it was in her interest, Clinton was against federal “blanket rules” on guns; now she’s making extra-constitutional gun-grabbing the centerpiece of her campaign (at least this week, while a recent mass murder is still fresh in our memories).
She long opposed same-sex marriage on principle, until the times required a new position. She initially thought the undercover videos of Planned Parenthood were “disturbing.” But within 48 hours, she was a stalwart defender of Planned Parenthood. As more — and more disturbing — videos emerged, she grew more adamant that the outrage wasn’t the fetal organ harvesting, but the videos exposing them.
And so on: the driver’s licenses for undocumented immigrants, the Iraq War, NAFTA, taking credit for regime change in Libya, her ever-shifting stories about her e-mail server. Hillary Clinton is like a lava lamp. Don’t like what you’re seeing at the moment? Wait a minute. Just don’t expect anything to last.
But all of this misses what I find so fascinating. With most of these examples, it’s almost impossible to find someone who takes what Clinton says or does at face value. If you’re not on her payroll, or auditioning to get on it one day, or just painfully naive, you simply start from the assumption that Clinton is unencumbered by any principles that might prove inconvenient to her political ambitions.
No wonder she’s running scared from a socialist.
Hillary Clinton certainly has a hard time coming across as appealing. Windsor Mann captures her difficulties being natural,
The other day, Bill Clinton blamed the press for his wife’s recent political troubles. But most of the fault is her own — for talking to the press.
She’s not good at it.
For two Sundays in a row last month, instead of going to church, Hillary Clinton appeared on Sunday-morning talk shows. Her first appearance, on CBS’s Face the Nation, was weird even by her standards. What made it weird was that she laughed, and laughed repeatedly, on occasions that should not have elicited laughter from a person not high on marijuana.
Asked to define herself in three words, Clinton provided 61. “Just three?” she asked, roaring with fake laughter. “I can’t possibly do that!” This must have been one of those hard choices that her last book was about.
The question shouldn’t have stumped her. Clinton has defined herself in three words before. In 1992, for instance, she said, “I am me.” And that’s her problem.
When running for office, Clinton tries to convince people that she is one of them. In 2008, explaining a “misstatement” she made about encountering sniper fire in Bosnia, she said, “I made a mistake. That happens. It proves I’m human, which, you know, for some people is a revelation.”
She never misses an opportunity to play the “I’m human” card.
“I mean, look, I am a real person,” she chuckled maladroitly on Face the Nation, helpfully adding, “Real people actually go shopping, you know?”
Yes we do.
Josh Voorhees writes at Slate that the word about Marco Rubio's supposed surge in the polls is much overrated.
The thing is: The race hasn’t gone that well for Rubio. Personally, I’m largely on board with this Rubio-will-win-by-default line of thinking. But it’s worth noting given the current hype cycle that, to date, he has yet to translate the buzz into anything tangible. Put simply, there just isn’t a whole lot of concrete evidence to suggest that Marco’s current “momentum” is much more than the product of the wishful thinking of a nervous Republican Party and the predictions of a bored political press corp.
Consider: Late Thursday night, Rubio’s campaign announced that it had raised $6 million during the previous three months—that’s half the amount he brought in during his first three months in the race, back when he was everyone’s second choice and almost no one’s first. His summer haul, meanwhile, looks all the more disappointing when compared with those of his rivals, who are not being treated with anywhere near the same political reverence: Ted Cruz brought in $12 million and Ben Carson raised $20 million during that same period. (So far, the only other Republican to release third-quarter figures is Rand Paul, who reported raising a paltry $2.5 million. Besting a man who is in danger of losing his spot on the main debate stage, though, is hardly something to celebrate.)
Rubio’s team has been careful to keep expectations low all year, but even they felt the need to put a brave face on their lackluster fundraising report, assuring supporters that their man is currently on pace to have his best single fundraising month so far in October. Never mind that, conveniently, that’s the type of hype that can’t be double-checked until the campaign files its next fundraising report in early 2016.
The cash race isn’t the only one that Rubio is underperforming in relative to his current buzz. For a man who is “surging” in the polls, his survey numbers tell a much less exciting story. Yes, he’s inched up a few points here and there following his strong performance on the CNN stage—a bump that can be explained, at least in part, by the glowing reviews he received in the press—but, at best, Rubio’s simply keeping his head above water at the moment.
Taylor Millard has a nice look at how Democrats like to talk about their support for democracy abroad, but not so much when they're talking about our Constitutional system of checks and balances. Both Obama and now Clinton like actions that a president can do getting around an inconvenient Congress.
This is something the left loves to do: promote democracy and getting people involved, then rule via mandate and diktat instead of listening to whoever elected them into office or to other branches of government. It’s something Matt Yglesias actually praised at Vox, when writing how executive action is the best way to promote leftist ideals....
“Procedural niceties”? That’s what following the Constitution means to the alleged thinkers on the left. They aren’t interested in playing by the rules, they’re interested in whoever is in the White House acting like an elected king or, worse, a dictator. The House and Senate are not just advisers on laws, they’re supposed to be the ones who draft them, then the president decides whether to enact them or not. Congress does have the power to override a president’s veto, but it’s not something which happens that often. But this isn’t just limited to Vox and their trove of writers. Harvard University Professor (and ex-Obama staffer) Cass Sunstein told the University of Chicago Legal Forum last year how a strong executive is a good thing
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Kevin Williamson gives an excellent primer on income inequality. Read the whole thing, but here's an excerpt.
So, Super Software Pimp pushes those Manhattan rental prices and taxes off on his employer, which pushes them off on little vendors that really can’t afford to lose the Company X contract, who push them off onto other customers, and so on and so forth, in an enormously complex web of nickel-and-diming, until some kid working at a Sonic in Muleshoe can’t get a 25-cent raise because Bill de Blasio and Andrew Cuomo are taking a big cut of some nerd’s paycheck. As Milton Friedman once put it, “Corporations aren’t taxpayers; corporations are tax-collectors.”
You know who doesn’t have a lot of market power? Poor people. People who make the minimum wage. Small businesses. Which is to say, all the people politicians always say they’re trying to help with regulations or a higher minimum wage or taxes on rich bastards and corporations — who don’t pay ’em. Poor people bear these costs in obvious ways, such as higher prices or lower wages, but also in non-obvious ways, such as improvements in their standard of living that would have happened under different conditions but just never materialize. Low-income people have low incomes because people don’t value their labor very much and so aren’t willing to pay very much for it. Forcing employers to pay more isn’t going to make them value that labor more highly. You could set the minimum wage at $400 an hour, and you probably wouldn’t improve the real standard of living of low-earning people at all, at least not for very long. The amount of real goods and services available is the same — sloshing money around does not magically call Honda Civics or neurosurgeons into existence — and people will still desire what they desire. Cost-shifting may take a little time to work, but the best bet is that it ends up setting the board back to more or less where things started, because little green pieces of paper aren’t what people value — they value what they can trade them for.
The economic literature isn’t actually very good on this question, from what I’ve seen, which is understandable, because the world of human material endeavor is very large and complex. There have been some snapshots taken: For example, policymakers are keenly interested in the question of whether and to what extent hospitals and other health-care providers who get screwed by Medicare (which “reimburses” hospitals less than the cost of actual care, meaning it doesn’t actually reimburse hospitals) push those costs onto other consumers, especially private insurance companies, which then (you won’t be surprised by this point) pass them on to their customers. The answer seems to be yes (though some progressives, who love love love love Medicare, dispute this) but there are pretty seriously conflicting views about how and how much. And of course the hospitals aren’t just passing Medicare screwage on to insurance companies; presumably, they’re passing it on to the janitors and orderlies and gauze-bandage makers and everybody else they can. This probably isn’t even a conscious thing in many cases: It’s not that Joe Hospital gets up one day and says, “Medicare is shorting me 9 percent of what it costs to treat these oldsters, so I’ll pass 1 percent along to the doctors, 3 percent to those insurance rat-finks, 0.55 percent to the bandage guys . . . ”
But every business executive knows who from whom when it comes to getting screwed. Executives know that they can pass $10,000 in forgone raises on to 30 technicians a lot more easily than they can to one neurosurgeon.
Say you want to improve the life of a guy who doesn’t make very much money. You can shuffle around little green pieces of paper and make yourself feel virtuous and maybe win yourself some votes, if you’re into that sort of thing. Or you could teach him to do something that people actually value more, if the sort of thing you’re into is actually helping people out. Or you could invest in equipment and machinery (or get the hell out of the way and let somebody who knows what he’s doing make the investments, Mr. President) that would allow him to be more productive, if you’re into the whole capitalism thing. Or you could whine about capitalism and “inequality” (I held out as long as I could!) and the general unfairness of it all, if being twelve years old is your sort of thing. Some of those strategies will get better real results than others, depending on what your thing is.
Noah Finley argues in the Detroit News that millennials should be giving the Republicans a serious look.
The values of the under-30 generation and the economic reality they face as they reach adulthood should make them receptive to core conservative principles. And the GOP’s message of a smaller, less intrusive government that allows them the freedom to create should resonate with them.However, Finley might be right that the Republicans will have a hard time winning over millennial voters because of environmental and social issues. My observation of my students over the past 14 years of teaching high schoolers is that environmental and social issues are the most important to young people. I can't see an economic and freedom message winning over young voters as long as they are put off by Republicans on the environment and social issues.
Individuality is a fiercely held tenet of millennials, according to the demographers who’ve already studied them to death. They want to make their own decisions. And half of them identify as political independents. Republicans should be marketing their stance on personal freedoms.
Government encroachment has a larger comparative impact on this generation. The sharing economy in which so many of them work cannot flourish in an environment of oppressive regulation and aggressive taxation.
The fledgling economic system involves such concepts as collaborative consumption, cooperative purchasing, crowdfunding, social media and trading goods and services, among a lot other things.
Its success requires a wide-open climate of loose rules that allow for quick adaptation and the space to twist and turn.
It’s also about stringing together multiple gigs to come up with a livable income. These kids don’t expect to join big companies with traditional paychecks and benefits and stay there for decades. They’re conditioned by necessity to hustling. That makes them more entrepreneurial, which again should give the GOP an edge.
The problem is they don’t recognize the GOP is the party that will defend their right to drive Uber cars or keep the IRS off their backs as they barter and swap. They see it as the party obsessed with abortion and gay rights and unwilling to play nice with others.
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Jon Ralston went to hear Trump speak in Las Vegas and he was really impressed with Trump's ability to "to capture exactly what the crowd wanted to hear, to tap into their desires and fears, their hopes and especially their anger." However, Ralston thinks that all the crowd cared about is that Trump is "DIFFERENT." But if you really pay attention to what he says in his speeches, it is clear that he should not be anyone's mature choice for president.
If, after reading these unexpurgated excerpts of a speech dominated by juvenile insults (at the media, at his opponents) and crass braggadocio, if you think Trump has any business in the race, I feel sorry for you. And trust me, this is the tip of the tip of the iceberg from that 60-minute Stream of Unconsciousness:
Solipsism: “The level of honesty in the media, they’re so dishonest. You know, I’ll do a crowd and I’ll have like a crowd like this and like the cameras, they never pan the room. They never, ever pan the room. Yeah. They never pan the room.”
This is a candidate for the president of the United States complaining in a repetitive, obnoxious fashion that TV cameras don’t show his crowds.
On House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy getting out of the speaker’s race: “I want to just start by saying, you know Kevin McCarthy is out. You know that, right? And they’re giving me a lot of credit for that.”
Oh? They are? Who are they? Melania and Ivanka?
On health care: “We’re going to come up with a health care program that’s going to be unbelievable. Your premiums will not be rising 55 percent like they are doing now. We’re going to terminate Obamacare. We’re going to come up with a plan that is so good and works and everybody is going to be taken care of, but we’re going to come up with a plan that works.”
Just trust him. He knows nothing about health care, but it’ll be a plan and it will work, a plan that works.
....The Trumplodytes: “This is a movement. This is a movement what is going on. This is a movement. This is a movement to take our country back.”
Trump just comes up with faux populist effusions, skillfully, like the best/worst demagogues, showing you can fool enough of the people enough of the time to get a lead in a presidential primary.
Yes, Donald Trump is a joke. But the joke is on us.
Jack Kelly comes up with his ideal Cabinet for a Republican president. Sounds pretty good to me.
David Byler refutes the idea that illegal immigrants would swing an election to the Democrats.
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Ah, when will people learn that nothing done in public is private. Guy Benson and the Daily Beast's Betsy Woodruff have posts up about what Clinton ally and sycophant Lanny Davis and his companions spouting off about what they really think about Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden. Their conversation provides some insight into what the Clintonistas are thinking about the state of the race. They're angry about the bias in the media and supposedly sexist coverage she's received. They think Sanders is "sanctimonious" and a "flip-flopper." I guess hanging with the Clintons for almost a quarter century helps Davis to recognize a flip-flopper when he sees one. And this is what they're telling each other about Joe Biden.
pecial frustration was reserved for the Vice President, whom this individual believes will "absolutely" jump into the race. "Memories are short" regarding Joe Biden, he said, admonishing his travel buddies to remember that Biden has long been seen as a "buffoon." The Vice President enjoys near-universal name recognition, Clinton's pal continued, yet he trails both Clinton and Sanders in public polling -- an indication of Biden's weakness, he said. When another colleague pushed back, noting that Biden isn't an announced candidate yet, the long-time Clintonista dismissed her point: Hypothetical candidates are often more popular than actual candidates, he cautioned. Why isn't Biden at least beating Sanders? "He's in third place!" Despite his occasional bravado, the politico did express concerns that Biden could siphon votes off from Hillary, boosting Sanders' chances -- but ultimately expressed confidence that Hillary remains in a strong position: She's still "20 points ahead," despite her polls hitting what he characterized as "the bottom of the bottom." Biden's numbers will fall as soon as he enters the race, the chatty strategist opined, complaining that the pro-Biden "media isn't talking about that."
John Hinderaker ridicules the NYT's article about the 158 families who have provided about one-half of the money going into the presidential campaign so far. And they note that most of that money is going to Republicans. Well, that is where the most heated contest is so it's going to be where the money is going to go. He links to Ann Althouse who makes the point I was thinking of.
Now, first of all, we're talking about spending money on speech, that's what Citizens United "legalized." I'm putting "legalized," in quotes, because what the Supreme Court did in Citizens United was to perceive the existence of a constitutional right, a right to spend money on speech. These are not contributions to the presidential campaigns, but companies [in Citizens United and families and their companies in the NYT study] spending their own money to get their opinions out into the marketplace of ideas, just as The New York Times corporation spends its money to get its ideas out, including its idea that there's something spurious about corporations engaging in political speech.Hinderaker adds in,
The rich people who own the New York Times, and the reporters and editors who work for them, are very clear about their own First Amendment right to devote corporate assets to weighing in on the issues of the day, but they are eager to deprive everyone else of the same right, especially those who don’t agree with their far-left perspective....
I have only one further observation: the Times thinks it is scandalous that 158 families have, so far, contributed close to one half of the money expended on behalf of presidential candidates (assuming that is, in fact, the case). But that money is nowhere near as important or as effective as the news coverage that voters absorb day after day. What percentage of the total newspaper circulation belongs to the top 158 newspapers, a group that includes the Times? I can’t readily find the numbers, but it must be well over half. And of those 158 newspapers with the largest circulation, how many are pro-Democrat? More than 150, no doubt.
What the New York Times really objects to is diversity. The only way to get free speech nowadays–diverse free speech, anyway–is to pay for it. Thank God there are a handful of people with the means and the will to do so.