Elaina Pott and Danny Hakim of The New York Times explore the rise of Josh Hawley, the first senator to announce he would oppose the 2020 election certification. Here is a taste:
Mr. Hawley sharpened his thinking in conversations with his adviser, Dr. Kennedy. Americans, Mr. Hawley argued, were suffering a crisis of “loneliness,” prisoners of a culture of individualism unmoored from any shared sense of purpose. Hastening this plight, in his view, was the American right’s devotion to the free market.
Dr. Kennedy was somewhat surprised to learn years later that his advisee was evangelical; for him, Mr. Hawley’s ideological instincts had called to mind “Rerum Novarum,” the encyclical issued by Pope Leo XIII in 1891 condemning unfettered capitalism and endorsing measures like trade unionism as means of reinforcing the dignity of the working class.
“I do think there was something reflexively present in Josh from early on that was aligned with that kind of thinking,” Dr. Kennedy said.
After graduating Phi Beta Kappa in 2002 and spending a year as a teaching intern at an all-boys school in London, Mr. Hawley went on to Yale Law School. He seemed torn between politics or a life in the ivory tower he would ultimately spend so much time castigating. Both Dr. Kennedy and a Yale classmate remember him on the “knife’s edge,” as the former put it, of pursuing a doctorate in history.
In other words, his first imperative was not — did not appear to be — power.
“My impression of Josh back then was he was kind of what we need in our democracy,” recalled Ian Bassin, a Yale classmate turned harsh critic. “I always found him to be curious to hear why I came to conclusions I did, and vice versa. And I always felt what brought him to his conclusions were very honest, very genuine, very principled views.”
Several classmates, however, observed a change in Mr. Hawley toward the end of his time at Yale. On a campus where success is often measured in Supreme Court clerkships, ambition is a given. But it was nonetheless striking when Mr. Hawley suddenly seemed more interested in winning prestigious posts than in doing the work once he won them.
Read the entire piece here.
“Dr. Kennedy” is Pulitzer Prize-winning historian David Kennedy, author of Freedom from Fear: The American People in Depression and War.
Let him begin by treating the Patriotism…as part of his religion. Then let him, under the influence of partisan spirit, come to regard it as the most important. Then quietly and gradually nurse him on to the state at which the religion becomes merely a part of the “cause,” in which Christianity is valued chiefly because of the excellent arguments it can produce…Once [he’s] made the world and end, and faith a means, you have almost won your man, and it makes very little difference what kind of worldly end he is pursuing.