Author, Radio Talk-Show Host, Professor
Friday, April 14, 2006 11:00 AM
Radio talk-show host and author Hugh Hewitt was online Friday, April 14, at 11 a.m. ET to discuss his book, "Painting the Map Red: The Fight to Create a Permanent Republican Majority" . Hewitt outlines concrete steps to solidifying Republican political clout and suggests ways to come up with a presidential candidate to succeed George W. Bush in the White House. The 2006 midterm elections, Hewitt says "an overconfident and complacent Republican Party could be facing electoral disaster," and lays out his strategy to avoid ceding power to Democrats.
Hewitt is a New York Times bestselling author and law professor at Chapman University Law School. His books include "Blog: Understanding the Information Reformation That's Changing Your World" and "If It's Not Close, They Can't Cheat." He is also the host of a nationally syndicated radio show and a weekly columnist for The Daily Standard.
The transcript follows.
La Mesa, Calif.: Mr. Hewitt,
I believe the Republican problem you discuss can be traced back to 1994 when the House gained power due to the phenomenal efforts of Newt Gingrich and the conservative talk shows. But it was the Senate that didn't come along as exemplified by Senator Dole's disdain for the House efforts.
It is my belief that those closest to power do not feel the need to enact what the party and voters believe in because they are getting certain benefits from simply being involved in the play of politics: income, authority and power, visibility and recognition. I have developed a maxim on this idea at my blog.
Does your book deal with this attitude among the members of Congress? If you agree with my point, what can be done about it?
Jan Michael Shawkey. http://www.thrustandparry.com/
Hugh Hewitt: Some electeds grow very comfortable very fast. But most don't. They do, however, tend to become isolated within a Beltway sound stage that can and does distort and obscure. Thus the tone-deaf nature of the Senate's debate on immigration last week.
There is also the problem of the Senate's anti-majoritarian rules. A great deal of frustration among the GOP base comes from the apparent inability of the Senate's 54 Republicans --Lincoln Chafee simply doesn't count-- to accomplish much in the face of disciplined Democratic obstruction. This is why I argue for a 60-Senate vote strategy in the book.
Atlanta, Ga.: What happened to the Republican Party and when did it become a religious organization? Why would we want establish a radical, liberal party like the Republicans as a permanent power?
Hugh Hewitt: I welcome such comments from the left. The vast majority of Americans understand such overheated rhetoric and don't credit the the party from which it comes with the necessary maturity to govern.
Part of the book deals with the slide of many Democratic activists into anti-religious extremism, which is a large obstacle to the oft-repeated advice by Democratic strategists to their party to seek to reconnect with "values voters."
An Orange County Liberal: You've been wrong on so many things. You've supported the Bush administration on the war with NO criticism of anything. You said Tom Delay would be speaker for 20 years more. Are you ready to admit that maybe the Bush administration has fallen off its horse?
Hugh Hewitt: I did indeed predict that Tom DeLay would be exonerated in the Texas proceedings, and I still believe he will be. I was wrong in predicting his return to House leadership. Like batting champions and everyone but the '72 Dolphins, political analysts can't be right all the time. His decision to resign was, however, good news for the party, and I'll take good news over accuracy in predictions every time. DeLay's willingness to take one for the party is a model I hope others will follow.
As to being wrong on "so many things," they don't include predicting the winners in 2000, 2002, 0r 2004. The Bush Administration hasn't fallen off its horse, and will almost certainly stay the course in Iraq and Bush will be recognized, as was Reagan, as a great president.
Of course I have disagreed with the Administration on various matters, but am as pleased generally with it as I was with the Reagan Administration.
East Hanover, N.J.: Hi Hugh:
You'd be one of my three dinner guests if I could so choose. (Condi and Mark Steyn being the other two) Rudy Giuliani and John McCain are both hawks on national security, while leaning liberal on many social issues. How do you see the McCain/Giuliani dual playing out if both choose to seek the Republican nomination in 2008. Would Rudy not be far more palatable to social conservatives, given McCain's penchant to side with MSM and against conservatives on taxes, border security and free speech issues?
Hugh Hewitt: I think Mayor G. is a much stronger candidate in the primaries in 2008 than Senator McCain. At this point I don't think he is running, though, which makes the race a three way contest between Senators Frist and Allen and Governor Romney. Though Senator McCain is a great, great American, he will not fare well in GOP primaries for a number of reasons.
Seal Beach, Calif.: Hugh, First off, great job on the campaign on getting Republicans to get back to acting like Republicans. My question, when you met with the Republican House leaders, did they realize the trouble they are in once you spoke with them or were they dismissive? What was their response? Thanks.
Hugh Hewitt: "House leaders" suggest formal leadership, and only one of my Congressional hosts was in such a position. Still, everyone of them agreed that, as of now, the GOP is in bad shape heading into the elections. That is the good news, by the way. The GOP seems to be waking up to its political peril.
Detroit, Mich.: Isn't it a bit wishful thinking to think Republicans have a chance to widen their majority in Congress when we have a President who has poll ratings at some of the lowest seen in decades? If the Republicans want to widen their majority they need to become a party of pragmatists, not ideologues. People like Senator Chuck Hagel and columnist David Brooks seem to be now in the minority of conservative voices. The Republican party is no longer that of Bob Dole or Gerald Ford.
Hugh Hewitt: As with 2002, the conventional wisdom suggests that the GOP cannot increase its Senate majority.
And certainly if the Senate continues to drift without design or achievement, a significant loss could be in the offing. As noted in one of this paper's blogs this morning, there are vulnerable GOP seats in PA, Ohio, Montana, and perhaps even Missouri.
But there are possible pick-ups for the GOP in NJ, W.VA, MD, MI, NE, ND, WA and even FLA. Seven months is a long time, and the one thing the GOP has going for it is a dynamic economy and a president willing to campaign for the majority he needs to wage the war.
Barcelona, Spain: Why is the Republican organization in NY state so embarrassingly weak that they cannot put forward a strong senatorial candidate to compete with Mrs. Clinton who has soooo many vulnerabilities, in my humble opinion? At least, force her to use up some of that war chest funding that she's been accumulating. If there is no serious challenge to her, she will collect more money, then watch her pepper it all over the US to build a base of bought support for '08. (or is it that the national Republicans want her to run against in '08?) Sincerely.
Hugh Hewitt: Look, who wants to spend seven months getting slaughtered by the New York press, and not getting your calls returned by potential donors? Senator Clinton is going to walk in and she's going to be the nominee of the Dems in '08, and as I discuss in the book, she will be formidable in her own right, and amazingly so when you add in the return to the trail of the greatest natural campaigner the Democrats have seen in a generation in former President Clinton.
"Can She Be Stopped" is a new book by John Podhoretz which I recommend you read as soon as you are finished with mine.
Cleveland, Ohio: Who has a better chance of winning in 2006, the Republicans or the Cleveland Indians?
Hugh Hewitt: I am not even sure why we are playing the 2006 season given the Tribe's overwhelming talent. Perhaps it is just for the joy of embarrassing the Yankees and Red Sox.
Greenwich, Conn.: Do you see any possibility that the GOP will successfully address immigration policy this year? How? I am very concerned with the huge disconnect between virtually everyone in Washington and the overwhelming majority of the public on this issue.
Hugh Hewitt: There is a window of about a month for the Judiciary Committee to put forward a border security bill that embraces the fence and other necessary security measures, along with some Kyl-Cornyn guest worker measures. If the Democrats want to obstruct such a bill, they can successfully do so, and I suspect they will.
After this window, though, the Judiciary Committee has to get to the federal circuit court nominees that are stacking up, beginning with Brett Kavanaugh. Leaving these nominees dangling is the greatest danger to the enthusiasm of the GOP base which watches that process very very closely. Getting back to the nominees means dropping immigration reform unless it happens quickly in my view.
Annapolis, Md.: I am, or maybe was, a Republican but I also am not interested in a theocracy. You don't have to be "anti-religious" to not be interested in a secular government.
Hugh Hewitt: Look, the "theocracy" stuff is just nonsense. It sells books and raises money for lefties. There isn't one serious political figure in America who believes in theocracy.
Baltimore, Md.: Terrorism is on the minds of every person worldwide. Who do you suggest succeed President Bush? And what will that person do for the Middle East, specifically the Israel-Palestinian crisis?
Hugh Hewitt: I don't have a preference in the GOP nomination race though I am impressed with various aspects of the candidacies of Senators Frist, Allen and Governor Romney. Each of these men will be pledged to the defense of Israel and the policy of victory in the war. No matter what the Democratic nominee says (and I think it will be Senator Clinton, see above) the Democratic Party is committed to retreat which means defeat in the GWOT. It will be another critically important vote, but so too will be 2006, and the GOP is best advised to postpone presidential politics until the November elections are concluded.
Washington, D.C.: Mr. Hewitt--
It sometimes seems like you tend to support Republicans, whether or not they're conservative, such as Arlen Specter over Pat Toomey (although you're also backing Laffey over Chaffee). Will having a sixty seat majority really help if the right must rely on Specters and Snowes? Or will it simply mean moving leftward slowly rather than rapidly?
Hugh Hewitt: Senators Specter and Snoew are fine Republicans with whom I have some policy disagreements. Both voted for SCOTUS nominees Roberts and Alito, for example. Senator Chafee voted against both, against the war resolution on Iraq, and did not vote for the re-election of the president. Even a big tent --in which I believe-- needs an edge and Senator Chafee is outside of it. Rhode Island GOP voters should nominate Steve Laffey.
A majority party needs many points of view and representatives. "A majority is better than the best repartee" said Disraeli, and he was right.
Minneapolis, Minn.: Hugh: You have been a voice of optimism concerning Republican electoral success for a long time, as you suggest in some of your earlier answers. I don't recall your exploring on your radio show the dire sort of warnings you convey in your new book prior to the publication of the book. Have you been holding back, or did I miss something? Thanks for your efforts and your consideration.
Hugh Hewitt: The turn in my thinking began with the end-of-year roundtable with Mark Steyn, Michael Barone, and Fred Barnes. I detail this in the book. The GOP should be much stronger and more confident than it is, and much more aggressive in defending the war and the president's conduct of it. It is the timid nature of the GOP leadership that has dimmed its prospects, and that can be turned around.
I also note the canary in the mine: Judicial nominations. The refusal of the Senate Judiciary Committee to move circuit nominees to the floor and get them votes is the biggest indicator of malaise within the majority, and the clearest invitation to GOP voters to stay home.
Seattle, Wash.: How do you think the effects of the new media--aka blogs will play out with the more established media--aka MSM in the future?? And how will it benefit or hurt conservatives??
Hugh Hewitt: The lefty blogs are like lead pipes, poisoning the information they serve up to the Democrats. Just this morning Kos was touting the Democratic candidate running against J.D. Hayworth in Arizona's 5th. I hope that the KosKids run off and contribute a bunch of their limited resources to a doomed candidate, just as they did in California's 50th.
On the other hand, sine the center-right blogs are both better written, better argued, and funnier --and avoid the vulgarity and profanity that dominate so many of the lefty blogs-- they are copper pipes and are significant assists to the GOP in every cycle. There's an extended chapter on this in the book, which picks up on some arguments SoxBlog.com began.
I also think that Townhall.com will become a huge force in '06 and '08.
Chicago, Ill.: Hi Hugh,
Love your radio show and your books.
Have you ever interviewed (on your show) George Friedman, CEO and founder of STRATFOR and author of "America's Secret War: Inside the Hidden Worldwide Struggle Between America and its Enemies"?
He has, I think, some VERY insightful thoughts on our involvements in the Middle East.
Hugh Hewitt: No, but I will put that on Duane's to-do list.
Westminster, Colo.: Hugh, I interact with a lot of liberals and folks who are otherwise reasonable but are surrounded by liberals. One thing I hear from them a lot is that they buy into the idea that Republicans want to break down the church and state barrier. I tell them it is ridiculous, but even I get upset when prominent Republicans advocate such nonsense as Intelligent Design and no government funding for stem cell research. I see prominent Republicans voicing more support for such stances and it makes it difficult for even me to support them when they do so... comments?
Hugh Hewitt: As noted above, "breaking down the church state barrier" is hysterical overstatement. Many people have strong positions informed by their faith, including liberals. When a liberal Evangelical tells me that he or she wants greater environmental protections because their faith tells them that stewardship of creation is a duty of Christians, I don't see that as theocracy-in-waiting. For as long as there has been a Republic there have been voters who inform their votes by their faith convictions.
San Diego, Calif.: What is the one most important thing for Republicans to do to insure 60 seats in the Senate for the next Congress?
Hugh Hewitt: Support victory in the war. Explain again and again that a vote for the Democratic candidate is in fact a vote for withdrawal from Iraq and a "wait-and-see" foreign policy which is a replay of the '90s, but this time the consequences will be even worse than 9/11, horrific as those were.
And don't ask them to take you at your word. Show them the statements of Howard Dean, Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, John Kerry, Ted Kennedy, Dick Durin etc, and of course introduce them to the lefty blogs. Let them see the next generation of Executive Branch appointees when and if the Dems return to power.
Arlington, Va.: Your show can be very deep. It's the opposite of blowhard talk radio. Do you think liberals ever listen to get edu-ma-cated?
Hugh Hewitt: Yes they do. They are welcomed on air, and I try very hard to attract lefties as guests.
Chantilly, Va.: Prof. Hewitt: I have often seen your name employed by right-leaning trolls on Yahoo message boards and now I see why. You are a funny, funny man.
Do you regale your students at Chapman with such wit and wisdom?
Hugh Hewitt: No. I try to impress upon them that the study of law is supposed to be without any joy whatsoever. This is what distinguishes Justice Scalia --his refusal to ever recognize the effectiveness of a laugh line.
Brooklyn, N.Y.: How about Pat Toomey for director of OMB now that Josh Bolten has moved to Bush Chief of Staff?
Hugh Hewitt: Great idea,but Mr. T. is doing a superb job at Club for Growth.
Nashville, Tenn.: Hugh--
I noticed on your Web site you have something up regarding "Vets For Freedom"--I didn't get a chance to listen to the show yesterday, but wanted to try and find out more? I am an Iraqi war veteran and I think it's shameful the way this war is being politicized. Considering we (the fighting men and women of this country) are the ones spilling our blood, I think it's time both parties start to listen to our voice. Thanks.
Hugh Hewitt: Please, please, please listen to the MP3 at Radioblogger.com, or today's show online or live as I am rebroadcasting that hour to begin today's show. VetsforFreedom.org is a long-overdue voice for the veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan battles, staffed by heroes, and it deserves the support of every American who has said "I support the troops." I am hopeful that every member of the House and Senate will dip into their campaign funds to help get the group up and fully funded, and I think the Washington Post did a great thing in extending Wade Zirkle, the ExDir of the group, the opportunity to write yesterday's op-ed which brought VetsforFreedom.org to my attention.
San Francisco, Calif.: Hugh, I enjoy the show but I think you let Republicans in the Congress off the hook. You are a Republican, but not a conservative. The Republicans in Congress sowed the seeds of their demise when they and a Republican President infringed on the First Amendment rights of the American people with campaign finance "reform." It is appropriate that they face electoral attacks from 529 organizations--the loophole that developed from their infringement of political rights. I also believe it is correct that only one Court of Appeals judge has been approved by the Senate in the past 10 months but you still profess support for Arlen Specter and members of the Gang of 14 (Mike DeWine). Many of us also remember when you supported Lincoln Chafee. There is one way to remove Arlen Specter from the chair of the Senate Judiciary committee and that is to put a Democrat in that seat. And there is one way to eliminate the Senate judicial filibuster. That would be to install a Democratic Senate with a Democratic President. Save the House but vote out the Gang of 14.
Hugh Hewitt: Right. Save the judges by putting Senator Leahy back in charge of Judiciary. Makes a lot of sense.
Senator Specter voted for Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Alito, as well as every single Bush nominee who has made it to the floor.
Things are slow, but not beyond repair. I point you to the Disraeli quote above.
BTW: I am both Republican and a conservative, but true, I am a party man. The book is an extended argument on why party matters and why those denouncing parties are denouncing conservatism generally.
Boston, Mass.: I don't understand the Republican party's position vis a vi Scientific Research. They seem proud of the near doubling of the NIH budget in recent years (though it was freezed this year) for medical research, yet many tout intelligent design and cast scorn on evolution in public. All of the basic research funded by the NIH, I repeat ALL of it is based on Darwinian evolution as the foundation of modern biology to the clip of about half of the total budget or 15 billion dollars a year. All cancer, and AIDS research is based on the principles of evolution. Can you square your party's position on this subject.
PS: I am a physician
Hugh Hewitt: Hi Doc: The ID folks aren't pushing the end to evolutionary theory, or anti-science agendas. They are pushing for what they term "teaching the controversy," which means to be sure that students are not told that evolutionary theory the existence of God. Most of the debate seems to me to be easily resolved if and when the left would agree with that simple statement.
Boulder, Colo.: Hugh, are you ever going to start podcasting your show?
Hugh Hewitt: Soon. Very soon. Keep an eye on Townhall.com, which the left will soon be denouncing as the Deathstar of American politics.
Atlanta, Ga.: A long last majority conservative coalition is highly unlikely. Remember what occurred with social security and tax simplification? Also, I don't know how much saying Democrats are for withdrawal in Iraq hurts. 50 percent of the American public said they are more likely to support a candidate who favors withdrawing the troops over the course of the next year.
Hugh Hewitt: It is not only possible but necessary. We can argue over entitlements and taxes for along time, but only the GOP is serious about national security. In that seriousness is their majority.
Bethesda, Md.: It was recently found that 85 percent of our soldiers in Iraq still think they are there "retaliating for Saddam's role in 9/11". Since many of those soldiers have been GOP voters, what is the damage-control plan for when they find out that they were put in harm's way based on carefully orchestrated lies? Should the party just blame the lies on the "Liberal Media" (tm)? It's worked before, hasn't it?
Hugh Hewitt: That's the Zogby poll, and it is the worst sort of ideology dressed up as polling. You can believe the troops are ill-informed. I don't. I find it much easier to believe that Zogby used the secret sauce to give the left the talking points it wanted.
Long Island, N.Y.: Why the reticence on behalf of MSM to say who they voted for in past presidential elections (i.e. Ed Henry/CNN)?
Hugh Hewitt: Ah, the million dollar question.
Dana Milbank voted for Chuck Hagel, and he's the only one who will willingly answer the question.
The refusal reflects the understanding, widely held among MSMers, that the public doesn't trust them to begin with and they'd better not give them any other evidence with which to support that disposition.
They don't realize that candor on such matters is the only way back to credibility.
Who do you think Mary Mapes voted for?
Chicago, Ill.: It's funny - throughout this chat you've stated that right-leaning blogs and articles are better written and more thoughtful. Yet you haven't yet made any substantive argument on anything. Is the GOP becoming a theocracy? Your answer is to dismiss the idea as hysterics. Are we successfully prosecuting the war on terror? Your response is to attack Democratic Congressional leaders as weak. Etc. Must be nice to live in a world of absolute, unquestioning righteousness.
Do you actually have any proactive, substantive thoughts on anything?
Hugh Hewitt: Get the book.
Bethesda, Md.: Why did you turn Colorado's question into a theocracy question? They merely said that Republicans pushing obviously religious arguments such as intelligent design and stem cell research could (at least from what I can tell) backfire.
Hugh Hewitt: Again, some voters take positions informed by their religious beliefs. Many Catholics, for example, oppose abortion because of the clear teaching of their Church. This does not make them theocrats or the party to which they belong in favor of a theocracy.
Louisville, Ky.: Hugh,
After seeing the results of the last four years of Republican governance, why on earth would anyone want a permanent Republican majority?
Hugh Hewitt: Because they want to stay alive and see the Republic endure?
Westport, Conn.: What could be more undemocratic than a totalitarian government which is what a one party system would be? No party is that virtuous, wise, or honest enough to be trusted with such power. Sorry Charlie!
Hugh Hewitt: Nice mention of totalitarianism, which of course Constitutional majoritarians reject. The globe's real totalitarians, North Korea, Cuba, Syria and of course Iran come to mind, fear the GOP as the majority party for the reason that the GOP is committed to the spread of democracy abroad.
Tysons Corner, Va.: Hugh, I discovered your blog just before the elections of 2004. You were a God-send. You turned out to be right on everything about the Kerry-Bush debates, if the end result reflects public perception of those overheated, over-hyped events.
These days, I'm disturbed by your repeated dissing of John McCain. As a Reagan/W. Conservative myself, I've been burned by McCain many times. He has a lot to make up for. But he also is admirable in many ways that you choose, inexplicably, not to highlight on your blog: His support for the War on Terror being his primary asset. Surely you agree with him on this, and would support him were he to be the nominee against Hillary Clinton. And if so, when will you stop bashing the guy and get on board? The longer you wait, the more foolish you'll look when you have no choice but McCain, whether you agree with him down the line or not.
Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good.
Also, when is WAVA or WABS, our local Salem affiliates, going to syndicate your radio show? It's a disgrace that I can't hear it on my local dial. If I could, I'd tune in every day.
Hugh Hewitt: I don't believe I have ever "dissed" Senator McCain. He is an American hero, and as I always say when discussing his potential candidacy, a great American, a lousy senator and a terrible Republican.
I say lousy senator because McCain-Feingold restricts free speech and birthed the 527s. McCain-Kennedy is a disaster as well.
Lousy Republican because of the Gang of 14 and other incidents.
But as an American hero, he has few equals.
Greenwich, Conn.: You suggested earlier that the Democrats could successfully filibuster any sensible immigration bill. I agree. What, then, ought the Republicans do to solve the crisis in the face of a filibuster? Surely, it cannot be simply to complain about obstructionism?
Hugh Hewitt: Elect more Republicans.
Ogden, Utah: I like the way you automatically assume anyone who worries about a theocratic government emerging in this country is left wing -- you are aware, of course, that many religious conservatives are also concerned about this -- are they closet democrats who just don't know it?
Hugh Hewitt: I don't know of a single serious, high-profile Christian who has warned about the approach of theocracy. send me a link if you find one. Hugh@hughhewitt.com
New York, N.Y.: Mr. Hewitt,
Do you think the general confusion in the media about the difference between a leak and declassified information is laziness in reporting or simple indifference? Regardless of which, are blogs the only competitive pressure that may force that to change?
Hugh Hewitt: MSM indifference to any fact that would tend to support the Administration (especially the holding in In Re Sealed Case, 2002 from the FISC Court of Appeals) is a fact of life. We have to get used to it, and stay attuned to the blogs and new media for genuine reporting.
Scott in Tucson, Ariz.: What is the deal with Bill Frist? What does he stand for and why has he been so ineffective as a majority leader? His support of presidential initiatives has been weak, he can't keep the McCains and DeWines of the party in line. And he wants to be president?
Hugh Hewitt: He's a good man and a serious candidate for president, but the position of Majority Leader in a 60 vote senate is extremely difficult. I expect he'll return from recess committed to the rapid votes on the judicial nominees that will mark his determination to force the showdowns the base wants.
Evergreen, Colo.: Do you think Iran was the end game for Bush?
Hugh Hewitt: I think this president, like President Reagan, understands that there are first issues and everything else. The threat posed by Iran is such an issue, especially when the theology of some among the Iranian ruling class is understood. I believe that the president and his senior staff understand this and will deal with it responsibly.
Alexandria, Va.: "They are pushing for what they term "teaching the controversy," which means to be sure that students are not told that evolutionary theory the existence of God. Most of the debate seems to me to be easily resolved if and when the left would agree with that simple statement."
If that 'simple statement' made any sense it might be possible to agree with it. Did you mean 'evolutionary theory does not disprove the existence of God'? It seems to me that it is the Religious Right that has the most trouble reconciling science with faith.
Hugh Hewitt: Again, does the "religious right" include the anti-abortion Catholic Church, which has repeatedly stated it has no problem with evolutionary theory? Broad terms of invective don't allow for a careful response.
Atlanta, Ga.: Total Republican control of government has been a disaster (Republican corruption, lack of investigatory oversight, multiple scandals, bad legislation, rewarding the wealthy while ignoring the middle class, etc.) Why would perpetuating Republican control be good for the country?
Hugh Hewitt: Of course there isn't total control because of the obstructionist Democrats in the Senate.
Columbus, Ohio: Obviously Ohio has been particularly important the last 2 elections. How do you see Ohio playing out in the 2006 elections concerning DeWine and what can he do to keep his seat Republican?
Hugh Hewitt: My home state is the central battleground in '06 and will be in '08 as well. Which is why every Republican has to help Senator DeWine and Ken Blackwell win there in November.
Seal Beach, Calif.: Hugh, First off, great job on the campaign on getting Republicans back to acting like Republicans. My question, when you met with the Republican House leaders, were they receptive to the dangers they face or dismissive? What was their response? Thanks
Hugh Hewitt: They get it. I expect we will see this after the recess.
Helena, Mont.: I consider myself a moderate and I'd like to hear your (conservative) response to the revelations by O'Neill, the British staffers and others that Bush was unconcerned with the facts and was going to war with Iraq from the get go.
Hugh Hewitt: I think it is a classic bit of Monday morning QBing that cherry-picks the record to distort what happened.
Salt Lake City, Utah: Do you think Condi will run? What's your best guess?
Hugh Hewitt: No, though I hope the nominee will ask her to consider the Veep slot.
Denver, Colo.: Hugh:
Other than calling the members of the RNSC and Members of the House, how can we get Republicans to wake up on Immigration?? Even my 8 year old daughter says to secure the borders..
BTW thanks for a great book....
Hugh Hewitt: They have heard, I think, as indicated by the Senate's refusal to cave on the fence issue.
LBJ vs GWB: In paraphrasing LBJ, he said after he signed the Civil Rights legislation in '68 that he had knowingly ceded the south to the Republicans for at least a generation. With that analogy in mind, what things have the CURRENT GOP and GWB done to keep a Republican majority for a generation AND what things have they done to undermine their current majority for a generation?
Hugh Hewitt: Their majority depends upon a continued insistence on victory in the war and tradition on the courts. In the past 15 months when those messages have been front and center, the GOP has prospered. Hopefully they will remain front and center between now and November.
And hopefully we can get Howard Dean and Nancy Pelosi a 24/7 cable channel.
Philadelphia, Pa.: In my observation, the coalition holding the Republican Party works as the parties do not disagree: the fiscal conservatives and the social conservatives may not necessarily feel each other's issues are their priority, but as long as they do not conflict, the coalition works. Yet, are there some fiscal conservatives beginning to leave the party on the social issues, as we saw in Pennsylvania when Republican counties went for Rendell, Gore, and Kerry, and are there social conservatives who are upset that their middle class values are being threatened by the fiscal conservatives on tax policies they are hurting them? How would you keep the coalition together?
Hugh Hewitt: There are three parties within the GOP --national security/economic growth/social conservatives. Each needs to be represented, and their leadership listened to. I think that is happening, though it must be much more visible in the months ahead.
Ithaca, N.Y.: Are you embarrassed for remarking on the radio that your studio in New York City is the front line on the war on terror? Are you embarrassed for insinuating that you are partaking in some sort of risk by talking about the war from your studio, that your bloviating is somehow comparable to the work done of brave journalists reporting from Iraq?
Hugh Hewitt: Time to end this, but I wanted to take this question. I of course said nothing of the sort, and recommend the entire transcript to all readers. Some lefty blogs have tried to make the argument you make, and I am glad they do, as it illustrates again the disability the left has when ordinary voters compare their hyperbolic claims with reality.
As long as the Democratic Party indulges such folk --with invites to Michael Moore to join President Carter in his box at the 2004 DNC for example-- the GOP will stay a majority party.
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