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Kobani, Kay Hagan, Ben Bradlee and Marty Baron

Wednesday, October 22, 2014  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

First, here’s the transcript for my two hour interview with Matk Steyn from Monday’s show.  Thanks to Duane for posting it so quickly.

Next, read this key piece from the Wall Street Journal on the battle for Kobani by By Adam Entous,  Joe Parkinson and Julian E. Barnes. It is behind the paywall, but seriously folks, you have to read the WSJ so subscribe.

North Carolina Democratic Senator Kay Hagan who has come under heavy political fire for skipping key hearings/briefings on the ISIS threat, skipped a debate with GOP opponent Thom Tillis last night in the Tar Heel State.  Hagan is dogged not only by her strong support for the president and her absences from key national security duties, but increasingly by scandal involving her family’s receipt of stimulus funds and by her forwarding to the president for nomination to the federal bench the name of a judge presiding over a trial impacting her husband’s company.  Push the North Carolina race into the column of “at best tied but slipping away for Democrats.

Even Rachel Maddow slammed Hagan for skipping the debate.  When a Democratic sitting senator in a close fight loses Rachel Maddow….

And Ben Bradlee has the misfortune to die in a crazy news cycle, with the war against ISIS expanding, Ebola knocking at many doors, and the U.S. elections crescendoing.  His present successor-in-interest, Mary Baron, is more than up to the job which is significantly more difficult than in the days when the Post only had to beat the Times.  Baron and I used to cross swords a bit when we were both young and he was the Orange County Editor of the Los Angeles Times, but through his subsequent stints at the Miami Herald and the Boston Globe and now the Post he has managed to keep newspapering alive and even thriving in some respects.  His team’c coverage of Bradlee’s death is a great tribute to the man it honors and also the man overseeing it.


Follow the fighting for Kobani.  President Obama simply cannot let it fall before the elections, just as he cannot face the arrival of any more Ebola cases in the U.S. before November 4, or a bad night will be a disastrous one for him.  That’s good news for the Syrian Kyrds.  Their life or death battle happens to help the president’s political agenda –at least for two weeks.


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God (And The Catholics) At Harvard

Tuesday, October 21, 2014  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

There has been a Catholic ministry at Harvard College since 1893, and now you can see how it works via www.HarvardCatholic.org.  Since 1895 it has been headquartered at St. Paul’s Catholic Church across from the Yard in the center of Cambridge, and the pastor of St. Paul’s and chief Catholic chaplain at Harvard, Fr. Michael Drea, is stopping by the studio today to fill us in on life amid the secular elites clustered on the Charles.

We may also push a few CDs of Christmas In Harvard Square, just released by the St. Paul Choir School, which has already sold out once via Amazon.  The choir of the school is renown for its music and now, finally, they have a CD for the upcoming season.

Christmas in Harvard Square


Apple’s Profits and the GOP’s Polls

Tuesday, October 21, 2014  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

The transcript of yesterday’s interview with Mark Steyn about his new book The [Un]documented Mark Steyn will be posted here ay my “Transcripts Page” later today.

Apple yesterday blew past the expectations that analysts had already put pretty high up on the board for the company, and so it will be rewarded with even more support in the market.  That’s the way it works in the final stages of campaigns as well.  Those candidates that have momentum build on it, and though polls might lag as much as analysts’ estimates, the candidates and their supporters feel the win coming, the opponents know they are losing, and existing separations grow larger.  Sometimes there are nasty surprises, just as there are with earnings, and sometimes candidates blow past expectations set by flawed polling just as Apple did Monday.  For the most part, though, two weeks out candidates know.

Thus do Republicans feel very, very good about Tom Cotton in Arkansas, Joni Ernst in Iowa and Dan Sullivan in Alaska –the three warriors-turned-Senate candidates, who along with Shelley Moore Capito in West Virginia, Mike Rounds in South Dakota, and Steve Daines in Montana, give the GOP the six wins they need to control the Senate in 2015 and 2016, provided that David Perdue wins in Georgia and Pat Roberts in Kansas. Both results seem likelier every day.

Cory Gardner in Colorado increasingly looks like the locked-down, seventh insurance race against a bad result in either Georgia or Kansas, one that isn’t necessary but wonderful to have because Gardner will be a terrific senator and Mark Udall has been revealed as the “brain dead” liberal he admitted to being, if only temporarily, over the weekend.

Additional pick-ups could come in North Carolina with Thom Tillis, in Virginia with Ed Gillespie, in New Hampshire with Scott Brown, with Mike McFadden in Minnesota and with Bill Cassidy in Louisiana, with the first and the last in that list the likeliest but the other three within the real of real possibility with Brown, Gillespie and McFadden surging.

Against this backdrop two issues are dominating coverage and one is quietly impacting individual races: Ebola and ISIS are in every frame, and Obamacare is a scroll at the bottom of every voter’s unseen screen.

The GOP is rightly pushing for travel restrictions of individuals seeking to enter the country from West Africa.  This isn’t a total ban, but common sense restrictions, and even as the president resists them for the simple reason that to adopt them would be to admit he was wrong yet again about a major issue, even hapless Mark Pryor in Arkansas has now called for them.

Even though there are decent arguments for appointing Ron Klain as “Ebola tsar” –primarily that he can get to the disconnected Commander-in-Chief in the Oval Office with bad news and urgent needs where a true medical professional would probably have to jog alongside his golf cart and vainly shout “We need to talk!”– the “optics” of the appointment are so bad that the public disgust will grow because Klain has not quickly surrounded himself with a high profile, experienced and respected conservative expert like Tevi Troy and a team of experts not presently on the CDC payroll.  Every day that Klain doesn’t do that is a day his credibility gap with the public and even the MSM grows and stories of his past political assignments crowd out the narrative that he is a hyper-competetnt “fixer.”

The second issue is the march of ISIS across Iraq and Syria, and though the butchers have seen fit not to behead anyone for a week or so, the siege of Kobani is playing out as early voting begins, a daily reminder that President Obama lost the peace in Iraq after President Bush had won the war there.  The worries over what a terrorist state and a terrorist army are planning vis-a-vis the homeland are at least in the back of the minds of many voters, and right up front for an entire group who are rightly concerned that ISIS wants to strike at Americans in America not just Christians, Yezidis and Kurds in their immediate path.

Then there is the third issue, the looming disruptions and costs of the second year of Obamacare, most of which have largely been pushed back until after the polls close by desperate Democrats but which are nevertheless sufficient in number to warn voters of what is ahead.  Three data points:  The biggest and cheapest insurer on the Minnesota state insurance exchange dropped out.  29,000 Coloradans had their plans cancelled recently, after more than 330,000 got thrown from their plans last year.  Rate increases haven’t even been announced yet.

The fact that the rate increases have been pushed back past the elections lead many to guess that very bad news is on the way, and consumers know instinctively what is coming.  “Intentionally postponed news” is the opposite of “no news is good news,” and voters get that.

Obamacare was set up to time its bad news in a way to minimize political impact, but that only works once or twice, not three times, and not, it appears. in 2014.

Thus the RealClearPolitics “averages” look better and better for the Republicans, and not just for the key Senate races, but across the House map and in key state house battles like Doug Ducey’s in Arizona and Rick Scott’s in Florida.

Watch for last minute Hail Marys from Democrats and happy talk about turn-out machines.  But Democrats are already grumbling about the president’s repeated sabotaging of their efforts to run away from his sinking approval numbers and the disasters of his policies, both foreign and domestic.  And the president did it again Monday, in an interview with Al Sharpton where the president declared to the “Reverend Al” that he wasn’t upset because very, very few Democrats want the president to campaign with them: “The bottom line is, though, these are are all folks who vote with me; they have supported my agenda in Congress.”

That is the “bottom line” of the “bottom line” in all of these races.  The worst president in American history has had a legion of loyal supporters in the Senate and the House, led by Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi, and a lot of candidates for statehouses like Democrat Fred DuVal in Arizona and the chameleon Charlie Christ in Florida who are as reliable as the president when it comes to promises and performance.  2014 is a referendum on the president –on his “leading from behind” abroad, on his lassitude in every crisis at home and overseas, and on his legislative centerpiece.

The GOP couldn’t have asked for anything more.




Ebola To Romney To Steyn: The Tinker To Evers To Chance Of 2014*

Monday, October 20, 2014  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

First, here’s my Monday Washington Examiner column on Ebola and the necessity of common sense travel restrictions.  Much of it comes out of the counsel of the very, very calm, very respected health care systems lawyer Lowell Brown –one of my law partners– who has three decades of experience representing hospital systems behind his observations of the current situation.  The Administration’s reaction to Ebola has to account for the costs of not imposing the travel restrictions –not a travel ban, but common sense restrictions for a disease estimated by WHO to reach 10,000 new cases a week by December.  Those costs are already high and climbing, burdening an already stressed American hospital system.

Second, at the the “Townhall 2014″ forum tonight in Glendale, Calfiornia, before approximately 1,200 conservative activists who paid a fairly expensive ticket price to come in, the Ebola concern is very low.  So is the enthusiasm for immigration reform legislation in a 2015-16 GOP-majority House and Senate.  In fact while about 20% of the audience pronounced themselves very concerned over Ebola, only 10% favored the hypothetical GOP majority taking the initiative and putting an immigration reform bill before the president in early 2015.  Michael Medved and I strongly advocate such a course, provided the bill is a good one and, in my case, that means an-impossible-to-avoid construction of at least 1000 miles of double-sided, high fencing along the border.  The GOP has a huge opportunity here to present the president with a long immigration reform bill he simply cannot veto, one stocked with key legislative victories like the Keystone pipeline and repeal of the medical device tax while also providing regularization for most of the illegal population, but not citizenship, but getting such a bill past the very skeptical base of the GOP will mean turning to conservatives to actually draft the bill, not to the usual suspects.  If the usual suspects want a bill and not simply attention, they will bow out of the way and let the conservatives draft that bill.

Third, at the very same forum which is skeptical of Ebola fears and very skeptical of immigration reform legislation, 50% of attendees want Mitt Romney to run for the White House again again.  This result surprised every participant –Katie Pavlich, Michael, Dennis Prager, Ben Shapiro, Elisha Krauss, Brian Whitman and me.  Again, these are hard-core conservative enthusiasts, willing to pay for a ticket to a show featuring conservative media folk, very opposed to immigration reform and hostile to Common Core.  I had expected another 10% to 20% showing in the Romney-run-again? poll, but while the enthusiasm of the non-Romney people seems focused on Ted Cruz, it is safe to say that it isn’t just “Establishment Republicans” driving the Romney 2016 bus.  Lots and lots of deep red conservatives are on it too.

I’ll talk about all this on Monday’s show with none other than columnist-to-the-world Mark Steyn, who is marking launch day for his wonderful new book The [Un]Documented Mark Steyn with a long interview with me commencing at 7:21 Eastern and ending at 9 PM.  (That’s 4:21 to 6 PM Pacific for the Steelers fans.) Listen online if you can’t hear it in your car.  A vast draft of undiluted Steyn heading your way tomorrow, probably enough to immunize you against Ebola panic.


*”Baseball’s Sad Lexicon”

These are the saddest of possible words:
“Tinker to Evers to Chance.”
Trio of bear cubs, and fleeter than birds,
Tinker and Evers and Chance.
Ruthlessly pricking our gonfalon[a] bubble,
Making a Giant hit into a double[b] –
Words that are heavy with nothing but trouble:
“Tinker to Evers to Chance.”

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