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On Being Really, Really Ticked Off

Thursday, October 8, 2015  |  posted by John Schroeder

I am by nature a hot head.  I get angry first and ask question later.  It has been my life long struggle to overcome this trait.  My parents helped me with this trait by asking me repeatedly, “What are you accomplishing by being so angry?”  The answer was, of course, nothing.  My anger was, and still is, at its worst in the face of the unsolvable problem.  It is more an expression of sheer frustration than it is actual anger.  But the fundamental question my parents always threw at me still applies.  Does my frustration/anger move me any closer to a solution of the unsolvable problems that set it off?  The answer again is, no it does not, it just feels good.  Regardless, the problem remains.

The Obama administration is the ultimate unsolvable problem.  Their disregard for tradition, convention, and the Constitution renders the situation such that the only way to effectively oppose them is to be willing to break tradition, convention and the Constitution more than they already have.  In other words, the only way to “win” the issue at hand is to concede on issues far more important and far more fundamental than the issue at hand.  Frustration and anger in the face of the Obama administration is a perfectly natural and understandable feeling.

But if we make decisions based on our anger and frustration rather than principle, values and the politics of the moment – if we make decisions just to vent and feel good – we are no different than the liberals that frustrate us so.  Worse, as Jim Geraghty pointed out yesterday Obama wants us angry and frustrated:

Mickey Kaus characterizes the approach as “gaslighting” — giving your opponent a legitimate reason to get angry, then turning around and pointing to their anger as evidence they’re unhinged, obsessed, incapable of governing responsibly, et cetera.

Worst of all, as Daniel Henninger pointed out this morning, this may very well be an electoral strategy on the part of Obama.  Six months ago we had 2016 in the bag.  But now, “…politics looks a lot like ancient Rome—bloodlettings, betrayals and mass spectacle.”  And he said that BEFORE today’s bombshell from Kevin McCarthy. Continue Reading

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Mike Pompeo on the Upcoming House Select Committee on Benghazi Hearing with Hilary Clinton

Wednesday, October 7, 2015  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

Congressman Mike Pompeo gave us a preview of the October 22nd House Select Committee on Benghazi hearing with Hilary Clinton on today’s show.

The audio: 10-07hhs-pompeo

The transcript:

HH: I’m joined now by Congressman Mike Pompeo who is on the Intelligence Committee [and] on the House Select Committee on Benghazi. Congressman Pompeo, welcome back, it’s great to see you again.

MP: It’s great to be with you, Hugh.

HH: I got to start with a Washington Examiner story which was published literally an hour ago. Representative Louise Slaughter, the top Democrat on the House Rules Committee was expected to try tonight to disband the House Select Committee amid backlash over comments by majority leader, Kevin McCarthy. Her effort was almost certain to fail. First of all, has it failed? Secondly, I don’t think there’s a backlash. I think there’s actually intensity of focus after the revelations yesterday of another server company. What’s the situation, Congressman Pompeo?

MP: In fact, it has failed. She made her effort just a little bit ago, and it failed on the House floor as it was destined to. From my perspective, as someone who’s now been at this for almost two and half years, we are bound and determined led by Chairman Gowdy to do our best to get the answers about how it was the case that under Secretary Clinton’s leadership in the State Department, we had four Americans killed at a facility she was responsible for. And the aftermath of this incident, in order to A, hold folks accountable, and B, do our best to make sure something like this never happens again.

HH: Now I do not believe Kevin McCarthy meant anything that was attributed to him, I’ve listened to the statement over and over again. he was talking about the effect of the Benghazi hearing, not their motivation. nevertheless, it’s caused him quite a lot of controversy and promised today the Freedom Caucus endorsed Daniel Webster which has got ot also create a lot of consternation. does that necessarily procure him from becoming Speaker on the ballot as expected on Thursday?

MP: My guess is that tomorrow and Thursday, Mr. McCarthy is ultimately selected as our nominee and then on the 29th, I believe, we’ll go to the House floor and there will be lots of discussion between now and then about how that will proceed. Continue Reading

Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee

Wednesday, October 7, 2015  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee joined me today to talk about the debate process and Defense spending.

The audio:


The transcript:

HH: Pleased to open today’s hour with Governor Mike Huckabee, former governor of the great state of Arkansas, of Fox News Channel All-Stars and star now running for president. Governor Huckabee, good to have you back, welcome.

MH: Thank you, Hugh, great to be back on the show.

HH: You know, I didn’t even get a chance to chat with you after the debate. It was madness there. How did you think the debate went?

MH: Well, you know, honestly, I was going to come over and check with you and see if you wanted to go out with me to get a sandwich, because it seemed like that neither of us were really that busy. I mean, it took nearly 45 minutes into the debate before I got a question.

HH: (laughing)

MH: And I felt like, to be very honest, and I’m not sucking up to you, although perhaps maybe I am. But I felt like that your talents and your insight into the substantive issues were completely underused. And I really thought that it was going to be a very substantive debate. We never got to talking about things like Syrian migrants. We never talked about education or health care. I think about all the things that were left on the table, and frankly, it was three hours and twenty minutes of mostly wanting to know what did each of us think about something that one of the other candidates had said. Continue Reading

The Future of Politcal Discourse

Wednesday, October 7, 2015  |  posted by John Schroeder

Bret Stephens points it outMichael Gerson declares its inadequacyJim Geraghty says its old hat with this president.  They are all talking about Obama’s tendency to trash talk his opposition, particularly in the absence of a solid solution on his own part.  I am with Geraghty in the sense that it is not really news.  It requires response because of the bully pulpit, but it is not news.  What concerns me, gravely, is that it sells.  This guy got elected – twice.  His approval rating is near 50% and on the rise in recent weeks.

Clearly the nation has an appetite for trash talk.  It is ubiquitous in sports any more, and the more martial the sport, the more prevalent it is.  The pretend martial sport of pro wrestling is an entire entertainment industry unto itself built on trash talk.  As Gerson points out it is the stock-and-trade of MSNBC.  Much of reality TV, tracing its roots to Jerry Springer and his ilk, thrives on it.  It is par-for-the-course in social media.  People seem to like it.  It is entertaining, but it should not be the stuff of serious politics – of presidential statements after mass killings and foreign policy debates.

But increasingly it seems like the nation cannot tell the difference between its entertainments and its serious politics.  This has a lot to do with the coin of media.  On the one side of the coin there is an entire media/entertainment industry built around politics – starting with talk radio and moving into some of the news channels.  There are, of course, exceptions to this (Hugh being prime example #1) but largely political media is far more entertaining than it is informative.  On the other side of the coin is the fact that politicians must use media to communicate.  Since people expect entertainment from their media, it forces the politician to be more entertaining in their media presentation.  The lines start to get really blurry. Continue Reading

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