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The 2016 GOP Field, Romney, and The Western Conservative Summit

Monday, July 21, 2014  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

Western Conservative Summit

I left Denver Saturday night for vacation, after attending and speaking to/teaching for the Western Conservative Summit 2016 and the Young Conservative Leadership Summit. I was especially encouraged by the impressive turnout –3,500 Saturday night– for what has become the “CPAC of the Summer in the Rockies,” and by the quality of the 120 16-20 year olds I spent teaching for the entire week prior.  Next year I expect the numbers for both WCS and YCLS to double and more, and for the WCS ’15 to actually explode in attendance as every major would-be president figures out what Ben Carson, Ted Cruz, Mike Lee, Bobby Jindal and Sarah Palin figured out this year: If you want to be in the mix for 2016 and among conservative leadership, you have to attend and speak to thousands of activists assembled.  Memo to candidates, consultants, and activists all: Book early for next year.

As part of the #YCLS I ran four mock Iowa caucuses of approximately 30 students each time.  Cruz won a narrow majority of the young folks after they all argued and debated each other for an hour each time, but with respectable showings for Chris Christie, Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, Rick Santorum, and Scott Walker.  Two of the 120 were die-hard Rick Perry people.  One lone fellow argued Ohio Governor John Kasich’s case (no, it wasn’t me) and everyone else struck out.  Seems the young folk liked the Cruz filibuster –a lot.  Of course it is very early, but like other straws in the wind, this Cruz-centric crowd left an impression because these folks committed a week of their summer (sure there was white-water rafting and afternoons off) to politics and Con Law for smart young people.  Early indicators are encouraging for the Texas senator who keynoted the big Summit on Saturday night and brought the crowd to its feet.  (As did Jindal the night before, and my students found me on Saturday to talk about just how impressed they had been with Jindal who had not a single supporter in all the mock caucuses.  That is what campaigning does.)

Thanks to Senator Bill Armstrong who is president of Colorado Christian University and Senator John Andrews who is the head of the Centennial Institute that sponsors both the Youth Leadership and Western Conservative summits.  They have spent five years building an important event which is now growing exponentially.  Visit CCU.edu, The Centennial Institute website, the Western Conservative Summit 2015 webpage as soon as it is up and running, but if you are part of Team Anyone hoping to be the nominee in 2016, track down John Andrews and ask for the Saturday night slot now. Next year’s straw poll will be a news event –the new “Ames poll.”

Speaking of 2016, my Washington Examiner column today reflects the growing Romney buzz.  The Romney-haters have already told me how terrible an idea this is, but I merely report what is real: There is a growing demand among not just his hardest core supporters but by influencers across the ideological spectrum who see the need for an experienced candidate to take on Hillary and the left.  As the column notes, I haven’t spoken or emailed with Governor Romney for months, and all I’ve ever heard him say is “No, no, no, no, no,” on my show and in every venue.  But there it was all week in Colorado and especially this weekend among the activists: “What do you hear about Romney?”  The answer is in the column.  What I also hear is a selective reading of history when people bring up Stassen and not Reagan when it comes to multiple nominations, and when people forget the repeated tries of Nixon, Dole, Taft and Dewey.  The record is mixed for those who had the nomination once and lost, but the idea that it is impossible, well, that just doesn’t reflect the record or the fact that everything has changed except, per usual, the conventional wisdom.

As noted, I am off for two weeks, painting sunflowers and reading Michael Oren (see below).  The world is in crisis and I haven’t left you alone, however, with the Daily Caller’s Jamie Weinstein and Hot Air’s Ed Morrissey doing back-to-back weeks of guest hosting so that the breaking news is always covered.  My thanks in advance to both gentlemen, pros of the first order, though Ed is sadly a Steelers fan and on the wrong side of history.  Of course I dropped this new Romney-related column and  Politico Magazine border kids article on them and then bolted for the back porch.  Not all of the hundreds of comments on the latter have been positive.  Only fair to set up the shows this way.

One last island of diversion amid the war that Israel must win and the pariah status that Russia and Putin have earned: The SI story on LeBron.  Enjoy.  And pray for the IDF and civilians as the battle terrorists who use civilians as shields and would not hesitate to use any weapon it could obtain to kill as many Jews as they could.  If anyone lacks clarity on the morality of Israel’s action, they are sadly without a compass as to what faces the world in western Iraq –and in Moscow.

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Michael Oren Spells It Out For You: “Essentially, Hamas invaded Israel first.”

Friday, July 18, 2014  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

Professor Michael Oren was formerly Israel’s ambassador to the United States, and is a widely read and respected scholar of Middle East history who has taught at Harvard, Yale and Georgetown and is now living and teaching full-time in Israel after his retirement from his diplomatic post last year.

Oren has written histories of both the 1967 and Yom Kippur wars and his Power, Faith, and Fantasy: America in the Middle East: 1776 to the Present is must reading for serious commentators on the  Middle East (and re-reading for my vacation ahead.)  He is also a veteran tank commander in the IDF.

Buried deep in today’s lead story in the New York Times on the current battle in the long-running Israeli-Hamas war are these words from Oren which should be spread far and wide:

Michael B. Oren, Israel’s former ambassador to Washington, said in a late-night interview that Mr. Netanyahu had “exercised extraordinary restraint up until now” by not engaging ground troops and “paid a heavy political price for it.” Thursday’s tunnel attack, he said, “was a game changer,” adding, “Essentially, Hamas invaded Israel first.”

In contrast to the Iron Dome missile-defense system that Israel says has stopped some 300 rockets from hitting populated areas over the last 10 days, Mr. Oren said, “We don’t have a response to the tunnels.”

He added, “They are reinforced concrete tunnels, basically impregnable from the air and their openings are camouflaged.”

Israel will stay until the tunnels are destroyed.  Fences have worked elsewhere.  Perhaps Israel ought to build a moat.  A very deep moat. Someday when Hamas is gone and peace does come, it could become a canal of extraordinary beauty and commerce.  But now Israel needs a moat.

“The Border Kids”

Thursday, July 17, 2014  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

 

My Politico Magazine piece on the border kids has generated quite a bit of email –pro and con– and tweets of every variety.  As with everything I have ever written on the subject, people see in it what they want to but I see the picture above and argue that the churches of America be given a chance to solve the problem of the children who are already here while the construction of a long, strong, high, double-sided fence be begun immediately to send the message that it has to stop.

 

Why An Invasion Of Gaza Will Happen: Tunnels From Gaza Into Israel

Thursday, July 17, 2014  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

Read this from the Washington Post this morning, in an article supposedly about “the truce holding”:

In the early morning hours, a military spokesman said, the Israeli air force hit the opening of an incursion tunnel used by Hamas militants to sneak under the Gaza border fence for an attack inside Israel. The opening was about 250 yards inside Israel and a little more than a mile away from a kibbutz, apparently the intended target.

An infrared camera video clip released by the Israelis shows 13 men armed with long weapons scurrying about and then entering a hole in the ground in the middle of a field. Once they are all below ground, the screen fills with a flash of light and a large cloud.

The prospect of long tunnels filled with gunmen ready to massacre everyone in a border town means that Israel has few choices.  An occupation seems pre-ordained when Hamas attempts such a thing.

Ambassador Ron Dermer, Israel’s ambassador to the U.S., discussed this specific threat in my interview with him Tuesday, as well as the attempts that Hamas has made to launch assaults on civilians from the sea. No government can wait and wait for the enemy to kill many of its own people before striking in an effective way.

Young people in Israel have begun using the hashtag #IsraelUnderAttack.  It really is, and it will have to respond before an intention massacre succeeds.

“Israel uses rockets to protect civilians,” Jim Talent said on my program earlier this week.  “Hamas uses rockets to try and kill them.”  Hamas is also using tunnels to attempt massacres.  That should be the end of any conversation about why the IDF has to occupy Gaza.

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