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Congressman Tim Ryan (D-OH) On His (Soon-To-Be-Formal?) Run For The White House

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Congressman Tim Ryan joined me this morning:




HH: Right now, I’m joined by a friend. He’s a Democrat, but he’s still a friend. How can you not like someone who grew up in your hometown and went to your high school? Congressman Tim Ryan is a misguided Democrat, but a wonderful guy. And it’s a little bit awkward, Congressman, because I’ve been telling people this is the headquarters of Republicans For Bernie in the primary, because I want Bernie to get nominated so we can crush him. You kind of scare me. Your kind of Democrat scares me. And are people hearing that out there?

TR: Yeah, I think so. I mean, I’m up in New Hampshire right now. I’ve been to Iowa, obviously, come from Northeast Ohio, and spend most of my time there. And I think most Democrats are looking to get the country back together, unify the country. Most people know workers haven’t been cut in on the deal the last 30 years. But they’re not hostile to business. They know that business is essential. You know, we probably have a different philosophy on how to get there, but you know, we don’t want to be hostile to business. And I think that’s the difference.

HH: I had the most interesting caller in the first hour, Tim Ryan, a heavy equipment operator from Columbus who voted for President Trump, but is going to support Bernie because of health care. And I wonder if you find, and it’s an Ohio voter, right? Ohio went big for Trump. And you survived quite nicely in counties that have never voted for a Republican, Mahoning and Trumbull, that voted for Trump. So do you find Trump voters who connect with Tim Ryan who might not give a Democrat from the far left end of the spectrum a shot?

TR: No question. I mean, it all, it’s all about what we’re focusing on, what issues do we focus on. And if we focus on economics, wages, economic security like pensions, health care, the concerns that everyday workers have, then you know, those workers who went for Trump because of the way he talked about trade, he did talk about raising the top rate on people, he did talk about expanding health care. So I think they felt comfortable. They saw him more as an independent than a Republican. And you know, if he hasn’t delivered on those things like the gentleman from Columbus said, they’ll come back home if we have the right candidate.

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What If They Are Both Right?

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Daniel McCarthy at First Things and David French at NRO are having a bit of a throw down.  McCarthy is calling for “A New Conservative Agenda” while French argues it is more about personal choice than economic change.  I look at both pieces and I think, “Come on guys, slow down a little.”

McCarthy’s piece is lengthy, and most of that length is devoted to making the case that there has been some pretty massive social disruption then arguing the chicken-and-egg question about culture and politics:

Cultural, philosophical, and religious assumptions suffuse public life, and in that sense politics is indeed downstream from culture. One can even go further and say that culture, broadly understood, is the riverbed of politics, setting the course along which it flows. But that course is checked and channeled by willful human activity—by building dams and canals, as it were. How this is done turns largely on economic questions, or rather questions of what used to be called political economy. Different kinds of political economy not only produce different dispensations of wealth and power but also profoundly shape family life, individual character, and the civic landscape. A political program therefore has to be an economic program, not just in the superficial sense of dealing with subjects like taxes and regulation but in the deeper sense of relating the nation’s economic way of life to its cultural fabric and the very conditions of its existence.

French, as his military background might predict, hits back hard:

I’d like to step back for a moment and challenge the very idea that there is something fundamentally broken about the American economy or American economic policy. I’d like to challenge the idea that American public policy, especially as  influenced by Reagan’s conservative movement, has “failed.” It has succeeded, magnificently, at its most important jobs. By strengthening the national defense, it has enabled Americans at home to live in peace; by improving the protection of constitutional liberties and civil rights, it has removed de jure obstacles to economic success; and by providing adequate protection for the free-enterprise system, it has ensured that our nation remains a primary destination for people from across the globe who recognize economic opportunity when they see it.

The results are rather obvious. If a person exercises the most basic degree of self-discipline and industry, completes an education, gets married, and has kids, then his or her odds of being poor are vanishingly low. Moreover, poor people who follow that sequence move up the income scale. As I noted in a print-magazine piece arguing for the primacy of individual choice over personal outcomes, “According to a 2017 Institute for Family Studies and American Enterprise Institute study, a full 71 percent of even low-income Millennials who follow the success sequence will attain the ‘middle or higher end of the income distribution by the time they are age 28–34.’”

This is classic Trumpian v #NeverTrump stuff.  Interestingly, also underlying this argument is also some pretty classic divisions between Roman Catholics and Protestants.  I don’t really want to pick on or defend these gentlemen as both are able to speak for themselves and enormously talented and I’m just blogging away out here in the land of abandoned high speed rail projects.   But they are illustrative of the continuing debate inside conservatism.  The illustration their dispute provides is of more than simply the policy issues.  They seem to be picking sides instead of looking for answers.

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Our Sad World Revealed

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As our Democrat friends drop their political pants, they are revealing much more than their political goals and aspirations.  Consider.  Even with her bright smile, good nature, and misinformed bumbling AOC has deeply hurt New Yorkers by trumpeting, if not costing, the area tens of thousands of jobs.  Ilhan Omar is simply hate filled.  I am well aware that in saying such I sound like some sort of old hippie – but honestly, look at the woman’s comments and demeanor and tell me I am wrong.

Then there is Virginia Governor Ralph Northam.  The sheer chutzpah involved in his “toughing it out” and remaining on the job reveals an abhorrent level of arrogance, all too common these days.  But there is something about his particular issues that is deeply frightening.  What is truly frightening is his graphic description of allowing a newborn to pass away.  For several months now I have prayed daily for the newborn child of a friend, a child born unable to live without massive medical and mechanical assistance – precisely the kind of child that Gov. Northam would consider allowing to expire.  As the months have progressed my prayers of intercession are transitioning to prayers of praise and thanksgiving as the child grows stronger and stronger.  Thus I have been able to imagine myself having precisely the conversation that Gov. Northam proposed.  That conversation imagined is frightening not because of its inherent cruelty, but because of its commonality.  It is much the same conversation that the nation had in a verbal knife fight over Terri Schiavo.  It is much the same conversation I had more than once regarding my mother during the last decade of her dementia impaired life.  There are thousands of such conversations in this nation daily.  That scares me to death.

These Democrat “reveals” are great politics if you are a Republican.  And I am.  It is very easy, and very tempting, to get a little too celebratory by focusing on the politics.  And I have.  But if we focus on a deeper level we see a nation, reflected in these elected individuals, that is deeply and massively troubled.  Because the issues are, if we face them square on, much deeper than politics, so must the response be.

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Being Conservative

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Peggy Noonan wrote one of her masterpieces and it appeared at WSJ today.  She is dealing with the hard left turn the Democrats are taking and calling for a response from Republicans.  She is undeniably right on.  But I want o focus on just a couple of lines she wrote in this great, great piece:

…Democrats are not only going left, they will do it badly. They will lurch, they will be spurred by anger and abstractions, they will be destructive. They really would kill the goose that laid the golden egg, because they feel no loyalty to it.


The natural job of conservatives is to conserve….

I have been thinking  a lot about the nature of conservation lately.  I recently attended a performance of Shakespeare that was deeply troubling – deeply.  I do not wish to pick on the particular institution offering the performance, nor the performers, directors and crew involved so I will offer no more detail.  What I will comment on is that the play was radically altered from what I read in high school.  Of course, it was in a left leaning direction, but that is almost immaterial.  The point was that those putting this presentation together thought themselves somehow better and smarter than the original author and had no problem appropriating it to their ends.  This is actually pretty common with Shakespeare anymore which is why I do not want to pick on anybody specific.  In the end it is a deeply selfish act.  This is part of what Noonan is talking about when she says, “…they will do it badly.”

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