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Cantor v. Hensarling, Part 2

Wednesday, April 16, 2014  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

The Washington Examiner’s David Drucker, among the sharpest of Capitol Hill reporters, joined me Tuesday to discuss the maneuvering to succeed Speaker John Boehner, which I wrote about yesterday here.

The transcript of my conversation with Drucker is here.

The succession story within the House GOP is complicated and contains many parts, including the need to raise the visibility of the talented and media-friendly Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington State.  With candidates on the Senate side including Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia, Terri Lynn Land of Michigan, Joni Ernst in Iowa and Dr. Monica Wehby in Oregon, the GOP has great candidates to take on the “war against women” rhetoric that is as inevitable as it is transparently an attempt to keep eyes off of the massive Obamacare fails.

By adding McMorris Rodgers to the big three the House GOP solves part of its branding problem for a long time, but of course the current Whip Kevin McCarthy is much liked by first and second-termers even though the past two years have been marked by many train wrecks within the Caucus.  A new “big three” with two new faces would help re-energize the GOP as it gears up to face President Obama in what will likely be his increasingly reckless last two years as he goes looking for a legacy in a unilateral fashion, extending and even amping up his already historic disregard for the limits on his powers.

If Speaker Boehnr stepped aside in August, the fall campaign would be energized by the prospect of new leadership though Drucker points out that John Boehner is a fund-raising machine even if he refuses to try and communicate the party’s agenda going forward.  It wouldn’t be impossible for the new slate just to emerge one day, Cantor-Hensrling-McMorris Rogers being introduced by John Boehner, and for the already strong wind at the GOP’s back to pick up even more power.

But Texas’ Hensarling is, as my audience is finding out, widely respected, admired and liked, and deeply conservative.  A GOP House Caucus strained by two years of clashes with the president, a shutdown, a debt hike without reform, and a defense budget they know to be cutting bone and then more bone, may well want to start with a brand new face for the new top job.

Whichever way the succession race roll,s however, the Ex-Im Bank is not a great vehicle for an early test of strength, given its connection to national defense and the promotion of the industrial base.  The House Defense hawks may not be particularly vocal but they are still there and still likely to view every vote through the prism of the growing defense crisis.  Hensarling’s fiscal credentials are unassailable.  No need for him to push the defense-minded members away with an ill-conceived attempt to kill off Ex-Im.

The Daily Caller’s Christopher Bedford has a great background piece from last week here.  Now that the succession contest is out in the semi-open, look for more attention and more leaks to fuel the conversation, especially as the long months between now and November have almost nothing moving on the substantive side of either the House or the Senate.  In such a season, House of Cards-like dramas soak up time and do no damage to the central focus on the woes of Obamacare and the cover-ups of the IRS wrongdoing.


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Cantor v. Hensarling for Speaker

Tuesday, April 15, 2014  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

The weekend Wall Street Journal carried a small piece on a big brewing fight over the Ex-Im bank.

I supported re-authorization of the Bank in the past and will again in the future.  Ex-Im supports exports and exports build trade surpluses or at least keep down trade deficits.  Far more to the point, it helps key industries, like aircraft production, compete with government-subsidized products of other nations.

Ex-Im is, in a word, Hamiltonian.

Chairman Jeb Hensarling –a wonderful conservative I hasten to add– is out to get Ex-Im as an example of “crony-capitalism.”  I will ask him on my show soon to discuss it, but there is some buzz that the debate over Ex-Im is intended to put Majority Leader Cantor in a corner, one that he won’t find comfortable when competing for votes with Hensarling in a battle to succeed Speaker John Boehner when the Ohio gavel-holder steps down later this year (perhaps before the election to give Boehner’s preferred choice, Cantor, a leg up with a delegation he knows rather than one full of new faces.)

Cantor-Hensarling will be an interesting race.  (I think the post should go to the man who appears the most on talk radio between now and the vote.)  But Ex-Im is far too valuable a tool of national power to hold hostage to leadership battles.  It should be reauthorized and Cantor and Hensarling should find a different field on which to joust.

I talked about the looming Cantor-Hensarling showdown with The Weekly Standard’s Fred Barnes on yesterday’s show, and Breitbart’s Jeff Poor caught the exchange here.


A Metastatic Government

Tuesday, April 15, 2014  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

When Hank Adler was in studio yesterday to talk about his new book (see below), he told me that his column today would be about the attempt by the IRS to enforce demands for overpayment of old Social Security benefits from third party descendants of the deceased who allegedly received the overpayment.

I couldn’t believe that the issue could be that widespread because the conduct described by Hank was so outrageous.  Unbelievable in fact.  I told him it had to be an aberration –my lawyerly way of saying to my good friend and  I though Hank had his facts wrong.

Nope. I was wrong, Hank was right, and the Washington Post today reports that this incredible overreach is being ended.  But not before everyone got another whiff of what metastatic government looks like.  They got another view with the attempted intimidation of Cliven Bundy over the weekend (though Harry Reid says that one isn’t over.)

The feds are just drunk on power, and the indifference to promises made (“If you like your plan…) to rules that are inconvenient (a hundred waivers, extensions and rewrites) to oversight (Holder’s being held in contempt of Congress and Elijah Cummings’ back-dooring Democratic targets to the IRS) and to basic Constitutional order are now spreading an attitude throughout the vast federal bureaucracy of unaccountability that results in such extraordinary, indeed almost unbelievable abuses.

It is going to get worse unless the people throw a collective flag in November, so pick a Senate race or two or 14 and get invested in bringing accountability back to D.C.

Three Books For Graduates

Monday, April 14, 2014  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

Got a graduate to buy for?  High school, college or grad school?  Look no further than these three books:

1.  You Don’t Have To Be Smart To Own A Smartphone by Hank Adler

Buy this in bulk for every new job-seeker and new employee you know.  They should be handed out at the door of every law firm and big business welcoming new employees and interns.  Author Hank Adler, retired Deloitte partner and Chapman University professor of accounting, joins me in hour three today to discuss:


2.  The Happiest Life, by me, of course, and better to get this stuff down early rather than late in life:


3. In, But Not Of, again by me, but of all my books, the one most often brought up to me by people in their late 20s/early 30s as having impacted their lives:


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