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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.




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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.”

The Weeked To-Do List, And A Conversation With Dr. Ben Carson About Ebola

Friday, October 17, 2014  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

Well that was an interesting chat with Dr. Ben Carson.  Audio and transcript coming asap and will be posted below.  But first, the to-do list for the weekend.

If you like in Colorado, Georgia, New Hampshire or North Carolina, the four closest Senate contests at this point, go to the websites of Cory Gardner, David Perdue, Scott Brown or Thom Tillis respectively, and offer to walk a precinct or spend a few hours at a call center.  Throw yourselves into the final two weekends of the campaign.

If you live in Arizona, do the same for the Doug Ducey campaign, and in Florida, for Rick Scott.

If you don’t live in any of those six states, visit their websites anyway and see if they need virtual volunteers, or leave a last donation behind, even five bucks or $50 or $100.  It matters.  Enromously in the closing days.

Call your friends and family in those states.  Email them.  Here’s a suggested short note:

Dear ____

I am writing in the hope of reminding you that election day is November 4 and ____ is running for ______ in your state.  Seriously, I never do this, but I am so concerned for the country and the need to change direction and rebalance government.  We just have to add some common sense into the D.C. equation, and especially get Harry Reid out of a position of power.  he has badly, badly ill-served the country, and we just can’t have two more years of this with ISIS and Ebola and a weak economy crippling us and the world.

Eras where one party has controlled the White House and the other party both houses of the Congress have been spectacularly productive in the past, and could be again with a GOP sweep on November 4.  I have no idea for whom you intend to vote or even if you intended to vote at all.  A lot of folks are just disgusted.  But we can’t keep drifting this way towards chaos.  Please consider voting for ____.  Call me if you’d like to discuss it.

As for the news, watch to see how Ron Klain staffs his effort.  (See this post.) Watch Meet the Press which improves with each week and is rapidly regaining altitude as Chuck Todd brings balance asnd serious questions to the table with an excellent mix of guests.  Hopefully by Monday Klain will have explained to the president that a travel ban on non-U.S. passport holding residents from the three countries in which the hot zone is located may not enter the U.S. unless they have been elsewhere for at least 21 days.  This is not draconian, not international trade destroying, and consistent with reducing risk of new cases at the margin which matters quite a lot as the U.S. is the key responding country and needs to be focused on getting aid to Africa, not obsessing over cases that got through here.  Every non-essential traveler from that region denied entry to the U.S. reduces risk, and risk mitigation is the essence of public health.  The biggest obstacle to this is the embarrassment the president thinks he will suffer, though in truth the political disaster of his handling of this is already baked deep into the November 4 cake and cannot be removed.  He screwed up, big time.  Just like with those pesky “jayvees” of ISIS.

I had a civil email exchange with Tom Formann of CNN over his reporting of the difficulties of travel ban, and Tom declined to come on the show Friday though admittedly the invitation arrived on Friday afternoon after his report aired and the fellow might actually have dinner with his wife planned.  But it wasn’t good reporting because it didn’t fairly deal with the obvious benefit of a common sense approach to travel restrictions from the hot zone and how they differ markedly from the travel bans connected with SARs.  Hopefully the reporting will improve but the sense lingers that Beltway media is still trying to protect this hapless president from the political consequences of his serial ineptitudes.

And be sure to watch the Bucks on Saturday crush Rutgers, the Irish takes on the Seminoles and the Browns beat the Jaguars on Sunday behind Brian Hoyer.  Even after weeks that are horrible on lots of levels, there is always Bucks, Irish and Browns football to give us a diversion.

But then send a few more emails during the games on Sunday night.

Finally, Dr. Ben Carson joined me on Friday’s show to discuss the Ebola cases.

The audio:


The transcript:

HH: I am joined by Dr. Ben Carson. Dr. Carson, welcome back to the Hugh Hewitt Show.

BC: Thank you. Always good to be with you.

HH: Dr. you’re such a well-established and well-regarded national figure, the professor of neurosurgery, oncology, plastic surgery, the head of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins University. You’ve won the Presidential Medal of Freedom. You did the National Prayer Breakfast. You wrote One Nation. If President Obama called you up right now and said Dr. Carson, we need a surgeon general who will command respect and will generate calm, would you please serve, would you accept that?

BC: No. No, because I would, if I were going to serve in that position, I would have to serve under someone that I trusted.

HH: If he said I will not interfere with the guidance you give, we need someone to rally the country around being calm and appropriately prepared, you really, you’d say no to the president of the United States?

BC: Yes. Absolutely. Continue Reading

Ron Klain and the Staffing of the Ebola Tsardom

Friday, October 17, 2014  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

Much criticism online about the president’s appointment of Ron Klain, which I think is very premature.

President Obama was clearly going to want someone he knows and trusts if we are on the cusp of a domestic as well as an already obvious international crisis.  It is too late to change the politics and the electoral fallout of the bungling by the president and his team of the Ebola virus’ arrival in the U.S. –the 21 day period of exposure for new cases to surface will not conclude until after the election, and the cruise ship fiasco has delivered the verdict on the president’s incredible “leading from behind” mishandling of this.

Phase two of the national response does need to be bipartisan, though, and if Klain appoints qualified center-right professionals with unquestionable expertise and experience as key deputies with real authority to help organize and think through the response, like Tevi Troy or Yuval Levin, to assist in the response, Klain can in a stroke defuse the suspicion that what we will get will be a PR strategy and not a disease containment strategy.  Watch that space closely this weekend.  We will know by next week if the effort is genuinely a crisis control effort, or simply yet another blunder along the way of a president who has always put politics ahead of everything else.  Epidemics, like hangings, may concentrate the mind wonderfully.  We will see.

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