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Hugh Hewitt Book Club

Cue The Violins and the Return of the Great Mentioner

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Ezra Klein plays the first few chords of the Obama re-election theme: “Woe is us, it is so hard to be president, so impossible to govern, so difficult a time.” This is the Song of Jimmy Carter, recut and remastered and still utterly without any ability to charm or persuade.

What an absurdity. Had Obama not shattered investor and employer confidence with massive intervention after massive intervention in the markets, had he practiced any fiscal discipline or simply not imposed the enormous burdens of Obamacare on employers, then the country would not be struggling to get unemployment under 9%. If he just called off the NLRB there would be more jobs in South Carolina, and that is one of thousands of destructive regulatory decisions, perhaps tens of thousands of such decisions.

The president made promises he could not keep on jobs because the policies he pursued were anti free-markets and profoundly destructive of the private sector’s willingness to expand and invest. Mitt Romney or Rick Perry will campaign on a growth agenda and ten thousand blog posts bemoaning the difficult circumstances President Obama inherited will not erase the facts of his tenure and the massive failure of his and the left’s ideology.

Speaking of Romney and Perry (and perhaps Palin), The New York Times‘ Nate Silver manipulates a nice chart to suggest there is a gap in the GOP field:


Romney’s circle should be to the right and lower, Perry’s to the left and higher. There is overlap in their potential supporters, and many GOP voters are going to use the next few months to weigh Romney’s private sector experience and electability versus Perry’s conservative credentials and Texas tough persona. Both are strong candidates, and their competition will be good for both of them and the country and will sharpen the critique of Obama.

Silver’s decision to join the ranks of the Timesmen who played the Great Mentioner –birthed by Russell Baker and sustained by William Safire for many years– is just the latest entry in the ranks of the Manhattan-Beltway media elite’s attempts to talk up President Obama by talking down the GOP field. Read side-by-side with Klein’s piece, however, it is easy to see the implausibility of this attempt. Either Romney or Perry presents enormous challenges to the president because both are arguing for repeal of Obamacare, restraint of the growth of government, strategic tax reform leading to lower rates on corporations and individuals, and the tethering of EPA, CPSC etc.

Both believe in capitalism, with their whole hearts. Both have run large enterprises and understand job creation. They will both be arguing for a completely different approach to governing, even as Reagan successfully did in 1980.

In his long list of late-to-the-game-candidates-who-could-really-give-the-poor-GOP-a-lift, Silver forgot to mention Bobby Jindal, who when he sweeps to a 60% re-elect in November will suddenly be touted by more MSMers continuing the tiresome game. With the exception of Governor Palin, though, the field is fixed and it is strong. The Great Mentioners’ time would be far more productively spent speculating on who will replace Joe Biden in order to provide the greatest pop to a desperate president. Could Hillary be persuaded? Would Andrew Cuomo energize traditional Democrats? But these stories tend to magnify the president’s weakness, so instead we get an endless stream of columns from the left on how dissatisfied the GOP is with its field. There are some who wish their personal favorites would run, but it isn’t happening, and the eventual GOP nominee will have an overwhelmingly united party behind him or her and a great case to lay before the voters on the urgent need for a national U-turn.

Next on MSM watch: Which Timesman will be first to suggest the possibility of a long and destructive GOP primary season followed by a brokered convention? Their guy is in deep trouble, so they have to spend their paragraphs on political fantasies that assume conditions that allow him to resurrect his plunging popularity and failed presidency.

Time to pack and head for the airport for the last leg of vacation. Hot Air’s Ed Morrissey and Townhall’s Carol Platt Liebau will be filling in for me this week, except for Thursday when I stop in the studio for a show en route to Colorado to address the Larimer County Lincoln Dinner on Friday night. Thanks for the emails telling me that Guy Benson did a terrific job for me last week, and his colleagues Carol and Ed will do the same I am certain this week.


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