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Hugh Hewitt Book Club
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Hugh Hewitt Book Club

Debating The Left

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E.J. Dionne joined me on Thursday’s program to discuss his new book, Our Divided Political Heart: The Battle For The American Idea In An Age of Discontent.


The transcript is here. I hope you will read it for a glimpse of the width of the divide in America that can exist between even two respectful, civil opponents. This is something the MSM misses again and again. The differences between left and right are real and significant, but they don’t have to be marked by vitriolic exchanges and often aren’t. This conversation occurs on conservative talk radio, of course, where most of the serious, extended conversations between left and right happen these days. It is an era of enormous differences, but MSM often overstates the “incivility” meme because it serves the purpose of caricaturing the right, not because it genuinely reflects the right.


Note as well that there really is nothing like this sort of exchange happening on left-hosted media where a left-wing host invites a thoughtful conservative on to discuss his or her new book at length. When for example, have your heard a lefty give Dennis Prager the floor to discuss Still the Best Hope for 30 minutes on air, publish the transcript and urge the audience to turn out for his events? Anyone? Most left wing outlets and certainly the bigs don’t even bother to review the key books from the center-right or to feature the best of the arguments being made about the crisis the country finds itself in as a result of President Obama policies and politics.


I’m flying to D.C. early in the AM, but check the transcript page as well for the chats with Mark Steyn and the interview with Majority Leader Cantor. There will be no “easy deal” on the debt ceiling, and the House GOP is communicating this now though the MSM will ignore the clearly-stated position until they can accuse the Republicans of brinksmanship. Here’s what Cantor said:


HH: Now Leader Cantor, today, Ben Bernanke, chairman of the Fed, was on the Hill, and he testified to tow things – one, we can’t go over the fiscal cliff, we can’t have Taxageddon, and we can’t cut spending, draconian cuts in spending especially for Defense. And he also warned against a showdown on raising the debt ceiling. Let’s start with the latter one. I mean, we can’t just roll over on the debt, can we?

EC: No, I mean, as you know, we Republicans in the House stood up last year and said we are elected to reflect the will of the people. And what most Americans really are asking is how long can Washington keep spending money it doesn’t have? The other thing most people know at homes and in their businesses, they have got to make ends meet, and have got to begin to live within their means and balance their budgets. And the same should be true in their federal government in Washington. And that’s why we’re going to continue to fight hard to reduce spending, and to not go about the status quo, and to continue to raise the debt ceiling to incur more debt without fixing the problem. And it’s been tough, it’s certainly been a rancorous year and a half because the President and Harry Reid have indicated no willingness to go along to solve problems. But we remain committed to being that force that is of common sense conservative philosophy that believes in fixing the problem so that we’re not digging the hole deeper, and that people can begin to grow again in terms of their outlook for the economy.

HH: Leader Cantor, if a deal came out where they would extend the current tax rates for two to three, four years, would you then consider raising the debt limit?

EC: Well, no, because what I would say is this. We have got to affect the spending problem here. We really do. As you know, it is a trillion, three hundred fifty billion dollar incurrence of additional deficit this year alone. And because of the demographics of the country, we can’t just allow this to continue. Yes, we need tax reform. And what the House is going to do is we’re going to bring forward a bill in July which will say no to any tax rate increases, period. And as we know, former President Clinton came out this week and endorsed our position, and said that he didn’t think now was the time to allow tax rates to go up on anybody. But we believe the same is true. We also believe that in order to incur more debt, we’ve got to fix the spending problem and address it the way that the Speaker insisted last time. And we’ll continue to work hard and reflect what I think most Americans are asking us to do, is to get to the fiscal house in order.

HH: 30 seconds, Leader Cantor, will the Defense sequestration take effect?

EC: I certainly hope not, and the House Republicans have moved to make sure that it does not, that we replace those cuts where they are better put elsewhere, so that we can maintain our priority of making sure that the defense and security of this country and its citizens is maintained.

So the president has to come up with some serious proposals if he wants to avoid the collision that Chairman Bernanke warned about. That would require leaving the campaign trail and serious negotiations, not gamesmanship. It hasn’t happened. It has never happened during the president’s tenure. But when the impasse develops, watch the MSM pin the blame on the GOP.

Keep praying that the Supreme Court delivers the country from the dead weight of Obamacare —a result the New York Times is campaigning against quite openly now in its “polling” and “reporting.” E.J. os another voice lambasting the Court and we discuss that in our conversation. But no matter how many critics from the left attempt to push the Court to let Obamacare stand, a majority has to do the right thing which is also the Constitutional thing, and rid the country of this unread and wildly destructive law.

I will be moderating two debates over how the Obmacare case will and should be decided, as well as Arizona’s anti-illegal immigration law and the recent circuit court decisions on Wednesday June 13 in Yorba Linda California and on Thursday June 21 in Phoenix. Both debates will be between Erwin Chemerinsky and John Eastman, the “Smart Guys” who have been appearing weekly on my show for the past decade. Never has a debate over the Court been so timely. Erwin, Dean of the UCI law school, is a man of the left. John, Dean Emeritus of Chapman University Law School, is a man of the right. They are ferocious debaters and two of the nicest people you have ever met. Again, MSMers, deep disagreement isn’t a sign of dysfunction but of a conflict in fundamental values.

Tickets for the California debate are available here.

Tickets for the Arizona debate are available here.

And if E.J. and I can figure it out, we will hit the road after the election to continue today’s conversation…in a civil fashion.

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