Call the Show 800-520-1234
LIVE: Mon-Fri, 6-9AM, ET
Hugh Hewitt Book Club
Call 800-520-1234 email Email Hugh
Hugh Hewitt Book Club

Dr. Larry Arnn Reacts To The Iowa Caucus

Email Email Print

HH: It’s the last radio hour of the week. And it’s actually prerecorded, because I’m in Nashua, New Hampshire, and in Manchester, Hew Hampshire, for the big New Hampshire primary on Tuesday. And my good friend, Dr. Larry Arnn, and I sat down earlier in the week to dissect the Iowa results, and to look ahead to New Hampshire, suspending our typical Hillsdale Dialogue until next week, even though many of you want nothing but Churchill, Churchill, Churchill. And we will feed your need, but in the meantime, all of the Hillsdale Dialogues are available at Or you can visit for all things Hillsdale. But Dr. Arnn and I might be the last two non-declared Republicans in America. I think we’re actually the only two who make up Switzerland of the GOP. So it’s good to talk to each other. Dr. Arnn, how are you?

LA: Here are we in our splendid isolation (laughing)

HH: We are. (laughing) What was is that Lord Salisbury said, a masterful inactivity when it comes to endorsing? (laughing)

LA: (laughing)

HH: So, and we don’t want any part of it, right? We want to be there at the end to help whoever is nominated win. But what, first of all, did you make of the Iowa results?

LA: Well, my great theme of the week about all of this is that I have not enjoyed a presidential campaign since Ronald Reagan. And I’m having a blast. (laughing)

HH: (laughing) Yeah.

LA: It’s fun to watch. And there are good people in it, and they’re going at each other in all kinds of ways, some of them not serious, and some of them serious, and it’s delightful.

HH: Let me play for you from Wednesday of this week Ted Cruz responding to Donald Trump’s assertion that he’s stolen the Iowa Caucuses by cheating Ben Carson, who I think had accepted Ted Cruz’ apology for what was originally a CNN report being repeated by Ted Cruz’ staffers. It’s a very complicated story, but here is Ted Cruz?

Reporter: Senator, this line of attack, though, he is calling you a cheater. He is calling you a fraud.

TC: (Laughing)

Reporter: Does this cross the line for you?

TC: Oh, listen, Donald’s insults get more and more hysterical the more and more upset he gets. And that’s fine. He can do that. I’m not going to respond in kind.

Reporter: Do you think they’re funny?

TC: I’m going to, I think they’re very funny. I think Donald, I wake up every day and laugh at the latest thing Donald has tweeted, because he’s losing it. Look, we need a commander-in-chief, not a twitterer-in-chief. We need someone with judgment and the temperament to keep this country safe. I don’t know anyone who would be comfortable with someone who behaves this way having his finger on the button. I mean, we’re liable to wake up one morning, and Donald, if he were president, would have nuked Denmark. That’s not the temperament of a leader to keep this country safe. We need a president who will have the back of our fighting men and women, who will have their back, and will be clear-eyed and focused on our enemies, on radical Islamic terrorists, and on defeating ISIS. That’s what I will do every day. And the American people are not interested in this circus sideshow of insults. You know, my girls are 5 and 7. And I’ve got to tell you, Caroline and Catherine are better behaved than a presidential candidate who responds by insulting everyone every day.

LA: (laughing)

HH: Now a couple of things, Dr. Arnn, never have I heard the possibility of nuking Denmark come up in a presidential campaign before.

LA: I don’t think they ever, they’d have to go search for the GPS codes.

HH: People in Denmark are waking up tomorrow morning to the prospect of Ted Cruz bringing up, he’s against nuking them. And they’re relieved. But at the same time, he said something that is clearly not true. He said the American people are not interested in the circus sideshow of insults, when in fact, they are.

LA: Yeah, very much, very much. Now I will hold up for one part of his statement. I have met Ted Cruz’ daughters, and although I don’t claim they’re better behaved than Donald Trump, they are very well-behaved.

HH: They’re very well-behaved. Okay.

LA: (laughing)

HH: So we, I told Kyle, the indispensable, that I wanted to begin by talking about Lincoln’s 1860 Convention victory, because there is, I believe, we’re headed to an open convention, and I personally believe one of the governors will play themselves into the game in New Hampshire, they’ll be fourth, and that South Carolina will be a donnybrook, and we’re going to end up with no one having 1,237 delegates when it comes along. Maybe I’m wrong, but that’s what I think. How did Lincoln work the 1860 Wigwam campaign up to and including the events of that?

LA: Well, the first thing to understand is you didn’t really run for president back in those days. And so Lincoln refused to have anything to do with it, and then he had a lot to do with it. (laughing)

HH: (laughing)

LA: It was in, it was in Chicago, in his state, and he was not in the city, but he was telegraphing back and forth some. And he won on the second ballot, narrowly, and was way behind on the first ballot. And people representing him were running around making deals. There was one man who telegraphed to Lincoln that he could, if he would give somebody something, he could get that delegation. And Lincoln telegraphed back, make no deals, I will not honor none, and then the man went and made the deal, and got the delegation, and eventually Lincoln did honor it.

HH: (laughing)

LA: (laughing) So it was all like that.

HH: But we face the situation where there are no bosses, right? Karl Rove has written a pretty splendid book on the 1896 Convention in which William McKinley of the great state of Ohio in the neighboring town to Warren, Niles, rejects dealing with the blonde boss and the quiet boss and the various bosses of Pennsylvania, New York and Illinois and takes on a populist cloak. Don’t you think any convention in Cleveland that is not decided beforehand will be a wild ride, unpredictable, almost, in every aspect?

LA: Well, I do, and there’s a difference between the Republicans and the Democrats on their conventions. The Democrats have superdelegates, and the superdelegates are current and former officeholders. And so they effectively are going to do, no matter how their state votes, and they’ll be there, and they have something in common. They’ve all won elections. And so when Obama overtook Hillary Clinton in 2008, the sign of it was the superdelegates began to peel off. And my own view is that Hillary Clinton is probably going to beat Bernie Sanders, because good Lord, but if he doesn’t, I think that their superdelegates might do something, you know, pick Joe Biden or something. And the Republicans don’t have that, see? Every one, every delegate at the Republican convention, is bound to vote on the first ballot for the person their state rules require. And so if nobody under those rules has a majority, we know it’s going to a second ballot, and then very many of them are released on a second ballot.

HH: Right, right.

LA: And so wow.

HH: And that means about 2,600 Twitter accounts become very, very important, because everyone becomes that man or woman who is dealable. And we all have ambitions, and we all have egos, and we all have erogenous zones that can be stroked one way or the other. And so all of a sudden, it’s a nightmare if it goes that far. Let’s back up a little bit, though, and talk about Iowa. I was in Des Moines on Saturday and Sunday, and on Sunday, I was freezing on the steps or the balcony of the Department of Justice overlooking the Des Moines Statehouse, beautiful. Jake Tapper was the host of the CNN State of the Union on which I was a participant, and he went to this, he went to this segment where he wanted to get everybody’s predictions. He wanted to have everybody, you know, weigh in. And so first, he started with Brian Schweitzer, who was the governor of Montana, and then he came to me and said Hugh…

JT: Welcome back to State of the Union. I’m Jake Tapper. We’re live in Des Moines. The panel’s back now to give their final predictions on who’s going to win the coveted Iowa Caucuses tomorrow evening.

HH: Ted wins the Republicans, Donald comes in second, but Marco Rubio is a very close third.

JT: Interesting.

HH: Not interesting, Larry, 100% accurate. And I have been a bit obnoxious in replaying this, oh, 40 or 50 times this week to remind people that I was 100% correct. But I laid that down to the fact that the people running the Cruz campaign, especially John Drogin and Josh Perry, and Joe, their campaign manager, are practitioners of the dark arts on social media. They really know how to glue themselves to voters. I don’t know if it scales in New Hampshire, but that’s what I put it down to. In New Hampshire, Donald Trump’s campaign manager ran Americans For Prosperity. Cory knows New Hampshire like anybody. And if you go down to South Carolina, the Rubio staff is very deep into the South Carolina weeds. They’ve got Tim Scott, who’s a very estimable man, they’ve got Trey Gowdy, they’ve got a lot of different things. What do you put Cruz’ win down to in Iowa?

LA: Well, the first thing I think, it’s not an opinion, I know that if you had said something else, you wouldn’t be playing that tape.

HH: That’s true. (laughing)

LA: (laughing) But, well, you know, the Iowa Caucuses, they’re different from the Republicans to the Democrats, and they’re even more weird for the Democrats, but in the Republicans, it’s a show up thing. You’ve got to be there at a time to vote, and 7:00 at night. And so activists go. And Cruz has been very intense in Iowa. It was obviously his strategy that he needs to win that state. And so that had a lot to do with it.

HH: More on Iowa and the race ahead with Dr. Larry Arnn, the last man besides me who is neutral in all of this, the president of Hillsdale College. Stay tuned.

— – —- – –

HH: Dr. Arnn, when we went to break, we were talking about the Iowa Caucus. And one point that is oft overlooked, 180,000 Republicans showed up, a 50% increase over the 120,000 of 2012, which was itself an increase over the number of 100,000 in 2008. You have been saying for quite some time America is at a crisis moment. I believe a surge in participation of activists of that significance is evidence of your thesis.

LA: That’s right. The Lincoln-Douglas debates, for example, which are the proximate cause of Lincoln being nominated, were unprecedented in American history. There had never been such a thing. After they were over, there were, for the next generation, people, politicians who were always organizing Lincoln-Douglas debates, and nobody came.

HH: (laughing)

LA: And I’ll say something about Iowa. It’s not just the participation rates that rise, which they are doing rapidly. But second, the issues change. And so kudos to Ted Cruz. He went to a farmers’ conference in Iowa, which was actually organized by the big ethanol lobby, and he opposed the ethanol subsidies. And nobody, nobody, you know, I’ve driven across Iowa twice, and while I was within its bounds, I was for the ethanol subsidy.

HH: (laughing)

LA: (laughing)

HH: It’s like being part of the Borg.

LA: We stopped at what’s called the greatest, the largest truck stop on Earth, which is on the highway through Iowa, and I was afraid somebody would ask me, and I was going to tell them yeah, I love that, right?

HH: (laughing)

LA: (laughing)

HH: He could end up in a ditch by the side of the road if you’re against the ethanol…

LA: So he did that, and remember, he’s a very smart guy, and it’s obvious that his strategy is I have to win Iowa, because then we’re going up to the Northeast for the next big week, and that’s where Trump is probably strong. And so he did that despite the fact that he had to win in that state. And that’s huge, right? And it says something about him. But it also says something about what’s on the people’s mind in Iowa. And it’s something less than their direct economic interest.

HH: It’s bigger than ethanol.

LA: Yeah.

HH: And it reminds me of our series on the Lincoln-Douglas debates when Lincoln would head to southern, to Little Cairo, and give the same speech…

LA: That’s right, yeah.

HH: …that he gave up north.

LA: That’s right. That’s right. And Douglas accused him not (laughing).

HH: Yeah.

LA: So it was, that’s, so it was, the Iowa thing was riveting, and the result, you know, I’m speaking from our home in Switzerland, I will say that I want the race to reach the maximum coherence as rapidly as possible. And that means that some of the candidates should drop out. One has, I think.

HH: Three – Mike Huckabee, Rand Paul and Rick Santorum have dropped out this week. I don’t, and Carly Fiorina, I cannot, I cannot say she is dropping out for sure. Normally accessible, normally easily to reach, very difficult this week.

LA: I see. And so we need coherence in the race, right? And the three frontrunners, you can safely call them that now, are all very talented people. And we need them to argue with each other, because then we can learn, and we’ve got basically two months, let’s say, maybe three, or if you’re right, right through the convention. And the convention is early this year, right?

HH: Yes, July.

LA: So we’ve got time still to watch them work, learn from them, and about them. And Iowa was an excellent example of that.

HH: Now I also believe, and I want to know if you share this belief, on Tuesday, the three governors are going to have a play-in round. Now there’s Governors Bush, Christie and Kasich are left. They are experienced men – Governor Kasich, five years a governor, Governor Christie, six years a governor, Governor Bush, eight years a governor. They are all accomplished men. They know their way around politics. They all have, though Kasich less than Christie and Christie less than Bush, ample resources. But I think one of them has to finish in the top, one of them will finish in the top four, and that’s the one who gets to play on, although you can always carry on a spectral campaign. But you’d better be the number one governor, whether you’re one, two, three or four, to move on. Do you agree with that assessment?

LA: Likely. I was thinking today about the Florida primary, because I read that Governor Bush is doing negative advertising in Florida about Marco Rubio. And they’re both from Florida. And so that suggests, if it’s true, that his strategy is win Florida, try to eliminate Rubio. But you know, Florida is kind of late. It’s in the middle of March. So it’s possible that if he doesn’t do well here, he might not get there, I guess, although he’s got lots of money and he can go on if he pleases.

HH: It’s awfully hard to imagine finishing at 5% or less in the four races in February and the eight races on March 1st that all, and then Michigan is March 8th. Florida is a thousand miles away.

LA: Yeah.

HH: And I don’t think, it would be fair to say this, but I did say it to Jeb Bush earlier, he’s got to attack South Carolina like Sherman did. That’s really what he’s got to do. He’s got to win South Carolina.

LA: Yeah, and if you know your history, nobody ever attacked South Carolina like Sherman did (laughing)

HH: (laughing) And he’s remembered there not fondly for that, as a matter of fact. (laughing)

LA: That’s right. (laughing)

HH: Not fondly at all, and I’m probably going to get calls for that. So going back to our other two governors, Christie and Kasich, what do they present to Larry Arnn? You’ve followed them closely. Are they the same person?

LA: No, they’re, so I like, you know, it’s funny. I’m, it’s weird. It’s partly, you know, most, many things that I do in my life are done because Hugh Hewitt ropes me into them. And I’m enjoying my neutrality. And so I, and I have a soft spot for politicians if I regard them as honorable, and all the names that we’ve mentioned so far here, I know all of them. I don’t really know Christie. I’ve shaken his hand one time. But they’re good guys, right? And they’re honorable, and I wish them well in life and politics. But what is Christie represent? He’s a hard-charging, cheeky, confrontational guy. And he’s at his best when he’s like that. And of course, the wonders that he’s worked in New Jersey, which are several, that’s the skills that he brought to them. And Kasich is reasonable. He’s a serious guy, he was a hawk on the budget when he was a Congressman, and famous for that, actually became a nationally-known Congressman chairing the Budget Committee. And he’s, and you know, in the Gingrich years when the Congress was the big scene of action, as it is again today. So, and Kasich has arguments to make. Christie also has arguments to make, but he’s much more given to strong assertions.

HH: Yeah, not argument, but assertions. I’ll be right back with Dr. Larry Arnn. We’ve got to talk about Hillary. We also have to talk about Flint, which I’m going to do afterwards, because Flint is in Michigan, and I follow it somewhat closely, but not as closely as those who have to come close to drinking the water. Stay tuned, America.

— – — –

HH: But let’s go even further into the mud. Let’s talk about Flint. I spent a good two hours reading about Flint, Dr. Arnn, because it seems to me appalling that many children have been poisoned with lead, and trying to find out the cause, and it’s obscure to me, but it comes down to a series of governmental agents making bad choices. Doesn’t that have a lot to tell us about the growth of government generally?

LA: You know, I ran into former Governor Engler of Michigan, who was a very good governor, and he works in Washington now, and I ran into him the other day, and we talked about that a little bit, and he just, you know, he was a governor. He was a governor of this state. And you know, a bunch, the government is very big, and decisions are made about all kinds of things by all kinds of agencies, and it’s always all, every big thing is mixed up – state, federal and local.

HH: Yes.

LA: And so the first step is you’ve got to try to find out who did what. And that’s very hard. I read this morning the FBI is opening an investigation into this thing, you know? So maybe somebody’s committed a crime, and maybe it’s somebody who works for the government at some level. And yeah, there are high levels of lead in blood samples taken from children, and that’s very dangerous.

HH: Well, and you just hit on it. When I dive into something for a couple of hours, I expect to come up with an organization chart and an actor about whom I can be relatively certain is primarily responsible. But this is such a mess of government agencies – decisions, counter-decisions, third party interventions, emergency management appointments, department of health and environmental services in Michigan, the EPA, the city of Detroit water district, the city of Flint water district. It is a mass of government.

LA: Yeah, and gracious sakes, you know? And they all are required by complex laws to cooperate with each other. And of course, they also have their controversies with one another. And so you know, many agencies, federal and state, are acting to aid Flint. And the Governor’s appeal for federal emergency relief, and they have changed the water supply from one source to a different source, and that may be the cause, and that might have been a negligent decision. And so it’s, Governor Engler mentioned to me that they tested the water, but that there was something in it that the regular tests don’t disclose. And so wow.

HH: Wow. And the other thing I have to tell you is not long after doing this, Attorney General Scott Pruitt of the great state of Oklahoma was in my studio, and we spent a fair amount of time talking about the prairie chicken. You and I became friends talking about the Stevens Kangaroo Rat. And I informed him that I would plead with attorneys general to please sue on a takings ground on the theory that the animals belonged to whomever’s land they are on. That’s old English common law. And the federal government can’t take the animals, because they want the animals without paying for them, and his eyebrows shot up. I said yes, it’s an old concept of law, but you can’t beat them on the administrative procedures act. But we go from the prairie chicken in Oklahoma to the water in Flint, and it’s still the government everywhere doing everything.

LA: It’s everywhere, and multiple levels of government, and that makes complication. And look, things like this, you know, I, too, I hear it on the radio every day, I, too, don’t know what has happened, and I don’t think anybody else does. But the complication of sorting it out has to do with such an overlapping series of responsibilities at various levels.

HH: Do you know that the biggest job now coming up is that of special master. When things get so complicated, my law firm has a federal judge in it, Stephen Larson, and his biggest source of work is being appointed a special master by courts to go and figure out what the hell happened, because it becomes so damn complicated.

LA: Yeah, that’s right. And that’s, you know, I mean, gosh, there was, the courts once appointed a special master in Kansas City, Missouri to take over the whole school system with the power to raise rates, taxes.

HH: Oh, that was unconstitutional. Yes, I remember that.

LA: Yeah, and that was struck down.

HH: Yeah.

LA: But I will tell you, think about that for a minute. When the government is complex and paralyzed, the only solution seems to be to appoint somebody with massive authority.

HH: That was the Roman way, by the way, the dictator who would serve for six months in that position, and it did not have the nefarious attachment. The dictator came in and he just was in charge of everything.

LA: That’s right.

HH: I’ll be back. One more segment with Dr. Arnn. We have to talk about Hillary Clinton and the question of the week. Is she O.J., or is she Madoff? And by that, I mean O.J. was guilty, but did not go to jail. Madoff was guilty, and he did go to jail. Does Dr. Arnn think Hillary is guilty and whether or not she will go to jail. Stay tuned, it’s the Hugh Hewitt Show.

— – — –

HH: Dr. Arnn, it is not easy to shock veteran television hosts, but Don Lemon was kind enough to have me as his guest on Tuesday night on CNN, and I said to him I believe Hillary Clinton is a felon. And his mouth kind of dropped open, and he said isn’t that harsh? And I said no, it’s not harsh, and it’s not wrong to conclude that. It doesn’t mean she’s indicted or convicted. It just means that I have a belief that she broke the law. And then I asked him do you think O.J. Simpson was guilty? And of course, he wasn’t convicted, but I think he was guilty. And do you think Bernie Madoff was convicted. People make judgments about guilt and innocence all the time without procedurals. So I want to ask you, do you think that Hillary is going to end up O.J., guilty and non-incarcerated for the first event, or like Madoff, guilty and incarcerated, or do you judge her not to be guilty at all?

LA: Well, you know, of course, what do I know?

HH: A lot.

LA: Yeah, okay, I think it is known that she had her emails on a private server, which one is not to do, and that among those emails were classified documents, which especially one is not to do. I think she did those things. I even think that there’s something close to an admission that those things did, that happened. And it’s just one of those, because I can’t see why, what did she get for that? I mean, it’s true that after the scandal arose, and she was asked to produce emails, that she deleted very many.

HH: 30,000.

LA: …emails. And she claims that those were ones that didn’t have to do with the public business. Is that why she took this thing that turns out to be an incredible risk and a no-no? And it makes you wonder what’s in those emails. But above all, what it looks like right now is incredibly foolish, and indeed a breach of the law.

HH: Now former Secretary of Defense Gates told me on this show last week that he’s very concerned about the server, and that there was a high degree of probability that the Russians had breached it. The former acting director of the CIA, Mike Morell, who was with President Bush on 9/11, and was with President Obama when Osama bin Laden was killed, and was in London on 7/7, I asked him do you agree that this server was penetrated by our enemies, and he said yup, that’s a direct quote.

LA: Oh, wow.

HH: And so then we discover the President exchanged emails with this contaminated server, which means that the bad guys probably could have penetrated the President’s email. In other words, it’s a horrific national security problem, and it’s got nothing to do with not liking Hillary politically. I try and persuade people that, they don’t believe me. But Gates and Morell are just not partisans. This is a national security problem. How can she remain in the race? Marco Rubio makes an impassioned statement she’s disqualified. Chris Christie echoes it. I believe it to be true. But do you think the American people do?

LA: Well, you know, we’re about to find out.

HH: Yeah.

LA: And so, and think where they are, right? So they’ve got her and Bernie Sanders, and this is not, like how does impeachment work for the President? It’s a very interesting thing that a president has never been successfully impeached. Nixon resigned before he was impeached. Judges are impeached regularly. But impeachment, because it involves the removal of a Constitutional officer, has to be both a political and a legal series of steps. And Hillary is running for the presidency, and leading in her party, and she’s up against a guy to my way of thinking is entirely unsuitable, both by conviction and experience. And so what are they going to do if she’s indicted? And they don’t have the impeachment thing to fix the problem right now. If they decide to indict her, and there have been vibrations from the FBI that are not great….

HH: Yup.

LA: Then they’re just indicting a private citizen. And so it could happen. And then what become of the race? Well, I think maybe Joe Biden enters the race, and the superdelegates all go for him. But what do I know?

HH: Well, it’s also possible that Bernie Sanders represents the evolution of American political thought on the left trends towards the full Sweden model, and Bernie Sanders is that.

LA: Yeah, well, he is, but also, I mean, I read a story today, and I’m not vouching for the truth of it, what if it turns out to be true, that the only paying job he’s ever held in his life was working for the government, and he didn’t get one until late in his life. I mean, you know, 40 years old is what this article says. And the guy’s a graduate of the University of Chicago, so what, is that a qualification to be president of the United States?

HH: Of course, he is not qualified to be president. He is a, he is a political theorist of the worst sort.

LA: Yeah.

HH: He’s a Port Huron statement leftist from the days of Woodstock. It’s a revival of Woodstockians having a last hoorah combined with the innocence of youth.

LA: See, there’s a really good slam on him in the Washington Post the other day, and you know, that means they’re hostile to them, they, the Washington Post, are hostile to him.

HH: Right.

LA: And so that means very many in the Democratic Party are hostile to him, and I’m not saying the Washington Post is entirely a creature of the Democratic Party, but it leans that way. And so wow, I mean, you know, our race is an exciting, riveting mess. And their race is just a mess. (laughing)

HH: Last word. I have not asked you about Senator Rubio and his surprise third place finish. We have two minutes. What do you put that down to?

LA: Well, he’s a really talented guy, and he’s an inspiring guy in many ways, and in very important ways, and you know, he’s attractive. You know, I can say lots of negative things about each of the ones who are remaining, but there’s real excellence in them. And Donald Trump’s is a curious kind of excellence, but he wrote a beautiful article in the Reno, Nevada paper this week about the Bureau of Land Management, which evinced an understanding of what has gone wrong with the Constitution, and why bureaucratic government is wrong, and how to fix it.

HH: He’s a developer. He knows bureaucratic government.

LA: Yeah.

HH: I don’t know about foreign affairs and things like that. He’s learning, but he knows bureaucratic, because he’s had to build things in Manhattan.

LA: And you know, Rubio and Cruz, and Rubio, so we’re talking about Rubio, Rubio says things that are astonishingly insightful and well put.

HH: And on that note, Dr. Larry Arnn, we’ll return to Churchill next week, unless we don’t, my friend. Always a pleasure., all things Thank you, America.

End of interview.


Listen Commercial FREE  |  On-Demand
Login Join
Book Hugh Hewitt as a speaker for your meeting

Follow Hugh Hewitt

Listen to the show on your amazon echo devices

The Hugh Hewitt Show - Mobile App

Download from App Store Get it on Google play
Friends and Allies of Rome