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Dr. Matt Spalding’s Hillsdale Dialogue on Whether the Senate Takes Up Obamacare Repeal/Replace

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HH: It’s the last radio hour of the week, which means it’s time for the Hillsdale Dialogue. This week, not Dr. Larry Arnn, he is still floating around the Baltic, but again, Dr. Matthew Spalding, with whom we have been having great fun the last few weeks. He is the director of the Kirby Center, Hillsdale College’s lantern in the light of the Capitol sending forth sweet reason and truth to the members, and boy, do I hope they listen this week. Matt Spalding, you have picked a good time to be here, because everything is going to happen next week on the health care bill.

MS: No, no, this is a great, this is a great example. I mean, we can get into the details, but in just thinking more broadly for a moment here, this is a great example of how politics works. You’ve been talking about going into the Constitutional Convention. The Convention was a grand compromise. It was messy. All sorts of side deals were made. But the outcome, the structural outcome, created this great thing called the U.S. Constitution. That’s how politics works. We’re seeing it in front of us, and I can’t get over how some people don’t see what’s happening. This is actually a very interesting, and I think positive move here in terms of how they’re trying to deal with an extremely difficult problem, namely this Obamacare behemoth. How do you move it? How do you change it? How do you put things into it that structurally gets it to somewhere else? That’s what I think is going on, and yet people are looking at it in a very small ball way, I think.

HH: And I want to talk about the big picture.

MS: Happy Bastille Day, by the way.

HH: But I also want to talk to you…oh, yes, Happy Bastille Day. I will play for you, by the way, in segment three, some of President Trump’s comments from France. He had a very productive visit to France.

MS: Good.

HH: But I want to start with the idea that some Republicans are saying they may not even vote to move to proceed to debate the amendment. This strikes me as an abdication of their Article I responsibilities. They are sent there to debate and vote. And Senator Collins and Senator Paul have said they will not move to a debate, which just strikes me as astonishingly cowardly. What do you think, Matt Spalding?

MS: No, I agree. I mean, so much of how Congress works today, and this isn’t particular, but in general, is legislators who have a, have taken, have a Constitutional obligation to legislate, as you said, to carry out their duties as the lawmaking branch, hide behind procedural things. I mean, the fact of the matter is this whole thing is being done through reconciliation. There are, you know, ways in which this is being crafted that are imperfect, but usually use as ways to either get something through or get around something. But the one, the main one right here is that they won’t even get to a vote, to get to a debate to talk about it. And there will be, once it gets up to a debate, there are going to be amendments. At some point, McConnell will have a substitute bill. There will be additional changes. And so if they have objections, that’s their opportunity to make those objections known to deliberate, which is, you know, the Senate is the greatest deliberative body in the world, to deliberate, debate and vote, and come up with legislation.

HH: It was the greatest deliberative body in the world. Honestly, I am so stunned by the idea that they wouldn’t proceed to debate. I’ve been talking about it non-stop for two days. If Susan Collins doesn’t like the bill, and doesn’t like the fact that it isn’t bipartisan, she can offer an amendment to return under the rules of reconciliation in two weeks after eight senators – four Republicans and four Democrats, have proposed an alternative under the rules of reconciliation. She can try that. Rand Paul can offer a complete repeal amendment. They can all try…

MS: Right.

HH: …within the rules of reconciliation to move the bill. But to run away is, I think, going to leave a mark.

MS: No, I think this is a terrible mark, and the disaster here is if this thing collapses, not just for the Obamacare problem but for everything else, this would definitively prove that Congress is dysfunctional and unable to legislate. What does that mean for Congress passing legislation? What does that mean for the agenda of this president? What does it mean for upcoming midterm elections? And this moment, this door that’s slightly ajar, will be closed. And I don’t think they quite realize that.

HH: And so, well, that’s the, I talked with Lanhee Chen. I talked with John Dickerson, you know, two very different people in the roles that they play. Both agree on the political consequences of refusing to debate, which is disaster for the party and complete disaster for the individuals who vote no. Now if you’re John McCain at 80 years old, you may not give a damn. And if you’re Rand Paul and you don’t care, you may not give a damn. But Susan Collins wants to be governor of Maine. And all these Mainers tell me oh, we’re different up here, we won’t mind. I think they fundamentally don’t get the idea of reversing a senator who has many times voted to repeal Obamacare, what that says about the individual who does not proceed to debate.

MS: Well, I think she wants to run for governor, but with the comments I’ve seen, she also wants to have this collapse so they can open up a discussion with the Democratic Party and start with a whole new bipartisan approach. I think that’s what she thinks is the way she’s going to preserve her political position and run for governor. I just don’t see it, but you know, she’s a harder case. I think Rand Paul’s a very hard case. Heller’s actually shown some movement in his comments lately. They just need to pick up one of those, one of those. I think the other guys are in pretty good shape.

HH: Well, I don’t know about McCain. McCain made some comments last night. Dean Heller’s done. I mean, this was the easiest conversion. He took a look at the fact that 14 out of 17 counties have no alternative on the exchanges. He took a look at the fact you can’t lose 25-30% of the Republicans and win. And I think Susan Collins needs to hear from her constituents. They all do. But I think Shelley Moore Capito will vote to open debate. I think Lisa Murkowski will vote to open debate.

MS: Yeah, yeah.

HH: I believe Rob Portman will.

MS: Portman, yeah.

HH: It’s really McCain, Collins and Rand Paul. So let’s talk about Rand Paul. You know Rand Paul, right?

MS: Yeah.

HH: Why wouldn’t you move to debate?

MS: No, he’s…well, I, you know, look. This is the classic dilemma of a guy like Rand Paul. And you see there’s differences between his father and him as he’s trying to craft a viable political libertarian argument that has political legs to it. But he’s, I think he’s worried about two things. One is he sees this as an insurance bailout superfund, he says. It’s throwing a bunch of money into propping up markets. And this is cronyism at its worst. Although he then says he’s not opposed to an imperfect bill, and if it were simply an imperfect bill, he would vote for it. It’s kind of an odd position. And what I don’t see that he understands is that the way this bill is currently crafted, especially with this Cruz amendment, is that it changes the dynamics of how this actually operates. It shifts a lot of the market down to the state level, and it opens that up so you now have states will offer some that are Obamacare type plans, they’ll have to offer one, but they’ll offer some, and then market plans. And you open it up, and you’ve got a free market competition. And that’s going to play out and change the structure of how this works, which means from Rand Paul’s point of view, you’re looking at a shift away from Hayek’s Fatal Conceit of Planning, central planning, down to a more kind of market force at the state level. And I don’t see why he doesn’t see that.

HH: I don’t, either, unless he walks out and votes to proceed and having, and then says ha ha to the Hugh Hewitts and the skeptics of the world. I’m not quite sure I’m going to call Matthew Spalding a skeptic of the world, because you get along with Rand Paul. But he’s going to say a-ha, you guys all got played by me. I got exactly what I wanted – maximum airtime, and we proceeded to debate and I’ll make my arguments knowing I’m central to this. I mean, he could be doing that, and I would happy to be played by Rand Paul. But I don’t think he’s doing that.

MS: No.

HH: It’s like a castle, it’s like Rapunzel in the castle. No one can climb the hair. No one can get into that head. It’s like there is no logic there.

MS: No, that’s right. So he’s said that on the one hand, he’s willing to support legislation that’s a step in the right direction. This clearly is, and I think in a much more fundamental way than it was previously, and I think it actually turns the structure greatly in the favor of free markets. But what he seems to be most opposed to is this, you know, essentially stabilization fund to help deal with people with preexisting conditions and what not in those insurance markets. But that’s a one-time thing. That’s a fund of money. But you’re getting the structural changes, and that, the distinction between fundamental structural change, which plays out over time in his favor, and the spending pieces that he doesn’t like, and that’s fine, I don’t necessarily like them, either. But that’s a cost, right? Those things are put in there, I think, for practical reasons. They’re going to work for practical reasons. They’re going to, also getting some extra votes. But the structural changes, if you’re looking at it from a legislator’s point of view, and you’re trying to change something that’s going to play out, it’s there. It’s there for him to see.

HH: I’ll be right back with Matthew Spalding, director of the Kirby Center of Hillsdale College. All things Hillsdale available at www.hillsdale.edu. Go over and sign up for Imprimis. All of our conversations on matters large and eternal are found at www.hughforhillsdale.com. Stay tuned, America.

— – – – – –

HH: Before I move to Donald Trump next segment, Dr. Spalding, I want to ask you about DACA. What is the news on that front?

MS: Well, I think something interesting is happening there as well. So Secretary Kelly has told the Hispanic, Congressional Hispanic Caucus that this thing’s not defendable. As you know, that, so Texas is threatening to sue to, they already brought down DAPA, and they’re going to get rid of DACA, which is the Delayed Action for Children who were brought here at a certain age. And Kelly has told them that look, unless Congress does something, this thing’s going down, and we’re not going to defend it. What I think it is interesting about that is that that sets up a great possibility of yet again Congress doing something and using that leverage to get something else, potentially a great compromise. You could put together some legislation on DACA, but in turn, getting something else for it, maybe some border security and E-Verify. This is another great example of how Congress could be in the middle of this doing some good.

HH: They could go big. I argued for this in The Fourth Way…

MS: That’s right.

HH: …that immigration offers the opportunity to go big. If you put, and by the way, not just DACA, if you put regularization for the vast majority of people in the country without permission, and say if you are not, you know, an MS-13 gang member, if you haven’t been arrested, if you can produce evidence of work habit and non-dependency on governmental benefits, we will approve you a purple card. We won’t let you vote, but we’re going to let you stay here. You can get a lot out of the Democrats at the same time. I mean, you can do a big deal.

MS: So that’s right. So the circumstances are set up, however, to get that started, right? We, there’s a lack of trust. You need to rebuild that trust. So here’s a situation where you’ve got something that they really want. The courts, pretty clearly, are going to throw this thing out. The administration is not going to defend it. But hey, we’re willing to work with you. That’s your first deal, gets that on the road to go. I think that’s a classic example of how the legislature can fix this situation. And you’ve got a president, a Congress and a court system who’s going to be on the sidelines pushing in that direction.

HH: I am encouraged, Matt Spalding, that Senator McConnell has extended the Senate session two weeks, and the House Freedom Caucus is urging the Speaker to stay here as well. They’ve got to get some work done.

MS: No, that’s right, especially on all the appointments, and especially these judicial appointments. I think that’s what’s driving this. I suppose the health care will maybe linger as well. But they’ve got, what, they’ve made 30 judicial nominees out there, nominations, and they’ve got 120 vacancies? They just put up a dozen or so yesterday, including a Hillsdale graduate, by the way. I don’t know if you know that or not.

HH: Oh, who got nominated yesterday? I didn’t see that. Did they put out some court nominees?

MS: No, they put out ten names. One was Tom Farr from North Carolina, who is a 1970s Hillsdale grad.

HH: I’m looking at district court judges, district court judges, district judges…

MS: Yeah.

HH: District court judges, district court, district court, no circuit court. I am perplexed, Matthew. There are 15 or 16 vacancies for which no nominee exists on the circuit courts. They are akin to God, right, because the Supreme Court only takes 90 cases a year, maybe 100 on a big year. The circuit courts decides the law of the United States. And the Trump administration is frozen. What is the deal?

MS: Yeah, I, you know, the people over there who are doing this are good people. I don’t know. It’s perplexing. And it’s not the Senate that’s the holdup at this point on those. They’ve got to get the names over. I know they’re vetting people. They’re looking at people, but gosh, it’s hard to find out what the holdup is. But I…

HH: I am told that the blue slips…

MS: …can’t imagine they don’t see the significance of these nominations.

HH: I am told that not one Democratic senator has returned one blue slip on one judge, which I think is going to lead Senator Grassley to destroy the blue slip process.

MS: Yeah, yeah. And again, that’s one of these, it’s not a rule. It’s not necessarily, you know, it’s not a law. It’s merely a tradition where you respect the nominations in states where those senators are. But they’re clearly using it to obstruct completely, and that’s got to go.

HH: Obstruct. And they’ve just got to throw it out. It’s not Constitutional, it’s anti-Constitutional. I’ll be right back with Dr. Matthew Spalding.

— – – — – – –

HH: Dr. Spalding, a couple of headlines. The terrorist attack in Israel today killed two Israeli policemen, although al Jazeera is reporting it breaking, at least three Palestinians killed in an altercation with Israeli police in Jerusalem’s old city. You know, that’s fake news when terrorists attack police and the police kill the terrorists, and then al Jazeera US says three Palestinians killed in an altercation with Israeli police. That’s just fake news, isn’t it?

MS: It’s how they’re being played in terms of how the response…absolutely. I mean, we’ve got to get good information as to what is actually going on in these places. And gee whiz, it sounds like the Israelis are still on top of things.

HH: And last night, five people were attacked with acid attacks in Great Britain. No word, yet, whether the perpetrators were terrorists, but what do you think? What’s your guess?

MS: Highly likely. I mean, I look at a lot of these things as, you remember the patterns. These patterns go all the way back historically. Often times, groups do things to test your security. So they’re not necessarily a big attack, but they’re something to see whether they can get away with it, whether this will work, whether this could be done. And so I look at a lot of these smaller things with that in mind. The reaction shouldn’t be oh, that was only one or two people, so therefore it’s not a terrorist act. The rationale should be is this someone testing our security.

HH: When I read the Telegraph story, the number of acid attacks in London is so extraordinarily high, it’s just, it’s really remarkable, 600 this year.

MS: Wow.

HH: 600 acid attacks in London. Who knew? Let me go to Donald Trump, the President in France. By the way, are you surprised that President Macron and Donald Trump are getting along so well?

MS: Yes and no. On the one hand, he’s this kind of anti-Trump figure. He was said to kind of have stopped the Brexit movement with his election. But in an odd way, I think Trump and Macron have a lot to talk about and work on, right? Merkel is so vehemently anti-Trump, she’s not an option. May is weakened. Where do you turn for a European ally you can have some conversations with? The fact that they’ve both downplayed their difference, I think, is fascinating, because it opens up that this potentially could be a very important relationship for the Trump administration’s relations with Western Europe.

HH: All right, let’s go then to what the President had to say, a few things. He held a joint press conference. There was a lot of the ordinary we love France, France loves us by both presidents, but then they got some questions. Here’s cut number 5:

DT: One of the great things that came out of that meeting, by the way, even though it’s not part of the question, was the fact that we got a ceasefire that now has lasted for, I guess, Mr. President, almost five days. And while five days doesn’t sound like a long period of time, in terms of a ceasefire in Syria, that’s a very long period of time. And that was the result of having communication with a country. So during that five day period, a lot of lives have been saved. A lot of people were not killed. No shots have been fired in a very, very dangerous part of the world, and this is one of the most dangerous parts of Syria itself. So by having some communication and dialogue, we were able to have a ceasefire, and it’s going to go on for a while. And frankly, we’re working on a second ceasefire in a very rough part of Syria. And if we get that, and a few more, all of a sudden you’re going to have no bullets being fired in Syria. And that would be a wonderful thing.

HH: Now Matt Spalding, this brings up the Tucker Carlson-Max Boot exchange. Have you seen that?

MS: No, I’ve not. What are they going after?

HH: Oh, it was quite the incendiary toss down between Tucker and Max, both of whom are friends of this show.

MS: Right.

HH: I know them both, and they’re both very smart.

MS: Yeah.

HH: And they got into it two nights ago in a pretty hammer throwing, brick lobbing way over whether or not Republicans who understand Donald Trump as meeting with Vladimir Putin out of geopolitical necessity are sufficiently denunciatory, if that’s a word, of Putin’s evil. Now I’m always very comfortable saying he’s a sinister, evil man. But FDR met with Stalin. Nixon met with Brezhnev and Mao. They’re all mass murderers. Reagan met with Gorbachev, not quite the same mass murderer, but an instrument of oppression for hundreds of millions of people. Sometimes, you’ve got to meet with sinister people. And I think you can have it both ways here, that you sometimes have to deal with the Devil, but to use the old saying, you’ve got to sup with a very long spoon.

MS: No, that’s right. But part of that, I think, and this administration is only learning how to do this, and I think needs to do a better job, is how you talk about it, right? I mean, you’re right in pointing out those historical examples of people meeting with Stalin and their like, but they were careful in what they said and how they said it, and how they explained it. I think the way it works is you can have a stronger, very clear picture what our interest are in having those conversations, where we’re going, what’s going on, and why we’re doing it. You know, you can back down and say more, kind of moderate some of your rhetoric against them, but you can’t not say anything. And I think that that just causes a lot more confusion. I mean, think about how Reagan talked about it, or how Churchill talked about, or even FDR in some of his better statements. I mean, they still point out that these guys are problematic.

HH: I remember Churchill saying, yeah, that if the Devil invaded Germany, he would find the occasion for two kind words on the floor of Parliament.

MS: That’s right. But that still meant it was the Devil.

HH: Yeah, but it still meant it was the Devil.

MS: Right. Exactly. So…

HH: And so that is, how would you phrase it? How would you put it? How would you advise Team Trump to make sure that they are communicating clearly that while they must do negotiations with Russia, it is our preeminent geopolitical enemy?

MS: Well, they still, they could do some small things as well. I mean, it’s the same thing with the conversations with the Chinese. They should point out various things for which there are sanctions, human rights abuses, things around the, that are central to what we see as problematic, examples of how they are despotic. You should always point those out. You shouldn’t let those fall by the wayside. And I think that’s what bothers people like the Chinese and Russians so much when you point those things out. But just be clear about why you’re talking to this person, what’s going on here. He wants to change the relationship, how we look at other nations, including Russia. He needs to talk about that more and walk people through it. He’s trying to transition from this world in which we had essentially the Cold War view of the Soviets to this view of Russia for its nuance in the sense that Russia is still a strategic threat. They’re still problematic. Putin is still a dastardly fellow. Yet we’re a big nation. We have a lot of interests, and we’ve got to figure out how to operate in the world. That’s not something we have great examples, at least in the modern era, of being able to talk about it. And he’s going into this without a lot of experience himself, but also in a way that thinkers in strategic matters on both the left and right aren’t normally versed in talking.

HH: Now breaking news at this hour, Matthew Spalding, the Russian lawyer from NBC News, the Russian lawyer who met with the Trump team after a promise of compromising material on Hillary Clinton was accompanied by a Russian-American lobbyist, a former Soviet counterintelligence officer who is suspected by some U.S. officials of having ongoing ties to Russian intelligence. NBC News is not naming the lobbyist who denies any current ties to the Russian spy agency. He accompanied the lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya, to the June, 2016 meeting at Trump Tower. The Russian-born American lobbyist served in the Soviet military, emigrated to the U.S. where he holds dual citizenship, another rift on the Donald Trump, Jr. story. What do you make of the rift? What do you make of the story?

MS: Well, this is all a mess, to say the least. I think there are a couple of ways to read this. One is we know that the Russians have strategic interests. They have for a long time. Putin has had one of his, as one of his top objectives to get rid of the sanctions that are in the Magnitsky Act. They’ve been trying to do that, they were doing it before this election cycle. There’s a piece out recently that Dana Rohrabacher, the Congressman from California, had been approached by people wanting to have these exact same conversations, and he had them, as were other members of Congress even before this. So the Russians were clearly going after their own strategic interests. I think in the heat of the campaign, I think Trump, Jr. and Kushner and Manifort jumped on this. They’re doing opposition research. It turned out they weren’t given them any. The Russians were pursuing their strategic interests about that sanction. And I think this has become a much bigger mess. I think there was some back and forth going on in terms of wanting to get that opposition research, but you know, other than the Russians going after what they wanted, I still don’t see an underlying legality or a law being violated here that’s the root of what the left wants to be in terms of going towards their patter towards impeachment.

HH: There are some allegations of cooperation with an espionage effort directed at America, but those are focused at Jared Kushner and the data set. The Don Trump, Jr. meeting simply does not violate any criminal statutes of which I am aware, unless he has lied about it under oath to a federal official.

MS: Right.

HH: And so, or not even under oath if you’re under investigation. So there’s 18USC1001. More will come out on all of these things. My view is, Matthew Spalding, everyone ought to dump everything out about every meeting with everyone from…

MS: Yeah, absolutely.

HH: And just put it out there and see what comes up, and be prepared to be truthful under oath to everyone.

MS: No, I completely agree. That’s the best answer to this, is in all of these scandals, and I’m use that, I’m using orphan quotes here, right? It’s not the facts that destroy people. It’s usually the way it’s played out and how it’s milked and what it becomes. And people tend to then say things later that aren’t consistent with the earlier facts. And they get in trouble for that. I mean, that’s, you know, historically always the political problem, and that’s why this is a real political problem for them.

HH: And you went to the end game.

MS: They need to get these off the table and get back to business.

HH: Yeah, the end game is impeachment.

MS: Right.

HH: And if the House flips because the Senate doesn’t vote on Obamacare, and we’ll come back to that in our last segment, if the House flips, they will impeach Donald Trump. That doesn’t mean remove. That requires two-thirds of the Senate to remove. But the House simply requires a simple majority. They will impeach.

MS: Absolutely. Absolutely. And the circumstances are now set up, even though I think some don’t want to have this happen in the Democratic Party, but this election, this midterm election, will be an impeachment election. This will be an issue. We’ve got to flip the House in order to do that. And this will play out, and I’m not sure it necessarily will play to the Democrats’ advantage.

HH: I don’t know, either, but I know that that is exactly what they plan on doing.

MS: Yeah.

HH: They’re going to campaign on impeachment.

MS: Yeah.

HH: And if they win, they will impeach Donald Trump. And what will that do to the politics of America, do you think, 30 seconds?

MS: Oh, I think it’ll just divide it and make it riven even more than it was. This now becomes a way to go after presidents. But it again shows the weakness of Congress. This is going to be an attack on the executive, and this is now going to be the pattern. It was done for one, it’ll be done for the other. I think the rule of law continues on its road to collapse.

HH: Don’t go anywhere. I’ll be back to conclude this very important penultimate week of the health care debate with Matthew Spalding. Stay tuned.

— – — —

HH: I want to conclude where we began, Matt Spalding. Next week has a vote on two votes. The first vote will be to proceed to debate on the Senate GOP health care bill. If that is yes, that required 50 Senate yes votes, and Mike Pence, then they will move through an amendment process called voterama, and it will go on and on. I pointed out on Twitter earlier today the consequences of a no vote on the motion to proceed, end of careers for Senate GOP who vote no. They would own Obamacare, never forgotten. Do you agree?

MS: I agree. I think if they fail to even proceed, this is probably going to be the end of Republicans’ control of Congress. And from there, it just spins out, and I don’t know where this party goes.

HH: And expand on that, why you believe that, because there may be one or more, I’ve posted by the way all of the phone numbers of the senators who are on the fence about voting yes to proceed, and their Twitter handles at Hughhewitt.com, and my conversation with Lanhee Chen and John Dickerson, two very different people from Matt Spalding, we all agree the same thing. Why would any consultant advise otherwise, Matt Spalding?

MS: Well, I mean, look. You have to back up into the broader debate between left and right, political parties, from the Obamacare administration to this administration. This was chosen as the first thing out of the gate, a key promise for several elections, numerous votes in Congress, to repeal and then replace Obamacare. This is a defining moment for the direction, the new direction of a Republican Party in terms of what it wants to do, how it wants to go after the modern state, how it wants to begin its reforms. To that, you can add that this is a first step necessary to then move onto tax reform and other big things that are the key to this agenda generally, but of this administration in particular. But in a larger sense, if they can’t get this through, and it’s very susceptible to the types of negotiations we’re seeing going on right now. This is a very reasonable piece of legislation. It does a lot of very great things in it. It still has in the repeal of the employer mandate and the individual mandate. It still changes Medicaid from an entitlement, and now it adds this new dynamic which it creates a state federalism competition. This is a good movement forward in terms of legislation. If they can’t do this with a majority, and ways to work as a majority, how can they legislate at all? And the conclusion that an observer makes is that a Republican majority in control of Congress and the presidency can’t govern. And that’s a devastating blow to their future, because once they’ve not gotten past this gate, I can tell you the Democratic Party, the opposition, they’re not looking for a great way to begin negotiations on how to make good legislation. They’re looking at the midterms, and they’re looking at the next presidential election. They’re out for a big political battle, and we will see that battle. And in that battle, the Republicans have nothing to show for it. So I think they’re digging their own grave.

HH: They are digging their own grave. Do you think they will do so?

MS: It’s a hard call. I think there’s got to be a lot of pressure on these people to not only see the particulars, but to see the larger picture about what’s going on. This is a moment where I mean, I think the Senate in particular for a long time now, they’ve been able to get around hard votes. They’ve been able to put things off. They’ve not been put in this spot. They’re now put in this spot, which means they’ve got to make hard, hard decisions, and the duty of people like us, and people who are interested in these broader themes of American politics and history, is to constantly elevate the discussion so they understand what is going on here from a larger perspective, and they can understand and make those particulars circumstantial decisions in light of a larger principal understanding of things. And so you named the particular senators. They’ve got to have those conversations.

HH: If we go to that larger, higher level, and I’ve urged everyone when they call or email or tweet these senators to be persuasive, not profane, to be reasonable, not vulgar…

MS: Right.

HH: …to try and say this matters a great deal, to engage in the process. For senators in the greatest deliberative body in the world to deliberate in public on the floor about actual proposals, they’ve got to bring it up to do this, Matt Spalding. It’s an abdication to run away.

MS: No, absolutely, and they’re hiding behind that, and they need to move forward. Look, the problem with, on one side of the equation, you have the argument that the problem of the perfect is the enemy of the good, right? The Rand Pauls of the world and other conservatives need to realize that. You can’t make everything perfect from the get-go. And if it’s not perfect, you can’t even go into the sandbox. That argument doesn’t work. From the other side, however, they’re willing to work with imperfect things. They do quite often, as a matter of fact. But they’re not even willing to have that conversation and get into that debate. Deliberation, debate, legislating, that’s what Congress does. That’s their Constitutional duty. That’s what Article I means. Let’s see it. Let’s play this out.

HH: Let’s hope you are right. Thank you so much, Matt Spalding of Hillsdale College’s Kirby Center. All things Hillsdale at www.hillsdale.edu, all of the updates on the debate next week will be here on the Hugh Hewitt Show.

End of interview.

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Friends and Allies of Rome