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Hugh Hewitt Book Club

LIbertyfest at Hillsdale College and Romney’s Big Bump

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I m broadcasting today from Hillsdale College, asking the students here (and any college or high school student across the country) why liberty matters to them and to illustrate their conviction with a quote about liberty. The program is live from 6 to 9 PM, and the call-in number is the usual: 1-800-520-1234. It is tough to keep up with Hillsdale students on such matters, but my friends at Biola, Cal Baptist, Cedarville, Chapman, Westmont, and William Jessup and elsewhere I have visited and broadcast from over the years plus the homeschooling legion may give them a run. My co-hosts for the day, Hillsdale president Larry Arnn and Dr. John Templeton will join me in selecting the best student entry, and the home field advnatage won’t be too pronounced.

As we wait for new polling data to illustrate the extent of the damage done by the country’s exposure to President Obama’s inept command of arguments and issues, and especially as we wait for Thursday’s debate between Vice President Biden and Congressman Paul Ryan, Michael Barone provides a very useful summary of the state of play post-debate.

I think Michael is conservative in stating the amount of damage the president inflicted on himself with the terrible performance last week, even if the president comes back and turns in reasonable displays in the next two meetings. An already troubled country glimpsed the source of many of its woes –incompetence and fecklessness in the Oval Office. Even a couple of brave shows won’t erase that memory of that fiasco or the image of that president sitting down with Putin or any other tough-minded opponent of American interests, or of Obama “deciding” any key issue of domestic policy. “No wonder we get rolled,” is the wide-spread conclusion after last Wednesday, and it will be difficult if not impossible to change that impression in the time left.

The New York Times account of how a panicked Chicago Gang instantly –before the debate was even over– seized on a scorched earth policy as a response to their candidate’s ineptitude is itself troubling. They cannot hope to rehabilitate their candidate so they are going back to the only thing they know: Smear and fear. I don’t think the center of the electorate will be fooled or or even modestly moved. The new media prevents such a gambit from working, and having spent all summer throwing everything they had at Romney, it is hard to imagine they have anything left to hurl.

The new Battleground Polls shows great momentum for Romney, and it was primarily based on responses from before Mitt Romney’s big night in the debate. The assessment of the poll concludes that “trend lines suggest that Obama will be forced to devote more time than he’d like in the final weeks toward motivating African-Americans, Latinos and college kids.” With regards to the last group, as we will see today, he has a very steep hill to climb. After four years of broken promises and looming unemployment, college students understand that they were sold a bill of goods four years ago, and they won’t be signing up for Round Two of “I’ve Got Mine, Now Go Away.”

Gallup found a big debate bump for Romney, and it wasn’t even focused on likely voters where the impact is likely to be even more profound. As for Team Obama hopes that Romney’s bump will fade just as the president’s did after the Charlotte convention? This was a head-to-head match-up, concentrated and reinforced by widespread agreement across the political spectrum that the president was weak, unprepared and rambling. That’s not an impression that will fade. That’s a fact that will stick.

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