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Matt Spalding of Hillsdale College’s Kirby Center on Obamacare Repeal Senatorial Deliberations

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HH: It is the Hillsdale Dialogue. All things Hillsdale are collected at, their online courses, their amazing ability to sign up for absolutely free for their newsletter, Imprimis, and of course, at, all of the dialogues I have conducted with the various members of the Hillsdale community for the past four-plus years. Often Dr. Larry Arnn, the president of Hillsdale College is with me. Today, Matt Spalding is back. Matthew Spalding, Dr. Matthew Spalding, is the director of the Hillsdale College Kirby Center. He’s been often a guest on the Hillsdale Dialogue. Good morning, Matt, it’s good to talk to you.

MS: Good morning, Hugh, how are you? It’s good to talk to you as well.

HH: Great. We have a lot to cover, but I’ve got to start by telling you I saw your smiling face in Pennsylvania in Scranton Wilkes-Barre this weekend…

MS: Yeah.

HH: …because I was at the Bold Gold Media Foundation dinner as their keynote raising money for young broadcast students at Hillsdale College at Radio Free Hillsdale.

MS: Right, right.

HH: And they ran, I don’t know Vince Benedetto had done this, they did a video clip of when we opened it that day, and you’re featured, as is Dr. Arnn, as is Tom Cotton, Paul Ryan, myself. It was actually pretty cool. Have you seen it?

MS: I think I’ve seen that, yeah. No, it’s very good. And that was a great day, and you did a great job.

HH: Well, I love broadcasting from Hillsdale when it’s possible. Vince, no, Vince Benedetto, no, Matt Spalding, what I want to talk to you about, though, is legislation. And would you remind us of your various jobs in Washington, D.C. over the years and how you’ve dealt with the Congress from various capacities?

MS: Well, I’ve been in D.C. for 20-plus years now. I was at the Heritage Foundation for a long time, vice president, in which I dealt with politics and Constitutional issues with Congress. And I’ve spent a lot of my time educating members of Congress and their staff, and trying to build a better understanding of the core ideas, Constitutional ideas, as they play themselves out in the political realm, especially in legislation. And now, I do the same thing. I moved over to Hillsdale College where we have the Kirby Center here in Washington, D.C. And we spend a lot of our time in addition to educating our students from college who come back here, as you know, we spend a lot of our time getting together with members of Congress and staff, and now people in the administration and speechwriters, helping them think through Constitutional questions as they actually play out in politics. I have always been a…

HH: Now, we are in…

MS: Go ahead.

HH: Yeah, we are at one such moment right now. I had Pat Toomey on last hour, the great senator from Pennsylvania, who said we are at a make or break moment for the Republican Party in a legislative context that I want to talk about. But by background, I think you were deeply involved with welfare reform, were you not?

MS: Yes, very much so. These are, if you think back to the moments, the hard moments here are when legislators have to make prudential decisions about how to make movements. See, we forget. We’ve gotten too inured to the notion that big decisions are made by someone else, whether it’s the Supreme Court or some regulatory agency. But the way it’s supposed to be made, the way the system is set up, the Madisonian system, is that the legislature is supposed to make these decisions. And a lot of times, it demands accommodation. It demands compromise. It demands consensus making. And when things come up, here, we’re talking about health care. In the past, we did welfare reform. Go back in history to the great compromises before the Civil War. Legislators have to work all this out, and know how to think strategically, prudently, in a way that advances you towards your understanding of the Constitution. It’s not often an easy silver bullet. You’ve got to think these things through.

HH: And so let’s go back and talk about how hard welfare reform was, because I think it informs you know, Pat Toomey was telling me, we’re down to short strokes in the Senate. They are working between right and left, and we’ll talk about in the next three segments where we are. I’ll play for you some tape of Tennessee. I may play Pat Toomey’s conversation again so you can hear it and comment on it. But what did welfare reform take in the end?

MS: Well, look. I mean, you know, the problem with welfare reform is that this is a large segment of the modern welfare state. How do you get that ball moving? How do you start somewhere? So you start in a particular state. You start with a particular program. And you do some minor adjustments. And you figure out how to pull people in around the edges. So in this case, it had to do with some work requirements. It wasn’t that significant, but it turned out that it actually was, because it had to do with, the aid program it dealt with had a large effect. And as a result of what was a relatively straightforward reform, you put into motion a whole bunch of things that played out over time that significantly changed how welfare operated.

HH: And so small changes over time matter. The analysis I used with Pat Toomey, and we’ll replay his interview and have you comment on it in the third segment of this hour so that people can hear it and get your analysis, my analysis was I was in the government when we switched the federal employee retirement system from a defined benefit plan to a defined contribution plan. And the runway for that was 30 years. Those 30 years have now gone by.

MS: Right.

HH: It’s amazing how you, if you just change the direction of a program, you will in fact reform it. Welfare reform went much more quickly than that. And I think the most important thing for the senators, especially the conservatives to understand, is we’ve got to change direction and not miss this moment.

MS: Well, here’s the larger challenge here. We’re in a situation well now decades into the modern state in its very centralized, bureaucratic ways. How do you change that in a way that gets us back some semblance to kind of the rule of law and self-governing, and get this under control? It’s not going to happen in one big sweep. If that opportunity goes up, I will be the first to take it. But what you do is you look for the places where you can make changes of how the mechanism works, and you do those things, and they’re going to have to play out for a while. And then you take the next step, and the next step, and you keep the ball rolling. What happened with welfare reform, unfortunately, is that it was reversed when a hostile administration came in.

HH: Yeah.

MS: The only way this is going to work now is you do these steps, and then you’ve got to follow through. The problem with having that 20, 30 year life cycle to play this out is you’ve got to stay on top of it, which is again why it’s so important to have a working Congressional legislative majority and a friendly president.

HH: And that goes to prudential decisions, and our concern. I spent most of my time last week talking, I’ve been hammering Dean Heller, I mean, hammering him, because I think he’s toast, electorally, for his declaration, and then the next day to have Nevada have 14 of 17 counties lose all insurance options for the individual and small business market, just crushed him. He’s got to get back on board. But I’ve been mostly pushing the Ted Cruz, the Mike Lee, the Pat Toomey. Pat Toomey seems to get this, that it’s okay to compromise to the center when the alternative is failure, because we can’t, we can’t fail right now, Matthew Spalding, we being Republicans. The Kirby Center is non-partisan. But like the Heritage Foundation used to say, non-partisan is when you talk to the majority. And we’re talking to the majority right now. I think it is easier for the conservatives to move to the center than for the liberals in the Republican Caucus to move to the center. And so I’m putting the onus on them. What do you think of that?

MS: Well, look, I mean first of all, I mean, what’s the nature of a compromise? It’s not as if we have an array of choices here, and we have a choice between left and right, Democrat or Republican, for that matter. This is a strategic question about how do you change a program moving forward in which you have very limited choices, and also, you have to work with the caucus you have right now. And the idea that we can have where we want to go, what we’d prefer to have, this isn’t perfect, we’d like to do this, that is all fine. But the essence of prudential legislative, you know, prudence, is to figure out what do we have right now, where can we go, how do we move forward, are those steps such that we can use them to move forward to where we want to be?

HH: The other thing I want to tell my audience is I’ve been emphasizing to them when, even though this Obamacare disaster is a Democrat-conceived and passed bill without one Republican, and it’s rolled out under President Obama, the consequences of it, which are now obvious to all and are disastrous, I’ll play you a call next hour, the consequences of not fixing it will be a sign to the Republicans who are the majority. And by the way, that’s right.

MS: Right. No matter what.

HH: That’s right. We have the majority. It is our, the Republicans own this.

MS: They are now responsible for legislating. The Republicans own this. The President owns it. They’ve got to do something. I think doing nothing is really not an option under the circumstances. This thing is collapsing. So they’ve got to move forward. They’ve got to figure out how to pull these votes on and make that decision. But my point here is we are acting under unusual circumstances of the modern state, number one. Number two, we have this problem that they’re trying to push it through reconciliation, which limits the options, because of the votes in the Senate. Under normal circumstances, what they should be doing, this is really a no-brainer. They should do this, and then work towards doing more things, more legislation in the future. Pass something else. Get better, right? But you’ve got to start using and flexing those legislative muscles rather than doing nothing.

HH: All right, thank you, thank you, thank you. Don’t go anywhere, America. Matthew Spalding is the director of the Hillsdale College Kirby Center. Follow all things Hillsdale, All of my conversations with Dr. Spalding, Dr. Arnn, with all the members of the faculty who have been on for many of these years, you can binge listen on your runs, on your workouts, at

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HH: Matt, let me play for you a call that came in, in the first hour today, which is powerful. Give a listen.

TT: I own a small business. We employ about 25 people, most of whom are women, half of whom are single mothers. And Hugh, we have two choices. That’s it. Two plans to choose from. The Blue Cross plan will go up another 16.10%, and the Humana plan, are you sitting down, 29.38%.

HH: Geez.

TT: Hugh, this is the second highest business expense next to payroll, and we made a conscious decision…

HH: You’re not going to be able to keep giving health care, right?

TT: You’ll have to excuse me…

HH: You just dropped off. Did you hit a mute button?

TT: No…

HH: Okay.

TT: It just, it breaks my heart, because we made a conscious decision, and we just can’t do it anymore.

HH: Matt Spalding, that’s a real business owner.

MS: Wow. Yeah. No, look, this is when the reality of the modern state, which is centralized and regulating things through its mandates is taking things over and it’s now touching on Americans in a much more direct way. This is what happens. Health care is one of the most close things not only in terms of an employer, in this case, this employer, this terrible story, but this has to do with individual people, people he cares for, our family and our children. That’s why this is, this connection, or this interaction between individuals in a very intimate space, namely our health care, and government in its regulatory worst, is such a key issue to solve, and why at this turning point in our nation’s history with the modern rise of the administrative state for decades, and now we’re potentially turning it, and you’ve got a president who wants to be, push back against that modern state, and Congress has it in their hands to begin that turn with this legislation that perhaps is not perfect in the perfect world, but clearly makes a move in that direction and gets that ball rolling. That really just shows you why this is so significantly important, and that’s where these things come down to these cases like that. And that was a very powerful call.

HH: Very powerful call. Now let’s listen to the Senator, Senator Toomey, one of ours, Republican, conservative, and I’ll have you do a play by play. Let’s roll the beginning.

HH: Senator Pat Toomey joins me now. Good morning, Senator, thank you for joining me. I was just reading the Paul Kane article that discusses the differences between you and Rob Portman. Is it fairly accurate?

PT: Well, I would say the, my only dispute is that Rob Portman and I get along very well, and I don’t think that comes across in the article.

HH: Stop right there. Stop right there. So Matt Spalding, this is something that the rise of the 24/7 news cycle has obscured. Senators are people. They can disagree without hating each other. They actually get along fairly well, even across the aisle. But for some reason, the modern media insists on obscuring that.

MS: Everything has to be made person in this modern world of the media. And we’re seeing before us sausage being made and unmade. This is politics. Why this surprises anybody, I don’t know. But of course, they want to make these disagreements very personal in every case to make them into fights, which is just absurd.

HH: And fights that are not accurate when it comes to representing the difficulty of the Leader and McConnell and the Whip, Cornyn, and the Conference director, Thune’s legislative sausage making. If you push on the right, you have to pull on the left.

MS: No, that’s right. The other thing this points to, you know, this reminds me of the old debates about consistency, right? What we’re seeing here, this is a classic case of legislative deliberation in which members are moving around. We’re seeing movement before our eyes, in many cases changing positions. They’re adjusting and perhaps changing how they’re going to vote. And on the one hand, we want to look at that as these harsh personalities, and they’re attacking each other, which they’re not. But also, we think of our politicians as well, if they’re not absolutely consistent in all cases, then they’re just, you know, flexible, you know, incapable of making decisions. But they’re actually trying to think this through, and that’s what we want to encourage. And we want to see them be inconsistent here, and come up with the right decision under the circumstances.

HH: Always more coming with Pat Toomey and Matt Spalding, director of the Kirby Center. It’s the Hillsdale Dialogue. All things Hillsdale at Stay tuned.

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HH: Let’s go back to the tape and play a few minutes of the Pat Toomey conversation, and then we’ll have Matt Spalding comment on it.

HH: Last hour, I had a caller, Terry from Tennessee, call in. He’s a business owner. I’d like to hear you, have you hear what he had to say. This is Terry from Tennessee.

TT: I own a small business. We employ about 25 people, most of whom are women, half of whom are single mothers. And Hugh, we have two choices. That’s it. Two plans to choose from. The Blue Cross plan will go up another 16.10%, and the Humana plan, are you sitting down, 29.38%.

HH: Geez.

TT: Hugh, this is the second highest business expense next to payroll, and we made a conscious decision…

HH: You’re not going to be able to keep giving health care, right?

TT: You’ll have to excuse me…

HH: You just dropped off. Did you hit a mute button?

TT: No…

HH: Okay.

TT: It just, it breaks my heart, because we made a conscious decision, and we just can’t do it anymore.

HH: Senator Toomey, this is going on across the country. I know we’re focused on Medicaid and opioids, but the basic health care system of the country is falling apart.

PT: That is exactly right, Hugh. Certainly, the small business market, the individual market, Obamacare has ruined it. And we’ve got to restore a normal market. We’ve got to give people choices. We’ve got to put consumers back in control of their own health care decisions rather than having all this power centralized in Washington. And you know, this legislation we’re working on, I will guarantee you it’s not perfect, and it is not complete, but it’s a big step in that direction. And that’s why I’m hoping we can get it done.

HH: Well, that brings me to the $64,000 dollar question, to use a reference that most millennials won’t get. Is it going to get there? Are we going to get a bill that has 50 or 52 votes, which I would prefer every Republican to support it, and I’d love Joe Manchin and some reasonable Democrats. But first, we’ve got to get to 50. Have we got 50 people to agree on something, yet?

PT: We’re not there, yet, but we’re not giving up. I think it’s way too important to give up. I’ve been very actively involved in this, Hugh. This bill has many features that I’m not enthusiastic about. It’s lacking things I would like to see. As I say, it is not perfect, but I’m ready to support it, because it is that step that we have to begin the process with.

HH: All right, stop right there. Matt Spalding, that sounds like a legislator, doesn’t it?

MS: No, very much so, especially a legislator who’s in a really tough spot. I mean, look, you got stuff coming at you from both sides, the right and the left, you’ve, meaning within your own caucus, conservatives and a more moderate opinion. You’re trying to find that sweet spot. This is what legislating means. You know, you have to make adjustments, keeping in mind where you’re going. And that’s what all the great legislators historically, how they look at these things. Look at how Madison wrote the Constitution itself. Look at how Henry Clay operated, right? You have in mind clearly where you’re going. You have a firm understanding of your principle here. The operating principle here which holds all the Republicans together is that the current system is collapsing because of a bad piece of centralized regulatory legislation. That has to change. That seems to be the operating principle that’s holding this together. On the other hand, all the other things, you’ve got to be flexible on, because you’ve got to see what you can accomplish. And you’ve got to be able to make those movements. And at the end of the day, you make a prudential judgment. Is this in light of where we want to go, in light of our principle? Does this thing move us enough in the right direction that we can, consistent with our obligations and our Constitutional responsibilities, vote in favor of it as having done so? And that’s exactly the way I think he’s sounding here, and the way he’s thinking, which is the way you’ve got to work. I recall that the example I always like to use with these guys is Jefferson and Madison out of power before the election of 1800. They’re being overwhelmed by things. How do you move forward? Remember Jefferson’s famous line – the ground of liberty is gained by inches, inches. Sometimes, you can’t make those big moves. Sometimes, you’ve got to do little things. And you’ve got to know when those little things are there. You’ve got to see them, and you’ve got to seize them when the opportunity comes up. When big things come along, you seize those, too. But you’ve got to have that movement and take it. And then the great legislators will know how to put it together, how to construct the package and get it through.

HH: A little bit more of Pat Toomey now. Let’s play some more.

HH: I’ve been pretty hard on your colleague, Dean Heller, this week, because he came out against, he put a torpedo mid-ships before the negotiations began. Have you see him trying to climb back on board, because yesterday, Nevada announced they’re going to have no plans in 14 out of 17 counties, zero choices.

PT: Wow. Wow, well, look, I have seen Dean. He’s been attending the discussion meetings that we’ve had, our discussion lunches. He joined Republican senators at the White House in a meeting with the President. I think Dean would like to get to yes. I will, I will tell you candidly I think he’s further away from yes than many of my colleagues, than most of the Republican conference, but I don’t think it’s impossible. And I hope, I still hope we’ll have Dean on board in the end.

HH: So where, you know, one of my, I’ll give you my pet solution, which is bloc grant of endowment funds, the interest income of which can treat opioid and rural health care issues, because I’ve done that in Orange County, California for 18 years. I served on a board that got cigarette tax money. We know how to take care of people in Orange County better than Washington, D.C. does. I was just up in Scranton and Wilkes-Barre for the 94.3 Talker/Bold Gold thing. I talked to people up there. They know what to do in their communities, Senator Toomey. We’ve got to get this out of D.C.

PT: Well, this is the great conceit and the fatal conceit of Obamacare, is that Washington should dictate health care policy for the whole country, and that’s exactly what it does. Let’s not pretend anything else. It is a centralization of power and authority in Washington that controls Medicaid, Medicare, and now this legislation has nothing to do with Medicare, but my point is just that concentration of power and authority eliminates decision making that is, could be done better locally, better at the state level. And by the way, as we all know, state governments are much more responsive to people, and they’re more flexible, they’re more accountable, because they’re closer to people. So of course, it makes perfect sense that there will be better solutions. The other point I would make is look, health care problems and challenges are very, very different as you go across the country. In the Appalachian states and in New England, the opioid crisis is a huge, huge crisis, one of the biggest health care and public health crises we’ve ever seen. But there are some states where methamphetamines are a much more serious problem than opioids.

HH: And there are states such as California where Medical dental, there are no dentists that will take it. It doesn’t, it’s not really insurance. It’s a piece of paper that won’t get a poor kid in to see a dentist, no matter how bad the abscess off their tooth is.

PT: That’s it, and you just pointed out there are, increasingly, there are counties in America, and soon, entire states, where there are no options, because this market has failed so badly. So there’s an urgency to get this done, and I think a big, big part of it has to be to, you know, to devolve authority, power, decision making away from Washington, and to the states and individuals.

HH: Stop right there. So Matt Spalding, we’re getting back to what you mentioned – legislators have core principles. In this case, it’s the devolution of authority from Washington, D.C. to the states. And Pat Toomey knows that. He’s got a hold of that. But he’s also working to compromise. This is exactly what the conservatives have to do.

MS: No, look, politics is about movement. But also, politics is about general things, right, general laws that apply across the board. And Congress is not, you know, the local town legislators who are making decisions at the small level. The problem with most of the things that we’re, that plague our country nowadays have to do with so many things over the last decade. It’s been pulled into Washington, D.C, which is just notoriously not only inefficient, but unable to make those kinds of decisions. And so now Congress is trying to unravel that, so they’re trying, at the level the national legislator, deal with these questions. And too many people, I think, are focusing on the narrower aspects of policy details, which may or may not be good ideas as opposed to thinking about the structural process by which those decisions could be made, which Toomey hit on very, very well, which is they should not be made here. And we should set up a structure where we move them out where they’ll be made better than they are here. That was the key to welfare reform. That’s been the key to all the great reforms to a lot of these programs, and I would just remind everyone that used to be an argument that the left could agree to, because you would make an argument that the policy would be better if we allowed people more closer to the problem to deal with it. And conservatives should be all over that, and should be pressing that hard, and structurally should get there. What I fear about, you know, I’ll make a distinction between members who have pulled away from this legislation. Some have pulled away trying to, saying that we’re open for negotiation, right? We don’t like it as it’s currently written. They’ve put out there that they’re willing to negotiate and help think this through. This is the kind of thing that should pull them on board as opposed to a particular little policy distinction that they want to see done at the national level. That’s a different, different thing. And I fear sometimes members pull themselves away and they draw a line that prevents them from kind of thinking through and adapting once the structure is put in place.

HH: All right, we’ll go back, a little bit more Toomey before the break.

HH: There are two issues that seem to divide Republicans. One is the 3.8% wealth tax. Now I don’t like that tax. I think it’s destructive of jobs and growth and the ability of people to afford regular health care. But if that’s a sticking point, why not, you know, compromise? We’ll keep 1.9% of it and get rid of 1.9% of it. What is the state of play on the 3.8% repeal?

PT: So this has been a subject of discussion, but it’s not clear to me that it is actually preventing us from getting to 50. My own view is I can tell you unequivocally I’ve spent the last seven years promising Pennsylvanians that I’m going to do everything I can to repeal Obamacare. I didn’t put caveats that say oh, but when President Obama socked it to productive people with a tax on their investment income, I’ll keep that.

HH: So stop for a second. I want Matt to respond. So he’s in the process of saying he doesn’t want to do that, but he might, which is exactly how you get to yes.

MS: Of course. Well, first of all, I think the whole language of this is how do we get, this phrase, how do we get to yes, right? That’s legislative thinking. That’s not, that’s the way it should be. How do we get there? That’s following a logical progression. That’s using your reasoning. That’s using your deliberation. So that’s part of it. But also, you can see here in his mind, he’s just clearly made a distinction right there between a policy specific, which he has a position on, but he’s willing to see that there’s some flexibility there, i.e. it’s not a principle, and the principle of where he wants to go and what he wants to do. What he promised, what the end goal here, is to repeal this overall structure, this thing called Obamacare, this regulatory nightmare that’s tearing down this whole aspect of our economy and causing problems for that businessman that you talked to earlier. That was a very powerful story.

HH: Yeah, stay right there, Matt. We’ll come back and finish that. It explores all the options. Matt Spalding right back after the break. Stay tuned, America.

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HH: Matt Spalding, I want to play one more minute of my conversation earlier today with Pat Toomey and get your reaction on the health care negotiations.

HH: I don’t care how long the runway is. But we’ve got to do it right now. This is a, and my last question to you, does everyone understand this is a make or break moment? The house is on fire, we will lose the House, we could lose the Senate. It will destroy, more importantly, people like Terry in Tennessee and his health care for his employees. Does everyone in the caucus get this is a make or break moment?

PT: Many of us are making that point every single day. This is a make or break moment. We have to follow through on a promise that we made. We have to save the country from a disastrous system, first and foremost. And politically, Hugh, we’ve got to demonstrate that we can govern. We have the entire elected government. We’ve got to prove that we’re competent to manage it, and to fulfill the promise we’ve made. So I couldn’t agree more.

HH: Well, I think a lot of people are praying for your success. Good luck today, Senator Toomey. You’ll send a bill over to get it scored at CBO by the end of the day, right, even if it’s only in the outlines?

PT: Well, it could be that there are a number of pieces going over to CBO. I can’t say that there’s a complete agreement that gets 50 votes on any one configuration, so we’re probably going to send several configurations over so that we still have a few pieces to move, and some dials to turn, but we’ll have the information back from CBO about what it all costs, and that will help us make a better informed decision.

HH: So Matt Spalding, the essence there, the CBO is sort of an outlier for a Constitutional originalist, but nevertheless, it’s data. They’re trying to make a data-driven decision. Are you an optimist as we get close to the end of this week’s Hillsdale Dialogue about what’s going to happen?

MS: Well, you’re right about CBO being an outlier, right? That’s data. And what I found interesting about that is that legislators should use that as exactly that. It’s information. But again, he’s pushing towards an argument. And just think in reverse how he laid that out. We need to keep our promises. That’s an electoral responsibility. We need to show that we can govern. That’s an institutional responsibility. But the main argument here is we need to save our country from this imminent collapse in a segment of our economy that affects the health care of every American. The circumstances are rising this, are raising this as a more and more important issue that has more, a huge effect, and it’s really the centerpiece right now of our politics of the modern state. And I would remind everyone and point out since this, we’re going to the 4th of July here, that the logic here is the logic of the Declaration of Independence, which is to say the Declaration begins by laying out a principle in an extremely difficult and life-threatening situation. You first state the principle. All men are created equal. But then how do you cite how to act? Prudence, it says in the middle of the Declaration, prudence will dictate how we proceed here, right? We don’t do this for light and transient reasons. We do it because there’s been a long train of abuses and usurpations. That’s the logic the legislature needs to make. People like Toomey are thinking this through. People who are doubtful, who are trying to decide what to do, you’ve got to think about the circumstance, the particulars. What is going on? What is your responsibility? What, you do what you have to do, but you do it in light of the higher principle. And that’s what prudence dictates that you should do in these circumstances. And that’s why it’s a virtue. That’s why that logic back and forth between immediate circumstance and principle, that is the essence of politics, and it always has been. And we need to see more of that. A lot of people have forgotten how to do it. We are re-teaching it. We are also re-teaching it to legislators, because that’s where it should occur at its best and its highest. And I think we’re seeing it happening, and I’m optimistic.

HH: I am so glad. You know, you’re close to this. You’ve worked with these people before through tough legislative deals like the welfare reform of the mid-90s. And so, and you see them over at the Kirby Center all the time. I’m an optimist, too, because I have great respect for Leader McConnell, Whip Cornyn, and Conference head Thune. I think people of good faith like Portman and Toomey are working. I think Susan Collins wants to get there. Dean Heller is a problem, because I just don’t think he understands it. But maybe have him over to lunch. Explain to him this is the end of health care in America we are watching, and we really can’t let that happen. Last word to you, Matt Spalding.

MS: No, I think that’s right. I think we’re seeing it before us. I think they want to get there. And I think we’re actually seeing, which gives me a larger optimism about the country, I think we’re seeing people thinking this through, perhaps inarticulately, perhaps in ways that could be done better, but it’s occurring in a way, as with that interview with Toomey, that shows you that these operations, these prudential operations, this working of politics, still is out there, still operates, and still is affecting our thinking. I think that is a good sign. If Congress can figure out how to do this, they can figure out other things. You get that ball rolling, you get Congress acting like Congress, you make Congress great again. And pretty soon, you’ve got a separation of powers, and you got your Constitution in operation.

HH: Make Congress great again. This is so important, America. I will update it all for you on Monday. Matt Spalding, thank you. for all of these conversations.

End of interview.


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