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Notre Dame Students Respond

Wednesday, March 25, 2009  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

A number of student organizations at Notre Dame have joined together in a response to the University administration’s decision to honor President Obama at this year’s commencement.

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The (No) News Conference

Wednesday, March 25, 2009  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

The L.A.Times’ Andrew Malcolm sums up the snore-fest that was last night’s presser:

He made no notable news, and did so quite smoothly. Unless sticking by his guns over cutting charitable deductions is news.

And the former constitutional law professor did go on in his answers, perhaps not by accident. Holding the floor is another means of control for any president. Like males hold the TV remotes.

The result: only 13 questions in 57 minutes.

And as The Ticket noted during its live-blogging, not one single question on either war, including the one the commander-in-chief recently ordered 17,000 more Americans to march into.

Andrew McCarthy notes one verbal tick that the president has developed that warns us of thin-skin ahead.

I watched the late-night replay, having missed the live event while participating in the NRCC’s dinner honoring Bobby Jindal at the Building Museum. Most of the congressmen there were optimistic about their increasing ability to be heard by the voting public, largely because the president’s budget proposals (see below) are both so astonishingly irresponsible and so disconnected from the economic conditions that worry most voters.

Last night’s press conference telegraphed increasing insecurity on the president’s part about his budget and about his way forward. Filibusters are not the tactics of the confident, and the defensiveness throughout the Q-and-A underscores President Obama’s nervousness that large parts of his own party in Congress are revolting from the prospect of this massive lurch towards wild spending in support of half-baked dreams of remaking the country.

A Budget Sinkhole

Wednesday, March 25, 2009  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

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This graphic from The Heritage Foundation’s The Foundry blog, posted by Conn Carroll, is all anyone needs to see as the budget debate moves towards it conclusion in the Congress. All Republicans and responsible Democrats must act together to emphatically reject this ruinous plan.

Critics are struggling to find the right words, and many say such a plan isn’t “sustainable.” Others say it is a recipe for “European style socialism.”

But New Hampshire’s Judd Gregg got it right: This sort of wild spending will bankrupt the United States, destroying the value of its currency in the process and unleashing a wicked inflation that will diminish everyone’s existing wealth while crippling the ability of young people to successfully accumulate wealth.

Responsible Democrats know this cannot be the blueprint for the future, and perhaps understand that the president wanted to be able to promise all of his many constituencies the moon and the stars and then leave it to the Senate to impose some minimum sanity of the plan.

Senate Democrats especially have to step up and impose restraint on this scheme. They know it is a recipe for a disaster, and they have to stop it.

The President at Notre Dame

Tuesday, March 24, 2009  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

Notre Dame’s invitation to President Obama to be its honored guest at this year’s commencement is shocking to many Notre Dame alums and of course to many Catholics. Imagine the reaction if the National Right to Life Committee were to invite President Obama to receive its leadership award. By contrast, imagine if the ACLU were to invite Secretary Rumsfeld to receive its leadership award. Both organizations could easily be seen inviting high profile opponents of its policies and central organizing principles to debates and forums, but not to be honored as a champion of its cause, and that is the problem of ND’s invitation to the president.

In a single gesture, ND has undone much if not all of the work of last fall during which the Roman Catholic hierarchy in America labored mightily to deliver the message that the Church really does mean what it says about protecting the unborn. The public rebukes to Speaker Pelosi and candidate Biden about their distortion of Church teaching on abortion underscored the resolve of the Church’s leadership to deliver a message about the centrality of the Church’s position on life to the Church’s mission in the world.

By inviting President Obama to be honored, Notre Dame’s leadership undermines all of that effort in a stroke, sending a message to the entire culture that those crazy bishops and cardinals don’t speak for Catholicism in America. The country’s preeminent Catholic institution just doesn’t care about abortion, or embryonic stem cell research, or even late term abortion or the Born Alive Infant Protection Act, at least not enough to stand in the way of a good party and a lot of camera time.

CatholicVote and the Cardinal Newman Society is organizing a protest, but too late. President Obama will soon have his reply to every objection to his abortion policies that will ever be mounted by any Catholic leader: “As I said in my commencement speech at Notre Dame,” will begin every answer he is ever obliged to deliver on the subject, a reminder to every voter on every occasion that no matter what the Church teaches about life, what the Church’s most visible institution in America has done about life is to demonstrate beyond argument that the issue doesn’t really matter to Catholics.

Of course the cardinals and the bishops should speak to the issue, but they know that the University is beyond their control, and thus their powerlessness over the institutions they supposedly control will be demonstrated if they do. What ND has also done is also to demonstrate that the Church is really impotent in its control over its own institutions. Sort of a bonus point for the leadership there in its unannounced but apparently quite real mission to undermine Catholic faith and teaching.

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