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Colorado Calling

Saturday, February 21, 2009  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

Thanks to those of you who sent best wishes. After a couple of hours in the chair yesterday, whatever roots there were left in my molar are now gone. The doc chose an IV drip full of unusual elixers, so I am still a little woozy and will spend the day snoozing I think, and reading Thomas Barnett’s Great Powers (see below) and Thomas Rick’s The Gamble. Thanks to Carol Platt Liebau for filling in so ably yesterday. (Carol’s blogging is always available at Townhall.com’s group blog.) Not sure who won Amaze.fm song of the week, but I’ll catch up on Monday.

After last week’s disastrous California budget vote, this was to be expected.

Memo to Colorado: The studio requires a build-out of about 2,000 feet and I am open on the university affiliation.

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Campbell on the Car Companies, Barnett on Globalization, and Kristol on the GOP

Thursday, February 19, 2009  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

Two interviews yesterday and two today deserve your attention.

First, Representative John Campbell spent a quarter century in the car business before selling his many dealerships and going first to the California legislature and then to the Congress. Campbell’s a member of the House’s Financial Services Committee and the Joint Economic Committee, and he brings a CPA’s skepticism to various spending proposals.

I spent most of an hour yesterday discussing the GM/Chrysler situation with Campbell, and the transcript of that interview is here. As Lawrence Summers goes about fashioning a recommendation for the president on the proposed additional assistance to the car companies, he ought to spend a lot of time with Campbell. There isn’t anyone else on the Hill with as much real world experience with the business as Campbell, or anyone with as much affection for it, but it is an affection rooted in realism about the radical change sweeping the industry here and abroad.

While Democrats and the MSM ought to be paying close attention to Campbell when it comes to the car companies, the GOP ought to study Bill Kristol’s cautions concerning their next steps. Republicans were absolutely correct to oppose the stimulus-that-wasn’t-a-stimulus, but if the president brings forward balanced and useful legislation on the financial system and home mortgages, they ought to get behind it, not obstruct it. The key to bipartisanship is non-partisanship in the legislation. If the president’s proposals are genuinely aimed at continuing the stabilization of the banking system and at securing the return of a healthy housing market, the GOP ought to join in crafting and passing the measures. I will have real estate developer Peter Gooding on today’s program to discuss the residential and commercial real estate markets today. On the one hand, one of Gooding’s projects, LVRanchEstates.com, is thriving after he aggressively adjusted its prices to reflect the downturn in real estate. But his workout business which specializes in the commercial sector is booming because there are so many distressed commercial assets on the books of banks. A weak real estate sector could go either direction in a hurry, and the GOP ought to be encouraging the president to do smart things in a hurry to make sure the direction is recovery.

Finally, everyone ought to tune into the third hour today for my third conversation with Dr. Thomas P.M. Barnett about his new book Great Powers.

Great Powers: America and the World After Bush

Today we are going to cover chapter four on the economics of globalization, which is an optimistic embrace of the world’s new economic order. The triumph of “the American system” doesn’t make the pain of a recession any less stinging or the shock of unemployment any less profound, but it should confirm what the Fed noted yesterday in its longer term economic forecast –the world, including the U.S., is poised for enormous economic growth accompanied by the gradual extension of freedom in the wake of rising prosperity.

If the United States leads, that is. A very big if.

The transcript of today’s conversation with Barnett will be posted here later. The podcast will be here, as are yesterday’s podcasts of the conversations with Campbell and Kristol.

The first interview with Dr. Barnett on Great Powers is here. The podcast is here.

The second interview with him is here, and the podcast is here.

Carol Platt Liebau will fill in for me tomorrow while I part company with a root canal, and blogging will resume when the anesthetic wears off.

“Is There Anything God Can’t Forgive?”

Wednesday, February 18, 2009  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

Rick Warren’s got a new magazine, “Purpose Driven Connection,” and judging by the first article from it which I have read –“Is There Anything God Can’t Forgive?”– it is going to be hugely successful.

GM, Chrysler, and Mortgages: A Second Chance At Clarity, Purposefulness and Bipartisanship

Wednesday, February 18, 2009  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

President Obama unveils a homeowner-assistance package today, a day after GM and Chrylser filed their restructuring plans and sought $21 billion in new aid.

The plan for dealing with homeowners struggling to pay mortgages could in an instant reverse a lot of the psychology of fear that has gripped many people –if the terms of the plan are clear and the promise of timely assistance is specific and believable. Simple, direct explanations of who is eligible for what would be a wonderful change from the many plans over the past year that few understood and fewer used. Anything that helps build the bottom on housing powers the recovery. But a repeat of last week’s ambiguity about the banks will add another layer of evidence to the president’s growing reputation for overpromising and underdelivering.

With the car companies, a quick decision to throw in with them or cut them off is much preferred to a long round of deliberations prior to a bankruptcy filing. Again, we don’t need another Hamlet-like performance bemoaning how awful it all is and how it is going to take superhuman effort etc. Get on with it. Quickly.

With Brian Wesbury and others, I expect the recovery to arrive sooner and with more energy than most, but I also believe the starting gun has to go off in millions of minds via clear government signals about the rules of the road. The stimulus was a botched attempt to deliver such a signal because a sophisticated public understood it to be an exercise in rewarding constituencies of the Democratic Party, not a growth measure.

Assistance to homeowners and the car companies are much more clearly non-political interventions and could earn GOP support in Congress –provided the Administration’s proposals don’t attempt to pick winners and losers based upon voting patterns, and provided that the UAW shares in the pain of the restructuring. President Obama gets a second chance to fashion a bipartisan approach to part of the economic problems, and we should hope he doesn’t whiff again.

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