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Thomas P.M. Barnett and Mark Levin

Tuesday, March 31, 2009  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

Two authors of two very important books will be on today’s show.

Dr. Thomas P.M. Barnett joins me to wrap up my series of conversations with him about his new book, Great Powers: America and the World after Bush.

Today’s conversation will focus on the last chapter of the book in which Barnett focuses on the basics of grand strategy, the fear-mongering of global warming ideologues as well as his expectation of the “Greatest Awakening” ever as world religions experience explosive growth in the new era of globalization.

Barnett is a prophet of the enormous power of globalization to raise living standards around the world, and the book is a wonderful antidote for those fatigued by the current economic crisis and who forget that capitalism does have a business cycle that does produce periods of contraction followed by periods of even more dynamic growth and trade.

Great Powers: America and the World After Bush

The transcript of our conversation will be posted here later tonight. One of the reasons I love talk radio is it allows for the time required to explore in detail important books with skilled communicators like Barnett.

I will also be talking with another enormously skilled communicator, my friend and airwaves colleague Mark Levin about his important new book Liberty and Tyranny: A Conservative Manifesto.

Liberty and Tyranny: A Conservative Manifesto

Mark’s book is a kick-in-the-pants for conservatives dismayed by the new president’s lurch left. There are reasons why freedom and statism compete, and there are reasons why again and again Americans turn back to conservative principles. Mark outlines the key arguments and the battles ahead. There’s a reason why the book is number 1 on Amazon.com, and you should get copies for yourself and any friends who need a refresher course in Reaganism.

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Avoiding The Extremes Of The Left

Tuesday, March 31, 2009  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

Newt Gingrich has figured out that “over-communicating” is key to being heard in the era of many channels and a shattered audience. He also has grasped in a way that few others have –perhaps only Huckabee and Romney among Republicans get this key point– that when direct questions are asked, they should be answered directly. There is enormous communicative power in candid, straightforward responses.

My conversation with Newt yesterday featured many such exchanges, and the audience loved it as a result. But there was one sequence where Newt responded to questions with questions or non-responsive answers, a very unusual tactic for him. Here’s the exchange:

HH: Over at www.newt.org, there is a headline that says heading toward a dictatorship? You don’t really believe that, do you, Mr. Speaker?

NG: Well, I believe that when you get up in the morning and discover that the President has fired the head of one company, and you ask yourself how many other companies can he fire the head of, and when you have Senator Dodd deciding what salary caps ought to be, and you have the Congress deciding to take back money after the fact in a direct violation of the Constitution, how much total bureaucratic management of your life do you need before you begin to worry about how the system is working? Now I do think that we are seeing an enormous transfer of power to politicians and bureaucrats, and that many of them will use it corruptly or dangerously, and capriciously. Read what they said about Chrysler yesterday.

HH: But the word dictatorship carries with it a specific image that does alarm…I’m thinking especially of senior citizens and people who are worried about that sort of thing, and I get those e-mails, and you get them as well, and while I think we want to resist statism and creeping managed capitalism which is an oxymoron, that it’s not really dictatorship, is it?

NG: Well, look, if somebody came in, if the Congress can come in, single you out and take 90% of your income, tell me what it is. If the Secretary of the Treasury can decide who to fire and who to hire, which companies to destroy and which companies to keep, I mean, if the government can say okay, fire the head of GM, and by the way, Chrysler will cut a deal with Fiat or they will be out of business, you tell me what it is. I mean, yesterday, the President decided unilaterally to announce a warranty for new cars as of today.

Read the whole thing. If we were headed for a dictatorship, a simple “yes” would have sufficed, but of course we aren’t, so some fancy verbal work was necessary.

Newt probably didn’t come up with the headline at Newt.org, and I suspect some young staffer is going to get some advice on careful choice of words, even for headlines. Conservatives have to avoid mirroring the left’s conduct during the Bush Presidency when it was routine to indulge in reckless hyperbole about Bush’s policies. We don’t need any equivalents to the MoveOn.org’s “General Betrayus” meltdown, and we don’t want any frothing, spittle-spewing conservative Olbermann embarrassing us on a nightly basis. There are an enormous number of legitimate targets for sharp criticism and lots of tough words to deliver about the massive expansion of government underway without falling into a fever.

Killing Music Radio

Tuesday, March 31, 2009  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

The recording industry wants to break the decades old deal with music radio under which the radio plays the songs and the audience hears them and buys the music, first via records, then CDs, and now downloads. Now the recording industry wants all the free promotion but also a royalty on every play of every song.

If successful in the hunt for the new radio tax via Congressional mandate, the best brains of the music business will have killed music radio dead as formats change overnight to avoid the new expense in an advertising-challenged era. Good for talk radio, yes, but bad –very bad– for the medium generally.

One of the Republican sponsors of this very bad idea is an old friend, Representative Darrell Issa of California. We discussed the tax on yesterday’s show. The Congressman seems to believe that it can all be worked out, but this is another CPSIA moment-in-the-making, where the realities of a complex industry just don’t register with the lawmakers intent on tinkering with it on behalf of special interests, and who end up sideswiping and damaging scores of companies in the pursuit of a slogan. If the performance tax passes, thousands of radio station employees will be out of work, many stations will simply fold up or move to non-music formats, and the Congress will move on to the next big idea that sounded good at the time.

A new PAC has formed, TalkPac, to defend the business from the performance tax, localism rules and of course The Fairness Doctrine. If you like any part or all of the radio dial, join TalkPac.

“They will never sever their links with the Taliban.”

Tuesday, March 31, 2009  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

I interviewed The Atlantic’s Robert Kaplan about the terror attack in Lahore yesterday, and his grim assessment of the ISI-Taliban ties is the title of the post. The transcript of the conversation is here.

The president’s new Afghanistan policy pledged a firmness with the Pakistan government to reach a goal which Kaplan believes is simply not possible to achieve.

A detailed account of yesterday’s terrorist attack in Lahore is posted at The Long War Journal.

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