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“The Speech,” 2009

Saturday, February 28, 2009  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

Rush gave a speech at CPAC today that will be talked about for years and even decades. The CNN commentators called him “angry,” –did that description ever attach to Howard Dean or any of the leading Democrats in opposition to President Bush?– but what he actually was was passionate about freedom. And completely and utterly contemptuous of conservatives urging accommodation to the agenda of President Obama, especially those conservatives ashamed of the grassroots and their attachments to pastimes such as NASCAR and issues such as the dignity of every human life and the importance of marriage.

A week ago a reporter from a major American newspaper called me to talk about Rush. I agreed to do the interview provided it was recorded and that I could air it after the story the reporter was working on ran. The reporter asked me if Rush was a “leader,” and I said no. He is, I continued, a communicator, a pundit and an entertainer, one of the two best in the country –along with Oprah. And a man of extraordinary influence. I think the Rush-Oprah comparison startled the reporter, but it is exactly correct. They have the same reach, and though they have almost completely different approaches to life, both are deeply sincere about their views and thus far beyond merely “effective.” Both communicators change lives.

Rush eschews “leadership.” He doesn’t tell people who to vote for or where to show up and march.

But he does communicate with quite extraordinary clarity the deep, abiding attachment that conservatives have for liberty. He does so with great, good humor, and it is this quality that drives the left to distraction. Rush is funny; really, really funny. This is of course the reason he has succeeded far beyond every other radio talk show host. The “women’s summit” this week was just the latest in a long string of innovative –and profitable– firsts that amused even as it made key points.

And Rush is authentic. And deeply appreciated as a result. Long may he prosper.

BTW: The newspaper’s story hasn’t run yet. Though I am on vacation next week, Duane will play it if and when the story does run to see which quotes the reporter used. That will be interesting.

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“Some analysts say Obama’s proposals are almost radical.”

Saturday, February 28, 2009  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

Thus sayeth CBS News. No analysts are mentioned, but they should be. Two of the president’s proposals to cripple the charitable and mortgage interest deductions are indeed “radical” as they are squarely aimed not just at high income families who will see their deductions slashed but also at the churches, charities, schools and every not-for-profit that will be greatly damaged if the charitable deduction is reduced, and at every single homeowner in America, especially the retirees, who need their houses to grow in value not diminish. Reducing the value of the mortgage interest deduction reduces the value of every home in America, not just the incomes of those in the highest brackets.

A non-radical proposal would be a straight-forward demand to raise the top rate to 42 or 45%. That would be a transparent attempt to cost-shift, and consistent with standard liberal economics. But a stealth rate-hike that deeply damages the country’s charitable and faith-based sectors as well as every homeowner is indeed radical. No Republican who supports either idea should be supported, and no Democrat who does so can ever legitimately claim to be a “moderate” again.

Declaring even a covert war on churches and home-ownership isn’t remotely “liberal.” It is radical.

Kindle and the Future of Newspapers

Saturday, February 28, 2009  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

A couple of posts below I wrote about the accelerating collapse of newspapers, and thereafter sat down to load up my new Kindle 2 –which is every bit as amazing as advertised and will revolutionize many industries even as the iPod and iPhone have. Jeff Bezos and his team should get a Pulitzer because they are going to save at least a couple of newspapers from the pyre.

I quickly accepted the free trial offers of the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal and Politico –and nothing else from among the offerings. I’ll probably drop the Times when the offer concludes, but the Sunday sections are worth having, so we’ll see. (Note to Amazon.com: There are many people who would subscribe to the D.C. Examiner and The Washington Times but not to any other newspaper. You should add them. And HughHewitt.com and Townhall.com, btw, to the blog feeds.)

The point is no reader needs anything other than at most the two big liberal papers and the Journal, except for the two alternatives to MSM papers noted. This is why the first big old brand that shifts to the D.C. Examiner/Washington Times model will win and survive. The best bet to make that shift is the Los Angeles Times because it also has the West Coast, Pacific Rim, and Hollywood beats to itself. Maybe this is what Rupert Murdoch sees.

Finally, ESPN and SI need to figure out a daily Kindle-gram full of hundreds of stories.

ARRA’s Section 1611

Saturday, February 28, 2009  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

Angelo Paparelli is one of the country’s leading immigration lawyers, a partner in Seyfarth Shaw in New York, NY and Irvine, Calif., and President of the Alliance of Business Immigration Lawyers. Angelo has written extensively on the protectionist provision of the porkulus bill that invites other nations to restrict the use of American expertise within their borders while simultaneously raising the cost of doing business during the recession. A second, even more detailed look at the law by Angelo is here with co-author Ted J. Chiappari.

The porkulus is full of stink bombs that continue to appear and which would not have survived even a couple of weeks scrutiny. Senators Collins, Snowe and Specter might have voted for the bill anyway, but they ought to have at least negotiated for a full airing of the text before throwing in the rush to bad law and economics.

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