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Twitter, Tolstoy, and the RNC.

Friday, December 12, 2008  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

My new Townhall.com column is the third and final in a sequence on new media and the GOP.

Today I will interview Ken Blackwell, the sixth and last of the candidates for the RNC chairmanship I have interviewed. The transcript of that conversation is here. Previous interviews with Saul Anuzis, Katon Dawson, Mike Duncan, Chip Saltsman, and Michael Steele are also all online.

When the RNC votes in a few weeks, it had better select a chair committed to “overcommunication” with the public, and via every technology and platform available. Check search.twitter.com throughout the weekend for a conversation on who ought best to lead the RNC from among these six leading candidates. This is an experiment on my part to see if a weekend forum on twitter can be made to work on one subject. Use the hash tag #hhrs to see what I and others are saying about the race. Perhaps one or more of the would be chairmen will participate.

When not participating in that debate, I will be spending most of the weekend beginning delayed Christmas preparations, including shopping. To assist in any gift-giving you must be about, I leave you with two suggestions for the Christmas stocking near you. First, David Allen White on Tolstoy and Melville. Even in the age of Twitter, the great books stay that way.

Learning to Love the Great Books-Conversation 1-War and Peace and Moby Dick

Second, The War Against the West, because it isn’t going to go away no matter how many people chant “hope and change.”

The War Against the West

There’s more stuff at the Hugh Store. See you at the RNC Chair debate on twitter.

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The Democrats’ Failure

Friday, December 12, 2008  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

It took Nixon to open China, and it should have taken the Senate Democrats to open Detroit, but when push came to shove, the Senate Democrats would not push the UAW and could not figure out how to arrive at a deal that moderates and conservatives could support.

Now Senator Reid has announced he’s giving up and going home –one of those moves that makes me wonder about the whole premise of the exercise. If a real crisis is at hand, does the Congress go home for a month?

Some reports have the last night’s late negotiations as limited to Senators Reid, Dodd and Corker –and the UAW! This is extraordinary, and a glimpse of what’s ahead in 2009-2010. Godspeed Senators McConnell and Kyl and the other 40 GOP senators as they will be called upon many times to replay yesterday’s principled stand against one-sided “deals.”

There’s no reason for Senator Reid not to come back today with a real compromise, one that includes not only Senator Corker’s amendments, but also some significant concessions about tax relief in these fragile economic times, if only for MI and OH. But I suspect that, as usual, the Congressional Democrats would rather blame Bush and the GOP than legislate. Whatever comes of yesterday’s bust-up, it is just the latest monument to the Democrats’ inability to legislate anything that isn’t a complete win for their most entrenched interest-groups.

Memo to Senators Reid and Dodd

Thursday, December 11, 2008  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

If the Detroit bailout is really that important, offer something to the GOP that the half of the country which supports conservative principles wants. Govern responsibly. Compromise. Reach across the aisle. Help somebody besides the UAW.

Put tax relief for everyone in MI and OH on the table.

The Corker Amendments Are Not Nearly Enough

Thursday, December 11, 2008  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

to make a terrible bail-out bill worth taking. The GOP Senate leadership has to know that they will kill the energy that is beginning to return to the party if it agrees to a highly technical set of changes that doesn’t change a bail-out into anything other than a bail-out with a slightly less expensive price tag.

Really, what does the package have for conservatives? If that question can’t be answered succinctly and with a truly persuasive response, the quick collapse of the Senate GOP’s resistance will bode very poorly for the effort to revitalize the NRSC. A 90% bad deal isn’t enough of an improvement over a 95% bad deal.

Get something worth having or walk away. Like a tax cut for MI and OH.

UPDATE: Jennifer Rubin’s thoughts on the RNC chairmanship race reminds me that the would-be chair who comes out swinging against this deal takes a big risk but also gets some big rewards.

UPDATE #2: NRO’s Stephen Sprueill fears exactly what I do: That the GOP will settle for a mugging with only a few broken bones and call it a knock-out for our side. Party leaders will then be surprised when conservatives denounce the deal. That would be a replay of the immigration fiasco where the GOP kept making small changes here and there and couldn’t figure out why their phones didn’t stop ringing with angry former supporters on the other end.

There has to be something worth winning for the final deal to be worth having.

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