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GOP House Leader Boehner On The (Non)-Stimulus, The Alternative, and Rush

Tuesday, January 27, 2009  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

Here’s the transcript of my conversation with John Boehner from yesterday’s program. The House GOP is firming up its opposition to the Pelosi package of payoffs and political gestures, and there is no way that the House bill should get more than a handful of GOP votes as those who do vote for it will be signaling a complete indifference to core principles of the party. I also asked the House GOP’s leader about the president’s shot at Rush Limbaugh:

JB: Well, I don’t want to characterize what went on in the meeting at the White House. That’s not really appropriate. But it was just, it was really just a casual remark as though some of us were taking instructions from Rush. Now I like Rush, but he’s a talk show host, and I’m in the policy-making business. And the President already heard what we had to say, and it didn’t come from Rush Limbaugh. It came from us. And I’m the one that outlined the kind of wasteful spending in here that I don’t think will achieve the objective.

HH: Do you think the conservative base, that listens to Rush, listens to me, listens to the other talkers, are behind you?

JB: I do. I think a lot of Americans, probably more than half the American people, are looking up at some of this spending and wondering what in the world are they doing? Or they’re saying “Oh. My. God. There they go again.”

Boehner and Limbaugh are on the same side, but President Obama is clearly more worried about Rush and the conservative media network than he is about the Congressional GOP, at least for the moment. It will be up to the GOP Senate to send a message that its cooperation depends at least in part on the attention paid to the Republican views in the House. If the GOP allows itself to get rolled on this enormously wasteful and counterproductive giveaway, it will have wasted a gift that Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid gave them: The chance to quickly define themselves again as a party serious about economic growth and disciplined spending.

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J.P. Moreland On Today’s Program

Monday, January 26, 2009  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

The evangelical movement in politics is pretty smashed up after November’s vote, and uncertain as to direction and leadership. I am going to devote a few conversations over the next few weeks to the repair of that project, and kick off that series tonight with Professor J.P. Moreland of Biola University’s Talbot School of Theology. Moreland is one of the most prolific and influential of evangelical thinkers, and his new book, The God Question, is a response to the rise of secular absolutism in the public square. Even if you aren’t a believer, you will want to listen in. The transcript will be posted here later.

The God Question: An Invitation to a Life of Meaning (

Debating Gitmo With Susan Estrich

Monday, January 26, 2009  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

I have agreed to do the point-counterpoint with Susan Estrich this week over at the Los Angeles Times. Susan and I have worked together in the past, providing a variety of groups with the “instant panel,” and she’s smart and funny.

Today’s topic: What do we do with Gitmo terrorists?

The Not-A-Stimulus Bill That Triggers a Disco Revival?

Monday, January 26, 2009  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

Call it whatever you like, the massive spending spree being pushed forward by House Democrats won’t stimulate the economy, though it will certainly stimulate Democratic Party special interests. The Wall Street Journal does a fine job explaining.

House GOP leader John Boehner also did a good job slicing and dicing it yesterday on Meet the Press, but more needs to be done to communicate to the public just how absurd are the claims being made for the bill. The $50 million in Arts spendning is a great place to start, but the GOP House and Senate need to dust off the charts and post up the summaries of the worst aspects of the spending. The next couple of weeks should be spent defining for America why the bill isn’t a stimulus package but a giant pork payout to special interests amounting to a giant swing-and-a-miss on the economy. Coupled with the immediate onslaught of economy-slowing tactics from both within and outside the government, the recovery that will come from the ordinary turning of the business cycle is going to find its climb uphill long and hard. Not so elsewhere in the world which will be pursuing rapid restarts to growth, but certainly at home.

The decision by President Obama to allow his great opportunity to be hijacked by House Democrats is a strange one. He must be confident that the business cycle will right itself, because this approach won’t have much to offer it. If as many suspect the massive bill as “inflationary non-growth” all over it, it should be called the Jimmy Carter Memorial Bill, as well all seek to relive the late ’70s. Can the return of disco be far behind?

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