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Hugh Hewitt Book Club

The President and the MSM

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Coverage of the president has always been fawning. From a Politico.com story this morning we learn that first it was love and now it is fear that motivates the Beltway press and keeps the Administration free of critical much less dogged coverage. The relentless press that never stopped pursuing Bush, Cheney and Rove has been tamed by the Chicago gang.

Meanwhile, the consequences of the “plague of A students” as P.J.O’Rourke brands them,continues to mount. The fallout from the collapse of Greek credit is just a bit of foreshadowing of the aftermath of an American financial stroke, one courted every day by spending policies so reckless as to never in the past been studied as a remote possibility. No one ever imagined an American government run by so profligate a group of political operatives, so analysis of this sort of profligacy simply hasn’t been done.

David Axelrod is full of brave talk about the fall and holding Republicans accountable for their alleged obstructionism, but these sorts of tactics work only inside the Beltway and only with white-knuckled MSM careerists. Absent the sort of crisis that Obama’s policies of bullying our friends and appeasing our enemies invites, the issue between now and November 2 should be the willingness of the Democrats in Congress, urged on by the president, to spend all of everyone’s money, including the next generation’s and the generation’s after that, on their well-connected friends, especially in the public employee unions. (Read Fred Barnes’ story on this astonishing transfer of wealth from taxpayers to union retirees.) If and when the White House press corps regains its voice, its courage and its pride, job number one should be their detailing of the fiscal wreckage left behind the first two years of the president working with Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid.

Off to Minnesota for an event with Governor Tim Pawlenty and Michael Medved, and then on to New York for an appearance on Sean Hannity’s Great American Panel on Thursday night.

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E.J.Dionne On The Arizona Statute, Immigration Politics, and the NRA and Mexican Violence

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The Washington Post’s E.J. Dionne is a frequent and welcome guest on the radio show, and on Tuesday we discussed the Arizona immigration bill and the politics of immigration reform. The transcript is here.

Our last couple of minutes brought the most email:

HH: Now let me ask you about this Arizona law in a different context. You followed the violence in Phoenix, I’m sure. You know about the cross-border kidnappings, about the murder of the rancher. You know the fence isn’t finished. Has the federal government failed Arizona in failing to secure that border?

EJD: The federal government has failed Arizona and Mexico by caving to the National Rifle Association, where we are helping, guns from our country are helping to arm the drug dealers and their folks below the border. So if there is a failure here, it’s a failure to pass decent gun laws. If these guns were coming the other way across the Mexican border into our country, we would be furious. In terms of border enforcement as such, the evidence is that the border is tighter now than it was before, and for reasons having nothing to do with border security, but everything to do with the economy. Immigration has seemed to go the other way. There were more people returning to Mexico that coming across the border our way. Or that at least has been the case for the while in the recession.

HH: And E.J., do you think the violence in Mexico is because of American weaponry being shipped down there? We’ve got a minute.

EJD: No, I think the violence in Mexico is because you have drug cartels. But I think the drug cartels are finding it much easier to arm themselves because of our gun laws.

HH: Now I’m curious about that. We’ve got 30 seconds. On what do you base that, because I think that’s…

EJD: Oh, I could, I wish I had it in front of me. I’ve read some studies on this, and the Mexican government and folks down, law-abiding people down in Mexico have complained about the ease with which these guns can be purchased in the United States. It’s a real problem.

HH: You think…

EJD: I would go back and look at it, Hugh.

HH: I think that’s a significant reach, but E.J., always a pleasure. E.J. Dionne from the Washington Post, America.

Marco Rubio’s Very Smart Statement on the Arizona Law

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GOP candidate for U.S. Senate in Florida Marco Rubio released this statement today on the Arizona law. It is exactly the tone national Republicans ought to take on the debate:

Our legal immigration system must continue to welcome those who seek to embrace America’s blessings and abide by the legal and orderly system that is in place. The American people have every right to expect the federal government to secure our borders and prevent illegal immigration. It has become all too easy for some in Washington to ignore the desperation and urgency of those like the citizens of Arizona who are disproportionately wrestling with this problem as well as the violence, drug trafficking and lawlessness that spills over from across the border.

States certainly have the right to enact policies to protect their citizens, but Arizona’s policy shows the difficulty and limitations of states trying to act piecemeal to solve what is a serious federal problem. From what I have read in news reports, I do have concerns about this legislation. While I don’t believe Arizona’s policy was based on anything other than trying to get a handle on our broken borders, I think aspects of the law, especially that dealing with ‘reasonable suspicion,’ are going to put our law enforcement officers in an incredibly difficult position. It could also unreasonably single out people who are here legally, including many American citizens. Throughout American history and throughout this administration we have seen that when government is given an inch it takes a mile.

I hope Congress and the Obama Administration will use the Arizona legislation not as an excuse to try and jam through amnesty legislation, but to finally act on border states’ requests for help with security and fix the things about our immigration system that can be fixed right now – securing the border, reforming the visa and entry process, and cracking down on employers who exploit illegal immigrants.

Schools and Elections

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Suddenly the British election is being waged over schools. The Times of London carries a column from a soon-to-be first-time Tory voter who is switching to David Cameron’s party because of the schools issue, and the paper’s editors provide an overview of the debate, with the Tories and Liberal Democrats favoring the opening of many new schools by many new organizations as a means of bringing competition to a poor performing set of old institutions. Labor is opposing this sort of competition. British voters get to decide between the two sharply contrasting visions in ten days time.

Republicans in this country preparing for the fall elections are smart to focus on Obamcare and the fiscal emergency confronting the federal and state governments as a result of the profligacy of Democrats in the care and feeding of their special interests.

But that preparation –candidates do prepare, correct, by reading books and thinking through key issues so they don’t get caught flat-footed?– should include a couple of key books about education reform. Just two books can arm every GOP candidate with enough information and background to make themselves into a decent speaker for genuine and effective reform of public schools.

First, read Washington Post reporter Jay Mathews’ Work Hard. Be Nice, which is the story of KIPP –the Knowledge is Power Program, which, along with its sister charter schools movements, is proving that kids from the underclass living in core areas of urban poverty can still achieve and succeed in schools. It is a national scandal that we don’t insist on the widespread implementation of the proven reforms that would allow many if not most of these kids to escape from these circumstances via a quality education. Republicans ought to be praising KIPP and similar programs in every speech, focusing on the issue of school reform as consistently and as effectively as Meg Witman has in her race for governor in California.

Work Hard. Be Nice.: How Two Inspired Teachers Created the Most Promising Schools in America

Jay Mathews was touting the second book on his Post blog this week: Teach Like A Champion: 49 Techniques That Put Students on the Path to College by Doug Lemov.

Teach Like a Champion: 49 Techniques that Put Students on the Path to College

Mathews says of this book that “[m]uch-underlined versions of it have been passed around like samizdat literature,” evidence of the sort of grassroots credibility that creates momentum for change in approach.

Together the two books give some specificity to GOP demands for an overhaul of public education in districts that are failing their students. Serious candidates will see the turn the British elections have taken and start to get smart on the debate that ought to be occurring this summer and fall.

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