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“Congatulations Mr. President. Now Please Use The Moment To Save The Afghan People From The Taliban and The World From Iran’s Fanatics”

Friday, October 9, 2009  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

That’s the title of the column I just sent off to Townhall which I will link to when it appears.

Before any conservative rushes off to denounce the Committee’s decision, pause and consider that this is a salute to the office of the American Presidency and the power and hope it embodies. Of course there is no small amount of dazed admiration for the new president mixed in, but the award underscores that the world looks to him to lead, not retreat, and to make peace, not condemn regions to deep darkness, and that has huge implications for the decisions on his desk in the Oval Office right now.

The deliberations on the award were ongoing when the president’s only foreign policy action of consequence was his recommitment to victory in Afghanistan. He campaigned on winning there, and he dispatched thousands of more troops to the region. Now as he nears a critical decision on whether or not to provide the troops his commander in the theater is pressing for even as appeasers in his inner circle council appeasement of the Taliban, he is awarded the world’s most prestigious prize.

Hope and pray that the award puts some steel in his spine and impresses on him the prospect of looking at his medal through the years if as a consequence of his decisions in the next few weeks, another many generations of Afghan women are condemned to remain in their burqas without benefit of education or medical care even as their husbands plot unmolested to strike America again. Perhaps the award will encourage him to end the dithering and confirm again America’s strong resolve to defeat the Taliban and it s al Qaeda allies.

Hope and pray as well that the award triggers in the president consideration of the awful irony if Iran would go nuclear within a year of his being so honored.

The award is a good thing for President Obama, a great honor and recognition of the role of America, and an opportunity for the president to recommit, against the pressure from his domestic left, to leading the world towards genuine peace and security.

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A “Yes” Vote On Cloture Crushes Medicare and American Medicine

Thursday, October 8, 2009  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

Eight Democratic senators stand between the Medicare and the destruction of the senior health care program as well as the ruin of American medicine generally. These eight know the stakes and have written Harry Reid to demand that the Democratic leader slow down the jam down so that they and the public know what they are voting on and what it will cost. They have asked for at least 72 hours and a CBO estimate for any Obamacare bill before a final floor vote occurs, as well as 72 hours and a full CBO score before any vote on a future House-Senate conference report occurs.

These demands are a dodge because any of these eight have the ability to enforce any amount of delay they want via a refusal to vote for cloture whenever that debate-limiting motion is put forward by Reid.

To review: The Senate’s rules provide that it requires 60 affirmative votes to pass a motion ending debate on any legislative proposal. Thus if even one Democrat refuses to go along with this Obamacare jam down that will devastate Medicare, the entire bill halts until and unless that Democrat is satisfied it is a good idea. Thus every Democrat has the individual ability to demand a serious, careful debate and serious, careful budget impact analysis.

Some Democrats hope to protect themselves against the people’s fury at the polls in November 2010 by voting for cloture and then voting against passage, but that won’t work in this hyperattentive new media age.

A vote for cloture is a vote for everything in the Obamacare package that would end up on the president’s desk. Everyone knows this, but some Democrats hold out hope that their genuine responsibility for Obamacare will be obscured by various posed votes. In this sleight-of-hand they hope to be helped by Manhattan-Beltway media elites that will do what they can to obscure accountability on the cloture votes ahead.

But the clear truth is that a vote for cloture is a vote for Obamacare, and not just its ruinous impact on Medicare for seniors and medicine generally but also for the trickery that is obscuring the real and vast costs of the bills and the refusal to allow the American people the opportunity to see and read what it is they are being obliged to sacrifice their health care and benefits for.

So contact all the Democrats below. Contact them early and often and contact anyone you know who lives in their state and ask them to do the same thing. If you are a doctor in their state, your voice is especially important. Tell each one of them to vote no on cloture motions –all of them– and to start over with a genuinely bipartisan reform bill that protects Medicare and which includes tort reform.

And tell them that if they vote yes on any cloture, you will help fund their next opponent and do whatever it takes to defeat them at the polls when next they stand for re-election.

A couple of these senators, like Joe Lieberman and James Webb will not be moved by the prospect of losing their Senate seat but they will be very careful before sacrificing their honorable records to help President Obama achieve a political win that destroys Medicare. Webb especially has built a record of fiery populism that would be laughable if he joins in a jam down that protects trial lawyers with seven figure annual incomes while dramatically cutting back on health care for seniors. Joe Lieberman knows what the bill will really do to seniors. Together these two can stop the whole charade right now. Encourage them to do so.

The rest will care about their jobs, and especially Blanche Lincoln and Evan Bayh who face the public in Arkansas and Indiana in a year. If either votes for cloture, she or he or both of them will be the face of Obamacare at the polls.

Each of these senators needs to hear fromthousands and tens of thousands and indeed hundreds of thousands of Americans that we know a yes on cloture means yes on Obamacare and will assess their records accordingly.

Arkansas

Sen. Blanche Lincoln

DC Phone: (202) 224-4843

Local Phone: Dumas (870) 382-1023, Fayetteville (479) 251-1224, Little Rock (501) 375-2993, Jonesboro (870) 910-6896, Texarkana (870) 774-3106

Link to E-mail

Sen. Mark Pryor

DC Phone: (202) 224-2353

Local Phone: Little Rock (501) 324-6336

Link to E-mail

Connecticut

Sen. Joe Lieberman

DC Phone: (202) 224-4041

Local Phone: (860) 549-8463

Link to E-mail

Florida

Sen. Bill Nelson

DC Phone: (202) 224-5274

Local Phone: Orlando (407) 872-7161, Miami-Dade (305) 536-5999, Tampa (813) 225-7040, West Palm Beach (561) 514-0189, Tallahassee (850) 942-8415, Jacksonville (904) 346-4500, Broward (954) 693-4851, Fort Meyers (239) 334-7760

Link to E-mail

Indiana

Sen. Evan Bayh

DC Phone: (202) 224-5623

Local Phone: Evansville (812) 465-6500, Fort Wayne (260) 426-3151, Hammond (219) 852-2763, Indianapolis (317) 554-0750, Jeffersonville (812) 218-2317, Southbend (574) 236-8302

Link to E-mail

Louisiana

Sen. Mary Landrieu

DC Phone: (202) 224-5824

Local Phone: Baton Rouge (225) 389-0395, Lake Charles (337) 436-6650, New Orleans (504) 589-2427, Shreveport (318) 676-3085

Link to E-mail

Montana

Sen. Jon Tester

DC Phone: (202) 224-2644

Local Phone: Billings (406) 252-0550, Bozeman (406) 586-4450, Butte (406) 723-3277, Glendive (406) 365-2391, Great Falls (406) 452-9585, Helena (406) 449-5401, Kalispell (406) 257-3360, Missoula (406) 728-3003

Link to E-mail

Nebraska

Sen. Ben Nelson

DC Phone: (202) 224-6551

Local Phone: Omaha (402) 391-3411, Lincoln (402) 441-4600, Scottsbluff (308) 631-7614, Kearney (308) 293-5818, South Sioux City (402) 209-3595

Link to E-mail

North Dakota

Sen. Kent Conrad

DC Phone: (202) 224-2043

Local Phone: Bismarck (701) 258-4648, Fargo (701) 232-8030, Grand Forks (701) 775-9601, Minot (701) 852-0703

Link to E-mail

Sen. Byron Dorgan

DC Phone: (202) 224-2551

Local Phone: Bismarck (701) 250-4618, Fargo (701) 239-5389, Minot (701) 852-0703, Grand Forks (701) 746-8972

Link to E-mail

South Dakota

Sen. Tim Johnson

DC Phone: (202) 224-5842

Local Phone: Aberdeen (605) 226-3440, Sioux Falls (605) 332-8896, Rapid City (605) 341-3990

Link to E-mail

Virginia

Sen. James Webb

(202) 224-4024
1-866-507-1570

Link to E-mail.

West Virginia

Sen. Robert C. Byrd

DC Phone: (202) 224-3954

Local Phone: Charlestown (304) 342-5855, Eastern Panhandle (304) 264-4626

Link to E-mail

Because The Sacramento Bee Isn’t Really Journalism

Wednesday, October 7, 2009  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

In a deeply flawed “chronology” of events concerning its deeply flawed story about Meg Whitman’s voting record, the Sacramento Bee leaves out my post detailing the errors in its story, but doesn’t mention must less invite its own readers to listen to its own editor Amy Chance discuss the story with me.

Another example of great “reporting” by the very courageous Bee. No wonder newspapers come in two categories –dead and dying. The Bee ran a hit piece pretending to be a story, got caught, and won’t tell its readers the truth about what happened or own its errors.

As though every single person who cares about the story to begin with doesn’t already know what happened. BTW: Still waiting on the promised call back from Amy with the names of who Andrew McIntosh allegedly talked to in the three “offices” he quotes in his original story.

The Latest From Bear In The Woods

Tuesday, October 6, 2009  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

Our favorite anonymous ad exec has come out of his cave with not one, but two emails.

Number one:

Hugh:

It’s been quite awhile since I’ve written anything here. Like most ad agencies — most businesses, actually — we’re doing more with less these days, and that translates into longer hours, more weekends, and less time for stuff that isn’t directly related to clients. But just because I haven’t written doesn’t mean I haven’t been paying attention. I hardly need to point out that a lot is happening all at once on the political/marketing/communications front. But I do want to comment on an opportunity or two I see, that I hope the GOP will take advantage of. I’m still reachable at bearinthewoods84@gmail.com

So, let’s talk user-generated content. That’s a fancy social media term that obviously refers to regular folks making their own stuff. In the political world it boils down to grassroots communicatons. We’ve seen a ton of it, in the form of Tea Party signs and slogans, townhall banners and speech, the online efforts to encourage folks to participate, and a number of videos documenting townhall activity that have found their audience on YouTube, and expanded that audience on air. To say the impact has been great is an understatement. Most of the momentum is fueled by the issues themselves — there are, simply put, an awful lot of people who are passionately opposed to big government, huge deficits, and a government-run healthcare/energy/auto-manufacturing system. They feel they have no one to speak for them, or that spokespeople (or organizations) are ineffective, so they have taken it upon themselves to make their own signs and videos and get them up for the world to see.

I’ve heard many on the Right point out the failure to the Left’s big-budget efforts to support Obamacare, compared to the grassroots communications of conservatives and libertarians, and come to the conclusion that high level marketing is ultimately a waste. This is a dangerous position.

The Left’s executions are failing not because they’re slick and well-produced. They’re failing because the messages they’re delivering are hollow at best, and at worse, outright falsehoods. The creators of the messages are committing one of the cardinal sins of advertising — they’re underestimating the intelligence of their audience. In short, they’re trying to sell something people don’t want. No amount of media, and not even the best creative on the planet, can do that. What we’re seeing is a rejection of the message.

But we’re also seeing an opportunity to galvanize the conservative side. And the right creative strategy can help.

This is a strong grassroots movement. But all movements — like all messaging campaigns –need both leadership and focus to weather setbacks, and have greater impact. Focused messages are stronger messages. And people of like mind tend to rally, sometimes for different reasons, around broad common themes.

Don’t believe me? Quick — besides the US Flag, what’s the most common banner seen at the Tea Parties? If you answered “Don’t Tread On Me” (the yellow Gadsden Flag, or, for the nonconformists, the white Culpepper Flag) you’d be correct. Symbolically, the rattlesnake image, and the “Don’t Tread on Me” message resonate with a broad swath of the people who believe in limited government, and who now believe our current government has far overstepped its bounds. The flags represent a broad umbrella theme that can accommodate specific issues, whether it’s healthcare, cap and trade, the bailout, gun control, or school indoctrination, and oppose it under a unifying banner that simply speaks to a desire for liberty. People in the grassroots movement carry the banner because it speaks to so many of them on so many levels. I’m not suggesting that the GOP adopt the Culpepper flag. But I am suggesting they take a lesson from it.

Number two:

I’ve been following the story of the infamous NEA conference call, over at Big Hollywood and Big Government.

In short, it seems the White House, via the NEA, sought to recruit influential artists and creators to produce art that promotes White House policies. At issue, of course, is the use of a government entity for political purposes — which, of course, is illegal. But also at issue is the very thought of government-sponsored art promoting, well, the government. Which is something we’re accustomed to seeing in countries that are more socialist than one would think even the current administration would have us be. Then again, maybe not. I, like most conservatives who have followed the story, am appalled by this administration’s apparent misuse of government-funded organizations for political purposes.

But I’m not surprised. Nor do I think anyone should be. This White House is very good at campaigning. Which is why it has attempted to stay in continuous campaign mode throughout its brief history. Apparently, governing doesn’t come naturally to them, but campaigning is a natural state of being for this administration, and it’s only natural that they should seek the help of those who helped them so much in their pre-election campaign.

What’s interesting to me, though, is that the reaction I’m reading from a lot of conservative circles can be paraphrased along the lines of, “this is a misuse of art.” Hogwash. Political purposes are not only a fantastic use of art, they are quite possibly the most common use of art. Instead, this is a misuse of a government-funded entity — art has nothing whatsoever to do with it.

What art does have to do with, though, is emotion. And persuasion. And communication. These are points that the Democrats have recognized for more than two generations, and have employed to their advantage to create profound shifts in our society. Mostly negative shifts, in my personal opinion, but very real shifts, nonetheless. While conservative arguments ring logical and true, they too often are presented with nothing but logic. And while logic may engage the intellect, it’s emotion that spurs action. Art — visual, performance, verbal, cinematic — creates emotion. Art is important to a message. Art helps win minds. Art is powerful. The Democrats understand this. They understand it so well that they, apparently, will risk breaking federal law to engage the power of art for their side.

Fighting them in the courts will only address the legal issues of use of government funds, and ultimately will only get us so far. Fighting fire with fire means we must understand the importance of fighting art — with art.

bearinthewoods84@gmail.com

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