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Hugh Hewitt Book Club
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Hugh Hewitt Book Club

Blogworld and New Media Expo

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Broadcasting today from the annual Blogworld and New Media Expo.

The day started with a panel including Mark Penn, Karen Evans, Reid Wilson and me.

The Twitter hash tag for the gathering is #BWE10.

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Angle Beats Reid. By A Lot.

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Any fair account of last night’s debate between Sharron Angle and Harry Reid concludes that the GOP challenger won easily, because she provided reassurance to Nevada voters that she is a mainstream conservative even as the format showcased Harry Reid’s halting, often confused and non-responsive answers to direct questions.

Reid needed Angle to stumble. She didn’t. He did. I suspect the donations are flowing again to www.SharronAngle.com. I did watch with amazement the CNN hatchet job on Angle on Anderson Cooper’s program when I got back to my hotel after a townhall meeting I conducted with Mike Gallagher in Scottsdale

The segment opened with a trumped-up slam on Angle for expressing concern over informal Sharia law systems taking root in some small parts of the country. –it is a widespread issue in Great Britain and is likely to arise here in the future, but Cooper attached great significance to Angle’s inability to point to any specific community in which such informal quasi-judicial proceedings have occurred. Then, have denounced Angle, Cooper turned to a panel that included of all people Elliot Spitzer in another attempt to persuade CNN’s rapidly declining audience that Spitzer has news judgment or credibility. Spitzer said nothing memorable or even remotely interesting and David Gergen, looking pained to be appearing with Spitzer, noted that Angle probably helped herself. –about as grudging an admission of the obvious as possible. Cooper played less than a minute of the actual debate, and perhaps as little as 30 seconds in what was obviously an attempt to save the audience the startling vision of the third most powerful person in D.C. displaying an unnerving incapacity to use complete sentences or speak in paragraphs. CNN seems in a death spiral right now, locked into a nightly ratings death march through Parker Spitzer and then Larry King, only to arrive at an increasingly partisan Anderson Cooper. Cooper has a reputation for fair journalism and decent reporting. If the “brains” that brought us Spitzer-as-trusted-voice also manage to wreck Cooper’s reputation, we really will have to begin to wonder if CNN’s collapse was an inside job accomplished with malice aforethought and not just wild incompetence.

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The Obama Admission and the Thune Admonition

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President Obama’s candid admission of naivete on his part –“There’s no such thing as shovel ready projects”– has left Democrats reeling and Republicans triumphant on the campaign trail.

The president’s faithful defenders circled the wagon. “I read that as an odd quote,” Ezra Klein told me on Wednesday’s radio show. “Now where did that quote came from?” Ezra continued. “It’s an out of context quote. It’s a little bit hard to say.”

Jonathan Chait told me very much the same thing –that the reporter had done a lousy job explaining what the president meant.

Both Chait and Klein are stimulus true believers, though Klein asserts it ought to have been bigger than it was. Even the president’s candor about the failure of the stimulus to work as promised won’t deter the left from defending the massive boondoggle.

No matter. By this weekend every Republican candidate should have taped an ad noting that the president has finally admitted what everyone in the country already knew –the Administration’s economic gamble was a bust, and a very expensive one at that. Those same candidates have to push the advantage the polls show the GOP as owning right now by arguing again and again that there is only one way out of this mess, and that is robust economic growth fueled by lower taxes and much lower public sector spending.

The highest profile candidates have to make bold statements about the need to stop the massive tax hike scheduled for 1/1/11. They have to argue for repeal of Obamacare with its massive built-in deficits. They have to argue for a slicing back of the rapidly growing regulatory state.

They have to speak clearly and loudly about the need for speed in moving to correct the many errors of the president and his team.

The looming defeat of the Democrats on 11/2 has accelerated Campaign 2012. Politico.com has a top-of-the-page story on Mitt Romney’s schedule, and John Thune was very clear about the direction in which he is leaning on my program today:

HH: John Thune, a lot of people are asking whether or not you’re going to run for President in 2012. When will you make that decision?

JT: Well, you know, right now, as everybody else is, focused very narrowly on the midterm elections, because it’s the best thing we can do right now to change the direction of the country. But after those elections are over, we’ll take a look at it. We’re having some discussions about that now, and obviously, that would be a very big undertaking. But I think that people in this country are going to be ready for, hopefully, some kind of Midwestern common sense type leadership, and we certainly have got to make a change in the White House in 2012, and in particularly, if we can make some significant gains in the Congress in this election, because there is so much that I think has to be undone that this administration has done in terms of damage to the country.

Like Romney and Thune, Sarah Palin and Tim Pawlenty are also criss-crossing the country to help the 11/2 effort, and there are many others close behind these four top tier candidates.

All of these candidates know that deepening concern over the politically lethal combination of the president’s hard left ideology and his ever-more-obvious incompetence have created a huge opening for a campaign of ideas to launch almost as soon as the polls close on November 2.

My new Townhall.com column cites the recent evidences of the massive grassroots energy in the country. A large GOP win won’t dampen this surge of citizen-activism, but will instead increase the eagerness of its participants to dive even deeper into politics. The GOP presidential candidates will have no choice but to move to engage and earn the respect of these voters.

Senator Thune’s admonition that there is much that “has to be undone” is the starting point for campaign 2012. Anyone who wants to lead the party in 2012 is going to have to so declare early –very early– and to lay out the details of his or her platform. The era of coy hints is long gone. The new electorate knows there is much to be done, and is eager to begin.

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