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Ohio Senator Rob Portman On 2016 –The GOP Convention In Cleveland And His Political Plans

Wednesday, July 9, 2014  |  posted by Duane Patterson

HH: I’m now joined by United States Senator Rob Portman to talk a little bit about this Cleveland decision. Senator, what a great day for Ohio, congratulations.

RP: Hugh, thank you. I give you full credit, because you’ve been bragging on Ohio on this program forever.

HH: Well, that’s a hometown, they could have put it in Warren, and it would be slightly better.

RP: Yeah.

HH: But I don’t think they’ve got the hotel capacity. Robert Costa is crediting you with working this behind the scenes quite hard. How much truth in that, Senator?

RP: Well, I did work it quite hard, but the people who deserve the credit are the folks in Cleveland. You would have been very impressed to have seen this, Hugh, but the mayor, who as you know is a Democrat, Frank Jackson, came together with the Republicans, including the chairman of the local party, former chairman, Bob Bennett of the state party. And they said let’s go for this thing, and they put the business community together, they found a guy who’s an executive director who’s a retired CEO who’s done a great job, Terry Egger whom you may know, former publisher of the CPD, actually. And they really put together quite a proposal. And then when the host committee came, or the select committee from the RNC, they put Cleveland’s best foot forward. You know, they took them to all the great places and showed them the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame and the lake in all of its beauty, and you know, the arena fits perfectly for what they need. So I give the local community the credit. Continue Reading

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ISIS and Jordan

Tuesday, July 8, 2014  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

Most eyes are watching Israel’s escalating battle with Hamas.  The same or more attention should be paid on the ISIS assault on Jordan. The New York Times has it figured it, as does John Ford writing in The Daily Caller.

The president seems committed to ignoring the growing threat from al Qaeda which is anything but decimated.  Mitchell Silber writes in today’s Wall Street Journal about the threat posed by jihadis returning from the expanding frontlines, and again the Obama Administration seems not to connect its passivity in Iraq and throughout the region with this growing threat.

I admit to being interested in whether the GOP picks Cleveland and if LeBron comes home, and to wondering if Jason Chaffetz knows something very people know, but behind it all is the looming threat   These days, every other story is just a distraction from the main one, just as the debates and controversies of the summer of 2001 are long forgotten.


Alliance Defending Freedom’s David Cortman, Lead Counsel For Conestoga Wood, On The SOTUS Decision and Subsequent Orders

Tuesday, July 8, 2014  |  posted by Duane Patterson

HH: I’m also in league with my friends from Alliance Defending Freedom this week. I teach each year a week with media people where David Cortman is the senior counsel and the vice president of litigation for Alliance Defending Freedom. And he is the lead counsel for Conestoga Woods, one of the two victorious parties last week in Hobby Lobby. He sits across the table from me. David, thanks for taking time away from your enjoyable activities tonight to spend a half hour explaining this all for us.

DC: Always great to be here. It’s my pleasure.

HH: Can we start as thought the decision’s not in front of us? Will you explain what the Affordable Care Act did, the bind into which it put religious groups and religious corporations, and all the different people, and then what has happened since? Continue Reading

Does The GOP Lack Ideas, Or Communicators?

Sunday, July 6, 2014  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt


My Monday Washington Examiner column plays off of Sam Tanenhaus’ article in the New York Times Magazine Sunday: “Can the GOP Be A Party of Ideas?”

I spent most of an hour on Thursday’s program chatting with Tanenhaus about the piece, and the transcript of that interview is here.

The transcript of my 2009 interview with ST after his “Death of Conservatism” book became a best-seller is here.

Tanenhaus raises bunches of interesting questions in his new piece, but misses some key aspects of the ideas at the core of the GOP renewal.  My questions to him Thursday put these issues squarely to him, among them: Didn’t he miss many of the key players?  What about the Tea Party’s driving ideas? And isn’t the crisis in ideas on the other side?  Unlike the GOP, President Obama had filibuster proof majorities in 2009-10 and came up with the Stimulus, Dodd-Frank and Obamacare, and now flails about with EPA edicts and a world sliding into chaos.  Hard to see how the GOP can’t be looking good by comparison.

But read the Tanenhaus piece, the interview and the column.  I’ll spend a lot of time next week discussing all three.  The problem with the GOP is not a lack of conservative ideas, but a lack of House of Representatives’ leadership willing to press them at every turn, in every forum, at length and with passion and conviction.  The problem is much less severe in the states and in the Senate, but the branch of the federal government the GOP controls has been singularly inept at making the case for specific policy proposals, and nowhere more than when it comes to national defense.  Paul Ryan and Jeb Hensarling alone among the high profile GOP House members is known for policy innovation.

As for the “reformicons” Tanenhaus points to, they need political sponsors mixing it up on policy, and that has to change before 2016 comes into play.  Arthur Laffer had his Jack Kemp, and whether it is Yuval Levin or any of the other “reformicons,” they need sitting congressmen willing to implement their ideas.

It will be possible to win in 2014 on a purely negative reaction to the unparalleled awfulness of the president’s record and his increasingly off-putting persona, but to beat Hillary in 2016 it will take energy and ideas, and the nomination will probably go to the candidate who is most familiar with the most interesting and serious ideas offered from the vast network of public intellectuals that Tanenhaus barely delineates.  Note that in my interview the idea turf is currently being battled over by Senators Cruz, Paul and Rubio.  Watch and see which of them spend the most time on talk radio in the year ahead –along with some reform-minded governors like Jindal, Kasich and walker– making very specific cases for very specific reforms.  To the debaters will go the spoils.  Just as they did in 1980.

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