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2016 Watch

Friday, December 12, 2014  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

Much gnashing of teeth over the annual pseudo-drama on The Hill.  The real damage is being done in the 2015 NDAA, not the Cromnibus, and hopefully the big U-turn to sanity begins when Leader McConnell gets the gavel in January.  I am not getting exercised about a lame duck Congress last flaps of its wings.  If the GOP hadn’t blown the Senate elections in 2010 and 2012 this wouldn’t be happening.

Soon there arrives a GOP majority.  If it shrinks from dueling with the president for however long it takes, then the political paybacks in 2016 will be ugly.  Here’s to hoping the new Congress goes big and quickly in January and February.  If we are talking about the Budget Resolution in April, they will have failed to do so, because before anyone knows it the 2016 campaign will swallow all and force the Congressional GOP to avoid hurting its own field.

It is possible to pass entitlement reform via reconciliation, thus avoiding the 60 vote rule in the Senate.  That’s the key tot country’s economic future, not the $10 billion here or there being debated this week, (and especially not the $4 billion being sliced from the military’s pay and benefits).

It is also possible to pass a serious defense budget with money necessary to rebuild the Navy and begin refurbishing the nuclear deterrent.  A 2016 NDAA should be done by summer, not in December, one that takes into account the coming special commission report on military pay, benefits and retirement systems, and which starts the rebuilding.  There will have to be six Democratic votes found in the Senate to pass that but I expect Leader McConnell will figure that out.

No, prepare to bid a “don’t let the door hit you on the butt” wave goodbye to the 113th and enjoy Christmas, but with an eye on 2016.

On that front, Politico revived the Mitt talk yesterday, and finds it endorsed by the New York Sun this AM.

Michigan’s Rick Snyder seems to have the bug.  Rick Santorum hasn’t lost it.  The Washington Post’s Philip Rucker is tipping Indiana’s Mike Pence as the next Reagan.  When the RNC Debate Committee unveils its debate schedule –sooner rather than later I hope, as lots of schedules turn on that one– the entire field will jell overnight, and whichever body is charged with saying “yea” or “nay” to would-be candidates wanting stage passes will have to get down work.

I am hoping Reince’s committee comes back next week with a tentative schedule as that would fill a huge news hole.  Of course, Sony’s email water torture may be all we need.

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Mark Steyn On The Sony Emails

Thursday, December 11, 2014  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

Mark dropped by for his regular Thursday chat, all of which will be posted later at the Transcripts page.  Here is what he had to say on Sonygate:

HH: Now I have to turn to the big story of the afternoon, Mark Steyn. I want to read from BuzzFeed. “Before Sony Pictures chair, Amy Pascal, attended a breakfast of Hollywood bigwigs last November with Barack Obama, she emailed her friend, Scott Rudin, for suggestions on what she should ask the president. In what has become the latest embarrassing email uncovered in a trove of messages leaked by a hacker who attacked Sony, Pascal wrote Rudin, ‘What should I ask the President at this stupid Jeffrey breakfast?’ She was referring to a breakfast hosted by Dreamworks Animation head and major Democratic donor, Jeffrey Katzenberg. Rudin, a top film producer, responsible for films like No Country For Old Men and Moneyball, responded, ‘Would he like to finance some movies?’ Pascal responded, ‘I doubt it. Should I ask him if he liked Django?’ Rudin responded, ’12 Years.’ Pascal quickly continued down the path of guessing Obama-preferred movies by or starring African-Americans. ‘Or the Butler, or Think Like A Man. (sic)’  Rudin’s response, ‘Ridealong. I bet he likes Kevin Hart.'” Now Mark Steyn, that’s racist.


MS: Yeah, it is, and actually, if that had been Arnold Schwarzenegger and Mel Gibson bantering that back and forth, they might have, the media might have gone to town on it. But they cover up, they will cover up for their own when it comes to this kind of thing. By the way, if they want to do those kind of jokes about the President, then that’s fine. I don’t think they’re particularly, I don’t think they’re particularly good or particularly witty or particularly amusing. But the fact is that there are two rules here. And if a couple of Republicans had been caught having that kind of back and forth over emails, they’d be finished now.


HH: The Reverend Al Sharpton this afternoon sharply condemned them and compared Pascal to Donald Sterling, the former L.A. Clippers owner who made his infamous racial remarks. “These emails nominate Amy Pascal to be considered by some of us in the same light that we concluded and moved on the ownership of Donald Sterling of the L.A. Clippers,” Sharpton said. Does that mean her head will roll?


MS: I would be very surprised, because I think there’s actually two, I think there’s two rules for these things. And the Hollywood liberal elites, the sports thing, by the way, with Donald Sterling, was a very particular thing in the sense that it’s a franchise, an owner turns out not quite to be ownership. I would be very surprised if this were to cost either of these guys their eminence in Hollywood. You know, one of the things about a supposedly multicultural diverse society is we all have to develop, it only works if everybody’s got reasonably thick skin. And as much as I have no use for Hollywood liberals, I think they should be allowed to send racist emails to each other. I’m a free speech absolutist. And if Hollywood, just as, for example, so-called liberal men say the foulest thing, most misogynist things about female bloggers, such as Michelle Malkin, for example, absolute, there’s very few things as misogynist as the dweeby, liberal male when it comes to Michelle Malkin or Michele Bachmann, or Sarah Palin, or anybody else. They should be , they should have the right to be sexist, so liberal Hollywood big shots should have the right to do race jokes about the President. Do they get as far back as Amos and Andy, step and fetch it? Go for it, you guys. If you want to be racist buffoons, every Hollywood liberal should have the right to be a racist buffoon.


HH: They should. I’m just underscoring what you’ve already articulated, which is if I came on this show and began saying I wonder what the President would nominate for the Golden Globes, and ran down a list of black-only movies, that would be the last show I did.


MS: No, no, I know. I mean, it’s basically, it’s basically one step above watermelon gags. But they’re big shot liberals. And liberalism, modern American liberalism is not about principle. It’s about power. I mean, this goes back to what we were talking about, the Democrats and the Republicans earlier. And they will cut anybody apart. You listen, you think about the things that Jesse Jackson has said. You think about Al Sharpton, for example, the guy who’s now complaining about Scott Rudin’s remark is the guy who said Africans invented everything years before all them Greek homos did. And Al Sharpton gets invited to the White House despite his homophobia and despite all the President’s beating about everybody should have the right to love who they love. Al Sharpton can do his Greek homo gags and still get invited to the White House.


Did You Notice John Kasich In Arizona, Ted Cruz at Heritage, Bobby Jindal on Fox

Thursday, December 11, 2014  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt


Ohio ‘s ebullient, peripatetic governor John Kasich dashed in and out of Arizona yesterday to press the case for a Balanced Budget Amendment (and to meet with key money folk who bankroll presidential campaigns.

Texas Senator Ted Cruz, fresh from a West Coast swing, made a foreign affairs speech at The Heritage Foundation Wednesday.

And Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal was on Fox News Sunday bashing Common Core.

The race has begun, and the courtship of the money and the talking heads under way.  The need for speed and the need for buzz put a premium on many appearances in many places, appearances that generate comment in the new virtual world where the primaries will be won.  The old rules emphasized the Sunday shows.  The new rules? The Independent Journal Review, The FederalistThe Washington Free Beacon –and of course Twitter, Facebook etc. as well as the old new gatekeepers at Politico, Washington Examiner, NRO.  The old old gatekeepers are still around, worm ridden with their ramparts down and their walls breached, but the stumble along as well.

Point is, the one ring to rule them all is lost.  There is no one ring.  Every one of the 2016 would-be nominees is going to have to work a hundred different bylines because each of those bylines can push out stories and buzz.

It is going to be a fun two years for my business, especially because it appears that the candidates all know this and are far more accessible than ever before and willing to answer all sorts of questions and to engage in the sort of back-and-forth that is both winsome and winning.

Iowa’s caucuses are barely 14 months out, with the first debates probably in September –nine months from now.  Enjoy.  The end of the Obama era is within sight.

Breaking News: Small Signs Of Strategery Among Congressional GOP

Wednesday, December 10, 2014  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt


Well the Senate GOP did not rush to prove they were not easy marks for Harry Reid and refused yesterday to restore the filibuster to exactly what it was before Harry Reid broke the rules and made confirmation of judges a 51 vote matter.  So the Senate GOP held out for at least a day against its reputation for being the easiest group of legislators to roll in America.

Some Republican lawmakers are indeed pushing for two sets of rules, those that are for Republican presidents which require 60 votes to confirm a judge or justice and those for Democratic presidents which would require 51, and they are doing so out of misplaced hope that Humpty Dumpty can be put back together again.  Of course it cannot be.  If the Senate GOP “restores” the filibuster without a counterbalancing two years of GOP presidential nominees under the system of 51 votes, it will prove itself a push-over, and also wildly naive about “their colleagues across the aisle.”  Enough Republican senators seem to realize this to stop the push to try and pretend that Harry Reid didn’t slap the GOP across the mouth this session with the jam down of the 51 vote rule.

Senator McCain, an advocated of gluing the arms back on to the Venus de Milo, says it is “hypocrisy” not to do so after arguing against the “nuclear option” before Reid detonated it, in a routine display of his genial approach to negotiation with his colleagues that ascribe to them stupidity or moral defect.  Of course it isn’t hypocrisy to abandon old arguments when those arguments were defeated and circumstances and rules fundamentally changed.  When the “replay” option wasn’t introduced into the NFL, coaches who had opposed it would have been fired if they didn’t use it once it became the rules of the game.  Harry Reid rolled the GOP’s arguments against ending the filibuster.  It isn’t hypocrisy in the least to say that that act that broke the Senate’s long tradition and itself rendered irrelevant the arguments for keeping it in the first place.  Once done, Reid’s move cannot be undone.  The precedent of the undoing by ruling from the chair cannot be undone.  The GOP needs to impose a penalty and win the presidency and after two years of 51-vote confirmations of judges, then they can talk about a new, unbreakable codification of the old rules.

In another healthy development, it looks like some of the riders in the Cromnibus are worth having, indeed have real merit — a hopeful sign for next year.  Too bad the GOP didn’t go with a short term CR for all the agencies and then bristle Appropriations Bills in early 2015 with such necessary bindings on President Obama’s out-of-control bureaucracy.  But some wins are better than none, and the idea of having the Department of Homeland Security shut down in February unless the president pulls back his Executive Amnesty is an interesting one, and one I’ll explore on today’s show.  A shuttered DHS along with a complete embargo on all Obama nominees not related to Homeland Security –Senator Cruz’s idea– seems to me to be excellent first steps in the upcoming two year wrestling match with a lame duck president.

So the end game isn’t going badly.  Not how I’d have designed the last few plays of Obama’s third quarter for my team, but not bad either.  If the Senate GOP doesn’t restore the filibuster.  That would be a disaster.

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