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Hugh Hewitt Book Club

Speaker of the House of Representatives, Paul Ryan

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The Transcript:

HH: Joined now by the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, the Honorable Paul Ryan. Mr. Ryan, Mr. Speaker, welcome back, great to have you.

PR: Hey, Mr. Hewitt, how are you?

HH: I’m good. I’m worried about the end times, though. The Brewers are in first place. Doesn’t that mean the end times are upon us?

PR: (laughing) You know, it was 1989, if I recall, since we had made it all the way through the pennant to the World Series. So we’re due.

HH: Yeah, you’re about as due as the Indians.

PR: Yeah, exactly. We could talk about the Browns if you want.

HH: Look, it’s been a rough couple of weeks. Well no, we’re going to Super Bowl LIII. That’s what we’re looking at. Rough couple of weeks after the American Health Care Act passed that obscured the effect there. How to get back on track, Mr. Speaker?

PR: Well, I think we are back on track. I mean, I think sure, it was a rough couple of weeks. I don’t obviously want to go through that again, but I actually am glad that we did, because what we went through here as a conference, as a Republican Congress, is we went through in a basically two or three month period the growing pains of going from being an opposition to being a governing party. And that meant, you know, working to get consensus with our own members to come together with a majority coalition to advance a huge agenda. And so I think that speaks well for showing how we have whipped ourselves into shape, because for the Obama years, we never had to come up with, you know, 218 to be proactive. We now have the White House, the House and Senate, and so this got us into a much better position as a governing party to show that we can put together a majority coalition to advance a very big agenda. And so the process was not as pleasant as you would like, but it was an important one, and it was very unifying for our members, and that’s what I’m pleased about.

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NRO’s Jonah Goldberg on All Things Trump

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The Audio:


The Transcript:

HH: I’m joined by Jonah Goldberg of National Review. You can follow him on Twitter, @JonahNRO, and the G-File is weekly musings about all things political and life, including his dogs available if you go to and find the Jonah file. And it will be posted tomorrow. But if you want it today, you have to sign up for the email. Good morning, Jonah.

JG: Good morning, Hugh. I sense the great disturbance inside the Beltway.

HH: There was (laughing)

JG: I knew you had to be here.

HH: I was here. Well, I wanted to warn you about the deer trap that had been laid for your dogs and you. It could have been the never never Trumpers. It could have been waiting, they could have put up a fake deer, and you didn’t look behind you at all.

JG: That’s entirely possible. Well you know, in 2016, I was attacked, literally attacked by a deer.

HH: I did not know that.

JG: So, oh yeah, no, it was terrible. A deer ran super fast straight into a huge cast iron gate, knocked the gate off the hinges, and nearly killed me, like did serious damage, cracked a rib. I mean, there was just, I was a mess. So I now, I have zero sympathy for deer.

HH: Okay, so (laughing) when deers attack.

JG: They’re vermin.

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Isn’t It Coincidental…

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“In the immortal words of Leroy Jethro Gibbs [puts on a deep voice] ‘I don’t believe in coincidences’.”
Anthony DiNozzo, NCIS

Rule 39: There is no such thing as a coincidence.
Gibbs, NCIS

Robert Montgomery Knight was one of the greatest college basketball coaches we have ever seen.  He belongs in the pantheon of the greats alongside John Wooden, Adolph Rupp, Dean Smith and soon Mike Krzyzewski (who was once an assistant for the aforementioned Coach Knight.)  He forever changed the game and is quite likely to be the last coach that will ever lead an undefeated national champion.  And yet by most popular accounts he is a disgrace.

Why he is commonly considered a disgrace is simple really – he largely held the press in contempt.  And the press was not about to let that go.  Yes, Coach Knight had a temper.  Yes, Coach Knight demanded everything his players had to give, and just a bit more.  Yes, he pursued perfection and had little tolerance for those that aimed at lesser goals like merely winning – sometimes excoriating players that did not share his pursuit.  All of that is true.  And as the world changed around him, beginning to value nice over good, tolerance over perfection, the press sensed its opportunity to strike back.  Coach Knight never changed throughout his tenure at Indiana University, but the world did, and the press used that change to paint the same man that once was held in the highest possible esteem as some sort of under-bridge-dwelling troll just waiting to pounce, with evil intent, on players and referees.  Sadly, because Coach Knight’s pursuit of basketball perfection left no room for PR skill, the press won.

It is not coincidental that Coach Knight campaigned for the president.  The mere success of the Trump campaign was contemptuous of a press that had pre-written a narrative.  The coach and the president have a lot in common.  Trump, unlike Coach Knight, is a media master and he played the press like a virtuoso on a Stradivarius.  The press did not like that much.  And so, as Donald Trump learns on the job, the press is manically searching for opportunities, and grasping at every possibility that presents itself.  It is not coincidental that the controversy storm the president now finds himself in broke almost immediately on the heels of the AHCA passage in the House.  The press does not want the president to get a win that big and consequential.  Said Kurt Schlichter:

So we have to fight against this cable network coup.

But it is also time for President Trump to take a negative lesson from his friend Bob Knight.

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Welcome To The Pros Mr. President

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Regardless of what did or did not happen, the president’s credibility is in trouble.  And that matters.  David French is right, there is no clean way out of this mess.  But the American public needs to be aware of what is going on here.  The president may have made a big, big, even criminal mistake, or he may not have – we don’t know yet.  We also don’t know whether that mistake/crime, if committed, was committed with intent or is simply a “rookie mistake.”  In some ways that does not matter, as the WSJ pointed out in the first link:

Millions of Americans recognized Mr. Trump’s flaws but decided he was a risk worth taking. They assumed, or at least hoped, that he’d rise to the occasion and the demands of the job. If he cannot, he’ll betray their hopes as his Presidency sinks before his eyes.

But a rookie mistake, while consequential, is forgivable provided we can have assurances it won’t happen again.  But intent?  Well that deserves the most extreme consequences.

At Powerline, Paul Mirengoff posted his initial thoughts last night and they focused where I first focused.  The timing and methods of our finding out about the Comey memo are most curious and they implicate more than just the president.  Conclusion?  The motivations driving the releases and press investigations are less about justice and the law than they are naked power politics.  As the host said interviewing Ben Sasse this morning:

Well, we are the new Rome, in many respects…

The challenge Donald Trump now faces is extraordinary.  He must rise to it or his presidency is indeed doomed.

But a bigger challenge faces the nation.  When our partisan politics and lust for power take precedence over our sense of justice, rule of law and willingness to be graceful the nation as a whole faces doom.  This is a time for deep reflection and lots of prayer.



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