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Senator Jon Kyl and Karl Rove

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Both were guests on today’s show. The transcripts are posted here. Rove provides a rundown on the race for the GOP nomination for president, and Senator Kyl talks about the aftermath of the Tucson massacre, the general climate of political debate and his plans for re-election.

An excerpt from the conversation with Senator Kyl on the debate about civil debate:

HH: I know, I was out of the country when the terrible events unfolded in Tucson. And I watched as they were immediately politicized. When media pundits now, Senator Kyl, demand an end to the so-called violent imagery out there, are they selling a narrative? Is it something that we need to object to or endure, or somehow agree with?

JK: Well, that is probably the best question about all of this that I’ve heard asked. Basically, how should we be reacting to it. And the answer’s probably a couple of different ways. First of all, everyone acknowledges, including the President now, that neither violent images on television, nor uncivil discourse, had anything whatsoever to do with this murderous rampage, which is why I find it uncomfortable to even connect the two in discussing about things like why we need a civil discourse. Of course we need a civil discourse. Of course any excuse to talk about how it would be better if we could have a better debate about political issues, and not personalize it, not engage in ad hominem attacks and a lot of vivid imagery and all that, of course that would be better. But I still feel uncomfortable about discussing that subject in the context of what happened in Tucson, since the two are absolutely, totally disconnected. And therefore, I suspect the main reason that people want to have the discussion is because they want to criticize those on the right for engaging in what they believe is inappropriate criticism of their wonderful ideas.

HH: Oh, I agree with that. That’s why I’m mocking the attempt to censor people. But it’s dangerous, because I don’t want people to think in any way that I’m mocking the tragedy.

JK: That’s right. It’s a hard question. And who isn’t for civil discourse? Of course, we’re all for civil discourse. It would be nice if those who are most in favor of it these days had thought about that back in those days.

HH: Let me play for you a clip from last night on the House floor, Senator Kyl, Congressman Steven Cohen from Tennessee.

SC: They say it’s a government takeover of health care. A big lie, just like Goebbles. You say it enough, you repeat the lie, you repeat the lie, you repeat the lie, eventually, people believe it. Like blood libel, that’s the same kind of thing. The Germans said enough about the Jews, and the people believed it, and you had the Holocaust. You tell a lie over and over again. And we’ve heard on this floor, government takeover of health care. Politifact, non-partisan, Pulitzer prize winning, 2009, St. Petersburg Times, said the biggest lie of 2010 was government takeover of health care, because there is no government takeover.

HH: So Senator Kyl, the equation of the debate about Obamacare with Goebbles and Nazi propaganda concerning Jews, how do you rank that on the civil discourse spectrum?

JK: Well again, to me, it’s a little complicated. First of all, I’ve never minded really critical debate. I will confess to you that there are a couple of things that really bother me. One is reference to the Holocaust and killing of Jews. Another are racial equations. Those kind of things, I think we need to be especially sensitive to. But to the reference of Goebbles and his big lie propaganda, I don’t have any problem with that per se, but I guarantee you if it had been a conservative Republican talking about it, the news media would have been full of it. There is a total double standard about that. So I wish people would be a little less sensitive, and a little less politically correct these days. But unfortunately, they’re not going to apply that standard on an even basis. And so…but Hugh, I’ll tell you one more thing, I’m not being very coherent here. But I knew that the first fault would be on the other side on this whole thing. We’re going to all love together, hold hands and sing Kumbaya. I just knew that the first fault would be committed on the other side. I told my staff, I said I can’t wait until it occurs, because we’ll have some fun with it. But I don’t take any joy in having fun about this.

And from the interview with Karl Rove on the race for the GOP nomination:

HH: In the first hour of tonight’s program, Dick Morris, with whom I’m appearing tomorrow night at the Nixon Library, said flatly Mitt Romney cannot get the presidential nomination because of Massachusettscare. Do you agree with that?

KR: I think it’s too early to make that declarative sentence. But I do agree that this is the principal challenge that Mitt Romney’s candidacy would face if he were to become a candidate. But look, my view is this year is a year in which every candidate gets a chance to recognize their challenges, to recognize their strengths, and to overcome their challenges, and to bolster their strengths. And if Mitt Romney recognizes that his answer on why on what they did in Massachusetts looks so much like what Obama tried to do to the country, if he recognizes that is a problem, then he’ll work his way out of the problem. If he doesn’t, he doesn’t. But right now, everybody, it’s better to describe the challenges they each face, than to make judgments about how they’re going to handle those challenges over the next six or seven months. If somebody says look, I think this is so and so’s challenge, and I don’t think they’re going to be able to overcome it, I don’t think that they’re going to be able to find an answer, that’s one thing. But to say look, it’s over right now, I’m not certain I would be that definitive.

Both interviews have much more worth reading.


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