Archive for Tue, Nov 24, 2009

H3: 11/24/09 John Mark Reynolds, Jim Geraghty

11240903 Hugh Hewitt: Hour 3 – Hugh concludes his discussion on the Manhattan Declaration with Biola University Talbott School of Theology director, John Mark Reynolds, and all the political news of the week with National Review Campaign Spot blogger, Jim Geraghty.

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H2: 11/24/09 Albert Mohler

11240902 Hugh Hewitt: Hour 2 – Hugh continues discussing the news of the day with the callers, and the impact of the Manhattan Declaration with Southern Theological Baptist Seminary president, Dr. Albert Mohler.

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H1: 11/24/09 Robert George, Joseph Fessio

11240901 Hugh Hewitt: Hour 1 – Hugh covers the news, but also talks a lot about the impact of the Manhattan Declaration, and speaks with several of the signers of the document, including Princeton University professor and ethicist Robert George, and Father Joseph Fessio.

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Sarah Palin makes a man nervous, pt. 20,364

Today at the Mall of America I was pointing out some orange-hued Holiday Ornaments to a friend, and made the mistake of continuing to walk while looking over my shoulder. I ran right into a pole, head first, cut my brow and made a loud BONNNG sound that approximated a Tibetan gong. I blame Sarah Palin.

Like Sarah Palin, the placement of this pole is a troubling development, and speaks to problems not only in the Republican Party but our democracy at large. The pole appeared to be structural, even though it was slender, and it is a sign of our debased public standards that something this slender should be considered load-bearing. Barry Goldwater would have insisted on a much stouter pole; Ronald Reagan would managed to make the pole both populist and substantial. The pole, like Palin, looked good, but –

Hold on, I’m having a spell again. Have to sit down.


There. Better. What did I write while I was in my state? Let’s see . . . hmm. Nonsense. Utter drivel. Political commentary of the most intellectually facile sort, the sort of thing you might hear if Chris Matthews stuck his finger in a light socket and started babbling uncontrollably. (Correction: when he does it, which is apparently nightly on MSNBC.) It seems I was channeling this column by Steve Chapman in the Chicago Tribune. This week he wrote:

The 19th century American writer Henry Adams said the descent of American presidents from George Washington to Ulysses S. Grant was enough to discredit the theory of evolution. The same could be said of the pantheon of conservative political heroes, which in the last half-century has gone from Barry Goldwater and Ronald Reagan to Sarah Palin. That refutation may be agreeable to Palin, who doesn’t put much stock in Darwin anyway.

Ooh! Zing. Palin on Fox, Sept 17. 2008:

Q: Did you only want to teach creationism in school and not evolution?

A: No. In fact, growing up in a school teacher’s house with a science teacher as a dad, you know, I have great respect for science being taught in our science classes and evolution to be taught in our science classes.

Well, it’s truthy-true, if you must quibble. My point isn’t to defend Palin, who can handle herself, or to descend into ad hominem and wonder why so many men get the vapors and have to take to the fainting couch when Ms. Palin is discussed. Eek! She has a gun! Icky icky! No, let us just savor the left’s newfound admiration for Goldwater and Reagan. Previously Barry was dismissed a proto-Bircher who spent his private time mumbling about Precious Bodily Essences and wondering if he should nuke the Rooskies on Sunday in God’s honor, or do it on a Monday so it didn’t interrupt people’s day of rest. Reagan was the amiable dunce, Bonzo co-star, jelly-bean popper, an actor, fer heaven’s sake. But now Goldwater is retroactively suffused with wisdom, and it turns out Reagan actually pondered international relations and Communism at length, instead of being a nuke-happy dunderdolt who wanted to put missiles in Europe to manifest some sort of phallic metaphor. Who. Knew?

Chapman goes on. And on, and on:

Who needs policy? In her world — and the world of legions of conservatives who revere her — the persona is the policy. Palin is beloved because she’s (supposedly) just like ordinary people, which (supposedly) gives her a profound understanding of their needs.

That attitude used to be associated with the left, which claimed to speak for the ordinary folks who get shafted by the system. Logic and evidence about policy, to many liberals, were less important than empathy and good intentions. Now it’s conservatives who think we should be guided by our guts, not our brains.

It’s only safe to admit that many liberals were brain-ignoring and gut-guided when the conservatives have taken that approach, and liberals are lead by the Smartest Man Ever To Stride the Globe. Note also how the equation means that conservatives were once the ruthless rational types – which goes against decades of screeching about the right’s endless pantheon of fears. Commies! Homos! Minorities! Women! Apparently the right had excellent empirical briefs against all of them, in Chapman’s world, but have tossed them away for the Lure of the Gut.

He concludes:

You could almost forget that for well over a year, Republicans have ridiculed Barack Obama as lighter than a souffle, an inexperienced upstart who owes everything to arrogant presumption and a carefully crafted image. But Obama wrote a 375-page book, “The Audacity of Hope,” that shows a solid, and occasionally tedious, grasp of issues.

It is hard to imagine Palin (as opposed to a ghostwriter) producing anything comparable.

Almost as hard as it is to imagine that modern conservatives would expect it.

They’d expect it of Romney. Probably Pawlenty. They wouldn’t expect “a tedious grasp” from Palin, anymore than a Democrat would expect Joe Biden to talk about anything without putting his foot so far down his mouth his small intestine filed a restraining order. More to the point: guts can be useful if the head of state is grasping for endless federal control, tedious or not. If the head can produce an endlessly detailed rationale for putting the federal government in every doctor’s office in every town in every state, there are a great many people whose guts say “well, NO,” and they are drawn to someone whose instincts do not compel them to federalize every moment of your daily life – and don’t need 375 pages to tell you why.

To recap, then. All those gut-feeling liberals before Obama: good. All those smart, brainy conservatives: good, I guess. Popular figures on the right who channel the very same emotions liberals once claimed to understand: very very bad. It’s not because of her policies, mind you – it’s because she’s dumb and popular. If Sarah Palin believed in nationalizing the energy industry, raising the top tax rate to 50%, fleeing from Iraq, and had aborted her last child, why, they’d hate her just as much. Right?

No, of course not. Sometimes I think they feel good about being scared of Sarah Palin because they feel so bad about being proud of Barbara Boxer.

Podcast Archive Calendar

November 2009