Archive for ‘Hugh Hewitt’

October 9, 2008

Hugh Hewitt, Republican albatross

An inerrant harbinger of doom:

One campaign book that has already bitten the dust is right-wing radio host Hugh Hewitt’s How Sarah Palin Won the Election … and Saved America, which the literary agent Curtis Yates sent to publishers in New York last week.

Hewitt is not, and has never been, “right-wing.” He’s a Republican. There is a difference. Left-winger Steve Benen of Washington Monthly notes how persistently wrong Hewitt has been:

In 2006, a few months before the midterm elections, conservative blogger/talk-show host Hugh Hewitt published a book on the drive for a “permanent Republican majority.” Soon after, Democrats won a sweeping, historic victory, and reclaimed the majority in both chambers.
In 2007, a few months before the primaries, Hewitt published a book on Mitt Romney and the prospects of a “Mormon in the White House.” Soon after, Romney blew leads in Iowa and New Hampshire, and withdrew from the presidential race after a surprisingly poor showing.

Hewitt is an all-purpose GOP cheerleader who doesn’t distinguish between a useless open-borders RINO like George Voinovich and real conservatives like Tom Coburn and Jim DeMint. So long as they have an “R” beside their name, he’s shaking his pompoms and shouting “Yea, team!”

In 2004, with Republican fortunes on the upswing, he published If It’s Not Close, They Can’t Cheat, and looked like a prophet. But his 2006 book, Painting the Map Red, was published when Bush fatigue, congressional scandals and the McCain-sponsored amnesty destroyed whatever brand advantage the GOP had previously gained.

Being a Professional Republican means you can’t tell the truth about the GOP when it goes off course. Even now, Hewitt is spinning fantasies of how John McCain — who is so deeply implicated in the party’s brand-damage problem — is going to come from behind to win.

The whole purpose of the conservative movement, going back to Up From Liberalism and the Sharon Conference, was to create an independent, external focus of criticism for the failures of the Republican Party. Making GOP electoral fortunes the barometer of the success of conservatism means that the party controls the movement, rather than the other way around.

If anyone who wins a Republican primary is automatically entitled to the uncritical support of conservatives — and this is what the philosophy we might call “Hewittism” boils down to — then the conservative movement is toothless and unprincipled and as such will be disregarded by Republican officials as politically irrelevant.

The salt has lost its savor.

UPDATE: I knew I had written this earlier:

McCain is not a conservative, he will lose in November . . .

But until I looked it up just now, I’d forgotten the context. It was Super Tuesday, and the day before Bill Kristol in his New York Times column more or less accused Maverick’s conservative opponents of treason, as I wrote:

Notice this tactic: To fail to support John McCain — the candidate whom Mr. Kristol and his associates have labored diligently to impose on an unwilling Republican Party — is to unpatriotically endorse defeat in Iraq.

He decides who the candidate is, then slanders those who disapprove. Nice work if you can get it.
Kristol’s Weekly Standard had been all aboard the Straight Talk Express in 2000 — seeing it as a vehicle to “National Greatness” — and on Super Tuesday this year, Kristol went on Fox to call Maverick “the almost prohibitive favorite” for the nomination, which prompted my response:

McCain got 48% in Illinois, 51% in New York , 52% in Connecticut, and 56% in New Jersey — all states that Democrats will carry easily in November. But in Florida he got only 36%, and today, he didn’t even break 50% in Arizona. These aren’t the kind of numbers that indicate a strong Republican candidate. McCain is not a conservative, he will lose in November, and Kristol doesn’t even seem to care.

Some of my prognostications have been way off, but I predicted the Nov. 4 outcome nine months in advance.