Since I’ve been a regular listener to Hugh Hewitt for some years, there have of course been times when he has annoyed me to no end.
This is not one of those times. This is a pivot point.
At this point I have to seriously mull the utility of listening to Mr. Hewitt’s opinions about anything, going forward, including whether the sky is blue. (And blue sky is all we will get out of a Trump presidency.)
After having gone back and forth, seemingly in random order, through the proverbial stages of grief during the current election cycle, Mr. Hewitt has finally returned to the role he knows best: that of a GOP homer. Party uber alles, etc. That’s fine as far as it goes, and completely consistent with Core Hugh. It’s certainly not unexpected, anyway.
But not content to be merely flirt with morphing into a hectoring, sarcastic, sanctimonious gasbag like his favorite guest host Mark
Larson Davis [sorry Larson], demanding that we get on the Trump Train, Mr. Hewitt saw fit to pen “Responsible citizens have to choose” in the Washington Examiner.
Golly, does that make me an irresponsible citizen because I refuse to vote for either of the morally-retarded front-runners?
Well gee, I guess it must.
No rogue headline writer at work here. Mr. Hewitt makes quite plain his meaning throughout the article, and particularly in the concluding paragraph.
After insulting our intelligence, as if none of his points had ever occurred to us, and after listing his bill of horribles against Hillary Clinton without ever addressing the yawning void of ignorance that is Donald Trump, Mr. Hewitt insults us.
Mr. Hewitt begins:
It is a binary choice — that is obvious at least to every active duty member of the American military.
Or perhaps Mr. Hewitt is just adding the second clause because he wouldn’t dare say the things about active duty military that he’s about to say about the rest of us (who see more than a binary at work).
Either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump will be their commander in chief.
Mr. Hewitt doesn’t mention whether Trump ever get around to boning up on the nuclear triad.
Either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump will select the secretary of defense.
I’m pulling for Corey Lewandowski.
Either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump will select the secretaries of the Army, Air Force and Navy, the service chiefs, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the nine heads of the Combatant Commands.
We get the drift.
Either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump will sign off on the next four proposed budgets for the Department of Defense.
This might be a good time to talk about Trump’s comments on wasting money on things military, NATO, and suchlike, one might think.
Either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump will decide how to respond to the next Moammar Gadhafi marching on his own people, the next Benghazi surprise attack on an American installation, the next red line crossed where WMD are used, the next Vladimir Putin aggression against a near-helpless neighbor.
Putin? Seriously? Mr. Hewitt is a smart guy, but he must think we’re unfathomably dumb.
Civilians, it seems to me, shouldn’t sit out an election because they don’t like the choices, not while American fighting men and women are in harm’s way, flying missions to attack the Islamic State from carriers or as part of special forces deployments in Kurdistan or Syria. Civilians are being protected from our enemies by sailors deploying under and on the sea for six months at a time — minimum — or by soldiers and Marines in far away places like Kosovo for more than a year at a time.
Don’t like the choices? What are we, finicky kids who won’t eat our peas?
Thanks to Mr. Hewitt for reminding us of the importance of Americans in uniform. And thanks for implying that we’d forgotten, in our dislike for vegetables, and he’s here to set us straight.
The civilians get to go to the movies, play golf, have a beer. The soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines get to pull watch or, at times, go into combat.
The longer this goes on, the more intolerably sanctimonious and condescending it becomes.
Basically it’s Do It For The Kids, except the Kids being trotted out are US military personnel, perhaps with suitably somber music swelling in the background.
Civilians owe the military their best judgment as voters as to who ought to be the commander in chief and whose team ought to take up the positions in the Pentagon that are a part of the approximately 3,000 appointees the new president will bring with him or her. When active duty military are putting their lives on the line, civilian voters ought to at least put themselves through the stress of making a necessary if unpalatable choice.
I am not agonizing on a lesser-of-two-evils beauty contest, Mr. Hewitt. I see two candidates, neither of whom is fit to serve in the capacity you describe at length.
The other detail that would have been good to note, at least in passing, is the harm Trump as standard bearer does to the Republican Party Mr. Hewitt reveres, the conservatism he typically embraces–and, not incidentally, the harm that Trump’s spiteful ignorance has the obvious capacity to inflict on America, militarily and otherwise.
When House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell made it perfectly clear that there would be no mutiny at the GOP convention in Cleveland, the obligation to choose between Clinton and Trump became very obvious to me. Once Ryan and McConnell closed all the exit ramps, I quickly chose Trump for a host of reasons, the most important being the inescapable conclusion that former Secretary of State Clinton’s law-breaking maintenance of the unsecured server handed our enemies a complete dossier on her and her associates. I have expert testimony on this reality given to me on the record on air by former Deputy CIA Director Mike Morell and off the record by a former senior CIA operations officer.
In other words, Trump was dangerous enough to warrant overthrowing the will of the primary electorate in a delegate mutiny, but not dangerous enough to warrant not supporting him in other circumstances. OK, that’s the conclusion you reached, Mr. Hewitt. I strongly disagree with it, not the least reason of which being that he has no chance in hell of winning in November.
Mr. Hewitt can whistle past the graveyard, and trot out outlier polls like the recent Rasmussen Trump+4, but he knows it’s bullshit, and I know it’s bullshit. Trump cannot, and will not, win.
If Mr. Hewitt’s goal is to ensure turnout to salvage down-ballot races (which is my primary concern–preserving the Senate majority as a backstop against the inevitable packing of the Supreme Court with liberals and Leftists that will ensue under President Clinton), perhaps he should try to find a way to make that case independent of implicitly arguing that Trump is fit to serve (he is not), and independent of implicitly arguing that he can win (he cannot, no matter what voters like me do or don’t do).
Mr. Hewitt generally fails to acknowledge (or perhaps even recognize) the difference between losing, and losing while turning the party over to the worst populist, racist, misogynist, knuckle-dragging elements of the right.
This is the reality of the situation, and the hack of the DNC by Russian intelligence agencies, which was revealed last week, is just more evidence of our enemies’ capabilities and intentions. Those clinging to the idea that there is no proof of the compromise of the Clinton server fool themselves and no one else. She is disqualified because she is compromised. The Russians and who knows which other powers can manipulate her and her electronic associates. That’s why nations collect intelligence…to use it. It is doubtful that any of our adversaries have ever known more about any of our leaders that the Russians et al know about Clinton. Not even Alger Hiss could have given the Soviets more on FDR than the Russians took from Clinton’s home-brew server.
The implicit argument is that Trump would be less vulnerable to the Kremlin, and less malleable, than Clinton. The most polite response I can come up with to that implicit assertion is to laugh; the least polite would be to characterize it as either intellectual dishonesty, or madness.
There is also the matter of Clinton’s disastrous record as secretary of state, beginning with her record of failure in Libya writ large throughout that failed state that is now an Islamic State colony, and in Benghazi specifically on the night of 9/11/12.
And nothing Trump has said indicates the likelihood of anything better. No mention of NATO in all this, oddly enough.
There is her record of dithering and disaster in Egypt that handed the country for a time to the Muslim Brotherhood. That’s her judgment on display: Ceding the key Arab state to the brotherhood and tossing aside a reliable American ally in the process. What must Egyptian President Sisi think of the approach of a second President Clinton.
And Trump’s solution is what, exactly? Or should I be more specific and ask what is his solution this week? It’s very bad, we need to be smarter, we need to make deals, and we’ll get the freaking Saudis to pay for it?
Her “Russian reset” button was far worse than an episode of merely embarrassing buffoonery. It was actually an expression of deep seated naïveté regarding Putin, one likely to be repeated again and again. Her incompetence doesn’t end with Russia. Her role in the failure to negotiate an extension of the Bush-era Status of Forces Agreement with Iraq precipitated President Obama’s abrupt and tragic bug-out of Iraq in late 2011, which led to the Islamic State rampage across Iraq from its first home in Syria.
Get off the SoFA. That was an excuse and Mr. Hewitt knows it. A talking point. Obama repeatedly demanded that it be revoked, even as others in his Administration were saying they had all the SoFA they needed.
As for naivete, it’s hard to beat Trump liking Putin because Putin played to Trump’s mammoth ego.
And the Syrian genocide and all that it has birthed including and especially the long and deadly tentacles of the Islamic State across the West even into a nightclub in Orlando and a conference room in San Bernardino are all on her scorecard. Negligence in the carrying out of her duties to cabin and defeat the “jayvees” is not the same as direct responsibility for the atrocities of the terrorists, but it is very predictive of the lack of seriousness we could expect from her and her team if she wins in the fall. It’s a given that she will strike poses as President Obama has struck poses, and with the same consequences. “Leading from behind,” “red lines” that get erased, and condescension towards fanatical “jayvees” are a given with her as they have been with President Obama. His legacy is her platform. It is inevitable.
And Trump’s is what? Bomb the holy shit out of them? Something you’d hear in any chatroom or barroom full of people with such nuanced foreign policy ideas? We never win any more? This is the guy who Mr. Hewitt sees as CiC?
As is her party’s reflexive underfunding of the military; the hollowing out of every Defense Department budget for the next four years; the readiness crisis that consumes major components of the services; and the loss of a generation of skilled officers to budget irresponsibility that is the hallmark of the left that Clinton personifies and leads.
Trump has already signaled a breathtaking ignorance of things military, least of all concerning the level of funding a robust military post-Obama will require.
But all of that is just a lead-up to this breathtakingly insulting coda to Mr. Hewitt’s piece:
So this inescapable binary choice it is an easy choice for me, and one I will make because either she or Trump will be commander in chief. No third party throw away ballots or symbolic gestures. One of two people will command the Warriors. The far riskier path for the country is choosing Clinton as that one of two, but I will respect the wrong-headed voters who pull that lever on the basis of wooly-headed reasoning or thread-bare rationalizations. I will never understand those who refuse to choose when a choice must be made. That is not a choice, it seems to me, of anyone who genuinely believes in self-government.
So having made his decision, and having forgotten the reasons for deciding otherwise, Mr. Hewitt demands that we support one of these deeply unqualified and incompetent candidates, and concludes that if we do not, we do not genuinely believe in self-government.
That coda is not just a condescending (and thus counter-productive) exercise in sanctimony, persuading nobody–it is a exercise in raging one-sided intellectual dishonesty. Shame on Mr. Hewitt.
Many “responsible citizens” will do a different political and moral calculus than Mr. Hewitt does–and it won’t make a dime’s worth of difference in the outcome, except to accelerate the conservative movement’s abject sellout to an anti-conservative populist cult of personality.
Bear that in mind the next time you decide to impersonate Mark Larson, Mr. Hewitt.