Most days I love to read and hear what Hugh Hewitt has to say. His columns and radio show have a lot of perspective and news on all the day’s political events. But Hewitt can get a bit full of himself at times, and when he does the results are not good for Conservatives. As an example, today I am writing about Hewitt’s inexcusable conduct regarding the Presidential race.
Those who follow Hewitt know he’s a big support of Governor Mitt Romney. No complaint there from me, I have looked up Romney’s record as Governor of Massachusetts and his work as CEO of the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics in 2002, as well as his position statements, and he’d make a good President, I think. The problem comes when someone other than Romney is considered. Again, I have no problem with anyone explaining why they think their guy is better, but Hewitt does not stop there. Instead, Hewitt has been waging a campaign of sliming every candidate not named ‘Romney’, and casting their credentials falsely and, frankly, showing a crude and hostile attitude that sure sounds to me like he is afraid of anyone matching the candidates up on their actual work and positions. If you check his blog, for example, you will see a number of entries designed to whack John McCain. For instance, about halfway down the page there is an entry which Hugh read on-air Wednesday afternoon, to the effect that an endorsement by Domino’s pizza mogul Tom Monoghan represents “an effort to save the GOP from capture by the anti-conservative John McCain and the neopopulist Mike Huckabee“. By that logic, the top runners should really push to grab that all-important ‘Jared’ nod from Subway, to be sure they have that demographic covered. I won’t guess at the value of the Jack-in-the-Box and McDonald’s endorsements, even though they would appear to represent a huge part of the country, because we are already too aware of well-known clowns in close contact with politicians. But Hewitt is using the pizza schtick to sell attacks on McCain and Huckabee. Hey, I agree that neither McCain nor Huckabee would get my first choice of vote, but Hewitt has been treating them rather nastily. The reader will also note that Hewitt deals with the campaigns from Mayor Giuliani and Senator Thompson by simply ignoring them.
What annoyed me was not that Hewitt has a horse in the race, but that he wants to snipe at the other jockeys. He made an on-air statement Wednesday afternoon to the effect, that if you did not vote for Romney, you were wasting your vote, that only Romney was an acceptable GOP nominee, and that only Romney could win in the General Election for the Republicans. Because I consider Mr. Hewitt to be a well-educated man who is fully informed on the candidates’ positions and records, I’d have to call that a rather rude and arrogant lie, a deliberate malignment of men who deserve much better from a purported man of integrity who claims to honestly report the race as it is, but who instead is painting over the picture to show what he wants rather than the true condition. We get enough of that from the Left and properly call it out when we see it, and so I must cry ‘foul!’ here.
Maybe it’s because I wanted Condi to run, that I can see the existing candidates a bit more impartially than Hewitt does. There are good and weak qualities to every one of the Republican candidates, and while I have my own preferences, I don’t pretend that I could therefore lie about other Republicans in order to make my guy look better. Maybe it’s that I recall Reagan’s 11th Commandment a bit better than Mr. Hewitt seems able to manage (and no, taking a lying commentator to task is not the same as maligning the Republican leaders and candidates), or maybe it’s that I can see that whoever the GOP selects for its nominee, it will necessarily be better than the opposing selection from the Democrats, and as such the GOP nominee must be supported by Conservatives because, like it or not, the alternative would be far worse. We have a critical strategic situation in the Middle East, which no Democrat can be trusted to direct. The immigration question must not be decided on the question of how many new voters your party can add by letting illegals vote. Taxation cannot be left in the hands of people who think of tax revenue as belonging to the government, or who do not understand that more government is by nature damaging to the power of the economy. The nomination of federal judges and SCOTUS justices cannot be left in the hands of people who think the Constitution can be manipulated to suit the mood of the present culture. The power and influence of the United States cannot be left to the whims of people who claim we must suborn our sovereignty to the preferences of other nations. Any Republican is, by definition, more desirable for the welfare of the United States and more committed to the ideals of her Constitution than any Democrat, as things stand today.
As much as I normally respect and applaud Hugh Hewitt on his thoughts and opinions, in this case he is doing Governor Romney no favors, as he is showing himself a shill in behavior and arrogant in character, and feeding the greatest weakness in the Republican side of the election, the sense that if the preferable candidate does not gain the nomination, that the Republican nominee should be abandoned. Hewitt is doing the DNC’s work for them when he forgets that any Republican is better than any Democrat in this election, and that while it is right and good to support your man, you must not do so by tearing down the good qualities of other contenders.
Hewitt owes apologies to all of the Republican candidates for President. To Giuliani and Thompson for his silence on their qualifications on the issues he pretends only Romney has addressed, to McCain and Huckabee for refusing to balance their credentials in the light of actual positions and for overstating their errors and missteps, portraying each as an enemy of the Republicans rather than simply less desirable from his point-of-view. To Ron Paul, Duncan Hunter, and Alan Keyes, for treating them as not worthy of mention simply because they do not lead in the race. And to Mitt Romney, for being a distinctly uncivil partisan while presenting himself as a supporter. Friends like Hewitt are doing Romney no favors.