Commentary

Hewitt: A New Speaker Determined to Sell Ideas

Pepperdine California Democratic Party

Last week the new Speaker of the House joined my program for his first radio interview since becoming Speaker of the House.

Speaker Ryan promised a much-needed, night-and-day change for the chamber, one that foreshadows crucial differences in the way Congress will operate:

Clip: “Look, I see the whole shooting match coming up in 2016. Again, one of the reasons why I chose to do this, and one of the reasons, one of the conditions, more or less, I talked to my colleagues about, which is we’ve got to go on offense, big and bold, specific agenda and vision in 2016, and let the country choose, because the kind of an election we have to have is a mandate election.”

The new speaker knows the contemporary media environment and he knows he must sell ideas and help build an infrastructure for conservative ideas … and he did not waste any time before he got about the business of doing so.

Speaker Ryan comes armed for the communications battles that are ahead.

Conservatives should be thrilled.

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Medved: “Bridge of Spies” Provides Missing Context

Steven Spielberg’s remarkable, refreshing historical epic “Bridge of Spies” provides crucial context missing from most movies about the Cold War era.

Those prior films emphasize anti-Communist hysteria in America, without showing the tyrannical excesses of the Soviet system that inspired our fears. “Bridge of Spies” is different: Tom Hanks plays a real-life, idealistic lawyer who provoked angry hostility for defending an accused Russian spy. But in this case, the spy is unequivocally guilty, and the second half of the film depicts the horrors of the Communist system he serves.

In the past, two of Spielberg’s greatest achievements lost out at Oscar Time to less worthy candidates. “Saving Private Ryan” lost Best Picture to “Shakespeare in Love,” while the sublime “Lincoln” lost to “Argo.” Perhaps with “Bridge of Spies” the Academy can end this misguided pattern.

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Mohler: Not Nearly Good Enough

A surprising announcement recently came from the Communist Party in China, indicating that the party’s leadership will rescind the nation’s infamous one child only policy and replace it with, what’s in effect, a two-child policy.

Adam Taylor in the Washington Post explains, “The decision appears to have been driven by concerns that the country’s low fertility rate would create a crisis that eventually could threaten the legitimacy of Communist Party rule.”

In other words, the Chinese Communist Party made this decision, not for the good of people, not for the sanctity of human life, not out of respect for marriage, but out of concern for its own existence.

The documented horrors under the one child policy of forced abortions, compulsory sterilization and infanticide will certainly continue under the two-child policy. After all, a totalitarian regime always does what is perceived to be in its own interest.

People looking at the headlines coming out of China about this announcement are likely to think it’s good news. But a closer look at the reality reminds us it’s not nearly good enough.

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Medved: To Win Young People, Face Forward, Not Backward

Republicans must do better among voters under thirty if they hope to capture the White House. In 2012, these young people comprised just 19 percent of the electorate, but provided Obama with his entire margin of victory. Among the 81 percent of voters over 30, Mitt Romney won a majority, but with under-thirties Obama scored a decisive 23-point margin.

To avoid repeating this pattern, conservatives must drop slogans like “Take Our Country Back”—young people don’t want to go back, they want to go forward. We should emphasize future reforms, not issues of the past, like Obamacare and gay marriage. Let’s improve the health insurance for tomorrow, not just repeal a program that was imposed yesterday. On marriage, we should strengthen traditional man-woman marriages, not threaten to undo those same sex marriages that already exist.

To win young people, conservatives must face the future boldly, not to try to recapture the recent past.

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Hewitt: Speaker Ryan

Pepperdine California Democratic Party

The good Congressman from Wisconsin is now “Mr. Speaker.”

Last Thursday—after receiving 236 votes from his GOP House colleagues—Paul Ryan was officially elected the 54th Speaker of the House.

House Minority Leader (and, of course, former Speaker herself) Nancy Pelosi took part in the transition: “It is my privilege to hand this gavel to Speaker of the House, Congressman and Honorable Paul Ryan”

It was a great moment in American Democracy. It was a moment that brought together (albeit briefly) both the right and the left. Paul Ryan is not only a very talented man, he is also a very good man.

I’ve been watching this whole business long enough to know that the future for Speaker Ryan will not be easy. Those challenges will come soon enough.Today is a day to say, “Congratulations.”

From me—and from all of us here at the Salem Media Group—the warmest and most heartfelt “Congratulations.” Godspeed. You will do well.

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Davenport: Court Halts Environmental Overreach

Fortunately, federal courts have been stepping up to challenge President Obama’s overreach of executive powers, whether in recess appointments or immigration policy. Now it’s happening in the environmental field as well.

Recently a federal circuit court issued an injunction against enforcement of the EPA’s Clean Water Rule, which would have placed hundreds of millions of acres of additional land under federal regulation.

If water trickled any time of year anywhere near an ocean, river or creek, the EPA wanted to call those “living waters of the United States”.

This follows a similar case a few months ago in which the Supreme Court struck down a regulatory expansion of the Clean Air Act.

When the history is written, the Obama administration will be known for two things:  Obamacare and the abuse of executive power.  Frustrated by a gridlocked Congress, the executive branch has tried time and again to press its agenda by expanding executive power.

Fortunately the courts are pushing back.

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Davenport: Budget Cuts In Utopia

Even utopia has fallen on hard times.  While Democratic candidates like Bernie Sanders point to Denmark and its vast welfare state as their ideal, that nation is running on empty.  A government commission there recently said they need to cut jobless benefits, after already implementing means testing for welfare support.

Denmark has finally hit the wall, with its economic growth at negative .5 percent and its tax rate at 48.6%. Even in utopia, those numbers just don’t work.

Clearly this should be a cautionary tale to today’s Democratic Party in the U.S.  Yet Sanders holds up Denmark as a role model for how to help working people, and Hillary Clinton agreed in the Democratic debate that it is an inspiring example.

But what does Denmark really teach us?  That you can’t suspend basic rules of economics.  That you can’t make a welfare safety net into a support system for an entire population.

Yes, Denmark has run the Democrats’ experiment for us … and it doesn’t work.

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