Thursday, September 06, 2007

Hugh Hewitt Crosses the Line

I've always enjoyed Hugh Hewitt, even when I disagree with him -- Harriet Miers comes to mind, not to mention his baffling insistence that WHITE CHRISTMAS is a remake of HOLIDAY INN (grin) -- and I particularly admire his early recognition of the power of the blogosphere. Hugh's book BLOG is on my bookshelves.

However, I've been increasingly frustrated by Hugh's endless spin in favor of Mitt Romney, which unfortunately includes questionably attacking the other viable Republican candidates, especially Fred Thompson, in order to shore up Romney.

Hugh has complained endlessly about Thompson's refusal to run a two-year race, as Romney has -- Hugh sees the long campaign as a sign of virtue and energy, while I consider it a waste of time and money -- and today he follows Thompson's official entry into the race with a post questioning Thompson's health.

Three of the top four candidates for the Republican nomination have battled cancer. Why pick on Fred? I suspect the truth is that Hugh sees a Thompson candidacy as more of a threat to Romney, who has tried -- not necessarily successfully -- to claim the mantle of the "true conservative" in the race.

As a commenter at Hugh's site notes, older men, who might be more likely to have health problems, tend to run for President anyway. (I'd add that our youngest President certainly wasn't immune from major health problems, which were hidden from the public.) Life is uncertain, in general -- we were very nearly prevented from having a long-term Reagan Presidency, not because of his relatively advanced age as President, but because he was shot.

One of the odd things is that Hugh largely has been focused not so much on Thompson's political ideology, which would be fair game for honest discussion -- I've certainly shared my own thoughts here on various aspects of the candidates' political histories and conservative reliability -- but on issues such as Thompson's timing, his staff, and his health. I suspect this is because there are not very good arguments to be made when comparing Thompson and Romney's conservative credentials.

Tom Bevan at Real Clear Politics (subject link) posts his thoughts on Hugh's continued haranguing of Thompson. Bevan notes that Hugh is utilizing the same "simplistic MSM narratives" which Hugh often ridicules in others. Bevan writes "Thompson's biggest sin thus far has been mismanaging the media's expectations, and letting the MSM - and folks like Hugh who are sympathetic to rival campaigns - cast Fred and his operation as under performing and/or in disarray. The reality is that all of this chatter will be moot starting tomorrow when Thompson hits the trail in Iowa. Ultimately, the proof will be in the pudding..." and further notes "...all the beltway bloviating of the past few months is irrelevant."

The jury is out for me on Thompson, but I'm hopeful he will prove to be a strong conservative candidate. You'd think a Republican like Hewitt would be open to and optimistic about a Thompson candidacy as well, and give the guy a few weeks to prove himself (or not), but apparently Hugh is so strongly invested in Romney that spinning for Romney and running down Fred takes precedence over what might be best for conservatives, the party, and the country.


Blogger Unknown said...

If you read Hewitts post, it is basically a reposting of exerpts from an article written by someone else. While I agree that he seems to favor Romney in his comments and discussion, I don't think his passing along of this information is anything more that letting everyone else know what's already out there.

12:28 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

Hi Craig, I can't agree that it's that simple, because this is one of an endless stream of posts by Hugh denigrating Thompson. I see it as part of an ongoing effort by Hugh to puncture the Thompson balloon. In posting this article, Hewitt also ignores positive information which has been made available about the state of Thompson's health, thereby presenting an unbalanced picture specifically designed to sway potential voters away from Thompson.

Has Hugh focused on the fact that Giuliani and McCain have also fought off cancer in the relatively recent past? I might have missed some posts, but I think the answer is no.

Best wishes,

1:46 PM  
Blogger Exurban Jon said...

An excellent post. I too am frustrated by Hugh's full-court-press for Romney, especially when he's willing to use past illness as a disqualifier for others. I blogged something similar this morning at:

I'm not a FredHead, but Hugh's behavior is leading me away from Mitt. Keep up the great work.

4:10 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

Jon, it just so happens I came across your post, "Cancer Survivors Need Not Apply," earlier today via a Google Blog search, and was considering linking to it. I thought it was very good -- thanks for sharing the link here.

Best wishes,

4:19 PM  
Blogger Mrs. Happy Housewife said...

I find Thompson to be entertaining. I haven't thrown my vote behind any of the candidates yet but H read an interesting Thompson article in the Dr's office yesterday. I think it was in Newsweek. He certainly has had a colourful life.

I think this two-year election year is ridiculous. Kudos to Thompson (and anyone else who dares) for bucking the status quo.

8:35 AM  

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