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Hugh Hewitt's Little Red Book: Winning in the Age of Trump

Hugh Hewitt's Little Red Book: Winning in the Age of Trump

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Hugh Hewitt's Little Red Book: Winning in the Age of Trump

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Jan 24, 2017


Hugh Hewitt, “the nearly professorial power-baron of conservative media” (Bloomberg News), shares his handbook for how a united GOP government can solve problems and guarantee political success in “an agenda that departs—sometimes radically—from the typical Republican orthodoxy of the last sixteen years” (The Weekly Standard).

In this practical manifesto, Hugh Hewitt argues that Trump’s presidency provides a unique opportunity for a new conservatism that absorbs most of the traditional Reagan agenda—free markets and strong defense—while adding an emphasis on improvements in infrastructure and modernized delivery. From defense to immigration, from entitlements to health care, Hewitt outlines how a “Fourth Way” can bring us out of the gridlock and the destructive showdowns that have marked the past quarter century of American politics.

With concrete examples, Hewitt shows how to take advantage of the Republican majorities in the House and the Senate to enact this bold new conservative agenda so that voters can see and, crucially, feel the change by November 2018. “The world would be a better place if President Trump, Vice President Pence, House Speaker Ryan, and Senate Majority Leader McConnell read Hugh Hewitt’s new book” (National Review).
Jan 24, 2017

Über den Autor

Hugh Hewitt is a lawyer, professor, and broadcast journalist whose nationally syndicated radio show is heard in more than 120 cities across the United States every weekday morning. An analyst for NBC News and MSNBC and a contributing columnist to The Washington Post, he is the author of more than a dozen books, including Hugh Hewitt’s Little Red Book. Hewitt is a graduate of Harvard College and the University of Michigan Law School, and has taught Constitutional Law at Chapman University Law School since it opened in 1995. He is a partner with the Los Angeles law firm of Larson O’Brien LLP and writes daily at

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Introduction to the Paperback Edition

1. Preface: With All Deliberate Speed

2. Introduction: Governing in the Key of We: Jaguars in the Water, Clinics on the Ground, an Immigration Overhaul in the Air

3. The New and Renewed American Military

4. A Supreme Court and Federal Judiciary That Umpires, Not Plays

5. The Free Market Flourishing

6. Impeachment’s Just Another Word for Nothing Left to Lose

7. Conclusion


About the Author

Appendix A: The Homestead Act of 1862

Appendix B: The Military Rebuild: Scenarios for the United States Navy and United States Marine Corps

Appendix C: President Trump’s List of Twenty-One Potential Supreme Court Nominees

Appendix D: Framing the Tax Reform Debate, by Hank Adler

Appendix E: Trump’s First One Hundred Days Give Conservatives Plenty to Celebrate, by Hugh Hewitt, Washington Post, April 27, 2017

For Elisabeth and James, their siblings, and cousins

When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, that whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles, and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object, evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security.


We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.



At this second appearing to take the oath of the Presidential office there is less occasion for an extended address than there was at the first. Then a statement somewhat in detail of a course to be pursued seemed fitting and proper. Now, at the expiration of four years, during which public declarations have been constantly called forth on every point and phase of the great contest which still absorbs the attention and engrosses the energies of the nation, little that is new could be presented. The progress of our arms, upon which all else chiefly depends, is as well known to the public as to myself, and it is, I trust, reasonably satisfactory and encouraging to all. With high hope for the future, no prediction in regard to it is ventured.

On the occasion corresponding to this four years ago all thoughts were anxiously directed to an impending civil war. All dreaded it, all sought to avert it. While the inaugural address was being delivered from this place, devoted altogether to saving the Union without war, insurgent agents were in the city seeking to destroy it without war—seeking to dissolve the Union and divide effects by negotiation. Both parties deprecated war, but one of them would make war rather than let the nation survive, and the other would accept war rather than let it perish, and the war came.

One-eighth of the whole population were colored slaves, not distributed generally over the Union, but localized in the southern part of it. These slaves constituted a peculiar and powerful interest. All knew that this interest was somehow the cause of the war. To strengthen, perpetuate, and extend this interest was the object for which the insurgents would rend the Union even by war, while the Government claimed no right to do more than to restrict the territorial enlargement of it. Neither party expected for the war the magnitude or the duration which it has already attained. Neither anticipated that the cause of the conflict might cease with or even before the conflict itself should cease. Each looked for an easier triumph, and a result less fundamental and astounding. Both read the same Bible and pray to the same God, and each invokes His aid against the other. It may seem strange that any men should dare to ask a just God’s assistance in wringing their bread from the sweat of other men’s faces, but let us judge not, that we be not judged. The prayers of both could not be answered. That of neither has been answered fully. The Almighty has His own purposes. Woe unto the world because of offenses; for it must needs be that offenses come, but woe to that man by whom the offense cometh. If we shall suppose that American slavery is one of those offenses which, in the providence of God, must needs come, but which, having continued through His appointed time, He now wills to remove, and that He gives to both North and South this terrible war as the woe due to those by whom the offense came, shall we discern therein any departure from those divine attributes which the believers in a living God always ascribe to Him? Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsman’s two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.

With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation’s wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.


Introduction to the Paperback Edition

There are two famous Little Red Books, or, more accurately, one infamous Little Red Book—by Mao—and the other, the moderately well-known Little Red Book by the late golf instructor Harvey Penick.

The hardback edition of this book—tilted The Fourth Way—was compared to Penick’s colorful tome, not Mao’s, by the Weekly Standard’s Jim Swift in his January 31, 2017, review of my book, which itself was published on January 24, three days after President Donald Trump became the forty-fifth president of the United States. A nice compliment, Swift’s, as Penick was not only a coaching inductee into the World Golf Hall of Fame, but also the author of the highest-selling golf instruction book ever.

If sufficient numbers of Republicans, especially those of the center-right to conservative stripe, are coached along by this book and thus propel it to the same status as Penick’s, and not just for the 2018 cycle but through to 2020 and beyond as well, I will be more than pleased, and not because of royalties.

Rather, if the elected class, the chattering class, the contributor class, the activist class, and the-just-plain-voting-class among those who generally pull the R lever when inside the voting booth continue to buy, read, absorb, and respond to this set of recommendations on substance and style, beginning with the principles put forward in the Declaration of Independence, the structures and rules of the Constitution, and the moral sentiment of Lincoln’s Second Inaugural, then freedom and progress will flourish long into the life spans of my children and grandchildren.

I did not expect President Trump to win. That is explained in detail within. I did not expect him to find the transition to governing from campaign to be easy, and it hasn’t been. Indeed as June opens and the new administration moves toward, its first long, hot summer of Beltway controversies, many unexpected traps have already sprung, including that of a metastasizing investigation into allegations of illegal contacts between members of the new president’s campaign and transition teams and the Russian government, the perils of tweeting about pending Supreme Court cases and political opponents past and present, and an understaffed executive branch that needs thousands of political appointees at their desk when only hundreds have been vetted and either appointed or nominated and confirmed.

And I didn’t expect various rump groups of Republicans in Congress to fracture so quickly or so definitively into the Tuesday Group, the Republican Study Group, the Freedom Caucus (and the Area 51 subcaucus within that, which seems to believe in legislative flying saucers and its ability to control the Senate through Jedi mind tricks), the rank and file, and the leadership. I had expected that all of them would understand, if only for one or two hundred days, the crucial twin necessities of speed and cohesion, in order to create momentum in the service of large and very good goals. I had expected, or at least hoped, that they would act as . . . a party.

President Trump actually did his part. He made mistakes, of course, as every rookie president does. He ought not to have rushed through a flawed executive order on immigration, or labeled the federal judge who enjoined it a so-called judge (even though the president is probably right that his order was constitutional and would have been upheld as such had it reached a Supreme Court with Justice Gorsuch on the bench, as an appropriately drafted executive order will almost certainly be upheld when it does reach the Court on its second, third, or even fourth try).

And President Trump ought not to have labeled members of the press, no matter how liberal and wrongheaded, enemies of the state. I doubt very much the president fully understood the significance of that term, and his casual friendliness with any and all comers when the cameras are off underscores that he is no totalitarian, no Stalin-like purger of enemies of the state. His critics in the media who deny this obvious truth are just absurd hyperpartisans, as ridiculous as those who thought President Obama a secret Muslim. The hyperpartisans have always been in America. Occupants of the White House have to be careful not to adopt their language or their attitudes and to seek out opportunities to denounce them in fact.

President Trump’s greatest mistake has been in his pacing: he has left unfilled—without even announced nominees—hundreds of crucial jobs, including nineteen out of twenty federal circuit court vacancies at this writing and one hundred district court judgeships. These lifetime appointments are the key to his long-term success, even as the huge win of Justice Gorsuch was key to making his first hundred days a success. Each one of these lifetime appointments is more important than all but the most senior cabinet members. These appointments are also the permanent glue of the conservative movement to the president. If President Trump names strong originalists to every one of these jobs, he won’t have to worry about a challenge from the right in 2020. If he names squishes, good government types, or friends of friends to these jobs, he loses traction with the key reluctant Trump voter who came to the polls to propel him to victory so he could keep the left’s hands away from a permanent majority on the federal bench.

The conservatives who care about the courts joined with the conservatives who care about national security, who joined with Trump Democrats to give President Trump his margin of victory. All three groups were crucial. All were necessary.

To the latter President Trump has been delivering a continuous focus on jobs and a rollback of the administrative state which crushes job growth via a thousand paths, from the Environmental Protection Agency’s rule on what constitutes a water of the United States that can be regulated by the federal government—a rule being rewritten as you read this—to the Paris Agreement from which the United States has now begun the process of formally withdrawing.

To the former, Justice Neil Gorsuch provided a resounding answer to a huge question about the new president’s reliability on judicial nominees (though the astonishingly slow pace of nominations to the lower courts frays at the loyalty of these originalists).

And to the hawks, albeit slowly, in the persons of Secretary of Defense James Mattis, Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly, and National Security Advisor General H. R. McMaster, a national security team of unmatched credentials.

President Trump sent some fiscal relief to the Department of Defense in his first budget, but not nearly enough. (The very able director of the Office of Management and Budget, Mick Mulvaney, has been accused by some hawks—perhaps not wrongly—of setting up the new DOD funding to fall significantly short of what the Pentagon genuinely needs.) President Trump promised a 350-ship Navy and a new appendix is added in this edition that lays out with great specificity how to get to that number by the end of an eight-year Trump presidency. I hope he reads that and directs his team to Make it so! as Star Trek’s Captain Jean-Luc Picard would so often order; or, to borrow from real history, that he attaches an Action This Day note to it, as Winston Churchill would do to orders he demanded be carried out ASAP.

President Trump is mastering the controls, though not his desire to be in the daily fray via Twitter, and his first one hundred days were as substantively successful as any since FDR’s, an argument I made in the Washington Post on the weekend of that marker, but a record much disputed because critics don’t grasp the reach of the 5–4 rulings Justice Gorsuch will participate in in the majority, or the elegant opinions he will set down through twenty-five, thirty, or even forty years on the Court. They don’t understand how the baker’s dozen of Congressional Review Act bills he signed in those 100 days actually serve not only to repeal Obama-era regulations but to bar the agencies that issued them from returning to the terrain they covered absent the express authorization of a future Congress (with the supermajoritarian rules of the Senate still intact).

The president’s early successes far outnumbered his failures in his first three months of office, even counting the first big swing-and-a-miss of the repeal and replacement of Obamacare. (This assessment also skips over the debates on the media and temperament that pundits love, but which fade away with a news cycle and matter not at all to Trump voters, who voted for the attitude of disdain Trump telegraphs toward Manhattan-Beltway media elites daily.)

What doesn’t fade is the message President Trump sent via cruise missile into Syria, the MOAB onto the ISIS tunnel complex in Afghanistan, and the dispatch of the USS Carl Vinson and then two more carriers to near the Korean Peninsula and the USS Michigan to the South Korean port of Busan in April, and the warm receptions extended not just to British prime minister Theresa May and Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House but also to Jordan’s King Abdullah and Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi. The repudiation of the Obama-era foreign policy—eight years summed up in a dozen words: leading from behind, red line, JVs, Libya, Crimea, Aleppo, Iran deal—is complete, and thank God it is. As horrific attacks around the world continue to mount, as the multiple assaults in Great Britain in just a few short weeks underscored, the world will long be plagued by forces that President Obama contended with at best poorly and often not at all.

The return to a West confident of itself and its mission is an enormous relief that is coursing through the world and lifting markets and spirits even as the aging hippies of the 1960s and the disappointed Sanders socialists of the college campuses hold weekly reunions of dwindling numbers under varying banners. That movement had an impressive and cathartic day on the occasion of the women’s march but has since dwindled to a hundred thousand here or ten thousand there. Senator Elizabeth Warren is the leader alongside Bernie, and if ever a pair of unlikely change agents existed it is these two, who between them have never created a job not involved with advancing their own careers. The Democratic Party had a chance to break with its aging leadership elite and its domination by coastal elites completely out of touch with the shattered blue wall states of Iowa, Wisconsin,

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