I promised more from Hugh's Q&A session from earlier today and I will get it to you. In the meantime, here is the Human Events write-up of the event.
I forgot to add earlier, but who was at the Hugh event this morning but Sherri, who was able to meet Hugh and get a book signed for Patrick.
I'm heading to the Media Research Center's DisHonor Awards and roast of this year's worst liberally biased reporters. It should be fun, and I'll have an update on that, too, when I get back from the dinner.
UPDATE: All right, just got home. Great dinner, but it went late. I think I'll save blogging it for the morning when someone from Media Research Center is going to help me round up all the fun liberal-bias video clips for y'all to watch.
But, as promised, here is a bit more from Hugh's panel with Fred Barnes and Bob Beckel today. From the Q&A:
Question: Do Democrats have a plan on immigration? At least Beckel's answer was honest:
"People are always saying, 'what is the Democratic Party's position?' It is what George Bush is for that we are against. We are an opposition party...we're not here to make policy."
ME: Truer words have never been spoken.
"I agree that this is a nightmare issue for Republicans. Blowing the Hispanic vote would be disastrous...It really was a great victory to get the Hispanic vote over 40 percent (for Bush in '04)."
"The best part of the House bill was the idea of a fence...I'm from Southern California, and it worked in San Diego."
Hugh called the fence a symbol of our resolve on the national security problem our porous borders pose. The immigration issue is a security issue. The 11 million illegal immigrants living in the country now is a separate problem. The Republicans made a mistake by merging the two, he said.
Question: Beckel said that the President's low numbers make it unattractive for Republicans to wed themselves to him. But don't Dems have trouble with wedding themselves to their loony leadership?
"I can't imagine Nancy Pelosi changing a vote in a Congressional District in Ohio."
Hugh started by saying that the reason Beckel can get away with being almost wholly wrong all the time and thinking he's right is because he's not taking into consideration that the political lessons learned pre-2000 have been made irrelevant by the proliferation of the new media, spreading information through the nation in a new way, like a "new set of waterpipes."
"Those new waterpipes are flowering the conservative side and killing the liberal side."
"It's (the Left) become radicalized because of the new information media," he said, pointing out that new media hit its stride just at the point that the Left was the angriest it had been in years-- right after the 2000 election-- and it's only gotten angrier since.
"The Dem party is unhinged and it will be the policy that runs national policy on the war (if elected)," he said, which is why nationalizing the message around national security is good for Republicans.
"But when it comes down to persuadable voters, how many of those people go to blogs at night...the blog is not going to impact on undecided voters."
ME: Didn't Beckel ever get wind of The Influentials? Bob, those are the people who read blogs, and that's how blogs can indirectly but substantially impact undecided voters.
"They (Left blogosphere) pound on Democrats to drive them to the Left. Right-wing blogs, they focus on the mainstream media, which is good for conservatives."
Question: The problem for Democrats is one of leadership. Beckel complains that the Democratic Party is portrayed as nothing but a bunch of Pelosis and Kennedys by conservatives, but should the American people be expected to entrust national security to folks who choose Pelosi to lead them?
Hugh said that's exactly why we must make '06 about national security and Republican strength on the matter. The fact is that the Dem leadership has given us a gift by being openly for defeat and retreat.
"The Democrats can't be entrusted with national security."
Bob Beckel went a long way to make a pretty clever point, but not one that I'm sure I buy or that voters will buy. He makes the point that "leaders on national security are not born, they're bred."
He pointed out several national security successes for both Democrats and Republicans, accomplished by men who conventional wisdom said were incapable of such success. He said he wasn't sure there was ever a time when a President of the United States hadn't risen to the occasion during a national security crisis, with the possible exception of Jimmy Carter during the hostage crisis. (ME: Um, that's a pretty big exception.)
ME: But why take a chance on a party who you're betting will rise to the occasion, relying on historical precedent for your security, when you've got a party you know will do it?
We started this hour talking about the weaknesses of Republicans and ended it talking about the Democrats' deficiency on national security. If we can replicate the evolution of this hour-long discussion over the next six months on a national scale, it will be a good year for conservatives.
ME: Good night for now. More in the morning on the MRC dinner, including many a funny video clip.