Matt Lewis

Hugh Hewitt: The defund ObamaCare effort is really about building lists

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Matt K. Lewis
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      Matt K. Lewis

      Matt K. Lewis is a senior contributor to The Daily Caller, and a contributing editor for The Week. He is a respected commentator on politics and cultural issues, and has been cited by major publications such as The Washington Post and The New York Times. Matt is from Myersville, MD and currently resides in Alexandria, VA. Follow Matt K. Lewis on Twitter <a>@mattklewis</a>.

My friend and former colleague Hugh Hewitt is a big supporter of the effort to defund ObamaCare, going so far as to call House staffers who oppose this effort “weenies.” But even Hewitt doesn’t really believe victory is possible.

In fact, he admitted it on his radio show the other day:

“We’re not going to win this fight,” he conceded. “Please understand that. We’re not going to win this fight. But we are going to educate the American people about what a disaster it is. And we’re going to build the list. And we’re going to identify the activists.” (Emphasis mine.)

What? I thought the goal was to actually, you know, defund ObamaCare. Now you’re telling me the real goal is to build lists??

Hewitt continued:

“They know from [Karl] Rove that part of the key thing for winning in 2014 is identifying our people. We have to find our people. We are out of the data business. We are rebuilding. Reince Priebus is doing a great job. But we don’t know where they are, and they’re not connected. We gotta find them. And how do you find them? You talk about — you generate excitement — you draw attention to a great debate about ObamaCare. But you know what, the president doesn’t want to do that. He controls the stage. He has the bully pulpit. We have to manufacture occasions and events on which people will listen to our arguments.” (Emphasis mine.)

This strikes me as an intellectually dishonest pursuit.

It’s a bait-and-switch.

The now-stated goal of identifying activists and building lists requires “manufacturing” events to generate excitement. But the problem is that generating this excitement necessarily requires Republicans to mislead their base (because nobody in their right mind is going to excited and sign up for your “list” if you admit it’s a waste of time.)

Step 1 is to get their hopes up and to make them believe you can do something you know you can’t deliver on. And so, the the base become pawns — rubes.

Look, I disagree with the very premise that this is a smart strategic move. But even if it were a smart move, it would still be contingent on lying to the conservative base. Talk about cynical.

You can listen to the audio for yourself over at Mediaite.