Higher Learning for the Conservative Mind


John Bolton, Government Spending, and the March for Our Lives in D.C.


HUGH HEWITT: Morning glory, America. It's Hugh Hewitt on the 23rd day of March, 2018. Before I begin my conversation with Dr. Matthew Spalding, director of Hillsdale College's Kirby Center, let me bring you up to speed on the breaking news from Rukmini Callimachi, writing from France. I believe in France. Number one, in France, a man has taken a group of people hostage inside a supermarket in Trébes. The attacker allegedly claimed he was acting in ISIS' name and has already shot one victim, according to the AFP.

Now authorities are saying two dead and 12 wounded according to FranceSoir. Pro ISIS channels are celebrating on the app Telegram. The major English channel for ISIS supporters is also making fun of international media for failing to call this an ISIS attack, quotes ISIS' slogan, "remaining and expanding," to say that the terror group is still there and growing. Authorities, including the prime minister, are calling this an act of terror.

Joined now by Dr. Spalding. Dr. Spalding, the news cycle being what it is, we may not be talking about what I intended to talk with you about, the omnibus-- the march and the mustache. But we'll do that anyway. Your reaction to the events in France unfolding.

MATTHEW SPALDING: Well, I'm learning this as just as you are. I think what it proves is that the United States has got to get going and keep being strong. And it does have a connection back to this omnibus, which is its greatest argument. It has to do with defense spending. We've got a new national security advisor. He's getting his team together, which I think is a good team, actually. And these moves have all been great.

But I think this portends that one might have thought was going well and might have been successful still needs to be fought and fought hard.

HUGH HEWITT: Let's talk about the mustache first. John Bolton, the ambassador extraordinaire, been a guest on this show dozens of times, is a friend. I have not seen any moves about his team. Has he announced any one coming with him?

MATTHEW SPALDING: I've not seen anything about that. And I've not heard. I've heard some rumors there might be some moves in the staff over there. But it's been pretty quiet. I think bringing Bolton in-- talking to friends over there, the idea that he was going to be leaving, that McMaster was going to be out, my long assumption is that this is a friendly move. They never quite clicked. And McMaster was going to go out and perhaps go get his fourth star and continue in the military, which, unfortunately, it doesn't sound like it's going to happen. I'm not sure what's going on there.

HUGH HEWITT: I understand he's going to the Hoover Institution, and that that will be fine. That will be the sort of Bush realism in exile with Condi Rice.

MATTHEW SPALDING: He stays involved. And that's good. He's a good man. He's a good thinker. He's a good writer.

HUGH HEWITT: Yes. But John Bolton is an earthquake. And largely-- I saw Admiral Stavridis earlier today say, he's got a very fuzzy mustache, but he's got very sharp elbows. And I heard him say, last night, to Martha MacCallum-- in fact, if we can play cut eight for Matt Spalding?

ADMIRAL STAVRIDIS: You know, if I believed half of what I saw on Twitter, I'd probably withdraw from the world, which some people would prefer. Look, I have my views. I'm sure I'll have a chance to articulate them to the president. Some people don't like people who have substantive views. They're more process-oriented. But if the government can't have a free interchange of ideas among the president's advisors, then I think the president is not well served. And--

MARTHA MACCALLUM: Well, let me ask you this with regard to that--

ADMIRAL STAVRIDIS: --that's a view I've had throughout government.

MARTHA MACCALLUM: It seems as though the one person who's sort of left is General Mattis, who believes that the Iran deal should be maintained. You've made it very clear in your writings, in your interviews, that you think that deal is an awful deal that needs to be scrapped. Is he the odd man out now?

ADMIRAL STAVRIDIS: For the reasons I just explained, I've said what I've said about the Iran deal before. I'm not sure I've ever met General Mattis, so I don't kind of opine on what his views are, what he's said to the president in private, or what discussions we may have the opportunity to have.

MARTHA MACCALLUM: In terms of North Korea, do you believe that the president should sit down with Kim Jong Un? You have also said that the military option needs to be in the forefront, I guess, might be a fair way to say it, from the statements that you've made. That it should absolutely never be off the table. Do you think you should meet with him?

ADMIRAL STAVRIDIS: You give a great interview. Same question, same answer.

MARTHA MACCALLUM: So understood. And I do appreciate the fact that you came in 45 minutes after this announcement was made, and that you are, as you say, in a bit of limbo. I guess just a big picture question for you. How do you want to have an impact on the White House in this job? How do you see yourself changing, perhaps, the tenor of this administration, if you do?

ADMIRAL STAVRIDIS: Well, look, any president is entitled to have a national security decision making structure the way he wants to have it. And the system is designed to be flexible. Different presidents have different approaches, different styles. But I think the consensus would be that the national security advisor, among whatever other functions he or she might have, has two critical roles. Number one, making sure that the president has the full range of options presented to him, to make the decisions that only the president can make, and that the options have to be presented in a way that gives the president the chance to weigh the pluses and minuses of all the options being presented.

I think that's key. And I think that is, sometimes, described as an honest broker role. I think the national security advisor, if the president wants to hear his opinion, will give it as well. That's sort of one side of the coin. The other side of the coin is, when the president makes a decision, the national security advisor is-- among others, but certainly one of the leading implementers of the decision-- making sure that the bureaucracies out there get the decision and implement it.

And I've been in lots of bureaucracies. And I've seen the way that bureaucracies that don't like decisions sit on them. So I know my way around the corridors in Washington. And I think that role will also be important. So those are the sort of two sides of the coin, I think, that are the central role for the advisor.

HUGH HEWITT: So Matt Spalding, what did you make about that second role? I've been around the bureaucracies. I've been around the corridors. And I know that a lot of bureaucracies like to slow-roll the president. I thought that was the clearest warning about the change that is coming.

MATTHEW SPALDING: I think that's absolutely right. I mean, I think he's alluding back to some of his experiences, which were not easy, working with bureaucracies. He was UN ambassador. But I think the shot he's firing across the bow here is the interactions in the bureaucracy, in the White House, in the national security structure, in terms of implementing things. I mean, the one relationship that I understand was the least friendly, if you will, was between McMaster and Mattis.

They really never got along well. How is that going to work here? And how can you play a role with kind of breaking through the bureaucracies, implementing the president's decision making, at the same time trying to give him those options? And John has got a lot of strong opinions, opinions which I happen to largely agree with, especially about the Iran deal and North Korea. But he's going to be an advisor, with those strong opinions, at the same time, trying to figure out how to make this system work, breaking through those bureaucracies to get to the decisions.

And I think, personality wise, his personality is, in many ways, much like Trump, which is why I think the president likes him as a possibility in this mix.

HUGH HEWITT: I've got to say, before the break-- and this is all gossip. I don't know if it's true. But the person who is least happy this morning is Richard Armitage and everybody that he represents.


HUGH HEWITT: Because if I have been told the right stuff over the years, the two guys, who loathe each other the most and will cross the street not have to talk to each other, are John Bolton and Richard Armitage. Have you heard the same thing?

MATTHEW SPALDING: No, I think that's right. I think that's absolutely right.

HUGH HEWITT: The Armitage group is not really going to do very well.

MATTHEW SPALDING: He's been around here for a while. He knows where a lot of things are buried and who's on what side of things. So he will definitely be a player in his larger national security base, within conservatism and the Republican party. And he'll play a role in that, as he is the national security advisor, as he's breaking through this bureaucracy. That's what I meant in the sense that he's got strong opinions, which he's written about at great length.

And I think the President's bringing him in, because he has those opinions, and he forcefully will argue for them. And the president, we do know, likes to see that back and forth. And so I think that will make the debates, national security debates within the administration, much more serious and much more intense in a way but also, in light of what's going on, in some very important areas, very significant. This is an important move to bring someone like Bolton into the administration.

HUGH HEWITT: When we come back, I'll continue the conversation with Dr. Matt Spalding. He is the director of Hillsdale College's Kirby Center. You can follow the Kirby Center on Twitter at Kirby Center. You can also get all things Hillsdale at Hillsdale.edu, including great Constitution courses, courses on progressivism, courses on Churchill. You can hear all of my conversations with Dr. Spalding, Dr. Arnn, and all of their colleagues at Hillsdale College dating back to 2013. All of them are collected at hughforhillsdale.com.

When we come back, we talk about the omnibus and the march, as well as the deputies committee, taking you deep inside how the NSC works and how it will work under John Bolton. Don't go anywhere, it's the Hugh Hewitt Show.

Welcome back, America. It's Hugh Hewitt, with Dr. Matt Spalding, director of Hillsdale College's Kirby Center. We are talking about four things, an ongoing terrorist attack in France, where a supermarket hostage situation has resulted in two killed, the police being fired on. An ISIS affiliate is at work there. We'll keep you posted as details develop.

The omnibus, which was signed, the March on Washington, which occurs tomorrow, and the mustache, meaning John Bolton, is going back to the EOB. We've talked about Bolton. Let's turn to the omnibus. Matt Spalding, $1.3 trillion, what do you think about that?

MATTHEW SPALDING: It's a hard one to swallow. I think this really points to the very tough spot we're in, from a constitutional point of view, in terms of Congress and its budgeting powers and how far the government has gone. But it also points to the difficult spot these Republicans are in terms of figuring out what to do, looking to the midterms, and working with this president.

All other things being equal, this is a terrible example of how we should actually govern the country. The details of this don't look very good, except for the defense spending and maybe a few other things.

HUGH HEWITT: Except for the most important thing. Except for the most important thing, it sucks.

MATTHEW SPALDING: Exactly. So you get more defense spending. And it's actually bumped up from where it was. But in order to get that, you had to pay for something less than, but basically let the Democrats get whatever domestic spending they wanted.

And all the other priorities, including the wall, which was just a little bit of money thrown that way, but since you can't build the wall, things like that, all those priorities go aside. And so really, it comes down to what's the strategics to him, right now, of getting that defense spending in the pipeline?

HUGH HEWITT: And I believe it is the most important thing, and that it so far overshadows everything else that you sign this deal. I'm a defense hawk. And you cannot actually conduct America's foreign policy without ships, sailors, soldiers, airmen, and marines, pilots, and planes, and tanks. You've got to buy it.

MATTHEW SPALDING: No, that's right. And that's the one argument for it. And I think they should make that argument even stronger, rather than just trying to justify this spending the way they have from a policy point of view. It really is that. And that's about it. And if you look at the details of how that defense spending is laid out, it's really good stuff and what they wanted to get and what they needed to do.

And you know, this feeds on a two-year deal, which means you're going to have a couple of years of this going in. And that's very significant given where we are right now.

HUGH HEWITT: Now it does also do some-- $1.6 billion is not a lot, but it does allow some incremental progress on the wall. It does not extend DACA. That deal is not done. And therefore the Democrats have DACA on their back. They were the ones that screwed the Dreamers.

MATTHEW SPALDING: That's right. But the flip side, of course, is that the deal is still there, and the Republicans didn't give away their leverage to get a good deal at some point in the future. But that's not going to happen before the elections. There's some money in there for the wall, but the Democrats also put language in there that said, it's got to be a wall consistent with already approved regulations, which means it actually isn't the beginning of Trump's wall.

And they're very smart about putting that kind of legislative language in there. There's some money in there for the opioid crisis. There's some good things. But there are also a lot of oddball things in here when you start looking at the details.

HUGH HEWITT: Oh, the gateway. I wouldn't pay for New York's gateway tunnel. That's what New Jersey and New York exists to do. If they want to have a tunnel, go build a tunnel.

MATTHEW SPALDING: And they've already figured out, and there's language in there that they can find money elsewhere. So it didn't actually stop that.


MATTHEW SPALDING: But also, there's a provision there about baseball. Have you seen that one?


MATTHEW SPALDING: We're going to save baseball.


MATTHEW SPALDING: Baseball is going to be exempted from labor laws. That's in the omnibus.

HUGH HEWITT: Well you know, the one way to screw anything up is to have the government regulate it or deregulate it. Are they deregulating baseball? That's not bad.

MATTHEW SPALDING: It's not a bad idea. It would be good for everybody, right? Why just baseball?

HUGH HEWITT: Well, we're waiting for the Supreme Court to deregulate public employee unions, right? That's going to be the big win of the year. Did you notice-- by the way we have 45 seconds to the break-- that we had a free speech case? It looks like it's a 9-0 loss for the nanny state trying to tell pro-life clinics that they have to advertise abortion services.

MATTHEW SPALDING: No, compelled speech-- no, this is very good. This is kind of the flip side of the free speech argument, which the left has kind of long played with, which is we can make people say things. And I think the court is going the right way on this one, sounds like very strongly.

HUGH HEWITT: Very strongly. I think we even get Sotomayor. I'll be right back. Dr. Matthew Spalding, director of Hillsdale College's Kirby Center and I talk next about the march, which is coming to DC tomorrow. Don't go anywhere, it's the Hugh Hewitt Show.

Welcome back, America. It's Hugh Hewitt, with Doctor Matthew Spalding, director of Hillsdale College's Kirby Center. This is the Hillsdale Dialogue. All things Hillsdale are collected at hillsdale.edu, including all of the dialogues I've had, with Dr. Spalding, Dr. Larry Arnn, president of Hillsdale College, their colleagues, since 2013. Those are all collected for your podcast binge listening at hughforhillsdale.com.

I want to bring you up to date on the hostage situation in France. Rukmini Callimachi tweets, hostage takings have long been an ISIS tactic, one which the group has pushed in instruction to overseas sympathizers as well as in attacks carried out by their own operatives. Think the Bataclan. Think the Holey Artisan siege. But also remember the foiled Rochester, New York plot. The French media says the attacker has been identified via the license plates of his car. He is of Moroccan origin and is known to the DGSI.

It could mean he was on a list of radicalized individuals in France called the S list. LCI is confirming that the hostage taker is demanding the release of Salah Abdeslam, the only surviving man of the group of 10 attackers who carried out the 2015 attacks in Paris. First thought, is the attacker merely inspired by ISIS? Or is he part of the Abaaoud network? We will continue to follow that story.

Back now with Dr. Spalding. Dr. Spalding, the march occurs tomorrow. Are you offering coffee and donuts at the Kirby Center?

MATTHEW SPALDING: We probably should. It's going to be right here. And we can open up the doors and talk about how we deal with our school safety and our students.

HUGH HEWITT: I will be down there for MSNBC. I'll be on the mall, I believe, or over at 400 I Street, at 4:00 o'clock Eastern. And I'll go down earlier just to mix, mingle, and talk. But it may not be what anyone is expecting. I don't know if the numbers are going to be the same because a number of events have intervened. It's been a long period of time. But it may be huge. What are you expecting, Matt Spalding?

MATTHEW SPALDING: I don't know. I can say that driving into work this morning, they're already closing down and putting up barriers and getting ready for it, so the expectation seems to be pretty big. But who knows? I think the larger problem or the question here is really at the center of this thing. This is a great thing. I respect what these students are doing, the fact that they're involved.

But there's a problem kind of the middle of what they're trying to do. Shall we say a marketing problem, if you will, which is now this argument about what to do, in light of these shootings, is divided between a gun issue, which is what one group, I think, is very strongly trying to make it into a gun control issue, and a safety issue, which isn't necessarily the same thing.

And indeed, the shooting in Florida, and then this shooting in Maryland, just a few days ago, in which a guard stopped the shooter and shot him, suggests that there might be a different narrative here and a different argument that probably, to most Americans, is a natural conclusion, which is we need to make the schools more safe and do some things that are not necessarily tied to the old argument, presented by gun control, about just kind of rounding up things and reducing numbers and getting guns away from this and that the other.

This might have something to do with a lot of other things, like the mental stability of these particular students, what's going on in their lives, the fact that we don't have armed guards at schools, and maybe we should have better safety barriers and equipment there, those kinds of things.

So I think the narrative is divided, the political debate. And so I think that hurts their momentum and where this might be going. I looked at the mission statement for the march, and it really kind of has that two-sided sense to it. It's not quite clear. It's not as focused as some of these marches in the past, which are on a particular piece of legislation.

You add the fact that Congress had something in the omnibus, at least a little bit, on background checks. And the CDC provision, I think, stayed in about doing research on guns and gun violence. I'm not sure where it's going, to be honest.

HUGH HEWITT: Every time I see one of the youngsters make a demand that is unrealistic, it diminishes their efficacy in making realistic demands. For example, I have seen some call for an Australian-style collection of guns, backed up by a buyback program. Well, we have 300 million weapons in the United States, and people aren't interested in that. That's a nonstarter.

MATTHEW SPALDING: Well, we also have the Second Amendment.

HUGH HEWITT: And we have the Second Amendment. The Second Amendment doesn't prevent a buyback program. It does prevent the collection of guns. It just does.

MATTHEW SPALDING: Confiscation, correct.

HUGH HEWITT: Yeah, confiscation. And so when they make that, I shudder at constitutional illiteracy. And I've heard a lot of it, Matt Spalding, just a lot about how fast the government should work. We're not putting up with this. And because we are young, we are right. And the argument that we are young, we are right is an argument we've seen in history, again and again and again, usually on barricades, usually to the good end of no one or anything.

MATTHEW SPALDING: That's right. And a lot of times, they don't end up getting anywhere other than stirring things up. I mean, if we think of the broader analogies back to earlier youth student movements in the past, unless they can figure out some way to have some practical direction they want to go, they will either fizz out or continue beyond their passions in terms of what they might want to do in terms of activism.

And I think they're really divided here, because I think you're absolutely right. What it does tell us, I think, is that, in so many ways, the natural media reaction, and the youth and the people who are involved, their natural reaction is either themselves or, very quickly, to be succumbed by the argument that a forceful government action is really the only way to do it.

And things like confiscation or more immediate ways to control guns is the easy answer, as opposed to the more difficult thing, which addresses the fact that, well, there's a lot of aspects of this which are really a cultural problem, how the schools have been organized and run for some time, past policies that have reduced security at schools, in terms of being able to react quickly to problematic students, a lot of those things, which can be done mostly not at the federal level--

HUGH HEWITT: Now, if they were smart--

MATTHEW SPALDING: but at the level of states and school districts.

HUGH HEWITT: --Matt Spalding, and kids often are not. They would have declared victory today. This would be a victory celebration, celebrating the Florida law and the Fix NICS bill and asking that continued incremental study and the funding of CDC. They would be out there saying, we have won a great victory at the sacrifice--

MATTHEW SPALDING: We pushed something, and we-- that's exactly right. And they would be, then, talking about, where do we go next, perhaps? But also, they should be embracing both political parties, including those Republicans, including the president, who seems to be wanting to have a conversation with them, and talk about what can be done in a bipartisan way.

They don't seem to be doing that. And I think, if they don't do that, and this really becomes really kind of a younger poster child for the gun control movement, and a new way of approaching gun control, that'll be a problem and very detrimental, especially if it includes things like school walkouts and things like that, as a regular way for encouraging liberal activism. I don't see what good that does.

HUGH HEWITT: My great, fair Matt Spalding, is it becomes, for a few, a path to temporary celebrity, the cessation of which will be disappointing. And it always ends, right? It never continues. There is no endless career. Celebrities are not celebrities unless they are big movie stars like Tom Cruise and go for 50 years.

And just because you've been on 25 shows for three weeks doesn't mean you're going to be on 25 shows for the next three weeks. That's a hard lesson to learn. I don't know if anyone has taught these kids that.

MATTHEW SPALDING: No. And I think in the modern world of quick communications and Facebook and Twitter, it's easier to be seduced by that. And I think that's probably what's going to happen here. And unfortunately, the people involved in politics, who have been around for a while, are very quick to want to take advantage of that, I think, on a number of issues, on both sides. And this is a good example of that, where they immediately jump on and give them television interviews and give them that quick fame.

But that's a lesson really-- a good old-fashioned lesson in politics. It's been around for a long time that the immediate passions-- and here, these are the immediate passions of youth-- but the immediate passionate response, which is not illegitimate given a traumatic event, doesn't oftentimes translate into the kind of settled deliberative politics, which actually gets things done.

If they would have had some more advice and some more settled thinking this through, I think this actually could have been an effort, a bipartisan effort, not just at the federal level but state and local, to figure out how we change some policies, at the level of school safety, which would protect a lot of these students and comfort their families knowing their kids are going there, which I think is exactly where the American people are and what they want.

HUGH HEWITT: Now, Matt, you're an educator for a long time. And you love your students, as do Dr. Arnn, as does everyone at Hillsdale. So here has been my policy. I'm curious what you think about it. I have refused to have anyone under 18 on. I've been offered a few so-called conservative Parkland students. I've been offered some liberal Parkland students. And I've said, I don't want anyone under 18 on. I actually don't want anyone under 22 on, unless it's in a highly structured environment, such as my broadcast from Hillsdale, when they know what we're talking about. Because they're young.

They're not-- they don't know much. In fact, in Jonah Goldberg's new book-- ably assisted, by the way, by a Hillsdale veteran, Mr. Butler-- it turns out that, among 18-year-olds, 40% can't name one of the three divisions of government. And a similar number can't name one of the rights in the First Amendment. I am afraid of embarrassing people. That's actually what's in my reticence. I don't want to exploit these kids.

MATTHEW SPALDING: Well, you also want to give them an environment in which they can grow and become more mature. So you're absolutely right, and that's a good policy. It's not that these are unintelligent individuals. It's not that they're-- But they're young. They're kids. They haven't had the experience. In many cases, they haven't been taught the things they should be taught.

But even the good kids, they need to have some time to kind of grow into their roles and be guided. This is why we have schools and why they go to college and why you don't vote until you get to a certain age. The argument that one needs to mature and grow and become better at thinking about things, so that one can be a full citizen, in a way that is demanded in a deliberative democracy, I see absolutely nothing wrong with that.

So on the one hand, I think it's good that there's an outlet here for these students who want to get involved. And this is a way to draw them into being civically engaged. But the idea that somehow that politics should be driven by that level of passion and inexperience--


MATTHEW SPALDING: I think, is not good.

HUGH HEWITT: I'll be right back with Dr. Matt Spalding on the Hugh Hewitt Show. Don't go anywhere. It's the Hillsdale Dialogue. Welcome back, America. I'm Hugh Hewitt. Thank you for listening to the Hugh Hewitt Show today. The Hillsdale Dialogue is concluding. My guest, Dr. Matt Spalding, director of the Kirby Center, Hillsdale College's lantern of sweet reason in the shadow of the Capitol.

Dr. Spalding and I have been talking about the news of the week, the omnibus that passed, the march, which will happen, the mustache that is arriving at the West Wing, on April 9th, in the form of John Bolton, former ambassador to UN, friend of Matt's, friend of mine.

And let's finish there, Matt Spalding. I want to play for you an interview I had with Dr. Bolton, with Ambassador Bolton, in 2007, about Iran, cut number 15.

JOHN BOLTON: Well, you know, when Ahmadinejad sent a letter, the long rambling letter, in the summer of 2006, most people around the world either took it as the sign of a delusional individual or saw in it references to Islamic teachings that were profoundly dangerous for the United States. But many people at the State Department said, well, this gives us a basis to negotiate. This is the kind of perception by too many of our career foreign service officers that everything is open for negotiation.

And let me just add here, quickly-- because I make the point in the book, and I think it's important-- I don't want anybody to understand that I'm criticizing everybody in the foreign service or all the civil service people who work at the State Department. There are many very good and effective diplomats who understand the proper role of diplomacy. We need a strong State Department.

One of the things I try to explain in the book is what we need to change the culture of the State Department. And that's something that the next president really needs to wrestle with. But the culture that's developed over the years is very firmly entrenched. So this is not an issue about this individual that I disagreed with or that individual. It's about an entire way of thinking that, I'm sad to say, pervades the building.

HUGH HEWITT: So that is, I think, a wonderful way to transition to the most important thing. What did he say there about the State Department? What does that telegraph for us to expect from Ambassador Bolton?

MATTHEW SPALDING: So that was a great interview. This is a man with sharp elbows, as you mentioned before. He will mix things up. But what's coming in is a person who thinks more broadly on the most important questions. The distinctions he made there, behind his point about the State Department, is that you look at the world and you look out at different regimes and nation states. And what are they? What do they believe? What's the nature of the thing? What are our interests relative to that country based on our regime?

That's a different world view than one in which we look at the world, and we see merely all these people we can potentially negotiate with. I think that that's how he divides ways, approaches to foreign policy. I think his comments about the State Department being a one world view, which is all about negotiation, which say there's no regime distinctions worthy of serious consideration, goes to the heart of the matter. Which is why I think that the shifts here, setting aside how this will work out--

And I actually like McMaster a lot and wish him well. I think that was a friendly departure.

But having Pompeo at State will, I think, strengthen the argument that Bolton is presenting here, about having a State Department which changes it's way of thinking. We'll see how well he does. But he'll be different on that than Tillerson, and probably more able to do it based on his, I think, more successful management style. And then having Bolton at NSC--

So I think this actually strengthens the administration's standing on foreign relations and how they view the world going into these discussions of Iran and North Korea, where the regime distinctions are to be held right up front, very clearly. And I think actually it would be good for the president to hear that on a regular basis, as well.

HUGH HEWITT: Our friend, Dennis Prager, likes to say clarity before aggrievement. John Bolton is very clear-eyed about the world around him. And that's what you just articulated. And in the deputies committee, I don't know his number two will be. That will matter a great deal. But in the deputies committee, that's where this stuff has to be followed through and doggedly implemented, or it will die a slow death in the bureaucracy.

And I'll give you the last word, Matt. You know what it's like to get anything changed at a college. To get anything changed inside of a government is 1,000 times harder.

MATTHEW SPALDING: It absolutely is. And his earlier comment you played at the beginning of the show, I think, points to that. But again, the key-- and this is a key, you see this in Churchill, in Lincoln-- is to see beyond that, to see clearly what your objective is and be dogged about it. Not because you're fighting the small fights, the petty things, but you know how important it is and where you're going.

HUGH HEWITT: Oh, I got to give some breaking news, Matt. The President of the United States has tweeted.

"I am considering a veto of the omnibus spending bill based on the fact that 800,000-plus DACA recipients have been totally abandoned by the Democrats, not even mentioned in the bill. And the border wall, which is desperately needed to our national defense, is not fully funded."

Matt, you've got 30 seconds, buddy. That's quite a shot across the bow.

MATTHEW SPALDING: That's more than a shot. That's an explosion across the whole front. That's very significant. If he plays that well, this could be very powerful to his advantage. And this is politics.

HUGH HEWITT: This is politics at the highest level. Matt Spalding at the Kirby Center. Thank you, follow the Kirby Center at kirbycenter.hillsdale.edu.