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Ernest Istook
Ernest Istook hosts "Istook Live!" daily from 9 am to noon, M-F. You can listen from everywhere via

Ernest says he’s now “in recovery” after serving for 14 years as a U.S. Congressman from Oklahoma, and 25 years overall holding public office.

Since leaving Congress in 2007, Istook has been at The Heritage Foundation in Washington, DC, where he is a Distinguished Fellow. He is also a Fellow of Harvard University’s Institute of Politics, where he led a Spring 2010 study group at the Kennedy School of Government, examining “Propaganda in American Politics Today.”

Ernest has been a frequent guest-host for several national radio hosts such as Bill Bennett, Mark Levin, Jerry Doyle, G. Gordon Liddy and America’s Morning News. Ernest’s daily radio commentaries are heard on the Bott Radio Network. He’s appeared as a guest on almost every major national TV news programs, and is a frequent commentator on several local radio programs scattered across the U.S.

Ernest served on the House Appropriations Committee throughout his years in Congress and chaired subcommittees in charge of funding a wide swath of the federal government, including all transportation programs, the White House, Treasury Department, Postal Service, Office of Management and Budget, and others. He also served on subcommittees overseeing Defense, Homeland Security, Labor, Health, Human Services and Education, and the Department of the Interior.

Ernest and his wife, Judy, have been married since 1973. He has a BA in Journalism from Baylor University and a JD from Oklahoma City University. Born and raised in Fort Worth, Texas, he is the grandson of immigrants to America from Hungary.

Entries by Ernest Istook

Washington Is Lost for Now, GOP Senator Says, But the Fight Continues Across America

(3) Comments | Posted December 11, 2012 | 3:20 PM

"We've lost the battle in Washington" for now, says Senator Jim DeMint (R, S.C.). The new goals, he says, are for conservatives to work in states and prove their principles work, plus defend against President Obama's effort "to steamroll what's left of the Republican Party here in Washington."

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Our Dangerous Dependence on Foreign Chocolate

(22) Comments | Posted April 4, 2012 | 10:35 AM

America is addicted to chocolate. Foreign chocolate.

A majority of us consume chocolate each day. Although the U.S. produces only 6% of the world's cocoa, we consume more than 20%.

The threat is obvious. It's time for government to step in and promote alternatives.

Any day, President Obama will...

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Congress Needs to Fix Itself in 2012

(12) Comments | Posted January 11, 2012 | 3:23 PM

Congress owes America a better start for 2012, and not to repeat the way it ended 2011.

Even if the Senate is hopelessly dysfunctional, the House could do better. The final House session of 2011 was a prime example of how to lose public confidence. The body was gaveled into...

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Secrecy in Budget Talks Gave Obama an Advantage

(1) Comments | Posted July 21, 2011 | 2:27 PM

You can sum up in one word why Republicans find it tough to build public support for major spending cuts before the debt limit might be raised. That word is "secrecy."

By agreeing to closed-door meetings, Republicans enabled President Obama to mislead the country about his positions and to mischaracterize...

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Desperate, Devious and Dangerous: The Left's 14th Amendment Ploy

(123) Comments | Posted July 8, 2011 | 4:32 PM

Seeking to make virtue out of vice, the political left has launched a desperate, devious and dangerous ploy to prevent the spending cuts that the public demands.

They are laying the groundwork for President Obama to bypass negotiations and ignore the $14.3-trillion statutory ceiling on federal debt. They want him...

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Don't Let Politicians Rush Through Another Bad Deal

(5) Comments | Posted July 7, 2011 | 11:37 AM

Our future should not be determined behind closed doors. Yet that's where the White House and Congress are holding secret talks about our debt ceiling and about taxes and spending.

We deserve openness instead. We don't need another farce when the players suddenly burst from their huddle, line up members...

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Resisting Temptation Over Libya

(28) Comments | Posted June 21, 2011 | 10:44 AM

"It's an uncomfortable fact that sending a message of solidarity with our NATO allies is more important than sending a message to President Obama."

It's tempting to cut off funds immediately for President Obama's ill-conceived Libya offensive. But it's not the right course. For the sake of our allies, Congress...

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Free Dinners With President Obama

(2) Comments | Posted June 17, 2011 | 1:56 PM

Millions of Americans probably received this week's email from President Obama, inviting them to send money and be registered to win a free dinner with the President.

I took it as a personal invitation to be one of four people to be chosen. And upon reading the fine print, I...

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Obama Can't See the Icebergs

(15) Comments | Posted June 1, 2011 | 2:11 PM

President Obama could learn a lesson from this fable about a great ship.

Having received ample warning of icebergs ahead, some of the crew of the HMS Titanic proposed changing course to avoid them.

But the captain objected.

"Making that maneuver would end this cruise as we know it. It...

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Another Good Swing at Defunding Obamacare -- But Not a Hit

(12) Comments | Posted May 2, 2011 | 5:12 PM

Once again the U.S. House plans to take another whack Tuesday at defunding Obamacare -- although the Senate and White House are poised to protect the funding.

The bill scheduled for a vote, HR 1213, would repeal the automatic funding that Obamacare provides for federally-dictated insurance...

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Time for Grown-ups

(25) Comments | Posted April 6, 2011 | 10:14 AM

House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) has proposed a budget for grown-ups.

Washington's big spenders have responded with the tired clichés we expect from defenders of big government:

"Pulling the rug out from under seniors," says Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI).

"Waging war on American workers," says...

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The "Untouchable" $23.6 Billion

(3) Comments | Posted March 16, 2011 | 9:21 AM

Untouchable. That's the treatment being given to the $23.6 billion being spent right now to implement Obamacare.

This $23.6 billion is part of the $105.5 billion appropriated by the last Congress to fund Obamacare. The remainder (Think of it as post-dated checks for the other $81.9...

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Government Unions Play Key Role in Shutdown Fight

(1) Comments | Posted February 28, 2011 | 10:26 AM

The potential government shutdown is not just history repeating itself between a Democrat President and a Republican House. It's also a repeat of a key role played by government employee unions.

What's different now is that the public has awakened to how they've been duped with false promises about big...

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The Dirty Little Secret About De-Funding Obamacare

(75) Comments | Posted February 18, 2011 | 9:39 AM

Several members of Congress, like Rep. Denny Rehberg (R, MT) and Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R.-Wash.) are offering amendments that would prevent any new spending from being used to implement Obamacare.

Good for them. Those are important additions to the big spending bill pending in Congress.

But here's the dirty...

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Obama's High-Speed Sale

(156) Comments | Posted February 9, 2011 | 9:31 AM

President Obama's proposed $53 billion more for "high-speed rail" (on top of a previous $10 billion) is a testimony to the power of adjectives.

If it were labeled "plain old rail travel" it would lack the pizzazz but would be far more accurate. Understating costs, overstating benefits, and lots of...

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"Green Jobs" Cronyism and Cannibalism

(27) Comments | Posted February 3, 2011 | 4:13 PM

To rephrase President Obama's State of the Union theme: "This is our generation's apparatchik moment."

Yes, he said "Sputnik" instead, but his actual agenda is about the apparatchik -- government by party leaders, bureaucrats and the well-connected.

His agenda is symbolized by his push for "green jobs" as the path...

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The Tax Controversy is Built on a False Choice

(72) Comments | Posted September 20, 2010 | 11:49 AM

Would you vote to cut taxes only for the middle-class, if that were your only choice? Who says it's your only choice? It's time to place the blame on those who try to box people in.

The furor over the tax cut answer given by House Republican Leader John Boehner...

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Obama Creates Backdoor Amnesty by Mass Dismissals of Deportation Cases

(25) Comments | Posted August 31, 2010 | 9:53 PM

President Obama lets people break laws that he doesn't like. The latest example is his backdoor amnesty for thousands of illegal immigrants, as a still-fuzzy but insidious picture is emerging.

Obama shows a pattern of refusing to enforce laws (or refusing to permit states like Arizona to enforce them)....

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Government Strangles High-Tech Growth

(70) Comments | Posted August 28, 2010 | 10:30 PM

The CEO of Intel has joined the ranks of those labeling big government as the cause of our economic slump, not the solution.

Paul Otellini says it already costs Intel an extra billion dollars to build a microchip plant in the U.S., rather than overseas. In his illustration, it's an...

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Government Strangles High-Tech Growth

(18) Comments | Posted August 28, 2010 | 10:29 PM

The CEO of Intel has joined the ranks of those labeling big government as the cause of our economic slump, not the solution.

Paul Otellini says it already costs Intel an extra billion dollars to build a microchip plant in the U.S., rather than overseas. In his illustration, it's an...

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