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Columnist to the World Mark Steyn reacts to the one year old audio of Bernardine Dohrn and Bill Ayers, and whether these two friends of Obama will hurt his presidential chances.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

HH: We begin as we do on any broadcast when we’re lucky with Columnist to the World, Mark Steyn, Mark, what do you make of Hillary’s win?

MS: Well, I would have been surprised if she hadn’t won. I gather Chris Matthews came on the air at 8:00 and predicted an Obama win, which would have ended the race. It would have showed that he was resilient to the worst kind of scandals, which is to say when you yourself put your foot in it, which he did with his guns and God remarks. And it would also have showed that mainstream Democrats in a critical state were prepared to discount those kind of stories. So what would have changed the race would have been an Obama victory. Once it’s as predicted a Hillary Clinton victory, then I think the only question is how big the final figure is. If it isn’t double digits, then it’s a poor night for Hillary and it’s a good night for Obama, because it shows that his numbers can hold up under quite a sustained assault. But I think that both candidates are really getting weaker as this thing goes on.

HH: Terry McAuliffe, campaign director for Hillary Clinton, was out today saying I don’t need to raise twenty, though I could raise $20 million. These media markets ahead in Oregon and Kentucky and West Virginia and Indiana and North Carolina aren’t that expensive, sounding every bit like a campaign guy who’s going all the distance. I just can’t see Hillary Clinton quitting if she won.

MS: No. Hillary Clinton isn’t going to quit, because I think she realizes that Obama is a weak candidate. He’s weak in the sense that he’s unknown. And an unknown candidate always has vulnerabilities. Some of those have been raised on your show, not just long distant past associations, but a lot of current associations. So she’s got to figure that at some point, if he doesn’t get stronger, then her argument to the superdelegates is look, this guy can’t win. He’s not the glamour puss the media make him out to be. The big glamorous Obama guy that they love, and when they do these messianic cover stories on him, it’s simply not reflected in the numbers.

HH: Now Salem producer Guy Benson discovered some audio from a reunion of SDS’ers in 2007. I want to play you four clips, two from Bernardine Dohrn, and two from William Ayers. Again, this is them talking last year, and these are the people who have supported Barack Obama since his first fundraiser in 1995. Bernardine Dohrn last year, talking about her husband’s comments, and what she thinks of the United States. Cut number 16:

BD: And it was an incredible thing for him to say, the greatest purveyor of violence on this Earth is my own country. There were certainly other purveyors of violence. I think that that’s still true today. If we think it’s true today, that has incredible implications for all of us right now. We who are, as we used to say, in the belly of the beast. It again means not that it’s the only purveyor of violence in the world, but that we have an extraordinary, special responsibility, not necessarily the most enviable one, of how to act here inside the heart of the monster.

HH: The monster being the United States. Cut number 17, Bernardine Dohrn:

BD: A couple of things still animate me. And one is the question of empire and imperialism, the merger of capitalism and empire, and how that plays out in the globe, and why all of us get to live the lives we live, even if we try to live simply, and even if we try to constantly brisk what we have. You know, where does our wealth come from? And where does our good teeth come from? And you know, our longevity?

HH: So, Mark Steyn, before we move on to Bill Ayers, what do you make of Bernardine Dohrn last year?

MS: Well, you know, I think this is where Obama is really off the charts. Most Americans, including most Democrats…I mean, I would be stunned to hear a New Hampshire Democrat talk like that. We have a Democratic governor in my state at the moment, and he’s a conventional Democrat in many ways, which is to say he doesn’t go along with this idea that being, having the great privilege to live in the United States of America means you’re living in the belly of the beast. I mean, this is simply the worst kind of hateful anti-Americanism, and this is where Barack Obama lives. This is the pool he swims in. And I think this actually gets to the heart of some of his more absurd statements. When he said today that we, I think it was yesterday, that we don’t need just to end the war, he says he wants to end the mindset that got us into war. In other words, the United States is always the problem. And this is the absurdity of Democratic Party far left anti-Americanism taken to its logical conclusion. If dissent is the so-called highest form of patriotism, then as my friend John O’Sullivan says, treason is the highest form of dissent, therefore treason is the highest form of patriotism. When you listen to Bernardine Dohrn, for her, treason is the highest form of patriotism.

HH: Here is more now from Bill Ayers, again, last year, 2007. This is not the ancient stuff. Bill Ayers, cut number 20: He’s talking about what he views the United States as today:

BA: Empire resurrected and unapologetic, war without end, an undefined enemy that’s supposed to be a rallying point for a new kind of energized jingoistic patriotism, unprecedented and unapologetic military expansion, white supremacy changing its form, but essentially intact, attacks on women and girls, violent attacks, growing surveillance in every sphere of our lives, on and on and on, the targeting of gay and lesbian people as a kind of a scapegoating gesture to keep our minds off of what’s really happening.

HH: And here’s cut number 21. Listen closely, Chou En Lai debuts here.

BA: It’s worth coming together forty years later and saying what is that spirit that we recognize that we can build on? What is that spirit that we want to connect to? That spirit of rebellion, the spirit of resistance, the spirit of insurgency, and spirit. It’s that spirit that we should be talking about. But just to give us a little perspective, I’m reminded of something that Chou En Lai, the Chinese premier under Mao Tse Tung, Chou En Lai was asked by a European reporter if he could comment on the impact and his thinking of the French Revolution, in terms of the Chinese experience. And Chou En Lai thought about it for quite a long time, and he said the French Revolution? Too early to tell. And I think there’s something to that, you know, that I mean if you take the long view, empire’s in decline. If you take the long view, there’s a lot to look forward to. So many of us have watched with absent horror as we’ve been marched, step by step, towards an authoritarianism that was unthinkable forty years ago.

HH: Now Mark Steyn, three things. One, these people have picked Barack Obama. He’s going to say I don’t believe that, but they have picked him. Number two, how is it that a first-year producer, you know, less than a year out of journalism school, finds this and mainstream media doesn’t? And number three, just generally, these people are cracked.

MS: Yeah, yeah. No, I think they are cracked. It’s interesting to me, the whole spirit of these people is unchanged since the 60’s. They were wrong in the 60’s. And the idea that sort of ineffectual terrorism is just like a kind of political fashion accessory, which seems to be what the people, the apologists for Ayers are arguing, I think is disgusting and discreditable. And it insults millions of people around the world who know what it’s like to live with people who don’t just posture and pose, and plant a few bombs, and then live off the chic of it for the rest of their careers, but who understand what it is when those revolutionaries get their way and destroy a society. So it’s insulting, and the problem is there’s not much evidence among Barack Obama’s associates of any counterweight to this. And when he says, when he attempts to pose a counterweight, he makes grotesque comparisons like comparing this, as you say, cracked nut to Senator Coburn, simply because Senator Coburn happens to be pro-life. I mean, I think Obama is off the charts. He doesn’t…his friends live in the belly of the beast, as they put it. I don’t know where Obama lives, but it’s not where most Americans live.

HH: Now do you think with enough attention, and I think media now has to begin to ask why couldn’t he close the deal in Pennsylvania, and he has not closed the deal in Pennsylvania, even if it’s a narrow win for Hillary. He’s won, he’s kept it close because of overwhelming African-American turnout.

MS: Right.

HH: Do you think the media begins to finally ask who are you, what do you believe, what do we know about you?

MS: No, I don’t think they do, because I think they look on him as a movie star. If you…and I think that’s the appropriate comparison. They’re not looking at him in the political sphere, because I think it’s true to say that he has a sheen and a glamour and a cool that is extremely rare among politicians. And so in a sense, they look on him as one of these movie stars, and movie stars do whacky things like they’ll fly to Havana and kiss up to Castro, and they’ll fly to Venezuela and kiss up to Hugo Chavez. But in the end, they then go on TV and get a fawning interview as if there’s nothing contemptible and discreditable in what they do. And so I think the same pass that’s accorded to idiot movie stars is being accorded to Obama because of his glamour.

HH: Mark Steyn from, Mark, thanks for kicking off our special election coverage of the Keystone State.

End of interview.

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