HH: As you know last night, the Phoenix Suns wore the jersey, Los Suns, and so in solidarity with them, I am pleased to welcome, as we do every Thursday when we are lucky, Marco Steyn, Columnista al Mundo. Mr. Steyn, how are you?
MS: (laughing) That’s very good, Hugh. I’m speaking to you from one of the last non-Spanish speaking redoubts of the United States.
HH: Well, when word reached me yesterday that the Boulder City Council had declared an embargo on all things Arizona, I thought by now you surely must have thrown in with the Los Suns movement.
MS: No, I haven’t. I notice that this little, my little corner of New Hampshire, there’s a suspiciously…I gave a speech down in Southern New Hampshire last night, and I was amazed at the number of Canadian resident in New Hampshire who came to the speech. And I alerted my Granite State neighbors to this, and I think we need, actually, to seal the Northern border, and to be looking for Canadian papers. So when the Suns change their name to the Asuns, or the Suns-A, then I think they’ll be showing solidarity with the real undocumented immigrants in this country.
HH: All right, well we can come back to that if we have enough time, but what a day, Mark Steyn. The markets went crazy. The Dow dropped at one point a thousand points. It finished off, you know, it was a bad day, but it wasn’t a horrific day. In reaction to what I think is a glimpse of our future, I think that the Greek debacle is simply, you know, the Christmas Future, showing it’s what’s going to happen to this country if we do not change. Your thoughts?
MS: Yes, I think what it illustrates, as I understand it, it might just have been as simple as one trader typing a B instead of an M for million, typing a B for billion, and it wipes off a thousand points off the stock market, as opposed to being a reaction to what’s happening in Greece, where real people are being killed in what are essentially riots over keeping unsustainable, featherbedded, government jobs. And in a way, what happened in Greece and what happened in New York, I think, both illustrate the kind of fragility of the global economy, and in a broader sense, of civilization, that there’s not a lot holding it up at the moment. And as you say, basically, you know, as I would say in Arizona, Los Sol will come out tomorrow, I’m not sure Los Sol will come out tomorrow, because I think we’ve spent too much of tomorrow today. And when you have a situation where a government is spending four trillion dollars, but only taking in two trillion in revenue, basically, you’re telling the rest of the world you’ve no intention of paying that off ever, and the rest of the world eventually figures that out.
HH: I sat with a very savvy investment banker yesterday, Mark Steyn, who said what is going on in Greece is just the second phase of a rolling restructuring of debt we cannot afford. We saw the first phase with the GM, yank the rug out from their creditors. Now the Greek civil servants and retirees are getting their rug pulled out, and that this will roll across the world, because we basically committed to deals on a variety of places we cannot afford.
MS: No, and it rolls across the world, but where does it stop? Greece has run out of Greeks to stick it to. That’s the problem in Greece. So they’re asking Germany to bail it out. Well, Germany has issues all of its own. It couldn’t afford a stimulus, because it doesn’t have enough young Germans ever to pay off the borrowing, and foreign creditors know that. But in the broader sense, you know, already Germany is propped up by the United States, and that the U.S. Army lives in Germany, and so absolves Germany of the need to pay for its own defense. So Greece is propped up by Germany, Germany is propped up by the United States. As California and New York and other states go down this one way road to the abyss, who is going to prop up the United States? There’s no good answer to that question.
HH: And I don’t think there is one, and that’s why I think there will be defaults, a rolling series of defaults, upon these old deals, and that people had better look at Greece right now to see what’s coming. But Mark Steyn, that may not be the most important act of violence by a long shot. We had another successful terrorist penetration in the United States. But for their incompetence, a second massacre within four months of Detroit, the fourth under President Obama, counting the Arkansas and Fort Hood terrorist attacks, and still, it does not seem that they can get past the idea of when do we give them their Miranda rights.
MS: Yes, and this idea that it’s a criminal matter involving a few isolated extremists, or whatever the president said in reaction to the panty bomber at Christmas time. The most absurd commentary, I though, was from the Washington Post, which speculated it was because the guy hadn’t been able to keep up payments on his home in Connecticut, so that this was in fact something to do with actually the Greek story, it’s to do with the global economy, it’s to do with subprime mortgages, that this is somehow an act of subprime terrorism and not Islamic terrorism. This is ridiculous. The guy spent five months in Pakistan, so clearly when a guy is spending five months in Pakistan, we don’t know what he was doing there, that’s the pretty obvious reason for why he isn’t able to keep up payments on his home in Connecticut. It’s because his job in Connecticut, and his house in Connecticut, are not what’s important to him, and are not what he sees as his primary identity. And the stupidity, the persistent stupidity in trying to look for anything other than what is really driving this activity is becoming beyond parody now.
HH: Mark Steyn, today’s profile of him in the New York Times, I don’t know if you had a chance to read it yet, but it’s very much the same. It’s the lonely, Mr. Lonely Hearts. He’s sitting on couches not drinking…and it makes it sounds like he’s depressed, so he became a jihadist.
MS: Yes, and that was the same thing that was said about the panty bomber just before Christmas time. In fact, they’re very similar, they’ve very similar types in a way. They’re not poor people. This idea that we heard after September 11th, poverty breeds terrorism, these are middle class people leading middle class lives. This guy had an MBA and some other super duper degree. He could be holding down a big time six figure salary anywhere on the planet. And instead, he decides that’s not what he wants to do, and instead he wants to blow up Times Square. And at some point, we have to confront the reality of that. And our unwillingness to, you know, when the enemy, which is what they are, by the way, when the enemy read the New York Times and the Washington Post, they draw their conclusions from that kind of coverage.
HH: Mark Steyn, the incompetence displayed in the Gulf after the explosion, and now the gaps in our security system, add the hat trick for the president. We’ve got ideological extremism, plus a hyper-partisan approach to politics, and now incompetence thrown in. That’s a heavy burden for Democrats. I think it’s why David Obey quit yesterday. Do you think the president can escape this, and his party can escape this by November?
MS: No, I think in a way, he’s lucky, he’s as lucky as he’s going to be, because if this had been a Republican in the White House, we would be getting the full Katrina on what’s going on in the Gulf. Instead, he’s got friends at these dying publications like Newsweek that are willing to protect him almost to absurd degrees. But the hyper-partisanship, with the perceived softness on national security, and the willingness to abase himself before thugs and dictators, plus, plus the incompetence issue in the Gulf, I think is just a lethal combination for Democrats this November.
HH: Speaking of Newsweek, Mark Steyn, I’ll put in fifty if you put in fifty, and we can get a bid going.
MS: (laughing) I’m not sure that particular brand is worth anything. I think I would rather revive the Saturday Evening Post or Life, or a brand that hasn’t so pathetically chosen to discredit itself over the last ten years as Newsweek has.
HH: Oh, I’ll have to find other partners. All right, Mark Steyn, now the British elections, the BBC at this hour, we obviously will not know until late into the night what the specifics are, but the BBC is projecting based upon their exit polls that Cameron brings in about 307, fifteen to twenty short of a pure majority. Does that allow him to govern, in your opinion?
MS: Well, it allows him to govern after a fashion. I mean, the Ulster unionists are probably the easiest potential partners. In other words, you don’t need a formal coalition. You just need an agreement with a couple of small parties that they’re not going to bring the government down. And the unionists are likely, are the best bet there. But what it does mean is that the government will be in the hands, prisoner to trimmers and accommodationists. And when you look at the crisis in Britain, the fiscal crisis, they really need tough medicine. And they won’t be able to get it under a minority government. This isn’t the same as the minority government in Canada. Canada’s finances are far sounder than the United Kingdom’s at the moment. I mean, the jokes about London being Reykjavik on Thames are well put. And a government clinging on by little individual deals to appease people here and there is not a recipe for any kind of success.
HH: 45 seconds, Mark Steyn. It looks like the Liberal Democrats actually went backwards, despite the biggest, biggest media push since Ross Perot. Was that just the UK’s media wishing on a star? Or was it real?
MS: No, I think it was real, and just a quick point. I’m not entirely persuaded by that little bit of the exit poll. It doesn’t ring quite right to me. We’ll see how that plays out over the night. But I think the key feature of this election is that a tiny number of people’s votes are secure. Right up to the last minute, people were saying they could change their vote at any minute. And that’s very, to this degree, that hasn’t been seen in a British election in decades.
HH: Mark Steyn, always a pleasure. www.steynonline.com for the Columnista al Mundo, Marco Steyn.
End of interview.