HH: We welcome now the Hugh Hewitt Show’s version of Burl Ives, Frank Gaffney. Frank, welcome, it’s always a pleasure to speak with you, Merry Christmas.
FG: Merry Christmas to you, Hugh.
HH: It’s the beard thing.
FG: It is the beard thing.
HH: I’m having some fun, but I have to agree with Mitt Romney, who early today on Glenn Beck, blasted Time Magazine’s choice of Vladimir Putin as Man of the Year as disgusting. What say you, Frank Gaffney?
FG: Well, it is disgusting, but the real danger is that he may be the man of the decade, the way things are going.
HH: The man of the quarter century.
FG: He’s consolidating power at such a clip, and he’s moving Russia both domestically in the direction of renewed repression, and internationally in the direction of aggression, that I think that he represents a serious danger to the security of this country, and the interest of freedom loving people both home and abroad.
HH: Well now, Frank, why does Time Magazine…they’ve put Khomeini on, they’ve had Hitler, they’ve had Stalin. They always say it’s the most newsworthy. But I think the most newsworthy thing that has happened is the blow struck for a free Middle East and a resurgent democracy in Iraq by David Petraeus and the American military today. Nothing about Putin’s corruption or his strong handed tactics. It’s just a way not to honor our men and women in uniform.
FG: Yeah, I was just listening to an interview with the managing editor of the magazine, and he maintained that what they were trying to do was actually wake up the American people to a very, I think his word was chilling guy who he had met in the Kremlin last week, I think. You know, and to be honest with you, if that’s the purpose, if that’s what is really what is being accomplished, then I could make the argument that that’s a public service. I’m afraid that it’s going to wind up actually having a different effect, that it will somehow seem to legitimate this guy, to lend credence to his claims to be the new Peter the Great, in some sort of benign fashion, and yes, you’re right, to deflect credit where it is really due, to a guy particularly in the person of David Petraeus, who has rendered an extraordinary service, again, not just to Americans, but to freedom loving people everywhere.
HH: Now I’ve got to switch over. Since you’re one of the unofficial advisors to Mike Huckabee, I want to play for you a little Huckabee quote from, concerning Iran. Cut number five. He made this in a speech earlier this year.
MH: We haven’t had diplomatic relationships with Iran in almost thirty years, most of my entire adult life. And a lot of good it’s done. Putting this in human terms, all of us know that when we stop talking to a parent or a sibling, or even a friend, it’s impossible to resolve the difference to move that relationship forward. Well, the same is true for countries.
HH: What do you think, Frank Gaffney?
FG: Well, for the purposes of setting the record straight, Hugh, I want you and your audience to recall that the other guy he mentioned in this New York Times Sunday Magazine interview as advising him was Tom Friedman of the New York Times. And that sounds a lot more like Tom’s advice than my advice. I think that’s cockamamie, and in fact, I had an hour and a half, I think, conversation with Governor Huckabee a couple of months ago over breakfast, and this was one of the main points on which I tried to educate him, that this is not a sibling that you just aren’t having a good time with. This is a country run by megalomaniacs bent on an apocalyptic outcome, who believe that bringing about a world without America is their god-given obligation. And you know, just talking with them, you know, can’t we all get along, Rodney King style, is not a prescription for a serious foreign policy, I’m afraid.
HH: Did you make progress with him, Frank Gaffney, in that conversation?
FG: Well, I thought so, but this certainly doesn’t sound like it. He had just, previous to that conversation, given a speech at the Center For Strategic and International Studies in Washington.
HH: That’s what this speech is from. That clip is from the Center For Strategic…
FG: If that is the speech before I spoke with him, and that’s no longer his view, I’ve made progress. But that was a view that I tried to disabuse him of, and I have not seen the Foreign Affairs article which presumably provides his current thinking, and so don’t know whether I’ve made any progress or not.
HH: Frank, I’ll look for your year end column over at the Washington Times, or at www.securefreedom.org. But are you more optimistic about the world as 2007 comes to a close than you were in 2006, or less?
FG: Well, you call me ‘Champagne Frank’ because of my bubbly optimism. I’m afraid the world is a much more dangerous place, Hugh, not simply because there are lots of bad actors abroad, but because I am afraid that in 2007, George W. Bush lost his way on a lot of fronts, and that has only emboldened our enemies, and made them, I’m afraid, more likely to pose more serious problems to us in 2008. And believe me, nobody hopes more than I that I’m wrong.
HH: Frank Gaffney, always a pleasure.
End of interview.