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Mark Steyn and the curios case of Burkina Faso

Friday, September 25, 2009

HH: We begin this Thursday as we do every Thursday when we are lucky with Columnist To the World, Mark Steyn. Hello, Mark.

MS: Hi, Hugh, great to be with you.

HH: Well, I enjoyed listening to you sitting in for Rush today, but I must say, I am shocked at the level of your Burkina Faso phobia.

MS: (laughing) Yes, it wasn’t actually mine. I had no views on Burkina Faso one way or the other until the Australian foreign minister in a restaurant with me used it as an example of the kind of waste of time the United Nations is. He said he didn’t want to find himself sitting on a committee with Burkina Faso, and he used an Australian colloquialism to describe what he thought was the condition of Burkina Faso. He’s not wrong on that. But I was interested to see that at the U.N. Security Council today, the president of the United States is sitting down on a committee with Burkina Faso to solve the world’s problems. This is exactly why the United Nations is a waste of time. You know, Obama may say well, no one country is more important than any other. But the reality of the situation is if you’re in Sri Lanka, and a tsunami hits, you call the United States to come and help. You don’t call Burkina Faso.

HH: Well, I was motivated by your monologue to go investigate Burkina Faso, as I didn’t know much about it. It turns out they had coups in ’66, ’70, ’77, ’80, ’82, ’83, ’91. And their president was elected under the new constitution in 1991, and then the supreme court ruled that he could just continue being president, even though there is term limits. They have a $1,120 dollar per capita income, their life expectancy is 48 years if you’re a woman, 47 years if you’re a man. And you don’t think they have a right, that we are not all equal, as the president said yesterday at the podium?

MS: No, no. And actually, Hugh, you’re very unfair to go on about the president of Burkina Faso’s term limits like that. The term limits in Burkina Faso are usually the handles of your casket as this week’s president for life is carried out of the presidential palace and the new guy moves in. So eventually, the term limit does kick in big time.

HH: Well now (laughing), I’ve got to ask you, I was so appalled yesterday, but I’m feeling better, because Benjamin Netanyahu went to the podium today. I want to play just the opening, Mark Steyn, so our audience can hear it, and then get your reaction to it. It takes about a minute and a half, but I’ll be playing lots more of it as the hour progresses. Here’s Bibi Netanyahu opening his speech at the U.N. today, cut number one.

BN: Yesterday, the man who calls the Holocaust a lie spoke from this podium. To those who refused to come, and to those who left in protest, I commend you. You stood up for moral clarity, and you brought honor to your countries. But to those who gave this Holocaust denier a hearing, I say on behalf of my people, the Jewish people, and decent people everywhere, have you no shame? Have you no decency? A mere six decades after the Holocaust, you give legitimacy to a man who denies the murder of six million Jews while promising to wipe out the state of Israel, the state of the Jews? What a disgrace. What a mockery of the charter of the United Nations. Now perhaps, perhaps some of you think that this man and his odious regime, perhaps they threaten only the Jews. Well, if you think that, you’re wrong – dead wrong.

HH: Mark Steyn, I think Obama laid down the leadership of the West yesterday, but I think Netanyahu picked it up today.

MS: Yes, I think he did. At a certain level, it is pathetic that in the Year 2009, a prime minister has to stand at the podium of the United Nations general assembly, and hold up documentary proof of the Holocaust, because we all know for one thing that Ahmadinejad and Co. aren’t interested in documentary proof. There’s plenty…or even in many human beings walking around the planet with those concentration camp numbers on their wrists. But the fact that a prime minister has to stand at the podium and hold up documentary proof of the Holocaust testifies to what a diseased institution the United Nations is. The reality is that whatever it was in its founding in 1948, it is a very different creature now. And I am embarrassed and ashamed by what the president of the United States said yesterday, compared to what this prime minister said today.

HH: Exactly, and now tomorrow, I’m going to talk with Norman Podhoretz, author of Why Are Jews Liberals? about his new book, but I’m going to tell him a story. I went to the law school today, and one of my colleagues there, a big supporter of Israel, a Jewish American, and although he was disappointed in the speech, he immediately turned to bashing Bush – you know, we’re in the position we are because of Bush. You know, I just don’t think the American left understands how dangerous the world is, and how much more dangerous President Obama’s rhetoric and his actions are making it, Mark Steyn.

MS: No, and whatever one feels about President Bush, I think he was a man who did what Netanyahu did today. He stood before the United Nations general assembly in the fall of 2002, seven years ago, and he told them the truth. And the way that President Obama today instead, yesterday, instead took refuge in these fluffy bunny banalities, that there is no difference in the world between the United States and Burkina Faso, and no one nation is more important than any of the others. That is making a very dangerous world. And the first people who’ll come to understand that, eventually, will be all these Europeans who hated Bush, and think that Obama is finally the kind of American president they’ve always wanted. They’ll be the first to learn the cruel, hard realities of a world in which Obama is played for a sap and a patsy by the likes of Russia, China, Iran and anybody else, and ultimately, even Burkina Faso.

HH: I want to switch to domestic politics, Mark Steyn. A murder, a brutal murder of a Census worker in Kentucky has already been seized on by some of the fever swamp to condemn the American conservative voices out there as being hatemongers. And then we get comments like this from Ed Schultz last night talking about the Republicans generally. Let’s play cut number 12 from MSNBC last night.

ES: The Republicans lie. They want to see you dead. They’d rather make money off your dead corpse. They kinda like it when that woman has cancer and they don’t have anything for her. That’s how the insurance companies make money, by denying the coverage. My God, Democrats, what’s wrong with you? You can’t deal with these people at all.

HH: So Mark Steyn, where is this debate going over speech in the public square?

MS: Well, the reality is when the tea party crowd showed up in Washington, they left the city cleaner than they found it. If you look at the pictures as the crowd disburses, there’s not a candy wrapper on the grass. I mean, these are the kind of best-behaved protesters ever to hit town. You contrast that with the G-20 Summit in Pittsburgh today, when the left wing protestors show up, and they’re having to board up all the stores, they’re having to board up all the local Starbucks and the rest of it, because these guys come to lob bricks through the windows. So it’s transparently false the view that somehow the Republican Party has put this angry, snarling mob of Nazi, racist, right wing, domestic terrorists out there on the street. And furthermore, when a gentleman at Reason Magazine made a very good point about this, that if you just sit back and look at it, the way Ed Schultz, for example, is talking about these so-called right wing extremists, about these political extremists, actually, you’re hearing a lot more paranoia right now from the so-called political center. When you hear Nancy Pelosi and Co. talk about perfectly respectable, well-behaved, peaceful protesters the way they do, they’re the ones who sound paranoid and crazy.

HH: Let me play for you the Finance Committee today, Max Baucus shutting down Jon Kyl in the interest of civilized debate, cut number 11.

JK: …that a hundred…

MB: Senator, you’ve made your point.

JK: Mr. Chairman, let me just complete my thought here.

MB: In about one minute, you’ll complete your thought. Okay, we’ve got…

JK: I’ll complete my thought, and then make another point, Mr. Chairman.

MB: It’s just you’re delaying, Senator, and we just have to move on.

JK: Mr. Chairman, Mr. Chairman, I am not delaying. I’m making an extremely important point.

MB: It’s a very, very important point, but you’re also delaying. So it’s…other Senators have amendments they’d wish to offer so…so go ahead, complete your thought, and then I’m going to have to recognize other Senators in deference to, and to be courteous to other Senators who also wish to speak.

JK: Mr. Chairman, it’s courteous if you don’t interrupt somebody right in the middle of the sentence of an important point they’re trying to make.

HH: Mark Steyn, Democrats are trying to stop the health care debate.

MS: Yeah, and they’re not going to succeed. It’s one-sixth of the U.S. economy. And the idea that we should do it twenty minutes notice, without reading the fine print, is ridiculous. And if they want to shove it down, which I believe they do, if they want to shove it down America’s throat, then they should be, they should be forced to make it plain that that is what they’re doing. It’s one-sixth of the U.S. economy that they’re to governmentalize. And the least you can do is talk about this stuff.

HH: Mark Steyn, I hope you’re up to speed on Burkina Faso by next week and get over your mindless prejudice against the Burkina Fasons. We’ll talk to you next week on the Hugh Hewitt Show.

End of interview.

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