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Hugh Hewitt Book Club

Mark Steyn Bares His Chest About Baring His Chest, And Talks About The Rising Heroin Problem In America

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HH: I begin as I do every Thursday when we are lucky with Mark Steyn, Columnist To the World. Hello, Mark, how are you?

MS: I’m good, thanks, Hugh, how are you?

HH: Well, I’m a little depressed. I’m a little depressed, because I’m trying to get this populist insurgency, Steyn for Senate, going, and here’s Scott Brown who has been photographed with his shirt off, and I can’t even get you to take the pocket kerchief out of your blazer.

MS: Well, if that’s what it’s come down to, Hugh, I picked up the Union Leader this morning, and there is Scott Brown topless on the front page of the Union Leader. I think he’s the first Republican to appear, Republican candidate to appear topless on the front page of the Union Leader since Elizabeth Dole in 1999. I can’t remember, my memory may be playing tricks. But I can assure you, I’m running a serious, sober campaign, and I intend to remain fully clothed, at least until the focus groups reveal that there is some advantage to me disrobing.

HH: It is an amazing, he’s gone Putin on us. He’s gone completely bare-chested, and there it is. And I can’t even get you to take your tie off. Will you at least appear open-collared at some point?

MS: Well, I have appeared open-collared on Australian television.

HH: Okay.

MS: But I’m not ready to take the step of trying it in this hemisphere yet, Hugh. I mean, this is something I need to discuss with the campaign consultants, because this is how campaigns go to pieces, when you respond recklessly to a desperate Hail Mary pass like appearing naked on the front page of the Union Leader like Scott Brown has done. I mean, that is literally, that is my main Senate rival, and he literally has no clothes.

HH: He has no clothes. You’re right. You’re absolutely right. We could build something there. Now listen, I was listening to you filling in for Rush yesterday, and I’ve got to say, you were a little hard on Sochi Olympics and Putin, because you know, at the end of their vast pipeline that is leaking, at least there are going to be some games. Now there is no one there, and the hotels are horrible, but they’re going to have some games. At the end of the Obamacare pipeline, which you were comparing favorably to the plutocrat pipeline in Russia, there isn’t actually any health care. So I actually think their pipeline is less leaky than our pipeline.

MS: No, actually, in thinking about it, you may be right there. I was talking about all the corruption and all the people sluicing off the money between Moscow and the actual two man luge run, and the ski jump and the ice rink and everything. But you’re right. There is an actual ski jump, and an ice rink, and a two man luge run at the end of the rotten, corrupt Putin pipeline. At the end of the Obamacare pipeline, as people are discovering, the doctor you’ve been going to for years, the hospital you’ve been going to for years, are not part of the so-called network.

HH: Yup.

MS: Because quite reasonably enough, doctors do not want to be part of this network. And for the moment, they’re free to choose that. It’s interesting to me the rise in these concierge plans, where you basically pay your doctor a retainer each year. It’s a bit like a club membership, I guess, or these ones who just say we’re done with all this third-party rubbish, we just want to take cash and checks from now on. And for the moment, they’re free to do that, and I think you’re right, that this is in fact, what, this is in a sense a strange metaphor for where America is headed, is this byzantine bureaucracy, at the bottom of which is no actual health care in terms of doctors and nurses, people wandering around in white coats with stethoscopes and operating tables. All that’s been taken away, and what’s left is just the byzantine bureaucracy.

HH: That’s it, and so I think the next time you’re on with Rush, you may owe the Russian president something of an apology for lumping him in with Obamacare. I think that may be, you may have done the impossible, and slandered Russian corruption.

MS: Okay, now I know this is reckless, and I’m not going to run it by my campaign consultants. But the next plank in my Senate campaign, I’m going to be campaigning for us to introduce Putincare to America.

HH: There you go. Now I don’t know if you saw the O’Reilly-President Obama interview. Did you happen to see that?

MS: No, I only saw it after. I wasn’t watching it in real time as it were.

HH: Well, Bill came on to defend it, and Dana Milbank came on to attack in my show this past week, but I just keep coming back to the first question that every murder investigation begins with, is where were you on the night of the murder. Why can’t American journalists just ask the President and the Secretary of State, Mark Steyn, where were they on the night of the attacks?

MS: Well, I think the answer to that, which that Milbank fellow would tell you if he were being honest, is that in the end, they don’t care. In the end, they don’t care. We have the word of relatively low level diplomats, by which I mean the senior most diplomat left in Libya after Chris Stevens’ death, the deputy ambassador, that he called Washington, and he couldn’t get the Secretary of State on the phone. And I doubt if he tried to get the President, I doubt he’d have got hold of him, either. And I think the reason is that they got the sense that this was going to be a downer, a disaster, a bad thing to be associated with, so they left the building and they went off to do whatever they want, whatever cocktail party or fundraiser, or whatever other attraction, dinner with Beyonce and Jay Z, whatever was the other attraction going on, that was better than being associated with what was happening in Benghazi. And what fellows like Milbank and the rest of the media have done has really dishonored four Americans who died, four real Americans who died in a real town called Benghazi in a real country called Libya. And they see it only as a political, as a sort of, as the MacGuffin in a Hitchcock thriller. It’s just the pretext for the political spin and the political machinations. Instead of obsessing about the corpses…

HH: That’s exactly right. That is, when Dana was on, he said, I asked about her, what did she accomplish, and he said her inevitability as the nominee. It’s as though nobody is, everybody understands she was a failure at State, she was a failure that night, but the Democrats are sticking with her, because they have to switch out dealers. It’s like a casino. The shift is over for President Obama, so they have to switch out dealers and she’ll keep the money rolling.

MS: Right, right, and they say about Hillary Clinton, she flew more miles than any other Secretary of State ever. To what end? I mean, you know, Nero fiddled while Rome burned. Hillary flew while Benghazi burned. I mean, what did she accomplish by racking up all those frequent flyer miles?

HH: And that’s what Milbank said, just to become the inevitable nominee so that she can keep the party going until our checks bounce. All right, I want to switch, because I began the week talking with David Mamet about Philip Seymour Hoffman. You know a lot of these actor people. You’ve covered stage and screen for a long time. You’ve written a lot of obituaries about a lot of people whose lives were cut very short. Are there more actors running around with this kind of problem than we imagine? Or is this a rare and tragic story? Or a common and tragic story?

MS: I think there’s no doubt that extraordinary people are under great strain, and the way they compensate for that is by loosing a dark side of themselves, which leads to addictions of one kind or another. I think that’s true. All I would say to counter that, though, is that there are lots of ordinary people who don’t have to go on stage and hold, single-handedly hold a show in front of 2,000 paying customers every night. There’s lots of ordinary teenagers all over the bucolic, rural state of Vermont who are doing exactly what Philip Seymour Hoffman did without the mitigating circumstances. But I think there’s no doubt that at a certain level, where you know, people, you’re carrying the movie, you’re carrying the play, if the movie fails, if the play fails, it’s because people don’t like you. And it’s very personal, that, and it does drive a lot of people, as I say, to explore the darker side of their appetites.

HH: Now you’re younger than I am by a lot, but nevertheless, you probably at least read about the heroin problems of the 60s. Are you surprised that heroin is making a comeback after the record it rolled up in the 60s and 70s?

MS: I’m not, actually, because I think, I don’t want to tie everything together in too pat a manner, but I think it’s actually not unconnected with, it’s the reality of what the CBO report is talking about, where there’s two and a half million people in fewer jobs, and all the New York Times and Washington Post and all the Obama spokesmen say this is great. People will be free to explore their potential and liberated to do what they want to do. And in fact, actually, it’s the opposite, that if people don’t have to get up and milk the cow at Five in the morning, and they don’t have to get up and put on a tie and go to the office in the morning, then actually this kind of stuff is all that’s left. And that’s, the underutilized people, the Devil makes work for idle hands. And that’s certainly the explanation for the heroin addiction in Vermont.

HH: Mark Steyn, that’s sobering. And let’s end on a lighter note. When and if you decide to match Scott Brown chest exposure for chest exposure, will be the first to know at the Hugh Hewitt Show?

MS: (laughing) I think they had a competition like that on Page 3 of the Sun in London in about 1987 – vote for the favorite chest of the year. I’d understand, you know, that it’s a woman’s world now in America. If a woman’s going to be president, women are all the lawyers, women hold all the key positions in the Obama house, but I’m not being reduced to a male bimbo just because Scott Brown wants to clamp the tassels on and twirl around like that.

HH: Mark Steyn, good to talk to you. www.steynonline.com, America. Everything you need is at www.steynonline.com

End of interview.

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