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Hugh Hewitt Book Club

Mark Steyn chews on the political news before a wheat combine chews on Mark Steyn.

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HH: Joined by Mark Steyn, Columnist To the World, is where you can find everything from Mark. Mark, this afternoon, Nancy Pelosi dropped a 1,990 page bill on America. The cost is estimated at $200 billion dollars in more red ink over what we’ve already spent ourselves into a hole. It is a nightmare, and she wants to pass it next week. Your reaction?

MS: Yeah, this is just the way it is now. I mean basically, the solution seems to be not to grow the pie, which is the old-fashioned capitalist theory, but to grow the hole. And it’s some sort of perverse, economic theory that at some point, the hole will be big enough that we can stop digging, and prosperity will somehow emerge from this hole, and efficient government and health care and a clean environment will all emerge from this hole, this swamp of unsustainable debt, that I think is actually in danger of killing the United States dollar as the global currency. I mean, the dollar, I think that could well be the next penny to drop, as it were, the dollar. And this is irresponsible government on a scale that has not been seen before in this country.

HH: Mark Steyn, incredibly, the American Medical Association, which really doesn’t deserve the name anymore, said it was withholding judgment on the bill. How can you withhold a judgment on a bill they want passed by November 11th, when it’s 1,900 pages that nobody’s read? That’s obviously, by definition, an abandonment of democracy.

MS: Yes, and I think what you have to understand about the Obama approach on all this is that what he’s done, and this is in many ways what his hard core Chicago way with his domestic enemies is all about. It’s about either explicitly neutering various potential opposition groups, or if they refuse to go to the good Dr. Obama and be neutered, then he’ll absolutely savage them and demonize them, as he did with the insurers. But this is a terrible…I’ve been saying on this show for weeks that he’s determined to railroad something through, and this is the thing, just the whole strategy, to keep throwing all the spaghetti at the wall. The minute you think you’ve cleared one spot, he lobs another 2,000 pages at it.

HH: Mark Steyn, Joe Lieberman this week said I am not going to even vote to end debate. But that was end debate. The real fight’s going to be over opening debate. Do you think enough Democrats are going to be scared of the growing revulsion with these tactics and these programs to actually stop Harry Reid?

MS: Well, I think there’s two things. For example, Harry Reid is a very good example of the choice the Democrats face. He’s out of tune with his own state, and he’s likely, as the current polls indicate, to be defeated. If the election were held today, Harry Reid would be defeated, and would be out of the United States Senate. He’d have gone the way of Tom Daschle. But, but, I think the difference is this, that I think the administration is willing to take the hit. In other words, to get health care, they would be willing to reduce their majority, and perhaps even lose their majority in the House and the Senate, because they know it’s a game changer. Now to sell that to individual Senators and Congressmen, you’ve got to have something up your sleeve for them. And maybe it’s the case that if a Senator knows he’ll be getting a cabinet position, or if a Congressman knows he’s going to be getting a prestige ambassadorship, then they don’t particularly care if they lose these races, too. There are strange elements in play here. But they’ve factored into the whole business a potential, I think, a potential significant loss in the year 2010, in next year’s elections.

HH: Okay, let’s turn to abroad. Hillary Clinton went to Pakistan yesterday, and the crazy fanatics in that country used the occasion to blow up a hundred women. They actually killed a hundred women, blew up many, many more. The Taliban attacked the Kabul UN station, killed eleven yesterday, Mark Steyn, and still the President dithers. What do you think he’s waiting for? They’re not going to make peace with us.

MS: No, and I think he’s wrong even to…I mean essentially, he used Pakistan…remember, he was promising to invade Pakistan at one point during the election campaign, and he has used Afghanistan for years as the good war, the war that America should be fighting. And it’s exposed now as basically a sham. It was a useful cudgel to beat Bush over the head with. But now, Bush is gone, and he has to decide whether he’s serious about this war. I think this idea, this…he just gives this impression now that he is not serious about the war.

HH: Are we losing you there, Mark Steyn?

MS: No, no, no. I’m sorry about that, Hugh. You wouldn’t believe it. I’m actually by the roadside in rural Quebec, and a huge combine harvester just came within an inch of chewing me up.

HH: Oh no!

MS: So what would have been, (laughing) I was about to be environmentally recycled, and that strange bombardment that some of your listeners may have heard if they were listening on big speakers was actually a thousand tons of wheat just raining down on the side of my vehicle, followed by the blade of the plow.

HH: (laughing) You know, you lose more good commentators that way.

MS: (laughing) Exactly, exactly. So I think that’s what happened to David Frum. I think his marbles got chewed up by a passing combine in the middle of the interview.

HH: You Canadians, you’ve got to watch out for those wandering combines.

MS: That’s right.

HH: Let’s go to Europe and talk about Tony Blair. This afternoon, it was reported that Tony Blair’s hopes of becoming Europe’s first president are receding fast tonight, as Britain admitted his chances of success were fading after the Continent’s center-right leaders made it clear that one of their own must have the post. Is there much weeping in Europe tonight that Tony Blair shall not lead them?

MS: I think there’s weeping from Tony Blair, because I think this was something that he’d had his eyes on. He’s one of these people…you know, there’s a type of leader. Tony Blair gave the impression when he was the Queen’s prime minister that the job was beneath him, that it wasn’t big enough for him. Obama, by the way, gives this impression. He’s the first U.S. president I’ve known who gives the impression that the job is too small for him, and he’d like to be king of the world. Tony Blair isn’t in that league, but he wanted to be king of Europe. And the reality is that the European Union is a racket dominated and set up in many ways by the French and Germans, and they do not want a Briton as the first meaningful president of the European Union.

HH: All right, last question, I normally never talk about politicians’ children, but today, the Obama girls are on the front pages, because they got the flu vaccine. Probably demonstrating to parents everywhere that it is a good idea to take your kids out and get the flu vaccine. But then there are some snarky comments popping up all over the place about the Obama girls getting the flu vaccine ahead of, you know, pretty much every American because they haven’t made enough of it. Your reaction, Mark Steyn?

MS: Yeah, exactly, the story…if this had been Bush, and the Bush girls had gotten the flu vaccine, the story would have been why are these pampered, little brats getting the flu vaccine when there isn’t enough for regular Americans. That’s what the story would have been if the Bush girls had tried this, especially if, you know, it had happened a week after Jenna had had one of her unfortunate fake ID over the margarita incidents. So I think there is a, I think this supposedly heart-warming op is actually quite revealing of the differences in the treatment given to the Bush family and the Obama families.

HH: Coming up after the break, I am talking with Congressman Mark Kirk, who is running for Senate in Illinois. Later in the day, I’m going to talk with Jane Norton, who is running for Senate in Colorado. A lot of Republicans are getting a lot of buoyancy, Mark Steyn, out of what’s going on in the country. Do you expect this to be able to endure for a year?

MS: Well, it is early. I was in Phoenix a couple of days ago at the Goldwater dinner, and there were an awful lot of candidates there who turned up for the dinner. And there’s no doubt about it, the candidates were energized, and particularly in Phoenix, and particularly with the Goldwater Institute, they feel they’ve got the brand that’s got the wind in its sails at the moment, and that is liberty. And I think there’s no doubt that a certain type of candidate has been energized by the events of the last nine months. Nobody expected the bloom to be off the Obama rose so fast, so quick, and to put so many purpling states back in play. So if my experience in Phoenix a couple of days ago is any indication, I think this is something that can go all the way to next November.

HH: And how do you read what is going on in New York’s 23rd special election, where Doug Hoffman, by some accounts, is now ahead in a three-way race on the Conservative Party ticket with the Republican nominee, who’s not really a Republican, as you called her, a DIABLO? It appears as though the conservative is actually going to win.

MS: Yeah, and this is why I think David Frum was not making any sense the other day. There’s a big difference between New York’s 23rd district and New Jersey, in that the so-called spoiler candidate can win in the 23rd district, and the spoiler candidate can’t win in New Jersey. And that’s what a sensible, well not just parties, but sensible voters do. They decide, in part, who is the electable candidate. Bill Buckley always used to say he’d support the most conservative candidate who was electable. The most conservative candidate who’s electable in New York’s 23rd district is Doug Hoffman, so go Doug.

HH: Thank you, Mark Steyn, and good luck dodging those combines as you make your break from Quebec back to the lower 48. Mark Steyn, as always, readable at, America.

End of interview.


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