Mark Steyn doesn’t think Barack Obama’s press conference rhetoric passes muster as bland pap.
HH: We begin this hour direct from the headquarters of Occupy New Hampshire, with Columnist To the World, Mark Steyn, www.steynonline.com. Mark Steyn, what are your demands?
MS: (laughing) Well, New Hampshire is occupied mainly by presidential candidates at the moment, and as disreputable as many of them are, they generally have higher hygiene standards than the ones occupying Boston and New York and Portland, and all of the rest of them. So if it’s a choice between being occupied by the guys in Zuccotti Square or by Herman Cain and Michele Bachmann, and even Rick Perry, then I’ll take the latter crowd.
HH: Well then, let me draw upon your vast Canadian experience, and ask you if they occupy Toronto or Quebec, or Montreal, how will the Canadians react to the Occupy people?
MS: Well yeah, I think the danger of these things is that the desire by left of center political establishments to respectabilize these people, which you see for example in Nancy Pelosi and other prominent Democrats coming out in support of these guys. These guys represent far left…the consensus, for example, 40% of them supported Obama, but are disappointed by him. That’s some poll that came out. And I think that’s what’s dangerous about this thing. I think if it was just these loons in Zuccotti Park, that would be one thing. But it’s the desire of left of center political establishments to respectabilize these people. That is where the danger lies.
HH: We have a great quote from Occupy LA, Mark Steyn, the demonstration earlier this week. I want you to hear a little bit of the Occupy LA rhetoric.
Loon: Where are the speeches? The solution is non-violent movement. No, my friends. Look, I’ll give you two examples – French revolution and Indian so-called revolution. Gandhi…Gandhi today is, with respect to all of you, Gandhi today is a tumor, that the ruling class is using constantly, using constantly to mislead us. And the French revolution made fundamental transformation, but it was bloody. Like Indian, the result of Gandhi, is 600 million people, 600 million people, living in maximum poverty. So….so, ultimately, the bourgeoisie won’t go without violent means. Revolution, yes.
HH: (laughing) Mark Steyn, revolution, yes. The French Revolution (laughing).
MS: Yeah, you know something? Robespierre wouldn’t give these guys the time of day. Lenin wouldn’t give these guys the time of day. Mao wouldn’t give these guys the time of day. (laughing)
MS: The great advantage…a reader wrote to me just this morning, saying what if it’s like 1968 and they start looting and burning American cities? These somnolent, complacent, highly over-lethargic members of America’s vast college class do not have the energy for a revolution, or mob violence. These are people who don’t…have a couple of hours of classes a day. They’re used to getting out of bed at 11:30 in the morning. For the revolution, you’ve got to get up earlier than that. These guys are not, are too lethargic for revolution.
HH: All right, let’s go back to presidential politics, because you are a New Hampshirian, and on Tuesday night, Rick Santorum turned to the crowd and said how many of you want a 9% sales tax? Did you put your hand up in your living room, Mark Steyn?
MS: No, no, but that’s because New Hampshire Republicans and Democrats go along with this, too, just to maintain political viability, is a very anti-tax state. I’m not a big fan of the 9-9-9 plan, as Herman Cain calls it, because I think if you introduce new taxes on the basis that you’re going to reduce existing taxes, it never works out like that. What you end up with is you introduce Tax B so you can reduce Tax A. And in the end, both Tax A and Tax B wind up going up. So I’m not a big fan of that. But I think…and to be honest, I didn’t think Herman Cain had a good night. I was kind of shocked by his answer on Alan Greenspan. I was going along thinking hey, this guy is cool, he’s comfortable, he’s kind of where a big chunk of the electorate is, and then he gave that bizarre answer about how Alan Greenspan was a great chairman of the Fed, and he kind of lost it for me a bit there.
HH: Well that, I want to go back to your first point, because in 1913, when the modern income tax arrived, the lowest first bracket was 1%, and the highest bracket for a million dollars in 1913, was 7%.
MS: Right, right.
HH: They don’t go down once they get introduced.
MS: No, and that’s the point. That’s why it’s better to have fewer taxes, because then people notice every little increase in that, than the bewildering multiplicity of taxes that now prevail in most jurisdictions. I mean, don’t forget, New Hampshire is a very, very simple state. It doesn’t have a state income tax, it doesn’t have a state sales tax. What it has is a property tax, most of which is raised at town level. And when you’ve only got one tax to raise, and it goes up significantly, people go to town meeting and protest. When you’ve got a bazillion taxes, all located at different levels of government, the energy to do that gets dissipated. So I’m not…I understand the logic for consumption taxes, which are appealing to conservatives, and I understand the logic of a national sales tax. But the point is we do not have a taxation problem or a revenue problem. We have a spending problem. Our obscene tax code, I think, deserves to be, someone should just put a rocket under it and blow the whole thing up, because it’s unbecoming. When a minimum wage waitress who does a part-time cleaning job can’t complete her taxes without professional help, that’s a disgrace to any truly democratic society, so I’m in favor of blowing up the tax code. But introducing a 9% sales tax? I’m not persuaded it’s the way to do it.
HH: Well, speaking of blowing up, the Iranians tried to blow up the Saudi ambassador in Washington, D.C., and the President spoke to this today, Mark Steyn. Let’s play cut number nine for Mark.
BHO: For Iran to have been involved in a plot like this indicates the degree to which it has been outside of accepted norms of international behavior for far too long.
BHO: It’s just one example of a series of steps that they’ve taken…
HH: It gets better.
BHO: …to create violence and to behave in a way that you don’t see other countries doing. So with respect to how we respond, our first step is to make sure that we prosecute those individuals that have been named in the indictment, and I will leave to the Attorney General the task of describing how that will proceed. The second thing that we’re going to continue to do is to apply the toughest sanctions and continue to mobilize the international community to make sure that Iran is further and further isolated and pays a price for this kind of behavior.
HH: Mark Steyn, we’ve taken more direct action against the Mexican government via Fast & Furious than the President is threatening Iran with.
MS: (laughing) Yeah, I know. And to further increase Iran’s isolation? Iran last year got elected to head of the U.N. committee on women’s rights.
MS: …on whatever it is…a woman’s place in Iran is under a pile of stones. And that’s the guy, Iran is so isolated that they put Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in the chair of that U.N. committee. Two key American allies, Turkey and Brazil, who were assiduously courted by Obama, both were photographed high fiving with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. If that guy were any more socially isolated, he might have the occasional night at home in his yearbook planner to stay in the presidential palace and wash his hair, which needs badly washing, according to what they say about him on the street of Tehran. But this doesn’t even pass muster as bland pap.
HH: (laughing) Let me…he’s defensive, Mark. I’ve got to play you the beginning of this when Ed Henry asks the question. Here’s Ed Henry and Obama.
EH: If you do not want America to be the strongest nation on Earth. I am not nor your president. You have that president today.
BHO: Well, I didn’t know that you were the spokesperson for Mitt Romney.
MS: Oh, chippy chippy (laughing)
HH: (laughing) That’s Ed Henry bringing up the Mitt Romney quote, Mark Steyn.
MS: Yeah, I know. We’re not allowed to quote…
HH: No, we’re not.
MS: The courtiers aren’t allowed to quote anything the King doesn’t want to hear? That’s never a good scenario. You can ask the czar about that.
HH: (laughing) But don’t you think…well, I’ll ask you. Do you think Obama has any clue about anything right now?
MS: No, I don’t. And I think that’s the problem he has in these situations. Basically, Iran’s behavior does not comport with the Obama faculty lounge analysis of the world’s situation, which is that American foreign policy has gone rampaging around the world, intruding in other nations’ affairs, and we’re getting some kind of blowback for this, but that since January 20th, 2009, it’s a whole new beginning, it’s Year Zero, and all this stuff is irrelevant. That’s what he doesn’t get. And he doesn’t see…but even in that situation, he needs to be able to find a way to articulate, to even at least do a better job of pretending.
HH: At least start. Mark Steyn, always a pleasure, www.steynonline.com, America.
End of interview.