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Mark Steyn On The Leaked Sony Emails And Hillary’s Campaign Problems

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HH: And the dulcet tones you hear behind me are those of Mark Steyn, Columnist To the World on his brand new CD, Goldfinger. Don’t let him in. He does get let into the Hugh Hewitt Show on Thursday. Hello, Mark, how are you?

MS: Hey, good to be with you, Hugh. I take that as it’s a slightly faster clip than Shirley Bassey does, and I’m hanging on for dear life for much of that track.

HH: Congratulations on Goldfinger. It’s a lot of fun. I hope it’s flying off the virtual shelves at

MS: Yeah, it seems to be. We put it, I love John Barry, who’s the composer of Goldfinger, he basically invented the sound of spy music. I mean, very few people can claim to have invented an entire genre of music. But when people think of spy music, they think of that John Barry sound that he invented when he was sharing a flat with Michael Caine in London in the 1960s. And it’s a song I love. It’s actually quite tricky. It’s got that thing that musical types call the devil’s interval in it, which is kind of hard to get right, especially when you’re doing it at that speed. But I gave it my best shot.

HH: Oh, it’s a great shot, and in fact, I’m so inspired, the only other columnist/talking head/pundit that I know who sings well besides you is Eric Metaxas. And so I was looking around, and at Paris Las Vegas, there’s a room called La Cabaret. And I think that a Metaxas-Steyn, Steyn-Metaxas act, of course I’ll be happy to emcee it, would be just a smash. I think they would sell that out weeks at a time. Are you available?

MS: Well, I like Eric a lot. I quote from his book on William Wilberforce in my most recent book, and so I have tremendous admiration for him on the William Wilberforce front. I’m not, I don’t think I’ve ever heard him do Diamonds Are Forever or Thunderball. But I’m willing ot wait and see what he has.

HH: I heard him do Fly Me To The Moon. It was terrific. I’m telling you, Vegas, if you’re listening right now, Steyn and Metaxas.

MS: You’re telling me Eric Metaxas did Fly Me To The Moon?

HH: Oh, yes, in front of 500 people in Santa Barbara in a room including Cathy Ireland and many other show biz types that were there. They were blown away by him.

MS: Really? Well, that’s, because that’s, that’s one of those songs, as Judy Garland, I’m getting just fabulously camped now, but as Judy Garland used to say, that song has been sung. That’s one I would never go anywhere near, just because I don’t, I feel, I don’t feel I’ve got anything to add to it. But if he can stand up and do Fly Me To The Moon, let’s go for it.

HH: There you go. Now the second thing I have to ask you is as the snow falls in New Hampshire, and as you’ve got your feet up and enjoying the success of Goldfinger, and you’re staring into the crackling fire, I wonder if there isn’t any regret at all that a year ago you did not strip off your shirt and take the Polar Bear Plunge with Scott Brown and go for the Senate.

MS: Yes, I think actually, I think Scott Brown’s topless moment was probably the highlight of the campaign. I don’t really regret it, because I think it’s actually, as the last couple of days have taught us, I think it’s actually quite difficult to go to Washington, to enter the national legislature, at least on the Republican side, and apparently make the difference. And I remember after the 2010 election, another historic election and all the rest of it, I was filling in for Sean Hannity on Fox News in that sort of lame, a lot of that lame duck period. And it was kind of depressing the way the thrill of victory evaporated, and you realize that the people who actually were the beneficiaries of that massive popular uprising had no serious plans to use it to any purpose. And I hope that is not the same thing that is already underway after this 2014 victory.

HH: We’ll know by the end of this weekend. Now I have to turn to the big story of the afternoon, Mark Steyn. I want to read from BuzzFeed. Before Sony Pictures chair, Amy Pascal, attended a breakfast of Hollywood bigwigs last November with Barack Obama, she emailed her friend, Scott Rudin, for suggestions on what she should ask the president. In what has become the latest embarrassing email uncovered in a trove of messages leaked by a hacker who attacked Sony, Pascal wrote Rudin, “What should I ask the President at this stupid Jeffrey breakfast?” She was referring to a breakfast hosted by Dreamworks Animation head and major Democratic donor, Jeffrey Katzenberg. Rudin, a top film producer, responsible for films like No Country For Old Men and Moneyball, responded, “Would he like to finance some movies?” Pascal responded, “I doubt it. Should I ask him if he liked Django?” Rudin responded, “12 Years.” Pascal quickly continued down the path of guessing Obama-preferred movies by or starring African-Americans. “Or the Butler, or Think Like A Man.” Rudin’s response, “Ridealong. I bet he likes Kevin Hart.” Now Mark Steyn, that’s racist.

MS: Yeah, it is, and actually, if that had been Arnold Schwarzenegger and Mel Gibson bantering that back and forth, they might have, the media might have gone to town on it. But they cover up, they will cover up for their own when it comes to this kind of thing. By the way, if they want to do those kind of jokes about the President, then that’s fine. I don’t think they’re particularly, I don’t think they’re particularly good or particularly witty or particularly amusing. But the fact is that there are two rules here. And if a couple of Republicans had been caught having that kind of back and forth over emails, they’d be finished now.

HH: The Reverend Al Sharpton this afternoon sharply condemned them and compared Pascal to Donald Sterling, the former L.A. Clippers owner who made his infamous racial remarks. “These emails nominate Amy Pascal to be considered by some of us in the same light that we concluded and moved on the ownership of Donald Sterling of the L.A. Clippers,” Sharpton said. Does that mean her head will roll?

MS: I would be very surprised, because I think there’s actually two, I think there’s two rules for these things. And the Hollywood liberal elites, the sports thing, by the way, with Donald Sterling, was a very particular thing in the sense that it’s a franchise, an owner turns out not quite to be ownership. I would be very surprised if this were to cost either of these guys their eminence in Hollywood. You know, one of the things about a supposedly multicultural diverse society is we all have to develop, it only works if everybody’s got reasonably thick skin. And as much as I have no use for Hollywood liberals, I think they should be allowed to send racist emails to each other. I’m a free speech absolutist. And if Hollywood, just as, for example, so-called liberal men say the foulest thing, most misogynist things about female bloggers, such as Michelle Malkin, for example, absolute, there’s very few things as misogynist as the dweeby, liberal male when it comes to Michelle Malkin or Michele Bachmann, or Sarah Palin, or anybody else. They should be , they should have the right to be sexist, so liberal Hollywood big shots should have the right to do race jokes about the President. Do they get as far back as Amos and Andy, step and fetch it? Go for it, you guys. If you want to be racist buffoons, every Hollywood liberal should have the right to be a racist buffoon.

HH: They should. I’m just underscoring what you’ve already articulated, which is if I came on this show and began saying I wonder what the President would nominate for the Golden Globes, and ran down a list of black-only movies, that would be the last show I did.

MS: No, no, I know. I mean, it’s basically, it’s basically one step above watermelon gags. But they’re big shot liberals. And liberalism, modern American liberalism is not about principle. It’s about power. I mean, this goes back to what we were talking about, the Democrats and the Republicans earlier. And they will cut anybody apart. You listen, you think about the things that Jesse Jackson has said. You think about Al Sharpton, for example, the guy who’s now complaining about Scott Rudin’s remark is the guy who said Africans invented everything years before all them Greek homos did. And Al Sharpton gets invited to the White House despite his homophobia and despite all the President’s beating about everybody should have the right to love who they love. Al Sharpton can do his Greek homo gags and still get invited to the White House.

HH: Well, I am glad to announce that we have a doubleheader of Mark Steyn to mark the issue of Goldfinger.

— – —

HH: This was laid down at the Angel Studios in London, soon to be synonymous with Abbey Road, and is available at, six wonderful selections starring our friend, Mark Steyn, who is my guest right now. Mark, making news earlier this week, Hillary Clinton, who gave an address at Georgetown University, which includes this memorable paragraph.

HRC: This is what we call smart power, using every possible tool and partner to advance peace and security, leaving no one on the sidelines, showing respect even for one’s enemies, trying to understand and insofar as psychologically possible, empathize with their perspective and point of view, helping to define the problems, determine the solutions. That is what we believe in the 21st Century will change, change the prospects for peace.

HH: Now Mark Steyn, I think you may be the most notably un-empathetic of all columnists when it comes to our enemies. What did you make of the former Secretary of State’s declaration of the need for a universal empathy?

MS: Yeah, I think the first part of that, I’m with her up to a point when she says we should respect our enemies. We should respect our enemies, and we should take seriously their desire to kill us. And we should act accordingly. But the empathy business, I think, is what has led Hillary and this administration so badly astray. And I don’t really want to empathize with the head-hackers of ISIS, for example. Far too many young Western Muslims living in Dearborn, Michigan, and Toronto and London and Lyon and Rotterdam empathize and sympathize with them already. I’m far more interested in defeating them. And I think defeating your enemy requires a clear understanding of what’s different, what differentiates you from them. And that’s where she and the whole smart power thing have completely failed. I’m a believer in smart power in part because we don’t do warmongering very well anymore. So you have to use the other levers of power. You have to use economic, cultural power and all the rest. This is what we have signally failed to do in Iraq, in Afghanistan, during the Arab Spring, in Syria, in Libya, in Russia and Ukraine. Where is the evidence for the smart power? For Hillary, smart power means racking up frequent flyer miles and standing there next to the Russia foreign minister with a reset button that some idiot, overpaid idiot at the State Department mistranslated, and turned out to mean something else entirely. That’s pretty stupid smart power. But smart power properly deployed is what means you don’t have to go to war all the time. And that’s what this administration has been so signally inept at.

HH: Bret Stephens, who will join me later in the program today, deputy editorial page editor at the Wall Street Journal, wrote about this Hillary Clinton passage that it shows that Mrs. Clinton is as tin-eared as she is ambitious. It cannot be used except as a GOP political attack ad if and when she runs for president. I’m beginning to really question, Mark Steyn, whether she’s viable. Everything she touches turns to stone in terms of appeal to the public.

MS: I think that’s right. I think she’s one of these people you’re always having to explain. She’s also, she’s not just tin-eared. She’s also, to go back to what we were talking about earlier, thin-skinned, so that even friendly interviewers like Terry Gross at NPR, rub her up the wrong way. If you can’t handle Terry Gross at NPR, the idea that you’re going to be able to withstand a primary campaign and then a general election, I think is slightly dubious. But I think it’s actually a, this is a serious flaw. This is someone who has not thought about what’s gone wrong in the last four years. You know, Chris Stevens, who died in Benghazi, in part because of the negligence of Mrs. Clinton’s State Department, empathized with the Libyan people to an extraordinary degree, and he’s dead, and his body was dragged through the streets of Benghazi. In the streets of Cairo, in Tahrir Square, we called it the Facebook revolution, and thought that somehow they all wanted, all the big, bearded men wanted to be like nice, little Obama pajama boys, and all the covered women wanted to be like Sandra Fluke. And it turned out they wanted something entirely different. She’s got a tin ear when it comes to empathy. She doesn’t, she’s not actually capable of getting inside the head of Iranian mullahs who seriously believe in Islamic imperialism, and exporting their nuclear technology around the world. She’s seriously incapable of getting inside the head of Czar Putin in the Kremlin who wants to reconstitute a Russian empire and a Russian protection umbrella over Eastern Europe. And you’d be surprised how far west his definition of Eastern Europe goes. She’s totally incapable of empathizing of any meaningful empathy with what is psychologically driving those guys.

HH: Could her presidency turn out to be even worse than Obama’s abroad?

MS: Well, I think there’s a difference in that I don’t think she’s as ideological as he is. And in that sense, I don’t think she’s driven by the same antipathy toward American power. But the fact of the matter is she is largely, she is largely incompetent. And the idea that she has a problem in that she was basically some guy’s wife for most of her life, and then she parlayed that into a Senate seat. And then she got her first executive position in which American power drained in almost every corner of the world. And what is she going to say about that? Is she going to say oh, that was all Obama, that was nothing to do with me, I was flying around, I was eating the peanuts and pretzels in the executive jet, so I didn’t actually, I wasn’t involved with any of that? That’s all she’s got to run on. For the rest of the time, she’s just got this phony-baloney foundation that exists to principally to fly her and Bill and Chelsea to give six and seven figure speeches to bored Saudi princes. And that’s a resume for becoming president?

HH: Well, she’s got the family business to protect. It’s really about Bill’s third term and making the way for Chelsea in the world, isn’t it?

MS: Yeah, and I really, I’ve got no time, you know, one of the advantages of a monarchy is that at least it means your political class is non-hereditary. You know, in Ottawa, Stephen Harper’s wife, who is a delightful lady and very smart, has got no plans to become prime minister. In London, Cherie Blair is not interested in becoming prime minister. And in Canberra, John Howard’s wife does not feel entitled to be prime minister as Hillary feels.

HH: Mark Steyn, it is always a pleasure. Goldfinger, his brand new album, the perfect Christmas present, available at

End of interview.


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