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Hugh Hewitt Book Club

Mark Steyn On MSM’s Presidential Coverage Double Standard

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HH: I begin this Thursday as I do when we are lucky by being joined by the Columnist To the World, Mark Steyn. You can read everything Mark does at Hello, Mark, and answer me this. It appears as though you’re offering a boffo special over at Steynonline of The un-Documented Mark Steyn along with Cat Scratch Fever, two for one, or two for something like that.

MS: Yeah, you can get my latest book and my latest CD together for one bargain price. So you can get all the apocalyptic doom-mongering, but you can also get mellifluous easy listening music to make the civilizational collapse go down a little easier.

HH: I just put it out. It’s over there at Mark, I want to begin in reverse order today from the ridiculous to the important. And I begin with a little excerpt I did yesterday. I had a long interview with David Axelrod about his book, Believer. And I’m going to follow it up with a clip of Howard Dean on Morning Joe. So first, here’s Hewitt and Axelrod.

HH: David Axelrod, a couple of quick questions. Why didn’t you guys ever release the President’s transcripts from Harvard Law School and Columbia and Occidental?

DA: You know, honestly, I’ve got, I’m not fundamentally focused on that. It’s not something I wrote about. And I’m not sure how relevant it is.

HH: Now here’s Howard Dean this morning.

HD: This is a particular problem for Scott Walker which has not been an issue, yet, but it will. Scott Walker, were he to become president, would be the first president in many generations who did not have a college degree. He’s never finished.

JS: Right.

HD: So the issue here is not just an issue of dancing around the question of evolution for political reasons. The reason is how well-educated is this guy? And that’s a problem if you’re running for…

JS: Are you serious?

HD: I am absolutely serious.

JS: I like that.

HH: All right, so Mark Steyn, how well-educated is this guy? Was that question really asked and answered when President Obama was running?

MS: Well, it is interesting, isn’t it? President Obama had a million dollars of elite education – Occidental, Columbia, and what was the other one, Yale or Harvard? I can’t remember now.

HH: Harvard Law.

MS: And we don’t know a thing about it. We don’t know what he did there. Howard Dean, who I find, I don’t particularly dislike Howard Dean, but I do remember when he ran for president, he cited as his foreign policy experience the fact that he used to take his children from their Vermont school to play soccer across the border in Beaconsfield, Quebec. And that was his evidence of his foreign policy experience. Now he says that we, it would be astonishing to have a president without a college education. I actually mention this in my book, After America. William McKinley had one term of college. Grover Cleveland left college. Van Buren left school at 14. Lincoln only had 18 months of formal education. And Zachary Taylor never went to school at all. Truman didn’t have a degree. That’s what, two, three generations ago? And Ronald Reagan, which is one generation ago, went to Eureka College, Illinois, which is the sort of school that Obama and Howard Dean would sneer at. And for the last quarter century, this country has not had a two-party system. It’s basically had a two-school system – Yale for Bush, Sr., Yale Law for Clinton, Harvard Business for Bush, Jr., and Harvard Law for Obama. And I don’t think that’s the American way. I believe, I was always told as the subject of a tyrannical monarchy was that the difference was that in your country, Hugh, anyone could grow up to be president. And if we want to restrict it in the way that Howard Dean is proposing to restrict it to this Ivy League technocracy, that’s actually driven America over the cliff, because the smartest thing you can know is to know enough to know what you don’t know. And that’s what Howard Dean and Obama and all the rest of the guys never want to acknowledge.

HH: There is also a second issue here, which is level of scrutiny by the media. Now yesterday, the Washington Post’s David Fahrenthold wrote maybe a thousand column inches on Scott Walker’s life at Marquette University. And all the ins and outs, all the details, all of his friends, why he left early. Today, Gawker, just a couple of hours ago, ran this story. Obama Secretly Partied with Bill Ayres Last Summer, August 30th, 2014, MSNBC anchor Alex Wagner and former White House chef Sam Cass got married at a private wedding north of New York City. It was widely reported at the time that President Obama, a longtime friend of the groom, attended the ceremony with his family. There were two other notable guests, however, whose attendance has been successfully kept secret – Bill Ayres and Bernardine Dohrn, the former campus radicals whose loose association with the Obama family over the years has inspired countless Fox News fever dreams, and led to Sarah Palin’s famous accusation that Obama, “pals around with terrorists.” And I point out the Washington Post has now done more on Scott Walker, who hasn’t even announced for president, his college years, than all of the combined mainstream media ever did on President Obama’s college years, law school years, and years as a community activist/organizer in Chicago, Mark Steyn.

MS: Yeah, I think that’s true. And I don’t think there’s any secret about why that happens. I think that’s because the media see themselves here as functioning as a palace guard. And by the way, I think something here has changed, because Obama understands that he can get away with it. Again, one of the very odd aspects of the decay of this republic is that you now have to, to get into the presence of the citizen executive, the president of the republic, you have to basically undergo a background check. You have to provide your Social Security number, the forces around the president run a check on that, find whether you’ve got a criminal background or all the rest. In other words, you have to be vetted to be admitted into the presence of the citizen executive. Now that’s not true if you’re in Ottawa and you want to meet the Queen or whatever. Basically, you don’t need to show any numbers. You can just go for it. And what is fascinating to me, then, is that this White House, Barack Obama, they’re laughing, they’re laughing at America. They know they don’t have to bother getting on the phone to Bill Ayers and saying you know, Bill, I know you’ve been invited to this wedding, but we’d rather you backed out and said you were washing your hair or going fishing that weekend. They don’t have to do that, because they know that the court eunuchs of the Obama media will protect him from that kind of scrutiny. So the White House well understands that it can get away. You know, citizen Joe Schmo on 27-B Elm Street, he has to undergo a background check to be ushered into the presence of his majesty, King Barack. But Bill Ayers doesn’t, and that’s what’s wrong. That’s why this republic is dying.

HH: Now I’ve got to ask you about the very serious thing. There’s another reason this republic is dying, and that’s because ISIS is killing it, and Iran’s getting ready to do it. And there are, the president sent over one of the most unusual documents in American history, a please make me a prisoner of you, Congress. He asked to be limited in his authority to strike at America’s enemies. I’ll talk with Mike Pompeo, Tom Cotton, a Congressman and Senator, respectively, later in the show. But have you had a chance to look at this document, yet? It’s extraordinary.

MS: Yes, I have, and you know, it’s been a long time since America unambiguously won a war. And that is a serious issue. And one of the reasons that we do not win wars is because we fight in this kind of one hand tied behind our back kind of manner. And it is absolutely ridiculous for a man who is supposed to be commander-in-chief to in effect authorize the legislature to tie one and a half hands behind his back. You can’t wage war if you rule certain things off of the table. You imagine how any war would have gone. Wars never go according to plan. And if your plan is to wage a sort of desultory, half-hearted, a little bit here, a little bit there kind of war, as we speak, by the way, there are stories about ISIS taking the town of al-Baghdadi, north of Ramadi, on the Euphrates, where I was about a decade back, and menacing the 300 U.S. non-boots on the ground that are in an Iraqi training camp near there. Who know what’s going to be necessary to get those 300 guys out of there? But you’re not going to be able to do that effectively if you ask Congress to tie one and a half hands and a leg behind your back before you even start.

HH: And a last, quick comment, Mark Steyn. The Democrats have picked Philadelphia for their convention. And so it’s Cleveland and Philadelphia for the conventions in 2016. What do you make of Philly as a choice for the middle of the summer?

MS: Well, I went to the Republican convention in Philadelphia in the year 2000. And the town was in a grand celebratory mood. They had a big Mumia cop killer, pro-cop killer demonstration there. It was party central. And I’m, I didn’t quite buy into the mayor’s pitch about this is the new Philadelphia, which seemed to extend two blocks from the convention center in either direction. But he’s had 15 years to work on it, and I’m satisfied the Democrats will find it an even more enthusiastic party town than the Republicans did back then.

HH: Mark Steyn, it’s always a pleasure to begin our Thursdays with you. for that amazing double-barreled bargain that Mark is offering you.

End of interview.


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