HH: It’s Thursday, that means we begin as we do most Thursdays when we are lucky with Columnist to the World, Mark Steyn. You can read all of Mark’s work at www.steynonline.com. Mark, when does America Alone come out in paperback?
MS: It comes out on Monday, in fact, Hugh, so you catch me right on the eve of getting ready for the big paperback launch.
HH: Do they make you go flog it on a second book tour?
MS: Yeah, well, they’re having a kind of, I would say a kind of modified mini-relaunch of it. I’m going to be in New York. In fact, next week, I’m going to be speaking there at a big conference on legal jihad, which is this business of these wily Saudi sheiks and other parties using the legal systems of the Western world to shut down any discussion of Islam. So that’s…that’s a kind of tie-in to the book, at least, as it relates to the book’s theme.
HH: Well, it’s very appropriate. Are you allowed to go to Canada anymore? Or will it be seized if it’s put out on a Canadian bookshelf?
MS: Well, in fact, there’s a big flash on the cover that says soon to be banned in Canada.
HH: (laughing) Good for you.
MS: And in fact, I don’t know whether it’s for legal reasons, but the Canadian launch isn’t until May the 7th. And the lady who runs the biggest bookstore chain up in Canada has agreed to have a big one on one interview in her flagship bookstore chain with me, in part, I think, because people think it’s going to be my farewell appearance, and at the end of it, the Mounties will ride in on a dogsled and take me away to jail. But for the moment, I am still at liberty in Canada.
HH: All right. Well, we will follow that closely, and I think people who want to side with Mark Steyn ought to buy three, four, five copies of the paperback at Amazon.com. Mark, lots of political news. I want to start with, I was listening to a BBC podcast this morning, and I came across this gem from Hillary Clinton, which I think I’ll be using quite a lot between now and November.
HRC: I have a lifetime of experience that I will bring to the White House. I know Senator McCain has a lifetime of experience that he will bring to the White House. And Senator Obama has a speech he gave in 2002.
HH: Ouch. I think I’ll be using that for a long time.
MS: Well, it’s interesting to me that she’s having to play this card. And I feel sorry for her in a kind of way, because the problem for her is that the liberal media have found someone that they prefer to Mrs. Clinton. And so the stuff that would have worked for the Clintons back in the 90’s isn’t working now. I would say that line is actually a bit too naked. It’s true. You know, Obama gave one good speech, and that’s it. He’s got the thinnest of resumes. He’s running on identity politics, and nobody is really that clear what his identity is. He’s running on biography, and yet he seems increasingly to be an inauthentic person. And this is all very true. I’m not sure Mrs. Clinton is the one to make that case. She really needs some more friends out in the media who’d be willing to make it for her.
HH: Mark, how much do you think he, Obama, has puffed his resume? I was very intrigued when the Politico dug up the dossier on him, and he had represented to the campaign scrutinizers in 1995 that he’d been an NPR commentary, he’d done commentaries. So I went looking, and I found exactly one. And I’m wondering, do you think there’s puffery throughout his whole career?
MS: Well, no, in fairness, that could have been a regular gig. You know, he did one NPR commentary in 1995, and he may be scheduled to do another one in 2015.
HH: You’re right, you’re right.
MS: So he’s got a regular once every twenty years gig with them. I don’t think that’s misrepresentation. That’s, you mentioned my book a minute ago. That’s a classic thing of the jacket flaps on books, is that so and so appears regularly on the Today Show or whatever, and it turns out they made once appearance in 1984. I think that that actually is the essence of the Obama candidacy, that everything is inflated. And the question is if you manage to find the right point at which to prick the balloon, whether the whole candidacy will just shrivel up.
HH: Well, I’m going to start representing myself as a New York Times columnist, having once penned an op-ed for them. I’ve got to go to the news of the day, though. We’re back to the gay superdelegates. Today, Mrs. Clinton gave an interview with the Philadelphia Gay News, in which she said that she and her husband have many gay friends that they socialize with when they get the chance. I’ve got gay friends, literally, around the country that I’m close to. It’s part of my life. She went on to talk about how she opposed any measure that would ban gay marriage in Pennsylvania. She took…I would be very distressed if Pennsylvania were to adopt that kind of mean-spirited referendum, and I hope it won’t happen. Now you know, the Clintons have always been careful to be on the DOMA side, you know, the Defense Of Marriage Act…
HH: I think she’s so desperate, she has to play the gay superdelegate card.
MS: Yeah, I think she is playing the super gay card. I’ve got a picture actually, which always gives me a chuckle. It’s Hillary Clinton with I believe it’s the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus, about to run a marathon through San Francisco. And she’s perched in the middle of them like Carol Channing surrounded by the waiters in the title song of Hello, Dolly. And I have it pinned up on the wall. I’m looking at it right now, because it always gives me a chuckle. But I didn’t realize, and I’m sure she didn’t at the time, that in fact the super gay superdelegate constituency was what it was going to come down to. Today, the Governor of New Jersey, who’d previously was one of the first backers of Mrs. Clinton, endorsed Mrs. Clinton, has said that if Mrs. Clinton doesn’t win the popular vote, he’s going to switch to voting for Obama. So she has got a tough job holding the superdelegates in line right now.
HH: A gay and lesbian website, Gaywired.com, ran a story earlier this week that they’re very upset with Senator Obama because of his longtime friendship with another black pastor, the Reverend James Meeks, also a former Illinois state senator, who has been on, in their view, on the wrong side of every single issue. I talked about this on Monday, and it got Alan Colmes very upset on Hannity & Colmes. Do you actually think that gays and lesbians would ever abandon Obama in the general?
MS: No, I don’t. I think that they might make noises now. The fact is, if you preside over a coalition, which the Democrat Party is largely of identity groups, sometimes those identity groups come into conflict. If you’ve got a fellow like Jeremiah Wright on your team, I would imagine liberal Jews, for example, are not terribly happy with some of Obama’s friends on that side of the ledger. And similarly, in this situation, the gay and lesbian crowd aren’t. But in the end, in the end, most of those people will be pulling levers for whoever the Democratic candidate is in November.
HH: Mark Steyn…
MS: It doesn’t take many to depress it, though, and you know, a 2-5% hemorrhaging of support could flip the election.
HH: I’m wondering about American Jews reading the stuff that made it into the Trinity Church bulletin, that accused Israel of developing, for example, an Arabs-only bomb. Don’t you think that that has the capacity, the potential to shatter the previously fairly solid Jewish vote for Democrats if Obama’s the nominee?
MS: Well, you know, we’ve been talking about this, I think, since September 11th. I don’t understand why liberal Jews are on the side of a party that is increasingly inimical to their interests. And some of them get it, but the interesting aspect of, say, a character like Joe Lieberman is the fact that it’s only him. Joe Lieberman, I believe, is speaking to the Commentary dinner, that’s the big conservative Jewish magazine in America, next month. But he’s very much on his own. And Alan Dershowitz, for example, is basically a diehard liberal who wanders off the reservation for certain matters related to the war on terror. But on the whole, the Democrats, no matter what all these fellows say, no matter the crazy conspiracies, no matter that Jeremiah Wright says Israel is, “a dirty word,” despite all that, these guys basically stick with a party that is increasingly at odds with them on a lot of these issues.
HH: Well, Barack Obama certainly did build a wall between himself and the Catholic vote this week, talking about sexually transmitted diseases and early pregnancies among teenagers. He said this:
BO: Look, I’ve got two daughters, nine years old and six years old. I’m going to teach them, first of all, about values and morals. But if they make a mistake, I don’t want them punished with a baby. I don’t want them punished with an STD at the age of 16. So it doesn’t make sense to not give them information.
HH: I don’t want them punished with a baby, Mark Steyn. How’s that playing?
MS: Yeah, I think that’s, I think he’s an abortion absolutist. And I think this idea that a baby is a punishment is one of the great tragedies of the left, in fact, because it’s one of the reasons why, which again is the theme of my book, that the future belongs to the people who do bother having children, because children are the future. And this idea that they’re some kind of punishment, I think, is bizarre. I mean, I think that’s far more monstrous than anything Hillary’s said on the issue. It’s also true, by the way, that this kind of talk about giving people information…we’ve been giving children information on sex for years now, and the net result of it is that 25% of adolescent girls in America carry an STD already. That is something that this country should be ashamed of. That popped up in paragraph 73 of some New York Times story a couple of weeks ago on page 37. It should have been front page news. Barack Obama and these clap-trap, cobwebbed, liberal pieties of the 1960’s have nothing to say about that.
HH: One quick comment as well. 17 out of the top 50 school systems in America graduate less than 50% of their students, Mark Steyn. More liberal clap-trap ideas?
MS: Yeah, and actually, given the undemanding nature of American high school education, that is a grim statistic. You couldn’t make it any easier for these people to graduate, and still they won’t do it.
HH: Mark Steyn, always a pleasure, www.steynonline.com.
End of interview.