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Hugh Hewitt Book Club

Mark Steyn On Immigration, Benghazi, And The Odd Fascination With Jason Collins

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HH: I begin this Thursday as I do whenever I am lucky with Mark Steyn, Columnist To the World. You can read everything that Mark writes at Hello, Mark, good afternoon to you.

MS: Hey, good afternoon to you, too, Hugh.

HH: It is, as they say in Syria, a target-rich environment. So I want to begin with an easy one. Howard Kurtz, who I like a lot, I’ve enjoyed Howard’s work for years, has departed the Daily Beast after a column he wrote about basketball Jason Collins, and the speculation in the New York Times this afternoon is that he got that so wrong that the Daily Beast people are letting him go. He actually didn’t get that much wrong, Mark Steyn. Has this become the real read line in media, not chemical weapons, but commenting on someone’s coming out announcement?

MS: Yeah, I think it was something to do with the fact he accused him of not having mentioned that he’d once been engaged to a woman of the opposite sex or whatever.

HH: And he had mentioned it, yeah.

MS: And he had, in fact, come clean and admitted that he had once been a practicing heterosexual. But for trying to hang the stigma of covering up his previous attempt at heterosexuality around him, I mean, I don’t even understand, this is so deep inside…

HH: It is.

MS: …liberal rings of…

HH: (laughing) You’re absolutely right. It’s like the Runes of…

MS: For erroneously attempting to hang the stigma of being ashamed of attempted heterosexuality around this guy’s neck, Howard Kurtz was made to walk the plank. And look, Tina Brown is someone who is a successful, very successful person, and a great survivor. And my view is that Tina did not get rid of him for that reason. In fact, I’m sure it’s the sort of thing that in different circumstances, Tina would have been laughing her head off. So I think she was glad to have an opportunity to get rid of Howard Kurtz, and it’s not actually very much to do with that.

HH: Well that, but you touched on it at the beginning and it makes me tear up, actually, is that there is this department of that which cannot be said at any time in every liberal media organization. And you have to go there and get certain, yeah, Howard made a mistake. Big deal. It’s the occasion, though, of dumping him, and it makes it look like it’s because of this, when they might have just said he’s got too many irons in the fire, and he’s gone.

MS: Well, I think it was the suggestion that he had attempted, in a way, to take the Earth-shattering significance of the occasion, that we had here some pristine, gay trailblazer, and that Howie Kurtz had somehow attempted to muddy that picture, and so had taken away from this iconic gay moment that was so iconically gay in all its fabulous iconic gayness, that the president of the United States took time off from not doing anything about Syria, and not doing anything about Benghazi, and not doing anything about the Boston bombers, and not doing anything about anything else, to personally call this guy and congratulate him on his courage and heroism in becoming the first, if I understand it correctly, I think he’s the first American to proclaim himself openly gay. And that is a historic moment.

HH: I do, however, since you mentioned Benghazi, have to play for you Jay Carney yesterday at the White House, because I think this is another department of I haven’t checked in with the left, yet. Here’s Jay Carney:

EH: Last thing on Benghazi. Since the President spoke yesterday briefly about that, the Defense Department and the State Department both had written letters, as I understand it, to Republican Darrell Issa saying that they’re not aware of anyone coming to them asking for security clearances for their counsel or anything to come forward. First, is that your understanding? And second, if someone were to come forward, if they just haven’t technically told their superior or something, if they were to come forward, is the White House willing to let them testify?

JC: Well again, I mean, that’s a hypothetical. But let’s be clear. Benghazi happened a long time ago. We are unaware of any agency blocking an employee who would like to appear before Congress to provide information related to Benghazi.

HH: Mark Steyn, a long time ago is September.

MS: Yeah, that’s seven and a half months ago. What difference does it make, as Secretary Clinton would say? And there is something here about the callousness of the way Carney put it there, because it’s not a long time ago if you’re the family members of those four Americans who were killed, and dozens more who were injured, apparently some very seriously. And still, nothing is known about that. The FBI, I believe, just posted on their website this very week, I think it was yesterday or the day before, photographs of the guys they’re looking for, the three guys they’re looking for in this Benghazi thing. Now that in itself is very weird, because it suggests that the FBI and the White House are not quite on the same page on this.

HH: Yes.

MS: The FBI, either they’ve been, for political reasons, they’re been sitting on these photographs of the guys they think are behind it for months, or there have been fresh developments, and they require the assistance of the public. But whatever reason, the FBI don’t seem to take the view that this is a cold case, as the coppers says.

HH: Now yesterday, John McCain said on this show that the House of Representatives needs to have a select committee empaneled yesterday, but that chairmen of various House committees are blocking that. And I think Darrell Issa’s doing a fine job, but a select committee brings visibility and assets, and a narrative and pressure. What is up with Speaker Boehner not to have put such a committee in place months ago?

MS: Yeah, I think there’s a feeling, and I think this was visible during the election campaign, when there was no great enthusiasm, Mitt Romney, as you recall, had a couple of times to really, a couple of opportunities to really hammer the President head on about this. And he chose not to do this. And I think that’s the kind of establishment Republican view of looking at things, that somehow by the time this percolated, if it ever does get its way, find its way onto the front page of the New York Times, it’ll look as if Republicans are breaching the unwritten rule that politics stops at the water’s edge, and they’re playing politics with national security, which is basically the argument that the Democrats have been making for six months. But basically, something terrible happened that didn’t need to happen. And the government of the United States lied to the American people about it, and lied to the survivors. They stood next to the dead Americans’ coffins, and they told lies. And they told those lies to the relatives, like when Hillary Clinton said we’re going to get that filmmaker and we’re going to toss him in jail. And they knew all that was rubbish at the time, and they deserve, and it may not be, it may not win them any points in the polls or anything like that. But for the sake of public integrity, that needs to be hung around the administration’s neck.

HH: And I think it also needs to be done by the Speaker, so that the Republicans do not assist and become unwitting accomplices in the ‘it’s so long ago’ meme. Mark, as we speak, the president of the United States is with the president of Mexico giving a press conference, as we talk. And they’re answering questions by not answering questions, one of which is about border security. And Marco Rubio said today that unless the unless the border security provisions get amped up quite a lot, this bill isn’t going anywhere. But both Senator Rubio and Senator McCain have not brought forward those amendments. They’re willing to look at any amendments. And the obvious one is the border fence about which we talked many times.

MS: Right.

HH: I am curious, I think the border fence is going to become the Panama Canal of 1978 in 2016, that Republican voters are paying very close attention to this. What do you think Ted Cruz ought to do, who is said to be considering now a run for the presidency, about this bill? He’s being very cagy right now. What do you think ought to be the turf that he plants his flag in with an eye on 2016, and an eye on doing the right thing?

MS: Well, I think whatever he plants his flag on has got to be real. In other words, the proposals have to have some chance of meaning something in reality. For example, we’ve just seen in Boston where basically, everybody involved in the Marathon bombing has committed some or other act of that has made U.S. immigration refugee and asylum policy look completely idiotic.

HH: Yup.

MS: …whether it’s the younger brother sailing through the citizenship thing, the older brother spending six months back in Dagestan, now these Kazaks with their various immigration failings. And McCain’s response is well, we need to do something to maybe restrict immigration from countries like Chechnya and Dagestan. I mean, everyone knows there can’t be, Chechnya and Dagestan aren’t countries. They’re part of the Russian Federation. It’s like saying you’re going to take in Canadians from Alberta and Ontario, but not from New Brunswick and Manitoba. It’s like saying your United Kingdom immigrants will come from Wales and Scotland, but not Northern Ireland and England. It can’t be done. And that’s the problem here, is that the political class mandates stuff that the incompetent bureaucracy is never going to be able to do. So Cruz needs to find some metric that the incompetent bureaucracy can actually measure up to it.

HH: And I think that’s miles of new double fencing with an access road, and I hope he makes it that his own. Mark Steyn from, thank you, Mark.

End of interview.


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