HH: He did show up. Mark Steyn, Columnist To the World, I was afraid you were no longer going to be associated with talk radio, that the White House had gotten to you, Mark Steyn.
MS: Yeah, yeah, I got the memo saying I wasn’t to lend you any credence or credibility, and I was going to stick to that. And I was just going to do, like the White House says, and just watch CNN and MSNBC, and responsible news sources like that. But then I thought no, I’ll give Hugh another chance.
HH: Well, thanks. Now what do you make of the White House war on Fox, Mark Steyn?
MS: Well, you know, I think this is truly pathetic. I mean, this is a guy who came to office on the platform of being willing to sit down across the table from Kim Jung Il and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and all the rest of it. Yet they’re too big a bunch of sissies to take a bit of criticism from Fox News and talk radio. He’s the president of the United States. It’s time to man up. I mean, this is just girly boy stuff, and I’m tired of it.
HH: Well, in terms of its effect, I don’t think it helps him at all. I think it exposes him to even more ridicule, and it diminishes the office. And Lamar Alexander made that argument on my show yesterday on the floor of the Senate, that no White House wins when they come down to the level of the grimy journalists who are kicking the in the shins.
MS: No, I think you’re right. I mean, this is a guy who goes to summits, and he meets with presidents and prime ministers and kings and queens. And so when he bothers to descend, no disrespect, to the level of attacking you, Hugh, he diminishes his great office. I mean, he should be taking the view…George W. Bush was Saskatoon this last week giving a speech in Saskatoon. That’s what he’s reduced to, now. He’s playing the Saskatoon circuit up in Saskatchewan. And someone said to him, well, did you pay any attention to all the horrible things about you that were said when you were president? And he said no. He said my dad got mad, because he watched the evening news. I didn’t bother watching the evening news, because when you’re the president, you are the evening news. And I thought that was actually a very healthy attitude to have, that it’s sort of beneath him to get obsessed with what somebody on WZBQ is saying about him.
HH: Well, let’s hope he turns that around, and he stops listening to that. Now what about Anita Dunn and the other Mickey Maoists in the White House who are all of a sudden coming up with little red book quotes, Mark Steyn.
MS: Yes, you know, it’s very interesting, this. This is…I was struck by this argument, because up in Canada in my difficulties with the Human Rights Commission there, the argument is always well, of course we believe in free speech, but you know, a lot of the ideas that people like Steyn promote are dangerous ideas that have led to all kinds of violence and people dying. There’s no evidence I’ve ever led to anybody dying. But there’s a fairly explicit link between Chairman Mao and 70 million people dying. And yet you’re allowed to promote Chairman Mao as a role model to high school students. I mean, you turn that around. You imagine if someone was there saying hey, Hitler, he had a dream, it seemed like a long shot, but boy, you’ve got to give it to old Adolf. He stuck to his guns, and he pulled it off. People would think you were insane. But the fact that you can still do it about Mao and the communists, no matter how high the mound of corpses rises, I think speaks to a kind of moral decadence among the Obama set.
HH: Now I wanted to talk with you about some specific policies, and the first one is the decision by the pay czar, allegedly not known by the president, which I think is bunkum, that they’re going to cut the people on Wall Street’s pay by 90%, Mark Steyn? I think he lost a lot of votes in Manhattan today.
MS: Well, maybe he did, and maybe he didn’t. But the point is if you got, if you get into bed with the federal government, for really a very small amount of money, you let them get the federal nose under your tent, they have the right to say what goes on in there. That’s why Hillsdale College, which in Michigan, with which I am proud to be affiliated, Hillsdale’s thing is that it won’t take any state or federal money, because there’s a price for that, that the price is that they get to regulate how you do your business. And I’m sorry, but if you were stupid enough to accept the federal bailout money, then I think you shouldn’t be surprised that the federal government then turns out to be running your life. The only good thing about this is that it may make a lot of people think whoa, no matter how big a bailout they offer me, I don’t want to become a wholly owned subsidiary of Obama, Inc.
HH: I want to talk to you about, as a parent, you know what it’s like to shop for things that your kids want. I’m one of the few people that noticed on Tuesday the Food and Drug Administration announced to the world that they’re going to start regulating the packaging of cereal that calls itself smart choice. In fact, they’re going to start regulating the packaging of all food products, Mark Steyn, because the head of the FDA said he’s a mother of two, and she needs help, and she wants, it’s the mission of the federal government to teach parents what’s on and in these boxes. What did you make of this, if you even noticed it?
MS: No…well what this means is, when she says she’s a mother of two, what she means is that the federal government is now the mother of three hundred million. We’re the kids. I’m tired of this. I’m really tired of this. The British government wanted to ban, I think, ban Tony the Tiger, you know, the Frosty’s pitch man. He’s been there for decades.
MS: But they’ve suddenly decided that Tony the Tiger is the guy to blame for the epidemic of obesity, childhood obesity in Britain. The fact is even if this worked, it would be a bad thing. Functioning adults have to be capable of raising their children, because if they’re not, they’re basically, then what the government is saying to us is well look, we’ll trust you to vote on American Idol, we’ll trust you to go on the internet and decide what porn sites you want to subscribe to. We’ll trust you to watch Dancing With the Stars. But you cannot have any adult responsibilities such as managing the food choices of your children. This is a slippery slope.
HH: Because the notice put out by the FDA, I’ve linked it at Hughhewitt.com, I quote it now. “The recent experience with front of package labeling in the United Kingdom demonstrates the potential of voluntary initiatives to provide consumers helpful front of package labeling.” But this isn’t voluntary. This is backed by the full regulatory thuggishness of the federal government, which is explicit.
HH: When did we start looking to the United Kingdom for guidance on how to do anything?
MS: Well, I thought that argument was settled in 1776, but apparently not. And you’re absolutely right, that this is the way the Obama administration thinks about things. It looks at the British and European nanny state, and wants to take this country in that direction. Sorry, but I believe in self-reliant adult citizens. I’d like a federal government that is capable of defending the borders, and is responsible for a few other minimal activities. But food, in particular, is overregulated in this country. This country has some of the worst cheese in the world because it’s overregulated.
– – – –
HH: We persuaded Mark Steyn to stick with us from www.steynonline.com. Thank you, Mark. And I also have in the studio Marty and Betty Schaffel who are visiting California, Mark. So we’ve got an audience in studio today.
MS: Oh, yeah. I want to congratulate Marty and Betty, because it’s their wedding anniversary. And I only knew they were in your studio, Hugh, because I got a memo from the Obama administration saying that the Department of Homeland Security had tracked down this dangerous pair of talk radio listeners to your studio. So I want them to know that they’re now under full surveillance from the federal government for their outrageous descent in actually not just listening to you, but going and actually sitting within your presence.
HH: I know, it’s a terrible thing, and they are marked for life now. What’s interesting, thought, they’re here in the cesspool of talk radio where you had Andy Williams on Monday, and Richard Dawkins on Tuesday, and Lawrence Wright on [Thursday], we’re so ideologically in lockstep with Glenn Beck and everyone at Fox News.
MS: Well yeah, but you say that. Funnily enough, Andy Williams, I saw the most marvelous headline, I think it was in the Daily Telegraph in London about two weeks ago, which said Andy Williams says Obama administration Marxist. And I thought that was the first time in recorded history that the three seminal figures of Karl Marx, Barack Obama and Andy Williams had been together in one newspaper headline. And I was thrilled by that.
HH: It is true. By the way, if you have not read his memoir I heartily recommend it. It is a romp. You will love it, given your love of popular culture…
MS: No, no, no. I love Andy Williams, a great man.
HH: All right, now let’s get to another great man, speaking last night in Washington, D.C., Dick Cheney ripped the Obama administration. I’m just going to play one little cut, cut number three, talking about two different subjects.
DC: Now what did the Obama administration get from Russia for its abandonment of Poland and the Czech Republic, and for its famous reset button? Another deeply flawed election, and continued Russian opposition to sanctioning Iran for its pursuit of nuclear weapons.
HH: Very succinct, Mark Steyn. And there is no rebuttal.
MS: No, and there’s really not answer to this. I mean, we were told that the Bush administration was this big, swaggering cowboy. Its whole thing was you know, send in the troops, let’s kick butt, let’s get our soldiers in there. The Obama administration were the geniuses of soft power, soft power. You know, they can’t even, they’re now saying oh, we can’t do anything in Afghanistan because of this flawed election. If you can’t bring pressure to bear on Hamid Karzai, who after all is kept alive, essentially, by a protection force of Western troops. If you’re soft diplomacy is so soft and flabby you can’t even bring pressure to bear on a guy who is only kept alive by American soldiers, then it doesn’t speak much for it. And I think that’s what people are beginning to see now, that the whole reset thing is a complete sham. The reset button is actually a fancy term for American retreat in the world.
HH: Now Mark Steyn, I’m going to have Lawrence Wright on, and I know what Lawrence is going to say about Afghanistan, because I’ve heard him say it on NPR before, and we’ve already taped the interview here. And he always says it’s a choice between a narco state and turning the country back to the Taliban, in which al Qaeda will nest. And you know what? Even in those terms, even if it’s a narco state, we’re a lot better off with a narco state than we are with a nested al Qaeda inside of the Taliban. What is taking the President so long to make this decision?
MS: Well, the other point to make is regardless of whether that is true or not, and I don’t think it’s entirely true, but let’s say that the point about the Taliban is that they were the patrons of the guys who killed 3,000 Americans. You’re sending the world a pretty clear signal if you say well look, these guys who essentially provided the infrastructure and the accommodations for the killers of 3,000 people, but we, that was eight years ago now, and we’ve got long term memory problems, so we don’t care about that anymore, so they’re now back in power. You’re sending the world a pretty clear signal that you’re just not serious about anything. And that’s a very dangerous thing to do for a so-called superpower.
HH: I am very cynical, Mark Steyn. I think that the Afghanistan decision has been delayed in part in order to attract attention away from the health care debate, that the only way this thing passes is people are not studying the details. And I think I was, I got a point in my favor of my argument yesterday when the Senate was asked to vote a quarter trillion dollar increase in the deficit in order to buy out the doctors, and they turned it down by a not even close margin. Do you think it’s on the ropes? Is Obamacare starting to fade again?
MS: Well, I think whenever anybody’s looking, it’s hard for him to get this thing through, which is, as you say, why he needs distractions. And the distractions can be attacking talk radio, or the so-called dithering on Afghanistan. But when people are focused on this, they don’t want it. And he has to buy off enough people to get enough of this thing through, that he can then do what he wants in the dark afterwards. But again, it’s interesting, he ran as Mr. Transparency. All the bills were supposedly going to be posted on the internet so people could put comments on Obama’s blog, or whatever it was going to be. And it would all be done in the open. And in fact, it’s not. It’s the usual sausage factory thing, ferreting away furtively in the dark with Harry Reid trying to cobble something together.
HH: Now we are going to see the first reaction, politically, to the president in special elections that are coming up, in the governor election in New Jersey and Virginia, and special elections in New York and California. The special election in New York pits a moderate Republican, pro-choice Republican, against an insurgency candidate. What’s the message the Republicans ought to get from that race, Mark Steyn?
MS: Well look, she’s not a moderate Republican. I’ve nothing against her, apart from the fact that she’s managed to demonstrate profound incompetence. But it’s not that she’s a moderate Republican in the sort of Christie Whitman or even the Arnold Schwarzenegger sense when Arnold first ran. She’s not running as socially liberal but fiscally conservative. It’s not just that she’s pro-abortion and pro-gay marriage, but she’s pro-card check and pro-stimulus and pro-cash for clunkers. So she’s not a RINO, Republican In Name Only. I said on National Review she was a DIABLO, a Democrat In All But Label Only.
HH: That is wonderful.
MS: And that is the point, that the Republican leadership that was stupid enough to put her up as the candidate has ignored the message of the summer surges, which was the 2006 Republican Party lost precisely because it failed to heed the warnings about fiscal responsibility. And this woman just wants to get in there and spend, spend, spend.
HH: Now what about in New Jersey? Can you imagine the Garden State returning Jon Corzine, the least effective governor in the last fifty years to power?
MS: Yeah, I mean, I find this remarkable. As Joe Biden was saying, let’s give Jon Corzine the opportunity to govern New Jersey in good times. Well, when he took over, comparatively speaking, they were good times. He beggared New Jersey, because like many weak politicians, he didn’t understand that the concessions he made, which were the politically easy thing to do at the time, would make the situation unsustainable in bad times. I happened to spend, I happened a couple of years ago to find myself at a bar sitting next to Jon Corzine when he was a Senator. And he struck me as a wealthy man who’d bought himself a Senate seat, and had absolutely no idea, no rooted political philosophy at all. He was interested in power and position for its own sake, simply because he’d made enough money that that was all there was left. New Jersey can surely do better than that.
HH: Mark Steyn, thank you my friend. www.steynonline.com, America, for everything that Mark has written in the recent past, and a lot of yucks besides. You can get the Mark Steyn coffee mug, and we are awaiting the Christmas release, the second Christmas release. No word on that yet. We’ll check in next week.
End of interview.