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Mark Steyn on Nobel and hereditary nobility

Thursday, December 10, 2009
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HH: There is much to do. The president of the United States received the Nobel Prize today. He gave a pretty good speech, in fact. If speeches were jobs, we’d have full employment in the United States of America. But let’s not be unfair. He gave a good speech. I liked two parts of it in particular. Here’s cut number one:

BHO: We must begin by acknowledging a hard truth. We will not eradicate violent conflict in our lifetimes. There will be times when nations acting individually or in concert will find the use of force not only necessary, but morally justified.

HH: For example, in the fall of 2003, when George W. Bush, leading a concert of nations, took out the dictator Saddam who was threatening regional and world stability. Like that. President Obama went on to say another good thing in his Nobel acceptance today.

BHO: I face the world as it is, and cannot stand idle in the face of threats to the American people. For make no mistake. Evil does exist in the world.

HH: It certainly does, and its usually Islamist fanaticism, or Vladimir Putin, or Chinese totalitarians. You know, there are lots of bad guys out there – North Korean despots. I wish for a little more specificity from the President, but he got a couple of things right, so my hat is off to him. Thank you. Now come back and pass some tax credits. The person I can’t thank is the increasingly obviously crazy Al Grayson. Crazy Al, Alan Grayson is his name, he’s a Democrat from Florida, the Orlando area, Crazy Alan Grayson is now back on the front lines, and I’m joined now by Mark Steyn, Columnist To the World, to talk about him. Hello, Mark, how are you?

MS: Hey, good to talk with you, Hugh. I think you liked the President’s speech more than I did. But as you said, if speeches were jobs, we’d have full employment. In fact, we’d have excess, we’d have 130% employment at the rate Obama gives speeches.

HH: Well, what did you make of his willingness to say there are…actually, he went further than I expected him to go, Mark.

MS: Well, he did in the sense that when you’re telling a bunch of Norwegians that there are bad guys out there in the world, that is what you might call counterintuitive, because a bunch of pacifist Norwegians is probably the last people on the planet who want to hear that. But at the same time, you know, that is…the fact that that strikes one as a courageous thing to do is an appalling comment on the muscularity of Obama-era diplomacy.

HH: Yeah, I’m not sure it’s courageous, but it was unexpected. I kind of thought a long apology was what we were going to get, so I was pleasantly surprised. Now he may undo all that in Copenhagen. In fact, I’m fairly certain that he will. Aren’t you?

MS: Yes, I am. I think Copenhagen is essentially a kind of left wing Democrat view of government gone global. You know, I often make the point that if you look at what’s happened in the United States since the Roosevelt era, where the federal government has used the Commerce Clause as an all-purpose justification for the expansion of the federal government, the environment is a brilliant, a brilliant excuse for the all-purpose introduction and expansion of global government, because it’s one thing, the minute you start talking about the planet, there’s nothing you can do in terms of doing it at the municipal or county level. You’ve got to do it at this Copenhagen global bureaucracy level. It will be a disaster.

HH: I had Ann McElhinney on yesterday, one of the producers of Not Evil, Just Wrong. She’s in Copenhagen. 30,000 activists, and she cannot but comment on the irony of the fine meals they are sharing, the wine glasses they are clinking, and the robust good time they are having while condemning Western consumption.

MS: Yes, and I wrote a parody of this about seven years ago, that when the U.N. held a sustainability conference in South Africa, and they were all guzzling champagne, and eating caviar every night, that it is beyond belief the way these international junkets live. This head guy, Dr. Pachauri, the Indian guy who heads this Copenhagen fiasco, in the last eighteen months, he racked up 450,000 air miles, including a couple of trips from New York back to Delhi, in India, one time, just for the practice of a cricket match, not even for the match, but just for a practice. And this idea that there’s a…if you look at them, whether they’re Al Gore in his carbon offset palace in Tennessee, Al Gore, the world’s first carbon billionaire, by the way, that in itself testifies to the preposterousness of this, or the Prince of Wales telling us that we need to end of the age of consumerism and capitalism, right before he gets into his limo and orders the driver to take him back to his other palace. This is about, actually, strangling social mobility, and letting a global elite, whether hereditary like the Prince of Wales, or simply part of the global bureaucracy like Dr. Pachauri run the planet. And I say nuts to that.

HH: You know, before I bring up Alan Grayson, since you brought up hereditary nobility, I’ve got to ask you about William Shawcross’ new book about Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Concert of George VII. It’s a great…

MS: You mean George VI?

HH: George VI.

MS: We haven’t had George…unless I slept through that reign.

HH: Well, have you read this book yet?

MS: No, I haven’t, but I do like William Shawcross. And I always had a soft spot for the Queen Mom, as she is known.

HH: She’s remarkable.

MS: …to the British…an amazing woman, lived as long as the 20th Century. And what I liked about her was that at private parties, she would always express grotesque disgust at the way Jimmy Carter would kiss her on the lips. That still rankled, 25 years later.

HH: Well, I recommend it to everyone as a Christmas present, because it’s really a wonderful read. Now let’s get to Alan Grayson, who is quickly becoming the face of the Democratic Party. He was on MSNBC last night, Mark, as I said in the intro. Here are the two things he said, cut number one.

CM: Further, he dug his hole even deeper, burying Barack Obama, I should say, even deeper by saying the guy doesn’t believe in America, basically, he doesn’t believe in American exceptionalism, doesn’t really love this country. How far is this guy going to go so he gets to speak at the next Republican convention? Dick Cheney is unbelievable lately. Just a thought.

AG: I don’t know, You know, on the internet, there’s an acronym that’s used to apply to situations like this. It’s STFU. I don’t think I can say that on the air, but I think you know what it means.

HH: Okay, so Alan Grayson going vulgar, and then he follows it up with this shot at former President Bush.

AG: But before we leave the subject, I want to talk about the fact that the right wing’s been ranting about the fact that the President showed respect for the emperor of Japan. I can’t believe this is happening. You know, I remember when first of all, President Bush senior did something really awful to the prime minister of Japan at a state dinner, and I don’t remember those kind of complaints.

CM: Come on, he barfed, okay? You don’t do that on purpose or on command, sir. He got sick.

AG: Well, what about Bush, Jr? I remember Bush Jr. kissing Prince Abdullah on the cheek, and then holding his hand for an extended period of time. Maybe if he let him get to second base, then gasoline would be a dollar a gallon.

HH: So what do you think, Mark Steyn, about Crazy Al Grayson?

MS: Well, you know, I agree that President Bush shouldn’t have held hands with Prince Abdullah. The funniest report on that, I think, was the picture of it in, I think it was the paper in Atlanta, which was over the headline about Elton John marrying his gay partner. And there was a picture of George W. Bush and now King Abdullah holding hands. But…so I’m sympathetic to that argument. But look, there isn’t anything difficult about this. President Obama has bowed to more foreign monarchs in his first year in office than previous American presidents have done put together. The fact is, the president of the United States is a head of state. He does not bow to foreign kings. I am a subject of Queen Elizabeth. If I bow to her, it’s because I am her groveling, humble and unworthy subject. The president of the United States isn’t. And as for the Dick Cheney thing, come on, this is like ancient history to people. You run everything, you Democrats. You’ve been in office for a year. You hold the White House, you have the House, you have the Senate, you have the media. It’s your country. Stop talking about peripheral figures receding ever further into history.

HH: Mark Steyn, Editor & Publisher went out of business today, two days after Rupert Murdoch wrote in the Wall Street Journal that the news business had better change and start delivering journalism that people want to read. What do you think on this passing of what was the Bible of the ink-stained wretches’ world?

MS: Yes, but it was a boring, a monumentally boring publication. I know this really just for the odd occasions that it ever covered anything I did. The fact is that these newspapers do not, that Editor & Publisher served so well, and whose worldview it shared, do not deserve to survive. I mean, the reality is that the idea of a gatekeeper media which determines which stories are of interest has failed America. For example, you look at the minimal coverage that mainstream newspapers have given to the so-called Climategate leaks from East Anglia.

HH: Yup.

MS: Thomas Friedman in the New York Times wrote an entire column mocking Climategate. What was interesting about that is he assumed from the beginning of the column that his readers would know what Climategate was about. Now they would know nothing about it if they’d read the New York Times, if they’d relied on the New York Times for coverage. And that model of newspapers is dead, absolutely dead.

HH: And Editor & Publisher went to the grave with it. Mark Steyn from www.steynonline.com, thank you, Mark.

End of interview.

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