Mark Steyn on the big government anarchists at the Occupy Wall Street protests
HH: And because it’s Thursday, and we are lucky, I begin doing so with Mark Steyn, Columnist To the World, author as well of the brand new bestseller, After America. You can read all of Mark’s work at www.steynonline.com. Mark, I have much to cover, but I want to begin, because I had Senator Rand Paul on the program on Tuesday, the transcript’s over at Hughhewitt.com.
HH: And I asked him about the bridges that cover Kentucky and Ohio, and I referred him to After America. But he remains a proponent of federal funding of some bridges.
MS: Yes, I was rather disappointed by his answer there. He turns out to be just…how often one gets used to finding one’s heroes have feet of clay. And I’m sad to say that Rand Paul is a believer in an overbearing federal government in the matter of bridge construction. I accept that the national government has an interest in insuring that a truck can get from Maine to Southern California without having to drive through dirt roads in a couple of states. But with that particular exception, and rather narrow exception, I think the bulk of these decisions belong at the state level. There is clearly no significant cross-country interest in this particular bridge. There’s an interest between two states. It should be worked out between both of those states. And those states should do as happens in the normal course of events in small towns. If it happens to be a significant expenditure, it should be raised, budgeted, and the funds raised and provided for in relation to the budgets of those two jurisdictions.
HH: It is simple to me.
MS: There’s nothing to be gained.
HH: It’s not hard. I think you need to send him a copy of After America, but…
MS: Well, I’m astonished, because if you need to explain the benefits of doing things at the most locally accountable level to a supposed Constitutionalist like Rand Paul, then we’re in (laughing)…
HH: (laughing) We’re pretty far gone.
MS: We’re in bigger trouble than we thought, yeah.
HH: All right, there’s another Senator in trouble this afternoon. Scott Brown taking, well, let’s give you a listen to what he said on a local Boston radio station this morning.
Host: Have you officially responded to Elizabeth Warren’s comment about how she didn’t take her clothes off?
SB: (laughing) Thank God.
Host: (laughing) That’s what I said. I said hey, look, can you blame a good-looking guy for, you know, for wanting…
SB: You know what, listen, the bottom line is I didn’t go to Harvard. I went to the school of hard knocks, and I did whatever I had to do to pay for school.
SB: And for people who know me and know what I’ve been through, mom and dad married and divorced four times each, and some real challenges growing up. You know, whatever. Let her throw stones. I did what I had to do. And but not for having that opportunity, I never would have been able to pay for school, and never would have gone to school, and I wouldn’t probably be talking to you, so whatever.
HH: Mark Steyn, degree of the gaffe?
MS: I don’t think it’s a…it was what I would call ungallant, but you know, we’re talking about Scott Brown. She shouldn’t have brought up the fact that he took his clothes of however many decades ago it was now. I don’t think there’s any point to that. You know, these are serious times. The issue is not whether Scott Brown should have taken his clothes off then, or whether his opponent should be taking her clothes off now. And if Massachusetts voters are stupid enough to want to fight their elections on that basis, good luck to them.
HH: Well, let’s then go to the basis on which they are being fought. The President today gets asked a question about the Occupy Wall Street people. Here’s the Q and the A. It takes a minute:
Q: There’s this movement, Occupy Wall Street.
Q: …which has spread from Wall Street to other cities. They clearly don’t think that you or Republicans have done enough, that you’re in fact part of the problem. Are you following this movement? And what would you say to its people that are attracted to it?
BHO: Obviously, I’ve heard of it. I’ve seen it on television. I think it expresses the frustrations that the American people feel, that we had the biggest financial crisis since the Great Depression, huge collateral damage all throughout the country, all across Main Street. And yet they’re still seeing some of the same folks who acted irresponsibly trying to fight efforts to crack down on abusive practices that got us into this problem in the first place. So yes, I think people are frustrated, and the protestors are giving voice to a more broad-based frustration about how our financial system works.
HH: How soon we forget Recovery Summer, Mark Steyn. What did you make of that?
MS: Well, I think this is pathetic on several grounds. By the way, the frustration word has been overworked to death. Any time a politician, and particularly the President, starts saying he’s frustrated and he understands their frustration, that is totally gay. And it’s ridiculous. He’s like done it to death. It’s pathetic. And in this case, it’s particularly ridiculous, because these guys out on the Occupy Wall Street thing have nothing to offer. They’re not people who are frustrated. They’re the most pampered, blinkered, narcissistic, useless generation in the history of Western civilization. And if they got their way, we would be living in the ruins of a once-glorious civilization. Now I have no quarrels with attacking Wall Street. I do it in my book. I think you can make the case that the American banking system is perhaps the most inept and dysfunctional in the G-7, for example. But these people have no solutions to that. These are people who want to create a society that actually obliges them to do nothing. They want to live a Western lifestyle without doing the work necessary to maintain that lifestyle. And if they were to get their way, we’re all done for. And to listen to the president of the United States, the supposed leader of the supposed free world pampering to them, kissing up to them, saying that he understands their frustrations because he’s frustrated, too, he should be ashamed of himself. Why doesn’t he go there and join them sniffing the arugula around the clock or whatever they’re doing down there.
HH: Joe Biden took the campaign to Occupy Wall Street, to the 5th grade in Tampa Bay today. And here is what Slow Joe had to say to the 5th graders, Mark Steyn.
JB: A lot of really good people are having trouble finding work, and a lot of good people, grown-ups, are having trouble paying to stay in their house because things got really bad before we came into office. An awful lot of companies said there’s no more job for you here.
HH: What do you think, Mark?
MS: Well, you know, if I was a 5th grader…
MS: If I was a 5th grader, I would say with respect, Mr. Vice President, you came into office when I was in 2nd grade, okay? So you’ve now been in office for half the entire time that I’ve been in the school system.
HH: I learned to read during this time, and you didn’t.
MS: Yeah, yeah. I’ve managed to accomplish things between 2nd grade and 5th grade. Why haven’t you and the President managed to do something?
MS: I don’t say when I’m told that the 5th grade girls soccer team has had a lousy season, well, it’s all to do with the mess we inherited from the 5th grade that was here three years ago. Three years ago is half my entire school career, Mr. Vice President. Are you still going to be peddling this line to me when I’m in 8th grade, when I go on to high school, when I’m in 12th grade? In other words, when do you start to own it, because I’m in 5th grade now, and I own the 5th grade I’m in. You’re the president and vice president now. You own this administration.
HH: And if I flunk, it’s my fault. Let me play for you the opening of the press conference today. I can’t play much of it, but you’ve got to hear the opening of this, Mark Steyn, The President – cut number 7.
BHO: Next week, the Senate will vote on the American Jobs Act. And I think by now, I think I’m made my views pretty well known.
BHO: Some of you are even keeping a tally of how many times I’ve talked about the American Jobs Act. And the reason I keep going around the country talking about this jobs bill is because people really need help right now. Our economy really needs a jolt right now. This is not a game.
HH: All right, stop right there. This goes on and on, Mark Steyn. This is not a game.
MS: You know, sometimes, what did he say the economy needs? A jolt?
MS: (laughing) That’s great. You can…sometimes, you can clap the electrodes. There really is no point to it. This jobs bill…
HH: (laughing) Stat…or what do they call it? I’m calling it right now.
MS: (laughing) I mean, the guy has to get real here. Everybody knows the jobs bill is just a bit of theater. The jobs bill isn’t going to do anything.
HH: Oh, but no, no, no, Mark. It’s not a game.
MS: No, no, no. Of course it isn’t a game (laughing). He’s blaming the Republicans, the do-nothing Republicans. The Senate, the Democrats in the Senate don’t have the numbers for this things. Democrat Senators are bored with it. They know it’s a joke. If you’re interested in, I mean, I can’t even believe people fall for this. For God’s sake, what has the country come to? Two and a third centuries of republican self-government, and you have something as stupid as the American Jobs Act, that simply because you call it a jobs act, people are supposed to take it seriously as a job creation method. For God’s sake, grow up. I don’t…nobody falls for this stuff anymore.
HH: Oh, you sound as though you believe it’s a game, Mark Steyn.
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HH: Mark, I want to play for you some audio that’s available at www.breitbart.tv right now. Larry O’Connor from Breitbart’s going to join me after the break to talk about it. But before I play it for you, New Hampshire’s going to move their primary forward, apparently, to almost the beginning of January. You’ve got to be in 7th Heaven. You don’t have to move out of your backyard to cover this race.
MS: I have very mixed views on this, because I really think the great pleasure of the New Hampshire primary used to be that you’d keep these guys slogging through the snows of New Hampshire all the way until February. And it’s been moving up earlier and earlier and earlier. And the idea of holding the primary, I mean, there’s some talk that it might even be late December.
MS: The idea of holding the primary in early winter, before the New Hampshire weather has really had a chance to clobber the hell out of these guys, is deeply offensive to me. I’m in favor of as late a primary date as possible. And I view this with great alarm.
HH: Well, there is no chance that you’ll have a chance to see Sarah Palin or Chris Christie up there in New Hampshire. Do you agree the field is fixed and the field is fine?
MS: I take the view of the motto of the British Special Forces, SAS, Who Dares, Wins. And I’m not in the mood for the Hamlet routine from a lot of these fellows. I think the republic is in crisis, and if you think you’ve got something to offer, then I think you should be in there, get in there, get in the game, and present yourself to the electorate. So that the whole sort of dithering routine, and then saying I’ve reluctantly concluded…I’m not a big fan of that. I think there’s no doubt that people would like a…for whatever reason, and I think it’s partly to do with these horrible, early debates we were talking about last week, where there’s really no sense of urgency, where the question is sort of detour things down entirely peripheral subject. And so there’s a frustration, to use the President’s word, at candidates who at least in this debate format don’t seem able to address the fundamental challenges facing the republic. But I think that at some point, we have to accept the field’s what it is, and as you were saying, accept the fact we’re going to have a 70% candidate. And if he’s 70% on the important issues, we’re going to have to live with that.
HH: Agreed. Now I do want to play for you something that is central, because this is video posted at www.breitbart.tv of a rally of the Occupy folks in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. And what you’ll hear is that a guy who’s giving them encourage, well, listen for yourself to the union label, cut number 4:
Union thug: I want to tell you right now, like I’m willing to be arrested. And I’ll get out of jail and come right back down to the street. (applause) If you don’t know me, I do work for the AFL-CIO. And the president of the AFL-CIO was on a call with us tonight, and he said I want you to communicate to Occupyers we’re with them. And he’s directing the local labor movements to put resources on the ground to help, including lawyers, including meeting spaces, including whatever we need. So I wanted you to resource back to the national, but they said do not…again. Do not come in and try to take over this. Let the local movement and the young people who are there feed this energy. But this is really modeled after the Arab spring, is what I understand it is. You’ve got to be willing to stay in the street. And when the clashes break out, then that’s when you’ve got to be willing to really understand about what we’re getting into here.
HH: This is enough. Mark Steyn, I, as a member of the American Federation of Television, Radio and Artists, as a union cardholder who has to pay dues, I think I stand with about 75% of union members who are shocked to learn their money is going to provide lawyers to the Occupy Wall Street people.
MS: Yeah, yeah. I mean, this is the stupidity of this movement. You’ve got union workers making common cause with a lot of pampered, spoiled, little, white break nincompoops who have no idea of the particular blessings and the unique moment in history that they’ve been privileged to grow up in. and you’ve got union thugs and union bully boys making union infrastructure resources available to them all in the cause of statism. And there’s a kind of, I think there’s a kind of tragedy about this alliance. When they’re standing there in Wall Street, in Lower Manhattan, protesting the immense wealth generated in Lower Manhattan, when they look at those towering skyscrapers, who do they think built those skyscrapers?
MS: It’s union workers. It’s big labor.
MS: Big labor is getting into bed with big lethargy, which is what those guys, those useless guys listening to their hair grow, and smoking the arugula. That’s what they represent – big lethargy and big labor yoking forces to condemn America to more of what’s killing it, which is this brutal, suffocating statism. I’ve never seen…I mean, I find it impossible to express my contempt for this Occupy Wall Street now, because you now have basically the privileged thugs of statism, like public sector unions, making alliance with so-called anarchists so moronic, so moronized by our education system, that they’re anarchists for big government. I’ve never heard anything more stupid in my life.
HH: It is. They’re anarchists for the GM bailout.
HH: They’re anarchists for Solyndra. And speaking of Solyndra, the President got a question about it today, which I have to sneak in here, Cut number 6, Mark Steyn:
BHO: With respect to Solyndra and Fast and Furious, I think I’ve been very clear that I have complete confidence in Attorney General Holder, in how he handles his office. He has been very aggressive in going after gun running and cash transactions that are going to these transnational drug cartels in Mexico. There’s been a lot of cooperation between the United States and Mexico on this front. He’s indicated that he was not aware of what was happening in Fast and Furious. Certainly, I was not. And I think both he and I would have been very unhappy if somebody had suggested that guns were allowed to pass through that could have been prevented by the United States of America.
HH: Mark Steyn, I get this image of the Samson bringing down the Temple, that everything is falling in, and he just sits there and says not true, no so, not happening, it’s not true.
MS: It’s not about Eric Holder being aggressive about gun running. In this case, the government of the United States is the gun runner. That is basically what’s happening here. There would be no guns running to these Mexican cartels if the United States government hadn’t instituted a program to facilitate it. Now real Mexicans are dead. Does the president of the United States, does his Attorney General, does the New York Times, does CNN, does NPR, do they not care about dead Mexicans? I mean, forget the United States Border Patrol guys who were killed with these Fast and Furious guns. Real live, or previously live citizens of third world countries, the kind of people that NPR and the New York Times claim to love, are dead because of this. Why isn’t that a national scandal? This is absolutely amazing. Iran Contra didn’t rack up that kind of body count. Watergate didn’t rack up a body count. Sarah Palin’s daughter’s boyfriend’s mother, or whatever stupid story they were chasing around Wasilla for months, that didn’t rack up a body count. There are hundreds of dead Mexicans from a gun running program run by the United States.
HH: Well said, Mark Steyn. www.steynonline.com.
End of interview.