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Mark Steyn On The Fence Fiction And Barack “I’m Not Dick Cheney” Obama

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GB: Every Thursday, when we’re lucky, we begin this program with the incomparable Columnist To the World, Mark Steyn, and he joins us now. Hello, Mark.

MS: Hi, Guy, hi, Mary Katharine.

GB: Well, let’s begin with such exciting news. We’ve been popping the champagne bottles all afternoon here, Mark, because there’s been a breakthrough in the U.S. Senate on immigration. They killed the Cornyn amendment, which was like bare bones milquetoast enforcement stuff. That won’t do. Instead, we have the savior galloping to the rescue, the Hoeven-Corker amendment that is so tough on border enforcement that even noted border hawk, Chuck Schumer, thinks it is terrific. Here is Schumer on the Senate floor today, cut 11:

CS: The border surge is breathtaking in its size and scope. This deal will deploy an unprecedented number of boots on the ground and drones in the air. It would double the size of the border patrol from its current level to over 40,000. It will finish the job of completing the fence.

GB: Breathtaking, Mark.

MS: Yeah, I love that, doubling the size of the border patrol. I guess they’re going to be needing even more illegal immigrants to take those jobs. It’s like…and you know, by the way, you can’t seriously add, you know, ten or twenty thousand border patrol members in nothing flat. That’s a job that actually requires some skill. But you can bet that if they do add them, they’re going to be up on the northern border harassing octogenarian snowbirds from Toronto on their way to Florida every November. They’re like all these things. Whatever’s in the bill, whatever guarantees, whatever triggers, I mean, and by the way, even the word trigger is a stupid and unbecoming word to a mature democracy. Either a thing is a law and it happens, or it doesn’t. This idea that there’ll be triggers that will trigger reviews by committee, the whole thing is a monstrosity. But none of it is ever going to get done, because basically, the United States’ political class has taken the decision not to enforce the southern border for various complex reasons. But that decision has been taken, and nothing that’s in the bill is going to affect that.

MKH: Well, and that’s what Guy and I have said. Listen, we feel like we’re persuadable people on the issue of immigration, but if you look at, certainly the last couple of months, your faith in one’s government to actually accomplish things and do them fairly or competently, even with regular Americans, is going down. Certainly with conservative Americans like us, it’s going down. And yet they say trust us, we’re going to take care of it.

MS: Yeah, and I think that’s the key word here, trust. You know, let’s say that Republicans are suckered and go along with this, because they believe that these people are going to go to the back of the line and all the rest of it, and they’re going to have to wait extra long to get a green card, and then even longer to get citizenship so they won’t be available to vote for the Democratic Party for, you know, 15 years or whatever. The minute it’s passed, the first court case appealing this discrimination against the particular group of now-legal residents in this category, everyone’s going to be saying oh, this is not who we are as Americans, this discrimination, this third-class citizenship.

MKH: Right.

MS: All that’s going to be, on the first judge it comes up before, it’s going to be tossed out the window, and these guys are going to be citizens as fast as anybody else is.

GB: Mark, one of the elements of this new amendment that apparently is just such a remarkable ground-breaking event, is that they’re finally, supposedly, going to build a 700 mile fence along the southern border which was mandated and funded in 2006 and still hasn’t happened. But this is a big concession that the Republicans have gotten. Mark, are you going to enroll in the Senate Republican negotiating school?

MS: Well, I think this is a classic example of U.S. federal legislation. I think the 700 mile border fence might just have fit the original 13 colonies two and a third centuries ago. But the idea that it’s now going to be stretched along the, whatever it is, the 2,000 miles of the southern border is going to have 700 miles of border fence, this is, you know, I admire Hugh’s attachment to the border fence. And I always, I don’t like to say to him that if they ever do get around to building the border fence, it won’t be to keep the foreigners out, it’ll be to keep Americans in. And I think that’s basically the problem with it here, that it’s a fiction. It exists as a fiction. It’s already mandated in law, and the government, the executive has simply ignored the legislature, as they do on an increasing number of issues. There’s a word for that, and it isn’t a republic of limited government governed by citizen legislators. I mean, the executive has taken a view of this, and whatever the legislature passes, the executive will do as it wants.

MKH: Mark, what do you think about, we had a little fun with Barack Obama’s sweat-soaked speech in Berlin yesterday. What did you think of it?

MS: (laughing) I know, I mean, it’s like he goes all the way to Europe to trot out the whole usual stuff about…he spoke about global warming, didn’t he?

GB: He did.

MS: …which even the Europeans have given up on now. I mean, they spent a fortune trying to comply with Kyoto, and the United States, which didn’t ratify Kyoto, wound up complying with is entirely by accident, whereas the Europeans who invested millions and millions in it wound up not…I mean, I thought that was just sad boilerplate, and it’s interesting to see that even liberal German media actually thought the President was a total flop. He’s a very boring man, by the way. I think that’s what’s so fascinating about him. When you listen to him chugging on about climate change or whatever, or a nuclear-free world, he’s got the same vapid ideas as the emptiest Hollywood dinner party. He’s like the guy who got a best supporting actor nomination in 1978 who’s name you can’t quite place, and he’s sitting down the end of Barbra Streisand’s dinner party just mouthing the same old boring platitudes. He hasn’t got an interesting idea in his head, this guy. And the Germans have figured it out.

GB: Meanwhile, we have our Attorney General, Eric Holder, who’s still there, he’s still the Attorney General just sitting pretty in Washington, D.C. The Associated Press CEO told an audience yesterday that his news organization’s sources, Mark, have clammed up and are less and less willing to cooperate with journalists, even on issues not pertaining to national security. So mission accomplished over at DOJ. Holder, meanwhile, has responded to critics who said that he perjured himself over the James Rosen situation, and he said that whole investigation into Fox News reporter James Rosen was necessary and appropriate, and anyone who thinks he perjured himself “misinterpreted his remarks.”

MS: Yeah, well, I preferred his explanation in that TV interview where he basically said that he hadn’t lied to Congress, because in fact, he’d lied to the judge. And his explanation was that he’d been telling the truth to Congress, because it was in fact the judge he was not telling the truth to. Eric Holder, I regard Eric Holder as unfit for office. I think it’s a serious matter that we now have, routinely have members of the executive lying to Congress. I wouldn’t mind it so much were it not for the fact that it’s a crime for you to lie to one of Eric Holder’s employees. You can lie to the most fledgling (?) member of the Justice Department if he comes along and wants to ask you come questions, an FBI guy put, Martha Stewart got tossed in jail for it. I mean, this is not, this is not a small thing. There is, they lie openly to Congress, and the media do not call them on it. It’s quite disgraceful.

MKH: Yeah, we’re also required to keep our IRS receipts, and the IRS, it turns out, I mean, to keep our tax receipts. The IRS? Not so much. They don’t have their own.

MS: Right, and the IRS was required to answer all these questions for Congress by May 21st. They still haven’t done so. And unlike you and me, I don’t believe they filed for an extension, Mary Katharine. Apparently, the extension is automatic when you’re the IRS, and that’s actually the heart of it. If the state is not bound by the same laws that it imposes on the citizenry, then you are not a citizen. You are a subject, and you might as well have an absolute monarch telling you what to do.

MKH: Well, and it would seem, and you can see it a little bit in polls, that this sort of blows up Barack Obama’s entire governing philosophy, which is to give people like him more power, because they’re totally awesome. But on the ground, are we actually going to see any changes in what people might vote for?

MS: I don’t think so. I think that’s the thing. When he says hey, relax, you guys, it’s okay to entrust me with this power because I’m not Dick Cheney, I mean, that’s actually his rationale. The NSA would be a problem in the old, when it was the old Cheney-Rumsfeld days. But now I’m here, it doesn’t matter. Absolute power doesn’t matter, because I’m not Dick Cheney. That’s going to be on the coins. That’s going to be the motto on the great seal of the United States.

MKH: That’s beautiful.

GB: In Barack we trust, because he’s just so much better than anything that came before him. Mark Steyn, Columnist To the World, for more.

End of interview.


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