HH: Condoleezza Rice is in Baghdad, the North Koreans are getting ready for a nuclear test, and my guest, Mark Steyn, is with me to discuss not those, but Mark Foley. Mark Steyn, of course, columnist to the world, available, all of his work product, at www.steynonline.com, including his wonderful new book, America Alone. Mark, welcome back.
MS: Good to be with you, Hugh. I hope Condoleezza Rice is getting some tough questions about Mark Foley at her Baghdad press conference.
HH: That’s my assumption, is that she’s going to be asked when did she know that he was sending goofy e-mails and obscene IM’s to pages. Mark, let’s start with the obvious new lead. There are a lot of developments this afternoon. The first IM’er has been discovered to be a prankster who basically led on Foley that he was interested so he could goof on him in a kind of bizarre Punk’d episode.
HH: But now other pages have stepped forward, not with IM in hand, but to allege that Foley had sent them obscene IM’s. They just don’t have the proof of that yet.
MS: Well, that…I feel very foreign this week in America. I spent some years in an English boys school. And certainly, an awful lot of the masters were interested in teaching us more than Latin and Greek and Mathematics. And we used to, in that rather malevolent way that young guys have, used to certainly indulge in pranks. What happened here, insofar as one can understand, if the latest reports are true, is that a malicious prank, playing on his proclivities, was then somehow transformed into a political opportunity for the Democratic Party. But you know, in the end, in the end, if the Democratic Party are thinking they can ride Mark Foley’s disgusting IM’s and e-mails to victory in November, I think they’re very much mistaken.
HH: After our conversation, I’m going to talk with Republican Congressional candidate, Michele Bachmann, who is battling back against Patty Wetterling, and who in her district, has said, run a really deceptive television ad that says that the Congressional leadership covered up child molestation. What’s your advice to Republican candidates, Mark Steyn?
MS: Well, I would say, you know, there are many…I sympathize with dissatisfied Republicans. I’m dissatisfied, not with what they did before Mark Foley’s behavior became public knowledge, but in fact, the way they’ve behaved since then, which I think has been grossly incompetent. I mean, there are many good reasons for voting against the Republican Congress. But the complaint that they’re a hotbed of gay pedophile enablers isn’t one of them. It’s ludicrous. And if this lady wants to, in Minnesota, or whichever district it was, wants to run on that, good luck to her. I mean, to be honest, it’s a marginal improvement on last week’s big controversy, which was which particular Virginia Senate candidate used the N-word in 1927, or whenever it was. I mean, this is not the behavior of a mature democracy at a time of profound international challenges. And I think…my answer to all this, I’ve had a thousand e-mails saying oh, we always knew you Republicans…you’re not just racist, but you’re gay pedophiles, too. Well, fine, fine, fine. Okay, we’re racist pedophiles. What else have you got to say? And in the end, the Democrats don’t have anything else.
HH: Now there is a new poll out. You mention the Allen race. A Zogby poll…now I’m not a big fan of Zogby, unless he’s way outside of the margin of error. And in this instance, he is. He has George Allen surging to what? An 11 point lead over James Webb in the aftermath of Democratic dirty tricks down there. Whether or not they were associated with James Webb, they were definitely dirty tricks coming out of the partisan machinery. What lesson do you draw from that, Mark Steyn?
MS: Well, I think the public, in a sense, has come to expect this. Let’s get the basics out of the way of this. Mark Foley is a creep. I was barely aware of him until a few days ago. But then when I saw his picture, I remembered having seen him, I think, on Crossfire a few years ago, I don’t have the most refined gaydar in the world, but he seemed to me obviously gay, and also obviously rather sort of creepy and oily, in an unpleasant way. But having said that, the fact of the matter is there’s no controversy here, and I think the public has developed a kind of immunity to phony controversies that mysteriously reoccur every other Fall. I mean, they’re as reliable as the leaves falling off the trees here in the great state of New Hampshire. But unfortunately, far less attractive.
HH: Now the question is, though, what do you do if you’re a Republican candidate? My counsel is go right back and say aren’t you tired of this? And especially if someone gives you an opening, like Patty Wetterling, the Democrat has done, making up confessions of cover up of child abuse. You charge them with a deception, while not as abusive as Foley’s, is certainly abuse of the electorate they’re asking to send them to Congress.
MS: Oh, yes. I think so. I think that’s absolutely the right way to do it. The wrong way to do it is sadly to do what the leadership has been doing, and that’s to give these really dismal and incompetent press conferences every day, and then to engage in this ludicrous thing like sticking up this gay tip line, or whatever it is that Congress has launched. I mean, this is truly a pitiful performance. And I think the right thing to do is to say look, that Mark Foley isn’t in American politics anymore. He’s gone. He’s gone. What is your point now? Is your point that there is some wider lesson to this? Do you want…you know, the fact of the matter is, I come from…I spent the 1990’s in Britain, which had terrific sex scandals every couple of weeks back then in the late phases of the John Major government. And real sex occurred in them. As far as we know, this is a sex scandal without any sex in it.
HH: Yes, Rush was very upset today that we cannot go back to the era of real sex scandals, with real bodies that are easier to report, at least.
HH: Mark Steyn, George Soros was on Your World with Neil Cavuto about two hours ago. I just want to give you a little taste of this very odd man who’s messing around with American politics. Cut number 2:
NC: Mr. Soros, good to have you.
GS: A pleasure.
NC: You timed it for this, didn’t you?
GS: No, I didn’t.
NC: All right. What do you make of that, that he (Hastert) is essentially charging you and other operatives behind some of these leaks?
GS: Well, the implication that I had something to do with this scandal is so far off the mark, that it is really laughable. I mean, it’s a feeble attempt to divert attention from him and his responsibility. He has done it before.
NC: In 2004.
GS. To me. To me, yeah. But this time, I don’t think he can get away with it.
NC: All right. But you’re a busy man, right? You wouldn’t necessarily know what some of the Democratic groups and the 527 plans you fund are up to, right?
GS: No, I don’t.
NC: Okay. so it’s possible that they could be doing this sort of stuff?
GS: It’s possible, but I heard about it the first time when he appeared on television.
HH: Mark Steyn, your reaction?
MS: (laughing) Well, you know, there’s a lot of things that…George Soros spends his money in a lot of very clever areas. We know already that this scandal got going in part because of what is an obviously phony blog site was created to facilitate it. I mean, the Democrats, I just wish they would devote as much energy to policy issues as to all this kind of thing, because they’re absolutely excellent at this. You know, this seems to me in a sense to be a kind of reverse race card. You know, the thing about the race card, when that’s played, is it makes voters uncomfortable, because they don’t want to think of themselves as racists, so they don’t want to be associated with racist candidates. On the whole, when it comes to homosexuality, I think people aren’t on…it’s a slightly different thing. Homosexuality makes people feel a bit icky when they think about the whole thing, and unfortunately, the Democrats can’t come out and say they’re against homosexuality, and they’re against it, so they’re sort of…I think they’re tapping…they’re kind of playing a sophisticated game here, where they’re trying to sort of shovel all that…
HH: Are you familiar with David Corn’s e-mail?
MS: Yes. I mean, David Corn…
HH: Explain that to people, so they know. He’s with The Nation. He’s an ultraliberal writer.
MS: Yes, and what he’s done, he’s the guy, or he’s made a ton of money out of the Valerie Plame scandal. He wrote this unreadable book. He essentially called it wrong about the whole leak of Valerie Plame’s name by her political enemies. Well, what he did is he’s got a whole McCarthyite type list that John Podhoretz, my colleague at National Review, came up with this brilliant phrase, McCornthyism…
MS: …to describe what David Corn is doing, where he’s all but identified them. He’s revealed which Republican Congressmen they worked for, and the positions they hold with those Republican Congressmen, so you can work out who these gay Republicans are. But he hasn’t actually, formally listed their names, telephone numbers and zip codes yet. And he thinks he should be congratulated for being very sporting about that. Well, this is the most disgusting and empty kind of politics. He’s simply saying…I mean, this is, actually, the realy kind of…where identity politics ultimately lead to, because David Corn’s argument is basically that if you’re a black man or if you’re a gay man, you can only have one kind of political identity. You have to be one of the identity groups on the Democratic plantation, and do what all the rich, white guys tell you to do. Well, this is a kind of disgustingly reductive view of the so-called diversity that lefties like David Corn are supposed to be in favor of. It’s completely disgusting behavior by him.
HH: Mark Steyn, 25 seconds. Will this help or hurt Republicans looking ahead four weeks?
MS: The Republicans are not going to lose the House because of Mark Foley, and that pollster who told them that there were fifty seats they were going to lose over this business, I don’t know what on Earth he’s smoking, but I would love to have some of it, because I could use it at the end of an insane week.
HH: Mark Steyn, always a pleasure. www.steynonline.com. Get America Alone from there.
End of interview.