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Mark Steyn On The Indestructible Vanity Of Barack Obama

Thursday, November 4, 2010
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HH: I am joined by Columnist To the World, Mark Steyn, from the wonderful New Hampshire, where they have a new Republican Senator, Kelly Ayotte. Good evening, Mark.

MS: Good evening, Hugh. Yeah, looking great in New Hampshire, and not just Kelly Ayotte, which was a blowout, by the way, she won by thirty points over the Democrat, Paul Hodes.

HH: Wow.

MS: So I’m glad to see New Hampshire returning to the red column in a big way. The state senate is also looking like a blowout. And it looks like both Congressional seats will return to the red column before the night is out.

HH: Now Mark, tonight, Fox News and NBC has said that the House of Representatives will return to the control of the Republicans after just four years with more than 60 seats, with more than 60 seats going to the Republicans. Put some perspective on how massive a change that is.

MS: Well, I think that it is a repudiation of the Pelosi-Reid Congress. It’s an explicit repudiation of that. In the last couple of weeks, we all got very excited, and it would have been a wonderful night if a couple of pieces had fallen into place, if, say, you know, I was hopeful at one point that Barney Frank might actually get knocked off in Massachusetts. He embodies, in some ways, the peculiar arrogance and insularity of the governing class, a Congressman for life. But it looks like he survived. In the last couple of weeks, when things are just solidly trending your way, you get a little excited, overexcited. And so some things we all dream might happen are in the end not going to happen. But in the end, this is still an explicit repudiation of the Pelosi-Reid era. Nancy Pelosi is not only going to go into the history books now as the first female Speaker, but also as the first female ex-Speaker. And I don’t think that the Democrats will be able to get away with this strategy again. In 2006, I happen to be seeing, doing an even with Howard Dean tomorrow. Howard Dean, when he was running the Democratic Party, came up with the 50 state strategy, in which he recruited horses for courses, to run for the Democrats in Congress and Senate in 2006 and 2008, and in a sense, was the architect of the Pelosi-Reid victory in 2006. That has now been done away with, because the moderate, conservative Democratic candidates he recruited were all forced by the Democratic Party whip to vote for this extreme left-wing legislation of the Obama-Pelosi-Barney Frank variety. And if the American people are even suckered again by that racket, more fool them.

HH: Early today, the National Republican Senatorial Committee, Mark Steyn, put out a series of quotes from early 2009, actually to mid-2009, predicting that Republicans would be on their heels tonight in the Senate, that they would be a permanent minority, that they would be crushed in places, and reduced to a Southern party. But in fact, you’ve got Wisconsin going Republican, Michigan with a new Republican governor. Iowa has reverted to Republican. North Dakota is sending a Republican Senator. In Florida, it looks like Rick Scott’s going to be the governor down there. It’s an absolute sea change. So yes, people were hoping for a majority in the Senate. It was never really going to be in reach. It’s still possible tonight, but…

MS: Well, and I think all the things that other people said as well, that the Republicans were reduced to a sort of Southern rump, which is code for a kind of knuckle-dragging, stump-toothed, inbred, bunk up with your sister after a jigger of moonshine and speaking in tongues for a couple of hours Southern rump. I mean, the idea that America, that the Republican party was absolutely out of touch with the major trends in the United States. In fact, the Republican Party is penetrating deep into well to do suburbs. My friend, David Frum, among the many inaccurate parts of his analysis as he’s moved towards the center over recent years, predicted that Republicans had completely lost, for example, the college educated class. Well, it looks like college educated voters are going Republican, too. So a lot of this stuff was nonsense. I mean, it’s staggering to me. I watched ten minutes of an absolutely butt-numbing banality on CNN, in which John King was putting up some analysis of Twitter posts that showed that most people in Rand Paul’s state, the Twitter feed there showed that even in Rand Paul’s state, Twitterers are opposed to the Tea Party. The banality of the coverage, they’re missing the story of the last two years, which is that a significant number of American electors looked into the abyss, or more or less saw that Greece and Iceland and a bunch of other places were already in the abyss, and decided they didn’t want to jump in there with them, that this is actually, at heart, a fairly explicit ideological repudiation. It’s not just a dislike. It’s not really about the economy, actually. I don’t think it’s…when people say their number one concern is the economy, it’s actually the government, and government spending, and government distortion of the economy. So I think even in a night of victory, the brain dead banality of some of the media coverage of this is actually missing the real story here.

HH: Now Mark Steyn, we’re also going to see some brand new figures of national importance, like Marco Rubio and Rand Paul, and hopefully later tonight, Sharron Angle, a different kind of Republican, someone that’s going to be much more aggressive on the public stage. Yeah, there will be some traditionals like Dan Coats and John Boozeman down in Arkansas. But nevertheless, I do think you’re seeing a much more explicitly ideological Republican Party based on small government.

MS: Yes, I think because a lot of these candidates got into the game because we are in crisis times. And I forget which candidate it was, said so tonight, but said when our children are our age, things are going to be a whole lot worse if we don’t do something now. And they’re right. Our kids are going to hate us when they’re our age, because we did this to them. And so I think in that sense, the temperament of these new candidates is very different. What’s impressive to me, you know, in 1994, a lot of candidates got swept in on the kind of Newt Contract With American coattails. And to be honest, a lot of them were pretty low grade. I think Bob Dole, when the same thing happened, I think it was in 1980, made a sort of similar comment, that if he’d known it was going to be that big a landslide, he’d have recruited better candidates, a typical kind of Bob Dole remark in many ways. This time around, the candidates more or less selected themselves, and were tested in tough primaries. And I think in that sense, they’re actually going to be a much, much fiercer group, and a much more disciplined group in some ways, than either 1994 or 1980.

HH: Now let me propose to you, Mark, the dark side of tonight, which is that in Maryland, Martin O’Malley, the Democrat party of government Democrat…

MS: Right.

HH: …has been returned handily over Bob Ehrlich. This shows, I think, the pernicious effect of people being on the federal and state payroll.

MS: Yes, and I think you can see the same thing in New York. Admittedly, New York is a little different, because the Republican candidate was unsatisfactory in many ways. But the idea that Andrew Cuomo, who is the very embodiment of the sort of statist hackery and legacy appointments that have helped get New York into the hole, the idea that New York cannot will itself to change, even in extreme circumstances…and I think you’re right, that essentially the Democratic Party, the party of government, starts with a huge advantage, just in the number of hundreds or thousands, and in some of the larger states like New York, millions of voters that it starts with already on the payroll as it were. And I think that shows one of the real huge problems that is going to be faced in this situation. If the state workforce in New York and California and Maryland and other places is so large now, that they, that the productive class cannot actually win in a fair election, then you’re going to get more and more of them moving out and moving into other states. And I think we risk ending up in a world where the two parties, and the two halves of the American electorate, actually will find it even more difficult to coexist within the same polity. I think we’re moving toward, I think the danger is, if it proves to be impossible to correct course through the ballot box this time around, and then in 2012, then you will start to see serious secession movements in Texas and other places, simply because people, even if they were charitable enough to want to pick up the tab for the big, bloated statist corpses of California and New York, even if they were charitable enough to want to do it, they can’t afford to do it.

HH: Oh, and the secular tithe exacted by the government employees unions makes it very hard for the real people to be heard in this situation, Mark Steyn. A final comment, President Obama, we’ve got thirty seconds, is giving a press conference tomorrow. Do you expect a chastened Obama or one who is doubling down?

MS: Oh, I think he’d double down. His view is that we don’t get it. His view is that the electorate are mentally ill. That’s how he looks at it. We’re simply too stupid and confused to understand all the good he’s doing for us. I think he’s indestructible in his vanity. And in that sense, he’s the perfect embodiment of America’s out of touch ruling class.

HH: Mark Steyn from www.steynonline.com, thank you, Mark.

End of interview.

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