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The Hugh Hewitt Show

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Mark Steyn on the news of the week, and previewing his guest host stint tomorrow.

Thursday, November 2, 2006
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HH: It’s a Thursday, and as we always do when we’re lucky, we’re joined by Mark Steyn, author of America Alone on the New York Times bestselling list, number two bestselling book in Canada. And I’m pleased to announce, Hugh Hewitt fans everywhere, that my special guest host for all three hours tomorrow will be none other than Mark Steyn, live from New York. I hope they get that tape ready for you, Mark. Thank you for helping me out tomorrow.

MS: It’s a pleasure, Hugh. I’ll see if I can remember what it’s like having to hit commercial breaks, and all that kind of thing. I’m a little rusty in those skills, but I’ll do my best.

HH: My only concern is that you won’t be shameless enough in promoting your book.

MS: Oh, no, I will. I’m going to try and steal all your lines. You need this book, America, and things like that. I’m going to reprise some of your great lines.

HH: Very good. Congratulations, though, because that’s pretty fast to make the New York Times’ list, and to be number two in Canada. I can’t quite figure out why Canadians are buying it, but I’m glad they are.

MS: Yeah, it’s actually been number one, it’s been going back and forth between number one and number two. And in fact, I’m sort of pleasantly surprised by the interest up in Canada. And I’m kind of heartened by that. You know, it’s interesting. I think Canada is one of those places where if you factor out the peculiar situation of Quebec and French Canada, that there is a sort of still residual segment of the old Canada in the rest of the country.

HH: Now you’re going to have lots to talk about tomorrow, so we’ll consider this sort of a preview of the coming attraction. We start with the latest October surprise, the serious news. We’ll get to Kerry. Iran has test fired dozens of missiles today, including the Shahab-3, which can reach Israel. Does that enter into the consciousness of the American electorate? Should it, Mark Steyn?

MS: Well, I think it should, because I think this is really the story of our times, that the threshold for entering the nuclear club is now at kind of bargain basement level. And the reality is that this particular country, Iran, has got a 30 year track record of extra-territorial, outrageous provocations, including seizing, obviously, the U.S. Embassy, and issuing death threats and bounties on foreign nationals, and blowing up community centers thousands of miles away. So the idea that they’re developing nuclear technology purely for some domestic reason is completely absurd. And I don’t understand why the left aren’t upset about this. When it was just crazy people like Reagan and Thatcher who had nukes, the left thought Armageddon was coming in the next 48 hours. And now, it’s just perfectly sane chaps like Kim Jong Il and President Ahmadinejad who have them, the left couldn’t care less.

HH: It’s very troubling, and if we are in a confrontation with Iran, it would be much better is the president had a Congress at his back, not going for his back.

MS: Yes.

HH: Mark Steyn, let’s get to John Kerry. Your reaction to this week’s events, and especially whether or not his statement yesterday is satisfactory?

MS: Well, it isn’t satisfactory to me. I mean, if I were a Democrat, you know what I would want for 2008? I would want a candidate who knows who he is. This…John Kerry, I think anyone who has watched him campaign, will be struck by how extraordinarily unamerican he is, in the sense that he is not at ease with the kind of normal give and take of democratic politics. And there’s a sense of entitlement and elitism about him, that I think makes it very hard to understand why the party would ever have nominated him. And I think this betrays, whatever it is he did or didn’t mean to say, it betrays the condescension of the certain kind of privileged Democrat toward the military, that only people who are too dumb and too poorly educated, and thus have no choice, go into the military. It’s basically, you know, we support our troops, even though they’re morons. And I think this reveals, is a glimpse into what the Democrats actually mean when they say we support our troops. They support them as victims, as children, as people too stupid to know better. But they don’t support them in the mission they’re fighting, thousands of miles away.

HH: And not only, they profess to support them, and to even admire them, but they don’t listen to them. This takes me to the media, which I’ve been grinding on for a day now. A picture gets put out, yesterday. It’s been seen everywhere in the world. It’s eight American soldiers answering Kerry as only they could.

MS: Yes.

HH: It’s nowhere to be found. A blogger in Los Angeles, Aaron, went through the 520 newspapers online, found it is in two front pages. And my inbox is seething with e-mail with on duty, active duty soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines from all around the world, and the media is indifferent, contemptuous, even.

MS: But you know, what is, I find, interesting about this is why is newspaper circulation falling in America? It’s because these guys don’t know…these guys don’t recognize a story. They’re world class boors at the New York Times and the L.A. Times, because whatever you feel, whichever party you support, that photograph of ordinary American troops getting their own back on John Kerry is hilarious. It’s the classic definition of comedy. It’s the rich guy slipping on the banana skin. And that is why it ought to be on those papers. And you know what I love about Fleet Street, is regardless of the political affiliations of newspapers, when certain stories come along, when, like, it’s usually a conservative, but it can be a labor guy, too, gets mixed up in some incredibly specialized kind of sex scandal, nobody cares about their political affiliations. It’s just a great story. That picture is a great picture. And if you don’t have the news value to recognize that that’s a front page picture, it’s no wonder your circulation is dropping 8, 9% every time they take, they measure the temperature of the body.

HH: Is it that they don’t know that it’s there? Or that they don’t dare run it, because it might get in the way of their agenda?

MS: No, it’s because they’re basically as…I think at a certain level, they’re as pompous and condescending as John Kerry is. In a way, the stuffed shirts of the media and John Kerry deserve each other. It’s the other 290 million who find it all a bit hard to take. But I think that’s the thing. And in a sense, I think the media has John Kerry syndrome itself.

HH: Now we are coming up to an election that if Democrats get control of the House, we’re going to see the Vietnam playbook put back out. And Seymour Hersh and John Kerry got ahead of it. Seymour Hersh on Wednesday, at McGill University, trotted out an incredible slander, saying that 24 American soldiers, after taking an i.e.d. thing, and passing out candy, 16 of them got out of their, what do they call those specialized troop movements? Anyway, and gunned down kids.

MS: The Bradley vehicles.

HH: Yeah, that’s it. And 20 or 30 insurgents killed, they put it out as, but they were gunning down soccer-playing children. I can’t believe he makes these statements, Mark Steyn…strikers…and doesn’t get called on it in the American media.

MS: No, because the interesting thing about that, he claims there’s video of it. If there is video of it, you can bet it would be on CNN and the Keith Olbermann show, and all the rest of it. I mean, the fact of the matter is, I think at a certain level, these guys have to decide which side they’re on. I mean, I know which side I’m on. And I recognize that Bush and Cheney and Rumsfeld and the other coalition governments are all flawed human beings, and they make mistakes, and things go wrong. But I know which side I want to win. And this idea, this decayed, decadent idea of media impartiality, that you’re only doing your job when you in fact only point out the bad news on your side, and in fact, you give what would be regarded at any other point in human history as aid and comfort to the enemy, I think is just…I’m ashamed of my profession, to be honest.

HH: Seymour Hersh is the worst. Now a big question, Mark Steyn. My guess is that if the jihadists could hit us, they would have hit us today, or sometime this week prior to this, a la Madrid. Do you share that?

MS: No, I don’t, actually, Hugh, and here’s why I think why, because I think they’re actually cleverer than that, and they know that if they were to attack, then it would remind people that these are serious times, and that the Democrats are not a serious party. So I don’t think they could panic…I think they’ve figured out they can’t panic the American electorate into doing what the Spanish electorate does. And that’s why I think they’ve been very…they’ve been more subtle in a way, with this drip, drip, drip of defeatism, serving up just enough in the media to contribute to this sense of wearniness that people have with the sort of thankless policing operation in Iraq. But I think they’ve figured that if they’d actually…you know, if they’d blown up the Empre State Building or whatever, that that would have not produced the same result as it did in Spain. I think they’ve figured out that to get that Spanish result on American soil, it’s better to do it with the drip, drip, drip of the sort of daily thankless grind in Iraq.

HH: Now yesterday, Rumsfeld, Secretary Rumsfeld said they are playing Iraq with an eye on the elections. Do you agree with him?

MS: I do agree with him. When I saw him last week, he and General Pace made that point. And I think that’s clear. I think the media is an important front in this war, which is why people should factor in that they are in a sense, are part of the story, that in a media age, what matters is not necessarily what takes place on the battlefield, but how what takes place on the battlefield appears when it’s in the corner of your living room. And I think they’ve figured that out.

HH: 30 seconds, Mark Steyn. Were you glad when Lynne Cheney asked Wolf Blitzer, do you want us to win? Or was it inappropriate for her to do so?

MS: No, that was a magnificent performance by Mrs. Cheney, and shame on Wolf Blitzer, who is an ignorant buffoon, trying to compare her book with that thing of Jim Webb’s. And Mrs. Cheney was quite right not to let herself be sandbagged by that guy, and to hit back. And more Republicans should take the Lynne Cheney book, and take the Lynne Cheney textbook in handling CNN.

HH: Mark Steyn, tomorrow’s guest host for three hours on the Hugh Hewitt Show. Thank you, friend.

End of interview.

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