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Mark Steyn On The Senate’s Action On Immigration, The Court Decision, and Obama’s Indecision On World Affairs

Friday, June 28, 2013

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HH: Immigration reform overhaul has passed in the United States Senate by a vote of 68-32, and it’s now dead. It’s dead as a doornail. Joining me to discuss its demise, Columnist To the World, Mark Steyn, as in www.steynonline.com. Hello, Mark, how are you?

MS: Hey, good, thanks, Hugh. How are you?

HH: Good, well, they didn’t get to their 70 votes, because more and more people read the Corker-Hoeven amendment, and figured out that it was nonsense. And I do think this thing is doomed. Do you agree with that assessment?

MS: I hope it’s doomed, but the one thing that worries me about this is it got votes it shouldn’t have got in the United States Senate. I deeply regret that my own senator, Kelly Ayotte, voted for this bill. But more than that, I think that the encouraging thing about the House is that House Republicans are not so easily cowed and demonized and demagogued on this issue as a certain type of Republican senator is. But I still worry that what we will end up with is a de facto legalization, a de facto amnesty, and everything else will just go by the book. There’ll be no serious enforcement, there’ll be in effect a doubling of legal, of the rate of legal immigration, there’ll be continued illegal immigration across the Southern border, and in effect, the country will be lost. I still think that’s a possibility.

HH: You know, Mark, I’m not sure if I should be proud of this or not, but some people were saying if they’ve lost Hugh Hewitt, they’ve lost the ability to trick anybody, because all I wanted was a fence. I mean, I was a pretty easy sale. I had low sales resistance, and they went and they screwed up the easiest thing in the world to do, which is to order a fence be built.

MS: Yeah, I know, and I was never on board with you about that thing.

HH: I know.

MS: Because I think there’s all kinds of other things in this bill that are absolutely, that have absolutely horrible implications, including the creation of one of these 501c4 institutions that will in effect be administering U.S. citizenship to this new population of immigrants. There’s all kinds of weird stuff that managed to sneak in there. But the fence was the one thing they had to do to keep on board, and they couldn’t bring themselves to do that, because it’s a physical manifestation. All the other stuff, as we were talking about a couple of weeks ago, is joke stuff. It’s meaningless triggers. They’re going to double the number of border patrol agents. Yeah, right. And even if they did do all that, all those border patrol agents are going to be harassing octogenarian Canadian snowbirds on their way to Florida. All the other stuff, we know is a joke. The one thing with the possibility of being a non-joke was your fence, and that’s why even that wasn’t allowed to happen.

HH: I know, but I feel like the guy who walks onto the car lot with cash, and all he wants to do is buy a blue car, and there are lots of blue cars, and they refuse to sell him the blue car. And you wonder…

MS: (laughing) Yeah, yeah.

HH: What in the world is wrong with these people? I had Senator Hoeven on yesterday, and I don’t know if you had a chance to see this transcript.

MS: Right, right.

HH: They don’t know what’s in their own bill, Mark Steyn.

MS: No, no. I mean, this is the other thing, by the way, in which what Kelly Ayotte and Marco Rubio did is problematic for me. I’m tired of the whole ‘we have to pass it to find out what’s in it.’ This is the Obamacare of immigration. It accords to the secretary of Homeland Security all the same powers of discretion that Obamacare accords to the Health and Human Services secretary. And this is simply not a respectable way for a self-governing republic to conduct its affairs. And I’ve got no, I think there’s a serious issue after this and other events this week, about the institutions of American government. And these thousand page monstrosity bills that these joke legislators don’t even read before they stick their hands up and vote for them is simply unbecoming to a mature nation.

HH: Oh, I know, and when Senator Hoeven, who’s a smart guy and a good conservative, says well, that’s a subsidiary clause, and it’s not, and every lawyer kind of rears back and says whoa, that’s so wrong it’s unbelievable…

MS: Right.

HH: It’s sort of like the DOMA decision yesterday where five justices struck down a 15 year old law that 380 legislators and a president of the United States vote for it, and was a rather ordinary bill. It was not a reach. It wasn’t, as I asked Ted Cruz yesterday, William Rehnquist, Mr. Federalism, would have been shocked at the idea that Anthony Kennedy, his colleague in the Court on some key federalism decisions, thought that a uniformed definition of marriage for federal purposes was an overreach of federalism. It was a pretty shocking decision.

MS: Oh, I think so, and I, to be honest, you know, the gay marriage issue, I think, is…if the people want gay marriage…

HH: Sure.

MS: I think it’s for their legislators to vote for it.

HH: Sure.

MS: As has been done everywhere else. It’s been done in Belgium and the Netherlands and Denmark. The House of Commons at Westminster voted for gay marriage under a Conservative government a few weeks ago. I think if the people’s representatives wish to do that, that’s one thing. When Anthony Kennedy wishes to do it, when Emperor Anthony is the supreme arbiter of all things for 300 million people, I think that’s pathetic. And I don’t think, and it’s particularly pathetic when you read his opinion in this case, which basically imputes animus to anyone who disagrees with him. It’s the most immature opinion. It doesn’t even take on arguments about DOMA. It basically says the guys who did it were motivated only by an antipathy to gay people.

HH: Well, I am glad to have as a Supreme Court precedent that Bill Clinton is anti-gay. I mean, that’s been, that’s a conclusive majority opinion.

MS: Yeah, and Chuck Schumer is anti-gay. 85 of 100 senators were somehow motivated by animus. And actually, this is a very worrying precedent, because effectively, I mean, I don’t like that the fetishization of judges, I don’t want an absolute monarchy where you replace the king with nine robed judges, and you pretend somehow are any more objective than just having an absolute monarch. But if you’re going to have an absolute monarchy, it’s particularly unhealthy to have an absolute monarchy that doesn’t even address arguments, but simply says we declare disagreement with us unacceptable and biased and bigoted, because they can do that not just with gay marriage. They could do it with the JFK Airport parking lot expansion bill.

HH: Yeah.

MS: They could do that with every single thing that comes up on their panel.

HH: Well then, let’s, with the two minutes we have left, I want to switch from the headlines of last week to what will be the headlines of this week. Egypt is about to go into a convulsion, Mark Steyn. And people apparently are unaware of this, that they’ve had it with Mr. Morsi and the Brotherhood, who cannot appear, they cannot run a small township, much less a country that depended upon tourism from which they have driven away all the tourists. How much of this is going to get put onto Barack Obama’s account?

MS: Well, it was very, a lot of it should be. If you recall that absurd moment when Anderson Cooper…

HH: Yup.

MS: …was standing in Tahrir Sqaure, trying to tell the people of Egypt that this was all the doing, their great, wonderful Facebook revolution, was all the doing of Barack Obama. But there’s no doubt that basically the Obama, the United States and the Western powers generally, are weaker in the Middle East than they have ever been. And Egypt is the most important Arab country. As you said, it kind of has one leg in both worlds. It’s a first world tourist destination. There’s millions of people from all over the world who go on tours down the Nile, and they want to see the pyramids. My mother did it herself last year. And if you can’t do that without tourists being blown up and being killed and everything, then Egypt is just a broke, third world bankrupt disaster. It’s the biggest importer of wheat for bread in the world. And Morsi can’t run anything. He’s like all these guys. It’s like putting Jesse Jackson in charge of something. Jesse can’t run nothing but his mouth, or whatever they said, and that’s the same with a guy like Morsi.

HH: Well, but at the end of the day, I’m talking with Jonathan Alter later today about his book about Barack Obama, The Center Holds, and I’ve discovered he’s a great actor. President Obama can act any part, but he needs a director, and he doesn’t have a director when it comes to foreign affairs. No one will tell him what to do, so he does nothing.

MS: No, well, it’s also the old George S. Kaufman line that he’s shooting without a script. He has, I think that the problem here is that he sees it as a good thing in the world for America to be a diminished voice. The lesson of his disastrous trip to the G8 Summit in County Fermanagh, and his floppo speech in Berlin, is that the world is beginning to take him seriously on that, and is beginning to go ahead and make other arrangements.

HH: What a dread thought – make other arrangements. What a thought. Mark Steyn, thank you, www.steynonline.com.

End of interview.

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