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Hugh Hewitt Book Club

Mark Steyn on the sequester, Obama’s media manipulation, and Joe Biden’s double-barrel self-defense tips

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JC: This is Congressman John Campbell, and I request unanimous consent to revise and extend my remarks and reserve the balance of my time. That is Congressional speak saying I will get back to Hugh’s continued lies and slander about USC later. But in the meantime, this segment, as we do every week, we have Mark Steyn, Columnist To the World, www.steynonline.com. Hello, Mark.

MS: Good to be with you, John. I was reeling under that barrage of Congressional speak. And I hope you don’t expect me to match that kind of flap.

JC: No, no, no. There’s at least 435 of us that can spew that any time. There’s only one of you. So let’s get into some issues. The big issue of course this week has been the sequester. And the President is running around saying that the end of the world is nigh because of this sequester. And we have a clip to play of the President talking about what has created this great problem.

BO: There’s no reason they should be furloughed, there’s no reason they should lose their job or be laid off. This is a problem that Congress can solve. These automatic spending cuts that were put into place back in 2011 were designed to get Congress to actually avoid them. I don’t know why it is or understand why folks leave stuff until the last minute. There’s no other profession, no other industry where people wait until the 11th hour to solve these big problems. And obviously, it creates a lot of uncertainty in our economy.

JC: Okay, Mark, there’s a lot of material there. You want to run with that?

MS: Well, I thought that was hilarious when he said that, because he was a big part of the crowd that came up with this sequester.

JC: He wasn’t a big part…

MS: and I love the way he says we instituted this sequester not in order that it would actually happen, but in order that it would not happen. And that in itself is a perfect gem of what is dysfunctional with your great industry, as he described Washington politics. And just bring me up to speed on what the latest estimated figure for the actual sequester total is. What is it, about $80 billion dollars?

JC: Yes, it’s something like that, but one of the things we discussed yesterday with Paul Ryan, it actually, let’s take non-Defense spending, it reduces the increase in non-Defense spending…

MS: Right.

JC: …from 17% since Obama was president to 12%. So after the sequester, non-Defense spending will still be 12% higher than when Obama was elected president.

MS: Right, and even if one were to accept that $80 billion as a cut, which it is in Washington terms, because in Washington, a cut means you slow the rate of increase. So it’s like going to your bank manager and saying yeah, I know I’ve got a $200,000 dollar overdraft, but I was planning next year on having a $400,000 dollar overdraft. What about if I were to cut it back to $350,000? And that doesn’t work in private life, but apparently it works in Washington. But even if you take it at face value, right now, the federal government is borrowing about $5 billion dollars a day, so that if it’s, what are we talking about, $80 billion, we’re basically talking about a little, about two and a half weeks’ worth of borrowing. So what is the point of spending months arguing over what, even if it were a real sum, is only two and a half weeks’ worth of borrowing anyway? What’s the point of fretting for three months, as we have done since November, over two and a half weeks’ worth of borrowing? This is a joke. You’re just telling the world we’re incapable of course correction. The institutions of Washington government are so dysfunctional, we’re just incapable of meaningful course correction.

JC: While we’re talking about the President here, I don’t know whether you saw, but in the Beltway media this week, they were very upset with President Obama, because he did not let them take pictures of his golf game in Florida with Tiger Woods. And the Beltway media was playing up that oh, well, the media has turned on Obama, and they’re very upset, and this is a closed White House and so forth and so on, and it needs to be more open. Where was this prior to election? And do you believe that the Hill press, the Washington press, is actually upset with President Obama?

MS: No, I don’t think so. There are lots of things to get upset with the guy over, and the issue with the golf for me is this, that we have a president who does not lead, who leads a strikingly imperial lifestyle. While he was playing golf, his wife and kids went off skiing in Colorado. This is a guy, the issue here is that there’s, the gulf between what the President preaches and how he lives. I mean, for example, on his Christmas vacation, he spent, that Christmas vacation cost more money than the entire Royal Family cost not just British taxpayers, but Canadian taxpayer or Australian taxpayers, Jamaican taxpayers, the entire British commonwealth, in a whole year. One Christmas vacation costs more than flying the Royal Family around the world for a whole year. So the issue here, I think, is the gulf between the President and his cheap, lousy class warfare, and the fact that he doesn’t live like 1%. He lives like the .0000001%. He costs more money than every European royal family put together. There’s a disconnect here.

JC: And do you think, I mean, when I hear that the press is, they’re upset with him and that they’re going to be more challenging, and they’re going to this…do you buy that?

MS: No, I don’t at all, because I think actually, one of the fascinating aspects of…and this goes back to the sequester, I mean, essentially, they’re pretending it’s real, too. When he talks about these phony crises that come along, they play along with these emergency crises. In a sense, there was no fiscal cliff on December 31st. When you owe $16 trillion dollars, you’re already at the bottom, you are deeper down the fiscal abyss than anyone could ever be lowered. But millions and millions of the American people are entirely unaware of that. So the press, essentially, Obama has achieved the same relationship with the press and the media, and public information, that the Soviet communist party had to jam radio transmitters and smash printing presses to achieve. Essentially, these guys are volunteering to do for him what they had to be coerced into doing in most self-respecting countries. And I think that’s the real issue here.

JC: Yeah, and you know, Mark, we’ve got to get here, we’ve got to, now we’ve talked about the President a little bit to the Vice President. The Vice President earlier this week gave us all some advice on how we might protect ourselves, and so Adam, play that clip.

Moderator: If a ban goes into effect on certain kinds of weapons and high capacity magazines…

JB: And what’s her name?

Moderator: Kate.

JB: Kate, if you want to protect yourself, get a double-barrel shotgun, have the shells, a 12-gauge shotgun, and I promise you, as I told my wife. We live in an area that’s wooded, and it’s somewhat secluded. I said Jill, if there’s ever a problem, just walk out on the balcony here, or walk out, put that double-barrel shotgun and fire two blasts outside the house.

JC: Mark Steyn, I believe you live in a wooded and secluded area in New Hampshire, so I’m waiting to hear the blasts.

MS: Well (laughing), yeah, because I live in a part of the world where that’s the famous New Hampshire knock on the door. If your car ever breaks down in my neck of the woods, you knock on the door, and then step smartly to the side of the door before the gun comes poking through the mesh of the screen door at you. I can appreciate that, but this is like Joe Biden’s pathetic little man of the people shtick. He’s not a man of the people. And the idea that Jill Biden is ever going to be in the situation where she has to reach for the shotgun, when you look at the level of protection the Vice President has, is ridiculous. And we know, by the way, this happened just a few weeks ago. A woman put, when we talk about these, the kind of stuff they want to ban, and the kind of stuff they approve of, a woman put all six rounds into a guy who was attacking her at her home a few weeks back, and only succeeded in wounding him. And this idea that somehow the state has the right to second guess you when you’re there, when you’re on that porch, when you’re behind that screen door, and there’s some guy coming at you, I think is just unworthy of a republic of self-governing citizens.

JC: Okay, we have a little less than a minute left, so in that last minute, Mark Steyn, Chuck Hagel. If he gets approved as SecDefense, your thoughts?

MS: Well, I don’t think he should be secretary of Defense. He fails on two grounds. I think he has a view of the world that is quite simply wrong. He’s wrong about Iran, he’s wrong about Israel, he’s wrong about other things. But the argument that was being made by the side that supported him is in fact, when conventional realists say he’s wrong, what they mean is he’s a radical re-thinker of U.S. Defense policy for a new age. He demonstrated at his hearing that in fact he’s just an empty-headed buffoon.

JC: Thank you, Mark Steyn, Columnist To the World, www.steynonline.com.

End of interview.

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