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Mark Steyn on the toll of the 50/50 electorate

Thursday, October 23, 2008

HH: Joining me to discuss this and the assault on a McCain volunteer in Pittsburgh, where a robber enraged by her McCain bumper sticker carved the letter “B” in her face is Columnist To the World, Mark Steyn. Mark, you know, we hear a lot about people hollering things at McCain rallies, but now we’ve got evidently an Obama robber who’s also a mutilator. Think the media will cover this?

MS: Well, I would hope so. I mean, this is a horrible story. It reminds me of some of these stories you get out of German cities where Muslim youths find an uncovered woman walking about the streets the same age as this young lady, and they will cut her from ear to ear so that she’s not able to go out again in anything but a burka. And in a sense, it’s about the same thing. It’s about enforcing your particular view of the world on apostates. This, something like this is hideous, but it arises from what I think is the danger with this kind of 50/50 nation, is that people start de-legitimizing the other party. And in that sense, it’s part of a continuum. A sophisticated New Yorker humorist, in the New Yorker Magazine, did a thing this week where he said essentially choosing the parties at this election is like the stewardess on the plane coming down the aisle and saying do you want the chicken, or would you like a piece of fecal matter? I’m making it slightly more elegant than he phrased it. And the minute you actually say that the 50% of your fellow Americans who vote for the other party are people who are essentially voting for fecal matter, you’re actually denying the possibility of civilized multi-party politics. And there is something horrible about this election, about the corruption and degradation of the political discourse in this nation. And although people get excited about some twerp saying something at a McCain rally, the evidence, the preponderance, the destruction, the vandalization of cars, the spray painting of Senator Coleman’s house in Minnesota, the preponderance of evidence is that there’s a lot more of this going on on the left wing side of the spectrum.

HH: I’m reading from a report this afternoon from the KDKA station in Pittsburgh, according to a campaign spokesperson, after seeing her bumper sticker supporting McCain, the suspect said oh, you’re with McCain? You’re with the McCain campaign? I’m going to teach you a lesson. After repeatedly hitting, kicking and threatening the woman, the McCain camp says, the suspect carved a “B” in her cheek for Barack Obama. The picture of her is on the Drudge Report. And you mentioned Norm Coleman. Now this has gotten very little attention, Mark Steyn.

MS: Yeah.

HH: But someone went to his garage and painted a death threat on it.

MS: Yes.

HH: It’s astonishing that it’s not being covered.

MS: Yes, and not only is it not being covered, but we have this insane thing where conservative columnists, including a lot of friends and colleagues of mine who I have great respect for…Kathleen Parker, I’ve loved Kathleen’s work for many years, but I think she’s, I don’t understand why she would write a column saying that it’s not the economy stupid, it’s the ugliness, and claiming that there are millions of decent Americans affronted by the ugliness of the McCain campaign who will be going to vote for Obama. As you say, find me the Democrat Senator whose had a death threat sprayed on his house by Republicans. No, it’s happened to Republican Senator Norm Coleman in Minnesota.

HH: Now let me ask you, Mark Steyn, generally about this. I was just on the Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer, and I pointed out that there had been four polls in four days that show a race very tight – Battleground, AP and two from IBD/TPP. And I leave the set and I come driving over to my studio, and Paul Begala goes on and challenges my sanity, says I don’t live in the reality world. Now these are polls. These are respectable polls. I think the media honestly is so deluded by this race that they are unaware of counterfactuals to their preferences.

MS: No, I disagree with you there, Hugh. I don’t think they’re deluded. I think they know exactly what they’re doing. Now this Investors Business Daily poll you mentioned that shows essentially the race tied, these are the guys who called it closer than anyone in 2004. In other words, they got it right in 2004, pretty much bang on the money. So I find it very interesting that they’re showing the race exactly tied. What I think the media are consciously doing is not living in delusion. I think they’re consciously trying to depress Republican turnout. They’re effectively sending a two week early missive saying look, it’s over, forget it, give it in, give it up. You might as well surrender now, and we’ll give you a nice back seat up in the cheap seats for the coronation. That’s the point of this, and it’ll be even worse on Election Day. On Election Day, after Three O’clock, Four O’clock Eastern in the afternoon, there’ll be all these leaks showing overwhelming, as there were in 2004, showing all this overwhelming mass support for Obama. You guys in the Florida Panhandle or points west, you might as well stay home and forget it, the election’s over. And I think that’s the conscious strategy of the media, who ever since primary season when they chose him over Hillary, have been determined to do what it takes to drag a non-landslide candidate into landslide territory.

HH: Now Mark Steyn, it’s not just the media, though. There are some willing accomplices among our friends. I was on Larry King a couple of nights ago. The next night, David Frum was on. Now I’ve done [an event] with David, I like David a lot, but he’s declaring it over. Alex Castellanos was on after I was, as you say, renting another suite in the USS Obama saying no, there’s no evidence for the 20 point swing. It’s in the IBD number. I don’t make this stuff up. Why are there so many Republican pundits, or conservative pundits, eager to throw John McCain under the bus? The irony of course is those who are most critical of McCain, like you and me and others…

MS: Yeah.

HH: …are standing by the campaign most vigorously.

MS: Yeah, McCain is not my candidate. And if I were to put it bluntly, the Republicans don’t deserve to win. But American does not deserve a liberal supermajority. And for me, the second point trumps the first. So I’m prepared to do what’s necessary to drag the sorry carcass of Mr. Maverick over the winning post. But you know, I think some of these guys need to get out there. And with respect to David, who is a friend, I’ve shared op-ed pages with David as far as, off the top of my head, in at least three different counties, and probably more. And I regard him as a friend, and I have a lot of respect for him. But I think there is something happening there on the ground. Sarah Palin drew 22,000 people, an all-time record to her appearance, her rally, in Grand Junction, Colorado, a city with only 50,000 people in a county with only 100,000 people. That is a phenomenal turnout. And if the press were covering these campaigns equally, there would be stories about the energy on the Palin side, and there would be scrutiny of what’s going on with the financial donations and all the other things on the Obama side.

HH: It was astonishing, Mark, I came on after Jack Cafferty did a patented Cafferty File where he talked about voter fraud and managed not to mention ACORN. So I started a drinking game for alcoholics. When Jack Cafferty mentions ACORN, you have to take a drink. They’re completely safe.

MS: Yeah, yeah.

HH: I also cannot believe for a moment that the Catholic issue here is so uncovered. We had the Bishop of Scranton go into a meeting to which he wasn’t invited to instruct his faithful in Joe Biden’s hometown abortion matters, you cannot vote abortion rights and be a faithful Catholic. This is part of a huge trend out there that I think the IBD poll is picking up.

MS: Yes, and I think it’s interesting, just to go back to some of the critics of McCain and the Obamafiles on the so-called conservative side of the equation here, I think if you look at who they are, they tend to be the ones who are, for whom social issues do not matter. In a sense, they, and I think they have difficulty to that extent understanding what something like abortion is for those voters for whom it is an absolute bedrock issue. So I’m not, you know, I’m cautiously optimistic. I was interested to see, it’s interesting to me the states that McCain hasn’t yet given up on, and it’s interesting to me the panic and insecurity there is somewhere like Pennsylvania, where that birdbrain Jack Murtha seems to have blown away his own district by telling his voters they’re all racists. The internal polls that the Obama campaign is getting in some of these states like Pennsylvania suggest they know that all these polls showing them with 10 and 12 point leads are not where reality is, whatever Paul Begala says.

HH: 30 seconds, do you think we’ll see some hard-hitting ads on Wright and Ayers in the last week, Mark Steyn?

MS: I’m not sure, because I think in the end, that that’s…McCain is uncomfortable doing that. You know, as I said, the rest of us are going to have to drag him over the finish line, and thank God for Sarah Palin, because she’s doing some of the stuff that he ought to be doing himself.

HH: Mark Steyn, Columnist To the World, always a pleasure,

End of interview.

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