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Hugh Hewitt Book Club

Mark Steyn, post-Romney

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HH: A rare and appreciated double dose of Mark Steyn today. Mark Steyn, welcome, good to have you back.

MS: Good to be back, Hugh, and I’m always happy to be the warm up act and then the post-game show for Mitt Romney.

HH: Now I think what we’re going to have to do, because you’ve been so kind today, I’m sending you a turducken.

MS: (laughing)

HH: After the break, we’re going to have Duane figure out where to send you a turducken. You’ve never actually had a turducken, have you?

MS: No, I haven’t. In fact, to go back to that BBC Christmas show, of all things, I ended up cooking for Martha. I made Martha Stewart, what was it, I think it was a pecan pie with a lattice crust. And she gave a very skeptical mmm, like the sort of mmm she’d say when she was trying Hillary Clinton’s cookies on the Today Show. So I never actually got a turducken from Martha, but she got some pie from me.

HH: I am giving you a turducken, and then we’ll find out after you prepare it for whatever the Thanksgiving feast is in the upper reaches of New Hampshire. So what did you make of Romney on the program today?

MS: Well, you know, you were playing I’ve Got You Under My Skin. I love…one of the great things about him is his temperament. Nothing ever gets under his skin. I mean, he could have gone mad at that outrageous remark of Robert Redford, and he just shrugged it off. And I like his temperament more and more. One thing I do think he’s absolutely right on is the implications of these swollen entitlements. And I think, actually, if he were the nominee, he’d be very well positioned to run against Hillary Clinton on that. You know, Hillary Clinton has voted for a ton of pork projects like federal money for this, some knitting mill in Seneca, New York. Well you know, if I was passing by that knitting mill, I’m sure I’d be happy to chip in. I can see why the people of Seneca might, I can see why the people of New York might. But I don’t think this is a federal issue. And I think he’s right, that actually, you need a profound cultural change in this country, so that we reposition what is plausible and what is feasible in terms of federal spending.

HH: How about his ideas when it comes to managing Pentagon and Treasury? I don’t think this stuff gets talked enough about, and I’m going to do it with Giuliani as well, because we elect administrations. And if we elect these Democrats, you know how many lunatics they’re going to bring to D.C. with them? I mean, just mad as hatter people?

MS: Yeah, and I do think that’s one of the issue. You know, John Kerry, campaigning in 2004, I saw him in this part of the world. He said oh, I’ve created jobs in the north country. I don’t know what he means by that. I’ve created more jobs in the north country, and I’m a foreigner.

HH: (laughing)

MS: You know, I actually have ended up employing more Americans and giving them real jobs than John Kerry ever has, and I think this idea that sort of government creates job was one of the reasons why I found John Kerry…you know, people talk about experience, and they always mean government experience. John Kerry has had a lifetime in the national legislature of the United States. And he always gave the impression that he hadn’t actually done anything. And aside from a couple of months running a donut stand, or being the sort of sleeping partner in a donut stand in Boston, he hadn’t. And I’d like to see Mitt Romney actually…you know, he did turn around that Olympics. And as I said when I introduced him in Washington, you know, this is the guy who made $200 million dollars out of curling.

HH: (laughing)

MS: These are sports nobody even likes. And he turned them around. And I think he should play up that side of him.

HH: All right, let’s finish by talking about John McCain. David Brooks sent him a valentine yesterday, and I think outside of Beltway-Manhattan, I don’t know anyone who likes John McCain as a candidate. What do you think?

MS: I think there’s no sign of a McCain revival here in New Hampshire. Mitt Romney has an incredible organization here, and he’s the only so-called mainstream Republican who has any presence on signs, just as you’re driving around from town to town. Ron Paul has a real presence, and it remains to be seen whether that’s just the sort of kook fringe, or whether he can oomph it up into something serious. But there’s no sign of a McCain revival among real Republican voters in the first primary state.

HH: You know, the Ron Paul issue today, the American Thinker put out a piece, Powerline linked to it, I linked to it, about the neo-Nazi support that he’s got. Is that a real problem for him? You know, candidates can’t control who sends them money, but don’t they have to speak out about that stuff?

MS: Well, I think if you’re running as a kind of scrappy insurgent, you often tend to be, wind up being positioned by what there’s a need for in the race. And there’s…I would say the sort of neo-Nazis are the kind of parochial right. If you belong to the parochial right, or the parochial left, then Ron Paul is an appealing candidate, because he has this anti-war policy which basically says the rest of the planet can go to hell, and we can stay in fortress America. And what I found, I don’t think he’s racist or neo-Nazi or any of that. But what I find interesting is that when you see him speak, all the small government stuff is gone. He’s just running as an anti-war candidate now. That’s what he talks about. The libertarian, the government spending and all that has all gone aside.

HH: Mark Steyn, Columnist to the World,, thank you, friend. We’re sending you a turducken today from, and we’ll get a report on that.

End of Part 2.


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