The Columnist To the World returned just as the government reopened, and noticed that when the President today instructed all of us to ignore political activists and talk radio types, that’s coming from a guy who prior to this job was a political activist.
The transcript is below, and as an added bonus to the Republican National Committee, here is the thirty second ad that should have been running in vulnerable Senate campaign markets all day. We did not add any pause to the one the President allowed himself. We just put the words of Barack Obama, Harry Reid, Chuck Schumer, Nancy Pelosi, Jay Carney and Debbie Wasserman-Schultz to the thought bubble that had to be in his head when he said this.
HH: Welcome to the day after the fortnight after the government shutdown, which is actually the day the government reopened, and in which I assume will be henceforth known as Re-Opening Day, which will probably become a new federal holiday so that federal workers could annually celebrate the day they went back to work by getting a day off. Joining me to celebrate the first Reopening Day, Columnist To the World, Mark Steyn. Mark Steyn, a Happy Reopening Day to you.
MS: Yeah, Happy Re-Opening Day to you, too, Hugh.
HH: It’s good to have you back. Now many people were worried about you, and they are afraid that you are embarrassed that the Canadian company that is running Healthcare.gov has somehow implicated your country of origin’s national pride, and that you have been shamed into hiding from the radio.
MS: No, no, I like, well, I like the way everyone, I mean, this is so typical, isn’t it?
MS: It is like you guys set up this lousy Obamacare thing, and suddenly, it’s all the fault of the cheap, foreign labor. It’s the Canadians, it’s the British software that I gather they lifted without attribution. It’s always easier to blame somebody else, isn’t it?
HH: Well, welcome back. We have missed you, but we have to get your take, especially on the Republican Hatfields and McCoys. Now Jonah Goldberg and I are friends, as you are with both of us as well. And we’ve had a very gentlemanly exchange of views. I’m on the Ted Cruz side, and he’s on the side that that wasn’t so well advised. We haven’t gone Klingon or Romulan, but many people have. What do you think of this?
MS: Well look, you know, in my book when it came out, whatever it was, a couple of years ago, it had a very simple point, that the question was whether the governing institutions of the United States of America were capable of meaningful course correction. And I think we’ve just seen, whether you fall on Jonah’s side or on your side, the net result is that we keep telling the world that we’re not capable of serious course correction. And that’s a problem. And I well understand why people like Ted Cruz get impatient with it. They’re right to be impatient with it. Right now, the governing institutions of the United States are utterly repulsive and disgusting. This bipartisan bill agreed yesterday includes $175,000 dollars to the widow of the late Senator, Frank Lautenberg, because apparently, it’s the tradition of the Senate to give significant six figure payments to the widows of distinguished senators. Why is that in this bill? It’s nothing to do with this bill. And that’s why government, more spending, more debt, another trillion dollars as we go float free of the debt ceiling, we’re telling the world that this is just the way it is now. No serious course correction can be mounted by America’s governing institutions. That’s a hell of a message.
HH: Oh, Mark Steyn, this tone is not in keeping with Reopening Day tone. President Obama instructed us on this tone today at the White House. Let me play for you a couple of his clips. Number one:
MS: (laughing) Great.
BO: Now there’s been a lot of discussion lately of the politics of this shutdown. But let’s be clear. There are no winners here. These last few weeks have inflicted completely unnecessary damage on our economy. We don’t know, yet, the full scope of the damage, but every analyst out there believes it slowed our growth.
HH: And he goes on to say, Mark Steyn…
BO: And to all my friends in Congress, understand that how business is done in this town has to change, because we’ve all got a lot of work to do on behalf of the American people, and that includes the hard work of regaining their trust. Our system of self-government doesn’t function without it. And now that the government has reopened, and this threat to our economy is removed, all of us need to stop focusing on the lobbyists and the bloggers and the talking heads on radio, and the professional activists who profit from conflict, and focus on what the majority of Americans sent us here to do.
HH: So I think you’re at least a two-fer, and you’re probably a three-fer, Mark Steyn, because you host for Rush, and you’re on with me, and you’re a professional activist. You’re writing books like After America, and you blog. And you’ve got the triple play.
MS: Yeah, and actually, I resent this coming from a guy like President Obama. The only day job he’s ever had was as a professional activist as a so-called community organizer. You know, the thing he said just after that, where he said you know, you have to stop using shutdowns and all the rest of us, and have to learn from now on that the way to do it is to win the election. I found that very interesting, because the Republican Party in the election for the House of Representatives won the election. They won that election. They’re the majority party in that house. And either that means something under the United States Constitution, or it doesn’t. He was talking, it was fascinating to me, in that moment, he saw that, he revealed that he saw this country as a presidential republic somewhat closer, to be polite, to France’s, or at worst, to Latin America. In other words, there’s the president, and nobody else matters. He won the only election that matters, and the rest of you are just lobby fodder, and should demonstrate no independent initiatives of your own. And again, he’s saying, he’s saying that essentially what has happened is that the United States Constitution now has become so deformed, that it is no longer operating as it’s meant to.
HH: He also went a little third world at one moment in his detachment from immediate past reality. We’ve dropped some reminders into this clip in real time, meaning we don’t stretch it out. It’s the gap that he himself hit. Play cut number five.
BO: And let’s face it, the American people don’t see every issue the same way. But that doesn’t mean that we can’t make progress. And when we disagree, we don’t have to suggest that the other side doesn’t love this country or believe in free enterprise, or all the other rhetoric that seems to get worse every single year.
Harry Reid: Anarchist
Nancy Pelosi: Arsonists.
Dan Pfeiffer: People with a bomb strapped to their chest.
Jay Carney: Hostage
Debbie Wasserman-Schultz: Hostage
Barack Obama: Gun to the other person’s head.
BO: We disagree on something. We can move on and focus on the things we agree on.
HH: Do you know why he paused so long, Mark? He realized how astonishingly absurd his claim was.
MS: I know. I know. I mean, that may be the greatest comic pause since Jack Benny did the Your Money Or Your Life thing.
MS: That’s beautiful. It’s good. It’s good. It’s terrific stuff. Just stand there and milk it. Brilliant.
HH: Now the sorry side of this is Obamacare is wreaking a havoc on people’s lives. That’s what got lost in this shutdown showdown, although the audience was greater, little granular stories of devastating premium impacts and lost insurance, and lost in space days on end on a website. It’s a tragedy, Mark Steyn, like the British, like the nationalization of the British Health Service in 1945. It is a disaster.
MS: Well no, I think it’s actually worse than that, Hugh. I think it’s a disaster on en entirely different scale. And by the way, if you accept the sort of Machiavellian explanation for Obamacare, that it’s designed to be so convoluted and bureaucratic that it collapses, and people flee gratefully to a single payer universal health care government system, that’s what the Machiavellians tell you is Obama’s long term goal. The launch, the rollout of Obamacare told you that actually the government can’t do it. The government cannot run a health care system for 300 million people from Maine to Hawaii. They’re not actually running it at the moment, and all they’re doing is they’ve set up a little website that points you to some other websites that eventually point you to some private insurance companies. You imagine if they were the National Health Service, which is the third largest employer on the planet, so this one, this American version would be the biggest by far, the biggest employer on the planet, and it would be a disaster. And that’s the message of Obamacare that even if they were to move to single player, they’re not capable of doing it without effectively Sovietizing American health care.
HH: So when President Christie or President Walker or President Rubio nominates Senator Ted Cruz to the Supreme Court, how’s that going to go over in the Senate, Mark Steyn?
MS: (laughing) Well, I would like that, only because Senator Cruz is one of my fellow Canadians. I think he got in on your 17th Amendment.
HH: He did. Well…
MS: And basically, given the mess you guys have made of the country, I’m in favor of an all-Canadian Supreme Court.
HH: Well, that brings me to my last question. How goes the campaign planning?
MS: (laughing) Well, you know, I don’t agree with, you said President Christie. I don’t agree with Chris Christie on a lot of things, but I am inclined to agree with him on this, that if I had been in the Senate, I would want to kill myself as Chris Christie said he’d want to kill myself. I mean, we need to have, one of the fascinating things about this is that I think we need to actually separate out the budget process. And I think the budget process ought to be the prerogative of the House of Representatives, the way it is in the lower house in Canada, Britain, Australia, India, South Africa, Ireland, New Zealand, Bermuda, the Bahamas, Belize, across the planet. And I think otherwise, you have this horrible, hideous horse trading by these puffed up little tin pot Gulf emirs with their vast entourages. And you cannot have anything but corrupt, sclerotic, big-spending government under that scenario.
HH: Mark Steyn, it is great to have you back. www.steynonline.com, America, for all of Mark’s writings. Follow him on Twitter, @marksteynonline, for the best in Twitter commentary as well.
End of interview.