Mark Steyn, sleepless in New Hampshire, after six weeks of Obamanomics
ML: As I was saying last time I was on the show, about five years ago, it’s going to get more challenging in America. Little did I know then, I’m going to be open and honest here. Little did I know then we would have Barack Obama as president, taking us to places we never dreamed of going. I’ll tell you who saw a lot of this in advance is Mark Steyn, and he joins us as he does on a regular basis here on the Hugh Hewitt Show across America. And you know him, you love him as author of books like America Alone. I hope you read his online material every day. He updates it even 24/7 while he’s sleeping, he’s that good, at www.steynonline.com. Mark Steyn, welcome back.
MS: Hey, good to be with you, Mark. I think the reason I update it while I’m sleeping is because I’m finding it harder to sleep these days, the way things are going. A lot of sleepless nights.
ML: Yeah, it’s funny you mention that, because the other day, Mrs. Larson told me that she woke up about Three in the morning, and I thought well, that’s just maybe it’s because baby boomers at a certain place in life, and she said no, no, I don’t know what it is, it’s just been happening. Then, and I’m not making this up, I went to a local car dealership, El Cajon Ford where I happen to do some commercial work and so forth, and I did my own little survey of the women in the office. And it turned out that four out of four said the same thing, the night before, up at Three in the morning. Now is that something that they’ve debated in the big confab at the White House today about health care? Are they looking at every possibility here, including sleepless nights? Because they’re creating plenty of them.
MS: Well, I hope they get a sleepless night entitlement. That may be one of the things I’m eligible for. I don’t think that was high on the agenda, even for this government. But basically, when you’re spending $3.7 trillion dollars, there’s no reason why there shouldn’t be a $600 billion earmark for sleepless nights somewhere in there.
ML: Mark Steyn, isn’t there some point where there’s some grown up in the White House who says wait a minute, we’re doing way too much, way too soon. Let’s start with, oh, I don’t know, that bellwether that they don’t want to call a bellwether, the Dow Jones Industrial Average, which again today in the Wall Street whiplash department, down 281 points after being up about 150 change yesterday. It seems to me the last thing you want to do is pile on new projects that make it even worse, and scare people to…
MS: No, no, I think in hard political terms, that actually makes sense. One thing I do admire about the Democrats just in terms of naked political muscle is they don’t waste time. If they’re elected on a Tuesday, on Wednesday they begin erecting what they regard as their power apparatus, and moving very fast. And a lot of this stuff you can only do if you move fast. It’s only because Barack Obama has been running around saying the sky is falling that we’re even considering trillions and trillions of dollars of expenditure. If he was to speak calm and incremental, he wouldn’t get any of this stuff done six months, a year down the line. He has to move fast. As Rahm Emanuel says, he has essentially to use the crisis as an opportunity. And that’s what it’s about. I think that the plummeting Dow actually serves his purpose to that…
ML: So then isn’t the dilemma this whole issue of the message that he’s carrying, because even some of the mainstream media types, Katie Couric was even pointing out the other day that the Dow was dropping when Obama or his people speak at times, everybody’s saying, even Bill Clinton’s saying that he needs to be much more positive in what he’s talking about. He does it in the speech the other day, but with all this chaos, is this a bit of a dichotomy, because you want to be the cheerleader on one side, but you want to ram this stuff through quickly and take advantage of the crisis by keeping it in crisis.
MS: Yeah, I think if you want to look after Katie Couric’s stock portfolio, you’d be more positive. But basically, Katie and Co, I think essentially rich people and poor people voted for Obama. The middle classes went to McCain. And the rich people essentially got suckered. He’s serious. When you look at what Barack Obama believes, it’s necessary for the country to be so insecure that it looks to a big security nanny state with enormous powers to provide a kind of safety net for you. And I think his priority is to make sure that people feel sufficiently insecure that they’ll go along with this big nanny state apparatus.
ML: Mark Steyn with us here on the Hugh Hewitt Show, Mark Larson from San Diego, from the studios of KCBQ today, and one of the things that has been kind of the, I guess it’s the daily parlor game if you will on the Hewitt show in recent days, I know Geraghty got into this the last couple of days as well, at what point do we as Americans, and many experts then take a look at the economy as it is, warts and all, and say this is now Obama’s economy, or mostly Obama’s economy? At what point do we say it’s now mostly his deal?
MS: Well, I think that’s the big question. You know, when FDR took over in 1933, it had essentially been Herbert Hoover’s economy for the previous three or four years. This is different. This happened at the very last couple of months of George W. Bush’s watch, and so from Obama’s point of view, the point at which it becomes the Obama economy is the point at which things change. My worry is, though, that when you look at the riots that have been happening in Bulgaria and Greece and Iceland and other places, is that when people turn against the government, it’s usually because they’re banging on the door of parliament saying why don’t you guys do more for me? In other words, they’re saying a $3.7 trillion dollar package isn’t enough, we need a $20 trillion dollar package. So I’m a bit worried that when this public dissatisfaction with Obama starts, a big chunk of it will be from people who are actually demanding even bigger and even more Europeanized solutions to these things.
ML: Well, so maybe some of the chaos helps head off the street parades like we had in Iceland. I’m looking at a Fox News poll today, you’ve probably seen this, Mark Steyn, just out today, majorities of Americans think Barack Obama is meeting, if not exceeding, expectations and keeping his campaign promises. In addition, it says that despite Obama’s claim that he doesn’t believe in bigger government, the new poll does show there is widespread belief among Americans that he does believe in bigger government, but maybe America’s on the couch saying bring it on.
MS: Yeah, I think that’s true. I think there is, the people who think he’s exceeding expectations, I think of the ones who hadn’t expected him to go for this big, Euro-sized government package so soon. And in that sense, he is. I mean, all these people who were suckered, the smart guys, David Brooks in the New York Times, the so-called smart commentators…
MS: …were, basically thought he was this kind of bipartisan, moderate, reach-across-the-aisle guy. He isn’t at all. He, what he is proposing is the transformation of the United States into the same kind of policies that have mired the European Union in economic stagnation. And if you’re going to do that, you’ve got to move fast. And all power to him, he’s moving very fast.
ML: Well, the other day we had Gordon Brown here at the White House, he’s been here this week with President Obama talking about the UK and the world as we know it and so forth, and there’s, in fact, the quote was we need to be doing what we did, the race to the Moon back in the 60s, let’s marshal that kind of focus, and the U.S. will lead the world, and let’s all come up with a global fix here. Interpret what he’s really working for there, and how that all plays into what we’re talking about.
MS: Well, I think the reality is that the United States is more responsible for this global crisis than any other government, Western government. But there’s no justice in the world, so every other country is going to be clobbered a lot worse, including Canada, including the United Kingdom. We’ve already seen it in peripheral places like Latvia and Iceland, but nobody much cares about those countries. The next wave are countries like Ireland and Italy, which are all but bankrupt. I mean, Ireland and Italy are basically in the same situation as General Motors and Bank of America. And so global world leaders, prime ministers around the world, are looking to Obama not just to save America, but to save Europe and the rest of the world as well. And so when they see this protectionism that’s in the stimulus package, they realize oh, my God, he has got, he is not interested in solving our problems. He’s not even interested in solving America’s problems. He’s got some entirely different agenda altogether.
ML: Well, and that’s for sure. You can look at just about any aspect of this, you reach out to what’s happening in the Palestinian circle with the money to Hamas essentially, $900 million plus…
ML: Are they getting health care with that deal, too? Are they getting the same kind of benefits we’re getting?
MS: Yeah, I don’t think you need to worry about the kind of health care that Hamas go in for. Actually, in fairness to Hamas, when your health takes a downturn, it’s usually because you’ve blown yourself into 400,000 pieces in some Israeli pizza parlor. And it’s actually pretty hard to find enough of you to take to a hospital to give you health care. So in fairness to them, those $900 million is just going to advance their non-social agenda. That’s going to be, everything in Hamas is, if you go to their hospitals, they’re launching rockets. If you go to their schools, they’re launching rockets. So you can call is the school budget, the Hamas school budget, Hamas health care budget, but pretty much, whatever you call it, it’s being aimed at Israel.
ML: Mark Steyn, always a pleasure, www.steynonline.com, read his latest piece about Canada, A Beacon To The World, and there’s Frankenstein worked into there as well. We’ll talk to you again soon. Thanks much.
End of interview.