HH: Pleased to welcome Mark Steyn, Columnist To the World. You can read everything Steyn writes at www.steynonline.com. Mark, there’s a lot of politics to talk about, and I’m going to be talking about the media with Ryan Lizza of the New Yorker a little bit later. But I’ve got to begin with the story about the video and the Marines and the Taliban. I’m just afraid I’m having an Abu Ghraib flashback here. What do you think?
MS: I haven’t seen the video. And I think it’s very…I think that one of the lessons of Abu Ghraib is that we should keep a sense of proportion about these things. I think the real problem in Afghanistan, and just going from my e-mail, is that a lot of the U.S. military serving there are very unhappy being there, and being in the situation what they think is a thankless task. The Taliban essentially, you know, goat herds with string and fertilizer, and they’ve tied down the global superpower. And my e-mails have changed over the years from serving military over there. There’s a lot more resentment at the lack of strategic purpose there. And while some people express that by writing to columnists on the other side of the world, other people will express it in other ways. It’s not a good sign either way.
HH: All right, I agree with that on proportionality. And with that, I won’t say anything more. Let’s turn to the politics. Rick Perry was my guest on yesterday’s program. And I asked a question and got a response which I want your comment on, Mark Steyn. Here is the Governor of Texas.
HH: I must say, your patience with these moderators is admirable, Governor. I honestly do now know how you get through a David Gregory debate or George Stephanopoulos debate without laughing. What’s going on in your mind when you hear their loaded questions?
RP: Well, obviously this is all about reality TV, and frankly, making money for the networks. I mean, we’ve basically become pawns of the media from the standpoint of we’re not talking about the issues that are…in a minute reflection, frankly on some very, very idiotic questions. I mean, the idea about contraceptives that was asked the other night was just off the scale from the standpoint of being of any importance in this country. So it is was it is, and we’re going to continue on.
HH: Mark Steyn, I think you’re among the first to urge the Republicans not to say it is what it is, but in fact to push back and to refuse this game.
MS: Yes, I don’t think they should play along. And I don’t think there’s any risk to expressing your complete…it depends on tone and everything, but in expressing your complete contempt for the utter worthlessness of George Stephanopoulos. I don’t think there’s a political price to be paid for that. I think viewers would rather enjoy it if someone had said…when George Stephanopoulos was asking questions about contraception, you know, I would have, I think I said this somewhere. I think I would have said oh, I wish I had a federally subsidized condom in my pocket right now, because I’d roll it over your head, George. And that way, the rest of us could get on with talking about what matters to America. There is literally no point in taking this stuff seriously. This country is facing absolutely critical existential problems that will end its time as the dominant, global economy, and a global superpower. And the idea of spending a presidential debate talking about gay adoption or the Constitutionality of condoms is completely absurd.
HH: I think your advice is going to be reflected in the debates coming up next week. I really do. I think that we have crossed a Rubicon vis-à-vis the idiocy of the media when you get the Governor of Texas talking this way. So I also want to draw and get from you…
MS: But just one final thing on that, Hugh. I think even Rick Perry’s answer expressing frustration is wrong. Then it’s not about making profits for the networks. He’s wrong on all that. I mean, if it was, and they did it in a Dancing With The Stars format, so the six of them had to whirl Diane Sawyer around the floor and do the mambo and the Merengue with her, that would be one thing. But it’s not that. I mean, these guys are asking these questions because they want to make the Republicans looks like kooks and obsessives, whereas in fact, they’re the kooks and obsessives. And so Rick Perry isn’t actually even seeing the defects quite straight there.
HH: You know, you have just given me a wonderful inspiration, which is I think I’m going to lead a demand Mark Steyn be invited to Dancing With The Stars. Can you dance?
MS: (laughing) Don’t do that.
HH: No, no, I think (laughing)…
MS: Before you do that, Hugh, get out the tape of Tucker Carlson’s appearance.
HH: (laughing) but I think you could carry it off with panache and humor. Can you dance?
MS: (laughing) Well, I couldn’t do worse than Tucker.
MS: He spent half his number sitting down on a chair while this exotic lady in a skimpy dress danced around his chair. I think he thought it was Lap Dancing With The Stars. He didn’t think he had to get on his feet.
HH: (laughing) You know, I think this might be the first interview with Mark Steyn that does not get excerpted on the Daily Caller by Jeff Poor.
MS: (laughing) Yeah, transcribe this, Jeff!
HH: (laughing) All right, I’ve got to go. Background for the audience, the Daily Caller always takes a grab of this interview for their Friday Sheet from Jeff Poor, and that’s Tucker Carlson’s internet site if you don’t get it. I’ve got to go back to the media. I don’t know if you’ve yet seen Arthur Brisbane, the public editor’s journal piece today, titled, Should The New York Times Be A Truth Vigilante? And it begins by asking if Mitt Romney says, for example, that Obama has made speeches apologizing for America, perhaps the next time, I’m quoting now, Mr. Romney says the President has a habit of apologizing for his country, the reporter should insert a paragraph saying more or less, the President has never used the word apologize in a speech about U.S. policy or history. Any assertion that he has apologized for U.S. actions rests on a misleading interpretation of the President’s words. Mark Steyn, they’re not satisfied with distorting everything. They are now going to rule out of order rhetoric.
MS: Yeah, and this is why, by the way, I must say I think one of the worst developments in America’s dying newspaper industry have been these so-called fact check columns.
MS: …where what you have now is basically argumentative, left-wing reporters actually arguing with opinion. And that’s what it would be there. I don’t think anybody’s in doubt, for example, whether or not he actually used the word apology. The President went to Cairo and apologized to the Muslim world, essentially, and heralded a new start. Hillary Clinton gave a reset button to the leaders of Russia, and got the word for reset wrong, because the idiots in the State Department bungled it. What was she resetting there? She was resetting previous American policy. Obama himself, when he’s sitting around the table with Chavez, and Chavez is complaining about the Bay of Pigs, says well, you know, that was before I was born. In other words, he went to the U.N. and again pressed the reset button. So we all know what this is, and in fact, if a public editor wants to do that, he should get a column, or he should get a radio show.
HH: And they want to play Broadway to politics. They want to be a Broadway critic for political candidates. I’m going to discuss with Ryan Lizza after the break the Mitt Romney 100,000 job claim, because Glenn Kessler, a left wing fact checker at the Washington Post, said you can’t prove that. To me, Mark Steyn, it is manifestly stupid to say with Staples out there at 89 or 90,000 employees, that Mitt Romney can’t make that claim given direct jobs, the but-for relationship with the investment firm, Bain and Staples. But I think you’re going to a bigger point, which is who made them arbiters of the quality of rhetoric when people are making arguments? I can think, they’d be traveling around…
MS: But you know, I’d put it even beyond that, Hugh, because I think it’s why politics stinks in this country, because it’s why, if you say, for example, oh, I think we should have a policy of such and such toward China, you get 30 e-mails saying Steyn, you lie. You lie. You’re too…
MS: And half of that comes from the idea now that just, that just normal discourse has to have, has to be something that is weighed in pounds and ounces as having the purity of gold. And the media, America’s brain-dead, diseased, dying newspaper industry clings to this, because it thinks of itself as a priesthood.
HH: Yes, and I will close by simply saying I am now very fond of my Dancing With The Stars idea. And so…
HH: You’re in trouble, Mark Steyn, because I think you can dance. You can sing. You must have…have you ever done any dancing?
MS: Yeah, I’ll…if you do, if you pull this off, Hugh, I will dance with Tucker, but I have to lead, okay?
HH: All right, I’ll tell him that. Mark Steyn, thank you…not that there’s anything wrong with that. www.steynonline.com, America, for everything that Mark Steyn has written. Dancing With The Stars must hear from conservative America that the hour has come for Mark Steyn on the big stage. I think he can win. And it would be about the funniest episodes every in the cross chat at the end.
End of interview.