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Mark Steyn Thinks It’s Not Optimal that Obama Is campaign with his binders on

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HH: Possibly the worst day of the campaign for President Obama. To discuss it is Columnist To the World, Mark Steyn. You can read everything Mark writes at Mark, good afternoon to you.

MS: Hey, good to be with you, Hugh.

HH: Let me run down what I want to cover. Number one, the Gallup poll came out today and shows that President Obama has fallen seven points behind Mitt Romney. Number two, the President went to New York and taped an episode of the Comedy Central’s The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, in which he said, and I want to quote him here, Jon Stewart says is part of the investigation helping the communication between these divisions, not just what happened in Benghazi, what has happened within, because I would say, even you would admit it, it was not the optimal response, at least the American people, as far as all of us being on the same page. And the President of the United States says, here’s what I’ll say. If four Americans get killed, it’s not optimal. We’re going to fix it. All of it. Mark Steyn, there’s already quite a firestorm over it’s not optimal.

MS: Yeah, it’s not the most optimal way to phrase it. The President is, for someone…this wouldn’t be a problem, by the way, if he would just, Joe Biden would say, but he was sold to us as an exceptionally articulate man. And he’s not. In fact, on the evidence, he seems rather dull-witted. And I think this belongs in that category of corpseman, it belongs in the same category as one of the most disastrous responses in the debate when he said to Jeremy, the college guy, that he was planning on bringing manufacturing jobs back to America. That’s also a stupid response. But in this case, I think it gets to the heart of his callousness over the Benghazi incident. Four real people are dead. He staged a photo op over their caskets, which some of us thought was actually in the most ghastly bad taste apart from anything else. He peddled enough of these false narratives while at the same time claiming close, personal friendship with the slain ambassador. And I think he went off to Vegas and compared the dead ambassador’s sacrifice to the hard work of Obama 2012 campaign workers. And however he managed to gloss this and his apologists, the massed ranks of Candy Crowleys out there will find a way to spin it. But it gets to the heart of something cold and callous in the opportunism of this president.

HH: There is also in this interview something that gets to the heart of his disconnectednesss, Mark Steyn. He says to Jon Stewart, this is from the pool report, I haven’t got the audio yet, that he still wants to close Guantanamo Bay. Now that says to me he still doesn’t understand the nature of the war that we’re involved in.

MS: No, and obviously the big feather on his cap, the thing that was basically his campaign slogan until Benghazi came along, General Motors is alive and Osama bin Laden is dead, Osama bin Laden is dead because of the difficult work in free societies of capturing your enemies and extracting information from them, information that will track down your enemies, and those who committed past atrocities and prevent future atrocities from being committed. And we haven’t gained a lot of that intelligence in the last four years since he decided. He couldn’t figure out a way to close Gitmo, so he basically said you know, you can’t get in here. It’s like Eton in England. If you didn’t put your kid down for Gitmo at birth, you’re not going to be able to get in. And he’s attempted to shuffle off the inmates on anyone who will take them, like sending the Uyghurs to Bermuda, for example. This, we’re now, he’s caught between the hard realities of power and the appeasement of the base. I mean, he’s the president. If he wanted to close Gitmo, he could have closed it on day one, but he’s dithering between the posturing to a guy like Jon Stewart and the pandering to a guy like Jon Stewart, and the realities of his job.

HH: Now Mark Steyn, what’s interesting is already on Twitter, the left is arguing that it’s not fair to focus on the not optimal comment. They’re saying it’s out of context, and Jon Stewart used the word. It’s hard to make that argument, though, the day after the President goes on the stump and says this.

BO: We don’t have to order up some binders to find qualified, talented, driven young women who can learn and excel in these fields right now.

HH: Actually, he said that today. So he’s out peddling the binder stuff, but his fan boys are saying you can’t use the not optimal question, because it’s not fair.

MS: No, I know. You know, the binders thing is desperate. The binders thing is also not optimal. As a gag, it is not an optimal gag. As a weapon with which to cudgel your opponent, it is a non-optimal cudgel. This guy, there’s a desperation about that. There’s a desperation about that, and it’s going nowhere. Just to go back to that Gallup poll, I don’t know about any of these polls, but I do know this, that all the right wing mad men like me.

HH: And me.

MS: …have made up their minds on this election a long time ago. The people who are going to shift and move now are those people, the squishy, centrist, moderate, independent, swingier-than-thou types in the middle, in other words, the guys who went for Obama last time, and the idea that these people are going to be swayed by a gag like binders? I mean, in the last 48 hours, these guys have attempted to turn binders into a running gag. It’s not a running gag. It’s not a crawling gag. It’s like when David Guest claimed that Liza Minnelli had beaten him up in the divorce thing. And Liza has had two hip replacements. David Guest didn’t have to run for his life. He just had to stroll for his life, and that is this running gag. It’s like Liza with two hip replacements. It can’t get you. It can’t catch up. It can’t run. It won’t run. Leave it alone. Don’t go near it. It can’t go nowhere.

HH: All right, it got worse for the Democrats today. Not only do they have sort of a secular rapture going on, and all the Democrats are vanishing from the Gallup poll, but Joe Biden is back. They’re desperate. Talk about desperate. They’ve got Joe back on the stump. First of all, he gets countries confused. This is just a little Biden. Here’s Joe on the various places he hasn’t been or has been.

JB: Having been in and out of Afghanistan and Iraq over 20 times, my son having served a year in Iraq, I want to tell you something, man. The sacrifices – how many of you know someone who served in Iraq or Iran? How many of you, how many of you know someone who has been injured or lost in Iraq or Iran?

HH: And so then Wolf Blitzer gives the spokesman, Jenn Psaki, a chance to clean up after Joe Biden. I know he meant Afghanistan and not Iran, but she can’t really clean up the next one, Mark Steyn.

MS: (laughing)

HH: This is Joe Biden today talking about Paul Ryan being one of the young guns, cut number four:

JB: I don’t understand how they believe, and they do believe, Ryan has written a book called the Young Guns with two other fellows, members of the House? No, these are the Republican leaders in the House? You had, you had, unfortunately, the bullets are aimed at you.

HH: So Mark Steyn, I think the Vice President is under the weather.

MS: Well, I think that is the polite way of putting it. Look, his performance last week, again, it was like binders. These guys all thought it was great, because he did his man of the people thing, you know, I’ve been a Catholic all my life, I live it, I breathe it, it informs every aspect of my being. Let me tell you, when you talk about the 47%, they’re people like my parents. Joe Biden is what, 69? So his parents were born what, circa 1920? The whole man of the people shtick is decades out of date. And to anyone who’s not some inside the Beltway coastal elitist, the whole shtick just sounds passe and condescending.

HH: So in light of that, and by the way, Barbra Streisand it out with an email begging for money this afternoon on behalf of the Democrats, so they’ve really gone to the bottom of the entertainment barrel. They’re really going to rally the middle to Babs.

MS: Hey, Barbra is, I believe Barbra is in Montreal tonight, so things have gotten so bad, she’s already fled the country. I wouldn’t worry about her.

HH: Okay, so do you think there is a dead on arrival aspect of the campaign at this point, that nothing is going to resuscitate Obama/Biden’s fortunes?

MS: Well look, Obama has run all his life as the most promising…he’s run on promise. He became the president of the Harvard Law thing, Review, on promise. He hadn’t done anything. He became on promise. He got the Nobel Peace Price on promise. He was elected president on promise. This is the first time in his life when he’s actually got a record, and he’s got to stand by that record. And the problem is he’s got nothing to offer for the future. He keeps saying this lame line, 100,000 new teachers. Nobody seriously thinks that the problem with America’s hideous, wretched, mediocre education system is that it needs more money or more teachers. He’s basically ignoring his first term, he’s got nothing to say about his second term, and he’s still talking about Bush as if Bush left office just four days ago. This is a disaster of a campaign, and none of the left’s desperate attempts to clutch at straws, clutching at binders, going down to Staples and clutching the binder from the top shelf until they all topple down on top of you. The binders aren’t going to do it for you.

HH: Oh, that’s terrible news to deliver to the binder lobby, Mark Steyn. Read all that Mark has to write at

End of interview.


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