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Hugh Hewitt Book Club

Mark Steyn’s post debate analysis plus what’s behind the GOP wins in New York and Nevada

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HH: Special Wednesday appearance to begin this show by Mark Steyn, Columnist to the World. You can read everything at www.steynonline.com. I wanted to get Mark in early before he shuttered and shut down by Attack Watch. But I am a little concerned, Mark Steyn, that you’re going to get me busted, too. Just having you on my show is going to get me on the President’s website.

MS: Yes, definitely. I mean, I think you’re smearing by association. I think the President’s supporters need to inform on you, too. I certainly…what’s it called again? www.attackwatch.com?

HH: Yes, I think you have a preemptive page put up already in your honor.

MS: Yeah, I gather I’m second on the hate list hot 100 up there, so I’m confident that just by appearing on this show, I can commit a couple more hate crimes against the President.

HH: And you’re going to drag me down with you. The Obama police are going to be here. Now let’s talk seriously about this for a moment, Mark. This is really juvenile.

MS: Yeah, I think it is. I mean, in a strange way, I suppose if in many parts of the world, but in particular, it’s like me, you’re a foreigner, you’re an immigrant to this great land, when the head of state decides to single you out for attraction, for mention on his enemies list, you ought to be worried about it. But I think this is a joke. I think this…there’s nothing that comes of this. They don’t even have the guts, by the way, and this is why you know it’s real pansy-boy stuff, they don’t even have the guts to link to your original smear.

HH: That’s right.

MS: They just put your name, they say Mark Steyn, something about immigration, and then they say you’re a liar and a smearmonger (laughing).

HH: (laughing) But it’s got to be good for, it’s got to be good for sales of After America, don’t you think?

MS: Oh, absolutely. I hope that, you know, I don’t care, really, where it gets to on the New York Times list. But if it were to get to, like, top 5 on the Obama enemies list, I’d be thrilled.

HH: (laughing) You’d be thrilled. Let me ask now about last night in New York-9, and then in Nevada as well. How big is this story, Mark Steyn?

MS: I think this is very big. I mean, I think the story here, there’s different aspects to it, New York and Nevada are different. But in a way, that spread in Nevada is as revealing as anything else. Two-thirds of mortgages in Nevada are in negative equity, are underwater. The question facing a lot of people, and I don’t mean Republicans, independents, swing voters, but the question facing a lot of Democrats is whether they can afford a second term of Barack Obama. If your retirement savings get clobbered, and if your home is unsellable and is underwater, you haven’t got anything left. You’re literally in the position where whether you can survive Hope and Change becomes a very pressing question. And I think New York and Nevada, in different ways, delivered their verdict on that.

HH: Now Weprin in New York was also an abysmal candidate. In fact, I’ve nominated him for the Tinkers-Evers-Chance of bad politicians to go with Martha Coakley and Elizabeth Warren.

MS: Right.

HH: But that doesn’t account, even bad politicians can win lopsided districts. And in New York, just an enormous Jewish vote turned against the President. Is that an omen for him for 2012?

MS: I would like to think it is, but one of the features of life in the Western world, and I saw this from having observed liberal, Jewish organizations not just in the United States, but in the United Kingdom and Canada, too, is that they often vote against not just their own interests, but certainly the interests of the state of Israel. And I think liberal Jews are among the most difficult people to turn. If we could get to a situation where Ronald Reagan was in, where he got about, I think, 35% of the Jewish vote, that would be amazing. But they’re slow to turn, and the particular Orthodox Jews in this district, are turnable. Whether, when you get to the upper West side and the kind of liberal, secular, dinner party Jews are turnable, I think that’s still very doubtful.

HH: Let’s turn our attention, then, to the debate on Monday night. I want to begin with Ron Paul. Since you have studied quite extensively the al Qaeda communiqués to the West, how did you react when Ron Paul began to quote al Qaeda back to the American audience with approval in his voice?

MS: Yes, I’m not (laughing), I’m not ready to say that, you know, Ron Paul has basically signed on to jihadist foreign policy. I don’t think foreign policy engages him. And I think this is the black hole in the Paul campaign. When Ron Paul, you know, there’s a lot of stuff. When Ron Paul starts going on about the gold standard and the Federal Reserve, and we dismissed him as some kind of kook for that three or four years ago, in fact, a lot of people have kind of come around to thinking he may be onto something there in recent times. But I don’t think he’s engaged by foreign policy at all, and I think this is, the idea that America can be a 19th Century isolationist republic is absurd. America has two relatively benign neighbors, and yet 70% of the population of Mexico has moved north across the southern border, and 100% of every single bad Canadian idea has moved south across the northern border. Things that would be uniquely Canadian absurdities forty years ago, like multiculturalism and government health care, are now embedded in American politics. So the idea that Ron Paul’s view of the Constitution can hold the planet at bay, I think, is the biggest defect in his whole pitch.

HH: I want to talk to you about Michele Bachmann, who I hope to have on the program a little bit later. She obviously went after hammer and Bible with Rick Perry on Monday night. What did you make of her Gardisil attack, and then her sally on the $5,000 dollar contribution?

MS: Well, I think she’s right on the facts of this case. I mean, I think the government can, I think the government at the state has an interest if you’re going around with communicable diseases. I think it’s a little different when the state is assuming, basically, that your grade school daughter is a slut, and assumes the right, or at least a potential slut, and assumes the right to jab a needle in her and make that compulsory. I’m with her on that. And I don’t want to get into, I think you’ve got to be careful there that you don’t become a kind of anti-science, anti-medicine, Jenny McCarthy type on it. But I think it’s interesting that Perry is on the defensive about some of these issues. I still don’t know why he did it. I still don’t know why he did it. And the worrying thing is if he assumes that the state can simply supplant parental wishes in those circumstances, on that issue, what can’t it do? So I don’t think this is a trivial thing. We still don’t know. Rick Perry is basically, you know, you and I might get into a disagreement on this, but I think one of the things the last couple of weeks has taught us is that Mitt Romney’s numbers are soft, and there’s a wish among the Republican electorate for an ‘insert name here’ candidate. And Rick Perry came into the race, and was the ‘insert name here’ candidate. And as more and more things about him become known, there will be a wish for another ‘insert name here’ candidate. That’s just the nature of it. But he’s not responding well as his record opens up, I don’t think.

HH: Now I had Bobby Jindal on yesterday, and the Governor was quick to say he didn’t agree with the HPV decision of Rick Perry, he wants a fence built, and he doesn’t think in-state tuition should be given to illegal aliens, which makes the endorsement one of those 70%ers. And Ronald Reagan said you can support a lot of 70%ers.

MS: Right.

HH: And I think that’s actually what every Republican will see at the end of this, is that whoever comes out of this, whether it’s Romney, Perry or fill in the blank, they’re going to support that individual strongly. Do you agree with that, Mark Steyn?

MS: Yes, I think that’s true, but what I…and I don’t expect, I’m not looking for perfection in these candidates, and I expect to disagree with them on key issues, and to a certain extent, for these to be 70% alliances. But what I found bothersome about Rick Perry on the immigration issue, for example, when he was asked about in-state tuition for illegal immigrants, and he had some line about how he didn’t think whether you were entitled to state funds should depend on how your name is pronounced. And I thought that was a cheap line. That’s like when Obama kept going on about what an unusual name he had, and the implication being that if you question Rick Perry’s decision on this, you’re some kind of racist, white supremacist with some WASPy surname who can’t handle the fact that those fellows called Jose wandering around in the country these days. And so you can have honorable differences of opinion on these issues. But that kind of cheap, tacky demonization, if you want a glib line, I mean, his glib lines died. His glib line on, you know, that you can’t buy him for $5,000 bucks died. And the glib line about people with funny sounding surnames died.

HH: Sure.

MS: He needs some better lines.

HH: 30 seconds, Mark, let’s even it up. What left you wanting in Romney?

MS: Well again, I feel Romney miscalculated in essentially playing the granny card on Social Security. My bedrock, when we talk about the 70% thing, I can support a 70% candidate. But in that 70%, the thing I’m looking for, the think my book is all about, is the urgency. It’s not mid-century problems that America has got. It’s mid-decade problems.

HH: And they are here. Mark Steyn’s new book is After America. Find it at www.steynonline.com. Thank you, Mark.

End of interview.

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