The Steyn Boomlet Begins: Mark Goes All Palmy and Civis Romanus Sum
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HH: Morning glory and evening grace, America. It’s Hugh Hewitt. I begin this hour with Mark Steyn, columnist of the world with the backdrop, of course, the incredible violence in Egypt. Mark Steyn, welcome. It’s always a pleasure to speak with you.
MS: Good to be with you, Hugh.
HH: Mark, my column at Townhall today is a question will Obama lose Egypt and this was based yesterday when I wrote it on a theory that he would do something really stupid, and today he did that. He cancelled joint military exercises. Now, I don’t know much about General Abdel Fattah Saeed Hussein Khalil el-Sisi, but he’s likely to be the ruler of Egypt for the next 30 years. What do you think of the President and the Administration’s policy of weighing in on the side of the brotherhood today?
MS: Yeah, I don’t think this is gonna work for Obama. Basically, right now the Gulf monikers are giving, getting on for 8 times what the United States is giving to Egypt, so Egypt, America does not have the financial leverage it has on Egypt that it did two years ago and I think cancelling exercises is the sort of lame jester politics like pulling out of the Summit with Putin that really, you know, looks cute on the six o’clock news here in America, but has absolutely no impact on the other side of the world. There are two forces in Egypt, there’s the Army of the brother, or the brotherhood, that’s the choice basically.
HH: That’s how I read it. I quoted Palmerston who said Britain had no eternal allies and no perpetual enemies; only interests that were eternal and perpetual. We care about the Suez Canal. We care about stability. We care about Israel and the brotherhood is not on our side on those issues.
MS: No, the brotherhood is on, is not on the side of America, and in that sense in so far as the Arab Spring advances the interests of the Muslim brotherhood, which is not a national organization. So, in other words, if you advance the interests of the Muslim brotherhood, it doesn’t just apply to Egypt, it applies throughout the region. I think also, since you mention Lord Palmerston, I would be much happier living under Lord Palmerston right now [chuckling] than I would under Obama. Since we’re singing the guy’s praises obviously Palmerston and the famous Don Pacifico incident about a Jew born in Gibraltar who was working as a merchant in Greece, and simply because he had been born in Gibraltar, he happened to be a British subject. And Palmerston took the view that obviously this Greek Jew is nobody’s idea of an Englishman, nevertheless he is a British subject like any other Civis Romanus sum, I am just as a Roman in the days of the Roman Empire can say civis romanus sum, I am a Roman citizen and wherever I am in the world the stronger I am of Rome protects me so a British subject should be able to say I am, I am, a British subject and wherever I am in the world the stronger I’m of England will protect me. And he went and blockaded the Port of Piraeus. Now you look at the, the Muslim world today where an American Ambassador is dragged from American diplomatic property to his death, Americans, four Americans die. American Embassies are either closed or looted and trashed, and a bit of the old Palmerstonian spirit in the Don Pacifico incident, a bit of the civis romanus sum wouldn’t go amiss right now.
HH: It would go a long way and it’s overdue. Now, Mark Steyn, I have to bring you in on a conversation behind your back, Robert Costa of National Review and I were having, and we’ve decided that it would be wonderful fun and you’d probably get a great book out of it if you ran for the Senate in New Hampshire against Jeanne Shaheen.
MS: [laughing, laughing, laughing] Well, you know, don’t get me wrong. I love this—
MS: And my [laughing] my heart sank somewhat when I read in the Union Leader, I think it was the other day about those who were preparing to run for the, against Jeanne Shaheen [laughing] for U.S. Senate seat and I wish this state was the way it was 20 years ago, but the New Hampshire Republican party was too often was content to be in office rather than in power. That’s a problem with the Republican Party, generally, I feel. And suddenly I regret that Jeanne Shaheen was able to defeat John Sununu six years ago and [laughing] I will take yours [inaudible] advice—
HH: You see, in ten years I don’t think I’ve—
MS: having just given my Palmerstonian speech, I’m not sure that’s something [inaudible, laughing so hard!]
HH: But in ten years, I don’t think you’ve ever been this speechless, Mark Steyn, because there is a precedent and I cited it to Costa. It’s William F. Buckley’s campaign for mayor.
MS: Right, right.
HH: And you could have—
MS: Well, I mean, I’m, I’m, one of the things, one of the great things about running, about writers running is they have hostages to fortune
MS: at least, the people least suited
MS: to run for office in the United States because they don’t just have one damaging quote for somebody you know like that fellow Aitken or whatever it is. There’s like half a century [laughing, inaudible] where the writer runs.
HH: Well, think about it. The opposition research alone will crash her campaign budget.
MS: [laughing] Exactly and I think the only way to make that work – my friend, my old friend Boris Johnson who was my boss at the Spectator in London, and is currently the mayor of London, and nobody thought Boris could do it because Boris, over the course, in the course of many years as a commentator Boris has managed to insult everybody you can think of: women, gays, Muslims, I mean it’s just like a mountain of damaging sound bytes out there, and in a sense he achieved, he, there was so many that they all cancelled each other out. Because like when you’ve insulted everybody on the planet, you more or less get a pass and you’re starting from scratch again. So it may well be that on the Boris Johnson model [laughing] –
HH: I am telling you, we could rally the country! We could rally the country to Steyn For Senate, think about it. I might even, I encourage my listeners to go to Steynonline.com.
MS: Wait a minute! Wait a minute, Hugh! I mean I will, now I’m warming to it, but I don’t know whether, don’t know whether I should aim a little higher. I don’t know whether I could dust off my Hawaiian birth certificate and just run straight for President.
HH: Well you can!
MS: I might as well [laughing]]
HH: That’s four years away!
MS: Everybody else, everybody else Ted Cruze, Marco Rubio has some sort of incipient birther problem with the 2016 campaign so I might as well just throw my hat in that one as well.
HH: Well, I say first step, first step. You’ve got to spend at lest a week in the United States Senate before you run for President and so I—
MS: Of course, that’s right! That’s right. I could be Senator for a week and then I’m qualified to be President. Sorry, I forgot about that.
HH: There is an amazing book there. I’m just saying, think about it. Now , to a serious story. Jennifer Rubin, for whom I have great affection, is the target of one of the most idiotic attacks from the former Washington Post ombudsman today. He writes an open letter to Jeff Bezos and he encourages her to, he encourages him to fire her right away. She’s often wrong in rarely acknowledges The City writes. She was oh-so-wrong about Mitt Romney. She was wrong about the Norway shootings being acts of al-Qaida. She was wrong about Chuck Hagel being an anti-Semite. And does she apologize? Nope. She was the No. 1 source of complaint mail about any single Post staffer while I was ombudsman, and I’m leaving out the organized email campaigns against her by leftie groups like Media Matters. Can you believe that the former ombudsman of the Washington Post, Mark Steyn, that one person he can find himself to call upon the new owner to fire is their sole, really sole, daily conservative writer?
MS: Well, yeah, and I think that’s a big part of the problem that he never stopped getting from complaints about her, so what? I was, I worked for a paper that’s almost as liberal as the Washington Post, the Irish Times. It’s Ireland’s national newspaper it’s an analogists to the Washington Post in some ways and I was the token right wing madman at the Irish Times and they got more complaint about me in the paper than anyone. There were questions raised in the Irish Senate as to whether it was even appropriate for the Irish Times even to carry me. That’s good for a newspaper!
MS: If this ombudsman, if this ridiculous figure, this great ethics bore that’s killing American journalism of the ombudsman thinks that simply the generation of complaints is enough to disqualify someone from writing for the Washington Post—that why these papers are unreadable. That’s why these papers are unreadable and that’s the great issue. That’s what the guy has to do. He has to get more, he has to get more people in the pages who disturb the kind of person who just subscribes to the Washington Post because they’ve subscribed to the Washington Post every day since 1958, but they don’t really read it or pay attention to it much because it doesn’t disturb their sensibilities that much.
HH: Yeah, well he says thinking conservatives don’t like her and that she pedals every silly right wing theory to come down the pike. I think it reveals to us the rigor mortis of American journalism that this idiot was their ombudsman.
MS: Well, I think that, I think that’s true. I mean she’s the right wing person at the Washington Post. They don’t have the stomach for the real right wing madman for a lot of the guys out there with the rest of us and even she is not acceptable to the Washington Post and the Washington Post is too closed minded to be a newspaper.
HH: Amen. Mark Steyn, or should I say, Senator Steyn. You can read everything he has at SteynOnLine.com, America. Draft Mark Steyn for Senate. I’ll be right back on the Hugh Hewitt Show.