Skip to comments.Transcript: Mark Steyn on Hugh Hewitt Wednesday June 15th
Posted on 06/16/2005 6:28:54 AM PDT by Rummyfan
Wednesday, June 15
Mark Steyn on Gitmo, Dick Durbin & Patrick Leahy, Jacko & Prince Rainier
Once a week, the Democrats provide the insanity, and Mark Steyn appears to put them into perspective. Here's what he had to say earlier with Hugh Hewitt:
HH: Hello Mark. How are you?
MS: Hi, Hugh. I hope voice of reason in the West, you don't just mean California.
HH: No, the entire west, now. Mark, Gitmo, Gitmo, Gitmo. And the Democrats are all over it. Before I play you some tape, last year was Abu Ghraib. This year it's Gitmo. Is any other country in our position, being the most important power in the world, ever been so upset with itself over these scandals that occur?
MS: No. Historically speaking, there's no precedent for the dominant global power of the age. It's elites being mired in self-loathing. The Romans weren't like that. The British Empire wasn't like that. People didn't...there were obviously aspects of life that people had disagreements of, but this kind of basic suspicion of American power and the goodness and the rightness of the American cause is peculiar to the age of U.S. domination.
HH: And does that suspicion extend below these liberal elites?
MS: I don't think it does. I think the politics of it is disastrous for the Democratic Party, because every time they stand up and they whine that some poor, little jihadist is having to have Christina Aguilera played to him really loudly, which, to be honest, I wouldn't want. But every time the Democrats stand up for the cause of that, they identify themselves, in crude political terms, as the weak party, the spineless party, the supine party, and that didn't work for them in 2002 and 2004. And there's no reason to expect that to change next year.
HH: Speaking of the spineless, here's Patrick Leahy, ranking minority member of the Judiciary Committee, earlier today:
HH: Mark Steyn, what's he drinking?
MS: He's talking complete drivel. And I say this as someone who is, loosely speaking, a neighbor of Pat Leahy. But the idea is that Gitmo has transformed the image of America in the eyes of the world. Last year, it was Abu Ghraib. Before that, it was the big outrage in the world when they were moved to Guantanemo before anybody had done anything to them. Before that, it was the outrageous behavior of Governor Bush in Texas, executing all these criminals. America hasn't been a beacon of human rights to the rest of the western world for many years now. And the idea that closing this camp would change anything is completely preposterous.
HH: Dick Durbin, number two Democrat in the United States Senate, their whip, on the floor last night, talking about the tactics at Gitmo, including leaving naked, or barefoot detainees shaking in the cold, in the fetal position, for 24 hours, said this, about that:
HH: Mark Steyn, is Dick Durbin an idiot?
MS: Well, if that wasn't so laughable, it would be grossly offensive. You know, it may be that he doesn't run into many survivors of the concentration camps or the gulags, or even of Pol Pot's Cambodia. Those fellows who managed to get out are still in young middle-age. I mean, that's just 25 years ago. But the point is that no one has died in Guantanemo. What we're talking about is people who claim that their Qu'ran was treated with insufficient disrespect. In other words, that the...we're literally talking here about kid gloves, that because infidels are seen as unclean to the jihadi, we infidels are supposed to put on gloves when we handle this alleged sacred book. I'm not even sure we should be doing that. You know, if they wanted us to be more respectful, they shouldn't have got themselves arrested on the battlefields of Afghanistan and Iraq in the first place. But there is simply no way that the American people are going to buy in to the view that their armed forces are equivalent to Pol Pot, or the Soviet gulag, or the Nazi concentration camps. And Dick Durbin must be a complete buffoon if he thinks that's going to fly.
HH: You know, I have a friend, Bud, who's been to Cambodia a couple of times on mission trips, and describes with horror, you know, they still have these palaces of the skulls and things. Two million people, and economy that's still reeling backward, and Dick Durbin stands up and says we've got Pol Pot at Gitmo.
MS: Yes, and this is ridiculous. I mean, 15 to 30 million people died in the Soviet gulags. The truth about Cuba is that in one sense, the Guantanemo camp is the one corner of it that isn't, in fact, a prison camp.
HH: That's true.
MS: It's easier to get out of Guantanemo than it is to get out of the rest of Cuba. And this is completely...is, I think illustrates completely, the derangement of the Democratic party, because the idea that four years after this jihad killed 3,000 people in the heart of New York and Washington, you'd be worrying because they were getting ghastly, vulgar American pop records being played too loudly to them, and women were coming on to them in provocative clothing. I mean this isn't the Soviet gulag. This is Club Med. It's ridiculous.
HH: Now Mark Steyn, I want to switch on you, because maybe it's near and dear to your heart. Maybe it's not. But Rupert Murdoch was at Fleet Street today to officially close it as a place where the press resides. I didn't know this was happening. Do you view this with some bit of sadness?
MS: Well, in two ways. One of the problems with the old Fleet Street was that it got heavily unionized. And to break the unions, Rupert Murdoch had to actually move out of Fleet Street, and build new plants outside in the London docklands. And I fully support that, and I think the American newspaper is over-unionized. It's basically like some lame liberal college, where you've got tenured people in jobs for lives at a lot of newspapers in America. So I support him on that. At the same time, Fleet Street was a great place, because the whole culture of British journalism was these kind of hard-drinking, scurrilous, unrespectable hacks. And compared to the kind of pompous, acetic, clean-living blowhards of today's mainstream media in the United States, I'd rather have all those grubby Fleet Street guys.
HH: All right. Now moving on, Al Franken, according to today's New York Times, seriously considering a run for Senate in Minneapolis. We only say please, Al, run. What would happen to him if he ran?
MS: Well, I think Minneapolis is in one of those blue states that is trending red. So then the question becomes, is Al Franken a big enough celebrity to be able to reverse that. And, you know, to be honest, I don't think he is. I think, as was illustrated by this award he picked up the other night, where he gave some, you know, hour and a half speech that drove everybody from the room...
MS: I think Al Franken is one of those celebrities who's not quite a celebrity. I mean, in your California jailbird terms, he's a lot closer to Robert Blake than he is to the OJ and Michael Jackson end of things. And I don't think he's quite a big enough celebrity to swing at in Minnesota.
HH: All right, you brought him up. Your reaction to Jacko's walkin' away.
MS: Well, you know, I think elements of the prosecution were inept, and the witnesses were unattractive in many ways. But I think the big thing here is the mainstreaming of celebrity decadence. You know, I switched on the TV a couple of years ago, and Michael Jackson was checking into the Dorcester Hotel in London with a 12 year old boy who'd won first prize in a Michael Jackson look-alike competition in Norway. If you or I were to check in to a hotel room with a 12 year old boy, to whom we were not related, our careers would be over.
MS: And I think that's the big change in American life. When Fatty Arbuckle was at a wild Hollywood party in the 1920's, and a girl wound up getting killed in some kinky sexual situation, it finished his career. The difference now is that celebrity decadence is out in the open, and people don't pay a price for it. And I think that's wrong.
HH: Mark Steyn, I took the occasion of a long ride with my wife to read her your obit of Prince Rainier. I had no idea he had lived such a sad life, in many respects. With a minute left, I can't ask you to summarize it, but is it right to call it a sad and disheveled life?
MS: Absolutely. I think so. He had this fairy tale wedding. People forget how big his wedding to Grace Kelly was in the 1950's. It was the biggest wedding of the day. And afterwards, he saw her die in that car crash, and his children turn out to be just deplorable, the worst kind of European, narcissistic hedonists. And he was just a basically sad, lonely, pathetic figure for the last 25 years of his life. Very sad. He had everything, and yet he had nothing.
HH: It's a magnificent bit of writing. It's worth the subscription to the Atlantic Monthly. Mark Steyn, always a pleasure. Talk to you again next week, I hope.
End of interview.
"MS: I think Al Franken is one of those celebrities who's not quite a celebrity. I mean, in your California jailbird terms, he's a lot closer to Robert Blake than he is to the OJ and Michael Jackson end of things. "
Hugh and Steyn. That's a duo!
I'm always grateful that Mark Steyn is on our side. But I suppose that, being as smart as he is, it couldn't be otherwise.
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