Skip to comments.Mark Steyn on filibuster, Bolton & his distaste for the United States Senate.
Posted on 05/25/2005 6:14:18 PM PDT by Rummyfan
Mark Steyn on filibuster, Bolton & his distaste for the United States Senate.
Here's the transcript from the Hugh Hewitt Show earlier today. For more Steyn, please visit www.steynonline.com.
HH: Mark, how are you today?
MS: I'm good thanks, Hugh.
HH: The underwhelming support for John McCain in his home state has never failed to impress me. But it's really down to a bare pulse now. Can McCain recover from this fiasco on Monday? Well let me begin. Do you think it was a fiasco on Monday night?
MS: I don't think it was a fiasco, but I think it was damaging for John McCain. John McCain will never be president. Now you talk about his home state. His home state is, in fact, the newsroom of the New York Times. He has tremendous appeal among key demographics of columnists, journalists, editors, news anchors, network reporters, the secretary in the research department standing by the photocopier. But among Republican primary voters, he has very minimal appeal, and insofar as this deal does anything, it only weakens his appeal to Republicans.
HH: Of course, you live in New Hampshire when you're living in the States, Mark. And you were there four years, five years ago when he soundly trounced George W. Bush. Will we see a replay of that, despite the base dismay at the negotiation he undertook on Monday?
MS: Well, the thing about that is he does well in states like New Hampshire, that have open primaries. In other words, where Democrats and independents and communists and, you know, and greens, and all kinds of other political affiliations can vote in a Republican primary. And he did well in New Hampshire, where independents are a big chuck of the electorate in both primaries. But the minute it moved south to primaries where he has to appeal to Republicans, he sinks. And I think that's going to be the same this time. I don't see any change in that. You know, I think it's almost laughable the way the media inflate John McCain, because he's a man who, even if you fall for his charm, which I don't. I think he's actually a very thin-skinned narcissist myself, in my limited experience of him. But even if you fall for his charm, you can't really argue that this man has any kind of serious political philosophy, the way, for example, Ronald Reagan or even Bill Clinton did.
HH: Right. Now in the days since the deal on Monday, Lindsey Graham, chief proponent of John McCain in this week's New Yorker profile, has been like a cartoon character with his legs spinning like wheels in reverse, trying to pursuade everyone he didn't mean what he said he meant, and what he did. What did you think of the deal itself, and is it going to hold?
MS: Well, that's what I think is quite good about the deal, if you're talking about it in Machiavellian terms. I mean, just to get things out of the way, I absolutely loathe the United States Senate. And all this business, this sub-Star Wars cliches about how the Senate has saved the Republic, that we're seeing in the newspapers today. You know, I think the Senators are just generally over-inflated, isolated people, wandering around the country with bigger courts of flunkees than your average Gulf emir has. I don't think they save the Republic. I think they're actually fundamentally at odds with the spirit of Republican government. But I think that this deal, insofar as it gets some good judges confirmed, and in fact, it puts a lot of pressure on these so-called seven moderate Republicans, and seven moderate Democrats, is in fact, strictly, in sort of devious political terms, not a bad deal for the president. Obviously, I understand why it's upset Republicans, because they feel that on this rubbish filibuster nonsense, the Democratic party deserved an absolute political humiliation. But you know, it's really not a Republican issue. The Democrats are all about attacking personalities, and about procedure. And that's why they lose at elections. Because when it comes to elections, elections are about ideas and policy and principle. And on that basis, the Republican party is still strong, no matter how feeble its Senate leadership is.
HH: Its Senate leadership is feeble indeed. Does...who wins and loses presidentially. We've marked down McCain, because the base is angry, because they're not sufficiently Machiavellian, perhaps, in your view. I think Bill Frist got wounded in this as well. Your assessment of that?
MS: Yes. But Bill Frist is not...was never...I don't believe Senators should be presidential candidates. And whenever they try, they're always shocked at how no real people have heard of them. You know, I remember talking to Orrin Hatch during the New Hampshire primary in 2000. And he's a guy who, you know, been on the Sunday morning talk shows for as long as anyone could remember. And he told me in this rather sad voice that he was devastated by how few people in New Hampshire had heard of him. And I think, you know, to be honest, I wish I'd never of most Republican Senators, either. What a blessed world that is to live in. And I don't think Senators make good candidates. Obviously, with the one great exception of Hillary Rodham Clinton. And Hillary's potency as a candidate has not derived from the fact that she happens to be a Senator. Although as a Senator, she's played a much shrewder hand than most Democrats have, when it comes to a lot of this stuff.
HH: Now let's switch to a different Senator, George Voinovich, who, hours ago, took to the floor of the Senate to denounce the Bolton nomination. Here's one minute of his speech that I want the audience to hear so you can comment on it. George Voinovich of Ohio:
HH: Mark Steyn, I guess you and I are not worried about grandchildren of George Voinovich sufficiently. We're indifferent to them.
MS: Well, I am completely indifferent to the grandchildren of George Voinovich, and I don't really see why that's an issue that will be impacted one way or another by John Bolton becoming U.N. ambassador. And this business about going to the well, you know, this guy choking up with tears over the appointment of a U.N. ambassador, I mean I think that's great if he wants to be subbing for Sally Field's Oscar speeches. But this is a pathetic performance. And the sobbing, and the weeping and the wailing is just ridiculous for a man who, whatever you feel about him, John Bolton, is someone who deserves examination for his view of international institutions, international law, and their effectiveness. And this is why people loathe the Senate, because some empty, vapid, puffed-up poser, just sobbing and bleating about his grandchildren on there, I mean there are one hundred U.S. Senators out of a potential pool of 300 million. 400 million if you include all the fine, upstanding members of the undocumented American community in your part of the country. And it should be possible to get a hundred people who can stand there and discuss the issues in an articulate way, instead of blathering cliches about the well being dry. And it isn't. It's overflowing with his sob sister routine.
HH: And it didn't...he didn't make an argument. I mean, that's the other thing about the Senate. They trash so many reputations without pausing to make an argument. That was not an argument. That was a naked appeal to emotion, probably rooted in the fact that he's been under enormous pressure, and he's tired, and he's embarrassed by his silliness of pre-recess break. But this disgust is kind of on the rise, Mark Steyn. But it's sort of like the House of Lords. There's not much you can do about it.
MS: Well, you know, in fairness to the House of Lords, when you're talking about your 23rd Marquise and your 14th Dukes and these guys have been sitting there because their ancestor won some battle in the year 1273. When you go to the House of Lords, they've got these pokey little cubbyholes. They share the secretary between four of them. One of the things that is ridulous is that these people have such huge staffs in the United States, that they're very much the creature of their aides and these swollen offices they have. I mean, with the fellow like Jim Jeffords, for example, unless he's actually reading out the words that his aides have written for him, he's not someone who makes a lot of sense on a lot of these topics. And I think George Voinovich is a classic in that example. And America really shouldn't have a House of Lords. It should be...that's why Lincoln Chafee shouldn't be there. It should have citizen legislators. And this is what makes the Senate not the glory of the Republic, but a disgrace.
HH: With one minute left, Mark, I also want to talk to you about the stem cell debate, which is quickly...Howard Fineman's attempting to turn into another, oh, the religious right is coming. How do you see that debate? How do you explain it to people?
MS: Well, I think you have to understand that science at the moment trembles on the brink on some potentially, very devastating steps that one wouldn't want to take carelessly. And that includes, in effect, consigning us to a post-human future, which science has within its grasp. There are no medical reasons, as I understand it, there are no medical reasons that require the sort of abortion absolutist position to be taken in the stem cell debate.
End of interview.
Absolutely dead-on assessment of Senator McCain.
More proof of the folly of Amendment 17 to the US Constitution.
I'd settle for term limits even! Two terms and you're out. At least we could avod the Byrds / Bidens / Dodds / Kennedys / Specters etc.
"....or even Bill Clinton."
That gotta hurt! :)
ROTFLMAO, This guy is the greatest.
thanks for the ping, this was fantastic!
He sees it the way I see it. A year from now, looking in hindsight, we may all agree that it worked out perfectly. We'll just have to wait and see, while continuing the pressure.
That is my "I wish I had said that" line of the day.
"That is my "I wish I had said that" line of the day."
A Mark Steyn ping.
A thank you, a bump, and a bookmark to read in the morning.
It was between the 16th and 18th. A big 0-for-3 streak for freedom in the country. Too bad only the 18th was repealed.
The "Gang of 14" have put themselves under a microscope. Every time a contentious issue comes before the Senate, they'll be watched closely as to what they do.
Mary Landrieux voted for Priscilla Owen. It must have killed her to say "aye."
Snort! I just LOVE this guy.
(Denny Crane: "Sometimes you can only look for answers from God and failing that... and Fox News".)
He nailed the NH voters too. I agree with him. The Senate is disgusting. They view themselves as a upgraded version of the House of Lords.