Skip to comments.Q&A: Mark Steyn on the '06 Elections
Posted on 10/26/2006 5:52:58 AM PDT by kellynla
Democrats and Republicans alike are trying to spin the midterm elections as riding on a single topicsay Iraq, national security, scandals, overspending, taxeswhat do you think will determine the outcome of this years elections?
Well, I think Iraq is an element because I think that people are just depressed by it and, to a certain extent, bored by it and want it go away. The Democrats are not really offering any great proposals on that or anything else. Theyre assuming that simple weariness will see them through. If you take Iraq out of the equation everything is going swimmingly. America has an unemployment rate half that of most other advanced economic societies. It has lower gas. It has all kindsits economy is effectively thriving.
Theres just this mood of weariness with this sort of slow-drip torture of a light colonial policing engagement that is thankless and a little too messy for American tastes. But the idea thatthe Democrats are not a credible party, I find. I think theyre a September the 10th party in their outlook, and Im confident that the American people are not going to follow them down that path on Election Day.
Why do you think Republicans are having such a hard time getting their act together in the lead up to the elections?
Well, I think a lot of Republican are just inept, to be honest. I mean, Ive got an old Republican congressional delegation and uh [laughter]and with respect toI get like one of these form Christmas cards from my senators and congressman and things every year, so Im not going to pay a high price for gratuitously insulting them I dont think. But it isI really do have a problemI think the Republicans have really blown several opportunities in the lastyou know, Newt Gingrich came up to my part of the world and a neighbor of mine asked him a question and said, Well, why are Republicans getting everything wrong in Washington and not doing this, not doing thatthis was just last year. Newt said, Well you must remember, that were not used to being in the majority.
Theyve been in the majority now for 12 years. You know, basically the Iraqis are being expected to pick up the hang of this self-government thing in 12 weeks but the Republicans have had 12 years and still cant do it. Thats a pretty shabby excuse. I think theyre disconnected from, in large part, theyre disconnected from their base and theres a ratchet effect in Washington that happens whereby the pull, the pullthe minute youre in a kind of East Coast media environment the pull is like toward Diane Sawyers hair-doits like, you know, the gravity in Washington pulls them away from where they ought to be. And I think theres very little price to be paid for beingpeople dont get defeated for being too conservative.
Basically, if you look at the Democrats last big success, which was the election of Bill Clinton in 1992, Bill Clinton gave the impression that he basically accepted the lessons of the Reagan years on economics, on tax rates, Alan Greenspan, economic policythat kind of thing. And what happened then, he essentially collected enough Republican clones to get elected. What happened then is a lot of Republicans moved right on social issues and kept getting elected all throughout the 90s. I think the lesson there isif you look at where popular opinion is on immigration, for example, both parties are way to the left of it. I would like the Republicans to be more in tune with public opinion in this country but, you know, I guessas I said, Diane Sawyer throw great dinner parties.
You want to make any predictions about whats going to happen in two weeks?
Well, Ive said that I think the Republicans will hold the House and hold the Senate. Im not sure they to do so in either caseI regard the Senate as a complete waste of space. You know, New Zealand moved to a unicameral legislature and [laugh] I wasafter prolonged exposure to the United States Senate during the impeachment trial a few years agoby about the third day of that I was in favor of the U.S. doing the samea unicameral legislature.
The Senate is just so depressingits so depressing. And I find the idea ofand also, again, in sort of an odd way it gets back to one of thosethe Senate has a bad case of grand man-itis. You know, I always love it if you ever see those Larry King specials on CNN where he says, Live tonight the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee and chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the ranking Democrat member on the Senate Transportation Committeeand like theres eight senators there, and you ask them about Iran, or North Koreait doesnt really matter because the answers always the same. They say: Well, what the president needs to do is he needs to send a high-level emissary to talk to Kim Jong Il. Someone like, uhif its a Democrat they propose George Mitchell and if its a Republican they propose someone like James Baker. Because thats who they see themselves assome grand, A-list figure goes out to negotiate with North Koreas version of a grand, A-list figureyou know, theres only one over there so its less competitive. And so they go over and they talk to Kim Jong Il and that, the whole idea is that they, great men, talking to other greatalthough somewhat misguidedmen in North Korea or Iran or whatever.
And the whole point of my demographic argument is to say this is complete rubbishthe idea that you can, that sending James Bakerputting him on a plane and sending him to talk to someone is going to change the underlying dynamic is completely preposterousall senators talk like that.
One senator said to me a few weeks agohe said, are you going seea couple years ago I was on my way to Jordan and he said, Oh, you going to see King Abdala?in that, you know, say hi to the king for me. I said I wasnt. And he said, Oh, do you want me to fix it up so you? And I said no because you get the wrong impression. If youre a big shot senator, you fly to Amman, you are given dinner at the palace with King Abdullah and Queen Rania: Theyre charming, theyre amusing, theyre witty, theyre sharp, theyre pro-American and they dont speak for 99.99% of the Jordanian population. You come away with this great men talking to other great men thingwhich is all the Senate ever comes up withis completely ludicrous.
Youve got a knack for putting Washington politicians and Hollywood liberals on the spot and putting them in their place. Have you ever met a celebrity that you didnt dislike?
Actually Ive met a lot of celebrities I doI used to meet a lot more celebrities a few years agoI dont meet so many of them now. But, like, I liked Frank Sinatra enormously, personally. I mean, he was a very normal person. Hes got three of the most well-balanced Hollywood children. If you want a way to tell hes got three very normal Hollywood children, celebrity children, all very normal, very well balanced.
Poor old Nancy Sinatra, Im sorry to say, is all hung up on the cost of the Iraq war, but aside from the fact that shes got a bad case of Bush-derangement syndrome [laughter] she is actually a very balanced human being. And, similarly, he was like one of the great, kind of aIm trying to think of the appropriately gentile euphemism for HUMAN EVENTSbut he was one of the great, romantic ladies men of the 20th century, and yet you can barely find a woman whos got ayou cant find any of his ex-wives and no long-term girlfriends prepared to say a bad word about him. All his ex-wivesMia Farrow, when she had difficulties with Woody Allen, Frank sent her a note saying, Do you want me to break Woodys legs? It was like he washe was a very well-balanced guy for a celebrity.
And not all of themobviously, you know, Michael Jackson and [Ben] Cohen are not, a lot of them arent like that but I think its actually very difficult when youre in an environment where youre not treated normally. By the time I met him I think hed been a star for like 50 years or something, and he hadnt been treated normally for 50 years. Now you go and look at these guys, some of this Cohen crowd all running around talking about the Iraq war. The difference is Frank had the sense to realize he was like a singer and so nobody was really interested in, there was no reason why he should have a great insight into the conduct of war policy in Vietnam or whatever. So he understood that and he didnt talk about it.
This idea that people who have not been treated normally, who live in aI mean, just to takeIm not makingpeople think Im makingIm just anti-hip hop or somethingbut take a singer who works in his area: Barbra Streisand. Barbras a complete opposite. She thinks shesuh, BarbraStreisand.com has got nothing about music on it. Its like, its got a copy of herthis ludicrous letter she wrote Dick Gephardt when he was the leader of the Democrats in the House. She sent him like this 14-page memo on how to defeat the[laughter] now, I feel. It was the first time ever I felt sorry for Dick Gephardt, this perennial, pathetic, biannual, loser candidate for the Democratsand hes having toBarbras raised like $30 million for the Democrats so theyre beholden to all these celebritiesand hes got to take this seriously and respond to Barbra Streisands view on the Iraq War.
Ben AffleckJohn Kerry tours with Ben Affleck. Even people who like useless, pretty boy, movie actors dont like Ben Affleck. I mean, even if you just look at the grossesif you were going to get a celebrity sidekick to accompany you, you would never get Ben Affleck. He did basically what he did for John Kerrys campaign what he did for that Pearl Harbor movie.
I mean, that is likethe celebrification ofyou know, celebrities were ait is astonishing to me when you go back 60, 70 years and yougo back 60 years to second World War and you look at the number of movie stars who served in uniform and the ones who didnt all made patriotic movies, all made songs, and sported and performed before the troops and things. And now, every time they make some movie about a terrorist hijacking a planethe terrorist, heeveryone is on the plane and something goofys going on and they think its the Middle Eastern-looking guy and then it turns out its not the Middle Eastern-looking guy but its the sinister fellow whose really a vice president at Halliburton or whatever.
You know, its just such rubbish this thing. Youve got to knowyou want your side to win? Because if you want your side to win why dont you make a movie about it? Its pathetic.
The DNC's Handy Pocket Reference Guide to the 2006 Midterm Elections.
I love his take on the Senate, it's collection of windbags, and support the dissolution of it as well. There's a good reason a senator can't win the White House.
Steyn ping. :)
The solution to "fixing" the U.S. Senate is to repeal the 17th Amendment -- which provides for the direct election of U.S. Senators -- and go back to a system where each state appointed senators in the manner they saw fit (I believe most U.S. Senators were elected by their state legislatures before that).
But you're right about the utter mediocrity of U.S. Senators these days. It's no coincidence that the absolute worst presidential candidates in the history of this country were former U.S. Senators who ran for the White House in the last 30-40 years (see George McGovern, Walter Mondale, Bob Dole, Al Gore, and John Kerry for convincing proof of this).
hehehe... I agree, though I don't support dissolution. The ineffectiveness and stagnation of the Senate is sometimes the only thing that saves us from congress actually doing something. Lord knows we don't want that.
And there should be a law that bars Senators from running for president.