Yesterday Hugh Hewitt marked the 14th anniversary of his radio show and the 32nd anniversary of his wedding. So we began the show by playing and discussing Mr and Mrs Hewitt's favorite song "The Way You Look Tonight", which as our-song songs go is pretty hard to beat. It's one of many Dorothy Fields numbers explored in Mark Steyn's American Songbook (personally autographed copies of which are exclusively available from the Steyn store). I would have been happy to chew over Fred Astaire and Jerome Kern for the entire hour, but these are glum times so Hugh and I moved on to less mellifluous subjects. For example, way back in 1993:
HUGH HEWITT: Bill Clinton is in the White House, and the Democrats controlled both houses of Congress. And they pass a law, an all-Democrat law, but it's supported by the Republicans. It's called the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. But it's a Democrat act in response to an Antonin Scalia opinion that limited the right of free exercise in the United States. So all the Democrats got together with President Clinton, and the Republicans, and they passed it. And today, Harry Reid is leading an effort to repeal it... What in the world is going on in this country?
MARK STEYN: It shows you a lot how far the Democrats have moved in 20 years. You know, we're often told... 'We've got to pass amnesty for Ted Kennedy, because it's what dear old Ted, the Lion of the Senate, would have wanted.' Well, Ted, the Lion of the Senate, was one of the leading voices for this Religious Freedom Restoration Act. What's happened since then is that among the left (and they operate a much tighter progressive orthodoxy than anybody on the right does) what's happened is that sexual liberty has come to supplant everything else, so when it comes to matters of gay rights and now transgendered rights, that trumps everything. And this president in particular has a shriveled view of religious liberty. He doesn't actually use the phrase 'freedom of religion'. He always talks about 'freedom of worship'... Nobody minds if you do it in some private club for an hour on Sunday morning, if you want to go sneak in there with your fellow fetishists and sing a few old hymns and do a few dusty old Scripture readings. But, when you leave the house on Monday morning to go to work, you've got to check your religion in the closet and go out into the secular world where gay rights and transgendered rights and abortion rights and everything else trumps your religious liberty. That's what Obama believes, and that's why his stooge in the Senate, Harry Reid, is leading the effort to repeal, as you say, what was only 20 years ago a Democrat act.
We also addressed a beleaguered beacon of liberty in an otherwise dark corner of the world:
HUGH HEWITT: A hundred more rockets fell on Israel today. And Israel's being blamed, and you know, 50 Palestinians or so are dead, and that's terrible. But in Syria, 140,000 Arabs are dead... How is it that Israel gets pinned on this, for being brutal?
MARK STEYN: Yeah, that's the thing. The biggest killers of Arabs are Arabs. The biggest killers of Muslims are Muslims. But somehow, we judge Israel by different standards. And what's particularly interesting here is that the German chancellor, the French president, the British prime minister have all called and spoken with Netanyahu. The President, President Fundraiser, has not called. I don't know what he's doing. He's golfing with Jay-Z or whatever. But he hasn't found time to call. And no doubt if he ever does get around to calling, he'll lecture Netanyahu on how Netanyahu's being disproportionate about these things. The fact is Israel lives in a tough neighborhood. Netanyahu's home is a lot closer to the border than Obama's is to the southern border that he's just erased in the United States. So in other words, Netanyahu and Israelis have a far smaller margin for error when they erase their borders than Obama does when he erases the southern border.
You can read the full transcript here. Congratulations to Hugh on another year of great radio. He covers more ground than a lot of talk hosts. I particularly enjoy, for example, his interviews with novelists such as Daniel Silva and Brad Thor. As Fred Astaire would say: Lovely, never never change, keep that breathless charm, Hugh.