A year and a half ago I bumped into Democrat pollster and longtime Clinton aide Doug Schoen in the green room in London just ahead of our respective Fox News appearances. I went first:
Steyn appeared via remote from London on Tuesday on Fox News Channel's "Hannity." He pointed to Big Ben over his shoulder, saying, "The only reason the House of Parliament exists is that 800 years ago King John was forced to sign the Magna Carta that said even a king has to bow to the law. Eight-hundred years later, Queen Hillary says no, no, no, the laws don't apply to me. The laws are for the little people."
Leaving the studio, I ran into Doug emerging from makeup and he upbraided me for my hostility to Hillary - which I felt bad about, because I've always gotten on well with him, and we have a shared interest in demography and whatnot. Twenty months later, Doug has caught up to my view:
Schoen: I'm a Democrat, and I worked for Bill Clinton, but I can't vote for Hillary
Russian President Vladimir Putin said (tongue-in-cheek) that we are not a banana republic.â€Ž I greatly fear we could become one if Secretary Clinton is elected president.
Which was my point way back in March last year.
Victor Davis Hanson tries to put together the FBI investigation, Wikileaks and all the rest and figure out what's driving Bill and Hillary:
For the Clintons, power is the narcotic of being sought out, of being surrounded by retainers, of bringing enemies to heel and enticing sycophants with benefits. Liberalism and progressivism are mere social and cultural furniture, the "correct" politics of their background that one mouths and exploits to obtain and maintain political clout â€” and to get really, really rich without guilt or apology.
Unlike Obama, Hillary is not a committed ideologue: There is no policy end she desires, there is only an urge to power, with policy and platforms as a discreet veiling of that urge. Her tin-eared phrase for the rest of you losers - "everyday Americans" - underlines the distance between the rulers and the ruled. Her replacement slogan - "Stronger Together" - translates to "Get with the program", but the program is mere set-dressing. Trump is demonized as a Caesar - the strong man as embodiment of the state - but in fact his rise was driven by highly specific policies: build the wall, end mass Muslim immigration, make health insurance purchasable across state lines. Trump is inviting you to vote for something; Clinton to vote for someone: With Hillary, power and authority are all, and public policy is simply collateral damage. A Clintonian restoration, born of politically-derailed criminal investigation, industrial-scale charities fraud and a foreign policy for sale to dictators, would see a massive acceleration of the already appalling and debilitating levels of political corruption in America - because there is nothing else.
Victor Davis Hanson never quite answers it, but what do Bill and Hillary have to show for it? In the wake of Brexit, I found myself thinking of my old Munk debate partner Nigel Farage. Nigel has never held high office: he will never be Prime Minister, Foreign Secretary, Chancellor of the Exchequer or anything else. But he has accomplished more than anybody who has held those offices in the last quarter-century. Twenty years ago, he set out to reverse the principal thrust of post-war British policy (foreign and domestic) - and he did. Whether you agree with it or not, that's an accomplishment; that's a reason to go into politics.
The Clintons? Hillary got rich, Bill got laid, republican virtue got screwed. Like the sickly leaders of late-Soviet politburos, both appear older and feebler than their years: once the star performer of the double-act, Bill staggers around like the Blowjob of Dorian Gray; the life has all but literally been sucked out of him. His straight-woman, once the reliably stolid, stone-faced Margaret Dumont of his cigar-waggling routine, now has to be propped up on street bollards and fed lines by her medical staff. When she shuts down and she's out cold, who's driving the pantsuit? Huma? Cheryl? Podesta? Bill and Hillary have been consumed by their urges. America would be electing the Walking Dead, insatiable and fatal to the touch, but utterly hollow.
~In The Wall Street Journal, Barton Swaim reviews a book by a lefty humorist and takes the opportunity to meditate on political comedy:
In his entry on the "debt ceiling," to take an example almost at random, Mr. Nelson objects to the argument made by the Freedom Caucus that continually raising the nation's credit limit is just as foolish as accruing higher and higher levels of debt on a credit card. "The difference between your debt and that of the U nited States Government," he writes, "is that the world isn't going to be plunged into a postapocalyptic economic cataclysm if your MasterCard is maxed out while trying to purchase a pair of jeggings at H&M." One appreciates the comic flair hereâ€”the pair of jeggings is a nice touchâ€”but it's rather too obviously an attempt to win an argument by the adolescent means of being ridiculous instead of addressing the point. The non-lefty readerâ€”the reader who thinks a $19 trillion debt and a $525 billion deficit might be something to worry aboutâ€”will feel his concerns have been dismissed by a joke that isn't funny enough to laugh at.
To make people laugh about politics, a writer has to make politics subservient to his art, not the other way around. Perhaps it's something to do with my own rightward prejudices, but I find that conservative writers succeed in this regard oftener than their liberal counterparts do. The funniest conservative writersâ€” Andrew Ferguson, P.J. O'Rourke, Mark Steynâ€”seem content to write well and hit the jokes when the opportunity is right.
Sometimes you have to forego the easy laugh, H&M jeggings and all. For what it's worth, my own view is that the uneasy laugh is the real comedy gold.
~That's something we might explore on the upcoming Mark Steyn Show, coming nightly to a TV and/or telephone near you starting in December. We've had a ton of emails with various questions, so let me rattle through 'em:
1) Yes, the low-rate introductory price is a package rate that includes not just me but all the other CRTV shows;
2) Yes, you can watch it on any device you like - on the big-screen plasma set in your living room, or on the iPhone on the subway, and anything in between;
3) Yes, you can watch it from Canada, and Australia, and Denmark and India and Israel and Bulgaria and Vanuatu. North Korea may be a problem;
4) Yes, you can watch it in real time in primetime every night - or, if you prefer, over breakfast the following morning, or ten episodes in a row during one almighty weekend bender;
5) No, there will not be a single commercial in the entire hour. Just the occasional plug for Feline Groovy.
What's on it? Well, we'll have powerhouse guests addressing all the big-picture stuff like free speech and the rise of Islam. But, because man cannot live on despair alone, we'll also be translating some other popular SteynOnline regulars into television format, including Mark at the Movies, Steyn's Song of the Week, Ave atque vale and Mark's Mailbox. This will be the only show on the air to feature both civilizational collapse and live music. The highly strung pajama boys at Media Matters are already looking forward to it:
Anchored by Mark Levin, Michelle Malkin and "Top Five jazz recording artist" Mark Steyn, the new media platform pretty much promises to make the GOP's bubble problem even worse. (All three hosts traffic in lies, bigotry, and phony outrage for a living.)
Now that's a money quote! You can find out more about The Mark Steyn Show here.