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Hannity

Powell Bashes Limbaugh in GOP Diatribe

This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," May 6, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

SEAN HANNITY, HOST: And tonight in "Your America," well, apparently endorsing Barack Obama was not enough for the former secretary of state, Colin Powell. Now he is on the offensive against Republicans.

In remarks yesterday he took on Ann Coulter, Governor Palin and Rush Limbaugh saying in part, quote, "I think what Rush does as an entertainer diminishes the party and intrudes or inserts itself into our public life a kind of nastiness that we would be better to do without."

Here to discuss all of this is syndicated columnist. You can read him, of course, on National Review Online all the time, Mark Steyn.

MARK STEYN, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: Hey, good to be with you.

Video: Watch Sean's interview

HANNITY: Am I right? You're sitting in for Rush tomorrow. You're going to be guest hosting.

STEYN: Yes, I'm going to be Colin Powell's designated hatemonger tomorrow.

HANNITY: All right. Well, by the way — I didn't get syndicated. I filled in for Rush, myself and I'm a fan and a friend of his.

STEYN: Right. Right.

HANNITY: As you are.

STEYN: I feel the same way, too. I don't recognize his characterization of him as some angry bitter man who's driving people away. You take Rush Limbaugh's listeners away from the Republican Party base and there isn't a lot left, certainly not in times of midterm numbers in 2010.

HANNITY: Well, first of all. All right, I want to argue that the Republican Party has had trouble. I've talked about it a lot. I consider myself more of a conservative than I do a Republican.

STEYN: Right. Same here.

HANNITY: I think the Republican Party has abandoned conservative principles, though.

STEYN: Yes, yes. I would agree. I mean it's a two-party system and it doesn't work if you try to make it a 1 1/2 party system. And when Colin Powell says we need to move towards the center, that's what successful politicians do.

Successful politicians move the center towards them. That's what Ronald Reagan did, that's what Margaret Thatcher did. And I think people deserve a choice in 2010 and 2012.

HANNITY: Yes, well, I agree. Look, it seems to me that the media and the Arlen Specters and Olympia Snowes and Susan Collins' of the world, they don't seem to understand what's happened with the base of their party.

STEYN: Yes.

HANNITY: The base of their party doesn't think they've gotten too conservative. They've either gotten too liberal.

STEYN: Right. Right.

HANNITY: Too liberal on spending, too liberal on the size and scope of government influence in our lives, right?

STEYN: Yes. And they're saying — and they're told by the clever guys, by Colin Powell, well, go along with this, go along with this, and you'll win. And there's no point in just being in office. I mean that's great for Colin Powell, you get to sit there, you've got the limo, you've got the driver.

But if you're someone who voted for these people because you want them to advance conservative politics, then these guys are a waste of time. Karl Rove, I fell off my chair laughing when Karl said he would love to hear Colin Powell articulate his vision.

What sense of a vision do you get from Colin Powell? He's been in public life for 20 years. What particular philosophical strain of conservatism or even soft, weedy, watery Republicanism has he ever articulated?

HANNITY: That's a great point. How do you go from supporting Ronald Reagan, how do you go from supporting George W. Bush, to all the policies that are the antithesis of that?

STEYN: Yes. Yes.

HANNITY: That's the Obama doctrine. That's the Obama economic plan. Right?

STEYN: Yes. I mean if I paid this guy whatever sum this institute paid him to speak to them yesterday, I'd say, you told America that this was some kind of bipartisan moderate centrist, this Obama guy, and that's why we should vote for him. Don't you feel suckered?

I mean Obama has done in effect what I was saying Reagan and Thatcher did. He's defined as the center, somewhere for most people is actually on the far left.

HANNITY: Yes. Can you name one area where the Republicans now are more conservative than when Reagan was president, because I can't.

STEYN: No. No.

HANNITY: All right.

STEYN: And we've done it — and compassionate conservatism, John McCain reached across the aisle. We've done the Colin Powell thing now.

HANNITY: Hasn’t worked.

STEYN: No.

HANNITY: Bob Dole is the moderate Republican, right?

STEYN: Yes. Yes. It's been — gone back to George Bush Sr. with the kind and gentler thing. We've tried all that. And actually what a big part of what America wants now is some clear water between party A and party B.

HANNITY: Ronald Reagan said in a speech to CPAC. This is his no pale pastels, bold color speech, but he was — he asked the rhetorical question, is it a third party we need or a revitalized Republican Party?

And he said no, we need a revitalized Republican Party that stands for something. Do you think the party is starting to get it or are they behind the curve? I think they're still not there yet.

STEYN: I think they're still not there yet. One things like the whole tea party thing is that it's not formally organized. It's that...

(CROSSTALK)

STEYN: The homemade signs and the people actually articulating genuine concerns and that's rather appealing about it.

HANNITY: Can I ask you one last question about Obama? By the way, you know, he got a dog for his kids.

STEYN: Yes.

HANNITY: And...

(CROSSTALK)

STEYN: I can't believe...

HANNITY: He had a hamburger...

STEYN: He had a hamburger. I know. I can't — did you ever figure you’d see...

HANNITY: And they have date night and they hold hands on the South Lawn.

STEYN: Right. Right.

HANNITY: And by the way, she wore a dress twice.

STEYN: Right. Right.

HANNITY: You know.

STEYN: And it's amazing because when these gods walk among us they can do such a great job of passing as human. Who would have thought it?

(LAUGHTER)

STEYN: Who would have thought it?

HANNITY: He ascends from the heavens, Mark. Come on.

STEYN: Yes. Yes. He sends me — I'll give him this, he eats a cheeseburger more convincingly than John Kerry did when he interviewed on the campaign trail.

HANNITY: All right. By the way, who eats a cheeseburger with Dijon mustard? What is that?

STEYN: No, but I think John Kerry has it...

HANNITY: Remember those cheese steaks?

STEYN: Yes, the cheese steaks.

HANNITY: Mark, good to see you. Thank you.

STEYN: Always good to see you.

HANNITY: By the way, he'll be feeling in for Rush tomorrow if you want to listen to Mark Steyn.

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