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Why Not the Worst?

Peanuts for our president. Plus much more.

8.20.10

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IT ONLY GETS WORSE
Re: R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr.'s Worse Than Carter:

Thanks for articulating what has become painfully obvious for some time now.
--
Jeff Rennie
Chesterhill, Ohio

Mr. Tyrrell, it is not only time to declare one obvious truth -- that Obama is worse than Carter -- but a second one as well. Let's drop the blather about Obama's supposed intelligence. His inexplicable serial blunders re Troopergate, the Arizona border, the 9-11 mosque, et al. cannot continue to be dismissed simply as signs of tin ear disease. His inability to utter anything moving or uplifting when the teleprompter is off has become the stuff of comic legend. Spouting banal platitudes about hope, change, and freedom of religion without any awareness of context are the signs of an uncritical mind skilled at parroting what others have told it, not of any innate intelligence.

I grant that Obama is educated. I grant that he reads his teleprompted words well and thus give a scripted, artificial impression of eloquence. But I think it's time to lay aside the meme, probably psychologically inspired by the exquisite racial sensitivity that now lies within us all, that the man is somehow any more intelligent than any other failed politician. From foreign policy, to domestic policy, to understanding the culture that elected him, his cognitive skills have been painfully lacking.
-- John Rogitz
San Diego, California

While I agree wholeheartedly that Obama has surpassed Carter on the "worst" list, I don't consider that to be a stand-alone issue. This Congress is the worst Congress in recent times. The two, together, constitute an as yet unmatched force for the decline of the country. However, it should be borne in mind that the reason for the election of these incredibly destructive performers was the notably poor performances of a Republican President and Republican Congress. The American public, with the possible exception of those Democrats who still support Obama, surely realize that they have replaced poor performers with worse performers. The forthcoming elections confront the voters with the problem of determining who, if any, may be better. I think that it would be a mistake for dissatisfied voters to leave the selection of the candidates to the same political groups, the Republican and Democratic parties, from whose ranks the poor and worse performers have come. The Tea Parties offer voters a potential source for something better.
-- Syd Chaden

Palermo, California

Mr. Tyrrell's "Worse Than Carter" article is fantastic, but I would like to add a few points. First, Mr. Obama is the type of liberal who believes the First Amendment requires the removal of the Ten Commandments from a state courthouse, but allows the building of a controversial mosque at Ground Zero. While his view is supported by the Supreme Court's liberal interpretation of the First Amendment, most voters would not find the Ten Commandments in a courthouse offensive, but would find a mosque built at Ground Zero offensive.

Second, when conservatives are quick to criticize Mr. Obama's credentials as a community organizer, liberals are quick to respond that Moses and Jesus were community organizers. Aside from the fact that Christians believe Moses was a spiritual leader and Jesus was the Son of God, rather than community organizers, the liberal comparison of Mr. Obama to either of them implies that in 2008, liberals voted for a religious leader, Mr. Obama, and thus violated the "separation of church and state" principle.

Third, nothing symbolizes the intersection of religion and state more than Ground Zero. In fact, it was the site of the most violent interaction between the Judeo-Christian West and the Islamic Middle East in recent history. The idea of Saudi Arabia and Iran funding a mosque at Ground Zero is akin to the idea of the U.S. funding a Catholic Church and Jewish Temple in Kabul and Baghdad. The difference is that the U.S. would never consider such absurd projects, not only because our Constitution prohibits it, but also because the motives are clearly malicious. Unlike the president of the United States, most Americans realize the motives behind the Ground Zero mosque are malicious and oppose it.
-- Mike Mitchell
Scottsdale, Arizona

I'd say the article misses two greater instances of petulance and bad manners: his chronic blaming of his predecessor for all the economic woes he "inherited," when in fact the worst were attributable to the Clinton/Barney Frank laws requiring irresponsible loans to house purchasers, and his mindless "I want to know whose ass to kick" comment in respect of BP which, although likely negligent in its drilling, was working diligently to staunch the flow from the spill and had already agreed to set up a $20 billion fund.
-- Roger M. Milgrim
Easton, Pennsylvania

"President Obama represents the leadership of a sterile elite"? How about intellectually bankrupt, spiritual bereft, morally anchorless, totalitarian, arrogant and inbred elite?
-- C. Kenna Amos Jr.
Princeton, West Virginia

Hey Tyrell [sic],

Don't forget "W", Grant, Garfield, Buchanan, and Fillmore!

Obama is "THE OTHER," right?

The cynical exploitation of FEAR and xenophobia by the right wing is truly APPALLING. That is indeed "The Other."

Cheers.
-- Moshe Mandelman 

PRIVILIGED EXEMPTION
Re: Peter Ferrara's The Obamacare Disaster:

Excellent summary but misses one item -- the elites who enacted this legislation excluded themselves from coverage under the law. This fact needs to be commented upon frequently by conservative candidates during this fall's campaigns and thereafter as an additional reason for repeal.

Please ask Peter to discuss that feature of the legislation as well. an>
--
Patrick R. Spooner
Windham, New Hampshire

GAYER, NOT ROSENBERG
Re: G. Tracy Mehan's Paul Ryan's Friends:

This article incorrectly cited my name. The post that appeared on TaxVox, the blog of the Tax Policy Center, entitled "In Defense of Congressman Paul Ryan," was written by Ted Gayer of Brookings and TPC.
--
Joseph Rosenberg
Research Associate
Tax Policy Center

G. Tracy Mehan, III replies:
My apologies to Messrs. Gayer and Rosenberg.

PGA PASTURE
Re: Quin Hillyer's A Badly Wounded Spirit of Golf:

The trouble is the PGA picked what is no doubt the ugliest cow pasture in the world for a major. They ought to pick a course where you can tell the sand traps from fairway, greens and even rough. I wonder if it had been Tiger, Watson, would it still be a sand trap.
-- Amo Stephens

IT'S THE STUPID POLICIES
Re: Ron Ross's This Recession Is Not Like the Others:

The most despicable thing about the current situation, as Dr. Ross intimates, is that all of it could be corrected, and probably fairly quickly, with the right policies, which will never be put in place, because of Mr. Obama and Company's "doctrinaire" way of doing business. Even now, surely the president understands this; Summers, Geithner, and Biden must understand it, too. But they would all rather sink the nation, than admit that their approach has been incorrect. Dr. Ross used the word "pathetic," but it is worse than that. It is a blatant betrayal of all their respective offices and oaths stand for, and of the American people, who put them in office, not to mention nearly all of Mr. Obama's campaign promises. This is not a matter of elected officials bumbling around and doing a bad job; we have been betrayed, in every conceivable way.
-- D. Reich
Auburn, New York

SEPARATED BY BIRTH
Re: W. James Antle III's The Constitutional Amendment Con:

This is an excellent article by James Antle III and speaks eloquently to the problem confronting the electorate. The Republicans always promise to pursue a conservative agenda, but once in office they pursue and agenda that at best could be called Marxism lite and at worst mimics the agenda of the democrat party which I consider to be full blown Marxism. The problem confronting the electorate and conservatives specifically is that there is no real alternative to the Democratic Party. My most fervent hope is that the Republicans will nominate someone like Newt Gingrich, John McCain, Mitt Romney, Sarah Palin or some other progressive in sheep's clothing. If this happens it will be business as usual with a lot of promises and conservative rhetoric accompanied by little if any real action and change. Given the present political environment I believe this will lead to the demise of the Republican party and the rise of a real alternative to the Marxist democratic party. Just remember when you start touting Newt Gingrich as a viable presidential candidate that he supported NAFTA, the WTO, CAFTA, is a member of the CFR and the Trilateral Commission.
-- Paul Martell

We don't need to change the 14th- simply require interpretation per the original intent.

Sen. Lyman Trumbull 1866 :"The provision is, that all persons born in the US and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens. That means subject to the complete jurisdiction thereof. What do we mean by complete jurisdiction thereof? NOT OWING ALLEGIANCE TO ANYBODY ELSE. That is what it means."

Rep. John Bingham of Ohio, 1866: "[I]find no fault with the introductory clause [S61 Bill] which is simply declaratory of what is written in the Constitution, that every human being born within the jurisdiction of the United States of PARENTS NOT OWING ALLEGIANCE TO ANY FOREIGN SOVEREIGNTY is, in the language of your Constitution itself, a natural born citizen." (NOTE plural parents)

The fact is, the child of illegal immigrants is born a citizen of their country and remains subject to that other country, not the U.S.
-- M. G. Ryon
Surprise, Arizona

PI IN THE FACE
Re: Jed Babbin's Kisses for My Blackberry:

Jed Babbin's glib assertion that the Declaration of Independence and Thomas Paine's Common Sense could have been more efficiently circulated as attachments to emails ignores the impatience that an electronically-communicative society develops with expressions longer than a couple sentences (or 140 characters). Sure those crucial documents make handy email attachments, but would anybody have read them? All the way to the end? I doubt it. Common Sense is longer than even the longest story in a modern newspaper, and as the New York Slimes knows well, the best way to bury an inconvenient fact is to put it below the fold on A-18, because few readers make it that far into the story

Fast and easy communication comes at the cost of less, and less intense, reading. Thus the begged question: were Thomases Paine and Jefferson writing today, would we (1) read them, and worse, (2) would we even know they existed?
-- Ezra Hood

I had to laugh out loud of "LOL" when I read "Under FISA, any innocent conversations that are intercepted have to be ignored and any recording or documentation of them must be destroyed." That's what the TSA said when full body scanners were introduced at airports.
-- Anthony (Tony) Reese
Peekskill, New York

"Pi ... is an irrational number. It is not a ratio of a to b...."

If a is the circumference of a circle, and b is the diameter of the same circle, a/b=pi.

That is, pi is the ratio of a to b, or stated another way, pi is the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter.

But try as one might, 2 integers cannot be found whose ratio is equal to pi, so Mr. Babbin is correct in calling it irrational.

For pi to be a ratio of 2 integers, Congress must act. Nancy Pelosi, acting irrationally as usual, could ram through a bill that mandates pi a rational number. pi=3 should be close enough for government work. President Barak Obama would sign the bill. He has lectured on Constitutional Law, you know.
-- Dan Martin
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

GREEN FOOTSIE
Re: Paul Chesser's The Dejected Greens:

I walk around barefoot as much as possible; among other things, it's one of the perks of self-employment. Generally, I am barefoot from late March to just past Thanksgiving. Reading the final quote from Mr. McKibben, regarding the Earth melting, prompts me to believe that I might know earlier than most if things were getting a little warm and gooey underfoot. Relying on my 40+ years barefootin', please accept my advice that it is not.
-- Reid Bogie
Waterbury, Connecticut

CLASS ACTION
Re: Angelo M. Codevilla's America's Ruling Class -- And the Perils of Revolution:

Great "article." My daughter suggests one other class: Subjects Class.
These people don't mind being ruled over by the Ruling Class as long as
they are "safe" and they are predominantly the ones keeping the ruling
class in power.
-- Boyd George

A Reader

As you are probably well aware by now, Angelo Codevilla's feature is probably the best thing you have ever published.

I say this as a reader of 40 years.
-- Steve Lasecki

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