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Fumbling Around

Republican leadership: unlikely. Painting an Obama picture. An invidious comparison. Plus more.

12.4.08

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THE CABOOSE OF INEPTITUDE
Re: Peter Ferrara's Stimulus Malpractice and the Trillion Dollar Deficit:

I read Peter Ferrara's piece with interest and have to say that of his conclusions, I fear the latter (Dems eventually going pro-growth) is the more likely. Sadly, I believe that the Republicans (to use the PG version of an old phrase) cannot find their bottom with both hands.
-- Reid Bogie
Waterbury, Connecticut

"Taking hundreds of billions out of the economy through government borrowing and then spending it does nothing to improve the economy on net. It does nothing to improve incentives for economically productive activity."

Yes, Conservatives understand the iron laws of incentives and disincentives. What we do not count on is how liberals perceive economic behavior. To us it is obvious that when tax rates are too high, when the tax system is used as an instrument of social engineering, and when there is little restraint on the human propensity to regulate every aspect of life, men and women are less productive and less apt to take risks. But to Liberals, when taxes are made "equable," when taxes and regulations are used to shape the world as it should be, all is for the good. When things don't work out that way, Liberals suspect there is some "bad faith" afoot across the fruited plain.

Liberals believe that they have the moral authority to manipulate the economy toward their received vision of equality and social justice. When the economy then goes afoul, it cannot be their fault or the fault of unsound policies. Instead, in the Liberal imagination, it has to be because "the usual suspects" are not doing their part. "They" can only be acting out of selfishness and greed. 

Who says Liberals don't believe evil exists?
-- Mike Dooley 

What about the children? Now, finally, we know what the Democrats intend: Bury them under a mountain of debt, so that they will abide us geezers when we recount our good old days of spendthriftiness.
-- David Govett
Davis, California

WE'LL ALL LIVE IN OBAMAVILLES
Re: Jeffrey Lord's Obama as Hoover: The Importance of Storytelling

I'm more worried about Obama morphing into Roosevelt, (minus the wheelchair and cigarette holder) and copying his New Deal than I am about Obama as Hoover. Besides, the MSM will never allow Obama to be depicted as a Hoover redux.

I highly recommend FDR's Folly: How Roosevelt and His New Deal Prolonged the Great Depression by Jim Powell. (I have recommended this book before, but the recommendation bears repeating.) I believe Mr. Powell was among the first to debunk the myth of FDR as some kind of secular saint, and highlight just how much damage his policies did to this country. Ironically, tragically, the thing that saved the US economy was a long and bloody World War -- first with the Lend-Lease Agreement and then our entry into the War. The US is already embroiled in two fairly important, but localized, conflicts. God forbid that either, or both, metastasize into something bigger, and much, much worse.
-- Gretchen L. Chellson
Alexandria, Virginia

SIDE BY SIDE WITH THE GIPPER
Re: Philip Klein's Learning From the Bush Legacy:

As President Bush leaves office it is interesting to compare his conservative record to one of America's greatest Presidents -- Ronald Reagan. Unlike Reagan, President Bush has never raised taxes. Unfortunately, like Reagan, he couldn't make his tax cuts permanent, but until we permanently overhaul the system and adopt a flat tax system, all tax cuts are temporary and subject to change.

While President Reagan was pro-life, President Bush has gone to the mat for issues of life. Terry Schivo and the infant stem cell debate severely damaged Bush in the polls, but he never renounced his pro-life beliefs to increase his poll numbers. Reagan granted blanket amnesty and citizenship to millions of illegal aliens while the Bush administration has deported more illegal aliens than any modern President. President Bush appointed only conservatives to the Supreme Court. Reagan's were a mixed bag.  Reagan's first two years in office were an expansion of the Carter depression (double digit unemployment, rampant inflation and skyrocketing interest rates) and his "reform" of the real estate market crashed the economy (fortunately it had time to recover before he left office). President Bush righted the economy and saw records set for economic growth and employment -- had it not been for the Clinton housing time bomb, we might not be in our current economic downturn. 

Ronald Reagan promised to abolish the Departments of Energy and Education, the SBA and a host of bureaucratic fiefdoms. He expanded them and created a new bureaucracy with Veteran's Affairs. President Bush promised No Child Left Behind (that's reintroduced phonics to public schools) and prescription drugs to seniors and delivered.  While it is understandable conservatives are cynical of political rhetoric they should know by now Bush says what he means and carries through on his word when possible.

Since the US has been guarding enough WMD at Muthanna, Iraq to kill a significant number of Americans conservatives should be careful in calling Bush a liar. We forget that, thanks to President Bush, Libya surrendered its massive WMD arsenal that included an advanced nuclear weapons program without a shot being fired. As for the Iraq war, in 5 years we have basically won the kinetic phase with approximately 4,200 deaths (some my friends and the children of my friends) and are on the way to creating a democratic government that is no more corrupt than that of Chicago in a country less deadly to Americans than Detroit, Baltimore City, Philadelphia and Richmond combined.

Unlike Reagan, President Bush has taken the fight to the enemy on their home turf. Klein ignores that it was President Bush who ordered the surge in the face of opposition from Donald Rumsfeld and many in the Pentagon. Reagan bowing to Weinberger did nothing to punish Iran or the terrorist who murdered hundreds of Marines and Sailors in Lebanon. Estimates vary as to how many al Qaeda fighters have been killed in Iraq, but the London Times estimated 12,000 since 2003 (a 3:1 kill ratio). These numbers do not include members of the Taliban, Baath insurgents or other Muslim terrorists.

Reagan's Middle East legacies were foolishly ending the Iran-Iraq War, saving the PLO from annihilation and inadvertently helping Syria dominate Lebanon. Bush can take pride in liberating 2 countries and killing thousands of America's enemies in the Middle East, something no other US President has done. If Reagan had been more like President Bush would things be different today -- and for the better.

As Ronald Reagan could tell Philip Klein, Katrina recovery was a "states' rights" issue.  Does Klein believe President Bush should have ignored all US governors and used Katrina as an excuse to expand Federal power at the expense of the states? If Barack Obama is unfortunate enough to be in office when such a massive natural disaster strikes the US I'm skeptical Klein will cheer a massive Federal power grab at the expense of the states.

Chuck Schumer described that Reagan "was a conservative we could work with (i.e., roll)." You can bet they'll never say that about Bush 43. 

Klein is right when he points out that Bush's failure to communicate damaged his Presidency. Unlike the Reagan and Clinton administrations, President Bush naively believed the American people would look beyond the media static. When even conservative pundits parrot liberals it's obvious it's not a safe or wise presumption. Had Bush been more PR savvy, ignored the Secret Service and visited New Orleans immediately after Katrina, things might have been different for his last 3 years in office.

Conservatives should ignore those who believed liberal blue-dog Democrats would move their party to the right, thought throwing away an election or two was good politics, foolishly think the conservative movement can survive and even shape the political landscape without Reagan's Republican Party and have so distorted and bastardized Ronald Reagan's record and legacy that the Gipper would now be a RINO.

The conservative movement is far from dead, but it needs fresh champions that aren't infatuated with rehashing liberal talking points dressed up as conservative reflections.
-- Michael Tomlinson

NEW ANGLE
Re: George H. Wittman's Murder and Mayhem in Mumbai:

How much press has been wasted on this war on terror? Don't most stories present the same truths? Aren't those who do these acts known to most of us by now? Do we have a good picture of who we are fighting? 

Let me put it this way: If I were a "supreme" leader of an organized religion, and my religion was being used as the energy force to gather soldiers, etc., would I not have long ago come forward to my fellow believers and others with how I felt toward those who were engaged in terrorist behaviors, etc.?

What does this say about us, the targets of this hatred? We deny our desire and need to condemn this religion; we just want to slice off what may be considered the bad elements, much like a surgeon tries to do with a partial mastectomy, hoping he has captured all the cancer cells within his work.

How about his patient? Who is really carrying around the fear along with the possibility of death here?

What will it take for us to finally decide on a "final" solution for this problem? I've got it: a nuclear bomb that goes off on our side of this game. Or perhaps that bio-chemical weapon. Three thousand deaths in one day doesn't seem to do the trick like it did in World War II. Even then we had to wait until our enemies over reached.

Why do those Islamic leaders all seem to have scowls whenever we see a picture? Could it be hatred, both internal and external?

Does real evil have a place here? I certainly think this way...and that's from watching those planes get high jacked and blown up in the 60's by Yassar and his boys. Lots of years experiencing this evil, this non-uniformed warring by you know who...victims of American oppression and her friends!

Maybe it will take some of Obama's lawyer friends to be killed by these bastards before he really does something final, although I doubt it.

He likes words and thinks in terms of criminals, jail, and how others feel about us Americans...and Jews perhaps.

My generation intends to talk our enemies to death first, fight last...and others are to do the fighting, not them!

Narcissists: Why don't we just gather them up from all sides of this conflict and let'm go at each other!
-- R. Philips
New Mexico

SINGLE VOTE FOR SINGLE-PAYER
Re: Peter Ferrara's Barack Obama's Health Care Lies:

Health care delivery in the country is so complicated that a single article gives too little space to actually explain it. But for your sake and for the sake of our readers, I will take on a few points so that you may understand some important points about the McCain plan and what it cannot do.

To begin with, we have a healthcare system that is essentially licensed and regulated at the state level. That means that from hospitals to insurance plans, benefits and health tax credits, they are currently negotiated by state-level legislation and ultimately oversight. That means, then, that any attempt to purchase an insurance plan in one state and use it in another is currently unenforceable. For example, if you purchase a series of benefits in Idaho for a more expensive state like Virginia and try to make it work, there is no agency that is currently legitimated to help you. Neither can the federal government grant any powers, for example, for the plan benefits manager from Idaho to give you the generous benefit in the state of Virginia.

Second, the way things stand; $5000 won't cover the premium costs for a family plan. Since the average payments hover at around $300 per month -- that doesn't cover usage but straight premiums, the $5000 for families and the $2500 for singletons come up short. I understand Mr. McCain's desire to sound like a reformer. But saying something and developing a workable policy are two very different things.

The truth is that a single-layer policy with low overhead costs, where 90% of the treatment dollar goes to actual healthcare, is the only viable option. But that is another letter.
-- Judith V. Lelchook, MHA Tulane '99
PhD, health policy analysis, 2010

CONGRESS IS ALWAYS RESPONSIBLE
Re: Ben Stein's Nice Work, Mr. Paulson:

How can Ben Stein say Congress is not responsible for the bailout? Congress has failed to do its oversight; that's a big part of its job. They should have seen this coming. They have allowed Bush power he shouldn't have. They have listened to lobbyists instead of the people. They have been negligent. They don't read the bills and they make some bills so large and cumbersome it's a challenge to read them.

They don't listen. They don't hold anyone accountable because they don't want to be held accountable for their shoddy work. They take money and perks for their votes. They put special interests above the interests of the nation as a whole.

Again -- how can Ben Stein say Congress is not accountable, not responsible?
-- Sharleen Nicholson

ASK AND YOU SHALL RECEIVE
Re: Jay Molyneaux's letter (under "Blue Test") in Reader Mail's Dreams From my Predecessor:

Mr. Jay Molyneaux's questions which party runs the states with considerable deficits, bankrupt cities and the worst schools. Although it is not proper to answer a question with another question, in this case I will make an exception.

Ask yourself any one of the following questions:

1. Which party supports sanctuary cities?

2. Which party has dominated school boards (especially in urban areas) for decades?

3. Which party believes a fully-funded school program has never existed since the beginning of mankind?

4. Which party claims they don't tax. Instead, they "invest" in our future?

5. Which party is constantly on the lookout for new "victims" requiring some form of state aid?

6. Which party pushes multiculturalism over American values?

So, Jay, answer any one of the above questions -- it doesn't matter which one -- and you will have your answer.
-- Garry Greenwood
Gearhart, Oregon

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