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Surprise, Surprise

ACORN in trouble, no one shocked. Revisioning Jefferson Davis. Choose or die. Plus more.

10.21.08

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ET TU, RENDELL?

Re: Jeffrey Lord's Pennsylvania GOP Sues ACORN and Rendell Appointee:

What a surprise -- that Rendell, who disenfranchised US military serving overseas in 2004, would come out in favor of ACORN.

-- David L. deLesdernier

And they have the gall to call Governor Palin out over Alaskan secessionists? Pennsylvania is a good example of why there are so many secessionist movements in the United States, including Alaska, California, Vermont, New Hampshire, Texas, Maine, Minnesota, South Carolina, New England, etc. If the Federal government relies on authority based on this kind of fraud, it will not be long before we are no longer one nation indivisible, under God, or not.
-- Mike Showalter
Austin, Texas

NOT THE PARTY OF LINCOLN

Re: H.W. Crocker, III's How Would Jefferson Davis Vote?

Strange as it may seem, most Abraham Lincoln haters of our day are found among conservatives and libertarians. But why? Aren’t they supposed to believe in the freedom of the individual? Consider H. W. Crocker’s paean to Jefferson Davis, in which the attempted rehabilitation of Davis comes at the expense of Lincoln. Most of us grew up admiring Lincoln, so it’s a shock when we find out he had enemies. Before there was Bush Derangement Syndrome, there was Lincoln Derangement Syndrome. He was at various times called a baboon, imbecile, murderer, tyrant, fiend, monster, simpleton, buffoon, drunkard, libertine, coward, fungus, and butcher.

“We venerate Lincoln,” said Crocker, “but in many ways Jefferson Davis was far the more interesting statesman.” As Jim Carrey would say, “Reheheealy.” 

There follows a list of Davis’s accomplishments over against Lincoln’s supposed inexperience. Now, I’m not going to adopt Crocker’s strategy. I’m not going to defend Lincoln by denigrating Davis. But there were indeed striking differences in their political principles.

Crocker denies that Davis’s principles were unworthy. “It is true that Davis thought slavery in the South was a positive good...” He glides right over that, as if it were of small importance. Davis in fact believed slavery was “established by decree of Almighty God.” Opposing slavery was therefore opposing God. How unworthy can a principle get? On the other hand, while Crocker absolves Davis of sin, he imputes unworthy motives to Lincoln’s opposition to slavery. “Lincoln certainly opposed slavery, but on grounds that might make us uncomfortable today. He wanted to keep the Free States (or newly created Free States) the domain of white labor.”

Of course, Lincoln wanted to keep the territories free of slavery for the reason that he believed it would eventually cause slavery in the South to die out.

In addition, Crocker cites some of Lincoln’s mid-19th century ideas about the relation between blacks and whites. In fact, repatriating blacks to Africa was considered the “liberal” thing in those days (as opposed to enslaving them). Also, with respect to some of Lincoln’s more “racist” sounding statements, I don’t think many fair-minded people would blame Lincoln for not always sounding like a 1960’s liberal!

Crocker commends Davis for believing that the ultimate end of slavery might be ‘the preparation of that race for civil liberty and social enjoyment.’ However, this was simply the patronizing view of blacks, the idea that Africans were too childish and degraded for liberty. It was too often used as an excuse.

I think it’s preposterous for Crocker to claim that Davis would vote for Obama, implying that Lincoln would not. Crocker says, “Davis did indeed put his country first.” On the contrary, he put his state first, not his country, as Crocker must admit. “After the war, he proved to his own satisfaction, in a massive treatise, that secession had been constitutional.” Well, as long as it was to his own satisfaction, who are we to argue? I doubt McCain would accept Davis’s endorsement.

“You won't see anyone seeking the mantle of Jefferson Davis, but he was a worthier man than politically correct history would have you think.” A worthier man than Lincoln!

Near the end of his life, in one of his last writings, James Madison strongly reemphasized the need for the Union, and warned against disunionism:  “The advice nearest to my heart and deepest in my convictions, is that the Union of States be cherished and perpetuated.  Let the open enemy to it be regarded as a Pandora with her box opened, and the disguised one as the serpent creeping with deadly wiles into Paradise.”

Davis, despite his impeccable personal qualities, was one of those “serpents” creeping into the American Paradise, and now he has found his way into the pages of the American Spectator. But who cares I guess.

-- Vern Crisler
Gilbert, Arizona

Republicans just don’t “venerate” Lincoln, they worship him without regard to what downsides came as a result of the Civil War and its body count that have no modern equivalents for the Untied States. More than the institution of slavery ended in April 1865. At the very least the whole concept of our constitutional Republican form of government were throw out the window. Modern Americans' relationship with government bears no resemblance to pre-civil war times without regard to slavery. A different and hideous kind of slavery exists today. Simple minds see the outcome of the Civil War as vindication in and of itself while broader minds see the Civil War as just the first conflict in a process that goes on today by other means. Might makes right works best for those that write the history books but beyond that it usually has some rough edges that linger. The people that Lincoln freed have absolutely no respect for him and his party today. Why that is has been repeated numerous times throughout history. 

If a more in depth teaching of the issues surrounding the civil war were taught this phrase, “Lincoln saved the Union” might ring a little hollow. What exactly did Lincoln save? Lincoln and the coverage of the Civil War were pretty well covered in my public school classes in the 50-60s but today he is merely a footnote in history at best. Barack Obama has already replaced him even before being elected. What is it now that Barack is going to do -- “change the world,” “spread the wealth.” BO might actually come closer to delivering on the Lincoln’s population adjusted body count if he thinks he deserves a monument like Lincoln got.  

As I’ve said before, Republicans should be very careful what they wish for especially regarding some of the myths surrounding their heroes from the past. No man of great accomplishment is ever as pure as the wind driven snow and most are complex and often times conflicted individuals who try to balance idealism and perfection at great cost to both themselves and those who bear the burden of their dreams. An accurate reading of history usually doesn’t fit in a 30 second sound bite or resemble anything like this phrase, “the North won get over it.” What did the North win, exactly? 

-- Thom Bateman
Newport News, Virginia

TRUE LOVE

Re: Enemy Central's Choosing Sides:

You want to know why so many women hate Sarah Palin? Here's why:

She is beautiful. She is the wildly popular governor of the nations' largest state. Still in her forties, she's a candidate for vice president of the United States.

Like Ronald Reagan, she has huge crowds eating out of her hand. And she has a good-looking husband who keeps his mouth shut and follows her around carrying the baby. And did I mention that she is beautiful?

One can almost sense the Noonans and Parkers seething with inward rage and bitterness. Superior women often incite these emotions in their lessers.

On the other hand, confident, intelligent American women will surely take her as a role model. What other woman in the world is half so interesting? Sarah Palin, you have won my heart forever.

-- Gene Schmidt
Brooklyn, New York 

I detest journalists who refer to Mrs. Palin, the elected governor of one of the United States, without using her title. Biden is called Senator. She is not a schoolgirl, and the Democrats would like us to believe that she is.

-- George Sauer

NOT A CREDIBLE SOURCE

Re: Larry Thornberry's Did I Hear That Right?

Regarding Colin Powell's endorsement of Obama, based on his assessment of the evidence of his gravitas and ability: Isn't this the same guy that swore that there were WMD of all sorts in great quantities in Iraq? Maybe his assessment this time, based on even less evidence, and a lot of evidence to the contrary, is just as far off, which is my guess. Why should anyone listen to Colin Powell?

-- Kent Lyon  
College Station, Texas

HARD TO RECONCILE

Re: Roger Kaplan's McCain's Stagecoach:

Mr. Kaplan laments that "it is not impossible that self-described communists and America-haters will be in the highest circles of government in a few months" and asks "How can this be?" He answers his question by stating that "we took things for granted;" "there was too much money;" "all kinds of reasons." He then expands his answer to blame a "leadership class" that doesn't read Schumpeter and "lets everything pass" and further blames John McCain, who "seems to be letting" Obama, Pelosi, Frank and "the rest of the screeching, screaming pack of self-hating privileged incendiary rope-makers and rope-sellers pass" as well.

He is quite correct, I think, in attaching a portion of the blame to those in positions of leadership who haven't read Schumpeter, for Schumpeter's predictions are proving quite accurate. Prior to his death over 50 years ago, he forecast that capitalism would eventually fail because it's success would give rise to a class of intellectuals opposed to it, and that these elitists, in turn, would ultimately impose governmental controls that would lead to the destruction of entrepreneurialism, the great economic engine of capitalism, and give rise to socialism in it's stead. To my way of thinking, Schumpeter's observations were right on target and, as a Harvard professor, he was certainly primely positioned to observe the development of the capitalism-hating intellectual class that now infests our government, our public schools, our national media and the minds of a considerable portion of our population as well.

Incongruently, Mr. Kaplan, on one hand, describes John McCain as "the best chance of a (Republican) party that fought, but not enough, to defend it's record" and, in the next breath, he applauds him for "leading the cavalry charge" against, among other things, "over-regulation, excessively progressive taxation, constraints on choice, encroaching bureaucracies in education and everything else" and the "suffocating growth of government." Frankly, I'm not sure I see much clarity in this assessment.

To be sure, the "Republicans, McCain in the lead, are finally leading the cavalry charge." He is, in fact, finally "warning of socialism", but he began doing so only recently, as the near-certainty of his electoral defeat began to sink in. Prior thereto, though, he was among the most liberal members of the Republican Party and frequently supported the legislation of his more socialistic counterparts. The real problem is not that the Republican Party has heretofore "fought, but not enough, to defend its record." To the contrary, the root problem that the Republican Party now faces is that it has abandoned those social and economic principles upon which that record was historically built. In doing so, it has lost both the support and trust of its base. While Mr. Kaplan seems to use the terms "conservative" and "Republican" synonymously, the fact remains that the Republican Party has grown ever-less conservative since the days of Bush the first and, under Bush the second, it almost completely abandoned conservative principles. Mr. McCain, unfortunately, abandoned them long before that. John McCain may well be a Republican but, to those who transcend the myopia of party politics, he has a voting record that is most certainly not conservative. He warns of socialism and, at the very same time, actively promotes it through his past and present support of proposals that, among other things, restrict individual liberty (free speech) and advocate expansion of the federal government. His proposing a Federal buy-up of in-default mortgages to "keep people in their homes" is a prime example of that. While I do respect the man's military service to the country, I have spent the last twenty years wondering if he has ever once studied the Constitution. If so, then he clearly does not understand it.

Let's face the truth: the Democratic Party now advocates pure socialism and the redistribution of wealth whereas the Republican Party now advocates merely a more watered-down version of the same. 

-- Thomas Donley

YOU A TERRORIST? DO YOU PROMISE?

Re: Andrew Zibilla's letter (under "Red Flags Galore") in Reader Mail's Clearance Denied:

If they did investigate Senator Obama, they did it illegally. Please read your Constitution or better yet, listen to Senator McCain's "speech" at the Alfred E. Smith Dinner: the only legal vetting is the Constitutional requirements to run for office. Even Senator Obama's acquaintance, Mr. Ayers, could run (and theoretically, be elected) for that office, without any sort of "vetting".

This is assuming, of course, that they would repeat the Constitutional Oath of Office, which I do believe they have to do.

-- Marcus Bressler
Tequesta, Florida

THE BETRAYED

Re: Diane Smith's letter (under "Diane's Favorite Fella") in Reader Mail's Clearance Denied:

Thanks, Diane. Yet, those few marginal accomplishments of Dubya (a few judges and a tax-cut or two, since manhandled a bit?) fail to make up for the very true sense of flat-out betrayal; we voted for a guy do stuff, and he did the opposite ‘way too many times. Sure, Bill Clinton was an ass, but, hey, we sure didn’t expect much. Dubya’s been an awful president, so very disappointing it’s sickening.

So far as our splitting for Costa Rica or Brazil (been to each a few times; Brazil is prosperous and free, like we were 40-50 years ago, before the Terminal Political Correctness set in), it certainly is 180-degrees from the reasons Alex Baldwin, Susan Sarandon and those other dippy nutcases gave. Simple preservation of one’s sanity, maybe? Perhaps if there were more Coburns, Palins, Goldwaters, DeMints and Ron Paul types around -- but they’re so badly outnumbered by the whores, pandering opportunists and creeps, as we’re outnumbered by the apathetic, ill-educated, unmotivated and selfish parasites.

Would love to be my usual optimistic self, but I fear for our kids. And theirs.

-- frost

A THOUSAND TIMES THANK YOU

Re: Judah Friedman's Eugene the Veteran:

Thank you, Eugene and all veterans. Judah is 100% correct that in our backwards society the silly are revered while the honorable are treated too many times like Eugene. We must force the hands of our politicians to right this wrong-especially John McCain who himself has been in need of dire medical assistance! Thank you to Judah for sharing with us Eugene’s story.

--Tamar Rudnitzky
Linden, New Jersey

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