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Credit Where It’s Due

Seven safe years. Loving the sinner. Booming economist Tyrrell. Klein's warning holds up. Plus more.

9.12.08

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BUSH VS. THE TERRORISTS
Re: Quin Hillyer's The Terrorists Are Losing:

The article starts out: "Seven years. Zero attacks. Almost zero credit."

Well, Mr. Hillyer, that may have something to do with that first year and that one big attack that, of course, happened on Bush's watch. Shall we award him credit for that? Tell you what, I'll grant him the credit you ask for if you acknowledge that his administration dropped the ball and 3,000 of our brothers and sisters were murdered on our own soil. On his watch.
-- Jeff Beckham
Tolland, Connecticut

On this anniversary of 9/11, a hearty thanks to Quin Hillyer for the review of President Bush's record on preventing another terror attack on our shores. History will credit the president for his steady hand at the helm of a rocky ship these past seven years.

If only the opposing party would actually put their country before party and give credit where it's due, but they will bash this president until their dying days. No good deed goes unpunished, and Mr. Bush has been getting his punishment and has taken it like a man -- not in the whining ways of the girly-men party. I shudder to think where we would have been with a President Gore or Kerry. I lose sleep thinking of where we will be with a President Obama.

The Dems think Mr. Bush has done nothing to make us safe and everything to lessen our freedoms, at least that's the party line. They need to grow up.
-- Deborah Durkee
Marietta, Georgia

Quin Hillyer's article, "The Terrorists Are Losing," was outstanding. President Bush rarely gets credit for anything yet few realize that we would not be complaining about an economic slowdown, or other domestic matters, if we had sustained another attack like 9/11 or worse.

The pain of 9/11 has subsided in the last 7 years and we often forget just how bad it truly was. We overcame that and take our security for granted. Bush's solution to the complex problem of radical Islam is simple -- freedom.

Fight back against your enemies and liberate those they oppress. It will work. It is working. Bush deserves credit and our thanks for protecting us for the last 7 years. I for one am grateful to him and to Dick Cheney.
-- Matt Daly
New York City, New York

In the immediate aftermath of the horrific events of September 11, 2001, everyone, and I mean everyone, predicted that more attacks were in the offing. It was inevitable that America would be hit again, we were told, because of the vulnerability of an open and free society, and because of the fanaticism and tenacity of our enemy. Osama bin Laden promised more "silver arrows," his twisted description of civilian passenger planes hijacked for use as weapons of indiscriminant mayhem. The nation braced itself for more terror. And then a odd thing happened; nothing happened. It's been seven years to the day since the twin towers were destroyed and the Pentagon severely damaged, yet not a single terrorist event has taken place on American soil since that awful day. Can anyone offer an explanation for this good fortune -- anyone?

There is but a single reason for the complete thwarting of terrorists' intentions to do more harm to the United States, and it has nothing to do with good fortune. President George W. Bush put America on offense, and for the last seven years we've been killing our enemies over there instead of cleaning up their messes over here. On the fundamental national security issue of our time, identifying and pursuing the proper response to international Islamic terrorism, President Bush was and is 100% correct. He knew, when so many others did not, that the surest way to win the war on terror was to attack the enemy on all fronts. So, America went after their troops and training bases, their communications networks and money supply, and the nations helping and harboring Islamic terrorists. Today, the Taliban no longer controls Afghanistan, 50,000,000 people are living in democracies for the first time in history, al Qaeda is reeling from a string of disastrous defeats, Iraq is stabilizing and may soon be a self-defending pro-west ally smack dab in the middle of terrorism central, and America is safer and stronger than at any time since 9/11. President Bush has earned and deserves the nation's thanks.

Standing amid the rubble of the World Trade Center buildings a few days after the disaster, the President said, "The people who knocked these buildings down are going to hear from all of us pretty soon." It wasn't empty rhetoric or jingoistic boasting, as the terrorists in Afghanistan soon found out. Ignoring the naysayers who spoke and wrote of quagmires in Afghanistan and Iraq just days into those wars, President Bush has demonstrated a firm resolve that has protected Americans and brought us "within sight of victory" in Iraq, as Sarah Palin is fond of saying. Americans should keep in mind that the only possible way we can lose in Iraq now is to elect Barack Obama. Wrong on whether to go to war, wrong about the value of our effort in Iraq, wrong when he voted against the surge, and childishly wrong by continuing to deny its success until a few weeks ago, Obama in no way can be trusted as Commander-in-Chief now. The War on Terror remains this nation's biggest challenge. We cannot risk having an inexperienced leader who wants to negotiate with fanatics and invade our allies. If there was ever a clear choice for President, this election provides it, and the clear choice is John McCain. Right about going to war, always understanding the benefits of victory and the nightmarish consequences of defeat in Iraq, supporting the surge first and continuously in the face of massive opposition from both parties, John McCain is the obvious choice as our 44th President.

Battered by a disloyal opposition for almost every day of his presidency and relentlessly derided by media elites, President Bush has paid a steep political price for his efforts against terrorism. No willingness to stand in the gap for one's country was every repaid with such vitriol. Demeaned as stupid and then some, President Bush has proven himself smarter than his detractors, never wavering in the face of tough times or decisions, always keeping faith with America and her military, and the American people. Untold tens of thousands of Americans are alive today because our President knew what to do during his time in office and did it, focus groups and polls be damned. When it comes to fighting terrorists, we need the next President to be just like him.

President Bush will leave office with perhaps the lowest approval rating since World War II, a colossal injustice testifying to the power of liberal media. Average Americans would do well to send notes of thanks to Mr. Bush while he's still office, and offer a prayer for our President today as we remember the carnage of seven years ago. Thanks be to God that President Bush had the courage of his convictions and therefore carried out his most fundamental duty, to protect the American people.
-- Jerry Pomeroy
Sun City, California

The media will never allow the American people to fully appreciate the efforts of the Bush administration to protect us. In fact, most of the media are under self-imposed orders not to show "disturbing" images of the atrocity.

Why? Ask yourself this: which political party -- and its presidential standard-bearer -- does the unfiltered horror of that day damage most? Which party has consistently put its own interests ahead of national security?

People jumping off buildings from eighty stories up, streets littered with body parts and all the other gruesome details don't jibe with those who believe the war on Islamo-fascist terror is a "law enforcement problem," that 9/11 was an "American foreign policy failure," or that the worst actors on the planet are merely a clever phrase or two away from abandoning jihad.
-- Arnold Ahlert
Boca Raton, Florida

By chance, I caught some of the "mainstream media" reportage of the 9 / 11 memorial services. To hear some of it, you would not know that evil men did evil deeds. You might be forgiven if you thought some horrible accident had happened. And you might not learn what some who govern this country stood up and did in response.
-- Robert Nowall
Cape Coral, Florida

CULTURAL GAMECHANGER
Re: W. James Antle III's Up from Murphy Brown:

Let's all apply our investigative skills to find out if Mr. Obama has ever used the "lipstick on a pig" idiomatic expression before this instance. If he uses it frequently, then he might plausibly defend this recent use at his partisan rally.

However...

My instinct says he's never used this during his campaign -- primary or otherwise. I doubt it is an expression he's really ever used. As a Midwestern, I know it to be a common phrase, but we all know Mr. Obama is far too meticulous, calculating, purposeful and clever with his partisan prepared statements to choose this particular phrase to describe his thoughts on Sen. McCain's economic policy and feign innocence when confronted.

In other words, the junior Senator from Illinois (let's call him "JSFI") knew what he was doing when he chose to use this expression and deliver it with the cadence that allowed his partisan crowd to "eat the red meat", but he also knew he could rely on technicalities to maintain a preponderance of innocence.

...just like trying to understand what the meaning of "is" is, when deposed. We'll only see a new, constructive political discourse from the liberal left when lipsticked pigs start to fly.
-- Bill Attinger
Carlsbad, California

W. James Antle III is wrong. The culture wars haven't been turned "upside down." All that's happened is conservative women have a feminist icon who breaks the traditional mold. Liberals, who believed they owned the franchise on feminism, can't fathom how their supremacy is being challenged. Such a challenge bears remarkable similarity to the rise of alternative media sources which took on the MSM.

In short, leftists, who've had it their own way for a long time in both arenas, don't like competition--and it shows.
-- Arnold Ahlert
Boca Raton, Florida

W. James Antle writes:

To Slate's Jacob Weisberg, however, it reeks of a scary absolutism. Bristol Palin's example ranks ahead of Hollywood and the welfare state as a threat to the two-parent family. "By vaunting their pro-life agenda over everything else," he writes, "conservatives are abandoning one of their most valuable insights: that intact, two-parent families are best for children and for the foundation of a healthy society."

Uh, Jake...Bristol Palin is bringing her child into an intact two-parent family in a healthy society!

Look, for as many generations as there have existed both people and the concept of marriage there have been teen-age pregnancies to unwed mothers. My own father's mother was an example back right after the turn of the century...no, not this one, the previous one, Obama's mother was another.

And since the human female body was designed by, ah, evolution, to be able to produce babies at a very young age, whereas marriage is an artificial construction deliberately limited in its application to much older humans, we're going to continue to have unmarried teen-age pregnancies. Count on it.

The big, big difference then becomes as a result of what happens next.

In one culture, marriage, however belated, precedes birth. In an earlier American society this was often mandatory...the shotgun-wedding syndrome came from that...and especially if one wished to continue living as a member of "polite" society. Counting the number of months between marriage and birth used to be a big, if quiet, tee-hee joke, but the baby was still "legal" even if the marriage took place only the day before birth. The healthy society then did, in fact, consist of two-parent families.

The huge difference today is as much about the decline of marriage as a requirement for admission to polite society as it is to any increase or decrease in abortions or teen-age pregnancies. And this was, when it boiled right down to it, the actual "Murphy Brown" issue. It wasn't about her unmarried motherhood but about her deliberate choice NOT to get married and to bring the child up in a one-parent, ah, family.

That was the social difference that Dan Quayle was talking about. One wonders how Jacob Weisberg would comment about that television show today.
-- Gregg Calkins

I think the author misunderstood the principles of Conservative Christians. We oppose sin, but we love the sinner. We still believe out of wedlock sexual relationship is sin. But if the person who sinned had repented, chose the right action while facing the consequences of his or her mistake, we encourage them. We would still oppose Bristle or any other person having sex out of wedlock. But once the mistake has been made, we would not condemn them, but rather help them to face it and encourage them to avoid another mistake. We do not condemn women who had abortion, but condemn the practice and policies that entice women to kill their babies.

Jesus loves the sinner, condemns sin and condemns the ultimate tempter, Satan. Without a proper understanding of the grace of the Gospel, one would mistake the current reaction of Christians toward the Palin family as being partisan, because they do not understand how a true Christian thinks and loves. No sin is so great that the grace of God can not cover, In the Palin case Christians are just following the example of their Lord Jesus.

The liberals have no understanding of the Gospel, that is why you see them encourage the sin but condemn the sinner. There is no love in their heart when they see a young girl in Bristle's situation. Only the love toward their own agenda. The heart condition of the Conservatives and liberals displayed here are at such a contrast. One gives life, the other gives death, to both the sinner and the baby in the womb.

Love in Jesus,
-- Amy of Virginia

ONWARDS AND UPWARDS
Re: R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr.'s The Economy Is Sound:

To buttress Mr. Tyrrell's point, check the employment numbers at the website of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. As of August 2008, the U.S. Civilian Labor Force is 154.9 million and total employment is 145.5 million. In June of 2000, the U.S. Civilian Labor Force was 140.8 million and total employment was 135.2 million. So during the Bush years, about 14 million new people (net) were included as employable and 10 million (net) new jobs were created. Instead of ignoring the Bush years, McCain would be wise to trumpet the 10 million new jobs, while making appropriate condolences for the current and temporary unemployment rate. He could also point out that the current financial setbacks are not economy-wide, but are primarily the popping of the real estate bubble, which cannot be blamed on politicians, and the run-up in oil prices, which can be blamed on timid politicians of both parties, but which John and Sarah will immediately (Jan. 21, 2009) start to remedy.
-- Michael G. Novak
Ellicott City, Maryland

If looked at from a academic definition and prospective the assessment that the economy is growing is correct. Pencil neck geeks from Ivy League schools are neither trusted nor influential right now. Three big points that should lead in current discussion of the economy:

First, the census department last week announced the observation that only lawyers, doctors, and engineers have increased wages since 2000. The census bureau found that the average wages of Americans are down three percent since 2000. Of course the census bureau counts only wages and does not recognize other kinds of compensation but they also use the ridiculous CPI as their inflation index so they are pretty close to right after discounting their insensitivity to shifting professional populations. This leads to the second point that the total number of high tech employees has declined in the United States every year sin 1998 except 2006. Good wage jobs have not been growing. Stock options and other non-wage has effectively gone up since the better engineers have been the only ones retained. Third the tax structures of most states have caused corporations in the United States to under capitalize American Jobs for decades. When companies will not spend as much capital on the employees' job as the employees spend on their cars you can not expect those employees to be confident in the economy.
-- Gregory Franke

At least they could complain about the minimum wage law lowering the participation of teens in the economy. It is a slight dip that adds to the overall unemployment numbers but a dip. I guess if you are not a teen, it is not a big problem.
-- Danny L. Newton
Cookeville, Tennessee

How can there be 120 months of expansion under the Clinton Administration? Or did I miss the joke?
-- Martha Francois
Portland, Oregon

THE KENYAN HALF-BROTHER
Re: Mark Hyman's If Only Sam Kinison Met Barack Obama:

I have mixed feelings about criticizing Senator Obama about his alleged lack of charity with his half-brother in Kenya.

In one sense, charity begins at home. In the other sense, there seems to be a tendency in our culture to favor charity to strangers over sharing one's wealth with siblings. In fact, situations where there is disparity in wealth between siblings often lead to estrangement. I also get the sense that many American parents expect that their children develop independent livelihoods instead of make financial demands on their siblings on account of the enmity such dependency can place between their children, the resentment and fear of entanglement of the wealthy to help a less fortunate with perceived failings, the resentment of the less fortunate to be a pitied object of charity from the more fortunate. This dynamic happens between strangers, but it becomes much more personal between family members.

Part of this seems to be the cultural interpretation of the Biblical imperative on marriage "For this reason a man shall leave his mother and father and join with his wife, and the two shall become one flesh." Financial entanglements between siblings can place a blood relation between the marriage relation, and parents want to see their children successful in their marriages.

A different cultural tradition is one of vast extended family and the pooling and sharing of wealth with that network of blood relations. That tradition is associated with what we regard as tribal cultures, and we regard such societies as having problems of their own.

I remember reading about a European doctor working in an African country. The European remarked that his salary was low by "back home" standards, but owing to the low local cost of living, it made him a prince in terms of his house and his servants. On the other hand, an African colleague was making the same pay, but the living standard this effected was much lower. This colleague was expected to share with an extended family, none of whom were paid anywhere what a doctor was paid, and the high salary was thoroughly diluted. The speculation was offered that this contributed to the nepotism and corruption of government in that African country. A government official could be enriching himself exercising the privilege of his position, but that official never thought of himself as getting rich by any standard on account of the need to spread the wealth within his extended family. The loyalty to family in such a tribal culture was in some sense admirable, but in other sense, putting family first put relations with strangers at a disadvantage and acts as a brake on economic advancement of the society at large.

Were Senator Obama following African culture and sharing his wealth with his network of Kenyan relatives (why stop at one brother?), some would be questioning whether his loyalties were American or mainly Kenyan. As Senator Obama is acting thoroughly American in expecting his overseas relatives to muddle through as best they can, some are questioning his dedication to family. I say it is a difficult call and that we criticize Senator Obama on the contents of his tax plan or his Iraq plan rather than his relation to a brother in Kenya.
-- Paul Milenkovic
Madison, Wisconsin

KEEP YOUR COOL
Re: Philip Klein's Don't Obamaize Palin:

I want to add a couple of thoughts for consideration in the interest of expressing what this conservative comes down on the point of your article.

For months, conservatives have mocked the celebrity appeal of Barack Obama, but now they are flocking to Palin in a similar manner. Just as liberals swooned for Obama because his biography appealed to their cultural sensibilities, conservatives instinctively identify with Palin, because, as Cindy McCain put it, she is a "reform-minded, hockey-mommin', basketball shootin', moose huntin', fly-fishin', pistol-packing, mother of five."

The trouble is, there's a lot that we still don't know about Palin, and conservatives shouldn't be jumping the gun."

While some may overlook or ignore the merits of a proper vetting process for discerning one's fitness for public office, I would suggest the following as nicely and sincerely as I know how. Governor Palin is not just an entertaining media phenomenon and an attractive woman to look at. She has accomplished much in her two year tenure as governor of Alaska, and epitomizes what most conservatives have been waiting and praying for in a candidate. The fact Obama's campaign momentum has been curtailed and his message of "empty change" confounded is not surprising. Cindy McCain properly and accurately identified aspects of Governor Palin's personality which put conservative Americans at ease for such a quick, and sure choice. As for her credentials and qualifications…her record of achievements and exceptional approval rating among her constituency speaks for itself. Governor Palin is the "real deal" and owes no apologies to anyone. No one is perfect, but if there exists any better choice for V.P. it would certainly be a surprise. There is NO comparison between McCain/Palin and Obama/Biden. It's now a no-brainer!

I will stand up and be counted on her behalf any day of the week by casting my vote for McCain/Palin for next President & V.P. this November.

As we say in the business, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it."

Governor Palin is exactly what this nation needs. It would be the best thing that could possibly happen if we had 435 more like her in Congress.
-- Robert William Butler Jr.

CONSERVATIVE MAGNET
Re: Diane Smith's letter (under "Once in a Lifetime") in Reader Mail's Palin on a Pedestal:

Thank you Ms. Smith, for your response to my letter. Though I suspect that your thanks was a form of sarcasm, I am still glad that I could have been of service to you. As I have a great deal of respect for your opinions, I was glad to see that you brought up the Dole/Kemp ticket. You effectively summarized my point.

Bill Clinton was elected to his first term, in 1992, because George H.W. Bush reneged on his promise of no new taxes and large numbers of conservative voters stayed home. In 1996, it was even worse. The Dole/Kemp ticket was so unattractive to conservative voters that less than 1/2 of the U.S. electorate even bothered to vote. If Bob Dole had a Sarah Palin on the ticket, he may have won the White House. But he didn't and he lost. Now my point is that Sarah Palin, while seemingly all that any Conservative could want, is the Vice Presidential candidate in this election. If the McCain/Palin ticket is victorious, she will not inhabit the Oval Office for at least the next four years, unless something untoward happens to John McCain. It is worth noting here, that Governor Palin is even less the people's choice than is John McCain. She was appointed to her position by John McCain so that he would have a reasonable chance at victory by attracting conservative voters to the polls. Why the Republican party makes no attempt to nominate a truly conservative candidate is beyond me. When they run someone who is even mildly conservative, they win. So, perhaps, the Party should think about going to closed primaries and nominating the peoples choice. If they wish to win, that is.

As to who I would find to be a viable candidate, how about Governor Palin? She apparently has as much executive experience as Romney, Giuliani and Huckabee. More than Thompson, Paul, Tancredo and McCain. And apparently none of their baggage. And to top it all off, she is at least as conservative as any of those who ran for the Republican nomination. Why did she not run? The mechanics of becoming a viable Presidential candidate would take too long to discuss and would be boring in the extreme.

So, as one political science major to another, let me merely repeat that voters should know for whom they are voting and Governor Palin is not the top of her ticket, John McCain is. And a John McCain Presidency is what we will get if the McCain/Palin ticket is elected. This is, of course, far superior to an Obama presidency, no matter who his VP is. But it is of passing importance.
-- Michael Tobias

SALLY'S CRONIES
Re: Kate Shaw's letter (under "A Goose Girl, That's Who") in Reader Mail's Palin on a Pedestal:

Kate Shaw drew the perfect comparison. And if you wish to mortally wound, quote Dorothy Parker in the comparison. I recall a story of a friend pointing out to Dorothy that another was "always kind to her inferiors," the demure Miss P. asked "Where does she find them?"

I place Sally Quinn in a select sorority of women headed by the Cosmo Mouseburger, Helen Gurley Brown -- (Round heels Required.) Not too long ago Baba Wawa, claimed in her aptly named "Audition" to be first runner-up in the One Night Stands Division, judging from the many notches on her bedpost..

I just recalled another of Dorothy's quotes. Arriving late at a Halloween party she asked what they were all gathered around a big tub of water doing. They said "Ducking for apples." To which the droll Dorothy replied "Except for one letter, that could be the story of my life." Quick wit, huh?

Dorothy Parker and the Algonquin Club were a lively group.
-- Diane Smith

MORE LIKE A LOWER BOUND
Re: Stephen Zierak's letter (under "Ten Things I Hate About You") in Reader Mail's Palin on a Pedestal:

There are only ten reasons not to be voting for John McCain? I wrote a rough draft of a book why Americans should not vote for John McCain and I stopped at 62 pages. One of the reasons being the only reason McCain went into politics is because he couldn't get promoted to admiral because of his past non-POW record and behavior. My manuscript is in my file cabinet waiting just in case there is an opposition candidate against McCain four years from now.
-- Michael Skaggs
Murray, Kentucky

"Blanking" the line on a presidential voting form is the same as voting for The One. Not voting for McCain, as bad as he may or may not be, is a vote for The Messiah. If The One is elected, that after four years the proposition that the United States would exist as a democratic, free nation is debatable.

Not worth the risk Stephen, thank you very much.
-- Craig Sarver
Seattle, Washington

STORYTELLING
Re: Mike Dooley's letter (under "Apocalypse Hypothetical") in Reader Mail's Palin on a Pedestal:

I loved Mike Dooley's story. This is indeed an interesting world to live in (e.g. the Russians are back, and they are playing for keeps). It would be better if human mistakes and sins were not so deadly and so costly.

By the way, my Georgia Army National Guard Brigade, with me along, is heading for Afghanistan early next year.
-- David Shoup
Dublin, Georgia

ENCORE
Re: Jeffrey Lord's Who is Sally Quinn?:

Absolutely Brilliant! Please pass on my congratulations to Mr. Lord for his research and workmanship in putting together such a piece. I forwarded it to everyone in my family and many friends.
-- Carl DeCaspers
Tipton, Pennsylvania

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