Re: W. James Antle III's Gamblin' Man:
This is a gamble I'm willing to live with.
-- Andrew J. Macfadyen, M.D.
I haven't felt like this since Reagan ran in 1980. That's the year I registered and voted for the very first time. It didn't make a bit of difference to me what anyone else said because I knew the man's character. Boy oh boy did Reagan frustrate the Left! Yet through all the bitter ugliness the Left spewed, I never had a single doubt about Reagan, not ever.
I have not been a McC fan. Long ago I pegged him for a media whore who stabbed Bush in the back, and to me Bush is a saint for what he's done to keep us safe, and it's cost him a lot. But I have to hand it to ol' McC; his pick is perfect. Choosing a woman who outshines him takes some set of brass. McC hasn't made a false move, and his timing has been flawless. I'm impressed. Just like Reagan, Sarah Palin scares the bejeezus out of the Left. The Left can yadda-yadda-yadda all they want 'cause it don't mean a thing to this conservative.
-- Kitty Myers
Painted Post, New York
Columnist James Antle is entirely correct: The biggest downside with the pick of Sarah Palin for VP, and one that I haven't heard anyone else bring up, is that Alaska will most likely lose a hugely capable Governor. And to complicate matters even more, there's the still undecided race for U.S. House between her Lt. Gov. Sean Parnell and incumbent Don Young. What happens if Parnell ends up being the winner in that race?
You could almost hope for at this point, that Parnell, a firm "Palinista" loses the Congressional seat.
Wow! Amazing that nobody else has focused in on this most exciting and intriguing aspect of this big story.
-- Eric Dondero, Publisher
Libertarian Republican blog
The Democratic outcry against Palin is rich. Her selection could be compared to the Democratic Party's selection of Harry Truman in 1944. That was another wartime election which brought a foreign policy neophyte to the Vice Presidency. In fact, Truman's elevation was precisely to frustrate the possibility that Henry Wallace would be VP when a (secretly) ill FDR entered his fourth term. The heirs of the Henry Wallace Progressives have since taken over the Democratic Party and were nominated in Denver last week. Of course, what ultimately saved the situation was not Truman's national security background, but his basic common sense and fundamental perspective as an American patriot. I suspect that we have the same qualities in Governor Palin. Reminding the American people that Truman fought against the Obama's and Hillary's of 1948 would be appropriate...and cause further howling from the Democrats.
-- Craig A. Zimmerman
Is may just be me, but it is a little disturbing when a party's Vice Presidential candidate elicits more enthusiasm than its Presidential candidate. Yet, this is exactly what is happening in the Republican party. While I must say that I am happier with Gov. Palin on the ticket, there are several things that trouble me.
First, how can a President work well with a Vice President who is diametrically opposed to almost all of his positions? And if a VP can work under conditions like that, what does that say about that person's character? John McCain's positions, on most topics, are much closer to Joe Lieberman, or even Joe Biden, than they are to Sarah Palin. And how will he fare in the coming campaign, when he is personally overshadowed by his VP? This could turn out to be another Old What's His Name/Geraldine Ferraro ticket. Who remembers Fritz Mondale?
In fact, John McCain is not yet the official candidate of the Republican Party. It might be worth considering the nomination of Sarah Palin as the Republican nominee for President. After all, the race would still be a referendum on Barack Obama, but if he loses, there would be, not only a Conservative [granted a relatively unknown one], but the first woman in the White House.
This could prove historic for the Republican Party.
-- Michael Tobias
This comment from Quin Hillyer has convinced me of what I have suspected for some time: Quin Hillyer is the biggest ninny in your employ.
-- Curt Evans
True to form James Antle III, who was a fan of two-faced Jim "Judas" Webb and the liberal blue dog Democrats of 2006, reveals why the GOP and conservatives would be wise to ignore such people -- they are a major reason Democrats now control Congress. As for Pat Buchanan who cares what this faux conservative and revisionist historian of WW II thinks? He actually blames the Jews, the British and America for the final solution, WW II and Muslim extremism. This MSM "conservative" out of spite and to please his liberal masters has led the charge to undermine President Bush (a real conservative) and the GOP. This is why this toady is now a liberal favorite. As to the argument that the Governor of Alaska is as inexperienced as Barack Obama that's Democrat BS and MSM media spin to insulate their messiah and his cheater/plagiarist running mate Joe Biden from the truth.
This race isn't about the #2 it is about the #1 and at least John McCain knows we have 50 states as opposed to 57 or 58, the Presidency is for 4 or 8 years and not 10, wants to defeat Muslim terrorism not nurture it, work towards real energy independence and not line the pockets of special interests and anti-American despots, refuses to accept millions of dollars in potentially illegal foreign donations from Muslims with ties to terrorists, is a bona fide war hero and American citizen and picked a smart, intelligent, attractive, reformist with a 19 year old Soldier son deploying to Iraq with a Striker Brigade this September 11th. As long as McCain ignores the "wisdom" of James Antle III and Pat Buchanan he'll be the 44th President of the United States of America.
-- Michael Tomlinson
W. James Antle III replies: True to form, Michael Tomlinson sees the name "Pat Buchanan" and loses all reading comprehension ability. Missing from his irrelevant review of Buchanan's latest book and his standard form letter about Blue Dog Democrats is something virtually every other letter writer seemed to understand: that my column was a defense of McCain's choice of Palin.
Yo editors! I have one slight addendum to the Bass and Hornick comments on Sarah Palin. Stop the presses! She needs an instantly new moniker! First, I take back everything I have ever said (or thought) about John McCain. He's not only a hero; he has impeccably good political sense. Second, here is Sarah's new moniker: PALADIN! I hereby charge all conservative commentators to take up the new banner. With Paladin, we CAN'T LOSE!
Paladin, Paladin, where do you roam? Feared by the bad, loved by the good--Paladin, Paladin!
Finally, the campaign gets interesting!
-- John R. Dunlap
San Jose, California
In our small East Texas town there have been many folks looking peaked, as my mama sometimes says, this August. The reasons for this look could have been anything from the last of summer blues, to getting the kids ready and started in school, to just plain nothing to look hopeful for. But that all changed on Friday morning. In fact, it changed so much I heard someone singing 'Happy Days Are Here Again', and realized it was me!! By noon, smiles were had all up and down of East Texas Highway 154, and the reason was a woman from Alaska.
What is it about Sarah Palin that has these folks, including me, so happy? I will tell you. It is that this woman is us. She comes from roots of hardship and plain living. She hasn't left common sense behind in her journey in life. She isn't, thank God, a product of the Beltway, from the Chicago politician machine, or any other machine. She has cleaned up after the dirty big good old fellows, taking names and kicked butt. She knows right from wrong, good from bad, and is smart. She knows what to do and let's God help her do it.
Give me a person like that, allow her to surround herself with wise discerning counselors, and I'll be proud if my son has to call her Commander-in-Chief someday. I won't worry one wit about her not having "genuine" experience. Heck, I'm glad she doesn't. I don't want a arrogant and stupid Joe Biden, or an even more arrogant fool, like Obama. I am sick of elitism and so are many others. We need to have someone who comes fresh from living a plain, not luxurious lifestyle, one who knows that the government needs to save, not spend, and one who double checks to make sure our we course correct, for the way we are headed we will self destruct, if God doesn't send someone in to reconstruct a plumb line of common sense and right thinking.
And the best part for me is that you can see this is so obviously the right candidate, and the one about to be elected by the shrill meter going off at nutroots headquarters. You nutroots go look for a bikini shot, as you faked for Michelle Malkin. You go try to prove that her precious baby Trip belongs to her 16 year old daughter (what absolute and sincere proof do you need to know how insane some have become) that this! Not only will you not get anywhere, you amuse us, and her approval numbers continue to grow.
Sen. McCain, you hit this one out of the ballpark. And you standing next to her could let us see deep into your heart that you knew it. As I said, "Happy Days Are Here Again!"
We are energized!!! Faces are smiling from north to south and east to west. The election is over.
A Very Happy Texas Rancher who's praying for her son this morning...
-- Beverly Gunn
First, let me say that I would never have picked Gov. Palin for Veep because I knew next to nothing about her. The same could have been said for most of the voters in America. Yes, some politics junkies did know her, but not the general public. But that simply shows that I shouldn't run for POTUS, and we already knew that. I would have picked someone safe, like Romney, for instance. But of course the downside to Romney is that so many GOP leaning evangelicals would not vote for him on the one issue of his being a Mormon. Oh, they would come up with some other excuse, but that would simply be a smoke screen.
Over the last few days, I have read about everything that I could read about Gov. Palin on the Internet sites that I visit, even the ones that I rarely visit. I have read several articles and columns in the general circulation news sites. I have not bothered with the left-wing sites, because they are completely predictable, as is the fact that I will completely disagree with them. I have read sites such as Politico that purport to call it down the middle. I have listened to the news on TV, something I rarely do anymore. I even watched the introduction of Gov. Palin, and the speeches from Dayton. That is more than I have watched of McCain's speeches in the last 12 months.
I am impressed. The lady has a deeper resume', especially in executive levels of government, than Obama, and he is running for POTUS, not Veep. I still do not think that POTUS should be an entry level job. In my humble opinion, the lady is well spoken, and without a TelePrompTer, apparently. As a Golden Eagle level member of the NRA, her life membership, and lifelong history of hunting and fishing, as well as her unqualified support for the 2nd Amendment,.is a HUGE selling point with me. Her pro-life views she has demonstrated in spades within her own family. She walks that talk. A huge plus. SHE IS NOT A LAWYER. Hallelujah and thank you God. I love her husband's background and work history, AND that she is known to help crew his commercial fishing boat in Salmon season. I like the way that she has gone after the corrupt good old boys in her own party that have brought such shame on the whole conservative movement in this country. Can you say "Drill here, drill now, and drill in ANWR? Gov. Palin can, and does. Thank you, God. I am reserving judgment on the kerfuffle regarding her firing of the Public Safety Commissioner, and whether she or her staff pressured him to fire her brother-in-law, although it sure sounds like her brother-in-law is in need of firing. Still it would not be her place to accomplish that. I am greatly impressed by her selling the state jet aircraft that the previous Repub. Gov. couldn't live without, and her waiving of the State Patrol security detail for herself. Oh, and did I mention that she is EXTREMELY attractive. (Yeah, even at my age I noticed that.) All in all, I think that she is a home run, a TD for the winning score.
But I am perplexed. Why is it that so many of the GOP political elite seem to be so eager to showcase her weaknesses? Isn't that the job of the Dems? I am not just talking about GOP elected office holders. I am including GOP campaign advisors, and governmental staffers, and pundits. Could it be that they are afraid that she will blow into the office and upset their rice bowl, like she did in Alaska? Follow the money and influence. Would these same folks be saying the same things, mostly off the record on background, if the choice had been Gov. Jindal? I think not. Now I highly value the trait of being a team player, but sometimes cuts have to be made, for the good of the team. In my humble opinion, if the McCain campaign will let her loose, and not be constantly apologizing for her, she will slice and dice the media Dems, as well as the overt Dems. Incidentally, I would not bet the house on Joe Biden cleaning her clock in the Veep debate. She ain't known as Sarah Barracuda for nothing. (Damn I love that nickname)
I will say that I am not convinced that she will bring in huge numbers of female Hillary supporters. After all, they are devoutly pro-abortion, and she is devoutly pro-life. But that is all right. All that is necessary is that she causes 20 or 30 percent of them to not vote in the contest for POTUS this time. As for the "union" vote, the leadership of the unions will slam her every way possible. The rank and file members will look and her, and her husband's union memberships and background, and pull the lever for McCain. It has almost always been thus.
I had sincerely planned to skip the POTUS line on the ballot this year. I simply can not stand McCain. Then I had become so concerned over what an Obama administration would do to the country, that I had determined to hold my breath and vote for the Devil, himself, John McCain. Now I can go into the voting booth and happily vote for Sarah Palin, even though she brings the liability of McCain with her.
-- Ken Shreve
If Mrs. Palin actually had a socially conservative attitude, she'd be a full time mother. Working a full time job with five children, four of whom are under 18 and especially with one being a Down's Syndrome child under two years of age, is narcissism beyond Clintonian levels and shows a full acceptance of cultural Marxism. This is a truly disgraceful, as well as desperate, move by McCain and the Republicans.
-- P. Jacobs
McCain, unlike a certain well known plagiarist, no names please, admitted he cribbed the line that he used to seal the deal with Governor Palin, "You complete me."
-- Ira M. Kessel
Rochester, New York
That is what I have been saying all along to all my friends. I am feeling the tingle going up my leg! Haha, Chris Matthews
-- Kristi Heft
Can't help but notice that my Letter to the Editor influenced McCain' Veep choice.
My comments, published this past Tuesday in The American Spectator, warned McCain I would stay home if he didn't chose Palin, Thompson or Romney, in that order. Guess I'll be going to the polls this November. Maybe I'll write in a reverse ticket vote, Palin-McCain. In any event I'll certainly contribute a couple of shekels.
Say goodBiden to Obama.
-- Wolf T.
BY HIS OWN WORDS
Re: Philip Klein's Obama's Freudian Slip:
In his rock star speech, Mr. Obama just said, "If you don't have a record to run on, then you paint your opponent as someone people should run from."
Mr. Obama, this must hit close to home, huh? My goodness, you just took credit for national legislation when you were a state legislator, and you are doing your silver-tongued best to create fear in the electorate about Senator McCain. Mr. Obama, you haven't hardly had enough flip in order to flop, so you make it up as you go, taking the "shade of the day" to survive, like a political chameleon.
Enjoy your evening, Mr. Obama. Savor it. Britney's set builders did a great job creating a backdrop that positions you as a Greek deity, coming down from the mountain to save the common man. Lots of lemmings turned out to await your instructions about which cliff to jump off of. Most of your loving celebs couldn't even command such celebrity. Enjoy it. November will not be yours, and I trust in my fellow pragmatists and conservatives to avoid four years of you and the puppeteers who pull your strings.
You're ready to inherit a Tony Robbins circuit, but not the Presidency.
-- Bill Attinger
Obama's acceptance speech was involuntarily ghostwritten by George W. Bush.
Chapter, by chapter, describing Bush's errors of commission and omission. Errors that are Bush's alone. There's absolutely no dispute concerning the source of the speech material! Bush compiled it himself.
If there is any one point that will defeat McCain's candidacy, it is his adherence to a stupid, nonsensical, ridiculous, unconstitutional war and subsequent occupation of Iraq! Already costing American taxpayers more than half $1 trillion (where is that Iraq oil money that was supposed to pay for this?) and 4,000 valuable American lives!
Even a small child can understand that feckless effort has absolutely nothing to do with stopping worldwide Muslim terrorism!
-- Samuel A. Hill
Weare, New Hampshire
Wow! Okie dokie.
According to Barack Obama, one of the ways Democrats measure progress is by the millions of jobs created when Bill Clinton was president.
Hmm, seems to this observer Sen. Obama may need a lesson in history -- not to mention economics.
Much of the wealth generated during the Clinton-years, which was in turn used to create and fund many of the businesses that temporarily provided all of those jobs -- barring the millions of government jobs created during those years by the high tax rates Americans were confronted by -- was wealth gotten from the great "tech bubble."
To borrow some of Barack's words from his speech in Denver, "Listen, now:" Many of the economic "successes" realized during Bill's reign were short-lived by design as they were ones gotten by negligent "leadership."
The lack of true domestic economic leadership and stewardship under Bill's administration translated to an atmosphere in which, in the end, millions of people realized their savings had been swindled by fly-by-night software and dotcom companies -- and investment opportunities that would have never existed with prudent attention to the details of our nation's domestic marketplace.
Then, when Americans also realized it was ridiculous for them to continue to endure such high tax rates in order to ensure Democrats like Bill Clinton, and now Barack Obama, could use those policies to create government jobs and more government hand-outs (as if those are not often one in the same), they voted for a Republican.
I'm glad Barack is ready to have a debate about who has the better judgment, he or his opponent.
Barack Obama has already proven time and time again he is illiterate when it comes to reading and interpreting history.
If the leadership of the Clinton Administration was so great, why did Al Gore lose the election to George Bush?
Barack praised Bill Clinton for his leadership early in his speech in Denver. He then chastised the Bush Administration for not having followed bin Laden to the cave in which "he lives," claiming John McCain's approach would be the same.
Last I checked, Bill Clinton was the guy who dropped the ball on having the trigger pulled when it came down to the business of killing the man who ultimately is responsible for the greatest attack on America.
Barack may win the race for The White House. Still, I'm betting the words of one of our Founding Fathers will come to the fore of the collective realizations of all Americans soon thereafter: "The majority are not always right."
-- Michael S. Smith II
Charleston, South Carolina
Hubris leads to Ate which in turn leads to Nemesis, but in ground zero of the Obama nation people seem heedless of this bit of Greek wisdom (although they do take to Greek architecture, I suppose).
In the nation at large mere mortals don't yet know who their next president will be, but in Hyde Park the debate which rages concerns something far in the future: where Mr. Obama's presidential library is to be located.
The Hyde Park Herald (August 20) recently published a small sample of residents' ideas on the subject. I will spare you them but I think one is particularly noteworthy because of the degree to which the person is besotted:
"...a library is thinking a bit on the small side. My vision is a complex that includes everything a community needs to ensure that any child can be given the tools necessary to become whatever their dreams lead them to. This complex will at least...include a head start program, a preschool, a parent learning center, an elementary school, a middle school, a high school, adequate physical and sports education facilities, a Presidential library (of course), an adult continuing education center and other such dream achievement facilities. The jobs, contracts, and other associated business opportunities that would go into planning, building, opening and running this great new place of hope would go first to the people in the community that it directly serves and it would be administered with the best evidence based practices that science and social services know. The idea is big, the possibilities endless."
Another person suggests the conversion of an abandoned church. Yes, that might do.
-- Michel Santaquilani
Hyde Park/Chicago, Illinois
Phil says that the GOP "brand name" is in trouble. This points to a larger problem that the GOP must address. This is not a Wall Street/Madison Avenue ad campaign and that is the root of the GOP problem. We win when we call upon the better angels of the American people to be the individualist cowboys and pioneers that they are and not the wimpy little state dependent masses that the Dems want them to be.
There is a wing of the GOP that resides on Wall Street and Madison Avenue and when I here CRAP like "GOP branding" I know that they have become too influential. They are important to us and we love them but there are times when the one must do the manly thing and ignore the cost because of the greater good that will follow. The Wall Street types do not do this well and the Dems are too cowardly to do anything involving deadly force like war without flinching.
Our candidate can be jerk sometimes but I think it is safe to say that we can count on him to do what is required even if it is difficult and unpopular. I include Sarah Palin in that group given what she has done in Alaska as governor.
By the way, has Barack Obama or Joe Biden ever run anything besides their mouths? (I stole from Marion Berry.)
-- Jeff Seyfert
The expression "tongue in cheek" means the speaker does not believe what he is saying.
I hope someone in Spectator land taped Clinton's speech to confirm what I saw. I hope it will make it to You Tube.
Twice in a row, when Clinton said something positive about Obama, he very clearly put his tongue in his cheek.
-- Fred Edwards
TIME HEALS ALL WOUNDS
Re: Shawn Macomber's The Healing Bomb:
If 95% of blacks plan to vote for Obama, as polls assert, how could that possibly heal anything? It simply advocates race-based voting. Martin Luther King would be appalled.
-- David Govett
Thanks, Mr. Macomber, for your column. I get a lump in my throat knowing that a black man has been nominated for president. It's just too bad that he is too far to the left and way too inexperienced for me to even consider voting for him.
I fear if he loses that we will be painted as racists, but we can't worry about that. The country is ready for a black president, just not a socialist regardless if he is a black man, a white man or a woman. As much as I am leery of John McCain, I know that an Obama presidency will take us where a capitalistic, individual freedom-loving nation has no business going. Just the way the Obama campaign has treated any criticism of their candidate should give anyone pause -- trying to intimidate a 527 with a Justice Department investigation just because their ad brought up Obama's association with 1960s era terrorist William Ayers should give a hint as to the Hugo Chavez-like government he might impose on this country.
I'd vote for Thomas Sowell, Walter Williams, Michael Steele (with more experience) or Condi Rice because of their alignment with my views, but not this wolf in sheep's clothing.
-- Deborah Durkee
I see a certain advantage in this nomination. If the first black man nominated by a major party wins the election, "we shall overcome" can be rephrased as "we have overcome" --and we can bring a half-century of "affirmative action" programs to an end, because what use is it to anyone anymore if "we have overcome?"
On the other hand, if Obama loses...there's already been some talk of "you're against Obama because you're a racist." With the loss, there will likely be cries of "Obama lost because of racism." A lot of people will take this as an insult...there will be a big reaction against the notion...and, in the ensuing arguments, "affirmative action" programs will suffer.
So...Obama gets the nomination..."affirmative action" ends either way.
-- Robert Nowall
Cape Coral, Florida
HIGH COST OF LOW LIVIN'
Re: The Prowler's Speaking of Edwards:
Now some cynics will claim the Democrats are being inconsistent by barring an admitted adulterer, John Edwards, while featuring another more famous lying adulterer, The Boy President. But no, Dems are consistent: they are a forgiven people, given the time. They forgave Clinton for his abuse of power and cigars; they also forgave Teddy Kennedy for his late night swim -- but then again, considering their stand on abortion, Kennedy doesn't need to be forgiven: life is not held at all sacred by the party.
-- Ira M. Kessel
Rochester, New York
Many at The American Spectator and some of its readers will wonder what I am talking about. A few years back, Attorney Geoffrey Figer (assisted suicide advocate Dr. Jack Kevorkian's one time attorney) was all over the local airwaves waxing abstractly and somewhat politically about the individual's right to the best legal representation in courts of law. I thought; "...yeah, what of it?" These were not commercials for Figer's firm, but instead proffered the notion that Figer thought his job to defend the public as an attorney was in jeopardy.
It may not have made the national papers but Figer's offices were raided by the Feds in 2005. It appears the Feds were looking for evidence to support a charge of paybacks to Figer's law firm employees if they contributed to the Edwards 2004 Presidential campaign. After a very public and costly trial, Figer and partner Van Johnson were found to be innocent of all charges.
I wonder what Figer thinks of Edwards today?
-- P. Aaron Jones
Huntington Woods, Michigan
CARD CHECK HEAD CHECK
Re: Ivan Osorio's What Big Labor Wants:
Unions are like the rest of Democrats. They are anti-freedom and want people to be in unions. It's like the old Soviet Union. People who were dissatisfied with the system and let that be known were put in asylums, because they must be crazy to dislike a perfect government.
Unions have the same mentality. If you don't want to be in one you must be too stupid to take care of yourself and so need a union to look after you. So they want (and democrats will do it) to take your choice away.
If you think this lack of intelligence is not real, I offer you the question posed to my brother by one of the union people he supervises: "I don't want to go to war with Russia over Georgia, but where in hell are we going to get our peaches now?"
Obama has a chance.
-- Jay Molyneaux
Denver, North Carolina
OVER OUR HEADS
Re: George H. Wittman's Genius Left vs. Stupid America:
The support for the Soviet Union, now the Russian Federation, has always been an interesting phenomenon. In the past, when the Soviet Union was inarguably the worst totalitarian dictatorship in the world, intellectuals and the media were their most ardent supporters. Even though it was intellectuals and media members who were being stood against the wall or sent to die in Siberia. So the "Russia Was Provoked By The Evil Americans" diatribe coming from media organs and intellectuals in both Europe and the U.S. should not be surprising. There is no rationale, no basis in fact and no sanity in this position. It simply exists.
If you look at history, it is truly amazing that any rational person would choose to side with any culture that is willing to use brute force to stifle individuality and diversity among its people. If the Soviet/Russian political culture is so wonderful and Western/American political culture so abhorrent, then it stands to reason that vast throngs would be marching into the Russian Federation and out of Western democracies. Unbelievably, this isn't happening. As we all know, people are most likely to vote "with their feet." They will leave a less hospitable place for a more hospitable one. And the vast majority of people are voting against the Russian Federation, rather than for it.
The leaders of the Russian Federation are correct when they say that a European anti-missile shield is aimed at them. But, it is a defensive system, not an offensive one. It causes no harm unless Russia initiates a hostile action against the West. That it is also aimed at Iran, who has been supplied with Russian equipment to support its nuclear program, is also true. The fact that Russia chose to actively work against the interests of the United States and Europe in the Middle East, particularly in regards to an increasingly aggressive Iran, and its activities in support of a return of the old Soviet Bear forced the decision to deploy an anti-missile system to Eastern and Southeastern Europe. When this happened, the Old Bear showed its true colors and reverted to brute force to attain its goals.
So don't expect the European media to suddenly support the United States and condemn Russia, After all, the U.S. is extremely unlikely to occupy Europe, but there is always the possibility the European journalists could be sporting "I Like Vlad" buttons in the future.
-- Michael Tobias
BOB COSTAS WITHDRAWAL
Re: John C. Wohlstetter's Curing the Hangover After Beijing:
Baron Pierre de Coubertin did not conceive the modern Olympic Games. He gave them follow-up momentum by founding the International Olympic Committee in 1894. The Panathenian stadium used for the 1896 Olympic Games had already hosted modern international Olympic Games, sponsored by the Greek philanthropist Evangelis Zappas, in 1870, and 1875.
-- Mike Pagomenos
Founder of Zappas.org
Member of the International Society of Olympic Historians
Well, despite a lot of talk about China getting "credit" for hosting the Olympics, I think of Berlin 1936 and Moscow 1980. In a dozen years after getting their "credit" for their Olympics, those regimes were gone...
-- Robert Nowall
Cape Coral, Florida
The Olympic Games maxim has become citius, altius, fortius, pretentious.
-- David Govett
EASY TO FORGET
Re: Charles Campbell's letter (under "No Apologies") in Reader Mail's One Reason Alone:
After over thirty years, I thought maybe we would have sobered up from the romance of the Kent State Shootings. Instead, that tragedy seems to work as a Rorschach test for deeply buried feelings. When dealing with such things, rational but emotionally "superficial" argument misses the point I suppose.
I do want to make a humble emphasis of fact that seems to get lost in the smoke and heat. The soldiers at Kent State that day were not regular army. They were Ohio National Guardsmen. Here in Hoosierland, when troubles arise, the Governor doesn't call up the 7th Armored out of Fort Knox. He calls up the Indiana National Guard. Our Guard is used for everything from riot control, rescuing folk who don't have the sense to go somewhere else before high water becomes high water, hauling food and medicine where no one else will go, and filling sandbags before the threat of flood. In view of the disturbances (both real and imagined) on the Kent State campus that May, there was nothing surprising in itself about the use of the Ohio National Guard to restore order. Given that most of the Guardsmen that day were the same age as the students if not students themselves, I'm sure they would rather have been flirting with the Co-eds rather than shooting at them.
The images in the minds of those who were not yet born before 1960-1962 are often those of hippies dancing in Central Park, Hendrix playing at Woodstock and The Beatles singing "All You Need Is Love" on worldwide television. But life in 1970 was more than kids wearing "lovebeads" and holding up peace signs to Big Bad Tricky Dick. Those were violent, anger and fearful days. Race riots in the major cities were not threats they were vicious realities. College "disturbances" were often little more than rampant lawbreaking. Following the new military bombing campaign into Cambodia that spring, the anger those for and those against the war had for each other was at a fevered pitch. The sense that "something" wicked was about to happen was thick in the air. The fact that so many wanted that undefined "something" to happen was in retrospect nothing to be proud of.
The Kent State shootings, at the very moment, provided a shock to the enter nation. Yes, Neil Young sang in anger at "tin soldiers and Nixon coming;" but it was a sudden bath in cold water for almost everyone else. Both sides took a few steps back. After 1970, the peace movement began to fall apart. The resolve to win the war began to crumble as well. We will have to let the historians sort out what part Kent State played in those developments.
Until then, my fellow letter writers, pour yourself a nice drink. Take a cold shower.
-- Mike Dooley
The "protesters" at Kent State were a violent mob before the National Guard showed up. It may have been a mistake to use the untrained National Guard to respond to this threat but it was also understandable and maybe the only real option possible. Arson had already taken place and the police force was overwhelmed and had been assaulted. The prospect of additional violence and property damage was almost guaranteed. I don't hold the same affection for this kind of political action as Mr. Campbell and I believe our founders (maybe not Jefferson) recognized the dangers of mobs. We are Americans after all and not French. We shouldn't celebrate our mobs and in fact should be somewhat embarrassed by them. Human nature does not prosper in large groups of angry people. A mob of brown shirts trying to bully their neighbors with violence needs to be dealt with force and prison sentences and not glorified as having anything to do with freedom. They are antithetical to freedom. They are not trying to convince but trying to intimidate. When you throw a bottle at a fellow citizen's head you should go to jail and lose some of your freedom.
A better trained police force that acted at the first signs of violence might have prevented the loss of life, although being in the vicinity of a violent mob is always a dangerous activity. Kent's Mayor requested Ohio's Governor to call in the National Guard and I am convinced they did it because of the certainty of the mobs future violence and not to silence a protest. Mr. Campbell's argument falls apart if you accept this. Instead of federal officials trying to silence political protesters we have local authorities trying to defend local property from a criminal mob. Certainly chaos and a tragedy ensued but to call Kent's Mayor, Leroy Satrom a tyrant is a little over the top. Under difficult and unprecedented circumstances he had to act and I am more inclined to blame those who threw bottles and started the fires. If Mr. Campbell is searching for tyrants they were the nameless cowards out in that mob. Today they are probably sponsoring speech codes and fairness doctrines. Since Kent State, local police forces and National Guard units have become more adept at dealing with this kind of violence and this event looks more like an isolated tragedy than a pattern of behavior. If there is a fault today and then it is that "protesters" that assault their neighbors and destroy property many times are not made to pay for their crimes or the messes they make. This is an injustice as well and invites over-reaction.
-- Clifton Briner
LOST IT AT THE MOVIES
Re: James Bowman's "Tropic Thunder":
Once again, Bowman proves there isn't a movie ever made that lives up to his standards. So when are you going to take the advice of the majority of your readers and get a film critic who actually likes films? John Podhoretz might be able to fit you into his busy schedule.
-- Stuart Koehl
Falls Church, Virginia
Re: Andrew Cline's The Lucky One?:
I can't help wondering -- if Obama is elected, how long will it take for him to self-destruct? Luck can only go so far. In the Senate you can sit back and do little or nothing and get by, but not in the White House. As president he'll be under a microscope 24x7. Talk is cheap now, but then, he'll have to deliver and I don't see any evidence that he knows how to make good on all the talk.
-- Roy W. Hogue
Newbury Park, California
Re: J. Peter Freire's Barack Oboring:
We need to keep in mind that Socialism isn't meant to be humorous.
-- Melvin Leppla
Jacksonville, North Carolina
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