Re: Jeffrey Lord's Batman and Rush: Why McCain Will Win:
Batman, meet Pollyanna. As opposed to the cotton candy rhetoric of Obama, this article is right-wing cotton candy. But I hope it turns out to be true.
-- Michael G. Novak
Ellicott City, Maryland
My thinking brain says Mr. Lord is wrong but my reptilian brain agrees. A wonderful new way to view this campaign. Thanks!
-- Chris Small
Winston-Salem, North Carolina
I love Jeffrey Lord's article, "Batman and Rush"! Even more, I love his theory on why we will elect the Batman, John Wayne, Rush Limbaugh candidate, John McCain, rather than the squishy, nuanced radical Obama. However, one question remains: How did Jimmah Carter get elected? Is he the anomaly that proves the theory or just a moment of insanity in American electoral history? Also, Bill Clinton: not the reptilian brain, just a snake!
Thanks for an entertaining and uplifting read!
-- Susan Whitlock
Editor: Where were you when the article "Batman and Rush" was approved for your publication? Were you asleep at the switch? Were you in love with the premise and thus did not scrutinize the actual writing? I do not think it was sophomoric because of affirmative action that has caused a dumbing down in education...thus will call it seniororic. At any rate, the article was poorly written and needed a strong editorial hand. Nothing wrong with the subject or the entertaining premise. But surely someone at The American Spectator has got a red pencil.
-- Anne Burkart
Jeff Lord's musing on the U.S. cultural obstacles to the "The One" being elected above his pay grade to POTUS aside (Is there a Higher pay grade?), I think the REAL reason the faux R McCain will win in November is homicidal reality. The Russian Bear's assault on Georgia will have much more to do with a McCain White House then any cultural passing spark in the night. As much as the Russian's would much rather have a useful idiot like "The One" to terrorize, intimidate into submission and play with, like a cat with a mortally wounded mouse, any semi-conscious individual who is watching the "drive by" media is (or should be), scared to death by the Russian re-start of WWIV and know that somebody that will react to real attacks with how he feels about the mass slaughter of civilians by drunken Russian soldiers and whines "Can't we all just get along?" as the bombs fall is not POTUS material. Sheer fear for survival of family and friends will decide the vote. Not sure how this will ultimately play out, it is far from over as I write this, but the Bear just swatted "The One" into the shadows of history.
-- Craig Sarver
It was fun reading Mr. Lord's attempt to get air time from Rush. I like the analogy, but unfortunately, Mr. Lord learned it all colored with an egg-head's pejorative dislike for both common people, and for people who get things done.
It is well known that military conflict often goes to the most decisive actor, not the best thinker. Why, because the best thinker hesitates as he rethinks when the situation is bound to change. That hemming and hawing of the thinker, hits the average mans gut as a potential disaster when the next crisis hits. Not that thinking doesn't have an important role prior to a crisis.
Beyond standing up and taking action in the face of crisis, we want a leader who will do the right thing, when it is time to act. Someone who promises that he will rethink in every new situation will undoubtedly end up rethinking himself into a wrong decision. We want someone who has thought out most situations in advance, and internalized the lessons he has learned in life as core principles. If the principles are right, his decisions will be right.
The great ones, like Reagan and Rush, have done an incredible amount of observation and thinking, so much so that they are able to express their conclusions naturally and in simple self-evident principles. Debasing the results of that process as some slimy reptilian appeal to the gut is a disservice to those leaders.
And finally, the so-called "intellectuals," besides being unable to hide their disdain for common people, have a very bad track record for actually making things worse through their rethinking.
So add it all up. You will find that the peoples' guts are right in protecting themselves from harm inflicted on them from someone who disdains them. Those guts are a guarantee of survival in the face of danger. But more than that, those guts pick people who have already done their thinking and come to use proven principles to guide their decisions.
How slimy and reptilian and atavistic we must be to turn away from self-anointed snobs who know better than us what is good for us, who discard millennia of hard learned lessons of what is right and wrong to rethink each issue because they know better, and who will stand up for us and act in times of crisis, instead of cowering in indecision.
-- James Bailey
What Lord sees as thinking, I see as "stalling out." At best, if Obama is thinking at all in these trance-like moments, its "Omigod. I wish I had a thought. I could sure use one now." Or he is pre-equivocating, figuring out how he can say something, anything, that he can later "nuance" into its direct opposite, if need be.
Obama has Silly Putty where his reptilian brain ought to be. Obviously, Lord was not listening too closely when Obama was asked by Rick Warren who he would seek wise counsel from -- Obama's first blush answer was wife Michelle. Geez. Reminded me of when Jimmeh Cahtuh said he consulted daughter Amy on world affairs. McCain said "General Petraeus" Pretty reptilian, huh?
Let me back up a moment, maybe Obama did have an earthworm moment, if not reptilian when he said "Michelle." If I were a boxer, I would hate to have Michelle as my "cut man" sending me back in, round after round, to be beat senseless.
I can almost hear her pumping Barry up for his debates with McCain -- "What are you, a man or mouse? Squeak up!"
Seventy eight more days. And the caterwauling begins. Actually it began at Saddleback. Next day, the claim was "Fix!"
-- Diane Smith
I agree with Jeffrey Lord's limb-perched August gamble that McCain is our 44th. However, while the dice may happen to rebound off the cushion and find McCain's money correctly bet on the pass line, it's because Obama is an empty suit, not because Rush Limbaugh has a hot hand or the Silver Surfer got worked by a gnarly wave.
B.O.'s got the contrived graces and the fumbling, uh, pleasantries of evasive answers, but I think people are just now twigging on the fact he's got no clue what he is talking about. I predict he will eat lots of waffle as the Presidential Brief gets read to him every day. As for me, I'm praying when that phone rings at 3 a.m. that it's not the Commissioner, because the Caped Crusader show is over. Stay tuned for Maverick.
-- Carolyn Branson
Los Angeles, California
I think Jeffrey Lord's piece nailed an element of the real American psyche. Maybe living in a testosterone laden world of Devil Dogs half way across the world has blurred my political sensibilities, but I don't think so. Since 1976 I've picked the Presidential winner every time despite being a lifelong Republican and conservative I've had the integrity to admit when we were beaten.
The last 2 Democrat Presidents had to act like moderate Republicans and at times conservatives to win (Clinton and Carter). Once the cojone-less Carter faced a real man he was toast. Had we run someone other than Dole with some punch Clinton would have been a one term President despite the polls and media hype. Like him or not, McCain has punch.
Who will America elect the man who supports winning in Iraq or the man who leads a party setting up a secret prison in Denver to incarcerate Americans while wanting to free Muslim terrorists at GITMO? Who will American's elect a man ready to kick the Russian bear in the crotch or a cabana boy ready to play Jimmy Carter and bend over for a former KGB thug? Who will America elect a man eager to face his opponent in town hall meetings or a man afraid to confront his challenger man to man? Who will America elect someone prepared to lead or a whiner who when he reveals his ineptitude claims the other guy cheated? Who will American's elect a real American hero or a guy who pouts that he's patriotic and tough too?
God forbid we've replaced Batman with the Joker.
-- Michael Tomlinson
Camp Habbaniyah, Iraq
As I ready myself to wing westward this morning I sat at my computer to read the finest, that being The American Spectator. I have my Expedition saddled and packed but I couldn't leave before seeing the latest in the news. This morning I noted fine rain falling, thanks to an occluded front. And I promised my mama last night that as I come west towards San Saba, that I will lasso a big load of it to bring to her and my daddy. Dad turned 89 on Saturday and I'm bringing his favorite cookie from his childhood and rain. That's it, and that will be more than enough.
As I read the very first column I found myself rejoicing...at six a.m.! Rejoicing because of Batman and Rush, how great is that? I admit to being most nervous about this year's election. Along with reading another air base in Afghanistan was hit this morning, and we do not know where our son is, I am most worried about who our son will call Commander-in-Chief in the Fall. A mama's heart tends to run anxious when fickle forces are in play and having seen the hand of the Democrats while my husband honorably served, I know full well of the tendencies that run to callow and cowardly and that they cannot be depended on for fortitude and constancy. And we sorely need constancy at this time in our nation's history, for if we falter we fail, and as they say, failure is not an option.
So, I pray the proud independent American spirit, which I also inherited, will prevail and try to remember my scripture that faith is believing that which is unseen and hoping for what is to come. And I thank the kind readers for their accolades most recently. To be included with the likes of Diane Smith is high compliment, indeed. She adds a masterful touch to the English language for certain.
So, I am off to help out at the ranch that mama and daddy call home and to bring them greetings of love and hopefully, rain!
-- Bev Gunn
Think Star Trek: The Original Series. Who would you want as President: Kirk or Spock? Kirk, of course. And who at NSA, advising the President? Spock, of course.
-- Glen Leinbach
Ft. Collins, Colorado
What a tremendous article...thank you and Jeffrey Lord.
-- Chet & Mary Singer
The analysis is interesting and intriguing. But how do you explain Jimmy Carter?
-- David Stanczak
Jeffrey Lord replies:
As to Jimmy Carter's election, remember that candidate Carter, new on the national scene in 1976, campaigned as a Naval officer and submariner (a man of action), a successful businessman (man of action) and as an activist governor of Georgia. Gerald Ford, good soul that he was, was all-too well identified as a longtime member of Congress -- which is to say a talker. Also, the "extraordinary circumstance" of Watergate -- a huge scandal that overshadowed the entire election -- was at play. Four years later, with the nation having learned in detail about Jimmy Carter, they chose Reagan in a landslide. As to the notion that Bill Clinton is a "snake," well...never mind. Too easy.
Re: James Bowman's The Dark Knight:
Omniscience vs. indecision, with flames engulfing the myriad dead, for 2.5 hours. A Buchenwald of a movie.
I won't be back to the theater anytime soon.
-- David Govett
Once more, James Bowman proves he is a pretentious bore. Perhaps you could find someone to review films who actually enjoys going to the movies for its own sake, instead of as an opportunity to take his cultural castor oil?
-- Stuart Koehl
Falls Church, Virginia
James Bowman writes that the latest Batman flick does not quite rise to the level of a "Homeric epic" because "the reality of a Homeric epic is conveyed by the fact that those who are its heroes do die," whereas in The Dark Knight, "It's the heroes who are the immortals." He uses this assertion to damn the movie as "fundamentally unserious" and "a travesty."
What in the world is he talking about? It's been a long time since I read The Odyssey but even I remember that its hero, Odysseus, went up against the longest of long odds and survived. And while I don't want to ruin too much for would-be moviegoers, the film clearly has two principle heroes: Batman and Harvey Dent. One of them doesn't make it.
-- Jeremy Lott
Geez Louise, I read Mr. Bowman's "review" of The Dark Knight and thought, "what is he talking about?"
Mr. Lord's article about McCain being the action guy and Obama being the thinking guy is kind of like the difference between Lord and Bowman's columns. Mr. Bowman, you think too much!
The Dark Knight was an interesting movie where I thought of the Joker as the crazed Islamic radical (terrorist, islamofascist -- whatever the term is these days!) and Batman as G.W. Bush -- the guy who has to do some things he might not normally want to do in order to save "Gotham." The movie was a way of looking at our present world and the insane things going on in it and how different people might respond to that insanity (some, such as one of the characters in the movie, go to the dark side (like Darth Vader!)). As far as the Joker killing his assistants -- just look at what Al Qaeda in Iraq did to the people in the cities where they took over. This isn't rocket science, it's inhuman nature we're talking about here.
Mr. Bowman writes, "Ford (in The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance) was telling us that people want to believe heroism grows out of reason and law and civilization but that it really doesn't. Instead, it is a throwback to the most primitive honor cultures before there were any law or civilization, which are things that cannot be contracted for. The Dark Knight tells us the opposite: that both heroism and villainy grow out of reason and law and civilization and that, therefore, these things are mere shams and subterfuges masking a Hobbesian reality devoid even of honor, in which man is a wolf to man and there is nothing to believe in but the individual Nietzschean will, either to good or evil." I found this a bit much. The Joker gives a different excuse for why he is what he is every time he is "asked." One time he blames his father's cruelty, another time he blames something else. Just as those on the left are looking for "root causes" of terrorism and throw out poverty, U.S. action in other parts of the world or Israel's existence, when there are no root causes except the radicals' ideas of what the world should be according to them. Sometimes evil just is.
I'm no movie critic, just an American who wants to know, and appreciates the fact that there is someone out there who will be defending the good against the evil, however you define it. That's why the movie is as popular as it is because Americans (and I'm sure many throughout the world) recognize in the movie, even if subliminally, the ongoing fight of good and evil in the world that is being shown daily on our television screens.
-- Deborah Durkee
Re: Christopher Orlet's Excuse Me, Your Diversity Is Showing:
As a white male in his late 40s, I look forward to my senior years as a member of the "oppressed" minority class.
I look forward to joining the NAAWP (National Association for the Advancement of White People), my legislators being members of the CWC (Congressional White Caucus), and perhaps becoming a member of the newly formed race grievance group La Raza Blanca.
I might then joyously utilize Affirmative Action policies and related racial preference programs to get jobs that perhaps more qualified and deserving Black and Hispanic candidates should have gotten. I will join in and organize parades to protest the celebration of Cinco de Mayo by the oppressive Hispanic majority. In my spare time, I might push for Congress to pass a law recognizing July as White History Month...forever.
In order to keep my Social Security checks coming, I will fight for open borders along Canada so that these folks might "come out of the shadows" to do the jobs that the American majority "just won't do."
And if ANYONE challenges me on any of these dreams/ideas, I'll play the race card...and that will shut them all up.
-- Dave Schallert
The morality of John Edwards is not per se a particularly important matter. Few if any of the men who aspire, let alone rise to the top ranks of political power, have been plaster saints. We should not vote for or against them on the basis of their personal probity or piety, for history is full of good men who have been terrible leaders. In the old days, when such men got to the top by inheriting a crown, the people could only grin and bear it, pray for the monarch's early demise, and then declare him a saint (e.g., St. Edward the Confessor, Henry VI, etc.). Today we pick such men at our peril.
Why, then, is the John Edwards affair a newsworthy matter, despite the fulminations of Ben Stein (increasingly self-righteous in recent years)? Because it reflects on the man's character and judgment, and (as I have written elsewhere), character and judgment are the two critical traits needed in a national leader, as the Founding Fathers repeatedly stressed. Not intellect, not piety, not the right opinions, but character and judgment.
Taking up with a woman of Hunter's background is prima facie evidence of appalling judgment in many different areas. First, on the personal level, he must have realized that he would do serious harm to his wife and his family, but this did not deter him. He must also have known that, in an age of constant media surveillance, he could not keep his secret. Third, he must have realized, given Hunter's background and character, that he was leaving himself wide open to blackmail. If this was the case for John Edwards, private Citizen, how much more for John Edwards, Vice President of the United States, one heartbeat away from the Presidency. How foreign intelligence services could use this information does not need to be elaborated.
On the character side, Edwards revealed that he is a man driven mainly by his carnal desires. To keep his mistress around, he engaged in financial malfeasance (giving Hunter a sinecure contract and paying her out of PAC funds); he also suborned his associates to facilitate the affair and the deceptions surrounding it. Finally, having been caught, Edwards demonstrated his moral cowardice: rather than manfully owning up to the affair, he stonewalled until exposure was imminent, then made a half-assed apology that still seemed to excuse his behavior.
It's good we found out all of this now, so that Edwards has removed himself from consideration for any serious public office. It would be very bad indeed to find out what kind of man John Edwards is, in the midst of a crisis that demands both judgment and character, the two personality traits he desperately seems to lack.
Thus, contra Ben Stein, the press did indeed have its priorities straight (though not the mainstream media, which seems to have Ben's sensibilities), and the story was indeed legitimate.
-- Stuart Koehl
Falls Church, Virginia
FRIENDS AND FELLOWS
Re: Mark Tarnowski's letter (under "Saddled Up at Saddleback") in Reader Mail's Primetime McCain:
I would like to add one bit of information regarding the response from Mark Tarnowski where he stated, "Will someone please tell Senator McCain to quit using the term 'My friends'? I bet he used it at least dozen times during the Saddleback interview. It sounds so disingenuous, like Richard Nixon's 'My fellow Americans.' It makes me cringe."
My memory is far from perfect, so I cannot recall if Richard Nixon ever used the words, "My fellow Americans." However, I am sure Mr. Tarnowski's memory is better than mine on this point so I trust he is correct. I would like to add that the phrase is older than Nixon because I can recall in my youth hearing Lyndon Johnson use those very words to begin an address. With respect to his Texas background however, he tended to pronounce them as "Mah fullow Amurcuns," which would sound very much the way they would be pronounced by Earl Pitts (Gary Burbank's hilarious character on the radio in Cincinnati some years ago). Mr. Burbank's signature radio signoff was pronounced, "Url Piyitts, Amurcun!" Consequently, if Nixon did use those words as noted by Mr. Tarnowski he first appropriated them from Johnson, and I cannot say with certainty that Johnson himself originated the phrase. But I would be willing to believe that Johnson had the most singular pronunciation for the phrase.
As to the point of Mr. Tarnowski's response, I agree. I do not know any state or federal politicians that I consider to be my friend. I do know quite a few that are certainly working to harm my family and that is about as far from friendly as you can get in my book. I can't pretend to know what form of address any presidential candidate should use, but I am not comfortable with politicians assuming I am their friend or assuming that I consider them to be my friend.
-- Craig Bondy
Christopher Holland and Michael Tobias are right on track with what's happening with Russia and Western reaction to it. I would go a step further and say that our pathetic response to the events in Georgia points up to something no one up the street in Washington has quite figured out or admitted -- our weakness. We have become what the Chinese Communists used to refer to us in the 1960s -- a paper tiger. Consider -- our industry has been hollowed out and gone to China, India and elsewhere -- we couldn't build a nuclear plant if we wanted to. All the modern engineering is done overseas now.
We have no surge capacity in our industry and are having a hard time meeting equipment needs in Iraq and Afghanistan with existing capacity.
Next -- we depend on imported oil to meet 70% of our requirements due to idiotic restrictions we have placed on ourselves in obeisance to the mythical earth goddess Gaia.
Next -- our currency has become debased over the last 8 years, hence one of the factors contributing to the high price of oil, seemingly by design by an administration that has to rank among the most incompetent in our history (I am ashamed to admit I supported Bush in 2000 and 2004). Next, our armed forces were gutted during the 1990s to give Clinton bragging rights over reducing the federal deficit; despite the superb performance of our armed forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, we still haven't recovered from that and have sacrificed capabilities that had been resident prior to the mid-90's. While I was still on active duty in 2003, even then I heard talk from our Defense Secretary about CUTTING the number of troops. Utterly stupid, and even more so in the midst of a war or two. But the result of such a policy, of not increasing our armed forces when it would have mattered, is that our effective military capability is committed to the Middle East and Afghanistan. We are hard pressed to meet a threat from another quarter. In fact, it would be far better if Rice and Bush clammed up; we are in a position where we cannot back up this foolish, bellicose rhetoric.
The big lesson in all of this is: ENERGY IS POWER. Economic power, military power, political power flow from it. Most of the threats looming on the horizon, except for China, are energy exporters: Russia, Iran, Venezuela among others. China, which actually once did meet all of its needs domestically, is now pursuing its national interest by securing its supply lines -- overland and by sea via its naval buildup. We are losing our independence and freedom of movement, and we are on the verge of possibly electing a candidate representing a party which doesn't understand it (charitable) or doesn't give a damn (probably the more likely). Unless we go all out to develop ALL sources of energy to dramatically reduce our energy dependence on foreign sources, then we are at the mercy of external influences which are not benign.
Back to our industry and our economy, laissez faire economics and unfettered free trade after several decades of experience are discredited -- the desolation of eastern Ohio and western Pennsylvania were enough to convince me. If there really was a level playing field, then perhaps the theory would work. But, mercantilism is alive and well today, and we hang on to this naive notion that there is a level playing field, and our craven, corrupt, overpaid, incompetent CEOs of today continue to export capacity to become mere brokers of commodities and merchandise, and the Chinese, Indians and others are laughing their way to the bank.
The principal objective for a domestic industrial capacity, today as it was in the 1790s, is to meet national defense needs. The small Constitution Party has it right in their platform -- nothing less than a protective tariff regime, some sort of equalization to ensure products are not dumped into our markets, puts our people out of work and jeopardizes our industrial capability to provide for our national defense.
Back to Russia. Despite the seeming confidence of having planned and executed a successful joint combined arms military mission, the Russian bear has also shown us a few things about its military. It's still a conscript army which mauled a country with an army of approximately 30,000. Drunkenness is still a problem and apparently a number of soldiers didn't know what their mission was, even felt forced to do what they had to do. Its air force is ineffective. Despite its petro-wealth, the country still has a lot of problems. Outside of Moscow and St Petersburg, the majority of Russians still live in primitive conditions. The average life expectancy of a Russian male is not much past 62 years, due to alcoholism. The country is a demographic mess -- the Orthodox Slavic population is shrinking and aborting itself out of existence, while the Muslim population, inside and outside of Russia, enjoys high birthrates. The population of Siberia is decreasing, and I am sure the Chinese have covetous eyes on that rich source of mineral resources. Therein lies the silver lining, which may help bring Russia back to reality.
I have always considered that the U.S. and Russia could be allies, particularly against Islamist terrorism. In retrospect, our triumphalist attitude after 1991 and pushing NATO eastward beyond Poland caused us to lose an opportunity and helped to pave the way for a revanchist Putin. As long as he is on the scene, I see more nationalistic stirrings on the part of Russia. In fact, a year or so from now, I am looking for Russian advisors and troops making a return to the Caribbean -- Cuba and Venezuela -- to tweak Uncle Sam's nose, due to our lack of a REAL and forceful response to the aggression in Georgia.
-- Col. D. Moroco USMCR (Ret)
I was delighted to hear John McCain's bold response to the Medvedev-Putin-led Russian invasion of Georgia.
I was proud to hear his subsequent strong statements forewarning attendees of the August 18 Veterans of Foreign Wars convention that Russia's ambitions, as evinced by their action in Georgia, are increasingly resembling the same posturing that prompted the Cold War.
It is in lieu of the following that I am writing you to relate the aforementioned thoughts to your readers:
When John McCain last visited Columbia, S.C. for a major fundraiser hosted by the state Republican party, I was among the 40 or so attendees participating in the pre-event meet-and-greet with the candidate.
When presented the opportunity to engage Sen. McCain with a question, this cautiously optimistic 27-year-old asked: If you were president, how would your administration have responded to the parading of nuclear missiles across Red Square in the past 24 hours to augment inaugural celebrations officiating Medvedev's ascension to the presidency in Russia?
Sen. McCain acknowledged -- at that point -- it was his sense the Russians were menaces who liked to create problems for us here and there, but they were not exactly our nation's chief adversaries.
Lately it sounds like his tone is changing a bit. This young American is pleased with this change.
If one is to run as a "hawk," one must be a realist too.
-- Michael S. Smith II
Charleston, South Carolina
Re: Phil Klein's McCain's Finest Hour:
It's difficult to speak with clarity when you either have no principles underlying a position, or you must lie about your position. Obama has both problems.
-- Mary McLemore
Pike Road, Alabama
The Presidency...it's above Obama's pay grade.
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