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The Great Miscommunicator

Obama said what? Up from atheism. Libertarians and kiddie porn. Plus more.

5.30.08

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CREDIBILITY GAFFE
Re: R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr.'s Gift of Gaffability:

RET gleefully reports "His [Obama's] gaffability will continue, and soon the Democratic leaders will be wincing." This assumes that Senator McCain will be rough enough to point out Obama's gaffes. Certainly the press won't do the work for him. McCain hasn't shown much bite so far this election cycle. Further, he has put leashes (i.e., The McCain-Feingold-Cochran Campaign Reform Act) on other dogs who might have more fight (or swift boating skills).

Maybe, just maybe, by November, the Dems will be asking, "Who let the dogs out!?!" For the sake of our country, let's hope so.
-- Ira M. Kessel
Rochester, New York

It would be easier to accept Mr. Tyrrell's pronouncement that Emir Obama is "gaffable" -- i.e. prone to Carteresque misstep, pratfall and outright howler -- if Tyrrell had not, on at least two occasions in the pages and pixels of this website, declared George W. Bush to be debonair.

If there is anyone in the pantheon of contemporary American politics who is not debonair, but rather a soul mate and the dismal kin to Jimmy Carter, it is George W. Bush. (Although Bush's father merits honorable mention for heaving in the lap of a Japanese diplomat.) No public figure in any aspect of American life -- including politics, movie acting and banking -- better merits the Inspector-Clouseau-I-Could-Screw-Up-A-One-Car-Funeral-Award than Bush and Carter.

Obama is merely a dainty adolescent, who believes his crackpot notions about government, and his silly assumptions about human nature, are new and merit trial. He could doubtless do as much harm as Carter, and probably more, given present hysteria about global warming and gasoline. (Imagine Al Gore as Secretary of the Interior and Al Sharpton as Attorney General.) But Bush and Carter are in a league by themselves.

Obama would have to watch the Queen of England dethroned by Episcopalian fundamentalists, and then spend the nation into a worthless dollar to be pronounced a true buffoon and American nightmare.

All of which is immaterial to our present danger, because Mrs. Clinton will be the nominee and the next president. In any case, God help us.
-- Edmund Dantes
Coshocton, Ohio

You misquote Obama. He actually said, "I had an uncle..." I noticed this several times as the quote was repeated on TV.

Also, I noticed his grammatical gaffs. He fails to use the possessive case before gerunds -- somethings educated speakers of English know how to do. ("...us going in Iraq" instead of "our going into Iraq.")

I heard him say "Mass-a-too-setts" for Massachusetts.

And the MSM makes fun of Bushisms.
-- Hannah Robb
Lowell, Michigan

SIMPLY SAINTLY
Re: Ben Stein's Saints in Armor:

All one can say to Mr. Stein's column is "Amen." A veteran has been one who wrote a check payable to his country for any amount, up to and including his life.
-- Jim Karr
Blue Springs, Missouri

Great article. Stein said:

"How about everyone who stands between the weak, pitiful good people and the strong, vicious thugs who want to kill us, rape our wives, take what we have? How about all of them getting some credit once in a while? How about thanking the police once in a blue moon instead of damning them?"

That is something that needs to be said often. I'm glad he said it. That doesn't ring as well as "People sleep peacefully in their beds at night because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf." But I think "Saints in Armor" covers the subject better.
-- Ben Snyder

LOSING McCLELLAN
Re: George Neumayr's Scott on the Rocks:

Scott McClellan is expressing the wrongs while working for the Bush Administration.

My recent government job as a Tobacco Prevention Specialist lasted 42 days. Two weeks of this time Chipper my Chocolate Lab and I slept in the camper of my little pickup truck. A couple of times the temperature dropped below freezing. Like long distance truck drivers I took truck stop showers. My living circumstances were definitely not the "norm" for the polished-hired-health-gun, but I was able to endure with contentment while getting paid for doing what I had done free for many years.

However, it only took a few working days to realize that my restless nights were not coming from my lack of housing, but from the immediate need for me to compromise my passion to play "soft" ball for my state pay check.

Can't imagine how poor Scott lasted three years.
-- Mike Sawyer

I like Mr. Neumayr's take on McClellan, a dupe who has let himself be used. But there is a subtext that implies differently, that he has been dumb all the way to the bank, like Paris Hilton without the looks or the sex tape. After all, he wouldn't have hit the national stage unless he had let Bush use and abuse him, and he wouldn't be proffitting from a best-seller unless he had found that sharp editor who used him in abusing Bush. Either that, or McClellan is the luckiest dumb dupe around.

But, Neumayr has a very kind interpretation of the comment on Bushes recollections of drug use. Whether or not Bush really said it, it is quite clearly meant to imply that Bush used so many different types of drugs back then that he can't remember clearly which ones he did use. And all those drug using ex-hippies, with an ax to grind from being bitter at the powers that made their choices illegal, who will be interviewing McClellan, will be sure to bring up this interpretation.

If it were Obama making that statement, they would hide it, but privately make a hero out of him. And the left clearly thinks what Bush has done in office is much worse than this silly past, but they know they can bash the right with it. I do though don't think that the left understands the difference between living bad choices, and repenting from doing so. The only type of repentance they like is the type Mr. Neumayr has described, one they can use for political advantage. McClellan will be dropped, the moment he quits being useful. In the left's eye, there is nothing less forgivable than aiding and abetting the right. Just ask David Brock if he is through doing penance.
-- Jim Bailey

Rushing to read Mr. Neumayr's piece on the ex-press secretary who has allowed his name to appear with authorial credit on a hit piece against President Bush, I was rather surprised to find out that Mr. Newmayr watches Chris Matthews on his program "Hardball." My surprise is, I believe, understandable in light of the fact that this program is pretty much a political version of Benny Hill, an old British slapstick program that excelled in low humor and ridiculousness. I cannot remember the specific Matthews rant that sent me diving for the remote control, but I am sure it was as asinine as any of his other rants with which I went along, stupidly thinking that there might be a nugget of news value in the program. I won't say that my respect for Mr. Neumayr's intelligence has diminished, but I must question his judgment. I mean, if he regularly watches "Hardball," what next? Perhaps "Finding Love with Tila Tequila." Oh my God, I can't believe I typed that.
-- Joseph Baum
Garrettsville, Ohio

A few observations about George Neumayr's article on Scott McClellan:

(1) In its talking points, the White House claimed that this is not the Scott they knew. Mr. Neumayr claims that this is precisely the Scott they knew. Both cannot be correct. Given the White House's problems with credibility, I'm inclined to side with Mr. Neumayr on this point.

(2) Mr. Neumayr writes: "Why is the White House surprised that a dullard they manipulated could also be manipulated by a book editor?" Given the current administration's record of hiring dullards and incompetents, Brownie being the most famous, I concede that Mr. Neumayr may well be onto something.

(3) Continuing, Mr. Neumayr writes: "Had McClellan written in the book of his disappointment with Bush's sham conservatism, the book would sink without a trace." I disagree. Given how few conservatives have
infrequently criticized Mr. Bush and how many (Krauthammer and Kristol come to mind) have repeatedly come to his defense on nearly every issue, I believe a book about "Bush's sham conservatism" would hit the best seller list almost immediately upon release. Here I criticize Mr. Neumayr for using an attack on the media to obfuscate the real issue; namely, that Mr. McCellan might be telling the truth.

(4) "This should keep The Daily Show busy for days." No doubt about that. Keith Olbermann already has had a field day with this, but hey, the right has Rush Limbaugh (and Ann Coulter, Laura Ingraham, Michelle Malkin et. al.) and the left has Keith (and Al Franken, etc. etc.) Nobody reads or listens to these people for objective, sober, nuanced analysis delivered in soft voice. They listen because they enjoy seeing and hearing their ideological opponents held up in contempt, scorned and denigrated in elegant vitriolic language. And, lets be honest; they really do enjoy this. If it weren't so divisive and antithetical to a healthy body politic, I would be inclined to quote Larry the Cable Guy concerning this whole spectacle: "Now that's funny." Perhaps, we should be quoting Larry's other famous line: "Lord, I apologize for that."

A final point. Karl Rove suggested that Mr. McClellan was purposely kept out of the loop concerning the plans of the administration. If this was the case, why shouldn't we think that all other press secretaries have also been left out of the loop? And why should we give any credibility to anything said by the president's press secretary?
-- Mike Roush

Best dissection of this non-event I've read yet. You nailed it.
-- Laney Bormel
Maryland

THE LOVED ONE
Re: Christopher Orlet's Creative Class Blues:

I just read Chris Orlet's article "Creative Class Blues," which discussed author Nan Mooney's complaints about how her life has turned out. Mr. Orlet's article only skimmed the surface of the life of this spoiled, smug whiner.

After doing a bit of World Wide Shoe-Box research, it turns out that Ms. Mooney is not a typical starving journalism-major wretch, unsuccessful at eking out a living writing for the Squaresville Daily. She is actually "an award-winning author" with several previous books to her credit. Before her untimely demise into single-motherhood, she apparently lived in Manhattan. Now, sad to say, she is still living with the 'rents in Seattle, Left Coast and currently writes a blog where she continues to trash her parents for not whole-heartedly agreeing with her lifestyle while they continue to subsidize it.

Would that someone get the parents side of the story!
-- John Pierce
Mobile, Alabama

This article rings all to true. However, not everyone in this generation is like this lazy piece of trash. It also, speaks volumes for the way journalists look at the world.
-- Joseph D'Ambrosia

FREE BOBBY JINDAL
Re: The Washington Prowler's None But the Brave:

Please tell me that someone, anyone, in the McCain inner circle has enough sense to NOT waste such a rising star on the nothing role of McCain's Veep. The Veep job is not all it is cracked up to be anyway (not worth a warm bucket of spit, and all that), and with McCain it will be worse. Where, pray tell, is the evidence that that stubborn, hot-head ever seriously listens to anyone not named Kennedy, Kerry, or Lieberman? Leave Jindal alone to ferment and age. In 2012 or 2016, depending on this election, he will be ready to be a true star, a comet streaking across America's political sky.

On another point, I always respected Sen. Sam Nunn. I know that he was a good and true Democrat, but he always impressed me as a man that would put country above party, and a man that truly understood and respected the military, even though I didn't always agree with the conclusions that he came to. I simply do not believe that Sam Nunn is a Socialist, and Obama is a confirmed Socialist, demonstrably so. I truly would hope that Sen. Nunn would tell Obama no, if asked to be his Veep. I surely do hope that the radical Left has not gotten their traitorous hooks set in Sam Nunn.
-- Ken Shreve

Bobby Jindal needs to stay as governor of Louisiana for the next four years. He will then be forty and ready for the next presidential race. I've watched him from early in his career and spotted him as the brightest bulb in the conservative movement. Why not make him chairman of the Republican Party, which would give him the spotlight and the microphone for the next four years? The conservative movement desperately needs a real leader and BobbY Jindal is that leader. He is the only one now that gives me any hope of a revival in the conservative movement, which now lies near dead with McCain driving it toward the precipice of disaster.
-- Bette Schaffel
Miami, Florida

I heard some "Democratic Strategist" (don't you love that term) say that the first criterion for Obama's selection of a Vice Presidential running mate is that he or she must be qualified to be President.

[Sigh] If only that were the first criterion for selecting a
Democratic candidate for President.

Tenth criterion, even.
-- A. C. Santore
Independent Strategist

UP FROM ATHEISM
Re: Logan Paul Gage's Where the Evidence Leads:

Not to be too contrary on Mr. Gage's considered judgment of Anthony Flew's change of heart, his "pilgrimage of reason" in matters in his sliding out of the atheist camp. One could also take a rather snarky position, that is more real life realizations of increasing age like, Oh, I don't know, a thought totally at random like: "I'm damn near seventy now and I think I better hedge my bets."
-- Craig Sarver
Seattle, Washington

FANTASY LAND
Re: James David Dickson's Tired Superpower:

The La-La Land where the U.S. can withdraw from the world has been tried. It should be remembered that Pearl Harbor was carried out because the Japan did not want the potential, repeat, potential of an American response to a Japanese attack on the Dutch East Indies, French Indochina, or the British possessions to interfere with their drive for Empire.

The idea that "they won't bother us if we don't bother them" falls apart because our adversaries, even if they don't want our territory, might still wish to neutralize us before moving on to their real objectives.
-- Craig A. Zimmerman
Nairobi, Kenya

SIGNING ON
Re: Jeffrey Lord's Seeing Evil: The Arms of John McCain:

Just finished reading Mr. Lord's insightful contribution, "Seeing Evil." Allow me to take a minute of your time to express my gratitude and respect for the writing and clarity of moments in history and how they relate to what is going on in the world of today. Appeasement is very frightening and dangerous. History has shown what it can do and what events could have been prevented. Yes, I agree with Mr. Lord on his view of good vs. evil.

As far as Senator McCain, I did not know the extent of his injuries while taken and imprisoned in Hanoi. I am at fault for not knowing this and ashamed for not looking into the life and times of such a man. Perhaps those who criticize and belittle him for not caring about our men and women in the armed forces should (as the saying goes) walk in his shoes before opening their mouths. I shall vote for the senator this coming fall and be very honored to do so.

Thanks again Spectator (of which I'm an avid reader) and a big shout out to Mr. Jeffrey Lord. Mr. Lord has written a wonderful piece. Thank You.
-- Art Pingree
New York City

FREE TO FLAIL
Re: Gail Lightfoot's letter (under "Strawman") in Reader Mail's Crying Foul:

I am not persuaded as Gail Lightfoot is that the issue of Libertarians supporting kiddie porn is settled by saying most libertarians "ha[ve] never supported kiddie porn." Libertarians are in the habit of saying they do not approve of "X" (drug use, abortion, Barney the Dinosaur, etc,) but do not believe the government has any legitimate business passing a law(s) against it. Would the same pattern apply to kiddie porn? I can imagine Libertarian philosophy answering either way according to its principles; but we should let Libertarians speak for themselves. I have no doubt the lion's share of Libertarians are repulsed by "kiddie" porn. However, is this another case of "I am personally opposed, but..."?
-- Mike Dooley

Jeremy Lott replies:
The three candidates for the Libertarian Party presidential nomination that attended the Reason magazine event (Bob Barr, Mike Gravel, and Wayne Allyn Root), were not only "personally opposed" to child pornography but said that it should be illegal as well, and looked kind of shocked that anyone would ask such a question. Two of those candidates, Barr and Root, then went on to win the party's presidential and vice presidential nominations. A fourth candidate, Mary Ruwart, who came in second to Barr for the presidential nod of the LP, did take something like the "personally opposed, but" position. It's very likely that Ruwart's writings on kiddie porn -- and, ahem, the amplification of those writings by certain media outlets -- cost her the nomination. You're welcome, Libertarians.

HAT TIP
Re: Joseph Baum's letter (under "Quick Word, Good Doctor") in Reader Mail's Crying Foul:

Touche'!
-- Andrew J. Macfadyen, M.D.
Omaha, Nebraska

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