LIVE FROM NEW YORK, IT'S SATURDAY NITRO
Re: Nicole Russell's Al Frankenstein:
Celebrity candidacies may seem attractive, but they carry some problems. The candidate generally has to have a public image that inspires some measure of confidence in their abilities. Ronald Reagan, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Clint Eastwood and Fred Thompson were perceived as mature, successful men who were able to communicate ideas, and who had been successful in fields other than acting (Reagan as a union president, Schwarzenegger as an entrepreneur, Eastwood as a producer and director and Thompson as an attorney). Al Franken has never done anything of note outside of writing, and his tenure as head writer of SNL coincided with the decline of the show's quality and viewership. In fact, Franken's body of work can be used against him. His most famous book, Rush Limbaugh is a Big Fat Idiot, is a collection of sophomoric tirades that alienated as many people as it amused. An excerpt that appeared in Playboy, hardly a bastion of conservativism, received uniformly negative mail due to its childish attacks on what he perceived as conservative "Chicken Hawks." It was full of scatological jokes and cheap shots and prompted one letter writer to ask if it had been written by Franken's child. Appearing live on Politically Incorrect during the '96 election cycle as the liberal counterpoint to Arianna Huffington (now there's a blast from the past), his comments to LTC Oliver North were so offensive that Bill Maher felt the need to apologize to LTC North on the air prior to any response from the public. These and other incidents and comments are easily researched and will provide easy fodder for any campaign.
But, it is as head writer on SNL that Franken is most vulnerable. The obvious decline in the writing of the show and its loss of viewers should demonstrate Franken's inability to manage a small group of writers, much less a Senate staff, and Franken's notoriously thin skin will not help him when these facts are presented to him, and nothing turns off the electorate faster than a good public tantrum.
-- Mike Harris
MAJ, US Army.
Great article by Nicole Russell on Mr. Air America himself. And a perfect photograph accompanying it. You see how you turn out after years of dropping LSD in order to write those stupid skits for Saturday Night Live with Tom Davis ages ago? You become an idiot-stick liberal like Franken.
Sometimes there isn't better living through chemistry.
-- Jim Bjaloncik
ROUT OF AGES
Re: Jennifer Rubin's 1972 All Over Again:
Jennifer Rubin's article re McCain versus Obama describes the current situation pretty accurately. The choice is between someone who is relatively conservative and the Democrat nominee on the far left.
Looks pretty easy for me. Most individuals who are conservative political junkies probably have strong disagreements with any number of McCain positions. I can count his position on accepting embryonic stem cell research, and the assault on free speech that is McCain-Feingold as two particularly troublesome positions. Other readers may have their personal favorites. Still political decisions need to be balanced by what is actually achievable. Conservatives must realize that the country as a whole is not as conservative as we might like. If it was, well then Rick Santorum would be the nominee of the Republican Party. That was my personal pick, but alas I think I was in the minority.
As it stands we have a reasonable chance at electing a moderate-conservative candidate who is infinitely preferable to the left wing neophyte that Obama is. And even more preferable to the fanatical left wing ideologue that Clinton would be. Issue by Issue: On economics Obama wants to raise taxes, views those making over $75,000/year as "the rich", and plans on initiating some kind of ill described "national service" in exchange for a $4500/year grant for everyone to go to college. ( What happened to working part time and saving the money for college!) McCain clearly will spend less on such boondoggles, has promised to preserve the Bush tax cuts, and is much less likely to nationalize the health care industry. On social issues Obama is for unrestricted abortion for any reason, at any stage of pregnancy, paid for with taxpayer dollars. McCain in spite of his position on ESC research, has a zero voting rating from the abortion on demand folks at NARAL, and has a pre-election pro life voting record at least as strong as any of the last several Republican nominees. He is endorsed by Sen. Sam Brownback who has been a prolife leader, and has supported conservative justices from Bork to Alito. On the issue of Islamic terrorism, well, Obama wanted to Bomb Pakistan, and let Iraq collapse into chaos. Need anyone say more?
At this point its time for conservatives to lick their wounds, and realize that sometimes you don't get what you want, but sometimes you do get what you need. Of this year's nominees he might very well be the most conservative electable candidate. (It is amazing how many who bewail his nomination were rooting for Giuliani, when Giuliani's pro-abortion position was completely unacceptable to social conservatives. There is no position that McCain has taken that is so intrinsically bad as Giuiliani's left wing social positions.) Clearly responsible adults can not let the country be handed over to the Obama cult, and still less can they allow it to be handed back over to the likes of Billiary Clinton, should they manage to rise from the dead.
For those of your readers who are claiming they are too pure a conservative to sully their hands by voting for McCain, well, do you really want to see what the country looks like after four years of a extreme left wing democratic President aided and abetted by a Congress controlled by the Democrats?
-- Michael DePietro MD
No offense Ms. Rubin. But where in his voting records of the last seven years can you say he is a conservative in the mold of Reagan. And just because he says he sees his mistake in the amnesty bill does not mean he will put a fence in first. He has even stated he still agrees with that bill.
Finally, the list of bills (too numerous to mention) he has joined with liberal democrats against the conservatives of this country do not tell us he is conservative. He gets a half point on security of the nation and a half point for fighting spending. But cutting or keeping the tax cuts, I am still not sure he will do this. However, we do not want Hillary or Obama any where near the White House.
-- Joseph D'Ambrosia
Jennifer Rubin has nailed it: Barack Obama is an ultra-liberal and as Ted Olson recently proved not very bright. Conservatives disappointed with John McCain's nomination (I am one) must consider the alternative to a McCain Presidency before choosing to cavalierly throw away another election -- the "Obamantion" of the U.S. (even if Hillary gets the nomination she'll be compelled to adopt Obama's agenda). On several issues John McCain is a better choice. He promises no new taxes -- since George W. Bush is the only President in 40 years to never raise taxes I'm skeptical, but Obama has promised he would raise taxes on the middle class (those making $50,000 and up).
McCain's pledge to follow in the footsteps of George W. Bush and appoint only conservative Constitutionalists to SCOTUS is good news since it is likely the next President will have at least 1 if not 2 slots to fill. McCain is pro-life and since the Democrats may retain control of Congress he would be a necessary bulwark to block their anti-life agenda. As a combat veteran, from the war Democrats eagerly chose to lose, his position of no surrender to Muslim imperialists/terrorist stands in sharp contrast to Obama. His opposition to earmarks at a time when the Democrat Congress is demanding more pork and Obama plans to spend, spend, spend (though revenue will decrease due to his massive tax increase) is sound fiscal policy.
Obama may mesmerize the automatons of the radical left, wow liberal news readers and scribblers, bilk rich elitists Democrats and inspire some conservative listeners to Rush Limbaugh but the only change he promises is a reversal of the last quarter century of national prosperity and American world dominance. What he promises is a return to the days of Jimmy Carter when the economy was a shambles; unions were strangling productivity; government regulations were crippling business; unemployment, inflation and interest rates were skyrocketing; and tin-pot dictators were routinely humiliating us.
John McCain is not the ideal candidate far from it, but based on what many conservatives are now demanding of Republicans Ronald Reagan would fail to measure up too. In November there will be two real choices for President -- John McCain and the Democrat. What it comes down to is, are you willing to totally hand the three branches of the Federal government over to radical Democrats as happened with the Congress in 2006? If so, then stay home, watch Oprah and be proud of your support for the "Obamanation."
-- Michael Tomlinson
Jacksonville, North Carolina
Look, folks, McCain wasn't my choice either. Thanks to Indiana's late primary date (May), I've had absolutely no say in the Republican Party's candidate choice. OK. We get it. McCain makes mud bricks rather than parting the waters. We will not be presenting the country with a clear conservative alternative to Hillary/Obama's mixture of Pluto water and snake oil. We get it.
Nevertheless, we should all heed W.F. Buckley's standard advice: "Always vote for the rightward most viable candidate." That this formula forces us to vote for a liberal centrist over a leftwing radical in some cases is a bitter pill; but it makes sense in choosing the bad over the worse.
In McCain, we have a man far from the conservative ideal. Hillary Eugene Debbs and Obama A. Hiss, however, make no pretensions in being conservative at all.
In 2006, many of us refused to support dozens of Republican officeholders on Election Day for the purpose of "sending a message" to the smug party leadership. What happened was the newly Democrat house and senate sent their own "message" back to us instead -- with a vengeance. Make no mistake what a Democrat White House will have in store for us.
-- Mike Dooley
Glad to finally see the awe-struck Conservatives finally take a swing at bloviating Liberal hot-air merchant Barack Obama. After years of bemoaning a possible Hillary candidacy, Republicans have sleepwalked into a disastrous situation where a McGovern-type ultra-Liberal will most probably capture the Presidency. Jennifer Rubin is close when she characterizes Obama as a McGovern-type Liberal, but in 2008 this election is looking more like 1976 when the hapless Carter began his malaise. While Republicans and Conservatives have been choking on their bile regarding Hillary Clinton, they have been hoodwinked by Senator Obama, the National Journal's Most Liberal Senator of 2007. Even Conservative Joe Scarborough has confessed to shivers down his spine when the airy Obama speaks. I too get shivers down my spine, but mainly from the scary, but now almost inevitable prospect of an Obama Presidency due to the incompetence of Republican's regarding the budget, New Orleans and missteps in Iraq.
-- Nathan Maskiell
You have absolutely nailed it, a clear choice and the loser has nothing to say except "the better party won," onto next election.
-- S. Thornson
DO UNTO OTHERS
Re: Hal G.P. Colebatch's Money and Misery:
Hal Colebatch gives essentially three reasons why the heirs of J.R.R. Tolkien should not defend their property rights in his writings:
1) They presumably have enough money already.
2) Love of money can make your life miserable (just look at the Beatles).
3) It might interfere with his ability to enjoy The Hobbit in movie form.
None of these strikes me as an argument you commonly see in the American Spectator.
Colebatch is confused on one other point. John Lennon was not killed by "wealth and celebrity." He was killed by Mark Chapman.
-- Glen Hoffing
Shamong, New Jersey
Another odd little person solemnly and earnestly entreating someone else to forego $150 million because (1) he thinks that person already has "enough" money; (2) contracts? We don't honor no stinkin' contracts!; and (3) after all, the important thing is that HE gets to see "The Hobbit"!
My youngest sister used to be a Fundamentalist Christian and repeat such twaddle sanctimoniously and sincerely...until she reaped the whirlwind of a bad marriage and heard that same sanctimonious twaddle directed at her instead of from her. She admitted that she did not realize how it sounded until it hit her right in the face.
Hal G. P. Colebatch might want to think about how he'd feel if it was HIS $150 million and HIS dishonored contract.
-- Kate Shaw
PANTS ON FIRE?
Re: Quin Hillyer's The False and the Absurd:
If Mr. Hillyer thinks this is false, he should urge the Alabama GOP to sue CBS. If he does not, Mr. Hillyer is the liar, which would not be very surprising. Don't compare McCain with the commie scumbag, Karl Rove.
Why on earth should anyone question Karl Rove's integrity? And who would think that Rove would tell a fellow GOP to try and catch Mr. Siegelman in a compromising position - after all, this is the same Karl Rove who was behind the smear of John McCain in 2000 and the implication that he fathered an illegitimate black child! In all seriousness, let's please at least acknowledge that there was nothing honorable about Mr. Rove's ideological and hyper-partisan goal of winning at all costs. He is renowned for his infamous treachery that fed into criminal behavior (namely that of outing a CIA spy) -- and the Siegelman saga which bears his rather odious 'mark'.
I'm sorry that your article would decide to claim that Rove was not asked for a rebuttal to the 60 Minutes story, for as it would seem Rove and his team of enablers had just that opportunity to do so in the months leading up to the show. The fact that he chose not to speak out on his own behalf, and then claim otherwise, would indicate a man capable of what we already know about him - dishonorable, undignified, lacking integrity and criminally dishonest.
Karl Rove is a political sociopath, and when one reads the highly researched, documented investigative reports that have been written on the Siegelman case, there is no question who was behind the treachery, and for what goal. I just thank goodness that there are those journalists out there still who are interested in justice and holding the rot inside the GOP accountable.
Score one for those Republicans and Democrats alike who at least acknowledge ruthlessness when it steps over the line into Soviet-style persecution, and are willing to stand up against it.
The only thing "false and absurd" in this piece is the lame projection of Rove's famed thuggery onto those who would dare expose the creepiness of how the conservative rightwing of the political sphere will stop at nearly nothing to win at all costs. Disturbing stuff, plain and simple.
-- Kimberly Meuse
I couldn't help notice a glaring omission in this article, specifically: "THE TRUTH IS that the entire Siegelman investigation stemmed from a series of articles in the Mobile Register (my former newspaper) by ace investigative reporter Eddie Curran, a winner of numerous journalism awards who is anything but a Republican."
What "Journalism Awards" are being referenced? There's no awards mentioned in the article and I'm sorry, I no longer trust anything a conservative says, unless I dig up background and confirm it on my own (deceived too many times)! My problem is that I've Googled Eddie Curran and can find nothing. There's no Bio on him at AL.COM and Wikipedia has nothing on him.
I've posted this question on several sites, have yet to get an answer and would like to know what awards Hillyer is talking about?
-- Ron Russell
San Francisco, California
The editors reply:
Here is a link to a webpage that lists a few of Eddie Curran's journalism awards. It's also an archive of his reporting on the Siegelman scandal.
PRIVATE SAFETY ISSUE
Re: Eric Peters's Don't Want to Buckle-Up for Safety?:
It would be nice if the legislatures would simply address the seatbelt issue by authorizing insurance companies to refuse injury coverage to a driver proven to be unbuckled at the time of an accident. The burden of proof would be with the insurance company, of course.
Then the real costs of a risky choice would be born by the individual and we would be free of some of this nanny state nonsense. We could also apply the same principle to the use of helmets by motorcyclists.
-- W. E. James
Reidsville, North Carolina
WAY WITH WORDS
Re: Edmund Dantes's letter (under "Remember Hillary?") in Reader Mail's Disappointing Democracy:
As a longtime member of the George Corley Wallace school of political rhetoric (not his politics, just his rhetoric), I was pleased to see Mr. Edmund Dantes refer to Mrs. Clinton's dubious rogues gallery of pollsters, communists and hangers on with the delicious phrase "henhouse cronies." Wallace, the late lamented populist governor of our great state, gave the political lexicon such jewels as "pointy headed liberals" and "briefcase toting bureaucrat who couldn't park a bicycle straight." It's good to know that the use of apt and skewering rhetoric is alive and well among the readership of TAS. Contemporary politics, with its every smidgen of communication focus group tested to produce a message reduced to the lowest common denominator, is so boring. I long for the good old days.
-- David Atchison
DON'T MONKEY WITH EVOLUTION
Re: Ben Stein's Florida's Darwinian Interlude:
Ben Stein's latest article was a distinct disappointment. His opinions are usually well grounded, but he missed the central fact here in his attempt to provide cover for Creationists. The questions on the origins of energy matter, etc. at the opening of the article display his fundamental lack of understanding about science, what constitutes a scientific theory, and what does not. A scientific theory, to be valid, must be testable through observation. The origins of energy, matter, et al., i.e., what happened before the Big Bang, are not observable from within this universe, and are therefore not within the purview of science. Ben may postulate a supernatural being who decided what the speed of light and the value of Plank's constant would be, but there is nothing scientific about such speculations.
To suggest that there is no support for evolutionary theory is to blatantly ignore a large body of evidence from not only biology, but also geology, chemistry, and physics that provides clear evidence of the fundamental validity of evolutionary theory. No test or observational evidence has been shown to contradict or disprove (falsify, in the formal language) evolution as the mechanism for species progression.
Creationism on the other hand, unlike evolutionary theory, is not testable (it provides no predictions or other means to prove it wrong) and thus is not a scientific theory. The point is not one of requiring evolution to be presented as the only theory, but of refusing to include non-scientific conjectures in a science curriculum.
Unless we properly teach children what valid science is and how to properly evaluate technical claims, we will continue as a society to be prey to hucksters trying to sell us water powered engines and anthropogenic global warming.
-- Wayne Martin
SERVILE STATE, WHY NOT?
Re: Jeff Emanuel's Unfree to Choose:
Mr. Emanuel concludes his essay with the following paragraph:
"Rather than continuing down this path of bigger and more intrusive government that regulates and interferes in people's lives and wallets, Mrs. Clinton should spend a few minutes studying the free market and learning how things like choice and volunteerism really work. If she is interested, we can point her in the right direction to get started."
While I agree with this statement completely, the bigger and more dire question is Do Americans want free markets and less government intrusion in their lives? When Mrs. Clinton revealed that she would use the government to force people who did not want or could afford health insurance, I expected outrage to follow. I thought that Americans would finally see the dictator the Mrs. Clinton would become if she were elected president. However, all I heard from the mainstream media was silence. No anger from the electorate over the possibility of being subjected to even more intrusion into our financial affairs. No anger over the possibility of subjugation to an even more authoritarian government. No anger over the possibility of losing even more of our freedom. This is the true problem that many, if not most conservatives refuse to believe: that the American electorate is voluntarily choosing to give up its freedoms.
After this election is over conservatives, libertarians, and other lovers of freedom must confront this truth and go about the business of preaching the moral superiority of freedom. Given that the natural desire of man is security over freedom, this will be a great challenge. We will have to stick to principles, even if this means losing power for years. But one advantage we have is that liberals always go too far when they have control. That sudden increase in temperature will alert us to the boiling water that we are in and we can escape. However, if we continue on our current path of compromise, we will be only a speed bump on the road to serfdom. We would become a servile State through the free choices of the electorate.
-- Christian Evans
ONE BILLION ILLEGAL DOWNLOADERS CAN'T BE WRONG
Re: Li Ping's China's # 1:
But will China ever mean business about securing intellectual property rights?
-- David Govett
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