Reader Mail

By Any Definition

Looking Romney up. Bearing Russia. Rudy's plan extended. Obama toughened. Plus more.

1.27.08

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For today's special Reader Mail section on Peter Wallison's "Reagan and McCain," click here.

LEXICON CHECK
Re: Philip Klein's Romney Plays Himself:

Great article, but he might want to re-think comparing Romney to Hoover, since most people equate Hoover with the Great Depression.
-- Kent Thomas
Eufaula, Alabama

Your Romney article is a little odd. Is your magazine a left-leaning one? Sorry, I'm not familiar with your magazine, but I thought it was odd you thought that sleeves could be rolled immaculately. I also wondered why you would make such a big deal about a candidate emphasizing what is most current on the minds of voters. It isn't a flip-flopping, morally mushy position to emphasize your positions on current events like the economy. I write fiction novels for a living. Your descriptions, plots, interior dialogue, exposition and narration are better suited to novel-writing than news.
-- David G. Woolley
Springville, Utah

Aside from the general snotty tone of the author, could we ask Mr. Klein to check his definitions? I don't believe Mitt Romney was a venture capitalist. Look it up in your Funk & Wagnall's, please.
-- Judy Beumler
Louisville, Kentucky

It's so discouraging to read in a first-rate conservative publication that a candidate -- in this case Romney -- should be judged positively because of his economic plan. Folks, if this campaign is not about national defense and foreign policy, we will lose the election. If our next president doesn't deal effectively with the War in Iraq and the War on Terror, our country will lose a great deal more than some silly and irrelevant cash rebate, bureaucratic health care program or a half percent or so lower unemployment rate. With Thompson out, McCain and Giuliani are the only relevant candidates in this race.
-- Paul Zisserson
Cranston, Rhode Island

Well, isn't this interesting? The American Spectator has obviously decided to subtly tilt to John McCain in this remaining GOP primary field. Friday's online issue leads with an article by Mr. Klein that concludes with subtle jabs at Romney by comparing him with Herbert Hoover, and indicates that the "real" Romney is now out of the closet. Now Hoover was not all bad, but 99.9% of American citizens know him merely as the President that gets credit for the great depression that FDR supposedly rescued us from.

I would be interested to know what Mr. Klein thinks any candidate of any party is going to tout as his beliefs in Florida. Mr. Klein, you may have missed the fact of the high percentage of elderly retired voters in Florida, or the high percentage of Hispanics and other minorities to whom health care is a monstrous issue. Please, I lived and worked in Florida for too long and too recently to NOT understand some of the issues and stands that are obligatory for a state wide or national candidate down there. And then of course there are the two venues cited in the article, a university and a cancer center. Wonder why you would talk about health care on a day when you have an appearance at a cancer center? Now I despise forced single payer health care systems like Madame Hillary has already tried. I find it harder to object to a system where government run plans are just one of the available choices, such as the situation is in Massachusetts. Lack of health care insurance by large numbers of folks, when combined with the astronomical costs of health care, mostly due to the plaintiffs bar, is a significant problem in our society.

All the other factoids and economic principles type of stuff that Mr. Klein cites, I find conservative enough to not turn me off to Romney, even though I have not been a particular fan, and I was a Fred Thompson supporter. I do like the idea of someone that has not made his/her entire career out of feeding at the government table being in the Oval Office.

That article is followed up immediately with an article by Mr. Wallison that is such a blatant, single-minded, complete sales job for Sen. McCain, that I almost wonder why his pay check is coming from AEI instead of the McCain campaign. I have no problem with anyone arguing for their choice for a candidate, but I surely wish that they would be honest enough to say up front that they are a devotee of that candidate, and that they are NOT writing as a simple expert on politics or whatever.

I find it interesting that Mr. Wallison cites consistent adherence to principles as a prime similarity between President Reagan and Sen. McCain. I find that especially interesting in that Mr. Wallison cites President Reagan's stand on reducing taxes, and then totally ignores Sen. McCain's obstruction of President Bush's tax cuts. Instead he cites McCain's stance on supporting the surge strategy of Gen. Petraeus in Iraq. I wonder if McCain's almost complete reversal on immigration policy in light of the public's rebellion to his original supposedly for ever and all time stance with Kennedy in the Senate is an example of consistent adherence to principles.

I could go on and on with the examples of why McCain is almost the complete anti-Reagan, but I am trying to learn to write shorter letters to the editor. Besides, the reader here are all fully aware, I am sure, of the examples that I would cite. I will praise McCain to the skies for his support of the military, even though I think he is wrong on the direction that he would lead the military, and his all out war against SecDef Rumsfeld, but my praise of McCain begins and ends with the military and attempts at government spending control.
-- Ken Shreve

While thumping Romney for not being a hands-off-the-economy purist, can you cite any Republican candidate (beyond Ron Paul) who will be closer to Reagan in this regard?
-- Jim Hirsch

Incredible piece of garbage that you call reporting. Can you be more biased? You guys really are disgraceful.
-- Clint Harris
Round Rock, Texas

MAKE OUR DAY
Re: George H. Wittman's The KGB v. Shakespeare:

George H. Wittman gives us a nice microcosm of the return of the Soviet Union -- in disguise, of course, transparent to some, or like a political version of the Emperor's new clothes to others.

His closing question is a dandy: "...to what extent the Kremlin intends to challenge United States and European positions -- and what the U.S./EU will do about it?"

Answer to the first part: they'll push as hard as we let them, and smile and smile and be a villain.

Answer to the second part: The EU will be the EU and will cave and compromise and cave again, and also smile and smile and be a villain; while the U.S. will silently allow ourselves to be accused of everything evil, exactly as we've always been accused every time we stand up to tyrannous governments.

How hard was that to answer?
-- A. C. Santore

The wounded bear growls to assuage its deep humiliation vis-a-vis the West.

Meanwhile, China develops and awaits its chance to annex Siberia, which should occur about mid-century, given Russia's current demographic and economic trends.

Then, in their cis-Uralic sulk, the Russians might be consoled to know that they efficiently detected and countered the threat posed by Poland, abetted by a long-dead English author. Knowing the Russians, however, perhaps not.
-- David Govett
Davis, California

NO COMPLIMENT
Re: Lawrence Henry's The First Black Insult:

Toni Morrison epitomizes what's wrong with the American left: facts are irrelevant if they interfere with a good narrative. The narrative that will always work for Democrats is that blacks are perpetual victims, and only Democrats can "feel their pain."

As for Bubba being the "first black president"? It saddens me to know that someone who believes such BS will cancel out my vote in the upcoming election.
-- Arnold Ahlert
Boca Raton, Florida

Unfortunately for Senator Obama, his intestinal fortitude is in question. And I suppose exposing this in the campaign is what elections are all about.

If this guy does not have the guts to face down the Clintons, he certainly will not have the courage to face down the likes of UBL and his band of terrorists.
-- Jim L.
Sandwich, Massachusetts

THINK FASTER
Re: Ronald D. Rotunda's Rudy Thinks FAST:

Mr. Rotunda's article speaks clearly about the economical problems of high taxes. Odd, though, that he doesn't also write about the Fair Tax the Mike Huckabee supports. Rudy's plan is a good one. It has some solid economical ideals behind it, and Mr. Rotunda points out some of the problems with our current tax laws. The current tax code is 9 million words long, extremely complex, and is more often used as a tool of the government to control people's activities than to raise revenue for the government.

Yes, Rudy's plan is a good one. It will be good for the economy and the people. But, as many of the Republican nominees said last night on the Bush package, it doesn't do enough.

Huckabee gave good reasons for the Fair Tax last night, but not all of them. 300-500 billion dollars a year (depending on who's doing the estimation) is tied up in tax preparation every year. That's two to three times the Bush stimulus package. An estimated 13 trillion dollars are held in off-shore accounts to avoid taxes. That's almost ten times the Bush stimulus package. By the numbers, nothing would be better for our economy than the Fair Tax.

But what about the people? With prebates up to poverty level for every American household and the elimination of all federal levies, the Fair Tax would be a huge advantage for lower income workers and those on fixed budgets. People would have greater incentive to work more as all their money would be coming back into their own pockets. Companies could afford to hire more people. The United States would be the world's biggest tax haven, bringing more and more jobs onto these shores by American (and other) companies. All of these benefit the average American.

It would be the greatest return of power to the American people of the past two centuries. How can any conservative be against this idea? How can any conservative commenter or writer talk or write about a tax plan and not draw this comparison?
-- Charles Campbell
Austin, Texas

REVOLVING VAULT DOORS
Re: Adam Creighton's Principles Before Pounds, Please:

We should be encouraging, not discouraging, "citizen-soldiers" to leave private life for a few years, serve in public office, and then return to their plows.

If you have doubts about whether your favorite candidate would make a good ex-President, ex-senator, or ex-P.M. after leaving office, then don't vote to elect him or his party in the first place.
-- Doug Welty
Arlington, Virginia

Politicians have been cashing in since the earliest days of the world's second oldest profession. If you pass a law that prohibits them from using their political clout to get favorable legislation passed for their employer, they will just up the theft they already perpetrate.

The best part-time job in today's world is to be a Representative or Senator. They have no need to accomplish anything and actually never do. They are very ordinary people intellectually, and egotistical enough that the 60 or so I've met feel anointed by a deity to control the lives of their inferiors-that's us.

They travel first class by pressuring private jets owned by corporations to take them where they want to go, when they want to get there.

They vote themselves raises, hugely expensive junkets on which spouses and families travel, and live like kings of old.

At Reagan airport all parking spots within a mile of the terminal are reserved. For whom? These self-important fools. Why? Because their time is more valuable than yours, you who actually provide the fuel for the economic engine that pays their foolish tariffs.

I have a modest proposal that solves every single problem in this regard. First, make all Congressional positions heritable. Second, make it so that if any Representative or Senator even speaks about passing a law having any effect whatsoever on persons outside of Congress, they are "disappeared" along with all their relatives, and their lands are razed and salted. Every document or hint that any of them ever existed is expunged. All for the edification of those who would seek these vacant positions.
-- Jay Molyneaux
Denver, North Carolina

IN A SPELL
Re: Bernard Chapin's State of Humbug:

Regarding Bernard Chapin's interview with Theodore Dalrymple (Anthony Daniels):

In the interview, Mr. Dalrymple explains the basic idea of his book In Praise of Prejudice, and what he says is quite disturbing. First of all, let me say that Dalrymple has a prejudice against using spellable or pronounceable nom de plumes.

Secondly, there is no one more prejudiced than the man who says he has no prejudices. Dalrymple does not appear to be a prejudiced man, at least from what I can determine from a brief survey of his online oeuvre. But if he's right, his own output is simply a function of his prejudices, i.e., non-rational.

In addition, Dalrymple claims that "prejudice as such" is natural, and not to be condemned. This leads him to attack the idea of first principles -- which is the attempt to decide moral questions on the basis of principle rather than prejudice. He argues cynically that a man's first principles are simply the ones he wanted to believe in the first place (a familiar criticism of Descartes). Of course, the idea that there are no first principles is itself a first principle.

The "tabula rasa" idea of man was a disastrous idea, says Dalrymple. In fairness, however, despite its limitations as a metaphor, the blank slate idea at least holds that man is not principally a slave to prejudices, irrational authority, etc., but can reach truth directly, unfiltered.

He continues, "I think people are less likely than they were to pass on racial prejudices, for example, and I think this is a good thing." It's not about getting rid of prejudices but rather of "sifting them." "I would want," says Dalrymple, "any child of mine to be prejudiced in favor of many things and against others."

The obvious question is on what basis is a prejudice good or bad? Dalrymple cannot appeal to another prejudice to decide this, for it would simply shift the question a step backward. If he has a set of moral rules that guide him in his selection of good or bad prejudices, why not simply get rid of the prejudices, and keep the moral rules?
-- C. V. Crisler
Gilbert, Arizona

HOMAGE TO FRED
Re: Andrew Cline's Not Ready for Presidential Primetime:

My take on Fred Thompson's departure from the Presidential race is a little different than most people's take and has only been touched upon by a very select few commentators. I certainly don't think "Fire in the Belly" has anything to do with it at all. By that measure, neither Bush's would have become President. The Clinton Twins certainly have that "Fire in the Belly" trait as did Hitler and Stalin just to mention a couple of famous "Fire in the Belly" types. Jefferson Davis had more "Fire in the Belly" than Lincoln did for sure.

More to the point, Thompson stayed true to his view of how things should be rather than how they are concerning political races in this Nation. This Presidential race has been going on, by some measures longer than our current adventure in Iraq for some of the contenders. The shear cost of all this, in total of goods and services provided, represents the GDP of some third world nations and is by and large a complete waste of capital as far as the Nation is concerned. Add to this the GOP's tendency to throw its favorite sons under the bus at the first sign of trouble and actually let Democrats vote in their Primaries and you pretty much have a marriage made in Hell. It is a wonder that any competent person actually makes it through the process to just the nominating convention. Those who tend to make it usually have been running for President for years before the actual campaign started and have accumulated enormous funds and backers for more. Thompson had none of that. He was ordinary in every respect and that says something about American politics that is ugly in my opinion. Based on the lack of funds coming into the GOP this year a lot of other people agree with me on this. The current crop of GOP candidates may have the "Fire in the Belly" thing but the top two Democrats make them look weak by comparison on that measure.

When the Peggy Noonan wing of the GOP blames George W. Bush for destroying the Republican Party while conveniently ignoring the Republican-controlled Congress's domestic spending habits over the last 7 years I think the net needs to be cast a little larger than that. George W. Bush didn't declare war and authorize the invasion of Iraq as I remember either. Spread the net a little larger. George W. did fracture the party but he is by no means the destroyer having won two elections. I doubt the current crop of GOP hopefuls remaining will have enough "Fire in the Belly" combined to compete with Queen Billary or the African Bobby Kennedy if that is the measure of a President. I just don't happen to think it is.
-- Thom Bateman
Newport News, Virginia

CASHED
Re: R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr.'s Hit Them Where it Hurts:

WITH A WINK TO PAUL SHANKLIN AND JOHNNY CASH

The lady is beleaguered. It's so unfair.
She and her husband are an innocent pair.

They'd never knowingly pose with a crook.
They're open and honest. Just read Hillary's book.

'How can you ask that? I'm sweet. I'm mellow.
I can't remember. My brain is Jello.'

It's not her fault. How can anyone resent
Her occasional unsolicited financial present?

'Mrs. Clinton, I have a gift for you.
My name is Hsu. How do you do?'

Don't question her motives.
Bill will be in your face
Crying, 'Shame on you.
You are a disgrace!'
-- Mimi Winship

Evidently, Hillary's attempt in South Carolina to hide behind her husband's skirt failed.
-- Norm Astwood
Peoria, Illinois

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