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Both Sides Now

Murdock on Mitt -- one-sided? Fred on the move. Shirty politics. Frum fatale. Plus much more.

1.14.08

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HANDS OFF MITT
Re: Deroy Murdock's Mitt's Mythical "Mass. Miracle":

What gives, Mr. Murdock, with your anti-Romney obsession? Whether you are writing about him in NRO, TAS, or Human Events, you skewer Mitt as though he were totally devoid of any redeeming qualities or virtues. What is your agenda? McCain and Rudy have far more and far larger anti-conservative warts than does Mitt, yet you leave them untouched. Jason Riley's recent anti-Mitt screed in the Wall Street Journal was pathetic in that it was not only grievously ignorant of Mormon fundamentals, but clearly showed Mr. Riley's racial and religious biases. But none of these faults are apparent in your writing. Your anti-Mitt articles fail because they are one-dimensional and tediously, totally negative. Or maybe Pastor Bill Keller is right after all. Maybe Mitt Romney is the Devil.
-- Darrel Hansen
Alamo, Nevada.

Deroy, your article about Governor Romney was so one sided that it held no value. Everyone knows that when Romney took office MA was facing a three Billion dollar short fall, and that Romney had to turn that around or his state was facing bankruptcy. It doesn't take a brain surgeon, after Romney turned the short fall into a three billion dollar surplus, to know that some folks were going to be unhappy, hard choices had to be made. To compare what he had to do in MA to honor his oath to that state as their Governor, to purposely trying to hurt Michigan is silly with obvious intentions on your part. Romney as Governor was obligated to make hard decisions to do his job properly for MA only. As President he will have a 50 state responsibility. Your petty and agenda driven article only clarified two things for me: 1. The reason I am voting for Romney for President, and 2. Why I canceled my subscription to your magazine.
-- Wayne Massey

Never did believe Governor Romney's vaunted healthcare plan was a "free market solution."

Enjoyed every inch of your article
-- Andrew Krill

LIMITED GOVERNMENT THOMPSON
Re: Lawrence Henry's Creative Destruction in the GOP:

While I agree with a great deal of what Mr. Henry has to say in his column, I believe that he is looking at the candidates through at least a partial MSM prism. He writes; "Other than Paul and Duncan Hunter, no one in the contest decisively represents limited government conservatism, the essence of Ronald Reagan's message." That quite simply is NOT true. Whatever else you may think of him as a candidate, Fred Thompson is a definite "limited government conservative." He is a champion of federalism to his very core. Many of the disagreements that he has with the GOP electorate come about due to his penchant for attempting to push issues down to the state level and away from Washington D.C. Come now, Mr. Henry, is not that the very definition of "limited government conservatism"? If it is not, perhaps you can tell us how you are defining the term.

You also write; "Fred Thompson has great ideas and a surfeit of charisma, but would apparently rather blog from home than speak on the stump or shake hands in diners." It is certainly true that Sen. Thompson has not been away from home campaigning for a year and a half, almost solid, as some of the other candidates have. However, I was paying attention and saw that Fred did a bus tour of Iowa during the two weeks leading up to the caucus. I have also noted that he is campaigning hard, and almost constantly, on the ground in South Carolina. He does not seem to be "blogging from home" to me, but perhaps you have a different definition for that phrase.

Now I admit to being a fan of Sen. Thompson, but has it now come to pass that the nomination is supposed to be wrapped up by the night BEFORE the Iowa caucus, or the day after the New Hampshire primary? Can we now simply do away with the bother and expense of the nomination battles in the other 48 states? How many years ahead of time must a candidate announce his interest in the POTUS nomination to not be deemed to be starting too late? How many of these inane, stupid, boring "debates" must a candidate endure to be considered legitimate? Oh, and how about having real debates instead of these ritualized multi-candidate press conferences designed to give the media a way to try to be relevant? Are nominating conventions now decreed to be simply expensive wastes of money because the nominee is already settled. I, for one, would welcome an old fashioned convention where no one has the votes for the nomination on opening night of the affair. People in the media, and elsewhere, wonder and/or bemoan the fact that no one watches the conventions any more. The TV networks are even curtailing coverage. Why not? They are boring affairs where nothing is decided that wasn't already a fait accompli.

Mr. Henry, I understand that you make your living expressing your opinions in writing. I applaud you for that. That does not, however, give you a pass to get away with writing things that are demonstrably wrong on their face. Do try to keep you columns plausible, won't you?
-- Ken Shreve

Fred Thompson has been out speaking to audiences and meeting people and shaking hands. I get updates everyday about what he has been doing. He has not been "blogging from home!" You guys might get out into the "countryside" sometime before you try make all these calls about conservatives. They (we) are still here. We just don't live in New Hampshire and Iowa, and we haven't voted yet, though everyone is trying to make it so we can't vote for who we support.

Also, I am distressed that our conservative writers are becoming as unimaginative as the former mainstream media!

The articles I have read lately coming from many in the conservative media lack insight and deep thought.
-- Michelle Frazier

STOPPED WATCHES
Re: Alan Spearot's Innovation Nation:

Considering that Michigan is suffering Granholm, Romney would be an improvement. Maybe not much of one, but how much worse can it get? Come back and see us in three months.

Most of the Republican field is full of "stopped watch candidates." They're right twice a day about some issues, but only spout the word "conservative" or "conservatism," thinking & hoping that saying the adjective alone is what's going to motivate sleeping Reaganites and cure all that ails Michigan's and the nation's ills.

Michigan is a 50th of what's wrong with the federal government. This is state where have townships that cross jurisdictions with cities and municipalities-counties and cities they all coalesce together (about the only function they do) with their constituency/interest groups. They can all be found together clogging the left lane of the road to progress. Rather than "passing on the right" as the Republican candidates should, they have instead moved up along side of the slowpokes in the left lane and have merely matched their speed; probably 55 MPH.

What Americans face is a government problem, and the Republican field is an uninspiring lot of practical management types out to not let the status quo get any worse. McCain? Romney? Huckabee? C'mon man, Bob Dole looks feisty and inspired by comparison.

Since they don't do drug testing after these kinds of races (primaries or the Presidential campaign), can someone please forsake the drug laws in America and get Fred Thompson the crystal meth shot he needs to get moving. The groundwork has been laid already! We're dying out here looking for energetic and inspired leadership.
-- P. Aaron Jones
Sadr City (formerly Huntington Woods), Michigan

COMEBACK TALKBACK
Re: W. James Antle's Right Frum the Beginning

W. James Antle III covers David Frum's new book, Comeback: Conservatism That Can Win Again, quite thoroughly. I happened to catch Frum on Michael Medved's radio program last week and Antle's review of the book matches well the commentary and answers Frum gave.

I am still disturbed, however, with certain aspects of Frum's thinking. A recent article in Investor's Business Daily states, "Some self-styled deep thinkers identified with the Republican Party have taken it upon themselves to deliver an unwelcome message....America now finds itself facing the 'end of the tax-cutting era,' as David Frum puts it." Frum apparently reached this conclusion after buying into "an estimated gap of $66 TRILLION between future U.S. income and promised government expenditures over the next quarter century." This estimate came from Democratic presidential candidate Mike Gravel's economic advisor Laurence Kotlikoff. I'd like to know how Kotlikoff came up with this estimate, and also why we would buy into anything a Democrat is peddling. Even with the impending flood of red ink with Social Security and Medicare, the debt, based on articles I've read from many sources, doesn't come anywhere near Kotlikoff's number.

Perhaps we need to think (again) about cutting government spending? Ahh, reality -- what a concept!

What disturbs me even more is the fact that the tax cuts have increased the flow of cash into the government treasury. Isn't that the point of stemming the tide of red ink? The Federal budget deficit has declined and the tax cuts have continued to stimulate the economy (and don't get me started on those "experts" who keep howling
that the economy is going to tank). Yet, Frum seems to feel that, according to IBD, "Americans must acclimate themselves to a higher level of taxation." Rubbish! Raise those taxes, kill investment in American companies, junk the economy. Now THAT'S the spirit! Then the Republicans will be wandering the wilds again like they did for how many decades.

I will read Frum's book, but only a library copy, and with a jaundiced eye. I won't have him sharing space on my bookshelf with the likes of Sowell, Friedman, von Mises, von Hayek, Hutt, Bartlett, Rothbard and others.
-- Jim Bjaloncik
Stow, Ohio

Mr. Frum has me confused. Does he think true conservatives reside in the Republican Party just so they can be part of the "winning team" no matter what the party believes? Do I have to become a liberal so I can remain a conservative?

I have always voted Republican because, though not perfect (by any stretch of the imagination), the Republican Party has always been the closest to my conservative ideals. I support low taxes and economic freedom not because Reagan made them fashionable in the 1981 but because they are absolutely essential to a thriving economy. Should I vote for higher taxes, whether they come in the form of higher marginal rates or carbon taxes, so I can be on the same side as the thirty-something ignoramus who has never lived thru bad macro-economic times and is too stupid to wonder why?

What other conservative principles must be jettisoned to appeal to the modern voter? We certainly don't need a strong military. After all, no young American has ever lived thru a time when our country has actually lost a war. Why not dispense with property rights. Most young voters don't own property so why would they care about property rights? Why not capitulate on government health care, gun control, illegal immigration, etc. and just give in to our inner liberal?

The reason we don't is that bad government policy circa 1980 is just as damaging as bad government policy circa 2008. Conservatives should be promoting why our country has been so successful over the last 25 years and not trying to create a new liberal/conservative hybrid that is doomed to failure. Why should conservatives care about Republican Party electoral victories if the party starts pandering to a liberal worldview we absolutely oppose?

If I want to be a part of a liberal electoral juggernaut I can always become a Democrat.
-- K. Wilson
Highland, Indiana

THE THING
Re: Jay D. Homnick's Shirty Irony:

Perhaps folks are being too hard on Hillary and the naming issue. I'm fully prepared in this case to accept her explanation that she was indeed named after Sir Edmund. The question then becomes what did her parents call her for the 4-5 years between her birth and her christening? It? The Thing? The possibilities...

As you can tell, I'm trying to be (non-)supportive here.
-- Karl F. Auerbach
Eden, Utah

I would have liked someone to interview the men that were shouting "Iron my shirt" to see if they were plants put there by Clinton. Sure would not surprise me.
-- Elaine Kyle

Ah, Mr. Homnick. This piece is the reason you should be declared a national treasure, unless of course, Congress is too busy spending our national treasure on important priorities, like for instance, earmarks, in which case, your writing talent would be completely wasted, and that would not only be ironic, but moronic. You do have a gift.
-- Mike Showalter
Austin, Texas

Hillary, O Hillary! Always the tin ear.

She should have just sent a few of her gals over to one of Barack's rallies to chant, "Mow my lawn! Mow my lawn!" Or perhaps, "Clean out my garage!" or, "Fix my faucet!"

Hon, if you get pushed again, push right back. No more of this crying in your herbal tea.

Be a man!
-- Doug Welty
Arlington, Virginia

So, the Clinton's services will no longer be required in the black community. It is ironic that African-Americans voted nearly 90% in favor of Bill Clinton, our first black president (according to Toni Morrison), but will soon reject his honkie wife. Smacks of racism to me...
-- Jack Hughes
Chicago, Illinois

As Lawrence Welk would say: wunnerful, wunnerful... Thank you, Jay, and all you wunnerful champagne mischief-makers at the Spectator...your wunnerful and keen sense of fun brings joy to our hearts and reminds us that classic political ridicule will never go out of style.

Would that such was the case with the so-called mainstream (lame-stream) media. Classic example was Sunday's This Week program with Georgie-Boy Stephanopolous. Following is the text of an e-mail I just sent them, which I forward simply because I invoked The Spectator's name in it:

To: ABC News, This Week
Re. Kerry interview

A great mystery why any news org would expend time and resources -- and risk its credibility -- to interview John Kerry about anything while failing to ask the one question informed Americans are still waiting to have answered: namely, when will he honor the pledge he made to Russert on Meet The Press, now years ago, to allow his military records released, and to do so in weeks not months. And I remind you that he made that pledge not once, but twice on the same program.

May I also remind that recently T. Boone Pickens offered a million bucks to anybody who could prove that any of the charges made about Kerry by the Swift Boat Vets was untrue; that Kerry then replied he would promptly do so; and that, once again, he utterly failed to follow through. And surely you are aware that for several weeks thereafter The American Spectator had a "Crybaby Kerry Countdown Clock" on their website ticking off the minutes until Kerry would come forth with the evidence that would debunk Pickens' assertion that the Swift Boat Vets' claims could not be debunked. (After several weeks The Spectator pulled down the Countdown Clock because, after all, there is a point at which even well-deserved mockery stops being very entertaining.)

Yet, despite Kerry's failure to follow through on his pledge to Russert and others, and despite his indignant initial response to Pickens' challenge and his subsequent failure to meet that challenge, and despite his abject failure in all regards to take one concrete step to clear his name of the allegations which have been made against him, you not only invite him on your program, but you also allow him to once again invoke the supposed slurs that have been lodged against him, and you allow him to do so completely unchallenged.

Why? The man is a liar, his indignation against the Swift Boat Vets without merit, and it is a mockery of journalism to give him a platform. Can you spell "zero credibility"

-- C. Vail
Glenolden, Pennsylvania

Hillary is the only Democrat on the ballot in Michigan. The state moved up the primary date and the party responded by asking the candidates to boycott by withdrawing from the primary -- all but one candidate, that is. They fell for it, and now the only candidate on the ballot (no write-ins allowed) will win the Michigan primary by disenfranchising black voters. Not just irony, tyranny.
-- Mike Konczal

Jay Homnick should read "threw" his editorial before submitting it. Also, doesn't anyone think how phony "iron my shirt" was?
-- D. Danckaert

SCHOOL FOR SCANDAL
Re: The Prowler's The Jersey Boys:

For decades I had been of the opinion that the big city machines in New York City and the Daley machine in Chicago would surely never be surpassed for corruption. Subsequently, I added New Orleans, San Francisco, and Seattle. I am now of the opinion that New Jersey is very hard at work in an all out effort to go to the top of the list of corrupt political machines, at least in the 20th and 21st century.

To be fair, I must point out that it is hard to be seriously corrupt when the electorate is determined to be honest, and to vote for the true good of the nation, state, and locality. When, however, the voters involved are absolutely determined to return the same corrupt politicians to office, it is hard to exclusively blame the politicians for the situation. There are many examples of this. I would mention Cong. Reynolds of New Orleans, Cong. Hastings of Miami are but two. The thing is, it is hard to think of a New Jersey politician on the state or federal level that is not involved to some degree in some scandal or other. I am not convinced that Sen. Torricelli would not have been re-elected, had he run again.

New Jersey just shows what can be achieved when you really put your mind to it.
-- Ken Shreve

CRY ME A RIVER
Re: Philip Klein Trail of Tears and John Tabin's It's Crying Time Again:

Having gotten rid of Celine Dion's theme song for the Clinton campaign, perhaps the old Johnny Ray standard "Cry" can stand in. Or the old campaign song in modified title: "Don't Stop Thinkin' About My Sorrow."

But now there might be a problem for Clinton on religion and a religious order after her Sunday, Jan. 13, appearance on Meet the Press. Clearly she had adopted a form of her husband's tactics when he appeared with Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday and attacked Wallace and Fox.

When Russert pressed her on whether her vote meant she had or had not voted to give the President the right to go to war -- citing even Carville and Begala as saying it was clearly a vote to go to war -- she did not say that Russert was offering jive talk. That would have insulted blacks, the way Andrew Cuomo seems to have insulted blacks with his "shuck and jive" reference. She did not say that Russert was using feminine logic, since that would have been considered sexist. She did not say that Russert's points made him sound like a hick or redneck, since that would have been classist. She did not even say that further discussion would mean getting into Talmudic discussion, since there is at least the possibility that that would have offended Jews. Indeed, whether there is even the smallest basis in reality for the meaning of the terms she did not use, she would not use them out of sensitivity.

What she did do is say that one could engage in a Jesuitical discussion, while indicating she did not want to discuss the issue further on that point, suggesting that a Jesuitical discussion is pointless. The term can simply apply to the Catholic religious order; or it can mean highly refined reasoning that runs the risk of being like the never-real but proverbial debate on "How many angels can dance on the head of a pin?" The term can also mean crafty and devious, and is anti-Jesuit, just as the second use might be considered anti-Jesuit by a sensitive person.

Bill Clinton was educated by the Jesuits. Both overly nuanced and also devious use of language has been exhibited by him, famously illustrated in the "meaning of the word 'is'" statement. Of course, he was found guilty of perjury and lost his law license.

Rather than run the risk of insulting Catholics and the Jesuits, it would be good for everyone to use in such situations the word "Clintonian."
-- Richard L.A. Schaefer

DUCKING LIFE
Re: Jack Frost's letter (under "No More Confusion") in Reader Mail's Where Time Stands Still:

You need to remind yourself that we are talking about HUMAN LIFE. When you put "your ducks in a row," how far down that priority list of yours is HUMAN LIFE going to go? I certainly hope that it gets billing over those "ducks" that you are so worried about. This will sound a trifle simplistic, however, as I enter my dotage, I begin to wonder whether a nation that is this morally vacuous deserves to "get through the next few years of terrorism." It seems that something like this has occurred in history. I am talking about Rome, which, by the way, did not get through its next few years of terrorism. There is a lesson there for us, if we choose to study it.
-- Joseph Baum
Garrettsville, Ohio

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