Reader Mail

To Know Him

Rudy's enemies win him friends. Also: A last word on Mormonism and politics. On the record about Huckabee. Memory lost and found. Ayn Rand con and pro. Plus much more.

11.4.07

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UNFOUNDED
Re: Paul Chesser's Prejudiced for Eternity and Reader Mail's Mormons in America:

I find these ongoing discussions about Governor Romney's faith wearisome, and James Walker's fear that a Mormon as president would cause a rush of worldwide conversions to that faith both unfounded and paranoid. Some Evangelicals hold certain beliefs with which I as a Roman Catholic disagree. It doesn't mean that I won't vote for the best conservative candidate for president, whether he be Catholic, Baptist, Pentecostal, Methodist, Mormon or Jewish. We need a president who will stand up for America in the international arena and uphold the traditions (or the American Creed, as Huntington puts it) that have made her great. I hardly see how, with the safeguards put in place by our Constitution, fortified by numerous court decisions, that having a Mormon, Catholic, Evangelical or Jew, as president poses any threat to the Republic. They all must take an oath to uphold the Constitution.

In twenty-two years in the Air Force I had the good fortune to serve and fly with Mormons, and I found them to be among the most honest, and honorable, of comrades-in-arms (notwithstanding Harry Reid's cheap shots and clownish political theatrics). These ongoing assaults on Mr. Romney's faith, and he is a man of faith, reek of bigotry, and only serve to undermine the right's efforts to oppose the real danger posed by the left's rabid secularization and its hatred of America and all things religious. If some Evangelicals are so blinded by self-regard as to not see this and abandon the Republican nominee, whoever he might be, then they can damn well take the blame for the increase in attacks on Christianity and the acceleration of the moral, ethical and cultural decay in this country that will most assuredly occur under a Clinton, Edwards or Obama presidency.
-- Paul DeSisto
Cedar Grove, New Jersey

BROKEN RECORDS
Re: The Prowler's Record Removal:

Here come the hits on Governor Huckabee. He is rising in the polls and the long knives are out.

I am sorry, but I just don't place a lot of credence when the article doesn't name "the critics." Come back when you can name names, dates, places and events. You know, the who, what, when, where and how of real journalism. What does Brenda Turner, the only proper name in the article, say? Nothing quoted in the article!

Who is this Current Employee? I don't think Current Employee passes as a proper appellation.

Goodness, I want better reporting from the Spectator when you do hit pieces on Republican candidates. If this rumor is true, fine. We will deal with it. But let's leave unnamed sources in your "real reporter's notepad" until you have facts, not innuendo, to report.
-- Judy Beumler
Phoenix, Arizona
P.S. Strong words to follow!

RUDY FOR BATTLE
Re: Philip Klein's Hating Rudy:

For the same reasons that liberals hate Giuliani, I -- we -- love him. We know that, unlike George Bush who passively took it on the chin from the media and the left -- Rudy Giuliani will pummel them until all of our enemies -- foreign, and, most significantly, domestic -- are drawn to a bloody pulp.

This is the man we need, a man for this moment in time. Everything about Rudy Giuliani tells me that he will fight for our country, fight for our liberties, and that he will defeat our Islamo-fascist enemies against whom they won't have a Chinaman's chance. The Jane Fondas ought to be folding their tents and quietly slipping off into the night. Why? Because he will clean them out: they are first on the list to be tried for treason, convicted, and hanged.

Rudy has a rendezvous with destiny, with history, and with the American people. He will be a great president in perilous times. God bless Rudy Giuliani.
-- J.H. Cohen, J.D., Ph.D.
New York, New York

Yes, Rudy is headed for the nomination. Some of us remember when the fringe left and the mainstream press told us how threatening it would be to vote Reagan into the White House -- it would be World War III with the Soviet Union, Bush could not be trusted with his finger on the trigger, and now Rudy is the greatest threat to humanity (except global warming...). Yes, Rudy is headed for the White House.
-- Chuck Els

I read Philip Klein's (disturbing) piece today and wonder how the such children (Dem media gaggle) came to be so elevated. Then I remember: 1.) While at college 30+ years ago I noticed that the least intellectually curious people seemed to be going to the Schools of Education and Communication; and 2.) Dem Media is hemorrhaging money and viewers...the market works, even when gamed.
-- Reid Bogie
Waterbury, Connecticut

Wasn't the rationale for "Rudy Giuliani for President" that he could win over social liberals and moderates who otherwise would never vote for a GOP candidate? As Philip Klein indicates in his well-documented article, that is not proving to be the case.

Already the headlines are screaming, "Giuliani: Worse than Bush." Granted, that's a gross exaggeration at best. But in the last two election cycles, the base came out for President Bush, in spite of all the negative press. There are many reasons for this, but one of the most important is that he stood for the issues they care about. Whether or not he could have done better in implementing that agenda is beside the point, but at least he understood one of the most important rules of politics: don't disrespect your base.

If Giuliani receives the Republican nomination, he will be giving millions of pro-life Christians little reason to go out and vote. Think about it: even if just 10-20% of self-identified "values voters" stay home, seeing little difference between him and Hillary Clinton on the issues they care about, that could be enough to sway a national election. And regardless of what the pundits are currently saying, this could be a very close race...if the Republicans play their cards right, and actually give their base a reason to come to the polls next November.

Every four years, Republicans seem to think that they need to distance themselves from a strong pro-life position. Every four years, some 10% of voters tell pollsters that abortion is their number one issue. And of those, nearly 60% vote for Republican. So the abortion issue is a net gain for the GOP.

And yet, here we go again: the Republican establishment is listening to the New York Times editorial page instead of to its base. As a result, it is backing Giuliani, who once advocated public funding of abortion (and to my knowledge has never disavowed that statement). In addition, he was opposed in his brief U.S. Senate candidacy in 2000 by New York's Conservative Party because he refused to support a ban on partial-birth abortion. And I don't mean to be unkind, but the Democrats will gleefully make an issue of Giuliani's personal life -- giving conservatives in middle America yet another reason not to vote for him. Yes, I know that the liberals and their media allies would be hypocrites in doing so when their candidate is Mrs. Clinton, but that hasn't stopped them before.

Now, I am not advocating a third-party vote. My point is that the vitriol being poured upon Giuliani should be fair warning for conservatives that the argument that he could win over votes outside of the GOP, while maintaining his own political base is overrated.
-- Greg Hoadley
Deerfield Beach, Florida

I wonder where Joe Biden plagiarized the lines attacking Giuliani that Democrats found so entertaining? I wonder if Biden has taken the time to examine the three leading candidates for the Democrat nomination (Clinton, Obama and Edwards) when he questioned Giuliani's competence to be President? One achieved her fame by who she married, the other is a Muslim dropout and the last is an ambulance chaser -- sounds more like a cheap imitation of the three stooges than Presidential contenders. As for Keith Olbermann, who's he?
-- Michael Tomlinson
Jacksonville, North Carolina

Why is everyone attacking Rudy? Here's a request for TAS. As I am spending a great deal of time researching the Republican candidates to see whom I am going to throw my small weight behind, I have come across several articles that specifically attack Mr. Giuliani and his time as mayor.

From what Giuliani has said so far on his campaign trail, I find myself torn between him and Fred Thompson. Thompson's approach of smaller, smaller, and smaller government appeals to my Libertarian senses, but I'm still not sold on him fully. Perhaps a better understanding of Giuliani's past performance would be of great help. With all the very negative readings I have come across, I would like to see an honest, fact based appraisal of his time as mayor of New York City. His results cannot be argued against, they were good. But what about how he acted, and was his second term as bad as it seemed?
I think that TAS could provide a more balanced (or at least balancing) look into his time as Mayor. Can we get one of these online, or will I need to buy an issue or two?
Thanks.
-- Charles Campbell
Austin, Texas

In order to analyze the left's incessant blathering on Republican political candidates, I generally rely on a few fairly simple axioms:

1. Everything negative that they say about Republicans (power-hungry, uncaring, greedy, unqualified, etc) is actually true about them.

2. Unceasing criticism of a Republican candidate means that the left is deathly afraid of him/her as a candidate.

3. The more they dislike a Republican candidate, the more qualified a candidate he/she actually is for the job.

In that regard, I'm now firmly in Rudy Giuliani's camp. In all honesty, I was leaning towards Rudy
anyway. His tenure as Mayor of New York City was nothing short of masterful. By sheer force of will, he transformed New York from the unmanageable, dangerous disaster it had become under John Lindsay, Abe Beame, Ed Koch, and David Dinkins into America's safest, most prosperous big city. He's an administrative genius who sees the big picture, but like Ronald Reagan, doesn't get lost in the minutiae of policy. He's a man of action, not words, who sees a problem, comes up with a solution, and makes it happen. He's confident of his opinions, and doesn't kow-tow to the intellectualoids of the leftist intelligentsia at the New York Times. He's also tough on crime, and I have no doubts about his ability to successfully prosecute the war against terror and Islamofascism.

In short, he's a liberal's worst nightmare. They know that he's conservative enough to take the fight to Iran, if necessary, but "moderate" enough and famous enough to peel away the votes of conservative Democrats. And so, the smearing of Rudy has begun.

Let me add that as a social conservative, I'm putting aside any reservations I may have about his personal life, and his spotty record on abortion. I haven't abandoned my beliefs on these issues. However, in my opinion, the 2008 election is not, and cannot be about abortion or gay marriage. 2008 is about our National Security -- period. And I think Rudy is the best man for the job. And that's why he's getting my vote.
-- Gavin Valle
Peapack, New Jersey

I have problems with Rudy, but I've come to the point where I can support him. And as I see how the Left loathes him, I'm about to put the Mayor at the top of my list.
-- -- Peter Skurkiss
Stow, Ohio

YOU MUST REMEMBER THIS
Re: Lawrence Henry's Losing Words:

I too, like Mr. Henry, have started experiencing these disconcerting lapses of memory. (I'm about to turn 58.) When it happens I'm reminded of a story that my mother told me when it started happening to her. At a check-up she said to the doctor, "Doctor, I'm finding lately that I'll go into a room and forget why I went in there." The doctor replied, "Mary Jane, when you go into that room and you don't remember what room it is, call me."
-- Bill Carroll
Newhall, California

I can completely identify with Mr. Henry's experience of "losing words." In fact, I, too, have always had a good memory, but no longer. Rather, it is selective. I remember mostly trivia in my life. I confuse the first three numbers of my Social Security number with the first three numbers of my phone number. Once I had to look up my phone number in my cell phone directory, which is why it's there in the first place.

I am a very good speller, or was. Now I find that sometimes the spelling of the most ordinary words don't readily come to mind. Once, introducing a very old friend to another friend, I forgot her name. Completely!

The only consolation is that almost all my friends have the same problem. Most of us now carry a notepad or PDA with all the most important information on it, so a quick check will give us the information. Embarrassing? Yes. Inevitable? Unfortunately, yes. For most of us.

Thanks for sharing, it makes me feel a little better, somehow.
-- Margaret Schlosser
Bethany Beach, Delaware

How old is Lawrence Henry? This memory thing happens to me all the time and I'm 86! Now I don't feel so bad!
-- Nancy B. Eckardt
Sheboygan Wisconsin

Mr. Henry, I have a suspicion you made many a person laugh tonight. Do I understand? You bet. Try describing a radiator to a mechanic on a cold day. The word was frozen or something and would not appear in my mind. Well, at about five in the afternoon it came bouncing out when not needed, of course.

I have learned to write down what I am ordering over the phone, I write down the order, and my phone number. Yes, it gets that bad sometimes.

I seem to rattle easier than I used to, I have misplaced my phone number in my mind when younger, but it just seemed funny at that age. Well, it is still funny, we have to make it funny or we go downhill a lot faster.

There are good days and bad days with this gift of forgetting something you know you forgot. Did I say that right?

Anyway, my friends and I get together and tell each other the truth about this and there are many funny moments to tell about.

I have a problem with my hands, things jump out of them. Don't laugh, this is true. I was in the grocery store the other day and I was at the end of the "thing" you put your groceries on, not near the cashier. I picked up a small jar of face cream and as I went to put it down, it jumped from my hand and land right in front of the cashier. It actually looked like I was throwing it at her, but, of course, I wasn't.

Well, no words would work with this one, but she saved me, she said "well, I hope this is not the start of our relationship?" All the staring people laughed and I laughed too, bless her.

Keep up the great attitude you have, that is what gets us through.

Write it down.
-- Carole

I'm willing to bet that this article gets more responses than any you've ever published. And, boy, can I relate! I'll be 46 in a couple weeks, and I've been suffering from this malady for a few years now, with increasing frequency. Can't help wondering sometimes where my mind has gone, y'know? And the worst part is, you can't help feeling like a complete idiot, standing there, looking up, searching thru the fog in your brain for that one elusive word that you know is RIGHT THERE on the tip of your tongue. So frustrating!
-- Scott Warren
Jonestown, Pennsylvania

Hey, Lenny, quit worrying about your memory. At our age (OK your age) we may tend to put the brain on neutral too many time, but that comes from a lifetime of living with a purpose. So what if lately we tend to find ourselves in rooms without knowing why. Been there, done that. Or maybe I wasn't, and didn't?

Louie, I remember reading once (really?) that Al Einstein had to look up his own phone number when asked for it. His rationale was that he didn't need to memorize what he could look up. Hey, if it's good enough for Al, it's good enough for me. If I could only remember where to look stuff up.

Oh, I just noticed your name is LARRY. Never mind...
-- Karl F. Auerbach
Eden, Utah (I hope)

Thank you. I suffer from the same problem a lot of time. It's good to know I'm not the only one.

Doesn't help me in the sales industry, but I can act my way out of it usually.
-- Charles Campbell
Austin, Texas

Glad to see Mr. Henry also believes in the "here after." I go into a room and say what am I here after. LOL
-- Elaine Kyle

THE GIRL SENATOR
Re: Lee Cary's NYC Chinatown Donorgate Under-Covered:

Maybe this explains why Hillary supports letting illegal immigrants have driver's licenses. Check out John Fund's article in Friday's Wall Street Journal "This Makes Voting Fraud Easier."
-- Ron LaRoche
Springfield, Virginia

Lee Cary's article, "NYC Chinatown Donorgate Under-Covered," is just another example of the party of slavery, Jim Crow and segregation reaping the "benefits" of human suffering. Where is Amnesty International demanding the Democrat party and its leaders be tried at The Hague for crimes against humanity. Where is George Clooney's outrage and film deploring this human suffering? The Democrat party = human suffering and servitude.
-- Michael Tomlinson
Jacksonville, North Carolina

GIRL CLINTON
If she wants to be a girl,
Mrs. Clinton might wear a skirt.
As she seems to be self-conscious,
A long one wouldn't hurt.
-- Mimi Evans Winship

BIGGER THAN THE SELF
Re: Roger Scruton's Altruism and Selfishness:

Roger Scruton raises very intelligent questions about the proper definitions of "selfishness" and "altruism." He is right that, since these are ethical concepts, they have no application to animals. But he gives Ayn Rand's egoist theory too little inspection. A recent Cambridge University Press book: Ayn Rand's Normative Ethics: The Virtuous Egoist, by Tara Smith, ably presents Rand's position on what is and is not "self-sacrifice."

One may agree or disagree with Rand's definition of "selfishness," but it neither collapses into Nietzschean megalomania nor dissipates into the vapid idea of an expanded self that includes "the community."
-- Harry Binswanger
Professor of Philosophy
The Objectivist Academic Center
The Ayn Rand Institute
Irvine, Calif.

The Apostle Paul, in the second chapter of his epistle to the Philippians, counsels us to "Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves," and "Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others." I will take the wisdom of God over the wisdom of Ayn Rand any day. And I wonder what kind of world we would have if each of us willingly adopted that attitude.
-- Dennis Campbell
Aztec, New Mexico

Roger Scruton shouldn't be surprised that "European cities are full of disoriented teenagers who think of the laws of morality as rules of long term self-interest." The natural state of teenagers is one of rebellion against the status quo. And what is the status quo against which they're rebelling? A dead-end collectivism in which any self-interest comes second to the needs of the state. That's precisely what Ayn Rand was also against -- much to her credit.
-- Arnold Ahlert
Boca Raton, Florida

Not sure I quite got Roger Scruton's point in his article about Ayn Rand, selfishness, socialism etc.

Rand's point about selfishness is closely related to our country's own Declaration of Independence: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." I believe that Rand regards selfishness as the pursuit of happiness.

A certain amount of selfishness is necessary in order to keep the country going as well as to keep ourselves going. A truly selfless person would be a Mother Teresa or a monk. I was brought up with the Golden Rule and the Ten Commandments, and I feel that I have lived by them as best as I can. I also grew up reading the lives of the saints and tried to emulate them. It is difficult to live that way because you truly do put other's ideas, beliefs, wants and needs above your own, sometimes to the detriment of your own health, sometimes to the detriment of your own family. It took me a long time to learn that a little selfishness can be a good thing, otherwise you may be an enabler of other's bad habits regardless of your intention.

European socialism has created the exact opposite of what socialism was supposed to be about. When forced to be in a system for the good of the whole, one becomes selfish. American capitalism, raised in a religious country, became altruistic. Liberty and the pursuit of happiness (or a wee bit of selfishness) can lead to many good things created from and for the people.
-- Deborah Durkee
Marietta, Georgia

I believe Roger Scruton over complicates the central issue of selfishness vs. selflessness. I believe that John Paul II, Mother Teresa would get universal ranking as being selfless in their life long pursuits but someone like Bill Gates could replace their entire life's work (from a material point of view) by stroking a check that he couldn't detect in his net worth statement. All the life time effort of both John Paul II and Mother Teresa to raise the standard of living of the "poor" where ever they found them could be accomplished 10 fold over by the effective application of what someone like Bill Gates has that John Paul II and Mother Teresa never had or ever attempted to produce. John Paul II and Mother Teresa could not feed, shelter or cure the masses of what keeps them "poor" but Bill Gates's wealth could if properly applied and appreciated. Properly applied and appreciated is key however. Like the phrase, "be fruitful and multiply," precedent is important to achieve the proper outcome. Said another way, you can't have charity without wealth beyond what an individual can produce above and beyond one's own needs. Where there is no excess, there is no charity.

The human soul has needs and one of those needs is self-esteem. Self, the root word in selfishness and selflessness, is central to the positive output a human has on the world (and others around) them. John Paul II and Mother Teresa set selfless examples for the world but it was the excess of selfish people's interest (in Ayn Rand terms) that allowed them to provide what comfort they provided to others. A world full of John Pauls and Mother Teresas will starve to death because there will be no excess upon which to meet the needs of those that will not rise to the occasion. There will be a constant supply of such people I once read.

In the balance I think Ayn Rand was just as selfless as either John Paul or Mother Teresa was despite her lack of spirituality. I suspect she believed in a lot of the same values most people of faith believe in absent the obedience to what she would have seen as another collective. Just my opinion, not a fact. The difference is that Ayn understood where the root cause mechanism lives for human slavery and poverty while John Paul and Mother Teresa chose to tend to the flock as it exists vs. trying to get the flock to become a little more individualistic and self-reliant. I have the up most respect for all three persons. I think their end games were the same with regard to their fellow man but their methods and motivations differed. I think all three understood the evil that collectivism (Communism, Socialism and Liberalism) represents but one was a little more outspoken about collectivism in general. I think Ayn would have thrown herself on that grenade for the same reasons John Paul or Mother Teresa would have.
-- Thom Bateman
Newport News, Virginia

BUY OR SELL
Re: James David Dickson's Failing Grade and Mr. Dickson's reply to Jerrold Goldblatt's letter (under "What's in a Name?") in Reader Mail's Mormons in America:

Your counterpoint is a fine example of first order thinking. Students at America's top private institutions are interchangeable parts so unless the institutions with weaker curriculum standards increase their class size the flood of applicants leaving Harvard for Stanford will simply result in more rejections and not more admissions. Where will these students go? The local community college? No, they certainly applied to multiple top levels schools so Harvard will be able to fill its freshman class anyway and I wouldn't be surprised if they were better motivated students. The top schools already form a cartel that fixes the size of their entering classes. The top 1% of graduating high school seniors will always exceed the number of places available at the Ivy League, Stanford and Chicago. If that isn't a sellers market then I don't know what is.
-- Jerrold Goldblatt
Arlington, Virginia

NATIVE INTELLIGENCE
Re: Frank Natoli's letter (under "Great Minds Think Alike") in Reader Mail's Mormons in America:

While Mr. Natoli makes an excellent and valid point, it is the rough equivalent of saying that a brilliant surgeon is a brilliant surgeon, regardless of race, religion, ethnicity, language or skin color. It does not negate that there are, or at least potentially might be, real statistical differences between people of a certain distinct and defined gene pool. Use the term race if you like, perhaps ethnicity is less loaded, but the truth remains that people of different gene pools are different. Even setting aside all the questions of how is the best way to measure intelligence or what intelligences should be measured or can be measured and whether or not other personality traits might also be measured, why are we so hesitant to acknowledge even a small statistical difference between differing groups of people with a shared genetic pool? Is a one point average difference in standard intelligence tests such a frightening thing to face?

I wonder if we get beyond simply blaming political correctness, or fear of hyper-nationalism like Nazism, if in the end we are afraid of what we might find in ourselves. Many of us have worked hard to set aside "popular" stereotypes to really meet each other as people. We have worked hard to overcome societal biases and the racism passed on to us by parents and grandparents. Perhaps in the end we don't trust ourselves enough to enter into a rigorous pursuit and debate of the "truth" of ethnic and racial differences. Even coming up with mutually agreed standards of obtaining reliable data might be a huge step forward. But perhaps in the end we are just too afraid of ourselves and what we might do in our own hearts if it is true that one racial group is smarter than the other. Will it undo our every effort to grow past racism? Will it expose the dark truth of our souls that our "understanding" and "sensitivity" are just skin deep. Perhaps it is as Nicholson's character in A Few Good Men spouts from the witness stand, "You can't handle the truth!" But that admission would be far more honest than the politically correct posturing we get now.
-- Steve Baarda

It's funny that conservatives eschew Darwinian science when the topic is evolution, but support it when it "proves" that some races are more intelligent than others.

Mr. Pot, let me introduce you to Ms. Kettle -- she's also black.
-- Jim Hunter
Ann Arbor, Michigan

BAND OF BROTHERS
Re: Jeff Emanuel's The Longest Morning:

I'd just like to drop a note and let y'all and Jeff know that this is a fantastic article and superb writing. I'm spreading it around to forums and sent the link to some of the guys/gals in Iraq that have Internet.
-- Troy Engel

Spectacular story!

Now why doesn't Hollywood make movies about these kind of stories instead of all that anti-war propaganda crap they've been bombing with lately?
-- Michelle

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