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Tormented Souls

Can Republicans recover credibility? Also: Chicago -- whose kind of town? Elite convergence. Byzantine pride. Burning steel. Plus much more.

5.31.07

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RIGHT AWAY
Re: Quin Hillyer's How to Get Politics Right Again:

Mr. Hillyer, I believe is on the right track. The lack of leadership on the conservative side is blatantly obvious. The strongest voices we have in conservatism today are not in public office but on talk radio, and in the printed column. Republicans are quickly becoming moderate to the point of becoming liberal democrats. Witness names like Specter, Hagel, Snow, McCain, and Graham....some, if not all of these men have literally spat upon the conservatives who helped to elect them by their actions and words.

I am not sure if a bottom up and top down thrust of conservative education will solve the problem.. It would be nice to think so. I am afraid the answer does mean that we must find, not necessarily another Reagan, but another leader of the conservative movement who will command the attention of the American people. Sadly, I do not see that person on the horizon. I wish that I did.
-- Jim Karr
Blue Springs, Missouri

Mr. Hillyer is correct: the right can gain no traction on any issue. He is also correct about why: Republicans became Democrats. They grew arrogant; became scofflaws and demagogues; and abandoned principles.

Congress is about governing. The entire effort of those serving there should be to increase our opportunities to succeed; live with minimal interference from ideologues on either side of the aisle and surely, from government itself.

Instead, over the post war years the democrats turned Congress into a House of Lords. Rich pensions; diminished integrity and huge fortunes built upon the backs of Americans. Democrat Congressmen lived lives of enormous privilege, paid scant taxes; caroused and whored, all on the backs of taxpayers. Ethics? Non-existent. Accomplishment? Not necessary. Retire? Never -- just move into your government-paid-for office and become a lobbyist. Airports? Not a problem. Reserved parking and free first class. The only right democrats didn't expressly have was Droit de seigneur, and some behaved as though they did.

The massive corruption and the excesses of the Clinton-Gore administrations caused a Republican sweep. Then the vastness of the corruption institutionalized by democrats, corrupted republicans. Republicans became republicans. They cheated and stole; they forgot the need to govern and politics became all about enrichment and arrogance.

I suggest an examination of the Republican FDR, Ronald Reagan. He was a man of unwavering principle. He was unabashed in his love for America. He wished opportunities for all people -- even those chained by a welfare system designed to destroy families and sap initiative. His successful legislative programs passed a hostile, corrupt, democrat controlled Congress. How? They were afraid of him. The American people believed in Ronald Reagan. Democrat radicals are afraid to engage principled people, because they have no principles and that is evident immediately- they can only spew hatred, not reason. Mr. Reagan always treated his haters, those few, those proud, the ignorati of the left with humor, not calumny.

So Republicans, if you ever wish to be Republicans again heed Mr. Reagan's example. Be principled; love your country without reservation; increase opportunity for all; work not a single minute in any day for your own self aggrandizement; and end the privileges that set you apart from us. Put Congress into Social Security; stop pensions for convicted felons; and above all speak truth and use humor, not hate.
-- Jay Molyneaux
Denver, North Carolina

I applaud Quin Hillyer's recognition of many (but not all) of the current administration's failures. A recent political cartoon depicts an aide with President Bush. The caption reads, "Jimmy Carter says your administration is the worst in history...here's his thank you note." (Handelsman, Newsday) History will judge, but the cartoonist may not be far off the mark.
-- Mike Roush
North Carolina
P.S. While properly condemning the Representative who hid $90,000 of dirty money in his freezer, don't forget to call out the Republicans who rallied around him when the FBI was attempting to gather evidence related to the alleged malfeasance.

We shouldn't think in terms of rebuilding the Republican Party. We should think in terms of rebuilding the Conservative Movement. For those who think bipartisanship is going to get us there, don't hold your breath. Where has this Amnesty bill left us? What has "No Child Left Behind" and what has "The Great Prescription Drug Giveaway" given us? Can anyone say "big government"?

The country, as a whole, needs to get back to its libertarian leanings in both thought and practice. Our Founding Fathers, and yes, I will call them Founding Fathers rather than "Framers," built this country upon the Libertarian ideal. The ideal was a direct challenge to the "big" government practice under which our ancestors suffered across the pond.

America is an ongoing experiment. Through almost 231 years of experience, we already know what works and what doesn't work. It seems as though the majority of our duly elected officials want to go back to those practices that have already been thrown on the ash-heap of history in an earlier time. Those earlier practices also smacked of big government.

The small-government conservative voice has lost its vocal cords. The big-government liberal voice is in full thunder -- can your hear it? I can -- it's telling us it only takes a village.....
-- Owen H. Carneal, Jr.

Thought provoking article by Mr. Hillyer this morning. Along the same lines, I have a question for him. After forty years of Democrat rule in the House, and to some extent the Senate, why did the Republican/Conservatives crash and burn in only twelve? I realize that we lost our way, but what were the seeds of our destruction? The answer to this might also help us find our way back.
-- Judy Beumler
Louisville, Kentucky

Quin Hillyer replies:
Judith Beumler asks, quite reasonably, how we went off course. The short answer is that we became more interested in holding power than in promoting our principles -- and in the process, we (quite predictably) lost both. The fall from grace began in earnest in the autumn of 1998, with the combination of bloodlust against Clinton with a major increase in spending. The spending orgy was the first of eight years of the same. For a longer and more eloquent explanation, I commend to her the letter from Jay Molyneaux. For the solution, meanwhile, I commend the first two sentences of Mr. Carneal's letter. And to Mr. Karr, whose letter is also much appreciated, I urge him not to give up hope. Sometimes leaders creep up on us. Our job is to do the work to prepare the way and make the political soil more fertile for him (or her).

BIG SHOULDERS
Re: G. Tracy Mehan, III's Still My Kind of Town:

I am a small town Southern boy, but since my first visit to Chicago 25 years ago, I have loved the place and your article hits the nail on the head. I was taken aback by Chicago's friendliness, cleanliness, and smorgasbord of activities to choose from. "City of Big Shoulders" truly describes it. I recall a quote from a turn-of-the-20th-Century alderman: "This ain't no sissy town." Chicago, my favorite big city in the U.S., has everything any other city can offer, but without the pretense.
-- Warren Mowry

Thanks for a pleasant review of a great town to visit. I enjoy every trip to that city.

Unfortunately, those of us who live south of the city (southwestern Illinois) have to live day-to-day with the political side of Chicago, the one "owned" by left-leaning Democrats. The Governor's Mansion is in Springfield, but the Honorable Mr. Blagojevich lives in Chicago. Does that tell you all you need to know about Illinois politics?
-- Mike Mawhorr
Mascoutah, Illinois

Chicago also has many of the other ills of great American cities. It has many streets that require a moon rover to traverse (as bad as any blighted urban area in the country), first class corruption, and some of the worst public school systems in the country. Most Illinois citizens living outside of the city would not miss it if a giant chain saw carved it away from the state and let it float in the middle of Lake Michigan where it would promptly head for the bottom.
-- Anonymous

The article about Chicago is very good, but Sue is not a girl. Sue is a boy.
-- Bill Bothner

PROPAGANDA PROS
Re: Lisa Fabrizio's Media Muddles:

Ms. Fabrizio is a fine writer and an astute observer of the "main stream media" as some have chosen to call outlets such as Time magazine, ABC, NBC, CBS, the New York Times, et cetera. I would take issue only with her apparent belief that a significant number of conservative oriented thinkers actually pay attention to what these outlets publish. I know that I have paid virtually no attention to any of these propaganda proselytizers for lo these many years since I outgrew my youthful leftism.

I suppose that part of the reason I pay no attention to these people is that their naked bias offends and annoys me to the extent that my blood pressure alone would dictate that I avoid them. The more important and more salient reason is that they are so wrong in their analyses of happenings all around the globe. Times, dates, places, numbers of participants, and other statistical information is frequently incorrect. I know this from discussions with liberals (I am a teacher, therefore, I know many of them). One of the best ways to quiet them is to give them the accurate data that usually gives the lie to their arguments and launches them into an ad hominem against whomever they are attacking this week.

I have been steadfastly amazed that these TV networks and newspapers have not lost even more viewers and readers than they have. You try not to buy a second lemon, to stay away from a place you have found to be dangerous, and to avoid obnoxious companions. Why would you continue to read "main stream" publications, knowing how flatulently wrong they are?
-- Joseph Baum
Garrettsville, Ohio

The news media lift the veil from its collective face? That'll coincide with the first flight of pigs from your nearest airfield.

As for "hapless Americans bound by their power"? C'mon. That part of the public that wishes to remain deaf, dumb and blind because of the misinformation and pap they ingest from the media does so by its own free will. They're just being real American victims. They've got no one else to blame, though. Regrettably, the rest of us have to suffer for their unwillingness or inability to open their eyes and ears.
-- C. Kenna Amos
Princeton, West Virginia

CONVERGENCE
Re: P. David Hornik's Chattering-Class Blues:

P. David Hornik's experience with what he calls the "chattering classes" in both the United States and Israel gives rise to worries about "the long-term viability even of the world's last two fighting democracies. With eerie similarity, in both countries this sector makes up for its smallness in size by taking control of the media, academic, and judiciary spheres and so wielding disproportionate power. They do so partly out of a similar ruthless disdain for the country's traditional ethos and alternative sociocultural sectors."

What he calls "chattering classes" in Israel I have long thought of as the terminally infantile and nauseatingly pretentious post WWII Cry Baby Boom elite here in America.

He seems to believe in Israel the fact that draft-dodging trend has kept advancing even in an era of suicide bombings and rocket barrages may indicate that the growth of such a detached, elitist, blase sector is intrinsic to democracy "and an inevitable part of it." With all due respect, I would respectfully suggest such a detached, elitist, blase sector is only "inevitable" until such time as the dogs of war tear the throat out it.

At some point when the situation becomes sufficiently desperate, even the most moderate and reticent among those who have their shoulder to the wheel, doing their utmost to further the survival of their respective countries, will recognize the no load, parasitic dead wood among them -- who actually believe they are ENTITLED to a free ride at the expense of others -- and dump them like ballast from a foundering ship.

Here in America, the sooner the better.
-- Thomas E. Stuart
Kapa'au, Hawaii

BYZANTIUM FAREWELL
Re: Paul J. Cella's The Last Sunrise:

Mr. Cella's article was extremely well written. The article is frightening because it reminds me of my Tuscan born mother's admonishments when we were young: That the U.S. is the greatest country on the face of the earth but we'd better be careful. She would always invoke what happened to the Roman Empire.
-- Christine A. Sims
Williamsburg, Virginia

Bravo on such a beautifully written article -- they ought to make it a movie!
-- Renee Gahagan
Daytona Beach, Florida

BENDING STEEL
Re: Scott's letter (under "Truth Moving") in Reader Mail's After the Fall and Peter Hannaford's The Loony Left's 9/11:

In reply to Scott and Rosie on the insistence that the steel used in the WTC towers couldn't have "melted" at the 1700 degrees F at which aviation fuel burns, I would like to point out that making steel malleable does not require 1700 degrees or aviation fuel. Master sword smiths, and just regular metal smiths, have been forging and "bending" steel into swords and other objects for millennia using nothing hotter than charcoal fires which burn at a temperatures quite a bit less than 1700 degrees. The requirement isn't to melt steel, only heat it to the point of making it easy to bend. Forge welding is a way to join two pieces of iron/steel by heating it to the bending point and then beating the two pieces, actually forcing the atoms of the two pieces to "mix" forming a single piece. It's not a particularly strong weld, but the principle is understood.

Scott, Rosie and Griffin seem to want to focus only on melting steel. Unfortunately, some folks who aren't "truthers" have used the "melted" word even though no evidence exists of any melting (that I know about). So the "truthers" have focused on one poorly chosen word, ignoring the plethora of historical evidence that steel does indeed become malleable at temperatures achievable by burning wood/charcoal/coal.

Here's an anecdotal story. I have a 1976 CJ5 that I use as a snow plow. I had the clutch replaced one year, and a week later the linkage connection point on the cast steel bell housing broke. The clutch repair people "fixed" it by attaching a ¼" steel plate to the housing so we could attach the linkage mechanism.

But there was a problem. While the clutch worked in the garage prior to plowing, about 30-40 minutes into plowing the gears were grinding during shifting like the clutch wasn't being pushed in enough. I would take tools along and change the linkage adjustments so the clutch would work. But the next time I started up the jeep for a new plowing job, the gears wouldn't engage at all.

It took over a year to figure it out, and even then only by accident. I happened to encounter the same problem while plowing the road only this time, it happened right next to my house. So I had my wife work the clutch while I watched underneath to see what was happening. It turns out that, when heated by the engine/transmission, the ¼" steel plate was flexing just enough that the clutch wouldn't disengage when the pedal was pressed. I was floored by the discovery. To test it, I parked the jeep and let it set for a couple of hours until it got cold. When I went out and tried it again, there was no problem with the clutch/gears. I did some more plowing and sure enough, after about 40 minutes the clutch wouldn't work again. When I looked underneath, the plate was again flexing.

The fix was simply to use a thicker piece of steel (1/2"). Unfortunately, first gear was entirely stripped out before I figured this out.

Here's them point: the heating of this ¼" steel plate just from the engine/transmission was enough to cause the plate to bend under the force of the depressed pedal. We're not talking anywhere near 1700 degrees, or anywhere near the temperatures a blacksmith or swordsmith would use to simply work or bend metal. Depending on the forces present, it doesn't take a lot of heat to weaken steel to the point where it will bend under the load.

As far as steel being a conductor of heat, it's a good conductor, but not a "perfect" conductor. Griffin et al. would have us believe that the steel somehow "transmitted" the heat so that the steel beams were at some sort of uniform temperature LESS THAN that required to cause failure. That is not the case. Steel is NOT a perfect (or super-) conductor of heat. The point where heat is applied will always be at a higher temperature than points further away. I used to be a welder and on some large applications, we had to preheat the weld area first. I was never able to apply heat in one area and have the entire weld area at the same temperature, even after applying the heat for hours. We ALWAYS had to move the heat source to new areas prior to welding.

Sorry this is so long. I could go on about Griffin but this will do.
-- Karl F. Auerbach
Eden, Utah

LIGHT TOUGH
Re: Jay Molyneaux's letter (under Artificial Intelligence") in Reader Mail's After the Fall:

It is simply not true that Jimmy Carter did nothing to answer the seizure of the American Embassy in Tehran and the capture of American hostages. Late in the same year that America was thus humiliated, Carter very boldly and publicly replied by refusing to illuminate the White House Christmas tree.
-- Edmund Dantes
Coshocton, Ohio

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