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Giuliani Jitters

Rudy vs. Reagan, the debate continues. Dueling guitars. Good political sports. Circuit City and Christianity. Plus much more.

5.7.07

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COALITION CRACKUP?
Re: G. Tracy Mehan, III's A Knife to the Throat

In regard to Tracy Mehan's article "A Knife to the Throat", I am compelled to respond to his main contention that Rudy Giuliani could be the "death knell of the Reagan Coalition."

Mehan asserts that Rudy Giuliani would disrupt "that successful alliance of economic, defense, and social conservatives forged in the 1976 Republican primary." Not only has the opposite proved true, but this very alliance has already begun to unite behind the Mayor, making him the front-running conservative in the Republican presidential primary.

Mayor Giuliani is a results-oriented leader who believes that "the private economy, not government, creates opportunity." By cutting taxes 23 times, Mayor Giuliani spurred economic growth in NYC and saved taxpayers over $9 billion. Additionally, he cut spending, reducing the number of full-time non-security, non-education city workers by nearly 20%. The result: Mayor Giuliani turned a $2.3 billion budget deficit into a multi-billion dollar surplus.

As mayor of New York City on 9/11, Giuliani understands the threat of terrorism firsthand, and he remains committed to fighting the primary threat against our nation -- the rise of Islamo-fascism. With a well-documented commitment to the security of America and her interests, the Mayor understands that we are engaged in a long-term War on Terror which will determine our very existence and, more specifically, determine whether we will enjoy the luxury of debating economic and social issues at all.

As a pro-life Member of Congress who receives a 100% rating from the American Conservative Union, I believe that social conservatives across the nation are discovering common ground with Giuliani -- discovering that his record is much closer to their own belief than what his political opponents represent. The facts speak for themselves -- because of the policies he supported, abortions decreased over 16% in New York City while adoptions increased by 66% while he was mayor.

Giuliani shares with social conservatives the strong conviction that marriage can only exist between a man and a woman. He maintains the conservative belief that behavior, not our economic system, is responsible for intergenerational poverty, and that to reduce poverty our nation must change its attitude toward marriage and raising children responsibly. "If you wanted a social program that would really save these kids," Giuliani commented, "...the social program would be called fatherhood."

In addition to the growing strength of Giuliani's "Reagan Coalition," Mehan overlooks Giuliani's ability to resurrect one of Reagan's most important coalitions -- Reagan Democrats. Rudy Giuliani will compete in all fifty states, overturning red state/blue state conventional wisdom by placing Democrats on the defense in states that have been solidly blue for years -- states such as New York, New Jersey, and California.

The Reagan Coalitions are more alive today than at anytime since his presidency as economic, defense and social conservatives, and yes, even Reagan Democrats, discover the leadership qualities and conservative government record of Mayor Rudy Giuliani -- qualities that I believe will make him our nation's next President.
-- Congressman Pete Sessions (TX-32)

In all due respects, Tracy Mehan's article about the Giuliani presidential candidacy being a knife to the throat of the Reagan coalition is irrelevant. The George W. Bush presidency has already destroyed the Reagan coalition and the Goldwater-Reagan Republican Party of limited-government.
-- Christopher D. Lay
Arlington, Virginia

QUALIFIED PRAISE
Re: Ben Stein's Bush Much Greater:

President Bush is the Defender of Life and his Supreme Court appointees are indeed heroes. We should not praise some of the other Bush and Reagan appointees such as Sandra Day O'Connor, David Souter and even Anthony Kennedy.
-- Donald Parnell
London, UK

Regarding Ben Stein's latest on Bush:

Excellent! Thank you.
-- David Harding

THE GOP'S CHOICE
Re: John Tabin's Rudy Was Not Okay:

First, ten candidates all lined up like pigeons is ridiculous. Running up and down the line saying 'answer yes or no' is pathetic. Need to reduce the list to five so there can be some real debate.

Second, Rudy is probably the only candidate who could have quickly answered the question about the difference between Sunni and Shiite Muslims. This was a gotcha question from Mr. Hardball, and Rudy knocked it back at him.

Third, the issue of abortion is not an issue for government. It is a moral and ethical issue, and if the various religions are not able to convince their members that abortion is bad, then government should not be the fall back enforcer. Rudy is the only candidate to say he hates abortion, but the choice is a woman's choice, not the government' choice. When will we get smart and drop this as a political issue -- it is not. This is a red herring the Democrats continue to force upon all the rest of us.

Fourth, there are only three viable candidates: Rudy, McCain and Romney. The rest are interviewing to be Vice President, or are there to make a specific point on a specific issue or two. Lets have a real debate with viable candidates.
-- Tuck

ME AND MY GUITAR
Re: Lawrence Henry's Stratocaster:

Like Mr. Henry, I gave up a vintage original Paisley Fender Telecaster (1968) for a less delectable model. I have come to realize years later that I didn't really lose anything. I enjoyed a "vintage" Gibson Hummingbird (1966) for over a decade until I walked into a guitar store and played a brand new Martin D-28 right off the rack. The Gibson was gone that evening! As a working musician, none of the instruments I use are more than 10 years old, all bought brand new.

There's little reason to spend the thousands for a "vintage" instrument with the quality of affordable instruments available these days. With a little patience, you can go through a number of instruments on any given rack (depending upon your budget) and come away with a truly fine NEW instrument for a fraction of a "vintage" costing sometimes thousands more. A guitar that's brand new, is yours personally, without having its innards swapped out, and without the "buckle-rash" of its previous owner. Some new guitars are classics right now, just hanging there waiting for owners.
-- P. Aaron Jones
Huntington Woods, Michigan

Let me begin saying that I've owned four Fender Stratocasters...and I've hated them all! They're gutless; they don't stay in tune; they are, in short, the most over-rated guitars on the market! Many rock and rollmainstays are garbage: Marlboro cigarettes (garbage!); Jack Daniel's whiskey (garbage!); The Fender "Strat" (garbage!)
-- Jon Lindquist
Las Vegas, Nevada

AWFULLY SPORTING
Re: Jennifer Rubin's Home Team Rooters:

Ms. Rubin's commentary struck a chord within me. Years ago, as a young man, I worked very briefly in Holland. Aside from being among the nicest people on earth, who fully and loudly remember the 82nd and the 101st Airborne Divisions' role in winning their freedoms back from the Nazis, a gentleman said something that resonates to this day about Americans.

He said "football is a metaphor for American life." When I asked him what he meant he told me that football is America on many levels. "Football is brute force used to solve a problem. Football risks injury for money and renown. Football requires toughness. Most of all football requires many to work as one and respect strengths and weaknesses and each much use his in conjunction with others. Each much work against those of his opponents as well."

I think that does some us up reasonably well, except some of our solutions are pretty damned elegant, as are well thrown long passes and that one step that breaks a long run.

Perhaps a President who understands sport and their place in our psyche actually understands us. That wouldn't be an entirely bad thing. I'm sure Ms. Clinton and Mr. Effete from North Carolina like sports too. Ms. Clinton enjoys those muscular, sweaty male bodies and Mr. Effete, well he does admire the coiffures.
-- Jay W. Molyneaux
Denver, North Carolina

RELIGIOUS LEFT BEHIND
Re: Doug Bandow's Chuck Colson's Short Circuit:

It's very sad to read Chuck Colson's diatribe against Circuit City. He's a great Christian man and has had an important impact on my life, especially his writings on apologetics. I hope that his word processor was half cocked when he fired. What I fear, however, is a leftward drift of evangelical thinkers that I have been noticing for several years. His quote from John Paul II is very revealing. The Catholic Church has always been anti-capitalist and it seems that Colson's long standing desire for reconciliation between Protestants and Catholics has led him to swallow the Church's anti-capitalist poison. A few Catholics, like Novak, Thomas Wood, and the Acton Institute fight the Church's anti-capitalist bias.

With his enduring affection for Catholicism, Colson should read the writings of the Late Scholastics of the School of Salamanca (all Catholics) who were among the first scholars to propose a capitalist society. Capitalism remained an academic subject until the Erasmian Protestants of the Dutch Republic implemented the Salamancan ideas. Calvinist Protestants (another favorite of Colson's) viciously opposed free markets and free trade in the Dutch Republic, while Catholicism attempted to keep it contained within the Republic. Laissez faire capitalism is a product of the Protestant theology of the Dutch Republic, which fought for 80 years to gain its freedom from Spain. The godly Dutch didn't intend to create capitalism, they simply intended to build a government that matched as closely as possible the blue print in the Bible, especially considering the Bible's emphasis on private property rights. Free markets, they reasoned, are nothing but the natural expression of property rights.

Finally, Colson should consider that he is judging the motives of the management of Circuit City when he writes "There is no consideration of an employee's productivity or quality of work. Nor is there any claim that the company can't afford to pay what the workers are currently making -- only that it doesn't have to." Colson has always considered judging other's motives a sin because only God can discern our true motives.
-- Roger D. McKinney
Broken Arrow, Oklahoma

"But now evangelical leaders seem to be trending left, almost running after Democratic politicians"? Oh, please. That's just too much of a statistical generalization, the very annoying and gross kind that the liberal mainstream media would make.

That aside, in his letter to the church at Colossus, the Apostle Paul said: "Masters, provide your slaves with what is right and fair, because you know that you also have a Master in heaven." Perhaps Circuit City's executives did what was "right and fair"?

And to the Circuit City employees were Christians, something else Paul also said to the church in Colossus might apply: "Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to win their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord. Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward."

Being laid off is unpleasant. Been there. It can be testy, financially exhausting, demoralizing, depressing, sleep-depriving, age/experience/salary/gender-discriminating and anger-inciting. Even literally nauseating, too. It can put weight on your body or take it off. And cause loss of home and banked retirement funds, and lead to unplanned relocations.

But who's promised a smooth, unchallenged journey? Though it may be no consolation to others, at all I had some times was what Jesus said in the Gospel of Matthew, "... He [the Father in Heaven] causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous" and "love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you."

In the end, perhaps what Circuit City did was best for the company and all employees who remain. Regardless, none but those people who made the decisions really know. And whether Colson likes it or not, yes, workers have become disposable commodities in this tell-me-what-you're-worth-today society. Where's he been?
-- C. Kenna Amos
Princeton, West Virginia

Doug Bandow claims to be a "Christian libertarian" but says; "There's no Christian politics, whether right or left. Nor is there any Christian economics, whether capitalist or socialist. People should be moral because they are human beings, not because they are businessmen." Both the Catholic Church and John Calvin would be astounded to hear this news.

Liberals want a public square devoid of Christians, saying that spiritual matters pertain only to the individual, not to matters of policy or business. So why would a "Christian libertarian" say pretty much the same thing? With such a philosophy, who needs liberals? Libertarianism is not merely a political philosophy, but it is actually a complete way of living and thinking, and as such is in conflict with Christianity, which also claims to have a complete way of living and thinking. Given that choice, Bandow holds forth the libertarian position.

I can hardly pontificate on the Circuit City mess, claiming to have the perfect Christian solution. But Jesus did say this:

Mt 5:47 If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that.

Christianity has always been about doing more than is minimally required, more than the usual and expected. Simply doing what the market requires is insufficient. Clearly, that's all that happened in the Circuit City case. Therefore, no Christian should be praising or excusing what has occurred. It is rather a matter of bitter regret. Even if I am not sure of what the right answer is, I have a reasonable suspicion that something different and better could have been done had at least a minimal effort been made, and any number of non-Christian businessmen concur on that point.

Christians have a lot to say on economics, politics and every other area of life. Adding our voice to the din of libertarian and other solutions will enrich our national debate.
-- Gary Martin
Platte City, Missouri

Doug Bandow's column illustrates the problem with making politics a matter of faith. You'll like it when they see it as God's work to fight for your issues, but watch out when you're on the other side. Far better to appeal to reason in the area of politics.
-- Jason Davis

SHOW AND TELL
Re: Jay D. Homnick's Phone Listings by ABC:

Homnick says "To publicize the names of customers should be illegal in any business."Why? What earthly conservative reason is there for another law? Even worse, Homnick wants a law interfering with freedom of speech, and which seizes property, namely the seller's information.The madness grows -- his suggestion comes from a situation where a procuress plans to reveal the names of her customers. What pressing public need requires either side in that mess to be protected?

If you don't want people to know what you've done, don't do it.

The only law we need is one prohibiting conservatives from demanding new laws on trivial issues, with a subsection requiring the editors of conservative magazines to root such calls out of articles before they are published.
-- Fred Z
Calgary, Canada

Jay Homnick replies:
There is no more conservative principle than confidentiality.

If you don't want it public, don't do it? I can only dye my hair at the hairdresser if I want the world to know? A woman can only buy a girdle if she wants the world to know? A padded bra? You see no reason why merchants should be obligated to protect that information? I disagree.

APOLOGIZING FOR ISLAM
Re: Tim Behrend's letter (under "Al Qaeda's Arcadia") in Reader Mail's Dirty Pool:

Tim Behrend is a classic example of what is wrong with Western thinking regarding militant Islam. While there may not always be formal links between these movements and/or the rogue state that support them their goal to force the submission of the world to Islam is the same. Minimizing, excusing and marginalizing the threat of imperialistic Islam is a dangerous mistake.

It is unfortunate that the majority of Westerners are such poor students of history. Islam has traditionally spread by the sword and this 21st century jihad is no different from of earlier conquests of the Near East, North Africa, Anatolia, Persia, central Asia, Spain, India, the Balkans or wherever else Islam is dominate. Where it is competing for religious dominance violence seems to be a preferred method of proselytizing. Ignoring this reality or the threat will not make it go away. Western apologists for violent Islam are merely insuring the struggle will be longer, more violent and deadly. They are also sowing the seeds for destruction of democracy and the West.

Christopher Orlet and others warning the West of the threat of expansionist Islam are doing yeoman's work for the protection of our way of life and democratic states. Rather than lamely trying to discredit them with fallacious arguments their critics should aim their ire at the Muslim apostles of intolerance and hatred. One can only conclude from their indifference to the terrorists violence that they are either sympathetic to their cause and desire to destroy democracy too or are just well meaning fools.
-- Michael Tomlinson
Jacksonville, North Carolina

HERE'S HOPING
Re: A. DiPentima's letter (under "Honest, Abe") in Reader Mail's Dirty Pool:

I'm flattered that one of your most pointed and articulate letter-writers, also a conservative's conservative (with the exception of his support for Rudy Giuliani), A. DiPentima, took the time to castigate me. I assure Mr. DiPentima that I have looked at myself in the mirror as recently as this morning, when all I noticed was some disheveled hair â€" I didn't see any ogres or suckers.

I admit that the mainstream media favors liberal sensibilities, but, as has been mentioned on this site, Bill O'Reilly and Fox News are not a desirable antidote. My personal solution is to watch as little TV as possible. I stopped subscribing to weekly news magazines decades ago. And anyone who intentionally listens to the likes of Rush Limbaugh for information ought to be sent back to school for remedial education.

On the matter of the position taken by Frank Rich (and the New York Times), I can understand how conservatives might consider this absurd. The reason that I agree with Rich is that I'm at my wits' end after six years of George W. Bush in the White House, and am upset that no journalist, whether liberal or conservative, has shown sufficient mettle to oust the oaf. Despite Ben Stein's predictable sycophantic column today, in which he desperately scours the known universe to find one commendable thing about Bush, I consider the man an unmitigated disaster for this nation, and I believe that if the press had done the job that needs to be done in order for a democracy to function -- keeping the public apprised of the state of affairs -- then Bush would not have been elected for a second term, possibly even a first term. This may be wishful thinking on my part, but that's how our system is supposed to work.
-- Abe Grossman
Pleasantville, New York

THE KINDNESS CONTINUES
Re: Raymond Barton's letter (under "Unity Ticket") in Reader Mail's Dirty Pool:

Is there a way I can say "You're welcome" and "Thank you, too" to Mr. Barton for his kind words?

Thank you,
-- Byron Keith

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