Re: David Holman's Kilgore Kaput:
Amen, brother! David Holman's "Kilgore Kaput" bullseyed the reason why Kilgore lost the Virginia governor's race. Kilgore never ran as a conservative.
There was plenty of opportunity to have done so. The outgoing governor, Democrat Mark Warner, had a high approval rating, but largely because he had done nothing for four years, so he didn't anger many people. The sole legacy of the Warner years was a massive tax hike that was sponsored by RINOs in the state Senate. Not that Warner was reluctant to sign it, of course. But responsibility gets diffused in a legislature, so nobody bore the blame. When it became clear a year later that all the increase did was create a billion-dollar surplus to be frittered away, Kilgore could have based his whole campaign on linking Tim Kaine to the tax grab via Warner, and cruised by 20 points. He did not.
Instead, he squandered his campaign on nonsense. When he mentioned tax cuts at all, they were "targeted", a code word for "forget about it applying to you". When he babbled about programs, the list always ran to spending more: for education, cleaner air, cleaner water, the children, blah, blah, blah. That is liberal boilerplate which will persuade nobody. Blue-staters breathe that stuff, but they are going to vote for the other guy who is saying the same thing. It's not going to get red-staters to support you, because conservatives know those aren't genuine crises.
And, of course, the stupidest non-crisis of all was the death penalty. Earth to politicians: Nobody cares! Virginia executes two or three convicted murderers per year. A handful of Woodstock wannabes hold candlelight vigils. All the people who think this is a burning issue wouldn't crowd an elevator. If you want a law-and-order topic that energizes conservatives, you talk about illegal aliens, not capital punishment. Kilgore ignored immigration until about 4 days before the election, well after it was too late.
Kilgore could have won big if only he had stuck with solid conservative positions on issues that matter to conservatives: lower taxes, less government spending, security. If it sounds like Wednesday morning quarterbacking, it is... and has been the morning after every squishy Republican loses an election he could have dominated.
-- James Bono
As David Holman points out, Jerry Kilgore ran a lousy campaign. More importantly, his campaign lacked ideas and themes, and took the Northern Virginia outer suburbs for granted.
The down-state good ol' boys have long regarded Northern Virginia as a cash register for the state and the outer suburbs as reliably Republican regardless of the candidate. After Mark Warner and Tim Kaine, they had better change that perception if they expect to win the governor's mansion back.
Tim Kaine ran an effective campaign that presented him as principled and interested in the problems of congestion and sprawl that plague Northern Virginia and the Virginia Beach/Norfolk areas. Kilgore's attack on Kaine's opposition to the death penalty was clumsy at best and morbidly opportunistic at worst.
-- William L. Roughton, Jr.
Fairfax Station, Virginia
It's an off-year election. Democrats win the gubernatorial races in GOP-leaning Virginia and the blue state New Jersey. Republicans console themselves that at least they won the mayoral race in New York City, even though Michael Bloomberg is just a RINO (Republican-in-name-only).
Pundits wonder aloud, "Is Bush finished?" "Sure, he probably couldn't have done much to affect the outcome in New Jersey, but what about Virginia, a state he won comfortably just a year ago? That can't be good!"
And then comes the faux-sympathy comment: "It's going to be a long three years for Republicans."
But enough about 2001.
As you can see, that dismal night four years ago is almost a perfect replay of what happened last night, November 8, 2005. Of course, there are real differences: President Bush is coming off what is arguably the worst summer of his political career, and he will be blamed (unfairly, in my opinion) for losing Virginia. Never mind that the Democrat, Tim Kaine, was essentially running for popular governor Mark Warner's second term, and that Republican Jerry Kilgore ran a poor campaign, according to many accounts.
New Jersey is now unwinnable for Republicans, unless you're a RINO like Christie Whitman. Of course, it helps when the Democrat, Jon Corzine, is able to spend boatloads of his own money.
As for California, Ah-nuld bit off more than he could chew, and I think he realized a valuable lesson: never underestimate the demagogic power of left-wing unions. If you go after tenure, you can expect nasty ad's claiming that you are against the teachers who work so hard to educate children (no mention of the left-wing curricula they are using, of course). If you try to protect union members from having their dues go to pay for political ads they don't necessarily endorse, guess what? You're against Joe Six-Pack!
I'm glad Schwarzenegger made the effort; it's just too bad he got drowned out by all the vitriol.
What does all of this mean for Bush? Probably not much. Democrats were poised to have a big night, for the reasons stated above. And the Republicans may (I repeat, may) lose seats in Congress next year, but that is generally the case for the party has held the White House for six years. They probably won't lose Congress, unless everything goes right for the Democrats, and they get an inspiring leader like Newt Gingrich was for us in 1994. Do Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid fit the bill? I don't think so.
Granted, the MSM is going to paint last night as a bad omen for President Bush, and that he is now officially a lame duck. But don't forget; they said that four years ago, too.
-- Greg Hoadley
Boca Raton, Florida
Mr. Holman was spot-on target with his analysis of the Kilgore defeat. I particular liked his encapsulation of the fundamental principals of modern conservatism:
- Taxes are our money.
- The state is not the solution.
- Freedom from womb to grave is an imperative, not a suggestion.
Those should be carved in the hearts and minds of every Republican who claims a conservative ideology. And, they should take warning from the Miers and Kilgore defeats: (1) Conservatives will not be taken for granted, and (2) Conservatives will demand proof of the bona fides of anyone claiming that label.
-- John Jarrell
San Antonio, Texas
As a Virginian, a registered Republican, and a Kilgore voter, I had a gnawing feeling for weeks that my candidate was going to lose. But the real reason was not about his "failure" to articulate a conservative vision, as the Spectator improperly maintains. That's conservative movement dogma, easy Monday morning quarterbacking.
Kilgore's defeat was due to something far more obvious than his beliefs or willingness to act upon them. It was his southwest Virginia accent. Washington, D.C.-area Northern Virginians -- and they constitute a larger percentage of the state's electorate than ever (I myself live in Loudoun County) -- were simply not going to elect a hillbilly as their next governor. A stint at attorney general is okay. An attorney general doesn't get to address the public all that much. But a governor does. A governor is the most visible manifestation of a state's polity. The minute I saw his first TV ad, I said, "Red State or no Red State -- this guy doesn't have a prayer."
The English have an old saying: "Speak, so that I may see thee." In their country, accents in towns just 20 miles apart may radically differ; just ask National Review's John Derbyshire. Kilgore's twang may be charming, but it was a political liability.
Message to Virginia's GOP: Think north -- or at least east.
-- Carl F. Horowitz
David Holman replies:
So this is a note to faithful Virginians? Southern accents don't cut it? All else being equal, I'd rather place my trust in a tobacco-chewin', country music-listenin', pickup-drivin' pol whose voice isn't quite trained for TV news than a D.C. operator.
Re: George Neumayr's The Vichy Solution:
Empires die because they stop believing in themselves, and now perhaps we are witnessing a country dying from the same malady. Since nobody studies history anymore, perhaps I should be less surprised than I am that the words "Charles Martel" have not passed anybody's lips in the last two weeks -- at least in the public space. His defeat of the Saracens at the Battle of Tours (sometimes called the Battle of Poitiers) was -- until now, I suppose -- considered one of the turning points in world, certainly European, history.
Here is a thought. Perhaps when a country disarms its citizens, that is a signal that it has stopped believing in itself. Perhaps the Second Amendment is a far more profound component of the American polity than we have previously supposed.
It appears we live in interesting times -- the Chinese curse.
-- Greg Richards
New York, New York
"This explains why dictatorships have followed its liberal revolutions. Reality-defying assertions about 'liberty, fraternity, and equality' produce enough irrationality to justify a Napoleon to stop it. "
Wow! As I sipped my coffee, your powerful statement burned with the truth! Outstanding! France will burn until they understand its truth. And I pity them not. But we are not immune; we must choose our immigrants carefully.
-- Tony Arvelo
The fires in and around Paris give a whole new meaning to the slogan, Paris: City of Lights. Or perhaps this is just "Nouvelle French Fry"? Or maybe, the French can mollify their Muslims and rename the country Paristine? Let them round up the Arab scum and ship them out. The French have lots of past experiences with this option. Or do roundups and deportations only apply to Jews?
-- Wolf Terner
Fair Lawn, New Jersey
France is the canary in the coalmine. Let's hope their cautionary tale restricts Muslim immigration to the U.S.
-- David Govett
Interesting. I lived in Europe during the "minor" versions of this back in the early '90s. (Bombings of the Paris Metro and other trains/train station luggage lockers/trash cans.) Many of the targets were "things" not people, but a few were injured and a couple were killed and this froze the French government from reacting for MONTHS.
Crimes occurred in the "suburbs" where the concentration of North Africans and other Islamic populations are high. Mostly property crime (car vandalism for instance) and break-ins. It was bad enough that many German (I was living in Germany) auto insurance companies would not cover for damages to autos unless they were parked in a "secured" private parking garage when driven in France.
Meanwhile in North Africa, the exact same types of demonstrations that are happening in France now, were occurring in towns and cities in Algeria. Then these escalated to murders of those in the communities that "dared" speak out about the violence and intolerance, (one reason why mainline Islam will not speak out against the Fascist branches).
I for one do not find this surprising, or unexpected. I have several friends in France, most residing in areas far from Paris (Rhone Alps region) who:
1. Supported the U.S. invasion of Iraq;
2. Are what we would consider in the U.S. to be "right-leaning centrists";
3. Admire the fact that we have "free speech" in America, unlike France where it is stifled and smothered by government and commercial sources.
Where I personally expect real trouble is not Paris so much, but Strasbourg, home of the European Union's parliament and some of the EU courts. There is a sizable community of North Africans and other Islamic populations, nowhere near as large as Paris, but enough to supply support and safe havens if others come in to disrupt and riot.
-- S. Dent
After reading Mr. Neumayr's article, "The Vichy Solution," I am convinced that the young Muslim rioters are merely "freedom fighters" fighting against a near-totalitarian regime hell-bent on denying "basic human rights."
President Bush should immediately declare that the United States supports the demands of these sainted "freedom fighters" and we stand with them in the name of liberty against the evil Jacques Chirac.
There, I feel better now!
-- John Sorg
Re: Patrick Devenny's Blinded by Sunshine:
In reference to Patrick Devenny's article "Blinded by Sunshine," perhaps it's time for the United States to re-evaluate our commitment to South Korea. If 50% of polled South Koreans profess that they'd support North Korea and Kim Jong-Il in any potential, future conflict, then we should take them at their word, and happily pull out of the Korean peninsula. Our nation is probably better served by redeploying all U.S. troops currently stationed in South Korea to other global hot spots (like Iran).
Over 50,000 Americans died defending the liberty of the spoiled, ungrateful South Koreans. If they want us out, grant them their wish. Let them deal with their benevolent North Korean and Chinese neighbors on their own terms. And make it clear that if and when we leave, we aren't coming back. Period.
-- Gavin Valle
Peapack, New Jersey
Unlike Mr. Orlet and some of the rest of the cognoscenti of French society and culture, Mr. Neumayr quite correctly identifies the deeper direct correlation between radical Islam and the French riots. Even if Mr. Orlet's observations have some basis in fact, they appear to be superficial at best and ignore the larger pathology that is currently rotting France (and most of Europe) from within. In either event it doesn't provide much succor for the French.
What an interesting juxtaposition; on the one hand, the France that is an elitist, racist society living on past glory and dreams that never were. A people who cling to their superiorist notions of "essential Frenchness" as the unspoken sine qua non that separates them from their immigrant African and Islamic populations; at the same time, you have Chirac and the Vichy French secularists, who have once again chosen to feed the crocodile by bowing to multiculturalism and socialism in hopes of keeping these two incompatible French constructs from colliding. Well, they have and the upheaval is ugly and will only get worse.
As Mr. Neumayr correctly assesses, Chirac and company have already lost the battle to cure the systemic pathology they have sowed. The Vichy solutions, i.e. bribes, handouts, and hands-up will not put the genie back in the bottle. The battle is lost precisely because radical Islam and world events are the undercurrents that feed into this morass that Mr. Orlet sees as just social disfranchisement. Mr. Orlet is right however that we Americans need to take serious notice of this. Our society has fallen for many of the same half-baked notions and many still fail to acknowledge that we are indeed in a new war, one that President Bush warned would take decades to resolve.
While Europe shows us the future, our own Vichyites are still stuck on intel, lies, and WMDs. Finally, Mr. Orlet may indeed be correct as to the number of Americans that hate France. As for me, let's just say I'm relishing the schadenfreude watching the insufferable and impotent Chirac, who finally emerged from under his mistresses' sheets, to find that France is once again conquered.
-- A. DiPentima
THE LAST GASP
Re: Lisa Fabrizio's Beady Democrats:
"If we define who we are, the middle class will vote Democratic again." -- Kentucky State Senator and former Democrat Governor Julian Carroll
In the September 2005 issue of Consumer Reports, there was a sidebar article about repackaging usually being a manufacturer's last gasp attempt to save its dying product that the public no longer wanted.
-- Gordon Paravano
The Democrats hate religion, especially Catholics, most especially Catholics appointed to the Supreme Court, because they just might overturn Roe v. Wade.
The Democrats sycophantically praise Islamic Fundamentalist (extremist Jihad) Muslims, because they may help topple Bush if the Iraq conflict can just get enough Americans killed.
If Bush were to appoint a devout Sunni Muslim to the Supreme Court, one of those Muslims cherished by the Democrats, that would be likely to vote appointment would likely over-turn Roe v. Wade, but also rule to remove women's suffrage and to force women to wear veils in public.
I think Bush should make his third appointee a devout Muslim, to let the Democrats object to their ally being appointed, who will gladly take a sabre and shred their sacred litmus test. But hey! It's okay! The Sunnis are trying to oust Bush, so it's OKAY!
The liberal Democrats are NOT for anything that a religious person would be for.
-- Elaine Kyle
Re: James Bowman's The Weather Man:
James Bowman's review of The Weather Man describes as a mildly rainy day something that was closer to a tornado dropping a hog farm on suburbia. I didn't know that Nicky Cage got the big job because he chased me out of the theatre long before that. The movie was produced secretly by Jerry Springer on a bet that he could inflict the culturally depraved as well with boredom.
Justice would be served if Cage spent the next few years looking over his shoulder because people took the movie to heart and forever after threw things at him. And as for dear Michael Caine, having watched The Man Who Would Be King a few days earlier, well it was a reasonably endearing performance, but you just can't be Shakespearian on the Jerry Springer Boredom Hour.
God save us from people that make such unpleasant drool.
-- Jim Darlington
Re: John Haskins's No More Striking Down Constitutions:
Everything in this column was so completely correct. I have observed for some time now that liberals regard the Constitution as an impediment to their designs. Of course they prefer precedent, because it moves law away from its Constitutional roots -- at least it does with the kind of precedents they make. Their campaign to promote liberalism despite obvious conflicts with the Constitution is like a street riot in which the only constraints are "what can be gotten away with." If reliance upon international law can be gotten away with, they will do it, etc. An impeachment or two would sober them up, and keep them sober for a long time.
-- Wayne Pickard
WAGE THE PR BATTLE
Re: Jed Babbin's The CIA Disinformation Campaign:
Please tell Mr. Babbin I just sent the link to his article to my senators. Conservative blogs and websites are more than a little angry and frustrated that little seems to be happening to counter the Iron Triangle... especially at a time of war. Where's our President? Where's our Administration-backed public relations unit? We're left to scour the Internet for facts and research pertaining to the pernicious leaks and disinformation campaign being waged by the enemy within, and we're fed up with being held hostage by MSM propaganda. We know the media can't be trusted. With all three branches of government currently in our 'control' why can't the Republicans go on the offense -- get the truth out there -- ASAP? Why do WE always end up being the proverbial goo that hits the fan? We should be throwing that goo with gusto at THEM! Sheesh. Sometimes it just gets so depressing.
-- Barbara Haugen
Cedar City, Utah
Was not Bush senior once head of the CIA? Could it be that he made enemies there who are now exacting payback against the Bush family through his son?
-- Timothy Haley
Thank you for the article, "The CIA Disinformation Campaign." All of the irregularities, illegalities, and standard operating procedures that weren't followed by the CIA in this truly disinformation campaign have been tremendous sources of frustration for me.
My husband and I have been longing for someone, anyone, to begin demanding the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth about the real reasons the CIA sent a liberal, who is anti-American, anti-war, in no way whatsoever qualified, in no way a true representative of America, to a foreign country under the premises of extracting vital information that is crucial to the protection of American citizens, and, then upon return to his country, is not required to do the extremely important and professional written report that anyone else would have been required to do. Seemingly, he was even encouraged to change his "findings" when he played to the press and in his "op-ed."
My husband and I keep screaming -- but our screams go unheard. This has been the most bizarre five years we can ever remember -- so much information that is so crucial to America's protection and survival has been quashed by the mainstream liberal media, and what information that finally does get out, is largely disregarded by the American public. Because of the apathy much of our citizenry is suffering from these days, my husband and I continue to be frustrated, saddened, and angered by all of the important stories that we just are not able to expose for the lies and cover-ups that they really are.
Is there anyone out there who will help? Are there enough true Americans left to win the battle and take our country back from the liberal, anti-American, pro-European, anti-God, anything-goes societal factions, fanatical groups that seek to destroy America and her citizens, and that will do whatever it takes to ensure America's survival and victory?
Thanks for letting me vent.
-- Sue Singleton
If you're claiming that the CIA orchestrated Wilson's attempt to discredit and undermine President Bush's case for the invasion of Iraq, let's not forget former CIA Director George Tenet's assurance to Bush that the case for Iraq's possession of WMD's was a "slam dunk."
If you're looking for the architects of Wilson's campaign, you might start with Tenet. Either that, or he was another victim of the same misinformation effort within the CIA that sent Wilson in the first place.
Don't leave Tenet out of this. His actions and possible motives need to be scrutinized as thoroughly as those of anyone else in this affair.
-- Mike Grant
NO CANADIAN LOVE LOST
Re: Christopher Orlet's reply to unsigned letter (under "Is Paris Burning?") in Reader Mail's Leak Spittle:
Orlet's response to 'unsigned' was right on except for his shot at Canadians as lovers of the French. We have more than our fair share of leftoid poodle kissers, all too many of them draft dodgers dumped on us by you Americans during Vietnam.
Plenty of us despise the French. One word: Quebec. We know much better than most of you just how deeply corrupt French Culture is. Every day we see proof of it. Our political process turned rotten; the RCMP bribed with public money.
There is little doubt in my mind that one of the principal reasons for the decay of Canada is the existence of a large French culture within our union. I am not so much an Alberta separatist as a Quebec expulsionist.
You're lucky your dose of French culture in Louisiana is small and largely assimilated. Even so, isn't Louisiana the most corrupt state in the Union? Big surprise.
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