Reader Mail

Mired in Miers

Some love Harriet and her president; others still wonder. Also: More applied Methodism. The Babbin Factor. Tyrrell is tops. And more.

10.6.05

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LET DOWN
Re: Lisa Fabrizio's Cut Her Some Slack and the "Oxygen Masks" letters in Reader Mail's Breath Holders:

Lisa Fabrizio makes a good attempt at reassuring me to support the President's Supreme Court nominee. But I find one point of reasoning too calculating. The fact that Ms. Miers is an Evangelical Christian and scares the liberals plays into the stereotype liberals use against people of faith. I understand the politics but it is unseemly. Besides the liberals are on a jihad and fright does not enter into their thought process, only obsession.

Conservatives were counting on the President to nominate somebody to continue the great debate of liberal versus conservative philosophy. The conservative movement is more than faith. Within this debate is where the battle of good versus evil would be played out for all to see and choose. I do not automatically assume that a stealth candidate is an invisible conservative and I understand that to liberals in the Senate thou shall speak no conservative evil.

But today's Republicans are more interested in holding ground than to advance the conservative cause. There is no such thing as standing still. The world simply does not work this way. We either shrink or grow. Losing campaigns are conducted on a holding ground strategy. It is this consolidation strategy that the Republican Party employs that has supporters worried. This SC "fight" could have energized the party and it could have made the spineless run for cover. It could have served as a cleansing process. It could have been an early kill or cure in preparation for next year. The base is ready for a fight but the establishment Republicans would rather keep their pillows fluffed.

Lisa points to intelligent personnel cabinet choices but also neglects the bad ones that have long been forgotten. Lisa also forgets the dumb choices made such as working with Ted Kennedy only later to be accused of heinous crimes, the huge prescription drug boondoggle (no political gains), and big social spending increases (no political gains). This accommodation strategy has done nothing to win over the other side. It has antagonized the base and that is a dumb play. The anxiety felt by the base has a foundation that lies on these past dumb political ploys.

Winners realize the right time and also the only time to make a decisive move but this administration seems overwhelmed, on its heels playing defense, and unwilling to rally against the media. Where is the Dick Cheney who called Tom Daschle an obstructionist? That stuck. Where is the President Bush that called the Democrat establishment to task during the Homeland Security bill fight, as union supporters and not U.S. security supporters. The media howled but the administration won. We have not witnessed this backbone in a long time.

Sure there will always be time for recriminations later but then it will be too late. History indicates the next administration will swing to a Democrat and there will be another SC nominee during that time. It will certainly be a left wing nominee. Even a Republican majority will be cowed by the MSM and cave big time. The court could end back on the left side of the road. We hear reassurances about Miss Miers. We need ironclad fact.
-- Diamon Sforza
San Diego, California

Thank you so much for publishing an article from a sycophant of this president. This was a horrible choice from a truly disappointing president. I cannot believe you would publish this -- knowing the history of "trust me" candidates to the U.S. Supreme Court: O'Connor, Kennedy, Stevens, Souter, Blackmun, et al. -- all nominated by Republican presidents. But even they did not financially contribute to liberal Democrats such as Gore! At the end of the day, the elite liberals have been right. We are the "stupid party."
-- Rich Lowell

While I am somewhat disappointed that the President nominated Harriet Miers for the Supreme Court, I am puzzled over all this wailing in the streets. Did I miss something? I mean, come on, folks. It's not like he nominated Michael Moore. If conservative Republicans rebel over this, as some threaten, all you will get is a Democratic Congress in 2006 and Hillary in the White House in 2008. Don't tell me that it doesn't matter who gets in, because it does. It matters tremendously. Tear off the Bush/Cheney bumper stickers? And replace them with what? McCain bumper stickers? This is all getting overwrought and self-destructive.
-- Chris Norman
Durham, North Carolina

Fine article. Couldn't have said it better myself. For the past day and a half I have listened as conservative commentator after commentator railed about Ms. Miers's selection. Unqualified, they said. Not conservative enough, they said. Not a brilliant enough legal mind, they said. I heard one Fox conservative whining that she did not have an Ivy League pedigree. I think they teach a good brand of law at SMU. After deriding her as unsuitable for the bench they then admit they really don't know much about her beliefs. They all sound like the left would sound. Knee-jerk conservatives, all of them. Keep it up, you'll make yourselves just as valuable to public debate as the far, far left.
-- William R. Falzone
Seminole, Florida

While I am generally disposed at present to take a wait-and-see attitude to Miers, I have my reservations given Bush's waffling on some critical issues. The statement, though, of waiting to see if she measures up AFTER being confirmed is not an option we, as conservatives, have anymore. By then, it's too late, the damage will have been done and we go down in flames once more. Yes, the right is in a bit of a frenzy because even though Bush has a "stellar" track record, he also has thrown a few clunkers at a critical time. We have waited too long for a chance to reclaim our freedoms and put an end to judicial activism to take anything lightly. Words are nice but actions are better. Miers does not have the actions to back up her words. THAT is the bottom line.
-- Pete Chagnon

I'd like to thank Lisa Fabrizio for pointing out the sainted Ronald Reagan's appointment of O'Connor and Kennedy.

What I hear right now about Bush is what we all heard during most of Mr. Reagan's two terms, but many of us would apparently like to forget; a herd of chicken-little conservatives running around and squawking from one 'betrayal' of their sacred trust to another by inept Ronny. First it was the recession, then the tax cuts weren't big enough, he wasn't aggressive enough with the Russkies, he gave away the store at Reykjavik, his second tax cut was a sell out, spending, the deficits, blah, blah, blah, until they screamed like schoolgirls.

Now of course, most of these same fools wear "Put Ron on the rock" t-shirts and think he should be sanctified. It's deja vu all over again with Bush. I'd hate to have these imbeciles in a foxhole with me. A couple of moves they didn't agree with and I'd have a bayonet in my backside, but they'd be sure and speak highly of me twenty years later, when its safe and convenient and of no help.
-- Brian Bonneau

Ms. Lisa Fabrizio makes an excellent, possibly overwhelming point when she writes of Mr. Bush, "�he has a stellar conservative record when it comes to judicial appointments; nominating Miguel Estrada, Priscilla Owens, William Pryor, Michael McConnell, and yes, John Roberts�" Conservatives can find just cause to criticize this president in a number of areas -- education funding, Medicare drug giveaways, not vetoing McCain-Feingold, immigration. But the one area where he's been golden has been judicial appointments.

Now, however, for many movement conservatives, he's made an unforgivable mistake. How? By nominating the one person who did more than any other to guide him in making all those stellar choices. Maybe the guys over at the Corner are right. Maybe picking a fight to the death in vengeance for the Robert Bork incident would draw that bright line in the sand. But are they so sure that the Democrats/liberals would be the only ones to die? Isn't it more likely that our beloved RINOs in the Senate would blink if faced with a vote for McConnell or Luttig? Haven't they proved that they'd rather be loved by Schumer and Leahy than vote to support this President? The Cornerites and those other right side pundits who agree with them are all so sure that Mr. Frist would trigger the nuclear option if necessary. But would he, faced with those same RINOs?

Purity aside, isn't the way she'll vote the important consideration? Even the most severe of her critics on the right admit that she'll more than likely be a solid conservative vote. So isn't that more important than some ideological windmill tilting a la Don Quixote?

I believe in purity of heart. But please, people, this is politics, not the search for the Holy Grail. Let's not be like those who'd rather fight than win, who are more proud of dying in the struggle than winning the prize.
-- Tim Jones
Cordova, Tennessee

It was with great interest that I watched the President nominate Harriet Miers to be the new nominee to the Supreme Court. I was watching from my hospital bed recuperating from surgery. Being in pain from surgery, I switched from one network to the next and listened to continual prattle from one commentator to the next. As for me, I trust President Bush's judgment, which has stood solid in previous choices. I believe this man has a brilliant mind. He boggles the Democrats by giving them folks that they will have to work at to defeat. They will gnash their teeth with this lady. She was raised in the generation of early pioneers of women breaking the glass ceiling in the work force, that had to be twice as good, work four times as hard, and stand with feet firmly fixed in concrete, to get where she is at today.

Poor Democrats, they will try to get under her skin during any questioning prior to voting. They aren't just dealing with a steel magnolia but a Texas woman with great dimensions. I look forward to the nomination hearings. She will shine just like the stars over Texas. As for conservatives, remember what the scriptures say, walk by faith and not by sight. You can trust the President's choices. He has shined with them for some five years. This nominee will be no different.
-- Beverly Gunn
East Texas Rancher

Thanks for including Lisa Fabrizio's recent columns on the Vietnam era and the nomination of Miss Miers. The Connecticut columnist writes in the clear and concise style the professors tried to teach us in law school. Her message has the simplicity and clear-as-a-bell ring of truth: the left is wrong and the President is right (and right -- e.g., Owen, Brown, Ashcroft).
-- Bob Byrne
Kansas

CONSERVATIVE METHODISTS?
Re: W. James Antle III's A Charge to Reclaim:

I often read articles written about the conservative bent of the United Methodist Church and about the Church's Biblically-based Christian teaching, etc. Then I attend my (half-empty) UMC on Sunday where my fellow United Methodists and I often ask the question -- "where is that teaching and leadership to be found within our UMC?" I do not question that it exists within the UMC in some Churches that happen to be blessed with strong ministers that just happen to possess strong leadership skills. But that is far removed from the average UMC that is struggling to remain open and solvent with no leadership and no scriptural based spiritual leader. The UMC struggles with having enough "warm bodies" to keep all of the pulpits filled and they have resorted to just accepting any warm body to fill that role. There (in my opinion) is the root of the problem. The UMC has no system in place to weed-out the weak ministers and over time these are the people that are now in charge of making very important decisions that the Church is facing.

I don't want to get into a discussion about whether or not every UMC "minister" has a calling from God to enter the ministry. But from my experience I can tell you that the financial rewards of being a UMC minister are significant. Why would someone want to be a UMC Minister? Let's take a look at some of those benefits. They have the best job security. I have never seen even the most inept removed from the ministry -- oh, the inept get moved to a new location every year of two in order to hide their ineptness. But they never get removed permanently until they retire. The UMC has a system in place that blesses even the weakest leaders. Their retirement and healthcare plans are among the best to be found. Their pay-scale is not bad once you add in all of the benefits they receive (free housing, free utilities (including cable), mileage reimbursement that isn't linked to "Church business," totally paid retirement and healthcare and the list goes on. Each minister is totally independent and if they invest themselves in their ministry it is entirely their decision and all too many take the easy way out actually "working" 20-30 hours each week -- or less. And then there is the best benefit in that most of the UMC Members consider the Minister "special" and they give him/her great latitude to scheduling and worship styles and content.

I have often said that being a Methodist requires less of a commitment than being a member of the local Rotary Club. At least the "Club" has certain financial and attendance requirements. And if you fail to meet those requirements you are removed from the Club. The UMC has no such requirements. So it's easy to be a member and you're really not required to have any religious beliefs.

Several months ago my wife and I decided to make the change and we have left the local UMC and we are now attending a local church with no affiliation to a national organization.
-- Ron Miller

Thanks for the article on the changes in the United Methodist Church. I returned to the church in 2000 precisely because of these changes and I see many others doing the same.
-- Nancy Rusk
Malabar, Florida

Apparently Mr. Antle wants people to forget that the UMC has been one of the leading left-wing activist ministries in the USA since the 1960's.

Its aggressive participation in the World Council of Churches and continuing partnership with anti-war/USA communist front groups speaks for itself.

Those who "follow" the Methodist form of worship should closely evaluate where their money and time are invested before they lay claim to anything less than the left-wing "behavior" the Methodist Church have exhibited for decades. Nice try, James.
-- Bill Toutz
Appleton, Wisconsin

W. James Antle III replies:
I certainly did not mean to downplay the influence of liberalism -- both theological and political -- within the United Methodist Church.

Agencies that speak for the church have repeatedly supported liberal causes, ranging from redistributive federal programs to the so-called Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice. The leaders of the renewal ministries mentioned in my article are well aware of these facts. The success of evangelical reform movements is by no means assured. A lot is still going wrong in the United Methodist Church; my piece was just intended to highlight some things that, in my view, are going right.

FIND THE WMD
Re: Jed Babbin's appearance on The O'Reilly Factor

I have always believed even before hearing it on the TV or radio waves that those WMDs had disappeared during the six months that we were wasting time at the U.N. But what I would like to know is why did the Bush administration accept the British intelligence report sitting down? Is the administration, the Pentagon or the CIA looking into this? Where did those WMDs go? I wish this mystery could be solved. It would be a great help for our image to the world, make our country more unified in the Iraq issue and give the military the full support they need.

Thank you for your work.
-- Ana Guzman

STREGA AND PENUMBRAS
Re: R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr.'s Rediscovering Columbus Day:

A wonderfully admiring piece on Scalia, Dr. Tyrrell. To add to the justice's apercus that the Constitution is not what the Supreme Court says it is, a tasteful nugget from one his dissenting opinions: "This Supreme Court has assumed the power, not merely to apply the Constitution but to expand it, imposing what it regards as useful 'prophylactic' restrictions upon Congress and the states. That is an immense and frightening antidemocratic power, and it does not exist." Although, the Bronx is up and the Battery's down, I hope you have the time to dine at Paone's restaurant, Bill Buckley's fav! And for a post-prandial, ask Franco for some strega! I had some this past Friday, and it hit the spot after a sumptuous repast!
-- Edward Del Colle

A GUN IN A FOREST
Re: James Bowman's review of Dear Wendy:

Several years ago I demonstrated to a liberal friend, an overnight guest, the absurdity of the "guns kill people" argument. Before going to bed, I put my unloaded revolver along with a box of ammunition on the kitchen table -- much to her chagrin.

The next morning I had her examine the display. Not only had the darn thing not loaded itself, it had not snuck into the bedroom in the middle of the night and shot us.

I believe she was convinced.
-- Jim Woodward
Fruitland, Maryland

JED'S GRASSROOTS
Re: Jed Babbin's Role Reversal:

YOU have my vote Jed.
-- Eugene Bowen

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